Diplomat suspended for ‘white Europe’ comments

A senior Berlin-based Croatian diplomat has been accused of damaging her country’s reputation after she wrote inflammatory Facebook posts alongside idyllic images of the Adriatic coast.

“Just white Europeans as it used to be only 30 years ago in the whole of Europe,” wrote Elizabeta Madjarevic.

The foreign minister said she was being recalled.

The incident has embarrassed Croatia, which only joined the EU in 2013 and takes over its presidency next January.

The Facebook account of Ms Madjarevic, who is first secretary at the Berlin embassy, has now been deleted.

But the diplomat’s views were exposed by Croatia’s Index.hr website, which said that in an 8 August post, under sun-drenched images of Croatia, she referred to “white Europeans” and a “pure and authentic Europe”. The comments were characteristic of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, it said.

Initially she defended her posts, arguing that she had a right to speak as a private individual. “I am neither an official nor a politician, but an ordinary person who has the right to privacy,” she was quoted as writing on Facebook.

She also suggested her Facebook page had been hacked.

However, Index.hr reported that in earlier Facebook posts she had written about the “Islamisation agenda” of Muslims and espoused homophobic views. In one post she linked LGBTQ to paedophilia.

Ms Madjarevic was also outspoken about German attempts to integrate migrants into society, it said.

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman, who until recently was Croatia’s ambassador to Germany, rejected the diplomat’s claim that her account had been hacked and stressed that a diplomat was never a private individual. She was suspended pending a civil service tribunal, he said.

“When you’re a diplomat, you have to act like one and carry out state policy. Private life is over. If you aren’t prepared for that, you can’t be a diplomat,” he was quoted as saying.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic underlined his message by tweeting that diplomats served their country and should act accordingly.

“Croatia shares European values,” she said. There was no place for racism or any form of xenophobia or intolerance in the diplomatic service, she added.

Croatian police have come under criticism in recent months for their treatment of migrants. A BBC report last month said that thousands of migrants had been illegally sent back to neighbouring Bosnia, and some had accused police of using force.

First published 20.08.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49405099

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