Miro Kovac.jpg
Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Serbia's protest note over the annulment of the conviction of Zagreb Archbishop Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac claiming that this was the rehabilitation of fascism and the NDH (WWII Independent State of Croatia), is a cheap attempt to destabilise Croatia while its wording reminds us of the era of Slobodan Milosevic and the Greater Serbia aggression, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac said on Wednesday. 

"That note is a cheap attempt at destabilising Croatia at a sensitive time when parliament has been dissolved and prior to the commemoration of the Storm military operation," Kovac told reporters after the first meeting of the government's commission to monitor the transition benchmarks in Serbia's European Union (EU) negotiations of Chapters 23 and 24.

"That's a recipe from the 1990s. The vocabulary unfortunately recalls the time of Slobodan Milosevic and the Greater Serbia aggression," Kovac said.

Croatian Ambassador in Belgrade Gordan Markotic was presented with a note in which the Serbian Foreign Ministry protested in the strongest terms against the annulment of the guilty verdict against Alojzije Stepinac, which the authorities in Belgrade consider to be the rehabilitation of fascism and the Ustasha NDH (Independent State of Croatia). The Serbian Ministry reminded that the the United Nations and the European Union strictly forbids the restoration of fascism and fascist ideologies.

Kovac urged authorities in Serbia to use "rational, comprehensive vocabulary" in public communication in an effort to build good neighbourly relations, adding that this type of communication does not contribute to that atmosphere.

"I have to say that these assessments regarding Cardinal Stepinac are fictitious and unacceptable. This is meddling in Croatia's interior affairs," Kovac underscored.

The first meeting of the government commission to monitor the implementation of transition benchmarks in Serbia's negotiation of Chapter 23 and 24 was held in the ministry and presided by Minister Kovac. The commission was established last week after the two chapters in Serbia's EU negotiations were opened.

"We will meet regularly. We want Serbia to have a European future, to advance to EU membership because that automatically means that Serbia has met all those criteria, demands that we set within the framework of Chapter 23," Kovac said.

Justice Minister Ante Sprlje and Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved also attended the meeting today and after the meeting Sprlje said that during the negotiations Croatia would abide by the principles that apply to all modern European countries and that it would ask that of Serbia too and that it expected Serbia to align its legislation with the EU acquis communautaire.

Minister Medved said that his ministry and veterans' associations had a special role within the government commission to monitor Serbia's adaptation of the law on regional jurisdiction.

Croatia has asked Serbia and Serbia has promised to change that law and harmonise it with EU acquis communautaire, he said.

"It cannot be within Serbia's jurisdiction to persecute Croatian Homeland War veterans," he underscored.

The other issue that will be closely monitored is Serbia's contribution to find all those people missing from the war, he added.

Latest news

Alphabet's self-driving car company sues Uber over alleged theft

Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo said Thursday it was suing Uber and its subsidiary Otto for allegedly stealing its technology and infringing its patents.

US, Mexico take "important steps" even as Trump voices indifference

Top US and Mexican diplomatic and security officials met on Thursday in Mexico City, as President Donald Trump in Washington expressed ambivalence about relations with the United States' southern neighbour.

US Supreme Court's Ginsberg emphasizes value of free press

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed optimism about the political future of the United States despite the polarized and combative political atmosphere that has marked the fledgling presidency of Donald Trump.

Top Trump aide Bannon points to promises kept, media fight

Top White House strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday US President Donald Trump is keeping the promises he made during his campaign on issues from immigration to job creation.

Le Pen promises independent foreign policy, autonomous defence

Marine Le Pen promised Thursday that if elected president of France she would ensure it had a truly independent foreign policy as well as an autonomous capacity for self-defence.

Slovenia for ending lawsuits against Ljubljanska Banka

Croatia is infringing the memorandum of understanding signed with Slovenia in 2013 which they interpret differently, the Slovenian Embassy said on Thursday after a hearing at a Zagreb court in a suit which Croatia's PBZ bank filed against Slovenia's Ljubljanska Banka (LB) and Nova Ljubljanska Bank (NLB) over transferred foreign currency savings.

Marin Pucar appointed as new CEO in Podravka food concern

Marin Pucar is the new Management Board chairman of the Podravka food concern and will take the helm of the company after Zvonimir Mrsic's term expires at midnight on Thursday.

Croatian MEP says Moscow wants to influence in western Balkans

Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovcic said in an interview with the Montenegrin Pobjeda daily on Thursday that Moscow is trying to exploit the political forces in Montenegro and that Russia's meddling in Montenegro's internal affairs was "unacceptable behaviour."

New York Times launches brand campaign for 'The Truth' with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Gambia charges former spy chief with murder of opposition leader

The former head of the Gambian national intelligence agency has been charged with the murder of an opposition youth leader who died in detention last year.

Dutch populist Wilders won't publicly campaign after security fiasco

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) won't make public appearances in support of its election campaign after a security official assigned to protect party founder Geert Wilders was detained by police.

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board calls for defusing tensions in Bosnia

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met on Thursday, expressing the international community's concern about the situation in the country and calling on local politicians to act rationally to prevent an escalation of the crisis after a motion was submitted to review an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in BiH's case against Serbia for genocide.