Friday, 3 June 2022

Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica Chosen as EPP's Vice President

June the 3rd, 2022 - Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica has been chosen as the new vice president of the European Peoples' Party (EPP).

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica has been elected as vice president of the European People's Party, as reported by N1. On the occasion, she addressed the media, first thanking Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic who put her forward in his proposal for the position.

"I think we're strong at the European Union level, that we are respected within the EPP and we will be able to do something for the Republic of Croatia," she said.

Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica also pointed out that the EPP programme is compatible with the European Commission (EC) programme and that she does not see any significant differences in the work of the EPP and the EC.

"Strengthening the EPP depends on the situation across the EU's member states. We can see that progress is already happening in Germany, we're moving in the right direction and I hope that the three of us women within the first five candidates are a sign that gender equality is being respected and that women are going to be having an increasing level of influence in politics,'' she said, before going on to talk about some more important topics.

"Demography is very important, this isn't only a topic in the Republic of Croatia but across the entire EU as a bloc. I hope that we'll be able to implement the proposals we have adopted as well as possible. We live in difficult circumstances that we've otherwise never seen during this century, war, a global pandemic, everything going on keeps pushing us into even more problems and I hope, when it comes to Croatia, that we will manage to achieve deeper integration,'' Croatian MEP Dubravka Suica said, mentioning Croatia's accession to the Eurozone which has now been given the green light to occur on the 1st of January, 2023, as well as hopes for the country's future Schengen entry.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

MEP Zovko Pushes for Croatia's Use of Opportunities from New European Bauhaus

ZAGREB, 29 May 2021 - The new European Bauhaus, an initiative about climate adaptation of the built environment, is an opportunity for Croatia to raise the architectural and living standards, notably in the quake-hit areas, Croatian MEP Željana Zovko told Hina on Saturday.

The idea about a new European Bauhaus was presented by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union speech last year. In her address to the European Parliament on that occasion, she outlined her plan to create a "new European Bauhaus" to kickstart a cultural and sustainable movement in the European Union.

The New European Bauhaus, named after the influential German design school founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, will be part of the €750 billion NextGenerationEU investment and recovery plan put in place following the coronavirus pandemic. 

Zovko, a member of the European Parliament from the ranks of the European People's Party (EPP), says that the initiative "is still in its infancy", however, the purpose is to encourage citizens, experts and professionals to develop their communities in accordance with the principles of energy sustainability and taking spatial planning approach.

The European Union is set to provide financial support to innovative ideas in that regard, with the aim of ensuring the green and digital transformation of aesthetically pleasing structures, according to this Croatian MEP.

Green construction will be the basis of a new vision of cities and rural areas in the European Union, she said.

"The new European vision will satisfy climate neutrality, and at the same make cities and villages tailored to man" she added.

The European Commission has recently published "Renovation Wave", explaining that a refurbished and improved building stock in the EU will help pave the way for a decarbonised and clean energy system, as the building sector is one of the largest energy consumers in Europe and is responsible for more than one third of the EU's emissions.

The EC calls for effective action to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.

Until 2030, 35 million buildings are supposed to undergo energy efficient renovation.

Thus, the EC aims to double annual energy renovation rates in the next ten years. "These renovations will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, and create up to 160,000 additional green jobs in the construction sector," the EC says on its web site.

New Bauhaus seen as opportunity for post-quake reconstruction of central Croatia

Earlier this year, Zovko sent a request to the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, for expanding the New European Bauhaus initiative to include the safety of construction and architecture, having in mind two devastating earthquakes that hit Croatia in 2020.

Zovko is confident that funds envisaged under the New European Bauhaus scheme could be made available for reconstruction of the quake-affected areas.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Von der Leyen Confident Nationalists, Populists Won't Destroy European Way of Life

ZAGREB, November 21, 2019 - The European Commission's new President Ursula von der Leyen said in Zagreb on Wednesday that nationalists and populists would not destroy the European way of life, which is also the name of one of the portfolios in the new Commission.

That name has elicited criticisms, notably from European Liberals and Greens. They believe it has too many associations with the protection of Europe from illegal migrants.

There is no doubt as to what the European way of life is. We will never let those nationalists and populists, which want to cause divisions and destroy the EU, hijack our European way of life, von der Leyen said at a European People's Party congress.

Our Union is based on respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy and equality. We will always defend our European way of life, she added.

