Thursday, 16 April 2020

Parliament Speaker Says Election Date Has Not Been Discussed Yet

ZAGREB, April 16, 2020 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Wednesday that in the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic the parliament had entirely fulfilled its role, noting that the date of the next parliamentary election had not been discussed yet.

"At this moment, continuing the fight against the coronavirus and citizens' health and lives are our absolute priority. We have not thought about or discussed a date for the elections," Jandroković said in an interview with the HRT public broadcaster. He noted that elections could be held in December at the latest.

Jandroković could not rule out pay cuts for office holders. "We will see what the government will propose with regard to office-holders' salaries, I believe that they will be reduced if necessary," he said.

Jandroković also said that in the current crisis the parliament had successfully defended its status of a representative and legislative body and had completely fulfilled its role.

"We have adopted all important laws that concern the work of state institutions, we have sent a message of support to both the government and citizens to hold on as this is a difficult, unprecedented situation, but it will pass and we must emerge from it stronger," he said.

Jandroković also commented on the remark that the opposition and the ruling majority disagreed as to how measures to fight the coronavirus should be adopted, by an absolute or two-thirds majority, and the fact that he had sought the opinion of the Constitutional Court on the matter.

"The Constitutional Court did not do anything that would indicate that we have violated the Constitution or a law in any way, if the Constitutional Court considered something as unlawful or unconstitutional, it would react," he said.

Jandroković said that the parliament would evidently have to change the way it works because the crisis caused by the coronavirus was not likely to end soon.

The parliament's work should be adjusted to include online sessions or video conferences, he said in a comment on the MOST party's proposal for introducing online communication and electronic voting.

As for the SDP's request that ministers come to the parliament every week to answer MPs' questions, he said that it should be discussed as it would mean that there would no longer be Question Time.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Parliament Speaker: No Need to Declare State of Emergency for Now

ZAGREB, March 28, 2020 - Commenting on the possibility of declaring a state of emergency over the outbreak of the coronavirus, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Friday that the parliament would do it if necessary, but that currently other constitutional provisions enabled normal work.

Asked if the government would accept the Opposition's amendments to a bill on the electronic tracking of persons in self-isolation, Jandroković said that he believed the law should not be passed by a two-thirds majority.

The purpose of the law is not to abolish freedoms or curtail democracy, but rather to prevent the spreading of the disease, he said.

The purpose of the law is to protect citizens and their health, but considering the objections, we are trying to reach the broadest possible consensus, and the bill will therefore have to pass a second reading, Jandroković said in an interview with RTL.

As for the Opposition's amendments to the government-sponsored bill, he said: "We'll discuss them. We have taken some time to make the best possible law, but the key issue at the moment is protection of people's health."

As for the possible activation of Article 17 of the Constitution (which concerns restriction of human rights and freedoms in time of war or a major natural disaster), Jandroković said that the Constitutional Court reacts with a report in the event of a breach of the constitution, and that since it did not react to the legal situation at hand, he believes that the constitution was not violated.

For the time being, we have resorted to Article 16 (rights may be restricted only by law and restrictions must be proportionate to the need to protect people's lives), Article 32 (restriction of movement) and Article 50 (restrictions on property or dispossession with compensation, and restriction of entrepreneurial freedoms in exceptional cases) and it will stay so until further notice, Jandroković said among other things.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Jandroković: MPs Won't Convene in Parliament House Due to Damage

ZAGREB, March 22, 2020 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Sunday said that given the damage to Parliament House in the wake of the earthquake that hit Zagreb this morning, sessions cannot be held there until further notice.

Parliament House in Zagreb's Upper Town has suffered significant damage in the earthquake and the electricity, water and gas have been turned off.

"The damage is quite extensive. Walls and stairways have cracked on the upper floor and one section of the roof has been destroyed. The courtyard part of Parliament House has incurred more damage than the front," Jandroković told reporters.

Seeing that the earthquake occurred during the weekend, the Sabor was not in session and only members of the guard were in the building at the time of the earthquake.

"We will see what the damage is. However, that is not the main thing at the moment and it is more important to assist our people who have been left without a roof over their head," Jandroković said.

"We will see what we will do, whether we will convene in the small chamber or look for other premises," Jandroković said, adding that he was confident a solution would be found for the legislature to sit and continue adopting laws.

Parliament was supposed to sit on Wednesday.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Croatia's EU Presidency Confirmation of Commitment to Common Values

ZAGREB, January 20, 2020 - Opening a meeting of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) in Zagreb on Monday, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said that Croatia's presidency of the EU is confirmation of its "strict dedication" to promoting European values.

"The chairmanship is confirmation of our strict dedication to participate with other member states in promoting the European project and common values," Jandroković said and added that Croatia is "firmly committed" to European values and principles.

"We will advocate a Europe based on common values, equality, respect for mutual interests and differences," Jandroković said.

The key topics during Croatia's chairmanship will be Great Britain's withdrawal from the EU, adopting the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, and the continuation of the enlargement policy, he added.

