Investment in Croatian Gas Could Bolster American Security

Tomislav Karamarko (L)
James Jay Carafano (R)
Photo: Croatian Institute for Security & Prosperity

By: Tomislav Karamarko and James Jay Carafano

Europe is hooked on Russian energy. Last year, the European Union (EU) relied on Russia for 34 percent of its gas imports —up significantly from 2015. European nations like Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia and Slovakia—remain dependent on Russia for more than 60 percent of their natural-gas imports.

What is more, Russia has no qualms about using energy as a trump card, cutting gas supplies to get its way in political disputes. For example, Moscow stopped supplying natural gas to Ukraine in 2006, 2009, 2014 and 2015, as that nation struggled to align itself with the West. Russia also cut back its cut back its natural-gas exports to Austria, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in 2014 when these countries supported Ukraine.

Europe’s energy dependence on Russia is not in line with the interests of Europe and the United States. Decline of European gas production with no turnaround in sight speaks for itself. Last year, for example, the government statistics office in the Netherlands reported that 80 percent of the country’s natural-gas reserves were gone.

Still, there is a way to make Europe more energy independent with the help of American energy exports and the construction of new import facilities in Europe. One potential new entry point for American liquefied natural gas (LNG) is Croatia’s Krk Island. A planned LNG import facility there would initially accommodate delivery of two billion cubic meters of gas a year.

Krk Island’s strategic location would allow for LNG distribution both west (into countries like Italy and France) and south into other Balkan nations. That promising location is one reason why the terminal project has already secured over €100 million in funding from the EU.

The terminal project would let Croatia work with its closest ally—the United States—to forge a deeper energy partnership. Together, the facilities and the partnership would enhance both nations’ security and prosperity for decades to come.

All signs are positive. President Trump endorsed the project during his recent meeting with leaders from the Central and East European region. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic voiced support in response.

President Trump’s statement that “the United States will never use energy to coerce your nations, and we cannot allow others to do so,” is key to understanding the importance of this project to Croatia, the EU and the United States.

The Krk Island terminal would join Lithuania’s Klaipėda terminal and Poland’s Świnoujście terminal as critical gateways for American LNG imports. And these three facilities can help ease the pressure of the Kremlin on Europe.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Russia is lobbying for completion of a different energy project: the Nord Stream II pipeline under the Baltic Sea, which would connect Russia with Germany. However, that project is neither economically necessary nor geopolitically prudent.

As European nations reinvest in security, a comprehensive approach demands developing alternatives to Russian energy. The timing could not be better. For the first time in decades, America is becoming a net exporter of energy. Increasing U.S. energy exports to Europe will bind the Atlantic alliance closer, enhance energy security and create jobs and economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

An LNG terminal on Krk Island would do far more than create tremendous economic opportunity for Croatia and the United States. It could exert outsized influence on behalf of energy security and stability throughout the region.
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Tomislav Karamarko is founder and chairman of the Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity. James Jay Carafano is a Heritage Foundation vice president, in charge of the think tank’s research program on issues of national security and foreign relations.

 

Croatia At Crossroads – Tomislav Karamarko Publishes Manifest

Tomislav Karamarko

 

Euractiv portal has 19 May 2017 published Tomislav Karamarko’s analysis headed “Croatia at Crossroads”. Given the newly founded Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity, headed by Karamarko himself ,after spending some months of mainly staying away from public political spotlights ,he reappeared on the scene this month announcing new paths of action to achieve changes needed in Croatia it is of exceptional value to relay Karamarko’s published manifest on this blog .

Tomislav Karamarko is chairman of the newly established Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity. He previously served in government as first deputy prime minister and interior minister. He was president of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) from 2012 to 2016.

By Tomislav Karamarko 

On Sunday (21 May), Croatians will go to the polls to elect new local councils and mayors across the country. Why should elections in a small EU country warrant much attention?

Croatia’s location is of exceptional geostrategic importance: the Balkans has been a catalyst of global and regional military conflict for over a century. With forthcoming elections in Albania and Kosovo, as well as continuing political crises in several other Balkan nations, we are entering a period of profound political and security risk.

The cloud of these political issues has overshadowed this year’s celebration of a quarter-century of Croatian independence. But looking back over the past 25 years, Croatia’s positive accomplishments are profound.

The Croatian people are the main heroes of this story – making hard sacrifices, adapting to a new world, and committing to a constructive path for the future. We went from a state on the brink of collapse to a member of the European Union, a member of NATO, and a leader in the region.

However, Croatia today is at a crossroads. Despite our accomplishments, the situation is uncertain and the problems facing our country, our region, and our world are just getting harder. Now is the time to build a stronger, more prosperous Croatia where every citizen has a chance for the best quality of life.

