Friday, 27 September 2019

Plenković Accuses GONG of Campaigning Against Croatian Candidate for EC Vice-President

ZAGREB, September 27, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday accused the GONG non-governmental organisation of campaigning against the Croatian candidate for European Commission Vice-President, Dubravka Šuica.

"Dubravka Šuica got through the hearing before the Croatian Parliament's Committee on European Affairs where members of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) raised these topics which are now, ostensibly accidentally, being recycled by GONG, which always steps in on the SDP's side," Plenković told reporters in Brussels after a working lunch with European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen.

Plenković was responding to questions about Croatian media reports on Šuica's personal assets and whether those could do her damage during a European Parliament committee hearing next week.

"GONG is a left-wing non-governmental organisation which has launched a major campaign by sending letters to all MEPs in an effort to sway their view on the Croatian candidate for European Commission Vice-President. The public should know this. The seemingly independent GONG is conducting a fierce campaign against the future European Commission Vice-President from Croatia. They are the long arm of the SDP, asking the same questions as MP Grbin. ... This is orchestrated and intentional and I am saying this with full responsibility so that the Croatian public should know," Plenković said.

Asked if this campaign managed to shake the confidence of Ursula von der Leyen, Plenković said: "Not at all."

The GONG NGO said on Thursday it still wanted answers to its six questions about the declaration of assets of Dubravka Šuica, the Croatian candidate for European Commission Vice-President, and that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's "attack" on GONG was an attempt "to divert attention from what is important."

GONG explained in a press release why it had sent the questions to the European Parliament. "We requested the declaration of assets... from the Croatian Parliament, but it referred us to the Conflict of Interest Commission, which turned us down, citing the confidentiality of... Šuica's personal data."

"Since we didn't get the answers in Croatia, in the hope that we would finally get them, we sent the questions to European Parliament committees and the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, who will hear Dubravka Šuica."

GONG said Šuica should put an end to years of speculation on the origin of her assets, which GONG said were also investigated by the tax authorities. It would be enough if she published her declarations of assets from the start of her political career and the findings of the tax authorities, the NGO added.

GONG went on to say that the prime minister, instead of attacking those asking questions, should have made sure that the Croatian and the European public were given answers in time. "We have the right to know."

GONG reiterated its questions to Šuica: How will she care for the future of democracy in the EU when the Croatian government is rife with corruption scandals? How will she defend the rule of law if she was against sanctions against Hungary for breaching the rule of law? How will she fight for equality if she was against two resolutions on gender equality? How did she manage, having worked only in the public and government sectors, to gain assets estimated at 5 million euro? Why hasn't she made public all tax audit findings from 2001 to 2009, when she was an MP and the mayor of Dubrovnik?

More news about Dubravka Šuica can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Šuica Sees Her Nomination for EC Vice-President as Recognition for Croatian Politics

ZAGREB, September 11, 2019 - Croatia's candidate for a commissioner in the new European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, who was proposed by EC President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to be the Commission's Vice President for Democracy and Demography, said on Tuesday that this nomination was great recognition of the Croatian politics.

Von der Leyen earlier in the day unveiled her team and after that the future Croatian commissioner tweeted that she was honoured to take part in the first gender-balanced European Commission.

"It is a great honour for me that we (Croatia) are given a post of the Vice President. Croatia is the youngest EU member and this is great acknowledgement for the work of our politics and our Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who was one of the main negotiators and had a definitely a say in the process of giving us this portfolio," Šuica said in her address to Croatian reporters in Brussels.

The EC president also decided to appoint Šuica as the head of a team responsible for organising a two-year conference on the future of Europe which should present what sort of European Union its citizens desire.

This includes discussions with citizens and dialogue which we have not had to date. It is necessary to listen to EU citizens who feel sometimes to be distanced from the European Union. I am supposed to be most visible in these efforts in central and east Europe, where democratic values are shaken sometime, Šuica said.

As for the sector of demography, Šuica said that many countries in the Union were faced with a population decline.

We are going to delve into this problem, and we are going to deal with brain drain and reasons why young people are leaving their countries, Šuica said adding that she would try to solve this issue horizontally.

