Croatia: To Euro Or Not To Euro

Croatian Sovereignists (L), Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian Prime Minister (R)

Since Croatia set on the path of independence from communist Yugoslavia in 1990 its citizens have held only three referendums: independence referendum in May 1991, referendum to join (or not) the European Union as member state in 2012 and the referendum for the definition of marriage (between a man and a woman) in 2013.

In 2013/2014, 650,000 signatures were collected in Croatia for the initiative introduced by the Headquarters for the Defence of Vukovar Association to hold a referendum regarding the Cyrillic (Serbian) script in Vukovar. That is, a referendum seeking the exclusion of the Cyrillic script as a second official script/language on public buildings and institutions etc in Vukovar. The referendum was abandoned due to Constitutional Court’s ruling that such a referendum question could not asked as it would severely compromise the rights of minorities under the Croatian Constitution living in Croatia.

In 2018 a referendum was planned, and signatures collected in Croatia on three questions related to changes in electoral legislation and the cancellation of the Istanbul Convention, but this pre-referendum signature collection ended in agony and scandal with claims from the government agency engaged in counting the votes, APIS, that over 40,000 signatures were invalid, including double signatures. The referendum initiating and organising group “People Decide” complained and demanded an independent recount of votes, however this process did not eventuate as claims of ballot papers’ being destroyed arose besides apparent resistance from authorities to permit a recount.  

Come 2021 and the socio-economic surrounds for another referendum of key significance for Croatia emerge, with politics hotting up just as they did in 2011 and 2012 ahead of the European Union membership referendum. This new referendum would seek to clarify whether Croatia should abandon its beloved monetary currency unit Kuna and adopt the Euro.

Since 2004 Croatia had a bumpy ride to its 2013 achieved status as EU member state. This bumpy ride particularly saw parts the international community collaborating with some ex-communist Yugoslavia Croatian operatives fabricate evidence to attempt a criminalisation of Croatia’s Homeland War in defence from brutal Serb aggression. This bumpy ride included the equating of victim with the aggressor. This bumpy ride included an increased stacking of Croatia’s public service posts and positions of power with former communists and/or their descendants. Hence, an anti-EU membership mood that became visibly prevalent in by 2010 and the government, obviously fearing that the EU Membership referendum would fail if the Constitution was not changed went on to change the Constitutional law governing referendums.

That is, the section dealing with Referendums in 1990 stated that the referendum is decided upon by the majority of votes but under the condition that a majority of the total voter numbers vote in the referendum and this was changed in 2010 whereby majority of total voters were no longer required to turn up at voting but the question asked in the referendum is decided on the basis of majority vote out of the total number of people who turned up to vote. And so, we had the situation that in 2012 the majority vote out of the dismal 28% of total voters turnout decided that Croatia should become an EU member.  

Having been through the process of public consultations/submissions since the beginning of this year the government of Croatia is currently bringing before the parliament its proposal for changes to the Constitutional law governing referendums. The government claims that its proposed changes will being an improvement in the vague legislative framework of the referendum institute. That the new legislation will be harmonised with the Constitution and ensure transparency and openness of its implementation. Citizens should have a more effective influence in the political decision-making process, the government claims.

The changes proposed include that Local self-government units are obliged to provide places for collecting signatures for referendum initiatives, depending on the number of inhabitants in that local self-government unit. Parliament also undertakes to call a referendum within 30 days (instead of the current 15) after the Electoral Commission determines that enough signatures have been collected.

Whether, if passed into law, limiting referendum polling places to government offices only (not city squares, schools, or parks also) is the most voter-friendly part of the referendum process is a moot point and its clarification is bound to appear if a referendum is held after the parliament passes the proposed changes to the legislation. Certainly, experience would suggest that limiting polling places to government-controlled venues will always deter many voters from turning up at the polls in fear of government control and corruption.   

Conspicuously missing from the proposed changes to law governing referendums is the fact that the proposal does not include any possibility of scrutinising or observing the counting of votes in the referendum voting processes despite the bitter experiences of the 2018 referendum attempts that were often described as corruption and manipulation of public votes.

Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has announced that his government will introduce Euro as Croatia’s official monetary currency during 2023. He has also reminded the public this month that the process of joining the EU in Croatia enjoyed the support of all participants in the political scene and made it clear that there would be no referendum on the Euro.

