President Milanović in Canada: Our task is to make Croatia a more developed, richer and uncorrupted state where your children or grandchildren will return to

17. September 2023.

“I’m glad to see that you are successful and built a new home here. But, frankly, I wish that your children or grandchildren, maybe even some of you, will return to Croatia. The Croatian state today, with all its problems, is the most ordered it has ever been. Despite all disputes and arguments, the country has stabilized itself, we entered the EU and after ten years, membership is acquiring sound outlines. Of course, it could be a lot better. And that’s our task, to make Croatia a more developed and richer state which will be uncorrupted and strict in respecting rules. And you will know best where your place is. Croatia is always open for you. If you stay here, good luck, and if you come to Croatia, we will look forward to it,” the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović told Canadian-Croatians in Burlington on Saturday at a reception organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia and the Consulate General in Mississauga on the occasion of his working visit to Canada.

Before an audience of some 200 Canadian-Croatians from the Province of Ontario where the largest Croatian community lives, President Milanović said “it’s nice to come to a country that offered a haven to Croatian people when they went looking for a better life”. Today, many of them are successful and have their own lives in Canada, but “they are aware that they are Croatians and that they have a strong and unbreakable bond to Croatian history, customs and culture.” Some of the traditions they preserved in Canada were demonstrated to the President at the reception by members of a “klapa” from Toronto.

That there are many Canadian-Croatians who are successful in business, President Milanović learned at a working meeting with Canadian-Croatian businesspeople. Earlier in the day he attended a meeting organized by the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce where there were 20 businesspeople from the Croatian community in Canada. They informed him of the experiences of investors doing business in Croatia, investment plans, the obstacles investors face and proposals on how to eliminate them and exploit the interest of Canadian investors.

Presenting the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, one of the more active and influential Croatian associations in Canada bringing together Canadian businesspeople of Croatian descent and their companies and organisations, the businesspeople emphasized their efforts to bring closer Canadian and Croatian enterprises and to develop and intensify the economic, trade, political and cultural ties between the two countries. The Chamber is also a significant promotor of the Croatian identity in Canada, they told the President.

“Canada has one of the largest and most successful Croatian communities outside Croatia and the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce brings together enterprises, experts and organizations with strategic relations, whether economic, commercial, political or cultural, in Canada and Croatia, that have a lot to offer Croatia. We introduced the President to some of them and some investors of Croatian origin who do or wish to do business in Croatia. We acquainted him also with their experiences. The recurring questions for many years now are: how to utilize the full potential of Croatian emigrants like, for example, Ireland has done, and when the model of immigration with special focus on the younger, educated Croatian generation around the world will be applied. The President agreed to consider some of the questions,” Ivan Grbešić, a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, said.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Ana Marija Katić