The European Parliament is expected to confirm the new Commission next week and Europe's new government is expected to step into office on December 1.

Von der Leyen supported Croatia's accession to the Schengen Area, following a positive recommendation from the outgoing Juncker Commission.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hope that the European Council adopts a positive decision because I strongly believe that Croatia belongs in Schengen, there is no doubt about that, she said.

To the Western Balkan countries recently blocked on their European journey by France, von der Leyen said she stood by them.

We share the same continent, history, culture, and we are in the same political family. I assure you that we stand by you, independently of all processes. We stand by you and want you to be as close to us as possible, she said.

Talking about Brexit, she announced that, if it happened, the EU would respect Britons, notably in trade relations.

But we let them know that a country that is not in the EU can't enjoy the same rights as the member states, she said.

The EPP will have eight European commissioners, including Croatian MEP Dubravka Šuica, who will be the vice president for democracy and demography.

You will help us tackle one of the biggest challenges, how to ensure the prosperity of citizens at a time when we have an increasingly old population. You will put people at the very heart of Europe, von der Leyen told Šuica.

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

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Tusk Announces Fight Against Populism in Europe

ZAGREB, November 20, 2019 - The outgoing European Council President, Donald Tusk, said in Zagreb on Wednesday that he'd had enough of serving as the first European bureaucrat and that he would embark on the struggle against populists as soon as he became the leader of the European People's Party (EPP) group.

Tusk is the only candidate to succeed the EPP president Joseph Daul.

On one hand we have political parties of irresponsible populism, and on the other hand there is our party of responsible popularity, Tusk said in his address at the EPP Congress in Zagreb, which is being held on Wednesday and Thursday.

After five years I've had enough of being the main European bureaucrat. I am ready for the fight, I hope that you are also prepared, Tusk said. His term as European Council president expires at the end of this month.

The failure of the European Union to start membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania was a strategic mistake that has resulted in the loss of credibility, outgoing European People's Party (EPP) president Joseph Daul said in Zagreb on Wednesday, stressing that the move opened the door to other big world powers.

We demonstrated a lack of vision and resolve and went back on our promise, thus losing credibility in the region and leaving the door open to Russia, China, Turkey and Gulf countries, Daul said at the start of a plenary session of the EPP, taking place in Zagreb on Wednesday and Thursday.

France, the Netherlands and Denmark last month blocked the opening of membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania in the belief that the EU should first reform its enlargement methodology.

After it received assurances that its move would help unblock its Euro-Atlantic integration process, Macedonia changed its name to North Macedonia at the start of this year after Greece had been obstructing its accession to NATO and the EU for years over its name.

Daul, who is to be succeeded in elections for the EPP president today by Donald Tusk, the outgoing President of the European Council, said also that there was a need for a strong, united Europe which could guarantee its position in the international context as no country could face challenges on its own amidst imperialist policies of Russia and China, which he described as giants with a clear vision which did not need to justify their decisions to their citizens.

We have to defend our citizens, companies and our values, he said.

Speaking of the more significant challenges, he mentioned climate change, to be discussed at the EPP congress, condemning the so-called green populism and pointing to the need to find the middle path.

We are the only antidote to populists... policies should be adjusted to challenges, starting with climate change - we cannot learn anything from the Greens in that regard. Between the green populists and insane ideas that deny climate change we have to find the middle path to fight climate change as well as secure jobs and take care of the economy, Daul told around 2,000 delegates who gathered for the conference of the biggest European political group in Zagreb's Arena sports hall.

Europeans worry about the planet's future as well as about their own future, salaries and pensions, he said.

The EPP should also seriously deal with the topic of defence because if we do not have a strong defence line, we will not be able to defend our values, Daul said, stressing also the topic of Brexit, which will happen after Croatia takes over the presidency of the EU, on 31 January 2020.

When the UK government decides what it wants, we will be able to build relations with it again, he said.

More news about European People’s Party can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Expelled HDZ Members Complain to EPP about Totalitarian HDZ Lleadership

ZAGREB, November 20, 2019 - Eight former HDZ members sent an open letter to the European People's Party on Wednesday to warn about the leadership's "totalitarian and non-democratic methods" in dealing with those with different political views.

