Friday, 25 November 2022

A Week in Croatian Politics - Politician Pay Rises, Schengen and Ukraine

November the 25th, 2022 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had everything from wage increases for politicians and state officials and saying an emphatic ''YES'' to training Ukrainian soldiers, to Austria changing its tune regarding Croatian Schengen accession and Milanovic claiming that it's actually America fighting with Russia through Ukraine.

The monthly wage earned by Plenkovic, his ministers and parliamentarians is set to go up

Much to the delight of every average Joe living and working in Croatia and struggling to make ends meet, Plenkovic and co are set to get a wage increase. 

You'll probably remember that last month, the government and the trade unions finally came to an agreement on a basic salary increase, meaning that the monthly salary will also increase for Plenkovic, Milanovic, Jandrokovic, government ministers and members of parliament, that is, for all officials. However, with the passing of this particular law, the President of the Constitutional Court will be taking home the highest official salary, and not President Zoran Milanovic.

With the amendments to the law that the government sent to the parliament recently, for which it is requesting adoption under an urgent procedure, the base rate for officials will be the same as that applied to civil servants, so all future increases, including this one now, will automatically apply to politicians as well.

One Ukrainian minister thanks Croatia for allowing Ukrainian soldiers to come and be trained to fight the Russians in Croatia

''Thanks, Plenkovic!'' tweets the minister...

You might recall the likes of President Zoran Milanovic among others being staunchly against the idea of training Ukrainian soldiers to fight against their invaders here in Croatia. Milanovic believed that Croatia's showcasing of unwavering support for Ukraine and providing help and safety for refugees was enough, and that anything else would be provocation of Putin and inviting the war to this country's doorstep. Many agreed with him. Many more found themselves surprised at agreeing with him.

Still, it seems that his case for disapproval fell on deaf ears as the Ukrainian Defence Minister, Oleksij Reznikov, thanked Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovi and Defense Minister Marij Banozic on Twitter after the government sent the decision on Croatia's participation in the military aid mission to Ukraine for approval by the parliament yesterday.

"The government of the Republic of Croatia approved the decision to train the Ukrainian army in Croatia. A modern, well-trained army with powerful partners will definitely defeat a pack of Russian murderers, robbers and rapists. Thank you Andrej Plenkovic and Mario Banozic for their support!" Reznikov tweeted.

Croatia's participation in the military aid mission to Ukraine includes the training of Ukrainian soldiers in Croatia, which isn't something many people are all too thrilled about. Banozic, however, seems to have allowed all logical opposition to this fly right over his head. ''What are they against? Are they against saving lives?'' he asked.

Zoran Milanovic claims that America is fighting a war against Russia... through Ukraine

If you're a follower of Croatian politics in any deeper capacity, you'll know that President Milanovic often comes out with some rather unusual things. He also never misses an opportunity to spit on HDZ, which for many makes him a popular character in at least one aspect. For others, his distasteful remarks cross the line a bit too often, and for others, well, they can't quite make head nor tail of him. He has recently come out with something quite strange.

The Day of the City of Zadar took place recently, which is celebrated at a formal session of the City Council, and Milanovic was there. As expected, he referred to the government's decision to train Ukrainian soldiers in Croatia which I mentioned above, and which he was firmly against. "This is personal terror and harassment by Plenkovic, it's just his desire to push some of his ideas," said Milanovic, as RTL reported at the time.

President Milanovic also said that he knows what is written in the Croatian Constitution because ''he wrote it''. He was referring to the statement of the government at that session that the training of Ukrainian soldiers is based on the Constitution and on the laws and international agreements according to which Ukraine is an allied country.

''Therefore,'' Milanovic added: "Ukraine, to its credit, is not an ally." "The Croatian Parliament is not responsible for making any decisions on the training of foreign soldiers in Croatia," he said. He called things as they were set up by the government a "Udbas sabotage", which, if you know who the ''Udbasi'' (the Yugoslav secret service) were and what they got up to, you'll realise is quite the statement.

"Now it will be seen who's Russia and who's for Ukraine. I'm not for anyone. I'm for Croatia,'' Milanovic said.

"There's a war going on there between America and Russia. Between Russia and Ukraine, I'm on the side of Ukraine, of course. But it's a war between America and Russia," he said. "We have to state that the Americans are waging a war against Russia through Ukrainian youths, we have to say that. When it comes to decisions that have a security and defense character, you have to consult with the president, and I say to the members of parliament: ''Don't be intimidated,'' he said.

