Thursday, 26 May 2022

Jandroković Reassures Ukrainian Official of Croatia's Continuing Support

ZAGREB, 26 May 2022 - Croatia supports Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue providing Kyiv with humanitarian, political, and technical assistance, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Thursday in Zagreb at a meeting with a deputy chair of the Verkhovna Rada, Olena Kondratiuk.

The Ukrainian deputy parliament speaker thanked Croatia for the support it has extended so far to her country, including the reception of several thousand refugees.

A press release issued by the Sabor quotes Jandroković as saying that he conveyed Croatians' strong solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Croatia, which itself was a victim of military aggression in the 1990s, can understand the grave situation that Ukrainian defenders and people are now experiencing, reads the press release.

Kondratiuk informed Jandroković of the current military and humanitarian state of affairs in Ukraine and notified him of Ukraine's efforts to be granted EU candidate status.

In this context, she thanked Croatia for its support to Ukraine's European aspirations and also for assistance in mine clearance and in the rehabilitation and treatment of wounded war veterans and for offering its experience in the peaceful reintegration of occupied areas and post-war reconstruction.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Parl. Speaker Says it's not MPs' Job to Call for Somebody's Arrest

ZAGREB, 18 May 2022 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Wednesday that it is not up to MPs to call for somebody's arrest, dismissing criticism from the opposition that the prime minister was pressurising chief state attorney to discourage her from prosecuting ministers suspected of criminal offences.

"Should someone commit a criminal act and that is proven, they will be arrested," Jandroković told Urša Raukar Gamulin of the Green-Left Bloc after she said she hoped State Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj Šipek would withstand pressure and make arrests.

She was commenting on Defence Minister Mario Banožić, who she said had defrauded the state of millions of kuna and committed several offences, from abuse of office to influence-peddling.

"Government ministers are falling one after another under the charges of influence- peddling and abuse of office, while the prime minister is making threats and giving instructions to the state attorney general to not prosecute them," she said, stressing that in a civilised EU country this would make the prime minister and the entire government fall.

"The legislature is not the one to decide who will be arrested, you mentioned here people by name and spoke about arrests, that is not the way to do things. You do not have the right to call on state institutions to arrest people, that is not your job," Jandroković said.

Dalija Orešković (Centre/GLAS), too, commented on the Office of the State Attorney General, stressing that in a healthy state, the chief state prosecutor does not listen to political instructions over the phone.

"We do not have a state because we do not have independent institutions," she said.

Milorad Pupovac of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) warned of a speech by an MP who after habitually spreading intolerance towards the Serb Orthodox Church and its members said, "We have reduced the Serbs to a tolerable number."

"The session chairman issued no warning and did not distance himself from that statement," Pupovac said, adding that "the 20th-century reductions of the historical minorities - Hungarians, Austrians, Germans, Italians, Jews, Roma and Serbs - to tolerable numbers has made Croatia neither freer nor safer," the Serb MP said.

Marijan Pavliček (Croatian Sovereignists) criticised Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević for refusing to sponsor the Walk for Life event and refusing to have the organisers' flag displayed on city flagpoles, saying the mayor had privatised the city and marginalised those whose worldviews he did not share.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Parliamentary Speaker Visits Istria Sausage Festival, Comments on Current Topics

ZAGREB, 15 May 2022 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Sunday visited an international sausage festival taking place in Sveti Petar u Šumi, describing it as an important event bringing together domestic enterprises and reflecting the synergy between the state, local government and the producers.

Devised as an event promoting the making and sale of traditional Croatian charcuterie products, the festival at Sveti Petar u Šumi sets an example of how to use the opportunities provided by EU membership and is proof that local government can be a successful partner to private businesses, said Jandroković.

"Istria is well known for its olive oil, wine and the restaurant and tourism industry, and the sausage festival is a new brand for the region which in many ways leads the way and sets an example, not only to other Croatian regions but to regions in other parts of Europe," Jandroković said.