In the letter to the EPP; which is holding a congress in Zagreb, they say they found out from the media that they were expunged from the party membership and that they were expelled "for allegedly using 'hate speech' in communication in closed WhatsApp and Viber groups of HDZ members."

They reject such accusations "with abhorrence and entirely" and note that, as intellectuals, they condemn hate speech and that they have never used nor approved of it. They add that they honoured the party's code of ethics and statute, and that they were constructive critics of the current leadership's actions.

They also say the publication of the texts violated the confidentiality of their communication.

The HDZ's Zagreb branch recently decided to launch disciplinary proceedings against eight of its members due to a particularly serious violation of their obligations as regulated by the party statute, and the party's court of honour decided to expel them unconditionally

The decision was made at the proposal of the branch presidency because they spread inappropriate messages whose content constituted hate speech, and demonstrated disloyalty to the HDZ and openly lobbied for the presidential candidates of other political camps.

The decision was made after it was determined that by posting such messages on social media they breached the party's statute and, with their communication, harmed the reputation, honour and dignity of the HDZ and its members.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

EPP Delegates Meeting in Zagreb to Choose New Leadership

ZAGREB, November 20, 2019 - The European People's Party (EPP), the largest political group in the European Parliament, holds an election convention in the Arena sports hall in Zagreb on Wednesday and Thursday to choose its new leadership.

The EPP is set to elect the outgoing President of the European Council, Donald Tusk of Poland, as the new leader. He will replace Frenchman Joseph Daul who has led the party since late 2013.

Over 2,000 delegates from 40 countries are also due to discuss a climate action plan, youth policies and the Western Balkans.

The EPP's first congress in Croatia will be attended by heads of state and government and senior officials from European centre-right parties.

Apart from Tusk, among those attending will be the outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his successor Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Moldova, Romania and Norway, and the presidents of Switzerland and Cyprus.

Also present will be Italian, Slovenian and Ukrainian opposition leaders Silvio Berlusconi, Janez Janša and Yulia Tymoshenko.

The EPP has not invited Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban because his Fidesz party was suspended in March for violating democratic standards.

This alliance of European conservative centre-right parties was founded in 1976 and brings together 84 parties from 43 countries. With 182 of the 751 seats in the European Parliament won in May's elections, it is the largest political group in the European Union's legislature.

More news about the European People’s Party can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Tusk to Become New EPP President in Zagreb

ZAGREB, November 19, 2019 - Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk will be the new president of the European People's Party, the EPP said on Monday ahead of its congress in Zagreb on Wednesday.

The most famous Polish politician internationally will replace France's Joseph Daul, who led the EPP since the end of 2013.

Although he did not announce his candidacy, the party said on its website that democratic Poland's longest-running prime minister is the only candidate for the post.

Tusk recently said he would not run for president of Poland, which paves the way for a new European role when his mandate in Brussels ends at the end of this month.

European centre-right parties are electing a new leadership after scoring a relative victory in the European elections in May and securing the post of new European Commission president.

With a new leadership, the EPP will start drawing up a new ecology platform and youth polices, encouraged by the rise of the Greens in Europe and global protests to save the Earth.

Also high on the agenda is EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, notably after France recently vetoed opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

The EPP is expected to propose and carry out more effective policies to combat climate change, to empower the younger generations, and to protect democracy and peace in Europe and the neighbourhood, Dahl and EPP Secretary General Antonio Lopez-Isturiz have said ahead of the Zagreb congress.

The EPP was founded in 1976 by bringing together Christian Democrat, conservative and other centre-right parties. With 182 seats, they are the largest group in the 751-seat European Parliament. Together with the Socialists, the Liberals and the Greens, they make up the majority pro-Europe alliance against populist, Eurosceptic and Europhobic parties.

Over 2,000 participants are expected in Zagreb from Tuesday to Thursday at the 26th EPP congress, the first to be held in Croatia, the youngest EU member state which is chairing the EU in the first half of 2020 and is preparing to enter the Schengen and euro areas.

A number of heads of state and government are coming, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest European officials from the EPP, Tusk, and the Commission's outgoing and new presidents, Jean Paul Juncker and Ursula von der Leyen.

Aside from the EPP president, over 700 delegates will elect ten vice presidents, the secretary general and treasurer. The HDZ, the strongest party in Croatia's ruling coalition, did not nominate anyone for those positions.

There is no need for that, the party is sufficiently represented in top positions in the EPP and European politics, says a senior source from the HDZ, which is marking its 30th anniversary this year.

