Opposition Warns about “Orbanisation" of Croatia

By 18 September 2018

ZAGREB, September 18, 2018 - The Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) and the Civic-Liberal Alliance (GLAS) on Tuesday criticised the government and deputies of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in the European Parliament for voting against a resolution on Hungary.

"No one has the right to gamble with the future of our country, and that is what happened last week when the right-of-centre Croatian members of the European Parliament voted against a resolution seeking strict penalties for Hungary for violations of the values of liberal democracy on which the EU is based," GLAS leader Anka Mrak-Taritaš told a news conference held under the title "The end of the myth about a European HDZ".

Mrak-Taritaš said she believed that the Croatian government had thus clearly shown its official position and the course it had in mind for Croatia, turning its back on modern Europe and siding with a dictator. "Croatia has decided to take over the Hungarian and Polish scenario, and for Croatia that means racing to ruin," she said.

She warned that abandoning European values would lead to Croatia growing additionally isolated, to additional restriction of court autonomy and the autonomy of the education system, and to the stifling of media freedoms.

"That started happening in Croatia during the term of former HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko, and after him those trends have only been getting stronger. What takes the cake is the interview our president gave Kleine Zeitung in which she sounded like Orban," Mrak-Taritaš told the news conference held in the parliament. "This is the time to say enough," she concluded, adding that she felt ashamed during the vote on the resolution on Hungary in the European Parliament.

IDS secretary-general Giovanni Sponza said that the IDS and GLAS would constitute a strong counterbalance to any further attempt to radicalise Croatian society. Sponza called on all progressive forces in society, politics, media, and civil society to raise their voice and fight for the rule of law, court autonomy, media freedoms, and free science and education. He noted that the IDS and GLAS were the only remaining liberal opposition parties in the Croatian parliament.

Asked if the myth about a European IDS had been undermined by a recent scandal involving former IDS leader and current member of the European Parliament Ivan Jakovčić, Sponza said that Jakovčić would no longer run for the European Parliament and called on the prosecutorial authorities to investigate everything related to the Uljanik shipbuidling group.

Sponza and Mrak-Taritaš also commented on the pension reform proposal presented on Monday, saying that it was not a reform and that it would only result in fear and citizens retiring in large numbers.