Chocolate Diplomacy between Croatia and Serbia Continues

Total Croatia News

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Source: Government of Serbia

Serbian-produced chocolates were a cause for a small diplomatic crisis late last year.

During a joint visit to an international business fair in Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić gave a Serbian chocolate to his Croatian colleague Andrej Plenković, reports Večernji List on April 4, 2017.

After Plenković received the chocolate produced in Serbia, journalists asked him whether he would eat it. He said, “No problem!”

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Nothing special, you might say if you did not know the background of the story.

Serbian chocolates provoked a small crisis in relations between Croatia and Serbia last December, after Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović gave them as a holiday gift to children in Dubrovnik. The packages which she presented to the children included Croatian sweets, but also some chocolates produced in Serbia. President was unpleasantly surprised by this fact, but added that she did not check the contents of the gift bags herself. She was disappointed and said that something similar would not happen again. “We will apologize to the parents whose children have received these chocolates and will send them Croatian products instead,” said the President at the time.

President gave to the children the Mony chocolate with rice, which is produced by Pionir company from Subotica in Serbia. The story would probably end there if the President did not decide that she should apologize for the “mistake” and announced an investigation about who was responsible for it.

Office of the President issued an explanation that they had bought the packages from a Croatian company. The packages were prepared in Vukovar and they contained one “disputed” chocolate per package. “The package was full of Croatian products, but it happened by accident that among three hundred products there were several of the products in question,” announced the Office of the President, apologizing if anyone’s feelings were hurt.

The President herself also gave a statement to reporters about the case. She said she was astonished with it and added that she did not personally check the contents of the packages. “I am extremely disappointed because I personally support the Let’s Buy Croatian campaign. The packages contained products which were not produced in Croatia, but which can be bought in the Croatian market. Croatian President must promote Croatian products, and this will not happen again. We will apologize to the parents who have received these chocolates and we will send them Croatian products,” added the President.

The owner of the Pionir company, Serbian businessman Miroljub Aleksić, said that he did not understand what the problem was and that he himself sometimes gives away sweets produced in Croatia.

Serbian officials were also surprised by reaction of the Croatian President. Minister of Trade and Tourism Rasim Ljajić said that Serbian products were obviously not welcome in Croatia. “The statement by the Croatian President is non-democratic and non-European,” said Ljajić. He said that the number of Croatian companies operating in Serbia was much higher that of Serbian companies selling their products in Croatia. He asked “what kind of normalization of relations in the region can we talk about if such a level of ethnic intolerance can be caused by a single chocolate,” just because it was produced in Serbia.

It seems that the chocolate relations between Croatia and Serbia are now back on track.


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