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

  • New study reveals negative impact of climate change, human activity, acidification and deoxygenation on ocean and its creatures

    The deep ocean and the creatures that live there are facing a desperate future due to food shortages and changing temperatures, according to research exploring the impact of climate change and human activity on the world’s seas.

    The deep ocean plays a critical role in sustaining our fishing and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as being home to a huge array of creatures. But the new study reveals that food supplies at the seafloor in the deepest regions of the ocean could fall by up to 55% by 2100, starving the animals and microbes that exist there, while changes in temperature, pH and oxygen levels are also predicted to take their toll on fragile ecosystems.

    Continue reading...

  • Environmentalists hail ‘landmark moment’ as world’s biggest soft drinks company agrees to set up pilot scheme in Scotland

    Coca-Cola has announced it supports testing a deposit return service for drinks cans and bottles, in a major coup for environment and anti-waste campaigners.

    Executives told an event in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening they agreed with campaigners who were pressing the Scottish government to set up a bottle-return pilot scheme to cut waste and pollution and boost recycling.

    Continue reading...

  • Donald Trump is a deal maker, and there’s a great deal to be made on climate change

    A month into his presidency, Donald Trump already has a minus-8 job approval rating (43% approve, 51% disapprove). Congress has a minus-50 approval rating, and the Republican Party has a minus-14 favorability rating. All are facing widespread protests, marches, and public resistance. Hundreds of concerned constituents have been showing up to town hall events held by Republican Congressmen, like this one with Tom McClintock (R-CA):

    This is the scene out Rep. Tom McClintock's town hall. We just made it inside after pleading with Roseville police. pic.twitter.com/13UaXMvWph

    Continue reading...

  • Exclusive: Leaked documents indicate that the European Union is now preparing a full ban of raw ivory

    The EU is set to ban raw ivory exports from 1 July as it struggles to deal with what was almost certainly another record year of ivory seizures across the continent in 2016.

    Europe sells more raw and carved ivory to the world than anywhere else, feeding a seemingly insatiable appetite for elephant tusks in China and east Asia.

    Continue reading...

  • A sacred Tibetan lake, a crack in the Antarctic ice shelf and deforestation in Cambodia are among images captured by Nasa and the ESA this month

    Yamzho Yumco (Sacred Swan) Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is highly crenellated with many bays and inlets. The lake is home to the Samding monastery which is headed by a female reincarnation, Samding Dorje Phagmo. The image covers an area of 49.8km by 60km. Aster images map and monitor the changing surface of our planet, such as glacial advances and retreats; potentially active volcanoes; crop stress; cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

    Continue reading...

  • A complex range of factors is shaping how and why cities adopt renewable energy, from costs to the need for stable power supplies

    As renewable energy projects are rolled out in cities around the world, we spoke to companies and organisations working in the sector to find out what’s happening and what to expect. Here’s what they said.

    Continue reading...

  • Funding response follows UN warnings that 40% of South Sudan’s population are in urgent need, with people already dying from hunger

    New and existing funds provided by the EU and the UK government will be made available to South Sudan following the declaration of famine in the country.

    The UN has warned that about 40% of South Sudan’s population are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and that people are already dying from hunger caused by famine in parts of the country.

    Continue reading...

  • Wenlock EdgeIn anonymous hedges and woods, snowdrops have become a kind of spontaneous festival all over the country

    Snowdrops and mild weather – is this spring? Something disturbed a crow in the darkness. The bird flew from trees behind the abbey ruins, skirting copse and hedge down the lane to the edge of town with its going-to-work traffic and lights switching on under rooftops. The crow called out before first light, before even the robins stirred, intent on raising the alarm by itself. Caw, caw, caw.

    All right, crow, I’m awake. Now what? Snowdrops. Along the route, as the crow flies, the snowdrops are in full bloom, drifting along verges, tucked into corners of hedge banks, materialising from the mossy remains of walls in the wood. They are the footprints of old Welsh goddesses, the spilt milk no one cries over. They are something, at last, to cheer about. Every year they pop up from nowhere, grey-green leaf blades and little white lantern flowers glowing in gloom.

    Continue reading...

  • Between 2007 and 2015, Export-Import Bank provided 48 insurance policies to Connell Company to work with mining companies in seven African countries

    An obscure US government agency has provided $315m in taxpayer-supported financing over the past decade to a company that has supplied equipment to African mines accused of slave labor, human rights violations and environmental destruction.

    Between 2007 and 2015, the US Export-Import Bank provided 48 insurance policies to the New Jersey-headquartered Connell Company to pursue deals with at least 17 mining companies in seven sub-Saharan countries. These included a $20,000 policy to supply equipment to the Bisha copper mine in Eritrea, which is being investigated by a Canadian court amid accusations of slavery, according to an investigation of the bank by the Guardian and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project.

    Continue reading...

  • Australian scientists seek to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles affect global temperatures

    Australian scientists are studying air pollution and cloud formation in Antarctica in an effort to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures.

    It’s the first comprehensive study of the composition and concentration of aerosols in the Antarctic sea ice area, a region that influences cloud formation and weather patterns for much of the southern hemisphere.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds