Monday, 31 December 2018

No Government Reshuffle Expected in New Year, Says Speaker

ZAGREB, December 31, 2018 - Parliament Speaker and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) secretary-general Gordan Jandroković said on Monday that currently nothing hinted at a possible government reshuffle and underscored that the scandal dubbed text messages had nothing to do with the ruling HDZ party.

Considering the text messages affair, individuals worked outside the system and used the methods of work which can be considered inappropriate and perhaps contrary to law, Jandroković told the reporters who covered his New Year Eve walk through the centre of Zagreb. Jandroković said that the current leadership had nothing to do with that scandal.

Asked by the press what was about HDZ deputy president Milijan Brkić and his alleged connections with the suspects in the scandal, Jandroković said that he "is speaking about the people who now run the HDZ. All who are possibly implicated will have to be held to account." Jandroković declined to specify the names of those possibly implicated in the scandal.

As for the HDZ, he said that the party would prepare for the European Parliament elections, set for mid-May 2019.

Regarding the HDZ's position on the support to the incumbent president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović for her second term, Jandroković reiterated that he expected Grabar-Kitarović to first say whether she decided to rerun for the presidency. "If she decides so, the HDZ will support her."

He also admitted that there was no hurry for Grabar-Kitarović to outline her plans given that "no serious counter-candidate" has yet appeared.

Jandroković rejected media interpretations that the president replaced her advisers after caving in under the pressure from the HDZ leadership.

Commenting on the reporters' observations on fence-mending between President Grabar-Kitarović and Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenković, Jandoković said that "the time has shown who were those people who stood behind occasional straining of the relations along the lines of the president and the government or the HDZ."

I expect cooperation and exchange of information as well as fixing of what ought to be fixed in the coming period, Jandroković said.

More news on the HDZ can be found in our Politics section.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Government Does Not See Statement by President as an Attack

ZAGREB, November 30, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that he did not see the statement by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović as an attack on him, and announced that the National Security Council would be convened in December.

"No, why would I see it as an attack? The only thing I can see as an attack is what happened a few months ago, that text messages are fabricated and attempts are made to confuse the public in Croatia and to implicate me in something that is on the other side of the law. That is an attack," Plenković told the press after a meeting of the parliamentary group of his HDZ party.

Plenković said that "phenomena" such as the fake text messages scandal should be investigated and cleared up by relevant authorities. "I don't see anything new here because things like this happen in our political and media arena every week."

Asked to comment on the president's claim that he had not responded to her invitation to call a National Security Council meeting, Plenković said that these meetings needed to be well prepared, and the Council needs to adopt a document concerning the work of the security services next year.

He said that the National Security Council would convene some time in December, when the timing is deemed right.

Asked if Grabar-Kitarović should have temporarily suspended her national security adviser Vlado Galić until the scandal was discussed, Plenković said that this was for her to decide.

The President's Office said earlier that President Grabar-Kitarović most resolutely dismissed any insinuations of her alleged involvement in an alleged attempt to topple the government of Prime Minister Plenković and that she considered this insinuation as a direct political attack on the state institutions, especially the institution of the President of the Republic.

Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandroković said on Thursday that a meeting of the National Security Council would be convened "when it becomes necessary."

Asked why Prime Minister Andrej Plenković hasn't replied to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's request to convene the National Security Council, Jandroković said that he didn't have any information about that.

"I believe that the Council will be convened when that becomes necessary," he said, and when pressed to say whether it was necessary now, he said, "It's hard for me to say. I would have to see the reasons for the President's stance. I saw that it was pretty dramatic. I am not quite sure which part of Mr Varga's deposition the president is referring to but it is certainly necessary to discuss and resolve the problem, if it exists," Jandroković said ahead of a meeting of the parliamentary group of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party.

Asked to comment on the statement by president that the political institutions in the country were currently under the strongest attack and the prime minister was not reacting, Jandroković said he didn't think the president's calling out the government was that dramatic. "A warning of an ongoing attack on the institutions is indeed dramatic but mentioning the prime minister isn't as dramatic as is being made out."

Asked whether he agreed with the president's claim that the institutions were currently under attack, Jandroković said it was necessary to determine what had actually happened. "As soon as the fake text messages scandal emerged and when information leaked from the security system, it was something that needed investigating to see what happened. Who did that, what their intentions were and was there a wider group of people involved, should be determined. Perhaps that wasn't the first time. That act indicates that it's necessary to take action. I'm not sure though that that's a reason to convene the National Security Council and to escalate tensions," Jandroković said on the statement by president.

For more on Croatia’s president, click here.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Qatar and Croatia to Develop Closer Economic Cooperation

ZAGREB, November 20, 2018 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met on Monday with the visiting Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalif Al Thani, and the two officials said that their countries were interested in closer economic cooperation and more investments, the government said in a statement.

Prime Minister Plenković and Sheikh Al Thani confirmed the excellent and friendly political relations between Croatia and Qatar.

