PM visits Jelsa

Published in Highlights

Prime Minister Zoran Milanović paid a flying visit to Jelsa on Shrove Tuesday, February 17th 2015.

Prime Minister Milanović speaking to the Press Prime Minister Milanović speaking to the Press Vivian Grisogono

The visit was high-level but welcomingly low key. It was made possible by Jelsa's seaplane service, which allowed the PM to arrive in Jelsa in comfort just after 9 am. European Coastal Airlines initiated the first commercial seaplane service in modern-day Europe on 27th August 2014, and it has been proving its worth ever since. Shrove Tuesday 2015 was a perfect sunny day, and the seaplane flew in from the west to touch down with panache on the open sea before turning to sail proudly over the glistening water into Jelsa Harbour.

Pilot Ulrich Nielsen assisted by co-pilot Maria Amelie Wiuff pivoted the plane with exemplary skill to back into the ECA dock.

While waiting for the plane's arrival, there was time for Jelsa's Mayor to talk to the press and TV crews who had gathered to follow the events of the day.

As he alighted, the PM took a little time to thank the crew and ECA staff. It was of course by no means the first time he had visited Hvar Island. He was present for the feast of the Assumption and the Jelsa Council's Celebration Day in 2013, and has also holidayed on the island. Casually dressed in an open-necked shirt, slacks and leather bomber jacket, he looked set to combine the day's business with due enjoyment of Dalmatia's delights.

ECA's Chief Executive Klaus Dieter Martin, smartly turned out in a discreet suit with tie, was also on the flight. He had the opportunity to describe the operations and technical details to the Prime Minister - and to demonstrate in practice the udoubted boon his service has brought to Croatia as a whole and Dalmatia in particular, after years of struggle to get beyond the bureaucratic hurdles.

Josipa, of Jelsa's legendary restaurant 'Me and Mrs Jones' had prepared a wonderful spread of delicacies for the visiting dignitaries, but it was not in the Protocol order to stop on the seashore for refreshments. Her efforts were not in vain, however, as the ECA chief and his staff had the leisure to enjoy the treats on offer.

Mayor Nikša Peronja had a relaxed walk round the waterfront with the Prime Minister, who was accompanied on this trip by the Minister of Transport, Marine Affairs and Infrastructure Siniša Hajdaš Dončić, and the Minister of Tourism Darko Lorencin. Jelsa's Tourist Board Director, Niko 'Futre' Skrivaneli, was present for the events in Jelsa.

Local fisherman Tonko Gamulin mending his nets proved a magnet for the film crews. Sitting alone in the sunshine outside his home, he looked as though he might have been positioned there to provide some local colour for the visitors. In fact he was just going about his normal business. The attention lavished on him by the passing gaggle of outsiders did not disturb him one jot. When asked, he gave permission for his picture to be taken with disinterested courtesy, keeping his mind on the work in hand.

Mayor Peronja guided the Prime Minister along the waterfront to inspect the nearly completed widening works, where new tall palm trees have been planted. Presumably these palms don't qualify as intrusive 'prostitute palms'. We hope they will be allowed to stay in place spreading their branches for many long years. Jelsa has been deprived of too many of its trees in recent years.

Standing on the waterfront in the sunshine was the perfect opportunity for examining the plans for the next phase of the harbour improvements. They are ambitious and wide-reaching, and include the provision of two much-needed longer breakwaters, placed farther out to sea in order to make Jelsa Harbour much more protected from adverse winds and tides. That part of the business done, it was time for a quick coffee break in Toni's cafe on the Jelsa Pjaca.

The Prime Minister greeted everyone on his path with great courtesy. When he was approached after he had sat down in the cafe, he demonstrated exemplary good manners in standing up to shake hands. We hope this example of cultured behaviour will be passed on to Jelsa's youngsters!

Although brief, the coffee break provided an opportunity to look at more material about Jelsa's development programme, together with a chance to relax and chat socially. The atmosphere was informal and happy.