To that end, I took first the steps for the official launch of the Croatian Institute for Security and Prosperity, which will be dedicated to help shape the next chapter for Croatia and its citizens. The first independent think tank in Croatia will bring together the best minds in Croatia and the world to tackle complex issues and propose real solutions of critical importance to Croatia’s future.

The Institute will contribute to the development of a comprehensive and integrated plan for the future and address issues that are crucial to strong democracy, security and the economy.

Unfortunately, Croatia has no long-term vision for development or the capacity to solve its most difficult problems; short-term thinking and crisis management have weighed us down. Our goal is to bring together people, ideas, and successful case studies that can be applied in Croatia in order to improve the lives of present and future generations.

This is the right moment to think big and to craft policies that will both make Croatia safer and wealthier. Nothing demonstrates this more than the collapse of Agrokor, Croatia’s largest employer and business, which risks contagion to the wider economy.

With some 50,000 or more jobs at stake and a regional ripple effect is already being felt in several neighbouring countries.

I will leave it for law enforcement and the courts to investigate the causes of this crisis, though I imagine greed, self-interest, and a weak regulatory regime will have played a part in the story. There is also a significant international aspect.  Agrokor is a major debtor of Russian banks, which can certainly result in Russia’s influence on economic processes in Croatia, and thus our security.

The Agrokor upheaval also reveals structural problems and lack of diversity in the Croatian economy. Our largest employers are seasonal tourism and import-based businesses. Croatia’s domestic production capabilities have crumbled, as has our traditional agriculture base.

We have not made the necessary financial or political investment in providing good jobs to our young people. That’s why we are facing the exodus of talented, creative and motivated youth from Croatia.

Several years ago, I initiated a pilot program to bring Israeli advance agriculture technology and know-how to Croatia to improve the agricultural output of our fertile soils in the east. This highly successful programme serves as a model of how to achieve sustainable solutions by applying international expertise to Croatia’s challenges.

In the coming months, in cooperation with our international partners, the Institute will be developing and leading the implementation of new programs to reinvigorate our agricultural and domestic manufacturing base and put the talents of our youth to work in Croatia.

Our food and water are our some of our most important natural resources. Development of strong rural areas is a pre-requisite for a successful country.

We can take comfort in our accomplishments and being an independent nation. But the hard work is just beginning. I hope my fellow citizens and all of Croatia’s friends in Europe, America, Israel and elsewhere will support our efforts in building stronger, safer and prosperous Croatia.

Our success will help bring stability and prosperity to the entire Balkan region.

WEBSITE FOR CROATIAN INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY AND PROSPERITY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.isph.hr

Stunning New Airport In Croatia Gets Proud Nametag: Franjo Tudjman

Zagreb International Airport Terminal Franjo Tudjman Photo: Josip Skof/MZLZ

Zagreb International Airport Terminal
Franjo Tudjman
Photo: Josip Skof/MZLZ

What a fantastic day Monday 30 January in Zagreb. The new Zagreb International Airport has in the lead up to its official opening in the second half of March 2017 finally received its new name in big proud writing: AIRPORT FRANJO TUDJMAN!

 

This is the place where the world greets Croatia and Croatia greets the world. As far as I’m concerned there could not be a better and a more fitting public place in Croatia to be named after the man whose courage, determination and superior political prowess saw him lead the way to the creation of modern independent Croatia, away from the darkness and oppression of communist Yugoslavia. While the repugnant communist die-hard Stjepan Mesic, in his attempts to blacken Croatian efforts towards independence and democracy, began his persistent, underhanded, dishonest, depraved attack against Tudjman as early as 1993 on a worldwide scale that would see Tudjman’s name and his vision for a free Croatia vilified in most painful of ways, this week is a blessing of a proud moment for all who fought for Croatian freedom alongside Tudjman because of that bright writing above the entry to Zagreb’s airport. It was in June 2015 when Tomislav Karamarko as Leader of HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) put forward to the then Social Democrat led government the proposal that the new airport with its new terminal in Zagreb be named Franjo Tudjman, and now here we are: the “nametag” is firmly up above the entrance!

New Airport Franjo Tudjman in Zagreb Croatia Photo: Screenshot

New Airport Franjo Tudjman
in Zagreb Croatia
Photo: Screenshot

The design of the new airport terminal by Branko Kincl, Velimir Neidhardt and Jure Radic was awarded a first prize following an international competition organised by the City of Zagreb in 2008. The airport design comprises a multidimensional approach integrating construction, form, urbanism, ecology and functionality. An important part of the terminal’s architectural design is the fluid form of its roof and the tubular passenger piers sprouting out on each side. This recognisable form will define the new terminal’s identity and its surrounding area. In achieving this form, a new innovative solution was used for the roof structure, comprising a triangular steel grid space truss for the main building and truss arch vault for the piers. The concrete construction of the interior comprises three dilatations of mixed precast TT beam floor slabs, reinforced concrete beams and monolithic floor slabs. Horizontal forces are supported by 4 concrete cores and shear walls. With a gross building area of 65.800 m2 and a starting capacity for 5 million passengers per year, Zagreb airport is to become a major air traffic regional centre.”

