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Cablegate: Zagreb Weekly Activity Report - September 11, 2009

VZCZCXRO3590
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHSR RUEHVK
RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0560 2541449
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111449Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9525
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000560

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/PPD, EUR/RPM AND EUR/ERA
OSD FOR POPOVICH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ELAB NATO HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - SEPTEMBER 11, 2009

1. (SBU) INITIAL LABOR PROTESTS AGAINST GOVERNMENT AUSTERITY
MEASURES FIZZLE:
Only 300 members of the Croatian Trade Union Association
(HUS) and the Croatian Pensioners Party (HSU) turned out in
the eastern city of Vinkovci for the first in a series of
planned protests on September 9. The union's main complaint
is the crisis tax introduced by the government. The protest
in Vinkovci is the first of seven protests organized by HUS
throughout Croatia. Other Croatian labor unions, including
the largest labor unions as well as the student union, are
not supporting the HUS protests. In a meeting September 3,
Ana Knezevic, President of the Union of Independent Trade
Unions of Croatia (SSSH) told EconOff of her dismay that HUS
planned to move forward with the protests on its own. She
decried the lack of unity among Croatian labor unions, which
in her opinion enables the HDZ government to undermine the
unions and claim that the unions' demands do not enjoy broad
popular support. (NOTE: SSSH is the largest of five major
Croatian labor unions with approximately 225,000 members.
HUS has approximately 35,000 members.) (TBullock/DMatijas)

2. (U) CROATIAN ATLANTIC COUNCIL HOLDS CONFERENCE ON FUTURE
OF NATO AND ISAF:
The Croatian Atlantic Council held a conference on NATO's new
Strategic Concept September 3-6 in Slano, on the southern
Dalmatian coast. The conference gathered academics,
government officials and Atlantic Council representatives
from around SE Europe. At the panel on Afghanistan, both
Croatian presenters, MoD State Secretary Simunovic and
prominent parliamentarian Kresimir Cosic, spoke forcefully in
favor of Croatia's continued deployment to ISAF, and for
continued international engagement in Afghanistan in general.
Both stressed the security threats that Afghanistan could
pose to the entire international community if it was
abandoned. Other topics discussed included NATO's potential
role in energy security and counter-terrorism, as well as the
future of NATO enlargement and relations with Russia.
Embassy's Pol/Econ Counselor participated as a speaker.
(RHoltzapple)
FOLEY

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