The next stop was the new bypass road, created to ease communications with the eastern section of the island, and to reduce the stresses of driving along what was one of Dalmatia's most notoriously winding and narrow horror experiences. A welcoming table of refreshments had been set out in the first lay-by from Jelsa, and members of the folk dancing group were on hand in traditional costumes to serve everyone who came to witness the formal opening of the road.

Although the details of the day's events were only made known late on the previous day, quite a large number of people were present at the opening, including Mr Vinko Maroević, Mayor of Stari Grad, and Mr Rino Budrović, who is shortly to face elections if he is to remain as Mayor of Hvar following the rejection of his budget.

It was disappointing to hear that many had stayed away from the opening because of party political differences. It happens all too often that local community interests are damaged by political obstruction orchestrated from Zagreb. Democracy is still fledgling in Croatia. The value of constructive collaboration across the party divisions has yet to be understood and appreciated. Croatia will move forward in leaps and bounds when it is.

Refreshments were on the Protocol agenda at this juncture, and the PM was able to enjoy some very fine Dalmatian sweets, made by Anita Franičević from Vrisnik, who is the undisputed queen for producing these delicacies. It was a little surprising that no sound system had been set up to allow the PM to say a few words in honour of the opening of the road. Instead he did an interview with the media, responding good-humouredly and sensibly to some searching questions. The informality allowed the PM to meet and greet many of the people present, including Jelsa's oldest resident, 95-year-old Luka 'Tlica' Belić.

The formal business in Jelsa over, the PM was whisked away in his convoy to Svirče, to enjoy a wine tasting at the PZ Svirče Cooperative. Like many or most Croatians, the PM appreciates fine wine and food. A few years ago, he visited the island as the guest of Braco Caratan, one of Jelsa's best-loved local politicans, and enjoyed a splendid meal in the Dvor Duboković, rightly prized as one of Hvar's best restaurants for its cuisine and ambience. In Jelsa this time he admired the wines and sampled Prošek from the fabled Andro Tomić winery, then chatted about the finer points of viniculture with Andro's son Basti, who is now a leading llight in the family firm.

In Svirče PZ Director Andrija Carić is an enthusiastic, dedicated wine-producer. He is also one of the pioneers of organic wine production on Hvar. Slowly but surely, other wine producers are recognizing that this is the way ahead.

Meanwhile, ahead of the rest, PZ Svirče has produced some exquisitely fine organic wines, including the Ivan Dolac Barrique which won two gold medals at the Biofach Mundus Vini wine festival in 2012 with the 2007 vintage, and another gold for the 2008 vintage in the Mundus Vini summer tastings in 2014.

After the wine tasting, the Prime Minister and his entourage moved on to Hvar Town, from where they set off for Korčula, then to Lastovo. It was a busy day for all concerned, but the happy informal atmosphere and genuine interaction between people with shared interests must have defrayed the worst of the tiredness. The visit certainly went some way to boosting enthusiasm in local communities for progressive projects. And Jelsa's ECA seaplane service must take much of the credit for making such visits possible and manageable.

© Vivian Grisogono 2015

You are here: Home highlights PM visits Jelsa

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Consumers can get vouchers to install insulation, double glazing, smart controls and more

    Homeowners in England can now apply for vouchers worth between £5,000 and £10,000 to make their homes more energy efficient under the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme.

    From Wednesday, homeowners can apply for a government grant to fund energy efficient improvements.

    Continue reading...

  • Brazilian leader vows to continue to exploit country’s natural resources in combative comments at UN biodiversity summit

    We are going to close the live blog now. Statements from world leaders have ended, according to our schedule. Thank you for following along. Here is the summary of today’s proceedings in New York at the first-of-its-kind UN summit on biodiversity.

    "Every few years, governments gather to make solemn promises about the action they will take to defend the living world, then break them before the ink is dry."
    Must read to understand the laughable, cynical empty promises and "pledges" still taking place.https://t.co/fY40fNmKCZ

    “We are the parasites,” Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, said when describing humanity’s relationship with the planet. “We can go back to a relationship of symbiosis,” he added, saying the delay of the Kunming meeting is an opportunity to scale up ambitions.