The Croatian prime minister pointed to the importance of further advancing bilateral relations and stepping up investments and trade with Qatar.

In the same vein, eight bilateral agreements were signed between Croatia and Qatar earlier in the day, regulating cooperation in culture and sports, agriculture, education and research, and in the defence and other sectors.

With regard to the two countries' cooperation in the field of energy and diversification of energy sources, Plenković and Al Thani discussed the importance of further developing the LNG terminal project on the island of Krk.

The Qatari emir assessed as positive a significant increase in the number of Qataris visiting Croatia, noting that there was great potential for cooperation in many areas.

He extended an invitation for Prime Minister Plenković to officially visit Qatar, which Plenković accepted, the statement said.

Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandroković also received the visiting Qatari emir, and on that occasion the Croatian official expressed confidence that this reciprocal official visit would be conducive to efforts to boost bilateral relations, the press office of the Croatian parliament stated.

The two officials agreed that good political relations between the two countries and exchange of visits of office holders paved the way for broadening cooperation in many fields.

Bilateral relations will be further boosted by the conclusion of bilateral agreements, notably on the economic front. In this context, Jandroković and Al Thani welcomed the growing statistics about Qataris visiting Croatia.

They exchanged opinions on regional security.

The Croatian parliament speaker accepted with pleasure the invitation of the Qatari emir to visit that Gulf country.

For more on Croatia’s politics, click here.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Speaker of Parliament Jandroković Meets with Vatican Officials

ZAGREB, November 18, 2018 - The best response to the current global challenges are multilateralism and strengthening of democracy, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said after his meeting with Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See's Secretariat of State Paul Gallagher in the Vatican on Saturday. The two officials discussed the situation in the region and the world.

Jandroković said that excellent bilateral relations were confirmed at the meeting. "I once again thanked the Holy See for everything it has done for Croatia since we gained independence. The Vatican was one of the first countries to recognise Croatia and it supported Croatia during the Homeland War and on its journey to the European Union," Jandroković said after the talks.

He told the press the talks also focused on Croatia's neighbours. "I expressed my concern about the position of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also said that Croatia was interested in EU enlargement and we are prepared to assist our neighbours who aspire to join the bloc," Jandroković said.

He reiterated that the Croatian people wanted to see Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac canonized as soon as possible and once again extended an invitation to the Holy Father to visit Croatia.

Talks were also focused on the global state of affairs, international issues and challenges. "We agreed that the best response to all global threats is strengthening multilateralism, strengthening of democracy as a response to growing populism and, of course, dialogue between countries, between nations who are the only ones that can resolve problems. Violence and wars must be avoided at all costs," Jandroković said.

There were no concrete talks about possible signing of implementation agreement for the Vatican Treaties. "This was not addressed today. We agreed that our relations are excellent, that we want to further develop them and that we have a high level of understanding and agreement on many topics, but we did not start concrete talks. This is the job for the executive government," Jandroković said.

During his two-day official visit to Italy, Jandroković met Senate President Elisabeta Alberti Casellati and visited the Pontifical Croatia College of St Jerome on Thursday.

On Friday, he held talks with Vice President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Maria Edera Spadoni and President of the Foreign and European affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies Marta Grande.

For more on Croatia’s relations with the Vatican, click here,

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

“No Reason for Snap Parliamentary Elections”

ZAGREB, September 11, 2018 - Parliament Speaker and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) secretary-general Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday that there is no reason for a snap parliamentary election and that the HDZ is more than stable.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

“Ruling Majority Is Stable,” Says Speaker of Parliament

ZAGREB, September 1, 2018 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Saturday that the ruling majority wanted to continue functioning stably and that stronger state institutions, economic development and greater social solidarity would continue to be the ruling majority's priorities despite the fact that it had been slim from the very beginning.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Parliament Speaker Hopeful about Defusing Tensions with President

ZAGREB, June 1, 2018 - Commenting on the latest criticism of the government by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović regarding depopulation trends and reforms, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Friday called for defusing tensions.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Plenković Tries to Calm Down Tensions with President

ZAGREB, May 30, 2018 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced on Wednesday that he would talk with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović after she returned from Italy, rejecting claims by the opposition that their bickering was a "well-coordinated stage play" to turn attention away from more important matters like Agrokor.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Parliament Speaker Criticises President's Moves

ZAGREB, May 30, 2018 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Wednesday he had a hard time understanding the latest move by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović whose office sent an invitation for a joint meeting with the government to discuss demography, but without enclosing the relevant material and while a session of the National Security Council (attended by both the president and the prime minister) was taking place.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

“Everyone Happy with Nominated Ministers”

ZAGREB, May 22, 2018 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday that all the coalition partners were very happy with the candidates for economy minister and deputy prime minister, adding that the relevant parliamentary committees were expected to endorse the nominations on Wednesday and parliament to confirm them on Friday.

Page 5 of 7