The victory of the incumbent President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic in the Sunday election was expected, Croatian Foreign Minister, Gordan Grlic-Radman, said on Monday. He also said he "welcomed" the election of the representative of the ethnic Croat minority, Tomislav Zigmanov, election to the country's Parliament.
Grlic-Radman said Vucic’s victory in yesterday’s presidential and parliamentary elections could have been expected, “but perhaps not with such a percentage and number.” It is unclear from the state agency Hina’s item whether Grlic-Radman expected the percentage to be lower or higher.
The elections have also shown “the strength of the opposition parties and citizens, as the turnout was 59 percent,” he added.
Speaking of Zigmanov, he said, “We are pleased that a representative of the Croat minority… has managed to win a seat and that we have a Croat in Serbia’s assembly.”
However, Grlic-Radman said, Croatia still demands from Serbia “that both sides allow minority representation in parliament reciprocally.”
“Croatia has met its obligation. Croatia has in its parliament a fixed quota of three seats for Serb representatives,” he said, reiterating that Serbia continues to ignore the 2005 agreement on the mutual protection of national minorities.
He said Croatia-Serbia relations were “not satisfactory” but that he hoped there would be “enough will” to solve all issues.
“The fundamental issue are the persons who gone missing in Homeland War, he added. Croatia is still looking for 1,828 persons disappeared in the Homeland War,” state agency Hina said, using the officially prescribed term for the 1991-95 independence war.
“Their families are still alive and this burdens our bilateral relations, as does the compensation to (detention) camp inmates.”
Grlic-Radman also commented on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who declared victory in Sunday’s elections.
“We followed the elections and there were announcements of a strong opposition… from the far left to the far right, but it turned out that Orban managed to consolidate his voters,” he said, adding that he had congratulated Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto.
Grlic-Radman said Croatia and Hungary had good relations and would continue to “advance” them.
He was speaking to the press in Zapresic near Zagreb where he hosted a meeting with his Italian and Slovenian counterparts. The three of them issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s military aggression on Ukraine and said that it was “necessary to prevent any spillover of the war to the Western Balkans.”
In a joint statement, Grlic-Radman of Croatia, Anze Logar of Slovenia, and Luigi Di Maio of Italy supported the Ukrainians and agreed stronger cooperation on that issue in the EU, NATO and other multilateral fora.
Di Maio and Logar called for imposing new sanctions against Russia as soon as possible.
Di Maio said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola’s visit to Kyiv was the latest concrete act of solidarity with Ukraine.
The three ministers met in Zapresic near Zagreb after meeting in Trieste in 2020 and in Brdo Pri Kranju last year. The three key areas of cooperation are connectivity, environmental protection and the blue economy.
As an example of cooperation in environmental protection, Grlic-Radman singled out the support for the establishment of the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley.
Speaking of better connectivity between the three countries, he recalled the revision of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Regulation and underlined the importance of better connecting Trieste and Rijeka.