European Jewish Congress
European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) Honours Balkan Leaders With European Medal of Tolerance
EJC In Action
European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) Honours Balkan Leaders With European Medal of Tolerance

Balkan heads of state who have been at the forefront of reconciliation efforts in the aftermath of the civil war in the region were awarded the prestigious European Medal of Tolerance at a ceremony in the European Parliament.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and former Serbian president Boris Tadic were presented with the medal by EJC President Moshe Kantor in his role as Co-Chairman of the the European Council for Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) on Tuesday, October 16.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic has occupied office since 2010, having previously presided over the democratisation of the former Communist party, to become the Social Democratic Party, over which he currently presides.

In April 2010, Josipovic met with the Bosnian Croat Catholic archbishop cardinal Vinko Puljic and the head of the Islamic Community reis Mustafa Ceric and the three made a joint visit at the sites of Ahmic massacre and Krizancevo selo killings and paid respect to the victims.

Former Serbian President Boris Tadic served almost two terms as president, ending in his resignation in April 2012. He has been a staunch supporter of Serbia’s accession talks to the EU. In 2004, he made an official apology on a trip to Bosnia-Herzigovina to all those who suffered as a result of crimes committed in the name of the Serbian people. He has since further spoken out against the breakup of Bosnia-Herzegovina, instead defending its territorial integrity.

The gathering was addressed by EU President Martin Schulz who said that both award recipients had faced great challenges in putting the past behind them in order “to focus on progress and on the future”.

“We need to unite our efforts to fight any manifestation of extreme nationalism, discrimination, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism throughout Europe,” Schulz said. “Still today, in parts of Europe, we see the demons of the past raise their ugly heads. This is warning to all of us. As Edmund Burke said ‘All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.’"

Praising both recipients for their efforts in “opening the way to building trust between Balkan nations”, former President of Poland and ECTR co-Chairman Aleksander Kwasniewski said that “reconciliation is a long, difficult and important process that will never be finished”, congratulating the EU on its recent Nobel Prize award, and highlighting the founding principle of the EU as centring on reconciliation.

“The EU vision and dream is at a crossroads,” cautioned Kantor. Whist praising the unity between eastern and western Europe in the wake of the lifting of the Iron Curtain, he warned of the inevitable rise of influence of far-right nationalist parties amid a climate of financial crisis in Europe and beyond.

Talking of the need for “rules, proposals, laws” to make tolerance mandatory across the EU, he introduced ECTR’s proposals for a general law of tolerance.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
More News
International Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony - Brussels - 25 January 2017
International Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony - Brussels - 25 January 2017
The European Jewish Congress in partnership with the newly elected President of the European Parliament Mr Antonio Tajani organised the International Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony on 25 January 2017.
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Life in Israel
  • On Israel's 69th birthday population reaches 8.68 million
    As Israel prepares to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Thursday that the Jewish state today has 8.68 million citizens, ten times more than at its founding in 1948.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 On Israel's 69th birthday population reaches 8.68 million
  • Israel pauses to remember Holocaust victims
    Israel came to a standstill as people stopped in their tracks for a two-minute siren that wailed across the country in remembrance of the Holocaust’s 6 million Jewish victims.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 Israel pauses to remember Holocaust victims
  • European Judo Championships to be held in Israel
    The European Judo Union has confirmed that Israel will host the European Championships next year.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 European Judo Championships to be held in Israel
  • Tel Aviv to house world's first construction tech hub
    With hopes of revitalising an industry that has been slow to modernise, a team of Israeli government and business partners launched the world’s first “Construction Innovation Zone” on Thursday morning.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 Tel Aviv to house world's first construction tech hub
  • Israel treating thousands of Syrians injured in war
    Seven wounded Syrians — two children, four women and a man — waited in pain for darkness to fall to cross into enemy territory.

    On Friday, April 14, 2017 Israel treating thousands of Syrians injured in war
  • Record number of tourists in Israel in first quarter of 2017
    The number of foreign tourists coming to Israel reached an all-time record of 739,000 in the first quarter of 2017, up 24% from the corresponding quarter of last year, the Ministry of Tourism reported.

    On Friday, April 14, 2017 Record number of tourists in Israel in first quarter of 2017
  • Israeli city to double in size
    As part of the efforts to relieve Israel's housing crisis, a ceremony was held this week celebrating government approval to construct thousands of housing units in Ramat Beit Shemesh D and E.

    On Friday, April 07, 2017 Israeli city to double in size
  • Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel eye longest offshore gas pipeline
    Italy, Israel, Greece and Cyprus pledged on Monday to move ahead with the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to southern Europe, with support from the European Union.

    On Friday, April 07, 2017 Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel eye longest offshore gas pipeline
  • Israel appoints first female Muslim diplomat
    Israel’s foreign ministry has appointed Rasha Atamny, 31, to represent the Jewish state in Ankara, Turkey, making her Israel’s first female Muslim diplomat.

    On Friday, April 07, 2017 Israel appoints first female Muslim diplomat
  • Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians team up to combat earthquake risk
    With the border area with Jordan at high risk for earthquakes, Israeli institutions are collaborating with the Jordanian Red Crescent and Hebron’s Greenland Association to train local residents as first responders in the event of such a catastrophe.

    On Friday, March 31, 2017 Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians team up to combat earthquake risk
President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism