European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani (Photo: HRT) European Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani (Photo: HRT)

The MEPs Tajani met with on Wednesday had sent him a letter demanding an apology and a retraction of parts of the speech he made during the event, which included the words: “Long live Italian Istria, long live Italian Dalmatia!”

“I am sincerely sorry and I apologize because of the language in my remarks that offended your fellow citizens and was interpreted as a territorial claim. I implore you, that was not m intention, nor is it my view on this issue. My message regarding Istria and Dalmatia was meant for Istrians and Dalmatians, their descendants, who were at the Remembrance Day event in Basovizza,” said a statement issued by Tajani following the meeting.

All totalitarian regimes should be condemned and all of the victims of Nazism and communism must be treated with equal respect, Tajani concluded.

“We convinced Mr. Tajani to apologize for his words, first and foremost in our letter, in which we expressed concern and disappointment over his scandalous remarks. At today’s meeting, we explained in more detail what the issue was all about. Of course, the President of the European Parliament apologized and clearly he is sorry because of the words he used,” said HDZ MEP Dubrvaka Šuica, who was present at the meeting with Tajani.

Tajani also received a letter from President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and spoke via telephone with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in the wake of his speech on Sunday. Since then, Croatian officials have received a letter from Tajani expressing regret over his remarks.

Speaking in Osijek on Wednesday, Parliament Speaker and the HDZ’s Secretary Gordan Jandroković said that he would have liked to have seen a full retraction. He said he wanted to be sure Mr. Tajani understood that his words were completely unacceptable.