Monday, 18 February 2019

IDS's Flego to Head Amsterdam Coalition Slate in EP Elections

ZAGREB, February 18, 2019 - The head of Istria County and deputy leader of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) will be the top candidate on the Amsterdam Coalition slate in the European Parliament elections in May, the IDS decided at a convention in the northern coastal town of Poreč.

Flego will be the only candidate of the IDS on the liberal-left coalition's slate whose members believe could win one or two seats in the European Parliament.

"Our party today is characterised by the attributes of consistency and credibility, something that other political parties in this country definitely need," IDS leader Boris Miletić told reporters after the convention.

Noting that the Amsterdam Coalition was growing steadily not just in approval ratings but also because other liberal and left-leaning parties were joining it, Miletić said he was confident that the IDS would score yet another victory in the forthcoming elections.

Flego said: "In the last 15 years Istria has received about 1.3 billion kuna (175 million euro) from EU funds, and Istria's representative in Brussels has a very important part in this. In the next 100 days to the elections, we want to do all we can together that Istria has its representative in Brussels because it is in the European Parliament that nearly two-thirds of laws that directly affect the daily lives of each of us are made."

Asked to comment on the four years in office of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Miletić said that Grabar-Kitarović had inappropriately reduced her presidency to the level of showbusiness.

"After the European Parliament elections, we will definitely stand behind one candidate who will challenge the incumbent president. We will decide on this in June," Miletić said. He would not say whether that candidate would be former SDP prime minister Zoran Milanović.

The IDS also marked the 29th anniversary of its foundation.

More news on the Amsterdam Coalition can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Amsterdam Coalition Protests against Chauvinism, Hatred, Violence

ZAGREB, January 22, 2019 - The leaders of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) and the GLAS party, Boris Miletić and Anka Mrak Taritaš said in Pula on Monday that violence, chauvinism and hatred have become the Croatian brand, with Miletić saying that he was proud of fact that the Amsterdam Coalition (GLAS, HSS, IDS, HSU, PGS) were introducing Istrian values whose trademark is openness, multiculturalism and tolerance.

"In the past several weeks, alone we have witnessed a number of incidents, starting with Đakić's hideous Facebook post for which he was only slapped on the wrist, to Vukovar where children were being used in a cowardly fashion for political and national dispute along the ethnic line, all the way to incidents, insults and foul language in Parliament. This is the mirror of Croatia today. To call the national parliament a hen house is an insult to the hen house," Miletić told the press.

He accused the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of arrogance and the opposition MOST party of rudeness, adding that "this makes any decent person uncomfortable."

Anka Mrak Taritaš said that Istria was the last oasis of coexistence and tolerance in Croatia.

More news on the Amsterdam Coalition can be found in the politics section.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

PGS Joins Amsterdam Coalition for European Elections

ZAGREB, January 17, 2019 - The presidents of GLAS, the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS), the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) and the Primorje-Gorski Kotar Alliance (PGS) signed an agreement in Rijeka on Thursday on the PGS joining the Amsterdam Coalition.

PGS president Darijo Vasilić said what he and the others had in common was the fight for regional values, an open, modern and civil society and a civilised Croatia as well as against the growing radical right and increasingly strong populism in politics.

IDS president Boris Miletić said opinion polls showed that Amsterdam Coalition had become the strongest opposition force in Croatia. "We want an open and progressive Croatia, where people aren't afraid and emigrating, where work and enterprise are encouraged, not blocked."

GLAS president Anka Mrak Taritaš said the Croatian Pensioners Party (HSU) would join the coalition by the end of the month.

The Amsterdam Coalition firmly believes that it is necessary to oppose content- and idea-free radicalism and populism, and pushes for a new Europe and Croatia in it. We stand for liberal democracy and man's right to choose, work and live in a functioning country, she said.

She said the coalition would run for the European Parliament and that its candidates would be capable of representing Croatia's interests.

HSS president Krešo Beljak said the coalition's approval ratings would be even better once the HSU joined them.

More news on the Amsterdam Coalition can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

PM Andrej Plenković: Finance Minister Zdravko Marić Won't Leave Government

Amid rumours that the finance minister, Zdravko Marić, is set to step down from his position within the Croatian Government as soon as next month, PM Andrej Plenković has been having his refusal to outright deny the claims scrutinised, with some believing that this means Marić's departure was imminent and due to take place in early 2019. It seems however, that Marić isn't going anywhere.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of December, 2018, HDZ President and PM Andrej Plenković said on Saturday that Finance Minister Zdravko Maric isn't going to leave the government.

