Books on Croatia
% of GDP
Update No: 097- (26/05/05)
1945 -60 years on
Henry Ford, the propagator of the motor industry and the modern world, made the
characteristic comment: "History is bunk." He was a citizen of the New
World. But, if there is one place where history does still count, it is the
The 60th anniversary of the end of World War II was marked in former Yugoslavia
on or around 9th May with the customary laying of wreaths and holding of
speeches, most of which centered on the role of the "antifascist"
Partisan movement led by Josip Broz Tito, who was a Croat. Some ceremonies in
Serbia honoured the Ravna Gora Chetnik movement led by royal Yugoslav General
Draza Mihailovic, whom some still regard as a hero but others consider a
In Sarajevo, a protest took place against the presence of Borislav Paravac, who
is the Serbian member of the Bosnian Presidency and its current chairman, at the
head of Bosnia-Herzegovina's delegation at the Moscow festivities because his
family supported Mihailovic rather than Tito. In Montenegro, the government and
opposition traded charges as to who better preserves the antifascist legacy of
the resistance, regardless of Henry Ford.
Elsewhere, the Croatian survivors of the May 1945 Bleiburg tragedy held a
commemoration on 14th May. Croatian historian Ivo Goldstein notes that up to
55,000 conscripts and civilians, as well as pro-Axis Ustashe troops, died after
the war officially ended at the hands of the PartiZan forces at Bleiburg,
Austria, or on subsequent death marches. Among those scheduled present at the
commemoration were Vladimir Seks, who is speaker of the Croatian parliament, and
Roman Catholic Cardinal Vinko Puljic, who is the first cardinal in Bosnian
Croatian President Stipe Mesic said in Zagreb on 7th May, however, that Croatia
stood on the Allied side, "the side on which every honest man at that time
should have been. This won't be diminished by any attempt to rehabilitate the
defeated side by portraying them as the real winners." He argued that the
Ustashe's so-called Independent State of Croatia (NDH) "was founded on
crime [and was] an unfortunate episode and a disgrace for the entire Croatian
Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro hold heated debate on "Vukovar Three"
However, a more recent war is the pertinent issue now, that of course in Bosnia
in 1992-95. The referral bench of the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague held a
hearing on 12th May on a prosecutor's motion to refer the trial of three
Yugoslav Army officers charged in the Ovcara massacre to Croatia or
Both countries presented arguments for taking over the trial. Lawyers for
Croatia focused on the legal aspects of the case and the readiness of the local
judiciary to handle war crimes trials. Serbia-Montenegro lawyers in turn
criticised the Croatian judiciary and insisted a fair and impartial trial could
be guaranteed only in Belgrade. UN chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte raised the
possibility of transferring the case in February.
The new pope to visit Croatia
Croatia's hostility to Serbia is not a little to do with its allegiance to Rome,
its Roman Catholicism, as distinct from Serbian Orthodoxy - a key element in the
history of antagonism between two ethnically similar peoples which Tito slapped
down, but with him gone, re-entered the Balkans scene and did much to fuel the
Serbo-Croat war in the nineteen nineties.
Croatian parliamentary speaker, Vladimir Seks, invited Benedict XVI to visit
Croatia in the near future on his attendance at the new pope's inauguration.
Seks says that the pope said to him that: he " likes Croatia very
So did his predecessor, who visited three times.
Croatia, World Bank sign loan to revive underdeveloped areas
Representatives of the Croatian government and the World Bank have signed an
agreement on a 35m Euro International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
loan for a project of social and economic revival of Croatia's underdeveloped
areas, HINA News Agency reported.
The agreement was signed in Sisak on 2nd May by Finance Minister, Ivan Suker,
and the World Bank's director for Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, Anand K. Seth.
The 60m Euro project will be implemented in 13 counties and financed with the
35m Euro loan and 25m Euro from the national budget. The money will be invested
in the development of local communities, mine clearing, the development of
social institutions and project management costs. The loan has been approved for
a 15-year period, with five years' grace.
With the project, the World Bank is supporting the Croatian government in its
efforts to economically revive previously war-struck areas and integrate the
local population into the society, which is part of the government's European
Union integration programme, it was said at the signing ceremony.
Minister Suker said investing in local communities and mine clearing was vital
for Croatia because it enabled development, which he added was a condition for
people to stay living in previously war-struck areas.
Suker also said the government had set aside US$18m for Sisak's ironworks, which
he added, had helped re-launch production.
Zagreb, Delhi sign new cultural exchange pact
Under the cultural agreement signed in 1999 between India and Croatia, a new
Cultural Exchange Programme (2005-2007) was forged by the two countries in New
Delhi in April 27th, New Europe reported.
Indian Culture Ministry Secretary, Neena Ranhan, and Dino di Beljuh, the
Croatian ambassador at New Delhi signed the CEP on behalf of their governments.
The programme is for cooperation by the two countries in the exchange of
exhibitions, dance, music, folklore, films and publications. It also provides
for exhange of experts in archaeology, archives, protection and preservation of
cultural heritage, museums and libraries on a reciprocal basis. The programme
will remain in force up to December 31st 2007. The last CEP between the two
countries was signed on July 25th 2001 for three years.