“It was seen in the process of EU accession negotiations and in the referendum,” said the Prime Minister, adding that 150 MPs voted in favour of joining the Union at the time and that he believed that the issue was resolved by referendum and vote in Parliament. “Croatia then legally and politically undertook to join the eurozone,” he said. Plenkovic also stated that those against introducing the Euro to Croatia had done nothing for the process of Croatia achieving membership in the EU.

Let’s keep it real, Prime Minister!

Plenkovic’s statement that those against the Euro had done nothing for Croatia’s membership in the EU appears scandalous and certainly not true because Croatia became a member of the EU as an independent state created and fought for in a bloody war by multitudes of those who do not want to give up the Kuna and embrace the Euro. The people who fought for and sacrificed their own lives and for an independent Croatia have an absolute right to fight to retain a potent symbol of their suffering for freedom from communism – the Kuna!

Hence, the Prime Minister Plenkovic is wrong in insisting that there would be no referendum regarding the Euro. Not all EU member countries are also members of the Eurozone and therefore, this evidences the option that membership in the EU does not oblige its members to also become members of the Eurozone.

As the date of the apparently imminent introduction of the new currency approaches, such a possibility is gaining more and more public attention, which, as with EU membership for example, is divided. Some are in favour of the introduction of the Euro because they believe that it will stabilise Croatia and help its further development and investments. At the same time, others strongly oppose the announcement because they fear an increase in the prices of everyday necessities and an additional drop in citizens’ standards.

Croatian Sovereighnists party, headed by Hrvoje Zekanovic MP, which is part of conservative opposition parties in the Croatian Parliament, has launched the organising of a referendum on the adoption of the Euro in Croatia and they are against the Euro and against Croatia being a part of the Eurozone. They state that their main reason for wanting to protect the Kuna, to keep it is in the fact that national currency and the management of its exchange rate is one of the key parameters of influencing the economic development of the country, so this parameter should remain in the hands of the Republic of Croatia and its citizens, for whom Croatian interests are a priority.

No date is in sight as to when the referendum process will commence but one may safely say it will be during 2022. Furthermore, it is anticipated that it will take several months for the new legislation regarding referendum changes to come out the other end as passed. Hence, the initiative for a referendum and the government’s insistence that there will be none, is surely to bring in a great deal more of political unrest and disagreements in Croatia, including bitter clashes between citizens who tend to see the adoption of the Euro as the hated last straw that will break the back of the pride rightly held for the glorious victory over the Serb and communist aggressor during the 1990’s.

Prime Minister Plenkovic keeps telling the Croatian public that the adoption of the Euro will increase the standard of living at a greater rate than any increases in prices. The opponents of the Euro in Croatia state that this is not the time to adopt the Euro in Croatia as that currency is good only for the wealthy countries, those in the EU with a much higher standard of living, that the rounding off of prices is bound to occur with the introduction of the Euro and thus be detrimental for Croatian citizens. Also, on the side against the Euro many say that the Eurozone is an unsafe conglomerate and if it falls apart the poor Croatia will be placed in the situation of having to contribute to the repair and bailing other countries, such as Greece and Italy, out of a debt crisis, as their losses in this event could surface after the Coronavirus pandemic as being astronomical. The greatest complaint against the Euro appears to be the widespread belief that by losing its national currency Kuna, Croatia will lose a great deal of its hard-earned sovereignty, paying for it with rivers of blood and devastation.

And at the end of the day a referendum regarding the Euro should be held in Croatia if because of nothing else then because only 28% of total Croatian voted at the EU referendum in 2012 and barely 67% of those voted Yes to Croatia’s EU membership. A referendum on the Euro could indeed be a great test for the Croatian citizens regarding their experiences and trust as members of the EU as opposed to national sovereignty and retention of values from the Homeland War. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Yugoslav Communists Lying About Croatian Independence Movements

Zoran Milanovic (L) Stjepan Mesic (R) Photos: Screenshots

You simply know that your country’s president is a devastating and appalling waste of space when it comes to honouring the people’s wish for independence from communist Yugoslavia and your people’s fight for that independence by the persons he chooses to represent him at various events, who are equally a waste of space. During the past week Croatia’s President Zoran Milanovic sent as his representative the former President of Croatia, the former President of communist Yugoslavia (Stjepan Mesic) to the commemoration of victims of the Danica camp in WWII Croatia (where communists and Serbs say 5,000 people perished but any history written by Yugoslav communists cannot be trusted, even though only one victim is one too many)! That message says a great deal. Milanovic knows that Stjepan Mesic is the leader of the pack when it comes to liars and that he was a war profiteer, scavenging away into his own pockets bundles of funds donated by the Croatian diaspora for humanitarian needs of victims of the 1990’s Serb aggression against Croatia and for defence of Croatia. Part of evidence for the latter has certainly surfaced in a civil court case in the city of Split between 2017 – 2019.

