Thursday, 20 January 2022

Plenković: I Want No Involvement in Conflict Between Banožić and Milanović

ZAGREB, 20 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he wanted no involvement in the conflict between the Defence Ministry and the Office of the President, adding that President Zoran Milanović's letters to him were irrelevant but that the ministry and the president's office had to communicate.

"Sending me letters and then making them public via the media is absolutely unacceptable, I consider all of his letters totally irrelevant," Plenković told reporters after a government session.

Defence Minister Mario Banožić said earlier today that President Milanović should declassify documents on his travels and that he would then declassify the findings of an inspection in the office of the Chief of the General Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj.

The PM said that he had not read the report on the inspection in Hranj's office but would do so once he found the time.

"I do not consider it to be very important, the minister has stated his position on the matter," Plenković said.

As for Milanović's statement that he sees no possibility of cooperation with Banožić over the latter's campaign of strategic harassment, Plenković said that he could say the same about Milanović.

"I think the President of the Republic has been strategically harassing a huge portion of civil institutions, commentators, media, and political actors and we do not see any possibility of further cooperation, yet we are open to dialogue," the PM said.

Asked if he would demand that Banožić make the said report public, Plenković said that he would not because it was not Banožić who had classified the document.

Asked again why he would not, given that Banožić had been the one to request the inspection, the PM said that Banožić had not requested it for the public's sake but for his own sake.

"Banožić has said that he is satisfied with the report, if he is satisfied, it's fine with me," he added.

Asked if the Armed Forces could function if there was no communication between the Defence Ministry and the Office of the President, Plenković said that they had to communicate and that he recommended they do so.

He confirmed that he would soon forward agreements on the purchase of the Rafale multi-purpose fighter jets to the Office of the President.

"He has every right to it, he is the head of state. Whether there is room for cooperation is irrelevant, he has the right to see the agreements and he will obtain them, of course, they, too, are confidential."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

President Should Declassify His Own Requests, Defense Minister Says

ZAGREB, 20 Jan 2022 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić said on Wednesday he was satisfied with a report by the chief defense inspector "given the circumstances in which the inspection was conducted" and invited President Zoran Milanović to declassify his own requests.

Speaking to Jutarnji List daily, Banožić recalled: "a statement of 4 November 2021, at the start of the inspection, when President Milanović exerted gross pressure on the chief defense inspector by saying that 'they are saying in (power utility) HEP that the chief defense inspector's wife has been appointed director temporarily'."

Thereby, Banožić said, Milanović "showed what the chief inspector and his family will go through if the findings are not favorable to Milanović's interests."

Banožić was commenting on a letter Milanović sent Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in which he said that Banožić was hiding from the public the conclusions in which the Defence Inspectorate found that the military chief of staff did not break the law in implementing Banožić's decision on the holding of a swearing-in ceremony for conscripts and in providing support to the president's office in 2021.

The inspectorate's conclusions confirm that Banožić falsely accused the military leadership of breaking the law, thereby causing harm to the Armed Forces and Croatia, the president said, asking the prime minister to declassify the inspectorate's "restricted" findings.

Banožić said "the inspectorate's findings are classified" and asked the president to declassify "25 requests for transport by helicopter, 125 requests for various protocol matters, requests for using the Učka motor yacht, requests for the services of smaller military units, requests for using Armed Forces vehicles and drivers and for other forms of support which have been classified so that the public can have insight into the whole situation."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 6 January 2022

President Tells Defence Minister to Stop Lying

ZAGREB, 6 Jan 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Thursday that Defence Minister Mario Banožić should "stop lying" and commented on yesterday's online meeting with United States representatives on the possibility of equipping the Croatian Army with Bradley fighting vehicles.

Milanović said in a press release the meeting was convened by Banožić in order for Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to obtain detailed technical information from US representatives on the Bradleys "so that he could make a decision."

He noted that Plenković did not participate in the meeting due to other commitments, as Milanović said Banožić told the Americans.

He said the meeting was convened because of Plenković's ignorance, negligence, and lack of interest in the important job of equipping the army with fighting vehicles.

Milanović said Banožić's presentation at the meeting "embarrassed Croatia and its Armed Forces, portraying them as a flippant and irresponsible partner."

Speaking in a Croatian Television program later, after the meeting, Banožić said that Croatia was offered an M2A2 ODS version of the Bradley vehicle, which had not been requested.

Milanović said that was not true and that the Defence Ministry had requested an offer for that version, as confirmed by a ministry memo to the US Embassy of 8 April 2021.

"Minister, stop lying, stop deluding the public, stop embarrassing Croatia, and stop damaging the Croatian Armed Forces," the president said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

PM Reports on Meeting with Defense Minister on US Bradley M2A2 ODS Offer

ZAGREB, 3 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in a Twitter post on Monday that a meeting was held with Defense Minister Mario Banožić and representatives of the Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces regarding the US offer to equip the Croatian Army with the Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.

