Jelsa welcomes Premier Plenković

Published in Highlights

Premier Andrej Plenković visited Jelsa on its special Council Day celebrating the Feast of the Assumption.

Premier Andrej Plenković with Anita Drinković Premier Andrej Plenković with Anita Drinković Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The Catholic Feast of Our Lady's Assumption, which celebrates the transition of Jesus' Mother Mary to Heaven, is called 'Vela Gospa' in Croatian. It is traditionally celebrated on August 15th each year, and is a national holiday throughout Croatia. Jelsa's main church is dedicated as the Church of Our Lady's Assumption, so the Feast is of special significance to the town.

Jelsa Council hangs out the flags for its Feast Day. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Each year there is a special open Council meeting, followed by the obligatory refreshments, which no self-respecting Croatian celebration can do without.

Andrej Plenković with Jelsa's favourite son, Frank John Duboković, July 2014. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

As usual, this year's Council celebration was held on August 14th, so as not to interfere with the major church activities which fill most of the day on the 15th. Guest of honour was Croatia's Prime Minister. Andrej Plenković, whose family originates from Svirče, so he has specially close ties to our locality. Jelsa's amiable and dynamic Mayor, Nikša Peronja, belongs to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), while the Prime Minister heads the rival Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), but as both men are sociable and urbane, no political tensions are allowed to mar any occasion when they get together, formally or informally.

Premier's party marching on. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Andrej Plenković's visits to Jelsa have always been relaxed. While he was a Member of the European Parliament, he was happy to sit in Jelsa's famed cafes and pass pleasantries with the locals. Now that he is Prime Minister, his visits to Jelsa tend to be more formal. Not quite suit-and-tie level in the sweltering August weather, but de rigueur smart trousers and shirt. And of course a security detail around him, even if the officers are discreetly dressed in mufti.

Premier Plenković: informal. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Yet there is still a pleasant atmosphere of informality. After the official celebrations in the Town Hall, the premier and his close friends and associates made their way to greet people in selected cafes, before settling down at the 'Pjaca' for coffee and a chat.

Greeting Eco Hvar. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

On his walkabout, Premier Plenković graciously paid Eco Hvar a compliment. Reaching out to shake hands, he said 'Odličan portal!' ('Excellent website!') . A very welcome surprise! Our work this year has intensified. It is clear that the need for animal shelters for dogs and cats on the island has never been greater. Ditto the need to persuade individuals that pesticides are bad for everyone's health and wellbeing. Equally importantly, we hope to bring about change in the local policy of spraying insecticides around the streets during the summer, a practice we consider irresponsible, unnecessary and downright dangerous. So we welcome support and encouragement, and we hope that others in positions of authority, whatever their political party, will follow the Premier's lead in appreciating the work we do and the projects we are hoping to realise.

© Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon) 2017

 

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