The EU is Incomplete Without the Balkan States, says Croatian President

Ivo Josipovic Croatian PresidentThe European Union will not be complete until it can admit the Balkan states, Croatian President Ivo Josipović said while in London for talks with the British Government ahead of his country’s EU accession on 1 July.

“Definitely Europe will not be complete without other south east European countries,’ he said during a visit to London, ahead of Croatia’s accession to the EU on 1 July. “We are going to bring interesting cultural heritage and some natural beauty. We are going to bring a society of goodwill. I think that is very important.

“Croatia will help because we are connected with those countries, historically, culturally, politically. We are not burdened by an enormous weight of crime, we have a very open society who accepts foreigners, especially during the touristic season, and finally but not least, we are some kind of road to the south east. So I think Europe will benefit from our accession.”

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President Josipović Calls For Croatian Entrepreneurs To Be More Proactive

Photo credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Croatian president Ivo Josipović says entrepreneurs in his country need to be more proactive if they are to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by Croatia’s entry into the European Union. Speaking during a visit to London, when he held talks with Prime Minister David Cameron and other British government ministers ahead of Croatia’s EU accession on 1 July, Josipović urged business people to step up to create their own chances rather than sit back and wait for the state to do all the hard work for them.

“We are improving our legislation to invite investors but states themselves have limited possibilities,’ he said. “They can motivate people but I think the entrepreneurs should be more active. They should have more information about our market and possibilities. There is some expectation that the state itself will make connections and perform trade activities and this is wrong. The state is there to establish the framework and to motivate, and then entrepreneurialism must come in.

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Americans Battle It Out With Balkan Brass Heroes in Guča

Brasslands Film Poster Guca SerbiaA band of perky Americans with a love for everything Balkan took on the might of brass giants when they made a pilgrimage to the tiny south Serbian town of Guča to compete in the annual music festival. Thankfully, they took a US film crew along to record this meeting of minds over a shared love of trumpets and drums. The resulting documentary, Brasslands, follows Zlatne Uste, America’s foremost Balkan brass band, as they prepare to compete in the 50th anniversary of the world’s largest trumpet competition.

Brasslands follows this 12-piece band of enthusiastic American-born musicians from New York, as they travel to Serbia to be the first Americans to compete at the renowned Guča festival. For one week of every year, this otherwise insignificant Serbian town explodes with the riotous sounds of half a million brass music fans as bands compete in the world’s biggest trumpet contest.

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