Saturday, 14 May 2022

Homeland Movement Says Authorities Disregard Tuđman's Role

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - An event was held in Vukovar on Saturday to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman, with speakers at the event saying that the current state leadership and Zagreb city authorities disregard the role of the late president.

Vukovar Mayor and Homeland Movement leader Ivan Penava, historian Josip Jurčević, the late Croatian president's advisor, former justice minister and member of parliament, Bosiljko Mišetić, and academician Josip Pečarić spoke about Tuđman at the event.

Jurčević said that the more "Tuđman is de-Tuđmanised, the greater symbolic importance he has."

Pečarić believes that the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) treats Tuđman the same way the state does, with his membership of HAZU being regularly passed over.

Penava said that if the Homeland Movement had been consulted on how Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary should be commemorated, celebrations would be taking place across the country.

"Institutions, kindergartens, schools, research and other institutions would be discussing Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary the whole day. Military aircraft would be flying over Zagreb in his honour, instead of Macron's, as seen a few weeks ago," said Penava.

Commenting on Tuđman's younger son Stjepan's failure to attend the Vukovar event, Penava said that due to disappointment with events surrounding the 100th anniversary of his father's birth, Stjepan Tuđman decided to stay in Zagreb and visit with his family Veliko Trgovišće, where his father was born, as well as attend Mass in Zagreb.

Penava said that the state leadership and the Zagreb city authorities' treatment of the Tuđman family was the best proof of the authorities' attitude toward Tuđmanism, sovereignism and to Croatia as created by Tuđman and defenders in 1991.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Plenković: Tuđman Played Crucial Role in Croatia's Efforts to Become Independent

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Prime Minister and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenković recalled on Saturday that the basic principle of the policy of the first Croatian president and the HDZ founder, Franjo Tuđman, was "always and everything for Croatia".

Addressing a scientific conference in Zagreb on the occasion of Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary, Plenković said that Tuđman had played the key role in Croatia's efforts to become an independent state.

Plenković highlighted the achievements of the first Croatian president in the establishment of democratic institutions, the defence of Croatia's territory against the Great Serbia aggression from 1991 to 1995 and against the Slobodan Milošević regime as well as Croatia's return to the community of European and world nations.

 All that makes Tuđman the greatest Croatian politician and statesman, said Plenković.

Condemning the undemocratic movements in the modern Croatian political history and strong advocacy of Croatians' right to sovereignty and modern democracy are some of Tuđman's most important ideas, Plenković told the gathering.

Tuđman's advocacy of the democratic right to express one's own opinion and his struggle for the Croatian cause exposed him to repression during the Communist  regime, Plenković recalled.

Plenković also recalled that 23 years had passed since Tuđman's death, 33 since the establishment of the HDZ party, 32 since the first democratic multiparty election, 30 years since Croatia's international recognition and the country's admission to the United Nations.

Tuđman's "Always and Everything for Croatia" should be a guiding principle to all of us  policymakers who work responsibly for the benefit of the Croatian people in the homeland and for the benefit of the Croats as an equal constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ethnic Croat minorities in the neighbouring countries, said Plenković, recalling Tuđman's commitment to permanent ties between Croatia and Croatian expatriate communities.

He praised the era of the first Croatian president as a period of Croatian national renaissance.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

HDZ Marks 100th Anniversary of Birth of First Croatian President And HDZ Founder

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - A delegation of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković laid a wreath and lit candles outside the house in Veliko Trgovišće, 40km north of Zagreb, where the first President of Croatia and founder of the HDZ, Franjo Tuđman, was born 100 years ago.

"I think that President Tuđman achieved all the goals he set out in his speech in the Croatian Parliament on 30 May 1990 after the first democratic election. It is up to us to improve them in new international circumstances and new economic circumstances in the face of global challenges. We should do all we can for the benefit of Croatian society and Croatian citizens," Plenković said, describing Tuđman as "a Croatian great and the biggest Croatian statesman in history."

Plenković said that Tuđman's political legacy is the obligation of all those who have won the trust of the Croatian people.  Thanking all Croatian defenders and citizens for supporting Tuđman in crucial times, he said that the situation in the 1990s was indeed difficult, given the military aggression by Serbia's Milošević regime, and required the courage and boldness of Croatian defenders as well as statesmanship and the wise leadership of the state.

The prime minister said that Croatia has been internationally recognised for 30 years now and has achieved all its strategic goals.

"It is a member of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. We have a democracy and developed institutions and are making continued progress on what was his goal and that is that we fight and work together to ensure a better life for every Croatian," Plenković said.