But despite the evidence and testimonies presented in that court that strongly indicate that Stjepan Mesic did engage in criminal activities of war-profiteering, none of that evidence or indications seem to have been referred to or directed to the office of public prosecutor by the court in Split. But then again, Croatia is no full democracy. It still protects communist thieves and liars that define Croatia on basis of corruption.

And so, Mesic said at Danica site last week: “I hope that the Ustasha movement will stop one day, and then it will stop if we remember these events which are facts, which cannot be changed, because in history only what happened, happened.

Then he went on to say: “The state government should first of all stop financing those who falsify history, such as those who claim that the Jasenovac camp continued to function after 1945: This is a notorious lie.

Had Mesic, forgetful of his own previous statements, not here labeled himself as a notorious liar, one might be tempted to believe him but it is terribly difficult to believe him when he, himself, is one of those leading people of former Yugoslavia who revealed to the world that Jasenovac camp did remain open after WWII ended and in there innocent Croatian people who fought for independent Croatia were murdered and exterminated at the hands of Yugoslav communists. Now he wants people who promote that fact to be cut off from financial help! He obviously forgets what he says from day to day. Not because of some problem with Alzheimer’s disease but because he is a person that will say and do anything in order to promote the criminal regime of former communist Yugoslavia, or, if circumstance so demands – “suck up” to the other political side for personal gain.

In 2017, Stjepan Mesic stated publicly: “Don’t be fooled, Jasenovac worked two years after the war. There are many Croats buried deep there. We will now ask for those graves to be dug up, and you will see that they are Home Guards and Ustashas. We will have to bring a world commission to see that. Tito knew that it was a forgery … in order to get bigger reparations. He was never in Jasenovac,” said Mesic, who called Jasenovac a labor camp, not a concentration camp as others have painted it.

If Croatia’s Stjepan Mesic, President Zoran Milanovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic – none of whom ever fought for Croatian independence and democracy but in one way or another fought against it, and still do, ensuring they hold well-paid positions they do not deserve nor have the skills to perform at successfully – think and say that Ustasha movement still exists in Croatia and its diaspora, they would in certain ways be right! Of course, the WWII Ustasha movement as per organised political force does not exist and it hasn’t existed for many decades as a formal movement since it was disbanded soon after WWII ended. What does exist today is the independence of Croatia ideology and “movement”, which, of course has, in that sense, close similarities to what the Ustasha movement was for Croatia during WWII. Independence from Yugoslavia. Mesic knows that and that is what bothers him as it does all his communist Yugoslavia “pals”! He has always worked towards running down and crushing the glory of Croatian people’s victory during 1990’s in succeeding to free themselves from the chains of communist Yugoslavia. When he became President in 2000, one of his first moves was to retire some 20 Generals of the Croatian Army and Croatian Defence Council – to cut them down, to cut down as much as he could the independence movement even though Croatia had already won its independence. But it still had a job to finish during peace time: to lustrate Croatia of communists in power.

Ah, someone might say: but WWII Ustasha movement had Racial laws in place and many victims were generated because of it! It did! But so did almost all other countries throughout the world at one stage or another. Just check the facts of 20th century history, and before, you will find even today the remnants of such utterly depraved laws and practices; Camps, Reservations, stolen land, stolen generations, mass graves, “Whites Only”, …  The world is full of destitution and dead bodies because of it. The important thing in my mind is that every era bought its own way of achieving national goals, and many were not pretty nor justifiable, but in the historical context they fit into the order things were done by all our ancestors. Not that this justifies historical deeds that ruined lives, but it does serve as a platform upon which we learn lessons of a better future.

