Wednesday, 08 July 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

We need the Dubrovnik Forum like a hole in the head!

By  Sep 08, 2018

“You alright there you lot a little bit warm,” I joked with the policeman as he struggled to find some shade. “I could really do with a cold beer…but I’m on duty,” he smiled back at me. He wasn’t the only police officer melting in the late August sunshine. Every junction I passed on my way to drop my wife off at Hotel Palace had an officer on the corner. Yes, the Croatia Summit had come to town, or rather the circus was in town.

Entitled "Strengthening Resilience - the Mediterranean, Europe and the Western Balkans" it brought politicians from all over the region to enjoy the Dubrovnik sunshine and dip in the Adriatic…whoops sorry…I mean talk about really important matters. Yes, maybe the forum should be more honest with its title, maybe it should be called “Strengthening our suntans at the tax payers expense.”

I’m sorry but for me this forum is a total and complete waste of time and money and effort. I have nothing against Dubrovnik hosting a congress, far from it we really need them. But do you really need one that is basically funded by us, the tax payers, in the middle of the summer season.

We went from a big plus to an even bigger minus. These countless rooms that were taken up by politicians, who I am pretty sure didn’t pay for them out of their own pockets, could and indeed should have been sold to real tourists who certainly would have paid for them. Madness in the extreme.

If they want to make a congress, then do so in the middle of the winter! That would make more sense all round. The hotel would probably be closed anyway. But no, instead they needlessly add to the traffic congestion, tie up half of the police force and waste tax payer’s money.

Last year was even worse when they came at the beginning of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival! Of course we all know why they come in the summer, Dubrovnik in the summer is attractive to everyone, especially if you get a free holiday.

“We are thinking of making next year’s congress in May,” commented one of the main organisers. But when asked “Why don’t you do it out of the summer season, it would make more sense,” she answered “But how could we could go to the beach and swim.” At least she was honest.

I am not sure about you but in my opinion the last thing that Croatia needs right now is more politicians talking. Enough bloody talking, get down and do some work!

And what has all this talking brought us. Can you name any concrete steps or measures that have been introduced from these forums? Do you even know any of the themes from previous years? Did you even know that they name of the congress has been changed? I am guessing you just answered no three times.

All this talking and they can’t even decide on a name for the congress…sorry forum….sorry summit. It started life in 2006 as the Croatia Summit. A rather grand and slightly pompous sounding name. Most of the delegates who attended that first summit went on to defend themselves in court against various allegations, from Ivo Sanader who headed the summit, to Mikheil Saakashvili from Georgia who was stripped of his nationality and deported. Yes, the crème de la crème of regional politics. The Croatia Summit name lasted for six years before being changed to Croatia Forum in 2013. Maybe that’s what they are actually doing here, voting on a name for the summer holiday…sorry congress. And then changed again a couple of years ago to Dubrovnik Forum. It has changed so often that even Wikipedia has given up trying to follow the names changes. I am guessing that in an another couple of years it will be called “Lapad Forum” and then when I reach retirement age it will be called “Forum in a small corner of Hotel Palace.”

This year’s summit…sorry forum was planned over two days. Well in fact the first day only had one event, a gala dinner hosted by the Prime Minister, yes start as you mean to go on with plenty of hard work…eating! The next day, supposedly the main day, started with a program at around 9.30 and the whole day’s panels and meetings ended at 14.30. Yes, that sounds about right for politicans a whole five hours work! Can’t blame them they wanted to make sure they the sun wasn’t too strong before they hot the beaches. Reminds me of a joke – “What is it? Four in a room and only one working? – three civil servants and an air-conditioning unit!     

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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