Opposition Says Croatian Problems Mustn't be Ignored Due to War in Ukraine

By 2 March 2022
Opposition Says Croatian Problems Mustn't be Ignored Due to War in Ukraine
Image: Andrej Plenković/Facebook

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - Party groups in parliament on Wednesday unanimously condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine, but part of them warned that Croatia's internal affairs must not be neglected because of the war in Ukraine.

Russia's attack on Ukraine is not an argument against the government's fall but an argument in favour of the government's fall, the war cannot be used as a fig leaf to cover up crime, said Nino Raspudić (Bridge), recalling the problems the government has with former minister Darko Horvat and incumbent minister Josip Aladrović.

PM called on to replace ministers the public no longer has confidence in

"In such a dangerous geopolitical situation, having the top of government riddled with crime and corruption is a security threat for Croatia, such people can be blackmailed, and that's why this government has to leave," said Raspudić.

Dalija Orešković (Centre) thinks similarly and she pointed out this was an opportunity to realise how much internal mechanisms of control are important for democracy and peace.

"While the world wonders if there's anyone in the Kremlin who can stop Putin, we must ask ourselves if Croatia today is what we wanted it to be if the HDZ's rule is unquestionable regardless of the amount of corruption," she said, calling on the prime minister to replace the ministers the public no longer had confidence in.

"We don't know what awaits us and it's important that we have a stable government, and many things don't point to such a conclusion," said Stephen Nikola Bartulica of the Homeland Movement.

He said Croatia couldn't afford a government in the shadow of corruption scandals, stressing that the prime minister had a great responsibility to make decisive moves.

Krešo Beljak (HSS) underscored that Croatia had to protect its own interests in the crisis, suggesting that leaders of Western Balkan countries sit down and talk about defusing tensions so that the conflict doesn't expand.

Marijan Pavliček (Croatian Sovereignists) said Croatia had to be ready to receive Ukrainian refugees, work hard to increase the capacities of strategic commodity stocks and raise military readiness.

"The Croatian army must be on the eastern borders of the country," said Pavliček, adding that after Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić did not join the EU in condemning Russia, the Danube would be the border between the east and the west, and stability and instability.

Groups of the parliamentary majority gave their full support to the government measures to help Ukraine and expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The government reacted quickly, a few hours after the aggression, noted Branko Bačić (HDZ), pleased that the Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) was taking over Sberbank.

Bačić: Passivity in current situation would be immoral

In response to warnings that the sanctions against Russia, in which Croatia is also involved, would affect the Croatian economy, Bačić asked -- what's the alternative?

"Passivity is a situation like this would be immoral, it is important that Croatia sided with justice and freedom", he said, calling on Putin and Russia to stop the aggression and start peace talks.

In a debate on the prime minister's report on the situation in Ukraine, MPs also warned about the possible repercussions of the war for Croatia's neighbourhood.

Our interest, as an EU member, is to engage intensively with the neighbourhood, said Milorad Pupovac (SDSS), noting that the area of former Yugoslavia that is not integrated into the EU, as well as Albania, should be of special interest.

Veljko Kajtazi (Roma minority) hopes that everything happening with Ukraine will be an incentive to the EU to grant it the status of a membership candidate.

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