New measures against inflation could come to be, and all hands are on deck for post-earthquake reconstruction (for the earthquake that occurred two years ago)

Plenkovic recently pointed out that the proposed state budget for next year will provide funds for the growth of both wages and pensions, increased funds for veterans and the army, and he also announced possible new measures to mitigate the impact of inflation, with the message that "there's power and space for that".

"We have the space and strength to do that, if there's a need, and considering the circumstances, our measures will be precise and comprehensive, and as we've done so far, we'll solve it and you'll be satisfied with what we do,'' said Plenkovic in response to Branko Grcic (SDP ) when asked what will happen at the end of March next year, when all previous measures are due to expire.

''We'll also reduce excise duties on heating oil and thereby provide additional assistance to people,'' announced the Prime Minister during the parliamentary debate on the 2023 budget, adding that ''the number of people at risk of poverty is continuously falling in Croatia and that figure is smaller than when we assumed responsibility.''

In his answers to the deputies, Plenković pointed out that the fight against corruption continues, that it is strong and brings results.

Regarding the post-earthquake reconstruction for the earthquakes which struck Zagreb in March 2020 and the Banovina area in December of that same year, which he was also asked about, Plenkovic said that the government is providing a lot of aid and that the reconstruction of houses is intensifying, that all departments are working on reconstruction and are in charge of spending the available funds.

Austria is now all for Croatia joining Schengen, or is it?

You may have read (or heard) about Austria taking a stance against Croatia joining the Schengen zone in January 2023, with talk of the country potentially going as far as to block entry. Now it seems that the tide has turned, or has it? Memories are short when it comes to Croatian politics.

Plenkovic recently received the Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, Karl Nehammer, at Banski dvori. This is Nehammer's first official visit to Croatia as chancellor.

"In the last thirty years or so, relations with Austria have been among the most extensive of the numerous countries with which Croatia cooperates since it was internationally recognised. Since the 1990s, Austria has been the second biggest investor in Croatia. This year, Croatia was visited by one and a half million Austrian tourists,'' said Plenkovic at the beginning of the press conference.

"Today we also discussed the most important topic ahead of this visit, which is the final two weeks before the decision on Croatian membership of the Schengen area. This was an opportunity to once again explain to the chancellor what Croatia has done from 2016 until today," Plenkovic said.

"We're currently discussing the expansion of Schengen, and we can see that Austria in particular has insufficient protection of its external borders. At the same time, we have a reduction in border protection within the EU itself, in our opinion it can't continue like that, so some measures will have to be taken,'' he said.

"When we talk about Schengen's expansion, and at the same time we criticise the plan that the European Commission should present with regard to these problems that we've presented, it is important to say that this doesn't apply to Croatia. Special votes will be cast for Croatia, as they will for both Bulgaria and Romania. We'll support Croatia's accession to the Schengen area, but we're going to be critical of the efforts of Bulgaria and Romania," added the Austrian chancellor.

The Austrian chancellor also said that it is necessary to change the system and strengthen the EU's external borders in order to make free movement within Schengen possible.

It's worth noting that Austrian Minister of the Interior, Gerhard Karner, caused great concern reently after he said that he was against the expansion of the Schengen area to include Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. Over the past few days, he has repeatedly said that he is against any Schengen expansion, which he said is something that simply isn't working, which can be seen from the increased number of asylum seekers arriving in Austria. That country registered the entry of around 100,000 migrants this year alone, of which 75,000 were not previously registered in any EU country at all.

Nehammer warned that his minister wanted to signal that "Schengen is clearly not working and that new measures are needed." The Council for Justice and Internal Affairs meets on December the 8th and 9th, when it will make the final decision on Croatia's entry into the Schengen area. Croatia's accession was previously supported by the European Commission and the European Parliament, so all fingers (and likely toes) are crossed.

For more on Croatian politics, make sure to follow our dedicated section and keep your eyes peeled for our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Banožić Announces Equipping Heavy Infantry Battalion with Bradleys

ZAGREB, 13 July 2022 - During his visit to the mechanized armored brigade (GOMBR) at the Vinkovci barracks on Wednesday, Defence Minister Mario Banožić said that the heavy infantry battalion will be equipped with Bradley fighting vehicles which will be maintained by the Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles company.