He also highlighted Croatia's care for the Croats abroad, saying that the great value of Tuđman's policy was to maintain ties between the Croats at home and abroad.

Presidential special adviser Mate Granić said that Tuđman had made historical moves that led to the creation of the modern Croatian state and pursued a policy that helped bring an end to the war in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and achieve the peaceful reintegration of Serb-occupied territories in Croatia.

Asked if Tuđman would have been pleased with present-day Croatia, Granić said: "From a strategic point of view, absolutely yes. This government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković runs a modern, sovereignist policy. This government was also among the first to recognise what would happen in Ukraine and supported Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their defence against the brutal and unprovoked Russian aggression. This government cares for the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unfortunately, after Tuđman's death, 15 years had to pass before a government came into power than put focus on the status of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

The HDZ delegation included Minister for Veterans' Affairs Tomo Medved, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, Health Minister Vili Beroš, Transport Minister Oleg Butković, Defence Minister Mario Banožić, Economy Minister Davor Filipović, Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek and former HDZ Secretary-General Ivan Jarnjak.

The HDZ delegation also laid a wreath at Tuđman's grave at Mirogoj Cemetery in Zagreb.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

HDZ: Initiative to Pardon Perković, Mustač Doesn't Come From Generals But Milanović

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - The initiative to pardon Yugoslav and then Croatian intelligence agents Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač did not come from Homeland War generals but President Zoran Milanović, the ruling HDZ party said on Tuesday.

A source close to the HDZ leadership said "Milanović's initiative unnecessarily divides society and brings unrest among generals and war veterans" as well as "double criteria" towards participants in the Homeland War and the veterans.

The source said a pardon had not been requested for even one veteran for his contribution to Croatia's defence, yet was now being requested for persons proven to have ordered crimes committed by the former Yugoslav secret police.

The source said the argument that Perković and Mustač should be released from prison because of their contribution to the creation of the Croatian state was not convincing because they were sentenced for crimes which had nothing to do with that.

On the contrary, the source said, those crimes were committed in the name of the services of the former Yugoslavia, "which negated Croatia's freedom and of which Croatia became independent in 1991."

The source said they agreed with Justice Minister Ivan Malenica's statement that Milanović would have a lot to explain if he decided that Perković and Mustač should be the only persons pardoned in his term.

That would be a precedent, the source said, adding that the two "are in the very early stage" of serving their sentences, that they were "sentenced for the gravest crimes" and that the verdict, which found them responsible for the murder of a Croatian dissident in Germany in 1983, was not disputed by anyone, even the generals in a letter requesting that they be pardoned.

HDZ official Mario Kapulica said the argument that without Perković there would have been neither Croatia nor its first president Franjo Tuđman was not new.

He said the initiative to have Perković and Mustač pardoned was "legally questionable and, at least for now, politically totally unclear," and that it was "probably" encouraged by Milanović.

Perković and Mustač, former Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence officials, were sentenced by a German court in August 2016 to life for assisting in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković in Germany in July 1983. Last week, their attorney Anto Nobilo announced pardon motions.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

HDZ Whip Says PM Has Absolute Support For Possible Government Reshuffle

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Ruling HDZ party whip Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković enjoyed the absolute support of the party's parliamentary group and its partners in the ruling coalition for a possible government reshuffle.

After a meeting of the ruling coalition, Bačić told reporters that a government reshuffle was not discussed except for the coalition partners having given, at the end of the meeting, their full support to the PM for a possible reshuffle and "its scope".

"It was stressed that the Prime Minister enjoys the full support of all coalition partners for a reshuffle, when he opts for it, and the extent of it," said Bačić.

Asked about allegations in the Nacional weekly that eight HDZ MPs would vote against a reshuffle if Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak was to be replaced, Bačić said it was idle talk and that the HDZ party group "is absolutely unanimous."

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Jandroković: It's not time for political games but responsbile politics

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday that "it isn't time for political games," but resolute and responsible politics and that any possible government reshuffle would first be discussed within the ruling party's bodies.

"I expect that we will discuss the government's work, the Sabor's activities and topics that interest the public. We will see what the (party leader) will have to say," Jandroković said ahead of a meeting of the Croatian Democratic Union's (HDZ) presidency and national council scheduled for this afternoon in Karlovac.

He was responding to questions from Croatian reporters about a possible government reshuffle while attending a conference of EU parliament speakers in Slovenia.

