Published: 2021-12-09 at 23:27

On 1 December 2021 the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Croatian Studies at the University of Zagreb unanimously passed Conclusion on Harmfulness and Necessity of Withdrawal from the Kosinj Hydroelectric Power Plant Project.

In accordance with the academic, scientific and subject interest as well as mission and vision of the Faculty of Croatian Studies as a national and identity institution, the Faculty of Croatian Studies at the University of Zagreb has an obligation to care for and protect the survival of Croatian inhabitants, nature and culture and in doing so, expresses concern and disagreement with the implementation of the Hydroelectric power plant Kosinj project.

The project threatens and even prevents the survival of people in Gornji Kosinj and Mlakva and thus deals a demographic blow to the Croatian region which has been affected by strong depopulation for decades. Instead of doing everything that is in their power to hold on to every inhabitant and attracting new ones, the Government is practically forcing them to leave with this project and procedure. Kosinj is famous in Europe as the place where probably the first books were printed in the 15th century and in 1880, Gornji Kosinj had 2176 inhabitants. This place with special archaeological, historical and croatological values is threatened with extinction. The project is forcing relocation of inhabitants of this region.

The implementation of this project will destroy ancient Croatian settlements and cemeteries, displace the population forever and the natural and cultural landscape will be flooded.

The energy efficiency of the project as well as the financial and economic gains seem to be questionable on several scientific grounds. The usage of alternative, modern and more efficient solutions for the production of electricity does not require forced depopulation, inundation of the environment and inhumane excavations of the graves of Kosinj (Croatian) ancestors.

The project is planned on a particularly valuable natural area that partially overlaps with the NATURA 2000 ecological network and will negatively affect the remaining population of the Kosinj Valley and the surrounding areas. The implementation of the project would cause the deterioration of microclimatic characteristics and would bring more fog and lower temperatures to the population of the surrounding areas, which is confirmed by experiences with the existing Kruščica accumulation lake.

This project may endanger the area and the inhabitants of the immediate and distant surroundings due to the unpredictable laws of groundwater in the karst terrain, where the construction of hydroelectric power plants has proven to be an unprofitable and harmful investment.

By flooding Gornji Kosinj and Mlakva, it is possible to logically assume the following: The population will have to leave their homes by force, and this is a special form of inhumane resettlement. Valuable historical, archaeological, and cultural heritage will be destroyed, eradicating invaluable aspects of Croatia's national identity. A particularly rich Lika region with its long history would disappear forever under water and thus strike a blow to its historical heritage. Seventeen valuable archaeological sites would disappear forever under the water, erasing the history of hard-working people from this region and their ancestors. Three sacral buildings would disappear forever under water: the Roman Catholic parish church of St. Anthony of Padua in Gornji Kosinj from 1692, the chapel of St. Anne in Šušnjevo and the Orthodox Church of the Holy Sunday in Mlakva.

Conclusion of the Faculty Council from 1 December 2021

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