On Milanović, abortion law

Answering reporters' questions, he declined to comment on President Zoran Milanović's proposal to make Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO conditional on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's election law, saying that he found the sausage festival more important "than anything Milanović has to say on any topic."

Asked if the Constitution should be amended to state that the right to abortion is a constitutional right, which is a proposal to be put forward by opposition parties, Jandroković said that it was a topic causing deep divisions in Croatian society.

We don't need topics that cause divisions 

"Considering the current situation, the deep global crisis, the Russian aggression on Ukraine and serious announcements of a global recession, we do not need topics that cause divisions in society, we need to work on mutual respect, tolerance and diversity," said Jandroković.

He went on to say that one should put an end to discussions about the topic because "there is a law which is in line with the Constitution, and which, when compared to the laws of other EU countries, is somewhere in the middle, neither too liberal nor too restrictive."

It is not wise to try to score political points on this topic, which is what some political parties are doing, he added.

Commenting on announcements that Slovenia would make Croatia's entry to the Schengen area of passport-free travel conditional on the implementation of the border arbitration ruling, Jandroković said Croatia and Slovenia were so much oriented towards one another that neither country would benefit from any disputes.

"... I hope we will continue in the spirit of good neighbourly relations, taking care of our common interests. The present times are difficult, one needs to have friends, allies and partners instead of opening topics that divide us," he said.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle and politics sections.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Croatian Parliament Passes Law On Adoption Of Euro As Legal Tender

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - The Croatian parliament on Friday passed a law on the adoption of the euro as legal tender, with 117 MPs voting in favour, 13 against and one abstaining.

MPs rejected amendments by Bridge and the Green-Left Bloc and a conclusion by Bridge that the government had not endorsed.

The euro is expected to be introduced on 1 January 2023.

As of the 5th of September this year through 2023, prices would be displayed both in kuna and in euro.

Next year there will be no cost for exchanging kuna cash for euro, which will be done in banks, post offices and the Financial Agency. Citizens will be able to exchange kuna bills for euro in the central bank indefinitely.

Bridge and Sovereignists against euro

Before today's vote, some of the opposition again spoke against introducing the euro.

Miro Bulj of Bridge said an estimate of the effects of the introduction should have been made, calling on parliament to repeal the law and saying that experts should state their opinion and the people decide in a referendum.

Marijan Pavliček of the Sovereignists said the party was concerned about how citizens would survive the month upon entering the eurozone and how pensioners and workers would live.

He said it was insane to enter the eurozone during the EU's biggest energy crisis, biggest economic uncertainty, and the biggest inflation in 20 years.

2022 budget revision included in agenda, debate next week

Parliament today added 14 items to the agenda, including a draft revision of this year's budget.

"We'll debate it next Wednesday," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Jandroković: Milanović's Stances are Pro-Russian, Causing "Surprise and Ridicule"

ZAGREB, 4 May 2022 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Wednesday in Madrid that President Zoran Milanović's opposition to Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO was a blow to the unity of democratic West against Russia's aggression on Ukraine and that he had pro-Russian stances.

Jandroković was on an official visit to Madrid at the invitation of the President of the Congress of Deputies of Spain, Meritxell Batet Lamaña. 

"Being opposed today to Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO is a blow to the solidarity and alliance of the entire democratic Western world against what Russia is doing in Ukraine. That is undoubtedly a pro-Russian stance," Jandroković said.

He added that he doesn't know why that is so and that the President should be asked about that.

"But it is without a doubt that the international community is surprised by his stance and since recently has been ridiculing him," said Jandroković.

Jandroković was heading a parliamentary delegation attending a Croatian-Spanish inter-parliamentary forum in Madrid.

Speaking about Croatian-Spanish relations, he said the two countries have "deepened parliamentary cooperation."

During the forum there was talk about bilateral cooperation, however, the focus was on global issues, such as the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis, he said.

"We share the same stances about the war in Ukraine and are strongly supporting Ukraine and condemning the Russian aggression," said Jandroković.

