French Presidential Elections Matter To Croatia

(LtoR) French presidential election candidates,
right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party Francois Fillon,
En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron,
far-left coalition La France insoumise Jean-Luc Melenchon,
far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen,
and left-wing French Socialist (PS) party Benoit Hamon,
Photo: PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)


The French nation has had a gutful of socialist rule and mindset. No doubt about that. The first round of Presidential elections held Sunday 23 April gives evidence to landslide rejection of the leftist, liberal strongholds of power. In a seismic shift of voter sentiment centrist Emmanuel Macron and right-front Marine Le Pen will fight for the French presidency in two weeks time after the country’s two main parties crashed out for the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958. Regardless of the result of the upcoming face-off between Macron and Le Pen the defeat of socialist power will spill into Croatia, strengthening the case for decommunisation, lustration and return to original values of national freedom and democracy away from communist strongholds fought for during the 1990’s Homeland War. 2017 is the era of Donald Trump, Brexit and the rise of populism make the French Presidential election results a case that matters significantly to Croatia’s future political pull.

It was in the Front National heartlands of northern France that Marine Le Pen chose to celebrate the election victory that has brought her just one step away from becoming the country’s next president.

What is at stake here is the survival of France,” she told a vibrantly cheering crowd after the results were announced of round one of the most unpredictable and the most high-stakes election in decades. “I call on you to show unity, unity with our project to get France on its feet again,” she exclaimed.


She was speaking in a sports hall on the edge of the town of Henin-Beaumont, a couple of hours drive north of Paris in the French “rustbelt”, where the coal mines closed long ago and the factories have moved to Eastern Europe or Asia. Behind the hall, ironically named the “François Mitterrand Centre” after the late Socialist president, lies a giant slag heap, a reminder of the now disappeared mines whose traditionally left-wing workers were won over by Le Pen’s anti-globalisation crusade.

She added: “In 1943 in Casablanca Charles De Gaulle said the grandeur of the people only comes from the people itself. And that is the principle, which for 1500 years of its history is the one that has forged the history of France. The principle I will implement, uniting the French people can only be done on the basis of the love of France.”

Le Pen’s FN party is committed to taking France out of the euro and holding a referendum on EU membership if Brussels does not comply with her demands to disband the single currency and end the border-free Schengen travel zone.

Emmanuel Macron (L)
Marine Le Pen (R)

Macron has promised to lead a “rebirth” of the EU if he wins, a fact that makes him the clear favourite in Brussels where die-hard federalists still dream that Macron – allied perhaps with a possibly new pro-EU German chancellor (at 2017 September elections in Germany) in Martin Schulz – could bring the bloc out of the doldrums. However, Macron’s ability to deliver the kind of economic reforms that might convince Germany to take a more expansive approach to deepening Europe’s fiscal union is open to question, as is much of his policy platform.

The main issue arising from the French Presidential election is the survival of National Sovereignty. Today, worldwide, and so too in Croatia where liberal strongholds that are defined by and arose from communist/socialist echelons, “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left and this had somewhat shaken the resolve of the right. The fact of the matter is that sovereignty is the opposite of the aggressive nationalism inspired by WWII fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to conquer other countries, depriving them of their national sovereignty. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back. That is why the British voted to leave the European Union – primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.

For a long time, the French left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalisation or closure of profitable industries, without recognising that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture.

The scenario is replicated in Croatia (and other EU countries) and with a string of past and current governments in Croatia the push away from everything “Croatian” as well as from Croatian national pride together with the values contained in the Homeland War victory has reached a boiling point; a point that cannot nor should be tolerated.


Today, Croatia stands divided into those who have embraced Croatian independence and thirst for democracy and those who have not – who hang onto the communist Yugoslavia past and keep drumming into the public the blatant and politically sculptured lie that Croatian national pride is equal to fascism. It stands to conclusion that without a prudent, determined and respectful conservative or right-wing political force in Croatia the chance of achieving Le Pen’s results – winning over chunks from the left and the fence-dwellers – is slim and, hence, Croatia would be doomed to a continuance of vicious and recriminatory divisions. It is imperative for Croatia to use facts of communist crimes in the path for the return of national pride and firm sovereignty. Ina Vukic

Refugee Crisis Diverted To Croatia As Hungary Seals Borders

Refugees walking into Croatia from Serbia, Wednesday 16 September 2015 AFP Photo

Refugees walking into Croatia from Serbia,
Wednesday 16 September 2015
AFP Photo

As Hungary completed its fence and closed all access to it from Serbia on Tuesday 16 September, declared a state of emergency, brought in the new law to impose a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone breaking through the fencing, Serbia – as expected – has commenced loading buses filled with Syrian and African refugees sending them to Croatia’s border. Refugees keep saying they want to get to Germany or Sweden and there seems to be no end in site of those saying that. Germany is tightening its border controls and so is Austria – another “stepping stone” to Germany from the route that starts in Turkey, hops onto Greece and then towards Germany. Early this morning the first group of migrants has reached Croatia – a new route to northern European Union countries, a day after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia.
The migrants had travelled by bus from southern Serbia. Hundreds spent the night in the open. Alerted to the possibility of refugee influx, Croatian interior minister Ranko Ostojic said on Tuesday 15 September that Zagreb had prepared an “emergency plan in the case of an influx of thousands of refugees”, but did not give details. “The government will quickly activate that emergency plan if need be,” Mr Ostojic said.