"We will carry out the reorganization and equipping of one mechanized battalion into a heavy infantry battalion that will be part of the medium infantry brigade," specified Banožić.

The minister recalled that at the beginning of this year the Government decided to accept a donation of 89 Bradley vehicles, to bring 62 vehicles into the operational condition and deliver equipment and services for 62 vehicles. He added that in the first period of the Long-term Development Plan (DPR ), the heavy infantry battalion will be equipped with Bradleys that will be maintained by the Đuro Đaković Special Vehicles company.

"In the new DPR, our priority is to invest in the barracks where you live and work. Since the beginning of this government's term, the Croatian Army is focused on the soldier and that is why we are constantly working to improve their living and working conditions and material rights,'' said Banožić.

Banožić mentioned the KFOR peace support operation in Kosovo, in which members from the GOMBR units are expected to participate in the next contingent, as well as NATO's enhanced vigilance activity in Hungary with up to 70 troops.

The minister pointed out that the soldier is the center of the defense system and that 200 soldiers were recently accepted into active military service.

The DPR of the Armed Forces of is a fundamental strategic document that projects the development of the capabilities of the Croatian Army until 2034. It will soon be put into procedure alongside Croatia's Defense Strategy. In addition to equipping the infantry with Bradley fighting vehicles, the acquisition and equipping of Patria armored fighting vehicles is planned.

"A short-range air defense system will be procured for the Croatian Army, followed by a medium-range one," Banožić underscored.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Defence Minister Promises Further Strengthening Of Army Capabilities

ZAGREB, 23 June 2022 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Thursday during a working visit to the Croatian Navy at the "Admiral Sveto Letica-Barba" barracks in Split commented on the upcoming Defence Strategy of the Republic of Croatia and Long-Term Development Plan of the Croatian Armed Forces.

Thanking the members of the Croatian Navy (HRM) for impeccably carrying out their duties, the defence minister said that the Croatian government would continue to pursue a policy of strengthening the capabilities of the Croatian Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence (MORH) said.

He recalled that many measures had been adopted with regard to the improvement of the material rights and living and working conditions of soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers, and that since 2016 the salaries of active military personnel had been rising continuously every year, MORH said.

Banožić said that amendments to the law regulating the service in the Croatian Army introduced the first, two-year fixed-term, contract for sailors and soldiers and after that the next contract as permanent one.

"The new solution provides job safety and the possibility of life planning with all the rights related to permanent employment. In 2020 and 2021, 70 sailors were employed in this way," the defence minister said.

He also underscored significant investments in the Croatian Armed Forces, such as the procurement of multi-purpose fighter jets and the Black Hawk helicopters for the Croatia Air Force, Bradley fighting vehicles for the Croatian Ground Army, and the construction of patrol vessels for the Croatian Navy.

Patrol vessels will improve the ability to monitor and protect the rights and interests of Croatia at sea, the minister said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Banožić Attends Defence and Security Fair in Paris

ZAGREB, 13 June 2022 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić said at the 27th edition of the Eurosatory fair in Paris on Monday that the Croatian military industry had become a respectable player on the world market, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Banožić and a Defence Ministry delegation visited the Eurosatory defence and security fair in Paris.

In addition to global manufacturers of military equipment and weapons, Banožić toured the exhibition spaces of Croatian defence companies taking part in this year's fair, together with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the press release reads.

They have confirmed once again that the Croatian defence industry has become a respectable player on the world market, the defence minister said, adding that the cooperation between domestic companies and the defence ministry has been going on since the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

Banožić noted that this branch of the Croatian economy had become a serious, competitive player on the world market and that Croatia and Croatian soldiers were known in the world for its products.

The Eurosatory fair, launched in 1967, is the leading international air and land defence and security exhibition. It is held every even-numbered year in June at the Paris Nord Villepinte exhibition centre, the Ministry said.

Meeting with Lecornu

The fair was opened by French minister of defence Sébastien Lecornu, with whom Banožić had a bilateral meeting.

The ministers spoke about the current situation caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and exchanged views on the current initiatives with the European Union and NATO.

They signed a letter of intent between the two ministries on cooperation within the European Defence Fund (EUF) and expressed satisfaction with strengthening bilateral defence cooperation, which has been significantly increasing since last year's signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Croatia and France, according to the press release.

