Plenković: Bleiburg Commemoration Should Be in Line with Austrian Laws

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 11, 2019 – The Bleiburg commemoration should take place this year too regardless of the Church and political controversies that surround it in Austria, but in accordance with Austrian laws, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in an interview with the Večernji List daily of Saturday.

The annual commemoration is held in a field outside Bleiburg in the southern Austrian province of Carinthia in tribute to tens of thousands of Croatian civilians and soldiers of the defeated pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia (NDH) who surrendered to allied forces there in May 1945, but were handed over by British troops to Yugoslav forces. Some were executed on the spot, while many perished during so-called death marches back to Yugoslavia.

This year’s ceremony is planned for May 18.

Plenković recalled that the commemoration was sponsored by the Croatian Parliament, which thus condemned all crimes against innocent Croatians killed in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Commenting on the statement by Bruna Esih of the right-wing Independents for Croatia party that May 8, Liberation of Zagreb Day, was in fact the day of Zagreb’s fall, the Prime Minister said that Croatia was on the victorious side in the war and that the Croatian society was being built on the culture of remembrance of all victims of totalitarian regimes, human rights protection and rejection of intolerance.

As for the unions-led signature gathering campaign for a referendum against raising the statutory retirement age to 67, Plenković said that the campaign was aimed at undoing the effects of the pension reform. He added that the purpose of the reform was to increase pensions, eliminate discrimination against pensioners and make the pension system sustainable, recalling that the idea of working until 67 had also existed in a law adopted by the SDP government.

Explaining why the government was conducting the media campaign about the pension reform, the prime minister said that the government had the responsibility to keep the public informed of how it was implementing its reform, noting that the Constitutional Court saw nothing questionable about the campaign either.

Commenting on the forthcoming visit to Zagreb of the European People’s Party’s lead candidate in the European Parliament elections, Manfred Weber, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Plenković said that they had not chosen Zagreb accidentally, but that their visit signalled respect for his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party and the direction in which Croatia was going.

Speaking of Croatia’s cooperation with China, the PM said that their cooperation was within the strategy of China-EU relations, adding that the construction of the Pelješac Bridge by a Chinese consortium was the most important project in the EU’s current financial perspective.

More news about the Bleiburg controversies can be found in the Politics section.


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