There are a lot of things for which you can accuse Croatian politicians, but being modest certainly is not one of them.
Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Tomislav Tolušić found himself in the spotlight several days ago, after he officially opened a new health clinic in Nova Bukovica. The reason was the inscription on the memorial plaque that celebrated the work of the HDZ’s minister. “This commemorative plaque marking the completion of the construction of the health clinic in Nova Bukovica was put up by Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Tomislav Tolušić…”, reads the inscription, reports Večernji List on August 16, 2016.
After users of social networks started having fun at his expense, Minister Tolušić told Mayor of Nova Bukovica Željko Vencl to remove the plaque from the clinic. “The plaque and the inscription have nothing to do with me. It was put up by the municipality and its mayor. Of course, it would be better if the plaque was not there, but what was I supposed to do? Take it down myself?” said Tolušić.
However, there are several other similar plaques with his name in Virovitica-Podravina County (where he was the prefect before he became a minister). The majority of plaques are located in Orahovica, whose Mayor Josip Nemec is reportedly “crazy about plaques”. He is turning the town in his own monument, with about a dozen plaques all over Orahovica. In addition to the Mayor’s name, the then County Prefect Tolušić is also mentioned among those present at the unveiling ceremony.
“These are just information inscription, a reminder of a specific event and guests who attended. Tolušić is often mentioned because he was present as the prefect at these events. The inscriptions also mention names of other politicians, like then President Stjepan Mesić, the Hungarian President, and a number of other Croatian politicians and officials”, explained Nemec.
Of course, he did not mention that his name stands out on the majority of the plaques. One citizen of Orahovica said that the Mayor obviously loved himself, since in July he published the latest issue of the Orahovica Gazette, a local newspaper which is funded from the town budget. The issue contained more than 80 photographs of the Mayor.
Commemorative plaques in other towns celebrate other politicians as well, for example, current Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić and former Split Mayor Željko Kerum. “I have ‘monuments’ about every one hundred metres in the city”, said Bandić. Asked whether it felt good to see all these plaques, Bandić replied, “Of course it feels good, it is a motive for me and an impetus to go on.”
Kerum was also not very modest when asked why he had put up a plaque thanking himself at the Western Waterfront. He said he was glad that the plaque was there since he “did for Split more than all the mayors in the independent Croatia together”.
Needless to say, all the projects which are marked by these plaques have been funded by public money, and not by private funds of those whose names are on the plaques.