Round resolutions

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A response to the urgent due diligence required by Croatians abroad

Change in the redundant bureaucratic system has to be addressed and resolved urgently. Better conditions are the major element keeping the Croatians diaspora abroad. They need to feel that Croatia is home. These are just some of conclusions of the second round table held at the President’s office last week.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović hold Open Doors Day (Photo: predsjednica.hr)

The second in a series of round tables “Life of a Young Returnee in Croatia” organized by the Youth Council and held in the Office of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on July 21, focused on one of the most important demographic issues, the return of emigrants and subsequent generations to Croatia, while highlighting the positive examples, opportunities young potential immigrants have in Croatia, and also the difficulties and issues one many encounter while adjusting to a new way of life in Croatia.

Two Aussie friends, Korana Bučić and Maria Mustapić started touring the world before their 30′s. They traveled the world learning, discovering and enjoying the many different culture of the world. However, no matter what their hearts would always take them back to Croatia. Apart from loving the people and natural beauties of Croatia, they say that upon making the decision of engaging in an international venture, moving to Croatia just seemed like the logical choice. They finally made the decision to move to Croatia back in 2006. They came with a brave decision and perfect business plan to open the first hostel in Split. Today they own a small empire of three hostels and two restaurants. But instead of a smooth sail, along the way many obstacles were hit. Eager to stay and succeed, these two business woman had to learn how to overcome each obstacle, thus proving that business success in Croatia isn’t unattainable.

Korana Bucić (c) and Maria Mustapić in front of first restaurant on Split Riva (r) (Photo: GH)

To help make a change, Bucić and Mustapić spoke at the round table and shared their story, but also urged for urgent change in the redundant bureaucratic system. “Instead of focusing on what’s truly important too much time and effort is wasted on trivial matters. These are all exasperating circumstances for the young people looking to open a business. In my opinion, all consolidated information needed by those looking to migrate to Croatia must be easily found on the internet, especially with regards to opening a new business. For example, all terms and conditions need to be in one place in order to save time. This step would also provide for a more transparent system and in turn Croatia would become an even more desirable destination to those looking to return and invest”, said Bucić.

The round table was held ahead of Open Doors Day for Emigrants and Croatian Minority Communities, which was also held at Pantovčak. Receiving 700 Croatian emigrants and immigrants, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović emphasized the importance of linking emigrants with the Homeland and creating conditions for their return and full integration in Croatian society.

Round table Life of a young returnee in Croatia at Presidential Office, Zagreb

Most spoke positively and optimistically, however many mentioned the battle of adaptation, especially their biggest problem – the insufficient knowledge of the Croatian language. Croatian as a second language is nowadays taught worldwide under sponsorship of the Croatian Government and its ministries, as well as an integral part of education systems of its host country. The aim of Croatian language programs is primarily the introduction and nurturing of Croatian values and beliefs, society and culture, as well as promotion and collaboration with and among Croatian emigrants and their families. Such programs and course for learning Croatian have proven to have had a successful impact on Croatian immigration, especially on those Croatian descent, being second, third or fourth generation. Language and culture of one’s ancestors and roots are said to be the main reasons for attending such programs. Be able to smoothly migrate to Croatia requires a more advanced skill set, which is why the topic has become a strategic government issue.

Renewing optimism and intensify dialogue between the diaspora and relevant Croatian institutions was something Grabar-Kitarović felt would aid the resolution of obstacles, citing the slow, rigid and inflexible bureaucracy as the biggest obstacle of all. Concluding the event Grabar-Kitarović emphasized that “the objective of the recommendations is not to encroach on the Government’s executive authorities, but rather a shared goal of shared partnership in welcoming our young returnees and emigrants to Croatia.”

Just last week, the Croatian World Games, Croatian World Congress annual meeting, Open Doors Day and this round table, Croatia’s capital became home for a few days to over 1000 Croatian who live abroad. Such events have proven to be successful in mending broken bridges and attracting just some of the millions of Croatians who once they leave call Croatia HOME, something that needs to be considered when revising the national strategy on relations of the Republic of Croatia with Croats abroad.

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