President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has Tuesday 15 September written to Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic seeking an emergency meeting of Croatia’s National Security Council on the issues of the refugee crisis and its possible effects upon Croatia.

President Grabar-Kitarovic considers that such a meeting of National Security Council needs to be called as soon as possible due to the waves of refugees and their social, economic and safety implications.
It’s necessary to examine what has been done so far, and especially that which is in front of us, finding appropriate measures for the appropriate public administration or government authorities with which we could respond to this question, which is not only a humanitarian one but also one of security. Based on the information I have, I hold that the migration crisis will not settle down any time soon even if the EU did come to an agreement regarding quotas for member states to take, and having in mind the restrictions and measures being placed at borders of EU and Schengen countries (Hungary, Austria, Germany, Slovakia) that could bring this crisis to Croatia consideration of these matters at a national security council meeting cannot be postponed,” she said.

Syrian refugees reach Tovarnik in Croatia Photo: Marko Mrkonjic/Pixsell

Syrian refugees reach Tovarnik in Croatia
Photo: Marko Mrkonjic/Pixsell

President Grabar-Kitarovic considers it necessary to avoid possible scenarios of raising physical barriers at border between Croatia and some neighbouring EU member country or turning back large numbers of migrants into Croatia in cases where they pass through its territory on their way to desired destination.

Recent history has taught us that numbers of refugees swell overnight and alarm bells sound everywhere. Fear of the unknown mixes uneasily with the wish to help a fellow human being. New border restrictions and rows over allocating migrants have shown bitter divisions in Europe over the crisis.

Europe is facing the biggest asylum crises since World War II, and it is not disappearing any time soon. Because most have not been processed and declared refugees in need of asylum, claims that illegal migrants are using the crisis as a way of reaching a country of their choice for a better life are attracting more and more believers.

Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen

Today, the French presidential frontrunner Marine Le Pen has raised the fear factor a notch when she compared the surge in asylum seekers coming into Europe to the invasion of Rome by barbarians.

Without any action, this migratory influx will be like the barbarian invasion of the IV century, and the consequences will be the same,” the Front National (FN) leader told supporters during a rally ahead of December’s regional elections in Arpajon, a suburban town in southern Île-de-France, the region that includes Paris.
We must immediately stop this madness to safeguard our social pact, freedom and identity.”

Over 1 million asylum seekers are expected to arrive in Europe by the end of this year, more than twice as many as last year.

Croatian police guide refugees Wednesday 16 September 2016

Croatian police
guide refugees
Wednesday 16 September 2015


So far all we’ve heard coming out of EU are ideas for and pleas of fair burden-sharing – setting quotas of refugees each EU member state should take in. Given that most refugees interviewed – that I have heard, anyway – talk of going to Germany or Sweden this should have been a signal enough to the EU and UN political leaders that pleading to countries to take in their “quota”, their “fair share” of refugees, is ludicrous. The refugees know only too well that Germany and Sweden have the best welfare system, better welfare payments than most other countries, so why should they settle for the poorer countries! If they are forced to go to a country with lesser welfare benefits most may indeed keep on trying to get to the richer countries one way or another. Certainly, many refugees are of the age and apparent stamina not promising a productive working life, so welfare is what gives them hope.

Refugees walk into Croatia from Serbia

Refugees walk into Croatia from Serbia

So, what is the solution? Certainly political and practical order must be introduced. An orderly asylum system must be introduced across all EU so that the welfare system is equal everywhere and same rights and entitlements to refugees equal across all countries there. Then, the possibility of quotas or distribution could perhaps succeed. The other alternative is the collapse of the Schengen free-movement and each country fending for itself. We’re seeing this slowly occurring with the mounting of police forces and other resources to stop or divert refugees from Germany and Austria’s borders; a milder version for the time being of what Hungary has introduced.


Steered into Croatia from Serbia after Hungarian border closed 16 September 2015

Steered into Croatia from Serbia
after Hungarian border closed
16 September 2015

Without a standardised system, a standardised approach across Europe with regards to the refugees and asylum, xenophobia will blow out of all proportions and spin Europe into unrest and instability. Europe must take charge in this crisis and not permit refugees to steer it or be in charge of it. Refugees deserve protection and care but overwhelmingly on the terms of their host country and not the other way around. Europe must stop walking on eggshells and playing the game of hypocrisy: it must bring order into the processing of refugees since the UN is largely failing at this as some kind of a blanket policy and practice steering wheel. We live in democracies where compliance with the law is required of us; it should be no different for the refugees. Without order there is chaos and chaos leads to unrest. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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