The Holy Father Francis today received in audience His Excellency Zoran Milanović, President of the Republic of Croatia, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
During what the Vatican Press Office called cordial discussions, the parties expressed their appreciation for the good existing bilateral relations, and the intention to further develop collaboration.
In addition, several international and regional issues were discussed, including the situation of the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zoran Milanović was born on 30th October 1966 in Zagreb, where he graduated from elementary and high school. He graduated Law at the University of Zagreb and was awarded with the Rector’s Award in 1990. In 1998, he earned a Master’s Degree in European Union Law at the Flemish University in Brussels (V.U.B.).
He started his professional career as an intern at the Zagreb Commercial Court and in 1993 he joined the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was a political advisor to the OSCE peacekeeping mission in Azerbaijan in 1994, and from 1996 to 1999 he serves as an advisor at the Croatian mission to the European Union and NATO in Brussels. In 2003, Zoran Milanović became the Assistant Minister for Political Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 2007 he was elected President of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, succeeding Ivica Račan. In that year, he also served as the President of the National Committee for Monitoring the Accession Negotiations of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union. He became a Member of the Croatian Parliament in 2008. Until 2011, he was the President of the SDP Parliamentary Group and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System.
As a leader of the four-party Centre-Left coalition, he won the parliamentary elections in 2011, thus becoming the Prime Minister of the 10th Croatian Government. During his mandate, Croatia became a member of the European Union in 2013. He served as the Prime Minister of Croatia until 2016. After the 2016 early elections, he ended his term as the President of the Social Democratic Party. Later on, he continued his professional career as a consultant.
He returned to politics in 2019. He ran for and won the 2019-2020 presidential elections, thus becoming the fifth President of the Republic of Croatia.
He has been married to Sanja Musić Milanović since 1994. They have two sons – Ante Jakov and Marko.
During his December 30, 2020, General Audience, Pope Francis offered an appeal for Croatia: “Yesterday, an earthquake in Croatia caused victims and serious damage. I express my closeness to the wounded and to those who have been affected by the earthquake and I pray in particular for those who have lost their lives and for their families. I hope that the country’s leaders, helped by the international community, may be able to quickly alleviate the suffering of the dear Croatian people.”