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

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Plenković and Jandroković Meet With Visiting Bulgarian FM

ZAGREB, 21 April 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković met separately with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska during her visit to Zagreb on Thursday.

Genchovska, a historian, military academy graduate, and expert on security and defense issues, and Plenković discussed the situation in Ukraine, emphasizing that the two countries shared views on the war in Ukraine and the need to continue providing assistance to that country, according to a government press release.

Plenković informed Genchovska about Croatia's final preparations for accession to the Schengen area and euro area, as well as about its bid to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which is the objective of both countries.

The two officials also exchanged views on EU enlargement and the situation in southeastern Europe.

The situation in the Western Balkans was also discussed during Genchovska's meeting with Parliament Speaker Jandroković. They agreed that it was of critical importance to prevent a spillover of the Ukraine crisis to the region.

According to a press release from Parliament, Jandroković emphasized the importance of the equality of all three constituent nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Jandroković and Genchovska strongly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people. They also discussed humanitarian and technical assistance to Ukraine and the acceptance of refugees.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

MPs Talk Former Minister Horvat's Arrest

ZAGREB, 23 Feb 2022 - Some opposition MPs on Wednesday commented on the arrest of former minister Darko Horvat on suspicion of abuse of office, and the case of allocating incentives in a non-transparent fashion.

Katarina Peović of the Workers' Front said the ruling HDZ party "is the third natural disaster, after the pandemic and the earthquakes," that had hit Croatia.

She said that in 2018, when Horvat served as economy minister, he was texting with his aide on the allocation of incentives to small businesses in a non-transparent fashion, while the Uljanik shipyard was in agony.

"The only thing Uljanik needed to maintain production and keep jobs was a HRK 150,000 state guarantee, but there was neither the need nor the will for that, while money was being given to small businesses without criteria", Peović said, adding that the collapse of Uljanik, Brodotrogir and Orljava is much more dangerous than what Horvat is being accused of.

"Taking the state attorney general to task is the twilight of every reasonable democracy and law-based state, that's a violation of constitutional principles," Željko Sačić of the Sovereignists said about the prime minister's statements on Saturday following Horvat's arrest.

He called on state attorneys to do their job to the maximum. "You are the only possibility we have of saving Croatia", he added.

State Attorney General "Zlata Hrvoj Šipek has sent the prime minister the clear message that his ministers are corrupt, that they are stealing from the state budget," said Milan Vrkljan of For a Just Croatia, criticising the prime minister for calling out Hrvoj Šipek for the timing of Horvat's arrest and for demanding stronger evidence.

"The State Attorney's Office has knocked on Horvat's door, two other ministers are being mentioned, and what they all have in common is that they are not competent and the procedure of their selection is unclear", Vrljkan said, especially criticising Labour Minister Josip Aladrović.

"He's a lazybones doing his job by belittling, without social intelligence," he said, calling on the prime minister to remove such ministers.

Speaker Gordan Jandroković said it was unfair to talk about someone who could not defend himself.

Branko Bačić of the ruling HDZ said Vrkljan should not preach morality given that "the public knows" the epilogue of his trial, evidently referring to a trial in which Vrkljan and a hospital colleague were accused of bribe-taking, but the indictments were dismissed due to the statute of limitations.

Parliament today added eight items to the agenda, including two opposition motions for its dissolution.         

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.                                                     

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Jandroković Receives British, Spanish and Chinese Ambassadors

ZAGREB, 9 Feb 2022 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Wednesday received the ambassadors to Croatia from the United Kingdom, Spain and China - Simon Derek Thomas, Alonso Dezcallar De Mazarredo and Qi Qianjin, to discuss closer cooperation with their respective countries, the parliament said in a press release.

Jandroković and British Ambassador Thomas talked about defence cooperation and partnership within the framework of NATO and economic relations. In particular, they welcomed the progress in strengthening cooperation in the IT industry, research and development, technology and smart cities, the press release stated.

They cited company, Rimac Automobili, expanding its business to Great Britain as an example of excellent cooperation in the technology sector.