What is happening in Croatia, though, is that former communist operatives are using examples of historical crimes, alleged crimes and fabricated crimes to cover up and bury the glorious efforts for independence and self-determination.  They will not succeed if people at large have anything to do with it. WWII Croatia and its Ustasha movement fought for independence from Yugoslavia and in that the occupying German forces were a propping hand, however critical of that we may be; in 1990’s Croatian people fought for independence from Yugoslavia on their own. And that is the beauty of it. That is what communists like Stjepan Mesic are trying hard to dishonour. They will not succeed. The word Ustasha in essence means “rise against oppression”. Stjepan Mesic doesn’t like that. Well, tough luck for that decrepit man of “politics”, the movement of rising against the very idea of Yugoslavia is here to stay. Even in peace time. Why? Because it was oppression itself, it was criminal and murderous, it was garbage! It only served best those in Communist Party positions, the rest just lived day by day or fled out of that existential misery. It is to be hoped that Croatia will not end up like Yugoslavia even if there are no serious signs of lustration on the horizon yet to stop such misfortune. Lustrating former communists in authority or high positions within former Yugoslavia would, of course, be the ideal answer to all the problems afflicting Croatia negatively on the path of full democracy. Failing that there is always the heart that cries out for independence and truth to rely upon. Ina Vukic

Croatia: Remember The Months of November!

The month of November is coming up.

In 1942 it was the month that, I believe, sealed the brutal fate of Croatian independence for decades to come like no other in the history of Croatian people.

It was the month that saw the communists of Yugoslavia hold their first organised congresses or meetings at which the communists, opposing the fight for and the creation of an independent Croatia, declared themselves as legitimate representatives of the Yugoslav people, that is, peoples living within the territory of the failed Serb-led Kingdom of Yugoslavia. This was the time when Croatia had already declared independence from the dark Kingdom of Yugoslavia and was fighting for it amidst German occupation and communist aggression to save Yugoslavia. The criminal thugs against freedom, the communists put on the cloak of “antifascism” and convened the so-called Antifascist Council of the People’s Liberation of Yugoslavia/ ”AVNOJ” (Bihac 26 November 1942 and Jajce 29-30 November 1942).

The fact was and remains that the communists’ army, the Partisans, under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, were nothing more than terrorists, torturers and mass murderers – for power and control over multiple nations and their territories (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia). The tragedy of this for the plight of Croatians for self-determination and independence was not only the fact that this plight was murderously silenced during WWII, it continued after WWII and it continues to this very day even though Croatia had won its war of independence in 1990’s and its formal breakaway from communist Yugoslavia in October 1991.

The tragedy against Croatian independence and democracy continues to this day perhaps because the wretched AVNOJ is embedded into the Croatian Constitution giving it wrongfully some credit in the historical achievements or milestones in the path to independent Croatia of today. This fact gives wings to former communists and their subscribers to continue running down Croatian independence and to continue giving Serbs and their declared anti-Croat Chetniks a power in decision-making at the high levels of Croatian politics and, therefore, awful macabre reality.

The reality is that the process of equating the Croat-victim with the Serb-aggressor of 1990’s Croatia remains on the appalling government’s agenda and this is done under a pretence of desired reconciliation just like the WWII Yugoslav communists killed off the Croatian independence fight under a pretence of antifascism! And hence, the history of Croatian independence plight was written by communists, filled with lies and half-truths against Croats and the same continues today where Serbs play a major part in this.     

Between 1945 and 1948, the Yugoslav communist government punished wartime fighters for the independence of Croatia. British forces in Austria captured members of disarmed Croatian Ustashe and Home-Guard forces along with thousands innocent refugees. These were returned to Yugoslavia, where Partisans summarily executed thousands of innocent Croats. The Communists often used collaboration charges to stifle political and religious opposition, as well as economic and social initiatives that would see communist Yugoslavia bankrupt anyway. The Roman Catholic Church bitterly opposed the new communist order. After the war, the Yugoslav authorities executed over 200 priests and nuns charged with participating in alleged Ustashe atrocities. The Yugoslav communists had kept open the Jasenovac camp in Croatia until about 1951 (!), which was labelled as a concentration camp where the Holocaust came to life with the extermination of Jews and others. Any attempts to research the true nature and numbers of Jasenovac victims are being dealt harsh blows – they gets called historical revisionism, with negative connotations, of course.

The irrefutable fact remains that open and unequivocal communist denunciations of anti-Semitism and reported exterminations of the Jews was not of any importance to the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Indeed, the Communist Party made no efforts, urgent or otherwise, in any rescue of Jews. Whether that was because within it were many powerful Serbs who were evidently agreeable to Serbia being proclaimed Jew-free in 1942 after the extermination of some 94% of Jews in Serbia, is a point that deserves attention of historians, and political analysts. On the contrary, proclamations against anti-Semitism by the Communist Party of Yugoslavia were few and painfully sporadic, and acts of rescue or aid even more rare and painfully sporadic. Most importantly, however, the question of anti-Semitism and the unfolding European-wide Nazi genocide simply did not figure prominently on the Yugoslav communists’ agenda – which itself is a revealing fact about their ‘Jewish policy’, insofar as there was a consistent policy, or even one at all. Rescue of the Jews from the hands of the Nazis or any of their collaborators was thus never formulated as a stated objective of the Yugoslav communists.

