Jutarnji List published on Thursday secret recordings of meeting between SDP president Zoran Milanović and representatives of veterans association. The meeting took place on Tuesday morning, and the main topics were implementation of Serbia’s law on universal jurisdiction for war crimes prosecution and the tensions between the two countries, reports Jutarnji List on August 25, 2016.
The meeting was held at the SDP party headquarters and was opened by Milanović. “We are here to see what we can do about two issues, namely Serbia and Bosnia”, says Milanović and adds that he is ready to take even radical measures against Serbia if necessary, because German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European People's Party cannot dictate him what should be done. This was an allusion to HDZ president Andrej Plenković, who regularly speaks about his good connections with the European People’s Party.
Milanović says that the Serbian government is acting arrogantly. “If necessary, not only are we going to block their EU accession negotiations, but we will adopt a special law which will allow us to prosecute their citizens who committed crimes in Kosovo”, says Milanović.
Milanović also speaks about the closure of border between Croatia and Serbia which he order while he was Prime Minister, last year during the height of the migrant crisis. He says that he could do it again, and he again mentions the possible suspension of Serbia’s EU negotiations. “If there is no other way, we will block them. We will not be pleased about it, but I would do it”, says Milanović. Talking about Serbian government, he called them pathetic and told veterans not to demand a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić.
After discussing Serbia, Milanović switches to the topic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He explains that possible indictments against Croatian veterans by Bosnia and Herzegovina might be even bigger problem than the indictments from Serbia.
Discussing the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milanović says that he is not thrilled with the situation there. He cites one veteran who said that it was a “big shit” and complains that there is no one he can talk to in Sarajevo. He adds that he would like for Bosnia and Herzegovina to enter the European Union even without all the preconditions being met, since “it is a country without law and order”. “We are dealing with some bad guys there”, says Milanović.
Veterans were interested to know what Milanović thought about the “Za Dom Spremni” chant (For Homeland Ready), which was used during the Independent State of Croatia and is again being used now by some. Milanović appears quite uninterested in the subject, saying he did not care about the issue. Veterans explain that it is important to them because there were “veterans who gave their blood for freedom under the slogan”. Milanović says that the chant should not be used now because it is harmful to Croatia
At the end, Milanović asked the veterans whether they wanted to have Veterans Affairs Minister Tomo Medved remain in his post if SDP returns to power.
It is not clear who recorded the meeting and released the recordings to the media. On Wednesday evening, Milanović said that he knew he was being recorded by the veterans. It remains to be seen what kind of impact the recordings will have on the campaign for parliamentary elections being held on 11 September.