The EC President-elect sent letters to each of 27 members of her team, and in her letter to the Croatian candidate, von der Leyen underscores that she expects palpable results regarding the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Šuica is supposed to prepare a report on the impact of demographic changes on different groups in societies in the first six months of her term, and identify models for dealing with those issues.

The Croatian Commissioner will coordinate work on a long-term vision for rural areas and is also supposed to coordinate activities aimed at preparing overall strategy on the rights of children.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Von der Leyen: Šuica to Lead Team for Conference on the Future of Europe

ZAGREB, September 10, 2019 - European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday said that Vice-president-designate for Democracy and Demography, Croatian Dubravka Šuica, would be responsible for organising a conference on the future of Europe which should present what sort of European Union its citizens desire.

The conference will start in 2020 and will continue for two years. It has been designed to be a forum to connect European citizens, civil society organisations and European institutions with the aim of encouraging Europeans to say what sort of Union they want and how to manage it.

Šuica who has been an MEP, was nominated on Tuesday for the position of vice-president for democracy and demography.

She will be responsible on behalf of the EC for the Conference on the Future of Europe. That is a huge, vital process for our democracy. She will work closely with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. It is very important to implement that programme in the next two and a half years, von der Leyen said.

Referring to Šuica's portfolio von der Leyen said that this is a fantastic area that includes topics such as searching for balance between work and family life and an ageing labour force.

A lot can be done here, von der Leyen said noting that there are cities and regions that have successfully shown that the trend can be turned around to stop the population decrease.

"We want to bring new impetus to Europe's democracy. This is our joint responsibility. Democracy is more than voting in elections every 5 years. It is about having your voice heard and being able to participate in the way society is built," the EC president added.

One of the EC's five new vice-presidents, Šuica has been elected to the European Parliament three times. She was a vice-president of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, and of the EP delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. In June this year she became a vice-president of the European People's Party (EPP).

More news about Dubravka Šuica can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Croatia's Šuica Nominated for EC Vice-President for Democracy and Demography

ZAGREB, September 10, 2019 - The Croatian candidate for a European commissioner, Dubravka Šuica, has been nominated Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, European Commission President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday.

Šuica (62) served three terms as a member of the Croatian Parliament from 2001 to 2011. Since 2004 she has been elected Vice-President of the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities for five times in a row.

In October 2012 Šuica was elected vice-president of the association of women of the European People's Party (EPP). In April 2013 she was elected a member of the European Parliament and was re-elected in May 2014 and May 2019. She served as Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Delegation for Relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and with Kosovo. In June this year she became Vice-Chair of the EPP group, the largest political grouping in the European Parliament.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday that the nomination of Dubravka Šuica for the European Commission's Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, which he described as a very important portfolio, is recognition of Croatia's strength in the EU.

Addressing a press conference in Government House after the announcement, Plenković said that this is an exceptionally significant department in the Commission. "It will deal with existential topics for a series of member states," said Plenković.

He underscored that this was confirmation of Croatia's strength and is the result of the talks with EC President Ursula von der Leyen.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Committee on European Affairs Endorses Šuica's Candidacy for EC Commissioner

ZAGREB, August 22, 2019 - The Croatian Parliament Committee on European Affairs on Thursday supported with a majority vote the government's decision to nominate Dubravka Šuica for its Commissioner in the new European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen to the 2019-2024 period.

After hearing the arguments presented by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, the Committee endorsed the government's decision with 10 votes in favour, while five Committee members abstained.

Those who abstained from voting were Opposition MPs Domagoj Hajduković and Joško Klisović of the Social Democratic Paty (SDP), independent MPs Bojan Glavašević and Marin Škibola and MOST party MP Ines Strenja.

A Croatian member of the European Parliament, Šuica, has been elected to the EP three times, and her first election of a Croatian MEP was in 2013 when Croatia joined the Union. She was reelected in 2014 and in 2019.

Šuica, 62, a teacher of English and German language and literature, worked in several schools in her hometown of Dubrovnik and was the headmaster of a local grammar school. During her political career, Šuica, an official of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), was a member of the national parliament and the mayor of Dubrovnik from 2001 to 2009.

