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Croatian diplomat suspended over 'white Europe' comments

Sky News logo Sky News 20/08/2019
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic smiling for the camera: Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said she welcomed the "swift response" © Reuters Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said she welcomed the "swift response"

A Croatian diplomat based in Berlin has been suspended from her position over a series of offensive posts on her Facebook profile.

The Facebook profile for Elizabeta Magarevic, which has since been removed, had a history of posting and sharing racist, xenophobic and homophobic content, according to IndexHR.

In one post from early August, Ms Magarevic had posted idyllic snaps alongside a comment about a "pure and authentic Europe" consisting of "just white Europeans as it used to be only 30 years ago in the whole of Europe".

a tall building: The Croatian embassy in Berlin. Elizabeta Magarevic was based in the city © Getty The Croatian embassy in Berlin. Elizabeta Magarevic was based in the city

She added: "This should be a good advertisement for vacations. One would think this is no longer possible but luckily it is."

In another series of posts surfaced by Croatian media, Ms Magarevic reportedly linked the LGBT community to paedophilia and mental illness, posting a quote which said it was "possible to cure and get rid of all this immorality".

She was also found to have suggested in posts and comment sections on other websites that social integration of immigrants in Germany took precedence over the safety of German citizens, and she had criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for "the lack of her own culture".

© Getty

Croatia's foreign affairs minister Gordan Grlic Radman confirmed in a tweet that Ms Magarevic had been "withdrawn from office and suspended" over evidence of a "grave breach of duty".

Her suspension will continue until a final decision is made by a Civil Service Tribunal.

In a followup statement, the ministry said on its website: "The ministry of foreign and European affairs discourages all statements and practices characterised by xenophobia, racism and all other forms of intolerance."

It added that the "meddling in the domestic affairs of the receiving country...is unacceptable".

"Diplomats were instructed abroad to act in order to strengthen the reputation of the Republic of Croatia, not to damage its reputation and cause political harm," it said.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic © Getty Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic tweeted that she welcomed "the swift response" from the foreign ministry on the case of a "Berlin embassy employee".

She added: "Statements that promote intolerance and racism are unacceptable.

"Contrary to the intolerance of individuals, the Croatian foreign service will promote patriotism, professionalism, openness to the the world and the protection of Croatian national interests and the values on which the modern Croatian state is founded."

Related: How Facebook changed our lives (StarsInsider) 

A post on Ms Magarevic's Facebook profile initially hit back at the reports, saying she was entitled to privacy and that expression of her "conservative views" was "free speech".

It said: "I am neither an official nor a politician, but an ordinary person who has the right to privacy, but I have my conservative views, which I do not deviate from and that I share freely because I live in a free country, and which are based on facts.

"It is unprofessional for journalists to destroy ordinary people in this way. Or should we no longer be thinking beings and have free speech?"

But in a later interview with Croatian-German Fenix magazine, the embassy worker said her profile had been hacked, and she was "amazed" by the reports.

She added: "I am a very ordinary person and I do my job professionally for my country and the government."

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