"There will be no departure," Plenković told journalists after the he was questioned about whether or not he'd talked to Marić himself about his alleged departure from the cabinet before the end of his mandate, as was being circulated by some media outlets.

The Prime Minister, upon being questioned about the criticisms of controversial SDSS President Milorad Pupovac regarding recent arrests in Vukovar, said that he didn't listen to that press conference, adding that the current government is not interfering with the work of the police or with the work of DORH in any manner whatsoever.

He pointed out, in order to quell people's natural suspicions that "there are no invisible political hands" holding any influence over this process.

When asked about the elections for the European Parliament, PM Andrej Plenković stated that the party would be "almost sure" on their own and that at least five mandates can be expected. "We'll win convincingly in those elections," he said briefly.

Concerning the controversy around the procurement of Israeli F-16 aircraft, Plenković reiterated that everything that the Republic of Croatia did in this process was done systematically, thoroughly, and in fine detail, and that open issues, if there are any, exist solely between Israel and the United States of America, and are nothing to do with Croatia or the part Croatia played in the process.

He confirmed that he visited Zagreb's mayor Milan Bandić was taken to hospital yesterday morning, adding that Bandić claims to be feeling good and that he believes that he will recover and be back on his feet quickly.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more on PM Andrej Plenković, the Croatian Government, and updates from both domestic and European politics in Croatia.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

GLAS, HSS and IDS to Run Together at European Parliament Elections

ZAGREB, December 8, 2018 - The Amsterdam coalition, comprising the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) and the Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS), formally exists as of Saturday after their leaders Krešo Beljak, Boris Miletić and Anka Mrak Taritaš signed a coalition agreement for next year's European Parliament elections

The leaders of the three parties said they were "very clearly standing against the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and those even further down on the right-wing scale."

The party slate has not yet been defined but the three party leaders believe that any of the 12 people on their slate would be able to represent Croatia's interests in the European Parliament.

The Amsterdam coalition said they were open to cooperation with other parties, stressing however that cooperation with the HDZ or Milan Bandić was out of the question.

For more on the European Parliament and Croatia, including the upcoming electrions, click here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

IDS Takes a Stand against Historical Revisionism in Croatia

ZAGREB, November 27, 2018 - Parliamentary deputies Giovanni Sponza and Tulio Demetlika of the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS) called on Monday on Croatian authorities to state a clear position on Nazism and Fascism based on the model of developed and law-based countries, noting that the authorities' response to the historical revisionism in Croatia "must be resolute and uncompromising because otherwise room is being created for a revision of the nature of the NDH (WWII Independent State of Croatia)."

"Last week Croatia was given a few stern lessons – two by the international community and one by its own human rights ombudswoman who in a courageous and comprehensive report underlined the responsibility of state institutions that are ignoring the glorification of Ustasha ideology in Croatia and failing to respond appropriately," Sponza told a news conference in the parliament.

"Representatives of state authorities did not utter a word about that report. That can be interpreted as currying favour with extremist groups," said Sponza.

In recent years, books have published, panel discussions organised, documentaries made and TV shows broadcast in which the NDH's criminal nature is negated or downplayed. "Except for the human rights ombudswoman, not a single state institution has responded to that. Those who do not condemn such phenomena are tacitly approving them," said Sponza.

He said the Austrian government had given another lesson to Croatia by amending a law to expand the list of banned symbols to include symbols of the Ustasha regime.

Sponza said the historical revisionism in Croatia was a serious social problem that required a decisive response by the state, including criminal sanctions. "The situation is getting out of hand by the day, and tolerance of Ustasha ideology is rising by the day at the expense of historical facts," Sponza said. He added that it was worrying that the latest surveys on political literacy in the final high school years showed that half of respondents were not sure if the NDH had been a fascist regime.

IDS member Tulio Demetlika said the government's response should be decisive and uncompromising because otherwise an atmosphere was being created that enabled the downplaying of horrible Ustasha crimes and creating room for a revision of the NDH's nature.