Jandroković said that the EU needed to establish as close ties with Great Britain as possible and that an agreement should found with regard to the MFF that "will be sustainable, balanced and in a spirit of partnership."

The Parliament Speaker reiterated that Croatia "strongly supports" EU enlargement and that that is in Europe's "political, security and economic" interests.

"Abandoning European credibility in this region will result in the growing influence of other factors," Jandroković believes. The EU accession criteria need to be "consistent and require an individual approach," he added.

The chairman of the Croatian Parliament's European Affairs Committee, Domagoj Ivan Milošević, expressed hope that the MFF would be adopted during Croatia's presidency.

Today's meeting was convened in preparation for a plenary session of COSAC that will be held in Zagreb on May 24-26.

Milošević said that the COSAC plenary session would discuss the implementation of presidency priorities, transformation of the labour market, labour mobility, the distributive effect of cohesion funds on member states, a European integrated maritime approach, and rights and obligations in the digital sphere.

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

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Jandroković: HDZ to Meet and Discuss Electoral Defeat

ZAGREB, January 7, 2020 - Parliament Speaker and HDZ secretary-general Gordan Jandroković confirmed on Tuesday that the party leadership would meet on Tuesday afternoon to analyse reasons for the defeat in the January 5 presidential runoff, noting that "unlike the meeting of (today's) parliamentary Presidency, that meeting will not be calm."

"We will analyse what was crucial for the defeat but we will first discuss it at the session of the HDZ Presidency and then in public," Jandroković told reporters after a brief session of the Parliament's Presidency.

Asked if there would be intraparty sanctions over wrong moves during Grabar-Kitarović's campaign, he said that that would definitely be discussed today but that it would not be fair of him to announce what would happen before the session.

"I expect to hear different opinions, we heard them during the campaign as well and when the election result was announced, and I expect us to discuss everything relevant for the HDZ in a democratic atmosphere," said Jandroković.

He explained the meaning of his statement that the HDZ had pursued a wrong policy in the second round of the elections by going too much to the right.

"What I meant was that the campaign was such that it also motivated the voters of our political rival," said Jandroković.

He said that he was not afraid that political ambitions within the HDZ could result in surprises already during a vote on confidence in Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak.

"I think that the parliament will complete its term," he said, adding that the HDZ was prepared for any possible scenario "if a coalition partner or any individual should have their own ideas or plans."

"We are prepared for elections but it seems that there is an understanding among all political protagonists that Croatia should complete its chairmanship of the EU, after which parliamentary elections will be held anyway. But I'm not ruling out any scenario," said Jandroković.

He would not answer explicitly if parliamentary elections taking place before elections in the HDZ was more convenient for the HDZ.

"The HDZ has a statute, we have to comply with it and political decisions will be made by the competent party bodies," he said.

Jandroković believes that there will be no problems in cooperation with the newly-elected president of the republic, Zoran Milanović, regardless of the strong words that could be heard during the campaign.

"The campaign is one thing, we have the obligation to cooperate in line with the Constitution and laws. In that sense, personal relations are irrelevant, we have to perform the duties we were elected to perform in a responsible way and I don't think there will be any problems in that regard."

Jandroković also confirmed that he had been informed about the withdrawal of Croatian soldiers from Iraq, saying that he supported the decision but that it was within the remit of other state institutions.

More HDZ can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Speaker Jandroković Attends New Year’s Concert in Vienna

ZAGREB, January 1, 2020 - Croatia will do its best to show its ability and vision during its presidency of the Council of the European Union and it expects support from all friendly countries, including Austria of course, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on New Year's Day in Vienna.

"It's a great honour and pleasure to be in Austria today on the occasion of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union," Jandroković told reporters.

The Croatian parliament speaker and his wife arrived in Vienna at the invitation of his Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Sobotka, to attend the traditional Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra New Year's Day concert.

Jandroković also notes that the EU is faced with a demanding period and that the key challenges are the next seven-year budget of the EU bloc and Brexit.

"We will do our best to show that Croatia has the capacity and vision to be at the helm of such an important organisation," Jandroković underscored and added that he expects the "support of countries, particularly friendly countries. That is why I am grad that I am in Austria today."

Croatia took over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 January 2020 from Finland, six and a half years after entering the European bloc.

"This is a very important day for Croatia. After six and a half years of membership and the long battle for full membership, today we are at the helm of the EU, which is a huge responsibility," said Jandroković. Together with his host Wolfgang Sobotka, Jandroković viewed an exhibition in Heldenplatz square dedicated 25 years of Austria's EU membership and on the occasion of Croatia assuming the EU presidency.

Sobotka said that Austria is a "friendly and important country for Croatia which has taken over the presidency of the Council of the EU."

He recalled that Croatia had recently hosted several international conferences and said that it had done that very well and that everything it had undertaken was also in Austria's interest.

"I think that Croatia is well prepared for the presidency of the Council of the EU and I look forward to its presidency in the first half of this year," Sobotka said.

Jandroković and Sobotka conducted a working meeting after the concert to discuss bilateral relations, European topics and southeast Europe.

