Croatia's main national interest is to finally become a high-income country, President Zoran Milanovic said at a meeting with the Croatian community in Geneva on Wednesday at the start of his two-day visit to Switzerland. Pročitaj više
Milanovic told representatives of Croatian associations in Switzerland, Croats living and working in international organisations in Geneva and Croatian businessmen, scientists and students in Switzerland, that as a young diplomat he had often stayed in that city, which he had not visited for 26 years.
“Croatia’s destiny was negotiated” in Geneva, as well as the end of the war and avoiding it, and today the world is witnessing another war, the one between Ukraine and Russia, the Croatian president said.
“It is a human duty to always be on the side of the weaker,” said Milanovic, but Croatia must take into account that it is a small nation, that there are fewer than 4 million of us, that the world is cruel and often incomprehensible, so Croatia must look after its own interests.
Croatia’s main national interest is to finally become a high-income country, because there is no true independence without financial independence, and Croatia is advancing slowly in that regard, he added.
He told those present to preserve and develop the Croatian identity in their two homelands in order for a better society to be built, Croatia as a liberal democracy that belongs to the west.
According to data from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office from 2020, there are about 29,000 Croatian nationals living in Switzerland, but these are only persons that have Croatian citizenship, so it is estimated that the Croatian emigrant community has about 80,000 members, the Central State Office for Croats Abroad said on its website.
At the beginning of the year, Switzerland abolished work permits for Croats, so it is expected that their number is higher today.
On Thursday, Milanovic is meeting President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis, who has invited him to visit and who usually holds bilateral meetings with his colleagues in a different city every time.
At the University of Geneva, the two presidents will take part in a panel discussion on security challenges in Europe and Swiss neutrality and then visit the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), where they will visit the experimental area and meet with Croatian scientists and students working there.