Asked whether the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak should be replaced, Jandroković said that the "prime minister picks his team" and, as this refers to his closest associates, he will most certainly enjoy the party's support.

Asked about the other ministers, Jandroković said "they are probably doing their job."

Asked whether there were some HDZ MPs or others in the ruling coalition who could vote against a government reshuffle if Minister Tramišak were to be replaced, Jandroković said "these are serious times, very demanding, and they require big responsibility of politicians, bigger than when we do not have such crisis situations."

"The primary objective at the moment is political stability, a quality response to a series of security, socioeconomic and health issues, and this isn't a time for political games. This a time for serious and responsible politics," said Jandroković.

When it comes to media speculation about some HDZ MPs perhaps being opposed to a reshuffle, Jandroković said HDZ MPs are responsible people and will certainly think well about what to do and how.

"Do not expect HDZ MPs to act in a way that would go against what is important for Croatia," he underscored.

Jandroković, who, in public opinion, is considered to be the herald of change in the party, did not wish to answer whether it was time for the government to be refreshed and instead said that he would first say what he thinks to his party colleagues and then make that public.

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler Pays Visit to Boka Croats in Montenegro

February the 27th, 2022 - Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler (HDZ) has paid a visit to the ethnic Croats of neighbouring Montenegro, often referred to as the Boka Croats from the well known Boka Bay.

As Morski writes, Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler recently paid a two-day working visit to neighbouring Montenegro in the south, more precisely to the towns of Kotor and Tivat at the invitation of the Croatian Citizens' Initiative (HGI), which this year marks its twentieth anniversary.

Karlo Ressler met with the President of the Croatian Citizens' Initiative Adrijan Vuksanovic and the President of the Croatian National Council of Montenegro Zvonimir Dekovic, with whom he discussed the history and current position of ethnic Croats living in Montenegro. When spending time in the beautiful coastal town of Kotor, he met with the Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in Kotor, Jasminka Loncarevic, after which he visited the Cathedral of St. Tryphon, the historic cathedral of the Catholic Church in Kotor.

Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler also opened this year's celebration of the founding of the Croatian Citizens' Initiative with a lecture at the Josip Markovic Cultural Centre in Donja Lastva, presenting his work in the European Parliament (EP). On that occasion, he supported the protest note of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, which expressed concern over the request of the Municipality of Tivat that the institutions of the Croatian community be moved out of the House of Culture there.

''In the beautiful Bay of Kotor with our people, the culture and history of Boka are inconceivable without the Boka Croats, who have lived here for centuries, enriching this area and preserving our Croatian identity. We're closely following the current events across Montenegro and Croatia will at all times will support them and Montenegro's European commitment,'' Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler said during his visit to the country which numbers less than one million inhabitants.

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

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Despite Horvat Scandal, PM Plenkovic Manages to Avoid Snap Elections

February the 24th, 2022 - PM Plenkovic has had his hands full with the most recent scandal involving former Minister Darko Horvat, but he's managed to avoid any snap elections.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, the development of events and the latest reshuffles on the Croatian political scene and the increasingly serious military security crisis in which the moves of Russian President Vladimir Putin are of growing concern have been being followed with trepidation recently.

PM Plenkovic wanted to see Croatian People's Party (HNS) leader Stjepan Curaj placed in the position of Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property after Darko Horvat was arrested a few days ago. Curaj is also currently state secretary in the Ministry of Finance, but despite his resume, the idea didn't work with PM Plenkovic's coalition partners.

Stjepan Curaj is otherwise a lawyer and the fact that there are no references to his name that would make him particularly desirable for the leading position in the construction department has sparked heated debates over the Prime Minister's intention to position him in such an important position, just after the European Commission gave Croatia another year to use cash from the Solidarity Fund.

In addition, Curaj has been reproached for being in a wave of recent questions about the character of politicians and the use of benefits covered by the state budget and his name having emerged on that infamous list.

PM Plenkovic definitely wants to avoid any snap or early elections, but with the latest developments, he will probably not take the opportunity to "clean start" and introduce completely new, unblemished people from the profession. The question is still open as to what further consequences there will be for the functioning of the Government and other state bodies if he is forced to make changes in some other positions.

Whether he will be able to push his mandate right through to the end with this level of shaky credibility and whether there will be disruptions at lower levels in decision-making after all of this are some of the questions that can be heard from the political, analytical and even economic ranks. Unfortunately, all this is happening in the midst of strained relations and an increasingly serious crisis in which Russia is leading with the recognition of two separatist regions in Ukraine, and which will cause a wave which will inevitably spill over into the Croatian economy.

