Croatia has fought back at a warning by the UK’s
Foreign Office that tourists visiting the country should be aware of threats from organized crime.
The Croatian government has claimed the judgement along with an article by the BBC were deliberately malicious and timed to coincide with the start of its main tourist season.The Foreign Office warning came following a number of assassinations and attacks on prominent figures. These include the murder of journalist Ivo Pukanic who spoke openly of the country’s organised crime, and Ivana Hodak, the daughter of a well-known lawyer.
Mario Dragun, a spokesman for the Croatian Foreign Ministry, said the government had already contacted the Foreign Office about its warning of dangers from crime organizations.
Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic said his ministry asked the Foreign Office to explain why the security situation in Croatia was not reported in an objective way.
The murders of Ivo Pukanic and Ivana Hodak, together with a series of attacks on journalists and businessmen, have raised fears that their country is in the grip of powerful mafia whose roots lie in the international embargo against Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
Robbed of trade revenue and legitimate supplies of weapons, the constituent republics, including Croatia, turned to smuggling. Those criminals of yesteryear became the powerful businessmen of today.
Others within government suggest that some EU member states opposed to further expansion have exaggerated Croatia’s problems with organised crime and corruption in order to damage its accession prospects.