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

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Jandroković Points to Importance of "Belt and Road" Initiative

ZAGREB, November 5, 2019 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, who held a speech in Shanghai on Tuesday, underscored the excellent China-Croatia cooperation in several areas as well as the significance of the "17+1"and the "Belt and Road" initiatives for this cooperation, the Croatian parliament said in a press release.

Addressing an economic forum within the 2nd China Import Expo, which brought together over 1,500 guests from all over the world, Jandroković spoke about regulations and a business climate conducive to opening markets and the role of governments and prospects of multinational companies.

Jandroković said that the role of governments and national parliaments was to create conditions favourable for entrepreneurs and development of economy.

In this context, he said that Croatia permanently upgraded its framework for doing business in the country.

He added that in the last four years, Croatia conducted reforms aimed at making it easier for companies to do business and at boosting Croatia's competitiveness, and some of these reforms are an overhaul of the tax system, reduction of the administrative burden, and improvement of the investment framework.

"Croatia is moving up the rankings of economic freedoms, which shows that Croatia is more and more open and attractive as a business and investment destination."

He boasted that Croatia is successful in slashing its deficit and public debt, which has resulted in the improvement of the country's credit rating and, consequently, in enabling businesses to be more profitable in the country.

As for the bilateral cooperation, Jandroković recalled the ongoing construction of Pelješac Bridge by the China Bridge and Road Corporation.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Croatian Parliament Speaker Meets His Chinese Counterpart

ZAGREB, November 4, 2019 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, who started his visit to China on Sunday, met with the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Li Zhanshu, in Beijing on Monday, the Croatian parliament said in a statement.

Jandroković and Li confirmed that the two countries relations were traditionally friendly and based on partnership.

It was said that the visit of the Croatian parliament speaker built on the political dialogue of the highest level, confirmed by Chinese Premier Li Kequiang's visit to Croatia earlier this year.

The two officials expressed satisfaction with their countries' very good and developed cooperation in a number of areas, from trade and science to culture and sports.

They also expressed satisfaction with the regular exchange of official visits by parliamentary delegations, with Jandroković inviting Li to pay an official visit to Croatia.

The Croatian official underlined the importance of Croatia's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative and the 17+1 project, noting that a successful summit meeting was held as part of the initiative and the project in Dubrovnik in April.

Jandroković said that one of the key events in the strengthening of Croatia-China relations and trust was the construction of the Pelješac bridge by China Road and Bridge Corporation.

He said the project was very important for Croatia considering that the bridge would connect Croatian territory, thus connecting EU territory.

Li, who visited Croatia in 2012, said that even though far away from each other, the two countries had close relations and that China considered Croatia one of the most important partners in the EU and Southeast and Central Europe.

The two officials also expressed satisfaction with a steady rise in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia, expressing confidence that tourist cooperation would be additionally intensified, with the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) offices in Shanghai playing an important role in that.

Speaking of Croatia's participation in the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Jandroković said he was happy that this year the HGK had its own exhibition area at the event and that a Croatian-Chinese business forum would be held, with Croatian companies presenting their products, services, technologies and ideas.

Jandroković said that both sides were very satisfied with the high level of overall bilateral relations.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Parliament Speaker Jandroković Visits Huawei

ZAGREB, November 3, 2019 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, who is on an official visit to China on 2-6 November, on Sunday visited Huawei, a Chinese multinational technology company specialised in manufacturing telecommunications equipment, including smartphones.

Senior executives of this company, headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, informed the Croatian official of the group's operation in more than 170 countries worldwide and participation in digitisation and digital transformation processes.

They expressed satisfaction with the company's business in Croatia.

In that context they recall two memoranda signed by Croatia's central state office for the development of digital society and Huawei Technologies Croatia in April this year during the China+17 Summit in Dubrovnik.

The documents strengthen the cooperation between Croatia and the company in the field of the development of smart city project and in exchange of know-how between the company and Croatian universities., which enables Croatian undergraduates to acquire further education in Huawei research and development centres in China.

Jandroković expressed satisfaction with the talks in the Huawei headquarters, adding that the Chinese group has announced new business projects in Croatia.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Parliament Speaker Jandroković Visits China

ZAGREB, November 2, 2019 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković is paying an official visit to China from 2 to 6 November and during his stay in that Asian country he will travel to Shanghai and Beijing, reads the Sabor's press release.

The Croatian official will commence his visit with his reception by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Li Zhanshu, in the capital city.

During his stay in Beijing, Jandroković is due to hold meetings with the Huawei company's top executives and attend an exhibition about China's achievements and progress in the last 70 years.

The Sabor speaker will be at the helm of Croatia's delegation at the second International Import Expo that starts in Shanghai on Tuesday.

In that city, Jandroković is expected to hold a speech on the role of governments in creation of regulations, opening of markets, and prospects of multinational companies.

He will be one of the guests at the special dinner to be hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shanghai within China International Import Expo.

On the last day of his visit, 6 November, Jandroković will take part in a Chinese-Croatian business forum in that the most populous urban area in China.

More news about relations between Croatia and China can be found in the Politics section.

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