Banožić and Lecornu exchanged views on the situation in Southeast Europe, notably in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the Croatian minister underscoring the importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina passing an election law that would enable legitimate representation of its constituent peoples in government and institutions.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Croatian Interior Minister Meets with UEFA President

ZAGREB, 13 June 20222 - Croatia's Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović spoke with European Football Federation (UEFA) President Aleksander Čeferin in Geneva on Monday about ways to improve safety at football matches.

Čeferin underscored the importance of cooperation between federations, clubs, and fans in order to exchange all information that contributes to the smooth organization of football matches during the preparation, planning, and implementation of security measures.

The aim is to encourage clubs to develop and maintain proactive and regular communication with fans and their representatives with the aim of forming partnerships and solving problems, the Ministry of the Interior said.

Prevention was identified as a key activity in combating hooliganism at sports competitions, and the European Court of Human Rights also supports member states in the fight against hooliganism and their efforts to combat violence at sports competitions.

The UEFA president welcomed the efforts of European national federations to combat the problems of modern football and offered full support in addressing problems.

Božinović presented the highlights of the security protocol for high-risk football matches, which is being prepared in cooperation between the Ministry, the Croatian Football Federation, clubs and fans. Its intention is to ensure the safety of spectators, competitors and other participants, as well as to protect citizens and property.

Božinović expressed satisfaction that the UEFA had chosen the southern Croatian Adriatic island of Hvar as the venue for the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in July this year.

The meeting with Čeferin was also attended by UEFA chief of football Zvonimir Boban and Croatian deputy police chief Damir Barić.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Banožić: I'll Pay Fine But Won't Return Apartment

ZAGREB, 25 May 2022 2022 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić told a press conference on Wednesday he respected the decision of the Conflict of Interest Commission, which fined him HRK 7,000 for granting himself an official apartment, but he does not want to return the apartment to the state property management company.

During a ceremony for the handover of the Black Hawk helicopters, donated by the United States, the Croatian defence minister recalled the period when he was the state assets minister. In September 2019, Banožić signed a decision granting himself an official 92-square-metre apartment in Gundulićeva Street in Zagreb. However, the minister reiterated that he did so in accordance with legal provisions.

"I will not move out of the apartment because the Commission proved what I had said during the proceedings. However, I respect the decision and I will pay the fine," he said.

He added that as a state official he was entitled to a three-room apartment of at least 60 square metres, but he did not choose it himself, the administration of the state property management company did.

I signed the decision just because Article 49 of the State Assets Management Act explicitly states that the state assets minister makes the decisions on apartments, Banožić said.

The defence minister criticised President Zoran Milanović for the overhaul of Croatian MiG fighter jets in Ukraine during his term as prime minister. He thinks there were many irregularities in that business deal and that the aircraft had false technical documentation.

We have solid evidence that the numbers on them were overwritten, that the documents were falsified and that is why a claim for damages should be filed, in accordance with the signed contracts, he said.

However, Banožić stressed "it's insane to talk about asking Ukraine to pay damages now given the situation the country is in", adding that the blame was not on the Ukrainian state but the company that did the overhaul of the aircraft.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Conflict of Interest Commission Finds Banožić Abused Entitlements

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - The Conflict of Interest Commission on Friday unanimously determined that Defence Minister Mario Banožić, who had served as the state assets minister, abused the entitlements when he adopted three decisions including one in which he granted himself an official apartment.

Banožić was fined HRK 7,000 for the breach.

Breaches were identified in three decisions he approved; the decision to grant himself a state-owned apartment of 30 square meters, then a decision on the right to accommodation in an apartment for state officials, and thirdly, granting himself an apartment in Gundulićeva Street in the center of Zagreb.

"When office-holders find themselves in situations when they should decide on matters concerning themselves, they cannot be included in the decision-making. Those situations need to be identified and office-holders need to be excluded from the decision-making and delegate that to another person," the said the commission. 

The commission examined the case after media reports in March this year which was followed by a complaint.

Banožić told the commission that he initially agreed to the smaller apartment because it was the only one available. Later he was informed by the State Real Estate Agency that the apartment in Gundulićeva Street would soon be available and based on the criteria of the 2013 regulation, he could occupy it.

