October the 20th, 2023 – This week in Croatian politics, we’ve had the latest from the detained Croatian hooligans in Greece, accusations of conservatism, official Czech visits and more.
The Zagreb hooligans’ Greek lawyer has provided the latest information
Yes, the situation with the Dinamo Zagreb hooligans locked up in Greece still hasn’t been resolved, and the group’s Greek lawyer has the latest – and it’s quite the twist. As part of the investigation into the fan riots in which a Greek football fan was killed, the results of the expert examination of two knives found at the scene have arrived. The Greek police claimed that one of them belonged to a Croatian fan, a member of the Bad Blue Boys group. The analysis showed otherwise, claims his lawyer.
Greece has been constantly claiming that the Dinamo ”fans” had a knife on them, but the analysis allegedly showed that there was no such DNA on the knife. Quite on the contrary, the DNA of the tragically murdered AEK fan was found on both knives. “They found other DNA on the knife, but not the DNA or the fingerprints of my client, the Croatian national who the police claim possessed this knife. We have footage showing that he wasn’t even wearing gloves. Therefore, if the knife was his, it would have his fingerprints on it,” said Athanasios Kaymenakis.
On both knives, he points out, they found the DNA of the murdered Greek AEK fan Michalis Katsouris, as well as the DNA of other individuals.
Slovenia re-introduces controls at its border with Croatia
Neighbouring Slovenia is set to re-introduce border controls at its border with Croatia this Saturday (tomorrow). It has decided on the same move with other countries it borders as well. The Slovenian Government claim that the decision comes after heightened tensions across both Europe and the Middle East. One Slovenian minister even went as far as to entirely criticise the Schengen regime, saying that it has ”failed as an idea”. The reaction from those in Croatian politics has been mixed but rather tight-lipped for the most part. Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic has simply stated in response to the Slovenian decision that the situation is being monitored by the powers that be here in Croatia and that the Croatian police will respond accordingly for the duration of the Slovenian decision – currently planned to last for ten days, with the possibility of additional extensions after that.
Croatia’s Gordan Grlic-Radman has been quick to say that what Slovenia has decided to do is not to go against Schengen rules, but instead to merely step up their surveillance given current instability in Europe and in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic attend the opening of “Croatia’s most expensive road” – which is less than three kilometres long…
The most expensive Croatian road, as it has been being referred to since the very beginning of its construction three years ago, was finally put into function after endless works this week. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic both attended the opening ceremony at the Škurinje junction, close to the City of Rijeka in Kvarner.
The Mayor of Pula has been under fire by the opposition for his “conservative plans” for that Istrian city
In a clear attempt to follow in the footsteps of certain Dalmatian cities and towns, including Vodice, Makarska and Split, the mayor of Pula has been accused of being conservative by the Mozemo!/We Can! party. Mayor Filip Zoricic has outlined his plans to put forward a motion which would be similar to what Split recently introduced; no alcohol consumption in public spaces, and appropriate clothing in certain areas. Individuals in Croatian politics, primarily from Mozemo!, have been quick to criticise his plans.
Even though Zoricic’s idea is currently only at the public consultation phase, the proposal for the Decision on the Order on the Maritime Domain of the City of Pula has caused some very fierce political reactions. While some believe that this will encourage solely proper regulations that would bring about more of a sense of order, the Mozemo!/We Can! party believe that the proposed decision is proof that Pula has a very conservative city government. They have stated that they believe that said government “wants to change the usual way of life in an environment that has always been progressive in Croatia” and that the mayor of Pula, Filip Zoricic, is among those in Croatian politics attempting to police morals.
A comparison with EU countries sees the level of interest in further education in Croatia shamed
Croatian education is intensive, but just how does it stand when looking at lifelong learning in comparison with other EU countries? Not great, to say the least. In many rich countries, education is considered the biggest investment a person can have. In addition, due to increasingly rapid technological and production process changes, engaging in lifelong education shows readiness for progress and economic development of the country. If you look at European Union (EU) statistical indicators, further education isn’t a big lure for most Croats, moreover, Croatia is unfortunately in the group of countries that are at the very bottom of the EU ranking in terms of lifelong education. Only Greece and Bulgaria are worse off in this regard than Croatia.
The Czech foreign minister visits Croatia
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jan Lipavsky, is currently paying an official visit to the Republic of Croatia. He was initially received by the President of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandrokovic. After that, he met with his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Grlic Radman.
Jandrokovic and Minister Jan Lipavsky agreed in their joint assessment that bilateral relations between the two nations are excellent, with no open questions needing a re-visit. In addition to the continuous political dialogue, the cooperation between the two countries has been significantly and additionally strengthened by the frequent contact enjoyed by them both. Both sides expressed genuine satisfaction with the cooperation within the European Union and within the Three Seas Initiative.
They stated that Czech-Croatian economic cooperation is currently on an upward trajectory, with excellent results in trade exchange, which exceeded one billion euros this year. On top of that, continuous mutual investments have also aided matters. As an additional and very welcome boost, more than 890,000 Czech tourists visited Croatia this year alone.
Energy was highlighted as a sector with the potential for the deepening of Czech-Croatian cooperation, especially bearing in mind the LNG terminal on the island of Krk. The terminal is hailed as Croatia’s strategic energy advantage, from which the Czech Republic can also benefit significantly in the future. On top of all of that, Croatia and the Czech Republic cooperate very well in the field of transport, with no issues to report.
The interlocutors from the world of Croatian politics and of Czech politics also discussed the position of the Croatian minority in the Czech Republic and the Czech national minority in the Republic of Croatia. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the high standard of protection of their rights in both countries, and Minister Lipavsky emphasised the fact that the Czech minority living here in Croatia is one of the best organised Czech minorities in the entire world.