He said that Australia, too, had shown Croatia its position on the tolerance of Ustasha ideology by cancelling a visa to a man wearing Ustasha insignia. "In October 2017, the IDS forwarded to the parliament a bill proposing, on the model of developed European countries, a ban and proper sanctions against the promotion of the Nazi and Fascist regimes and consequently the Ustasha regime and all related symbols and slogans," Demetlika said, criticising Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) for not putting the bill on the parliament's agenda.

He said that he was confident this was so because the HDZ was trying to avoid a debate on that topic. "We want the bill to be put on the agenda immediately and we want Croatia to be like countries that have zero tolerance for Fascism," said Demetlika.

He said that if Jandroković did not put the IDS bill on the agenda soon, the IDS would seek support among MPs to collect more than 30 signatures to ensure that the item was put on the parliament's agenda within seven days.

Asked about disputes in the ruling coalition over the foster care bill, the IDS MPs said they welcomed the new bill that was designed to improve the quality of foster care and increase foster care allowance, but noted that they respected the principle of equality. "We believe that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, should enjoy the same status and possibility to exercise their rights," Sponza said.

Reporters also asked the IDS MPs to comment on Health Minister Milan Kujundžić's refusal to reveal the composition of the task force working on the abortion bill. "As regards legislative initiatives, including this one, there is a lack of professional discussion. Also, when professionals do make comments in a public discussion, which happens rarely, the government and the relevant ministries often ignore those comments, which is not good," said Sponza.

For more on the issue of historical revisionism in Croatia, click here.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Liberal Parties to Run Together for European Parliament

ZAGREB, October 28, 2018 - Leaders of GLAS, the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) and the Primorje‑Gorski Kotar Alliance (PGS) said on Sunday they were preparing for next spring's European Union elections, working on a programme for the European Parliament, and that they expected to have two MEPs again.

Speaking at a press conference in Opatija, GLAS president Anka Mrak Taritaš said the three parties making up the Amsterdam Coalition would present their platform and 12 candidates for the European Parliament in a month's time. She said they wanted to remind citizens of the importance of the EU elections and European values.

This is a watershed moment for the EU as the next elections will decide the direction it will take and we want Croatia to be represented by people advocating liberal democracy, Mrak Taritaš said, adding that they did not want populism.

IDS president Boris Miletić said European elections were important because the bulk of Croatian legislation depended on EU legislation. He asked if Hungary and Poland were indicative of Europe or if Europe was a project of peace and open borders.

PGS vice president Tea Mičić Badurina said Croatia was highly centralised, economically devastated and ideologically divided and that this was fertile ground for neoconservative and populist movements which could cause even greater damage. She said Croatian citizens needed someone who would guarantee a stable environment, security and their rights.

Asked if the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) would join the Amsterdam Coalition, Mrak-Taritaš said the HSS had decided to start negotiations to that end. Asked if this meant a coalition with the HSS for Croatia's next parliamentary election, she said they were now focused solely on the European elections.

As for other parties, Mrak Taritaš said they did not want a coalition with someone who was in a coalition with the ruling HDZ or with Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić. As for the Social Democratic Party (SDP), she said it seemed it would run in the European elections independently. She would not say if a coalition with the SDP was possible for Croatia's parliamentary election.

Asked if the Amsterdam Coalition would back former SDP leader Zoran Milanović if he decided to run for president, Mrak Taritaš said that, in case he did, he would reach out to them and that they would then decide by consensus.

HDZ has announced it would probably run for the European Parliament without its coalition partners.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Istrian MPs Demand Government Aid for Shipyards

ZAGREB, October 3, 2018 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) lawmaker Tulio Demetlika on Wednesday called on the government to amend the Law on Emergency Administration in Companies of Systemic Significance in the Republic of Croatia under a fast track procedure so that it could be applied to the Pula-based Uljanik shipyard and Rijeka's 3. Maj.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Opposition Warns about “Orbanisation" of Croatia

ZAGREB, September 18, 2018 - The Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) and the Civic-Liberal Alliance (GLAS) on Tuesday criticised the government and deputies of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in the European Parliament for voting against a resolution on Hungary.

Monday, 10 September 2018

MEP Jakovčić Reported to Anti-Fraud Office

ZAGREB, September 10, 2018 - The opposition Živi Zid party said on Monday it had reported the Istrian Democratic Party's (IDS) Member of the European Parliament Ivan Jakovčić to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) for receiving fees as a member of the Afarak company's supervisory board during his term as an MEP.

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