President Milanović Holds Working Meeting with President Pahor in Ptuj

15. May 2020.

The President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović held a working meeting with the President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor in Ptuj. The two presidents discussed cooperation between the two States focusing on opening borders and normalizing the movement of people and the flow of services in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

In his statement after the meeting, the President of the Republic said: “It is time for us to open up. We are doing it very boldly and quickly in Croatia and perhaps it is the only way. Croatia and Slovenia are neighbours, Slovenes have traditional relations and interests in Croatia, a lot of real estate, many relations have been established over the decades. I am glad that we are the first countries in this part of Europe to have normalized communication”.

Commenting on the border opening and the arrival of Slovenian tourists in Croatia, President Milanović underlined that Slovenes own more than one hundred thousand pieces of real estate and boats in Croatia, therefore they are not tourists, but people “who come to their property”. “We shall see what will happen, Croatia is opening up, we live from tourism, perhaps we rely too much on it, but that cannot be changed right now. Our interest is that as many people as possible come and that we sell our services. I am confident that a lot of people will come from Slovenia this year. For the rest, we shall see, the door is open to everyone, we have to accept the fact that this year will be economically hard and that we cannot point a finger at anyone for the crisis”, President Milanović noted.

With his Slovenian counterpart he discussed the procedure in case of a new migrant crisis, which, as he said, should be resolved with a persistent and civilizational approach. Replying to a reporter’s question on preventing illegal migrations, President Milanović said that this problem will not disappear, and added: “Croatia wants to be admitted to the Schengen Area, I am confident that this crisis has not buried this way of life. On the contrary, I believe that pleasant years lie ahead despite what is behind us. It is clear that Croatia must, and this is what is expected of it, fulfill certain conditions, the control of its borders toward non-Schengen countries. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, unfortunately, on the border with Croatia, several thousand people gather regularly in search of a better life. That right, despite all the compassion and sympathy, that right does not exist, and Croatian authorities will, I believe, do their job and protect the borders even though it will always be criticized by those who think that human rights are absolute.” “I consider them are almost absolute, but some rules have to be respected,” the Croatian President stated.

Asked about the date of the elections, the President of the Republic answered: “The Parliament has not been dissolved. Everything I say now exceeds my authority, Parliament has not been dissolved. If it is dissolved by the majority on Monday, I will act in accordance with the law. I have spoken to the Prime Minister before he informed the public of his intention, I asked him if he had any preferences, he said no. I will also speak to the representative of the other large group and make a decision within the narrow framework provided by the law on calling the elections, the date of coming into force, because this date determines the length of the campaign. First, Parliament has to be dissolved and then we shall seek to accommodate the interests of the epidemiological situation and that Croatia relatively quickly gets a stable government, and not enter a period when a large number of people leave the cities”, President Milanović said.

“I will try to prevent what happened during the presidential elections, when the second round of voting was held on 5 January on the date that 100 to 150 thousand people went skiing abroad. This consciously limits people from going to the polls, I will try to prevent his”, President Milanović noted.