More than 190,000 refugees and migrants have crossed into Croatia over the past month and assisted to cross over Hungary to richer European countries (383,000 have crossed Hungary so far this year). At midnight Friday 16 October Hungary sealed its border with Croatia and, hence, refugees making their way to Hungary from Croatia can no longer contemplate that route. Hungary’s government declared its southern frontier with Croatia off limits to migrants, blocking entry with a metal fence and razor wire, as well as soldiers and police, just as it did a month ago on its border with Serbia.
The UN refugee agency said people were being denied their right to protection under international conventions by Hungary’s actions. Hungary declared it is duty-bound to secure the borders of the European Union from mainly Muslim migrants threatening, it said, the prosperity, security and “Christian values” of Europe.
As Hungary sealed its borders with Croatia panic rose within Croatia that it would not be able to cope with or sustain such a large and incessant influx of migrants without a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding. The Croatian minister for internal affairs Ranko Ostojic was swift in his lame attempt to quell fears and panic within Croatia and announced that his government would immediately put in place their Plan C. However, outrage poured as he failed to reveal what the Plan C entails, although it became clear quite quickly that the refugees and migrants routed to Western Europe via Hungary would now be routed through Slovenia. Minister Ostojic said the government would continue ferrying migrants across the country by bus and train as long as Slovenia, Austria and Germany kept their borders open. Without Slovenia or Hungary keeping their borders open the refugees have no way of reaching Austria or Germany by land on that route, though.
Slovenia said migrants would be registered at two border crossings where camps had the capacity of receiving some 8,000 people before continuing their journey to Austria and Germany, the preferred destination of the vast majority, many of them Syrians fleeing war. However, nervousness that Slovenia may follow Hungary’s example in applying strict Schengen border rules and seal off its border with Croatia inflamed the spirits and fears in Croatia. Hungary said it had reinstated border controls on its frontier with Slovenia, effectively suspending Europe’s Schengen system of passport-free travel though it. Both Slovenia and Hungary are part of the Schengen Area while Croatia is not. Slovenia, a small country of 2 million people, says it will allow in as many migrants as it is able to register and accommodate and put the army on standby to aid the effort. But, if the influx continues as it has been, Slovenia would suffocate under pressure of possible hundreds of thousands of migrants and most likely make the move to seal its borders with Croatia.
If such a thing occurred the refugees and migrants reaching Croatia would literally become “trapped” within Croatia with nowhere to go for indefinite lengths of time. With poverty and welfare dependency already at a critical level in Croatia one can fully understand the panic and anger setting in among the population even though the refugees have enjoyed a welcoming, caring and humanitarian reception there so far.
This backdrop of realistic fear and panic, in a small and economically challenged country such as Croatia is, has given rise to a greater than expected political and governance crisis with President Grabar-Kitarovic accusing the government of failing to govern and protect the country. “The technical government is not capable of leading the country and allowing me to utilise my executive powers. I shall do that as soon as the Constitution permits me,” stated Grabar-Kitarovic on Saturday 17 October on her Facebook status while on a visit to China, which raised enormous interest and debate in Croatia. Croatia’s president has demanded strict control over the country’s border with Serbia after Hungary closed its own border with Croatia to migrants hoping to reach Western Europe. Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic late Friday urged the government to direct all migrant traffic to official border crossings rather than allow them to enter through illegal routes but her leadership is constantly undermined by the Social Democrat led government’s incessant, egotistic and malicious opposition to her suggestions. The general elections due 8 November certainly appear to have much to do with the government’s opposition and loathsome resistance to the President’s efforts as Social Democrats allege – scandalously and falsely – that the Presidents’ actions have everything to do with trying to make the opposition, HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union, look good and not with leading the country.
This being the case with Social Democrat train of thought and deed, and completely damaging to Croatia as a nation, the President should swiftly take over the leadership via exercising executive powers the Constitution permits, until a new government is sworn in sometime in November – but it seems there are no such powers. Perhaps they could be found if one looked deep enough? In this fast-paced and increasing migration crisis that threatens Croatia’s stability and security a great deal of damage by the irresponsible and politically maliciously inclined government can be done by the time general elections come in November and new government is sworn. But, on Sunday 18 October, President Grabar-Kitarovic stated for Croatian HRT TV that her Facebook status comment was done in irony to minister Ostojic’s outbursts when he said sarcastically that she could solve the crisis with Serbia in five minutes. She said that her statement was not an official one but a Facebook one and that she has no executive powers under the Constitution so she said “when Constitution permits her”.
“President’s moves are not surprising,” said Zeljko Olujic, renowned Croatian lawyer and former State Attorney, “she sees things that are against the state and national interests happening in Croatia… She is the keeper of the Constitution and law in Croatia and has announced she will take measures that the Constitution permits her …as President Grabar-Kitarovic has, under the Constitution, great powers in leading the internal and foreign politics… ” He commented that foreign minister Vesna Pusic’s televised statement that the President had no such powers under the Constitution and that President’s statement regarding taking over the powers permitted her under the Constitution were insane, borders with treason and that she should resign her position.
There are speculations pointing to the possibility that by putting in place surveillance of three Constitutional court judges (Court President Jasna Omejec, Judges Slavica Banic and Marko Babic) as well as the Zagreb District Court President, Judge Ivan Turudic, Prime Minister’s Zoran Milanovic’s Social Democrat led government is preparing a coup d’état.
Some say that this story of this attack against the Constitutional Court is larger than the 1970’s “Watergate” one and that it’s all geared up to secure another mandate of government for the Social Democrat led coalition – mostly made up of former Yugoslav communists or communist sympathisers. The attack against the Constitutional Court reportedly is associated with the alleged illegal arrest and appalling treatment of the former Dinamo Zagreb football club president Zdravko Mamic, who, within his constitutional right, has lodged with the Constitutional Court the question as to whether the new Sports Act, that came into force in August 2015, was passed in accordance with the Constitution. Mamic seeks clarification from the Constitutional Court whether the retroactive application of the so-called “Mamic clause”, within Article 13 Cl. 4 of the Act, was legitimate or whether it breached his rights under the Constitution.
And so, reported false opinion polls results, seeming misrepresentation of voter sentiments, and Social Democrats’ stooges keep convincing the power-hungry, gullible Zoran Milanovic that his voter popularity rating is close to and sitting on the tail of Tomislav Karamarko, HDZ opposition conservative leader. Hence, this false portrayal of his popularity seems to have catapulted the tragically misguided Prime Minister into violent, distant from the truth, verbal attacks of the opposition as well as the country’s President and the Constitutional Court – evidently thinking that by such verbal aggression and surveillance – which seems obviously designed with the hope of mounting sweeping and time-wise strategically placed arrests of Constitutional Court Judges – he will win power at the coming elections.
Croatia’s Social Democrats, the left coalition, has boarded an election campaign runaway train that evidently has no limits or qualms about the brutally vile strategies it’s taking to reach the winning outcome at the coming elections. They seem prepared to even destroy Croatia, its independence and fundamental institutions of democracy if they do not win the elections. No surprise there: their predecessors walked out of the Croatian Parliament in 1991, refusing to vote for secession from communist Yugoslavia. High time Croats woke up to these infidels of independence and democracy and voted them right out of the Parliament on 8 November. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)