Franjo Tudjman among people Photo: www.tudjman.hr

Franjo Tudjman among people
Photo: http://www.tudjman.hr

What a great thing for Croatia and its Homeland War, its independence. To appreciate the even greater than obvious enormity of the importance in the new name of the Zagreb airport we need to remind ourselves of the grave injustice and vilification that have been deliberately caused to the late Franjo Tudjman, the first president of Croatia and the memory of him.

Airport Franjo TUdjman Zagreb Croatia

Airport Franjo TUdjman
Zagreb Croatia

A depraved path to “de-Tudjmanise” Croatia led by Stjepan Mesic had terrible effects and consequences for Croatia as a nation. Tudjman was maliciously branded a radical ultra nationalist who was in the business of reviving Croatia’s WWII Ustashe (called by some as Fascist) nationalist regime. Yugoslavia (whose last president was Stjepan Mesic) consistently portrayed Tudjman as a dangerous nationalist when he emerged with his ideas for an independent Croatia and Mesic later, even as a highly-positioned politician within the independent Croatia itself- persisted in such a portrayal, using lies and political manipulation in order to blacken Tudjman, criminalise Croatia’s defensive Homeland War and strip Croatia of all pride in its bloody battles for freedom and independence. As a result of Mesic’s filthy work even Tudjman’s magnum opus was generally ridiculed or condemned in the West and this is felt still today, despite the many truths about him that command respect and awe towards Croatian history matters he prolifically wrote about.

Franjo Tudjman kisses the Croatian flag in liberated Knin August 6, 1995

Franjo Tudjman kisses the Croatian flag
in liberated Knin
August 6, 1995

 

Often dismissed by Western and some politically left-leaning domestic academics as a loquacious amateur historian and depicted by the Western mainstream as well as pro-Mesic (pro-communist) domestic media as a nationalist and neo-fascist, Tudjman’s past as a dissident was too readily forgotten and his utter and utmost respect for formal, procedural democracy ignored. His almost prescriptive speeches in the Croatian Parliament and everywhere during the early 1990’s, when Croatia was transitioning out of the communist regime and when such speeches were needed, contained a detailed recipe as to how to bring in democracy into the Croatian society. He enumerated things and processes that needed to be done and how they are to be done if democracy was to succeed and communist processes be left to history. But all that increasingly fell on deaf ears as Mesic intensified his attacks against Tudjman, even providing questionable testimonies to the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague in the pursuits to criminalise Tudjman and Croatia’s Homeland War even if that war was defensive.

Franjo TUdjman Airport Zagreb Croatia

Franjo TUdjman Airport
Zagreb Croatia

 

Propaganda was a staple of the media in all and about all former Yugoslav states, and Mesic seemed to find more “friends” to believe his lies than what Tudjman managed with the truth. After Tudjman’s death in 1999 and Mesic becoming Croatia’s president – there was no stopping Mesic in his continued ugly campaign against Tudjman and the Croatian Homeland War or war of Independence. The combination of malicious and false information and faulty but disastrously biased analyses did their work across the world. World’s noted journalists picked up on the efforts to de-Tudjmanise Croatia from within and led the external pursuits of doing harm to Tudjman’s name (and therefore to the name of Croatia). The effort to discredit Tudjman was indeed part of a larger campaign to maliciously portray Croatia as a neo-fascist state and its Croatian citizens as chauvinists who posed a threat to minorities within Croatia. And all they wanted was freedom from communism and independence and for that desire paid in rivers of blood in defending their own lives and country.

Croatia is liberated from Serb occupation August 1995, dr Franjo Tudjman congratulates the forces

Croatia is liberated from Serb occupation August 1995, dr Franjo Tudjman congratulates the forces

It will take almost forever to clear the mud off Tudjman’s name, of Croatia’s name, plastered so cruelly against them but I feel, and I know, that the name of Zagreb’s new airport will create miracles of justice and recovery from darkness and suffering imposed by others. Croatia may, after all, live to see Stjepan Mesic fall into the disgrace and shame he deserves to fall into – and finally free itself completely of its greatest enemy in its pursuits to rid itself of the Yugoslav communist mindset and habits that stifle its progress in democracy and in growing into a thoroughly modern nation. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A. Ps.(Syd)

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