The rescue of Jews in WWII Croatia was a strong characteristic in Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac’s efforts, indeed. He was not a communist sympathiser and, hence, to this day his enormously good deeds are more or less ignored and shunned by the powers in Croatia that have among them a large number of former communists and a relatively large number of anti-Croatian independence Serbs.

The Yugoslav Communists with their Serb Chetnik partners go to enormous lengths in covering up the atrocities they committed against freedom-loving Croats. The discovery of some 1000 mass graves of victims of communist and Chetnik crimes on Croatian soil after Croatia set on its path of independence from Yugoslavia in 1990 is a disturbing witness to the Partisans’ terrorism and murder and torture. It’s almost every week that Croatia learns of new crimes committed against its people during WWII and after WWII.

Very few people know, for example, about the gruesome Chetnik massacre of Croats that took place on the territory of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in Dugopolje near the city of Split. The crime began on October 2, 1942 and lasted for several days. Don Mijo Marović from Mravinci (Split) reported the crime to the NDH authorities on October 19, 1942. In the Chetnik massacre in Dugopolje and Kotlenice, 32 Croats were killed in the most brutally possible ways: by throwing them into the fire, gouging out their eyes while they were alive, breaking their skulls, cutting off and pulling out their hearts, etc. See full article on Narod.hr portal.

In reporting these atrocities to the NDH authorities don Kajo Marovic wrote on 19 October 1942: “… According to the above-mentioned years, it can be seen that the people who died were all old and could not escape and were weak children. Four of these were thrown into the fire, where they ended up in the most severe torment. Seven were killed with revolvers, and the rest were all slaughtered and brutally tortured. Some had their skulls cut open, their brains removed, others had their eyes gouged out alive, they were tortured and slaughtered. Others had their hearts taken out again and thrown into the field. Once they cut off a man’s head, then put his head on a pig and placed it among the horses and pigs they slaughtered. They were disfigured, it was a horror to watch them. All were buried on October 5 in the church cemetery in Dugopolje, and some even later, when they were found.

All the people of Dugopolje, 3,200 inhabitants, fled before these horrors to Dicmo, Sinj, Klis, from where they have not yet returned home from fear. One part of the people returned and took refuge in the houses that were spared. A large number of people do not even think of returning, because they have nowhere to come or anything to live on…”

For a thorough presentation of details of communist’s and Chetnik’s victims in Digopolje area I would recommend the reading of the 2011 book by Blanka Matkovic and Josip Dukic: “The Victims of Dugopolje” (Dugopoljski  žrtvoslov).  

As in November 1942 so too in November 1991 the Croatian plight for independence was suffocated with atrocities committed against it. In November 1991 the Serb and Yugoslav forces massacred hundreds of Croatians in Vukovar and its nearby Ovcara and expelled more than 20,000 Croats from that Croatian town! In November 1991 Vukovar was ethnically cleansed of its non-Serb population amidst the rivers of Croatian blood spilled for Croatia’s independence.

As Croatia in November 2020 marks commemorations of Vukovar and sufferings of Croats during the 1990’s Homeland War for independence it should also remember November 1942! The same suffering and terror were put in place, installed, in 1942 as were in 1991.

AVNOJ or Yugoslav communists have no place in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and I would personally like to see that all commemorations of victims for Croatian independence also begin to include a strong pressure and resolve to remove the mention of AVNOJ from the Constitution as a contributor to the creation of the modern democratic and independent Croatia. AVNOJ stopped independence in WWII, AVNOJ tried to stop independence during 1990’s. The truth must begin to root out the communist lies, the Serb lies and what a good time for that is November 2020! AVNOJ was written into the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia in 1990 – at the time when president Franjo Tudjman and leading figure in the movement for the independence of Croatia hoped for reconciliation between all WWII sides but since then Croatia had endured a war and an ongoing onslaught against full independence from former communists/Partisans and of course anti-Croatia Serbs. Surely, evidence enough that former communists have not given up on carrying a torch for the criminal regime that communist Yugoslavia was and even carrying a torch for the Greater Serbia lies and destructive depravities. Ina Vukic

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