The 2013 regulation notes that first category officials are eligible for a three-room apartment (60m2) and an additional 10m2 for every other family member. In his application for an apartment Banožić noted that his spouse and two children visited occasionally however, the commission said that his family was never registered in Zagreb.

The fact that they occasionally visited did not mean that he was eligible for a larger apartment, the commission's president Nataša Novaković explained.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Parl. Speaker Says it's not MPs' Job to Call for Somebody's Arrest

ZAGREB, 18 May 2022 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Wednesday that it is not up to MPs to call for somebody's arrest, dismissing criticism from the opposition that the prime minister was pressurising chief state attorney to discourage her from prosecuting ministers suspected of criminal offences.

"Should someone commit a criminal act and that is proven, they will be arrested," Jandroković told Urša Raukar Gamulin of the Green-Left Bloc after she said she hoped State Attorney General Zlata Hrvoj Šipek would withstand pressure and make arrests.

She was commenting on Defence Minister Mario Banožić, who she said had defrauded the state of millions of kuna and committed several offences, from abuse of office to influence-peddling.

"Government ministers are falling one after another under the charges of influence- peddling and abuse of office, while the prime minister is making threats and giving instructions to the state attorney general to not prosecute them," she said, stressing that in a civilised EU country this would make the prime minister and the entire government fall.

"The legislature is not the one to decide who will be arrested, you mentioned here people by name and spoke about arrests, that is not the way to do things. You do not have the right to call on state institutions to arrest people, that is not your job," Jandroković said.

Dalija Orešković (Centre/GLAS), too, commented on the Office of the State Attorney General, stressing that in a healthy state, the chief state prosecutor does not listen to political instructions over the phone.

"We do not have a state because we do not have independent institutions," she said.

Milorad Pupovac of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) warned of a speech by an MP who after habitually spreading intolerance towards the Serb Orthodox Church and its members said, "We have reduced the Serbs to a tolerable number."

"The session chairman issued no warning and did not distance himself from that statement," Pupovac said, adding that "the 20th-century reductions of the historical minorities - Hungarians, Austrians, Germans, Italians, Jews, Roma and Serbs - to tolerable numbers has made Croatia neither freer nor safer," the Serb MP said.

Marijan Pavliček (Croatian Sovereignists) criticised Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević for refusing to sponsor the Walk for Life event and refusing to have the organisers' flag displayed on city flagpoles, saying the mayor had privatised the city and marginalised those whose worldviews he did not share.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Croatian Government Reshuffle by May 30? As Many as 7 Names Are Mentioned

March 27, 2022 - Several sources from the ruling coalition claim that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has broken through and that a wider Croatian Government reshuffle will take place around May 30.

This began to be seriously considered after the arrest of Minister of Construction Darko Horvat, and especially after Uskok opened investigations against two other members of the Government: Minister of Labor and Pensions Josip Aladrović, who is suspected of favoring the employment of two people in 2018 and 2019 while being director of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, and Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milošević, who is suspected of mediating in "arranging" incentives for selected companies, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The idea of ​​a broader government reshuffle, according to sources, was terribly pushed by the latest affair that erupted after the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak publicly announced that she had received terrible threats but did not report them to the police until her public appearance, nor to her boss - the Prime Minister. They are convinced that Tramišak has already been de facto written off, especially after Prime Minister Andrej Plenković publicly said that "the whole situation with Minister Tramišak is extremely bizarre" and that "it is not yet completely clear to him".

''I will not make statements. The whole case was taken over by the police.'', was all that Minister Tramišak told Slobodna Dalmacija yesterday.

The idea has been ''cooked'' before

A source from the HDZ says that the story about the government's reshuffle was "cooking" even before the Tramišak case, that it will cover much wider than her, Aladrović and Milošević, and that it will take place between Easter (April 17) and Statehood Day (May 30).

''As for Minister Tramišak, it is clear that she no longer has any confidence. A more serious reconstruction is being considered, which would not only affect her and the members of the Government burdened with investigations (Aladrović and Milošević). There are executed people in the Government, such as the Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković, and the stay of the Minister of Health Vili Beroš is still uncertain.'', says the source. He claims that the case of the Minister of Defense, Mario Banožić, is particularly interesting. He says that he is terribly untalented and that almost no one in the party supports him (anymore).

