Saturday, 12 March 2022

SDP Main Committee Says Government Should Resign

ZAGREB, 12 March 2022 - The Social Democratic Party's Main Committee on Saturday supported the SDP parliamentary group in a motion to dissolve parliament, and concluded that the government cannot become better by changing a minister or two, that it is spent, does not govern well, and should step down.

Crises can no longer be an alibi for politically unsuccessful action, Main Committee chair Marija Lugarić told the press.

The committee concluded that the government's anti-inflation measures are not enough as they do not take into account the aggression on Ukraine and the war's impact on inflation. 

SDP president Peđa Grbin said the party was proposing to index pensions either with salary or inflation growth and to abolish VAT on fuel excises.

He said it was time to start talking about a new economic model which would not rest solely on tourism.

Commenting on a drone which crashed in Zagreb on Thursday night, Grbin said something was not working security-wise nor in communication with the neighbours. Hungary should have notified us that the drone had crossed their territory, he added.

Grbin said he expected the prime minister to say clearly what went wrong and how he would prevent such things from happening again. If it happens again, the reaction should be much faster and more organised, and citizens should be informed better so that there is no panic, he added.

Grbin said he expected NATO to investigate the matter and say clearly why the information system failed.

"If the drone ended up in Croatia by accident, that's not good because the warning system failed, and if it was by accident, that's very, very bad because it means that not only Croatia but NATO, too, have somehow been dragged into the conflict," he added. 

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Grbin: Election Only Salvation for Croatia

ZAGREB, 19 Feb 2022 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin said on Saturday, in reference to the arrest of Minister Darko Horvat, that after more than 20 years a member of the government has been arrested, underscoring that the only thing that can save Croatia now is an election.

"Today, after more than 20 years, a member of the Croatian government has been arrested. A minister who is in office has been arrested for something that he did as a member of the government. Not just any minister, but the one who hasn't done anything to help the people in Zagreb and Banovina to reconstruct their houses. A minister to whom Andrej Plenković evidently owes something if he keeps him in the government after everything," Grbin told reporters.

He believes that this is the time to act promptly and that the situation needs to be resolved today already.

"How is it possible for a minister who is at the police and giving a statement to do anything his job requires in the days to come without any problems? Instead, we have an arrogant prime minister, we have a man with the manners of a dictator who is bothered because his excellent week has been ruined and someone disturbed him on Saturday morning," said Grbin.

He warned that to top it all the HDZ, "a party from which we have seen this before," is now trying to implicate the State Attorney's Office (DORH) and the judiciary in the whole story.

"That is diverting the focus, that is what Plenković tried to do today and we will not allow it. Next week already the Judiciary, Domestic Policy and National Security Committee will be convened. The HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) has to say whether it agrees for the committee to be convened and there DORH has to respond to all the questions put to it," added Grbin.

He added that he expects Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj Šipek to make a statement on this case, but not in a phone call or tete-a-tete with the prime minister, but before the legislature, media and citizens.

He believes that if Horvat will fall, the whole government should fall too and after that citizens will choose who they want to lead the country.

Horvat should not be allowed to continue in his office as a minister even if he is released from custory later today, he said. "This needs to end as soon as possible and this is Andrej Plenković's responsibility."

Commenting on the extension of the deadline to use EU funds for post-earthquake reconstruction, Grbin said Plenković "crawled in Brussels" to fix what Horvat "mucked up."

"This is the moment when all this has to end and it is left up to citizens to decide in which direction we should continue. If it's true that this case involves another minister, a deputy prime minister and a former minister, a state secretary and the director of a department... literally half the government is under investigation for committing crimes. Who can say at the moment that they are running this country?"

"We have a debate on a vote of no confidence in Minister Horvat (in the Sabor) on Wednesday. There is also the situation with (Economy) Minister Ćorić where documents exist, not just depositions, on his deep involvement in corruption, as a result of which all of us have dearer electricity bills," Grbin said.

As far as Plenković is concerned, it's business as usual, and if that's the case, then Croatia is no longer a state but a failed project, yet it has never been that and never will be, he concluded.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Grbin: Incompetent Government Should be Forced to Make People's Lives Easier

ZAGREB, 12 Feb 2022 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin said on Saturday that this incompetent government should be forced to do at least something to make people's lives easier in the present time of high inflation.

Speaking at a press conference in the southern coastal city of Split, Grbin said that the government should have acted four months ago rather than announce only yesterday measures that he did not expect would improve people's lives.

He acknowledged that the only thing the government had done then was cap fuel prices, which  increased again as soon as the prices were unfrozen.

