Plenković Addresses HDZ General Convention

By 12 June 2022

ZAGREB, 11 June (Hina) - HDZ leader Andrej Plenković said at his party's 19th general convention on Saturday that the HDZ was a centre-right party, as defined by its founder, Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman, underlining the importance of political stability and continuing inclusive, tolerant, pro-European policies.

Submitting a report on the party's work since the last convention, held four years ago, Plenković said that the last four years had been very challenging for Croatia and the entire world, citing in that context the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian aggression on Ukraine, and in Croatia's case, two strong earthquakes.

"All of that has resulted in energy, food, security and humanitarian crises. Today's convention is therefore very important... for the HDZ to define a position on all issues of importance for its future and the future of our country," he said.

The HDZ demonstrated its strength again in the 2021 local election, he said, adding that the party had been working on its international affirmation, as evidenced by senior posts held by HDZ members in EU institutions.

In his address, Plenković particularly underlined the importance of political stability, noting that there were constant attempts to destabilise the party, which, he said, were futile because of the trust that existed between partners in the ruling coalition, whose cooperation had resulted in the accomplishment of a number of strategic goals.

In that context, he cited the imminent completion of the Pelješac Bridge, entry to the euro and Schengen areas, and the procurement of multipurpose fighter jets.

"Without political stability today we would not have a floating LNG terminal which secures gas supply in such a way to make us not depend on Russian energy," he said, noting that the party's platform guaranteed a social, developed, healthy, solidary and just Croatia.

He added that at the time of the coronavirus pandemic there were no large-scale layoffs or bankruptcies and that that was owing to his government's timely decisions and actions.

Croatia stands by its heroes

In a comment on Serbia's indictment against four Croatian pilots, charged with war crimes against civilians during the 1995 Operation Storm in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plenković said that Croatia would not accept their prosecution by Serbian authorities.

"Serbia cannot prosecute people who are not its nationals for alleged crimes that were not committed in its territory," he said.

"Croatia defended itself in the Homeland War from Milošević's Great Serbian aggression and the government and the HDZ will certainly not allow prosecutors, whether from Bosnia and Herzegovina or from Serbia, to issue indictments, 27 years after the victory in the Homeland War, against Croatian commanders, generals or pilots. The Croatian state and we all stand by our heroes," Plenković said.

On Ukraine

Commenting on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Plenković said it had changed the way the world functions.

"We have seen how a big power can make moves that are contrary to international law and principles of global governance, launching aggression and invading a neighbouring country, a sovereign member of the UN," said Plenković, adding that the HDZ felt solidarity with Ukraine because of Croatia's difficult experience in the Homeland War.

Our support to Ukraine is principled, it is of a humanitarian, political, diplomatic, financial and military nature, he said, adding that the government would continue supporting Ukraine.

HDZ will not tolerate accusations of treason

Noting that the party would continue working as a patriotic, Christian Democrat and statehood-building party, Plenković said that the HDZ was often targeted by what he described as brutal and aggressive accusations.

"Those members of the left who are aggressive and uncivilised call HDZ members corrupt thieves while right-wing politicians call them traitors, for example, to Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina," he said.

The latter accusations are aimed at "causing harm primarily to the Croats in BiH, the HDZ BiH... and the HDZ in Croatia," he said, adding that his party would not tolerate such accusations.