Not only will the likely sanctions against Russia, announced from Western countries against Russian banks and companies, again hamper trade, which last year exceeded 5 billion kuna, but the consequences will all be felt indirectly, through rising oil and gas prices that will close access Russian raw materials and their procurement in other markets. The new sanctions, which in the case of the EU should be similar to those put in place back in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea, will be felt through business with EU member states that have extensive trade with Russia, such as Germany, one of Croatia's most important foreign trade partners.

Therefore, a new global military and economic crisis is imminent, and the current proverbial earthquakes (thank God they're at least not real ones this time) we're experiencing due to rising electricity and gas prices and the threat of inflation will not be tackled until April the 1st. Let's hope that date carries none of its traditional meaning, either.

"We're live between unpredictable events, and predictability is a prerequisite for stability, which is essential for successful business," said Damir Zoric, director general of the Croatian Employers' Association.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

It's Important to Respect Presumption of Innocence, Minister Obuljen Koržinek

ZAGREB, 23 Feb 2022 - Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Wednesday she condemned any suspicion of a dishonourable act, wherever it came from, but that it was important to respect the presumption of innocence, notably regarding Deputy PM Boris Milošević and the allocation of incentives.

The USKOK anti-corruption office is accusing Milošević of abuse of office in the allocation of incentives to businesses alongside five other persons, including Darko Horvat, who was arrested on Saturday and relieved of duty as construction minister.

Speaking on Croatian Radio, Obuljen Koržinek said the matter was under investigation.

"It's important not to create hysteria, not to convict people before proceedings have been carried out because many people in high positions in Croatia have been accused and labelled, which lasted for years, only to be acquitted."

She said it was very important to respect judicial institutions and not to convict people before a verdict was delivered.

Opposition's only agenda is to topple the HDZ without arguments

Asked to comment on some opposition parties' demand for dissolving parliament and an early election, she said "the opposition's only agenda is the delusional and unfounded toppling of the (ruling) HDZ."

"How has it happened that all of a sudden the SDP, We Can! and Bridge agree on everything?" she said, adding that it is their only narrative.

"They should form a party together, act together and pretend they are on different political positions", she said, telling all three to consider their actions in the election they are demanding.

"They are praying to God that there is no election and that in two years they can try to work some more on their image and rating."

Obuljen Koržinek called the opposition's statements on the judiciary as mud-slinging and an unfounded stating of untruths. "A week ago they said the HDZ had its hooks in and controlled the judiciary and now, a week later, all of a sudden the whole judiciary is excellent, independent  and should be protected."

She said such inconsistency and spitting on everything was very bad for democracy in Croatia.

"Don't hit at institutions because tomorrow you will have to build them," she told the opposition, adding that the common goal of those in power and the opposition is to affirm politics as an activity in which one works for the common good.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Unofficial Source Claims Stjepan Curaj Could Take Darko Horvat's Place

February the 23rd, 2022 - An unofficial source has suggested that Darko Horvat's replacement could be Stjepan Curaj, but this is yet to be confirmed in any sense with any certainty.

The now former Minister Darko Horvat is being held in custody following his arrest for alleged corruption, about which we've written extensively since the situation occurred over the past few days. USKOK swooped in and as much as PM Andrej Plenkovic tried to calm things, people are rightly up in arms about yet another minister being investigated and arrested for the apparently age-old (alleged) crime of corruption.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the name of the new minister set to come and take Horvat's place is still not officially known, but as was unofficially confirmed by the Government for N1, it could be Stjepan Curaj, the head of the HNS (Hrvatska Narodna Stranka/Croatian People's Party).

Maybe someone else is still in the game with their eye on Darko Horvat's still warm chair, maybe those people could be still valid options, but according to unofficial sources from the Government, Stjepan Curaj is said to already be a member of the Banija/Banovina (post-earthquake) reconstruction staff, is entirely informed about the whole story, is very familiar with the details and the belief is that he would do his best in that business.

The party involved isn't one that you tend to hear of anywhere as much as the likes of HDZ or SDP, but despite that, it is a party that split in order to save the Government of Andrej Plenkovic back in the day, and they paid for that in the elections.

If the Prime Minister does end up deciding that Stjepan Curaj will be the new minister to take over from Horvat, he might be indebted to the Croatian People's Party which saved him in his last term when he expelled Most (Bridge) from the Government, and maybe he would actually seek to somehow reward the Croatian People's Party for their part in that sticky situation.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

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