Harper in Croatia; not a celebrity

Stephen Harper and Jadranka Kosor

Harper and Kosor, photo: Vecernji list

Canadian leader Stephen Harper on Friday becomes first Canadian PM who ever visited Croatia since this ex-Yugoslavian country gets her independency in late 1990’s. During short visit to Zagreb capital of Croatia Harper held meeting with his Croatian counterpart Mrs. Jadranka Kosor, but he missed to gets some media attention as other world and regional leaders. Obama, Bush, Merkel, many regional leaders are stars of national news programmes, many of them during their visits to Croatia are covered by live reports and almost 1/3 of news program. For example last month’s meeting between US president Obama with several NATO member states including Croatia held in Prague was covered by live coverage on all three major TV stations and newspapers articles. What happens with Harper’s visit?

Three major TV stations: National TV HRT and two major commercial TV stations NOVA TV and RTL don’t even mentioned that Harper was in Croatia. In center of Croatian attention were criminal activities in National Electricity Company (HEP Group), budget savings and cuts announced by government, Greece debt crisis and EU credit model for Greece. All those themes were covered with 2 to 15 minutes of programmes. Also important theme in Croatian medias was UK Hang Parliament and possible constitutional crisis caused by Conservative minority victory on Thursday elections.

Two major newspapers Jutarnji list and Vecernji list informed their readers about Harpers visit to Zagreb but that news was not in the Top News or Breaking news coverage. On the other side several news portals including Index.hr and Tportal.hr don’t waste their space with his visit to Croatia. Newspapers or TV stations in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro avoided mentioning Harper’s visit to Zagreb and reasons are same as in Croatia; Greece, criminal, debts or budget cuts, and oil spill in Gulf of Mexico and UK election crisis.

What’s this mean? It means that Harper and Canada are not world leaders, they are not important for medias in South Europe as it is North American leader Barack Obama and his policies towards health reform, Wall Street reform or nuclear proliferation agreements with Russia or as it is German leader Angela Merkel who leads European coalition to help Greece with multibillion debt, cooperation between EU member countries to avoid possible bankruptcies of Portugal, Spain, Italy. This situation show us that Canada must to exchange a lot in foreign policy, contacts with European countries and to build own Canadian independent stand and role from US policies and decisions, Canada is in need  to take a lead in international affairs specially in affairs in conflict situations, debt problems, trafficking, maternal health in Africa and developing countries.


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