Jandroković and Thomas spoke about the current situation in Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of Southeast Europe.

In his talks with Spanish Ambassador De Mazarredo, Jandroković said that relations with Spain were "very good and friendly, with a intention of intensifying in all areas of common interest."

Croatia and Spain recorded positive trade results in 2021 and good cooperation in the fields of energy, transport and tourism.

Jandroković said he was pleased with the number of Spanish tourists to Croatia last year despite the pandemic.

The newly appointed ambassador presented Jandroković with an invitation to a Spain-Croatia inter-parliamentary forum. Jandroković accepted the invitation from Spain's parliament speaker and said he hoped the forum would enable even more cooperation between the two countries.

Ambassador Qi Qianjin was on an inaugural visit to the parliament. He and Jandroković pointed out the Pelješac Bridge as the best example of cooperation, saying that the bridge would be open to traffic this year year, marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between Croatia and China.

With the aim of strengthening inter-parliamentary cooperation, Jandroković accepted an invitation to attend a video meeting with the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Li Zhanshu.

In addition to important projects like the Senj wind park, an important Chinese investment project in Croatia, also discussed were other areas with the potential to strengthen economic cooperation within the China+16 Initiative.

The meeting highlighted the significance of Chinese visitors for Croatia's tourism and expressed hope for even more Chinese tourists in the years to come, the press release said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Parl. Speaker: Pandemic's Darkness Affects a Part of Political Scene

ZAGREB, 12 Dec 2021 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Sunday participated in a ceremony of the delivery of Bethlehem Light of Peace to the Cathedral of Zagreb, and on that occasion said that the times were not easy and that the pandemic's darkness affected the society, including a part of the political scene.

Let this Light enlighten many souls, Jandroković said.

The Bethlehem Light of Peace is a symbol of Christmas and in the Bible, it symbolizes the coming of Jesus, whose birth promised peace to all people of goodwill.

In his address to the press, the Sabor Speaker called for vaccination and for compliance with all anti-epidemic rules and for responsible and rational behavior.

"One should take care of the lives and health of other people."

Asked by the press whether the Constitutional Court will be asked to test the constitutionality of the questions of the Bridge party's ongoing referendum initiative against COVID certificates before the necessary signatures were collected or after that, Jandroković said: "We live in a democracy, everybody can do everything that is allowed by law. However, I appeal to common sense, conscience, and to the awareness that not every topic promoted in that way could be beneficial to people. Quite contrary."

We have many people who have got sick and many who have died of the disease, and it should not have happened. Inoculation, adhering to epidemiological measures and prudence are the way to reduce coronavirus numbers, he said, underscoring that it is crucial to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Asked by the press about the indictment against former minister Lovro Kuščević and reports on a preliminary investigation against former minister Tomislav Tolušić over alleged white-collar crimes, the parliament speaker said that it was inappropriate for politicians to comment on prosecutions, although it seemed that there was a widespread belief that politicians must take stand on each topic.

In a democracy there is the separation of powers, everybody is responsible for their job and prosecutorial authorities are expected to explain to the public things unclear from their remit, said Jandroković, adding that keeping making comments on investigations can amount to pressure on the judiciary.

 For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Independent MP Vidović Krišto Ordered Out of Parliament Chamber

ZAGREB, 8 Dec, 2021 - Independent MP Karolina Vidović Krišto was ordered to leave the Parliament chamber at the start of the session on Wednesday morning for violating the Rules of Procedure after proposing paying respects to all children killed in the 1991-1995 Homeland War. 

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković rejected her proposal, saying that such matters should be agreed in advance. After repeatedly asking Vidović Krišto to stop talking and cautioning her three times, he ordered her to leave the chamber.

"This is a very delicate matter and Ms Vidović Krišto put me in a very awkward position. Children killed in the war deserve to be honoured and we should certainly do that. We should honour not just the children but all the people who were killed, civilian victims and Croatian defenders. What she did is extremely inappropriate, an act of provocation with which she wanted to put me and everyone else in an awkward situation," Jandroković said.

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