''But it would be too bold to claim that he lost Plenković's trust because Banožić is completely loyal to him.'', he says.

In addition to the mentioned names, in the context of the Government reshuffle, sources from HDZ and the ruling coalition parties note that the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić could also leave the Government".

One of the sources claims that he received information that Tomo Medved (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Veterans' Affairs) could replace Mario Banožić as Minister of Defense.

''I think that would be a phenomenal move because the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, respects him terribly, especially because of Medved's role in the country's defense. Therefore, Milanović could no longer score easy goals, as he does now with Banožić. However, I think that Plenković will not give up Banožić, not (only) because of their good relationship, but because of Milanović who would declare such a move his victory (in a clash with the Government and Prime Minister Plenković).

Ministers are silent

Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved was not in the mood yesterday to discuss the government reshuffle.

We did not receive any comment on the information on the government reshuffle from the others mentioned in that context: Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic, Ministers Banožić, Aladrović, and Beroš, as well as from the Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković.

Some of Plenković's coalition partners are also strongly advocating a broader government reshuffle.

- I am sure that there will be a reconstruction. Without going into, of course, whether they (Aladrović and Milošević, n. A.) Are guilty or not, it is objective that the burden of these investigations puts the Prime Minister in a position to go into government reshuffle. This is not in dispute or questionable at all. In addition, there are still some open topics in the public and it can be assumed that some other ministerial positions may be the subject of government reshuffle - says the head of the Reformists  Radimir Cacic. 

HSLS President Dario Hrebak is also a supporter of the (wider) government reshuffle.

''HSLS will continue to support the ruling majority, but we should not run away from the problems we have. As a serious party, we believe that Croatia does not need new elections because of everything that is happening in the world, as well as in the domestic economy. But that does not mean that we will not advocate certain refreshments in the Government within the ruling majority. I think it would be good to do that. But the final decision on the reconstruction is made by the prime minister. He is the prime minister, he is forming the Government, and he will best assess whether he needs reconstruction. HSLS sees its role as a party that will not blackmail or condition anything, but propose. We will certainly suggest that we need to refresh the Government because we have two more years of mandate and we are simply coming to a political position that requires us to make certain changes. I would like to mention once again that Prime Minister Plenković has a much broader picture. He should suggest when, in what way, and whether a government reshuffle is needed. HSLS will continue to support the ruling majority.'', says Hrebak.

Consultations have not yet begun

A source from the HDZ, who is also convinced of the government's spring reshuffle, says "serious consultations on the subject in the party have not yet begun".

"We haven't come that far yet," he says.

Clearly, there are those in the HDZ who believe that the government reshuffle should not go much further than those burdened with investigations such as Aladrovic and Milosevic.

''Why would Minister Tramišak, for example, leave the Government as part of a package that includes persons who are the subject of Uskok investigations? Unlike them, she is "pure", she received threats because she did not want to please anyone. After all, we will discuss her position in the Government on Tuesday at a meeting of the HDZ leadership. While the Prime Minister finds it bizarre that Tramišak did not report the threats to the police before she spoke about them publicly, it is bizarre to me that he has a Minister of Defense who has not been able to evict the Nazi for more than two weeks, and it is bizarre to me that in Zagreb, more than two years after the earthquake, reconstruction has not yet begun'', says the interlocutor from the ruling party.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Defence Minister: Croatia, UK Committed to Preparation for Future Security Challenges

ZAGREB, 17 March 2022 - The Croatian government on Thursday adopted a conclusion that took note of an international act on the strategic partnership between the Croatian and UK ministries of defence, with Minister Mario Banožić saying it was part of joint preparations for future defence and security challenges.

Under the Conclusion and Implementation of International Treaties, the Act was signed in Zagreb on 1 February during a visit by the UK defence secretary and submitted to the Croatian government, the Defence Ministry said in a press release.

Minister Banožić said that the obligation of strategic partnership reflects Croatia's commitment to the defence and security partnership in support of a stronger Alliance and common interests and values.

"The document confirms the joint commitment to ensuring further equipment to respond to future defence and security challenges. Through the programme of bilateral action, we will continue to promote the interoperability of the Armed Forces and achieve defence and security objectives and a common vision of stronger strategic cooperation," said Banožić.

"As allies, we will additionally strengthen interoperability by implementing joint training and exercises, both bilaterally and within NATO," the minister said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

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