    Sanchez is focusing on three areas:

    Continue reading...

  • UK retailer worked with dairy farms to end use of destructive cattle feed, but critics say move could ‘shift problem elsewhere’

    UK retailer Marks & Spencer has eliminated soya from the production of all its milk as part of its commitment to end deforestation in its supply chain.

    The high street chain says it has worked with the 44 British farmers producing M&S RSPCA Assured milk to replace soya feed with alternatives such as rapeseed oil and sugar beet – avoiding the use of nearly 4,000 tonnes of soya each year. The retailer sells an estimated 160m pints of milk in its UK stores and through Ocado annually.

    Continue reading...

  • Race against time to save plants and fungi that underpin life on Earth, global data shows

    Two in five of the world’s plant species are at risk of extinction as a result of the destruction of the natural world, according to an international report.

    Plants and fungi underpin life on Earth, but the scientists said they were now in a race against time to find and identify species before they were lost.

    Continue reading...

  • Only one in five Americans with right-wing outlook said they had a lot of trust in scientists

    People in the US are more sharply divided along political lines when it comes to science and environmental issues than in other parts of the world, new research shows.

    Globally, people who see themselves on the left side of politics are more likely to be concerned about the environment than those who see themselves as being on the right or in the centre ground.

    Continue reading...

  • Researchers have drawn up a blueprint of areas that need additional conservation to stem biodiversity and climate crises

    World leaders are preparing to join a key summit on biodiversity being hosted in New York amid mounting evidence that governments are failing to halt the unprecedented loss of species around the world.

    Earlier this month, a UN report revealed that the international community had failed to fully achieve any of the 20 biodiversity targets agreed in 2010.

    Continue reading...

  • Everything you need to know about who will be there, who’s staying away and what the hot topics will be at Wednesday’s virtual event in New York

    The year 2020 was meant to be a super year for nature and biodiversity, according to the UN. But with swathes of the planet in lockdown, Covid-19 has highlighted the risk of humanity’s unstable relationship with nature, with repeated warnings linking the pandemic with the destruction of ecosystems and species.

    On Wednesday, the world will gather to discuss the biodiversity crisis at a virtual summit in New York. The UN secretary general, António Guterres, Prince Charles and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will open proceedings. Here is what to look out for.

    Continue reading...

  • Incidents such as tanker stranding in Mauritius stress need for quick and effective solutions

    Special sponges, magnetic soap and autonomous robots are among the latest wave of inventions aimed at tackling oil spills.

    Incidents such as the tanker stranding in Mauritius in August can devastate the environment and threaten communities who rely on the sea or tourism for their livelihoods. They often take months or years to clean up.

    Continue reading...

  • Breakthrough that builds on plastic-eating bugs first discovered by Japan in 2016 promises to enable full recycling

    A super-enzyme that degrades plastic bottles six times faster than before has been created by scientists and could be used for recycling within a year or two.

    The super-enzyme, derived from bacteria that naturally evolved the ability to eat plastic, enables the full recycling of the bottles. Scientists believe combining it with enzymes that break down cotton could also allow mixed-fabric clothing to be recycled. Today, millions of tonnes of such clothing is either dumped in landfill or incinerated.

    Continue reading...

  • Green campaigners call for clarity on tree-planting and on interim subsidy system

    Farmers need more support from the government to plant the trees necessary to meet the UK’s climate targets, ministers have been told, as they consider wide-ranging changes to farming paymentsafter Brexit.

    Tree-planting is expensive, difficult and requires patience as the trees take years or even decades to yield commercial returns. Farmers and green campaigners are concerned that they will be left out of government plans to bring in a new interim subsidy system – called the sustainable farming incentive – to tide farmers over between the end of European subsidies this year, and the phasing in of new environmental land management contracts in 2027.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds

Feed not found.