Grbin said that fuel prices could only jump unless there were other measures, such as those proposed by the SDP, including the new method of VAT calculation for fuel, reduction of excise taxes, and floating excise taxes.

Speaking of the measures for combating inflation, he said that the government should show empathy and responsibility and change the present system. There are a lot of measures that can be taken, such as tax cuts on food and introducing an inflation allowance for pensioners, he added.

A s a long-term measures, the SDP proposes a change to the method of pension indexation to at least slightly improve life for pensioners and make their life more decent.

MP Branko Grčić said that the government was slow in responding to inflation and that it should change the method of VAT calculation for fuel and introduce an inflation allowance for pensioners because as many as 600,000 of them lived on the brink of poverty.

Commenting on a recent threat by Split's deputy mayor, Bojan Ivošević, to a Slobodna Dalmacija newspaper editor, Grbin said that in a country where the prime minister treats reporters arrogantly such behaviour has become normal rather than the exception. 

Grbin said that what Ivošević had done was unacceptable and should never happen. "A threat in itself is unacceptable, and making a threat just because an official is not satisfied with the way a newspaper writes about him is a step beyond that," Grbin said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

MP Peđa Grbin: "Obviously Even in Death We Cannot Be Equal, Yesterday We Saw Charade"

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin said on Thursday that the funeral of late Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić had shown that discrimination was present in Croatia and that all of us in Croatia obviously "cannot be equal even in death".

"I have heard today that an association was penalised for organising a protest rally, (...) why were they penalised when we heard yesterday that the virus is not a chapmion in long jump and that everything is fine and according to the rules. The prime minister discovered discrimination in the past ten or so days, but this yesterday showed that discrimination is here in Croatia, because obviously not even in death can all of us be equal," Grbin said.

The Opposition leader said that due to the anti-epidemic restrictions some families had had to say to their loved ones that they could not attend a funeral because there couldn't be more than 25 of them, and then yesterday all of us had seen the "charade".

"Everyone in Croatia, of course, must have the right to a civilised and dignified burial, but what took place yesterday wasn't that. If we have rules in the country, then those rules must apply to everyone, if the rules do not apply to everyone in the same way, then that is discrimination. And then it's something else, too, then it's making people idiots, and that must be said loud and clear," Grbin said.

"Yesterday, no one from the SDP was officially at the funeral because we thought it was not necessary. No one from the SDP was officially there because we think that it wasn't up to us to honour in that way a man we talked about until yesterday as bad, as problematic, as someone who destroyed the city of Zagreb. That would have been hypocritical, and I have no intention of being a hypocrite," Grbin said.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Grbin and Kolar to Vie in Runoff for SDP Leader

ZAGREB, Sept 27, 2020 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) vice-president Pedja Grbin and Krapina-Zagorje County head Zeljko Kolar will run for the post of SDP leader in a second round of intraparty elections, it was said on Saturday evening, after polling stations were closed and votes were counted.

After 70% of the ballots were counted, it was stated that Grbin received the support of 43% of SDP members who participated in the voting, and Kolar mustered 22%.

The other candidates running for the fourth SDP leader and successor to Davor Bernardic were SDP Split-Dalmatia County branch head Ranko Ostojic. who won 19%of the vote, Omisalj Mayor Mirela Ahmetovic (15.4%), Pula Social Democrat Marino Percan 0.5%.

Elections for the fourth SDP leader were held at 286 polling stations in six-party constituencies, and around 12,000 party members had the right to vote.

The second round is due to be held next Saturday. 

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Friday, 31 July 2020

Grbin Welcomes Deputy PMs' Gestures if They Are Forward-Looking

ZAGREB, July 31, 2020 - SDP vice president Pedja Grbin said on Friday he welcomed the announcement that Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic would attend the Operation Storm anniversary and Deputy PM Tomo Medved the Grubori commemoration if that would contribute to turning to the future and understanding that the war was over.

"Operation Storm was a victory in a war that was imposed on Croatia and everyone must accept that fact. Likewise, everyone must accept the fact that crimes were committed in the war and after Operation Storm and that some of those crimes were committed by the Croatian side," the MP told the press.

"If Milosevic's and Medved's gestures will contribute to understanding those facts and to accepting what General Ante Gotovina once said, that we must turn to the future and understand that the war is over, then I welcome those gestures," Grbin said.

"However, if this is just an empty agreement reached to keep the ruling coalition and the parliamentary majority together, then it is pointless. Until I see otherwise, I will believe that this is a well-meaning gesture and that it will contribute to the development of Croatian society, and in that context I welcome it," he added.