The HDZ's former foreign minister, Marija Pejčinović Burić, became Council of Europe secretary-general in June, while HDZ MEP Dubravka Šuica will be a new Commission vice president. Šuica is also the vice president of the EPP group in the European Parliament and of EPP Women, while HDZ MEP Karlo Ressler is the vice president of the Youth of the EPP.

Most of the EPP congress will take place in the Arena sports centre.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

European People's Party Won't Hold Meetings in Croatian Parliament

ZAGREB, November 14, 2019 - Neither the presidency nor the political assembly of the European People's Party (EPP) will hold a meeting on the premises of the Croatian Parliament (Sabor), the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a member of the EPP group said on Thursday confirming media reports that, after all, the Sabor will not be a venue for the EPP gathering in Zagreb.

The European People's Party is holding its Statutory Congress on 20 and 21 November in Zagreb.

Some of the technical meetings were initially planned to take place in the Parliament Hall (Sabornica), however, in the meantime the EPP decided to change the location for those technical meetings so as to avoid any damage to the group's reputation, according to the tabloid 24 sata.

The initial plan was that technical meetings on 19 November should take place in Sabornica, and the EPP was supposed to pay 74,488 kuna for the rent of the venue.

The decision of the Croatian Parliament's presidency to allow EPP meetings in the parliament and to collect some funds for that rental job infuriated the Opposition which then for weeks severely criticised the ruling Croatian Democratic Union.

The EPP Congress will be co-hosted by Prime Minister of Croatia and (HDZ) leader, Andrej Plenković, and EPP President Joseph Daul and EPP Secretary General Antonio Lopez -Isturiz, the EPP says on its website.

"The Congress in Zagreb will focus on effective policies to combat climate change, on empowering the younger generations and the Western Balkans."

The Congress will also elect the EPP Presidency, including the President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurer and Secretary General. 2,000 participants from more than 40 countries have been invited to participate in the Congress in Zagreb, the EPP says.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

HDZ Dismisses Claims about "Privatisation" of Parliament's Chamber

ZAGREB, October 24, 2019 - The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Wednesday dismissed claims about the "privatisation" of the national parliament's compound, and recalls that the parliament presidency's decision to lease its premises to the European People's Party (EPP) in November was made by a majority vote, including the support of the Social Democrat (SDP) representative.

The HDZ issued a press release on Wednesday evening after Vesna Pusić of the GLAS party and Gordan Maras of the SDP earlier in the day said that they found it unacceptable that the Sabor has leased its Grand Chamber to the EPP for its meetings in mid-November.

The HDZ recalls that the EPP is holding an election convention in Zagreb on 19-21 November, and that over 2000 participants from about 40 countries will arrive in Zagreb for that event.

The hosts of the EPP congress in Zagreb are Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who is the leader of the HDZ , a member of the EPP, and the EPP president Jospeh Daul.

Also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen and the European Council president Donald Tusk are expected to attend the congress.

A majority of the activities within the Congress are going to take place in Zagreb's Arena sports hall, the HDZ says.

Meetings of the EPP presidency and assembly will take place in the Croatian Parliament.

Organising its congresses in the recent years, the EPP have made sure that the gatherings of its Presidency and Assembly could take place in the chambers of national parliaments of the countries where congresses have been held, the HDZ notes.

For instance, this has been the case in Lithuania, Denmark, Finland and in the European Parliament in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg, the HDZ says.

It also recalls that the EPP contacted the Croatian Parliament's Presidency in April asking for a possibility of renting the Grand Chamber for its congress in November.

A majority of the presidency members, including Sinisa Hajdas Dončić of the SDP, supported the lease, and only Božo Petrov of the MOST party abstained from the vote, according to the HDZ press release.

Under that decision, a day's rent for the Grand Chamber, where plenary sessions of Parliament are held, costs 35,000 kuna, while other chambers may be rented out for between 6,500 and 15,000 kuna.

The EPP has rented the Grand Chamber and another hall that costs 7,500 kuna, so that the rental of the premises will cost it 42,500 kuna, without other services such as technical support and catering.

The EPP says on its website that: "Now that the EPP has once again emerged as the leading force following the European elections and has successfully secured the Presidency of the European Commission, we would like to warmly invite you to the EPP Statutory Congress in Zagreb."

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.