There was almost no need for any explanation. Therefore, the statement of the Madame President somehow remained in an empty space of disinterest, non-reaction and almost tiring repeating. Kolinda Grabar Kitarović reiterated, during warm July days, that Croatia would not accept the unilateral implementation of the arbitration decision in the border dispute with Slovenia and, in order to make sure her voice was heard well and far, but most of all, following the recommendations of her services, she added a news.
One that has not been heard so far.
The President said a statement that could rarely be heard in Europe’s daily politics due to its disrespectful tone. The new message was that the statements of the Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar on that issue were dangerous and that there was no need for excitement over those statements, because the State of Croatia had sufficient determination, strength and capacity to resist such unilateral attempts of implementation.
The political claim of the President, if we put aside her emphasis on strength which Croatia has, was so illustrative and so unambiguous that it could be packed in the folder of reactions that followed the verdict of the International Arbitration Court. At the same time, such an interpretation could be backed with at least two more facts. The request of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina that Croatia respects the agreement that was signed in Zagreb and never ratified between the then presidents PhD Franjo Tuđman and Alija Izetbegović on the demarcation of the land and offshore border between their states. And with the almost simultaneous statement of Serbia’s Assistant Foreign Minister Goran Aleksić, that the disputed river islands on the Danube belong to Serbia and that they are ready to solve the border dispute with Croatia even before the International Arbitration Court.
Aleksić spoke on Vukovar and Šarengrad islands on the Danube where, stating those belonged to Serbia, where the 266 km river border, is demarcated per principle of central border line, on which Croatia had insisted persistently when determining the border on the Mura with Slovenia.
Of course, stating that, he did not oversee the fact that Zagreb totally overturned its arguments when it comes to the negotiations on the border on the Danube, claiming that the only true and acceptable decision regarding the river on the border is the one that was totally unacceptable in the dispute with Croatia, by the principle of cadastre lots, by which the two disputed islands would belong to Croatia.
Such an arbitration background could explain the mentioned statement of the President in quite a satisfactory manner. The explanation would make sense and we could finish with it. Yet, at the same time, it would be a complete miss.
The statement of the President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, namely, has nothing to do with the arbitration and with the border with Slovenia, determined at the international trial. Its target is somewhere else, in the office of the Croatian Prime Minister.
Therefore, I am returning to the beginning, and not to Zagreb, but to Salzburg.
On Tuesday, July 18, 2017, that seducing place hosted the regular meeting of the presidents of Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. At the press conference after the meeting, the Madame President, for no special reason, explained her view of the catastrophic fire in Dalmatia, that literally jeopardised the City of Split.
Her performance was not quite unreasonable, nor it was spontaneous or accidental.
In South Italy they would say that she sent a kiss to the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who had said, only a few hours before that, referring to the fire, in a manner inappropriate for a politician, that it was almost a usual occurrence and a sort of a spectacle, attractive to masses of tourists.
By assessing that in making the attempts to put the catastrophic fire under control, mistakes were obviously made, which were primarily the consequence of insufficient coordination and that the army had to intervene much sooner, adding she would, therefore depart for Split to start solving the problems, the President, obviously, from Plenković’s point of view, made one step too much.
An instantaneous reaction followed.
Croatian Defence Minister resigned.
The fire was forgotten.
So was the statement that the President had made in Salzburg.
The topic that remained on agenda was whether the favourite minister would resign or change his mind.
The President turned from a political aggressor into the defender of her powers.
And Plenković started another half-time of assuming power in the country.
Kolinda Grabar Kitarović primarily wanted to open a new issue with the statement on dangerous intentions of PhD Miro Cerar. Yet, surprisingly to her, primarily, she encountered a political silence.