Marija Pejčinović Burić to Be Named Foreign Minister

By 13 June 2017

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has announced the name of Croatia’s new Foreign Minister.

After Croatian Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier had announced on Monday afternoon that he would resign from the government, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković gave an interview in the evening in which he announced that the new Foreign Minister would be Marija Pejčinović Burić, the current State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, reports HRT on June 12, 2017.

Speaking about Stier’s resignation, Plenković said he was not surprised. “I have felt it in recent months. He agrees with most things, but in some areas, he had certain reservations. Stier has not participated in political processes since April; he did not give public statements, so his resignation was expected. The new minister will be Marija Pejčinović Burić. Stier will continue to be active as a member of the Parliament,” said Plenković. He added that he wanted to position HDZ in the center of the political spectrum, “where it was envisioned by Franjo Tuđman.” If Stier ''wants to help'', said Plenković, ''then he is welcome.''

Plenković also harshly criticised members of Parliament Bruna Esih and Zlatko Hasanbegović, who entered the Parliament as candidates on HDZ’s list but have since founded a separate political party in the meantime. “Hasanbegović and Esih have received the confidence of HDZ to be candidates on our list, but on Friday they voted against the government, together with SDP. That is imperative for their voters to know. That is neither fair nor loyal.” said Plenković.

Interestingly, Predrag Štromar, the Deputy Prime Minister and Construction Minister, as well acting president of HNS, HDZ’s new coalition partner, was at the same time giving an interview on another TV station and said that he had no idea who the new minister would be. After journalists had informed him who the minister was, he admitted he did not know about it. “As far as I am aware, Marija is a state secretary in the Ministry and knows everything that is happening there, but I did not know that she would be the new minister,” said Štromar.

Taking into account intense reactions to HNS’s decision to enter into a coalition with HDZ, the fact that the Deputy Prime Minister has learned the identity of the new minister from journalists will not help improve HNS’s image.

Marija Pejčinović Burić has been the State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs since November. She was born in 1963. In 1985, she graduated from the School of Economics in Zagreb, and later attended postgraduate studies in Belgium and Poland. She speaks three languages: French, English, and Spanish.

During her career, she was HDZ’s Member of Parliament, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integrations, and a member of the negotiating team for the accession of Croatia to the European Union. She is a close associate of the Prime Minister and an experienced long-time diplomat. She is expert for European affairs. Unlike Stier, who was HDZ’s political secretary and an influential member of the hard-line faction, Pejčinović Burić has not been particularly active in party politics and is not believed to belong to any of the factions.