The European Commission is under heavy fire after it apparently published a document headed with the coat of arms of the fascist former government of Croatia, which was an ally of the Nazis in World War Two. Red-faced officials have since removed the document from the Commission website, published on December 18 according to a Croatian news outlet, however not before sparking outrage in the eastern European state.
The document, containing Croatia’s proposed “national energy and climate plan”, was emblazoned with the Croatian flag. However, the insignia in its centre was the symbol of the country’s fascist party the Ustaše, which ruled for four years during the Second World War.
The Ustaše were key allies of the Nazis and Mussolini’s National Fascist Party during the War, collaborating with the leading European Axis powers as a junior partner. The Ustaše even collaborated with Hitler’s regime during the Holocaust, permitting the Germans to take 7,000 of the Jews that had survived Croatia’s own extermination programme to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Such was the barbarism with which the Ustaše operated, even the Nazis were wary of them. In 1941, General Glaise von Horstenau was sent to Croatia to observe how the far-right party operated. He was reported to have branded them “raging mad” and speculated that German troops may have to intervene to bring their killers to heel.
The European Commission’s document used the Croatian flag without the crown sitting atop the Croatian chequered shield – the flag used by the Ustaše.
READ MORE: European Union breaks political deadlock to agree new migrant deal
This gaffe comes at an unwelcome time, as European leaders, including Ursula von der Leyen, were celebrating the agreement of a new plan to curb mass migration.
The Pact on Migration and Asylum was the result of overnight meetings of the EUs top brass and is designed to stop the seemingly unending flows of migrants into Europe.
Asylum centres are to erected in southern European countries with the aim of processing each arrival within 12 weeks and expelling those who do not meet the necessary conditions to stay.
States further north in the EU, that have up until now argued that those on the frontline should keep their arrivals, will have to either accept a quota of migrants or pay into a fund to help the bloc deal with the crisis.
The EU Commissioner said in a statement: “This Pact on Migration and Asylum will ensure that there is an effective European response to this European challenge.
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“It means that Europeans will decide who comes to the EU and who can stay, not the smugglers. It means protecting those in need.
“This Pact will also ensure that Member States share the effort responsibly, showing solidarity with those that protect our external borders while preventing illegal migration to the EU.”
In October, EU members as well as Norway and Switzerland, received 123,000 asylum applications, the highest figure for the second consecutive month since the 2015-16 refugee crisis, according to European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA).
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