Šuica has been a vice-president of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, and of the EP delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. In June this year she became a vice-president of the European People's Party (EPP).

The nominated commissioners proposed by EC President Ursula von der Leyen are to be confirmed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

More news about Croatia and the European Union can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Croatian Candidate for Commissioner Presented to European Affairs Committee

ZAGREB, August 22, 2019 - Future member of the European Commission, MEP Dubravka Šuica (HDZ-EPP), on Thursday presented herself to the European Affairs parliamentary committee, just a few hours after the government confirmed her nomination for Croatia's candidate for the EC led by Ursula von der Leyen.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who also attended the meeting, described her as a "good candidate with a wealth of experience in international affairs."

"She has a lot of experience. This is her third term in the European Parliament. She was a Member of Parliament and Mayor of Dubrovnik."

He added that portfolios in the next EC are still not being discussed publicly yet however, Croatia has hinted which one it would like for Šuica.

"We are conducting intensive talks with the head of the European Commission however, allow another two to three weeks for her to make her decision," Plenković said.

Šuica too underscored that she has a lot of experience and added that she would in particular advocate Croatia's accession to the Schengen Area.

More news about Croatia and the European Parliament can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

HDZ Supports Grabar-Kitarović's Bid for New Term, Šuica for Croatian Commissioner

ZAGREB, August 22, 2019 - The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) presidency and national council on Wednesday supported Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's bid for a second term as the country's president as well as a motion to candidate MEP Dubravka Šuica for a member of the European Commission and appointed Ante Sanader as the party's political secretary.

After the meeting, HDZ president and the country's prime minister, Andrej Plenković, said that the party's leadership decided by consensus that it would support Grabar-Kitarović's candidacy for a second term.

Plenković said that President Grabar-Kitarović would decide on establishing an election campaigning team, adding that Osijek-Baranja County Prefect Ivan Anušić is prepared with the support of the entire party to be at the helm of her election team.

"The second decision that the HDZ and its committees adopted today was to propose Dubravka Šuica to be a member of the European Commission considering her experience. She has been elected to the European Parliament three times - 2013, 2014 and 2019 and with her political and expert experience she will be a quality representative in Ursula von der Leyen's European Commission," Plenković underscored.

Plenković said that Croatia's public would be very satisfied with the department allotted to Šuica and that it would be known in two to three weeks' time.

Plenković described Ante Sanader as someone with a lot of years of experience and added that he could significantly contribute to the party's activities with regard to coming election challenges.

Asked whether former administration minister Lovro Kuščević was a burden to the government and coming presidential campaign considering the investigations launched against him, Plenković said, "He resigned as the political secretary and as minister. The HDZ that I am leading is continuing on its way."

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Croatia to Nominate Dubravka Šuica as Commissioner in New EC

ZAGREB, August 21, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday confirmed that Croatia would nominate Dubravka Šuica for its Commissioner in the new European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen.

"Following internal consultations and talks with the new EC President Ursula von der Leyen, we are going to make the decision at tomorrow's meeting of the inner cabinet that we nominate Dubravka Šuica for our new member of the European Commission," Plenković told reporters after the ceremony of opening the 6th World Bridge Youth Open Championships in the Croatian seaside resort of Opatija.

A Croatian member of the European Parliament, Dubravka Šuica, has been elected to the EP three times, and her first election of a Croatian MEP was in 2013 when Croatia joined the Union. She was reelected in 2014 and in 2019.

Šuica, 62, a teacher of English and German language and literature, worked in several schools in her hometown of Dubrovnik and was the headmaster of a local grammar school. During her political career, Šuica, an official of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), was a member of the national parliament and the mayor of Dubrovnik from 2001 to 2009.

Šuica has been a vice-president of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs, and of the EP delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. In June this year she became a vice-president of the European People's Party (EPP).

The nominated commissioners proposed by EC President Ursula von der Leyen are to be confirmed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

More news about Croatia and the European Union can be found in the Politics section.

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