Plenković Tries to Calm Down Tensions with President

By 30 May 2018

ZAGREB, May 30, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced on Wednesday that he would talk with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović after she returned from Italy, rejecting claims by the opposition that their bickering was a "well-coordinated stage play" to turn attention away from more important matters like Agrokor.

"A well-coordinated stage play? When were we playing? I have no idea what the opposition means and they have unfortunately staged so many plays in parliament," Plenković told reporters. "We will defuse the tension. This has all been overdramatised. We had so many meetings in the government today and only when I came across St. Mark's Square into the parliament did I realise how stormy this was," he said when asked whether the correspondence with the president had gone too far.

"I hope the president has a successful visit to Italy and when she returns we will talk as we usually do," he said.

Plenković diplomatically commented on a message from the president's office which said that Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković wasn't telling the truth. "It is difficult to comment on something that I don't have a recording of someone saying something. I truly think that that sort of rhetoric is not in order, and in particular that the parliament speaker or prime minister think that the demographic problem in Croatia is currently an 'in' topic. It has unfortunately been 'in' for decades and will remain that way in Croatia and other countries like us for quite a long time," Plenković said.

He underscored that any ideas are welcome that can contribute to that problem being resolved, to reduce the negative natural population growth. "We have one hundred births a day, 150 funerals, there is no magic wand, no instant solution," he said and reiterated this his government is working on a comprehensive approach that is aimed at creating conditions for Croatian families to have more children.

"My government is continually working on that. If the president, her team and experts have an idea that can additionally help, we will gladly consider them," he said.

The latest bickering started after Plenković dismissed president’s idea that his cabinet should meet with her to discuss solution for the demographic crisis.