TIRAMISU representatives participate in roundtable on demining in Croatia at the EP

Mrs. Biljana Borzan (European Parliament), Mrs. Dijana Plestina (Croatian Government) and Tommaso Flamma (SpaceTec -Tiramisu)

Members of the TIRAMISU consortium participated in a roundtable discussion and exhibition on demining activities in Croatia on the 19th of February 2014 at the EP in Brussels. The theme of the event was "Landmines in Croatia - Landmines in the EU, until when?" and was held in an effort to engage policy-makers in Humanitarian Demining strategies for Croatia.

The event aimed to attract support from regional, national and European authorities for efforts to eliminate the dangers of mine contamination from Croatia over the next five years. Despite the substantial investments made by donors, such as the European Union, with a view to removing the threat of mines, Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs) and Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs), these devices pose an ongoing risk to civilians in more than 100 Mine Suspected Areas (MSAs) covering 638 square kilometres across the country, as a result of the conflict that lasted from June 1991 until the end of 1995. More than 500 people have been killed by land mines in Croatia since the conflict ended, and a further estimated 1,500 have been wounded.

The roundtable discussion was organised and moderated by Biljana Borzan, Croatian MEP, and was opened by Hannes Swoboda, President of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. Presentations were delivered by a number of high profile public figures, including Dijana Plestina, Director of the Croatian Government’s Office for Mine Action, Mato Skrabalo, Croatian Ambassador to the EU, Mario Nobilo, Croatian Ambassador to Belgium, Branko Grigi?, Croatian Ambassador to NATO and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovi?, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy.

Representatives from the TIRAMISU project had the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Borzan and Mrs. Plestina and to discuss opportunities for future collaboration.

Mrs. Borzan commented on the event, saying:

“It is important to highlight that Croatia still needs help to undertake demining activities. Since the end of the conflict, the number of mine casualties in Croatia has decreased tenfold from around one hundred per year to fewer than ten. However, there is still much work to be done, in order to guarantee the safety of Croatian citizens and if this initiative to ensure that Croatia is mine-free by 2019 is to be successful, the support of policy-makers and the availability of more efficient tools, such as those developed by TIRAMISU, is key”

The event concluded with an opportunity for participants to visit an exhibition on the topic of Mine Action in Croatia, which showcased examples of demining activities and also featured the work of TIRAMISU.