aleksandar vučić-aleksandar vulin.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Sava RADOVANOVIĆ / TANJUG / mm

The Serbian Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, Aleksandar Vulin, said on Sunday he expected the European Union to condemn the decision by the Croatian state leadership to lay a wreath at "the grave of Croatian Nazis" in Bleiburg, Austria.

"What is Europe waiting for? It is unthinkable that 20,000 people wearing Nazi insignia would gather at the grave of Herman Goering and Nazis shot in Nuremberg and that Europe would just watch and say nothing. How can it let 20,000 people gather at the grave of Croatian Nazis?" Vulin told the TV Pink pro-government commercial television network.

Noting that it was not 200 "isolated lunatics" that gathered in Bleiburg, but 20,000 people led by the state leadership, including cabinet ministers, presidential envoys, the speaker of parliament, and representatives of the Croatian army, to pay full military honours, " recognising the continuity of that army with the present army in Croatia," Vulin said that if the EU should keep quite about it, it would send a message to "the descendants of people killed in Jasenovac that our victims are perhaps not the same as some others."

Vulin said that "Serbia cannot change Croatia" but that it can ask the EU to treat its member as it would treat any other country.

Senior Croatian officials gathered at Bleiburg, Austria on Saturday to commemorate executions of Croatian soldiers and civilians who surrendered to British forces in Austria in May 1945, but were handed over to the Yugoslav Partisans. Some of them were killed in the Bleiburg field, while many perished during death marches, known as Ways of the Cross, during their repatriation to Yugoslavia.

Among those attending the commemoration were Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner, his deputy Ivan Tepes, First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko, several ministers, presidential envoy Bruna Esih, and government officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mass was said by the Chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Bishops' Conference, Bishop Franjo Komarica of Banja Luka.

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