"Meeting with Minister Banožić and representatives of the Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces on the US government's offer to equip the Croatian Army with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. We want the investment to be good and sustainable in the long run for the Croatian Army," the PM said on Twitter on Monday afternoon.

The Defense Ministry said on its website on 28 December that Minister Banožić took part in a working meeting with PM Plenković and government members as well as Armed Forces officials focusing on further investment and modernization of the Croatian Army, with emphasis on the US Bradley M2A2 ODS offer.

The meeting underlined the government's commitment to strengthening all branches of the military for the sake of a successful response to defense and security challenges as well as achieving the highest security on land, at sea, and in the air.

Regarding the Bradley offer, the Defense Ministry and the General Staff were requested to provide additional explanations on the offer as a good long-term investment for the land forces, the Ministry said on 28 December.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Defence Minister Congratulates Croatian Military Academy on Its 30th Anniversary

ZAGREB, 20 Dec 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Monday congratulated the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Croatian Military Academy on its 30th anniversary, underscoring that it was a place of excellence in knowledge, where Croatian non-commissioned officers and officers were trained, the Ministry of Defence said in a press release.

"Generations after the Homeland War, experience and knowledge have been passed on in order to raise ambitious goals to a higher level. You are a place of excellence where even today, just like during the crucial years of creating and strengthening the Croatian Armed Forces, our non-commissioned officers and officers are trained and gain knowledge," the press release said.

The minister thanked the staff and students for leaving mediocrity far behind themselves in their work, accepting challenges, and achieving excellent results to the honor and pride of the Academy and Croatia.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Banožić: Defence Ministry Won't Cover for Incompetence of President's Office

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Monday responded to accusations from the president's office that soldiers were not receiving per diems, telling the head of the president's office and the president's defence advisor that the ministry "will not cover for their incompetence".

"Instead of holding unconvincing press conferences and shifting responsibility to others, the gentlemen from the Office of the President should be more responsible in spending their office's budget, so there would be no problems they had mentioned. While I am minister, the Ministry of Defence will not cover for their incompetence," Banožić wrote on Facebook.

The head of the president's office, Orsat Miljenić, and presidential defence adviser Dragan Lozančić said today that Banožić's abuse had spread to soldiers who supported the president because they had not received their per diems.

Miljenić said Banožić decided a month ago not to pay per diems to soldiers who supported President Zoran Milanović in any way, specifically soldiers who recently were lined up in Vukovar and carried wreaths in Škabrnja.

Miljenić said the military chief-of-staff warned the president's office about dozens of such cases in the past month. He added that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was notified but has taken no action.

Miljenić said this situation was unacceptable and hoped that Banožić would rescind his "unconstitutional and unlawful decision" and resume paying people what they had earned.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 29 November 2021

President's Office: Defence Minister's Abuse Has Spread to Soldiers

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - The head of the president's office, Orsat Miljenić, and presidential adviser Dragan Lozančić said on Monday that Defence Minister Mario Banožić's abuse had spread to soldiers who supported the president because they had not received their per diems.

Speaking to the press in the president's office, Miljenić said soldiers were doing their job honorably and that Banožić's abuse had spread to them following the "unlawful and sudden" retiring of Colonel Elvis Burčul and the harassment of the Chief of the General Staff, Admiral Robert Hranj.

Miljenić said Banožić decided a month ago not to pay per diems to soldiers who supported President Zoran Milanović in any way, specifically soldiers who recently were lined up in Vukovar and carried wreaths in Škabrnja.

Miljenić said the president's office had to react because Hranj warned them about dozens of such cases in the past month. He added that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was notified but has taken no action.

Miljenić said this situation was unacceptable and hoped that Banožić would rescind his "unconstitutional and unlawful decision" and resume paying people what they had earned.

The president's defence and national security adviser Lozančić said the people in question were active soldiers who were executing their tasks in line with annual plans.

He said that in a letter to the defence minister, Chief-Of-Staff Hranj told Banožić that he saw his decision in part as a continuation of his conduct so far, which Hranj said had all the elements of a strategic abuse of him as a person and a soldier which began when Banožić asked that Hranj resign, and continued in public criticisms and Defence Ministry press releases.

Under the decision in question, Armed Forces personnel are not allowed to support the president's office nor use Defence Ministry money. Also, the costs incurred while extending such support will not be paid.

In his letter, Hranj told Banožić that his decision obstructs and hampers the functioning of the Armed Forces in general, and in particular the Honorary and Protection Battalion, whose fundamental job is to support and protect the president.

Responding to questions from the press, Lozančić said that unless the minister changed his decision, the president had two choices, either not to execute his duty as commander in chief and represent the army at certain events or do so.

Miljenić said all people in possession of a valid command and travel order would get their money, and that he hoped there would be no lawsuits, but added that this was up to the minister.

He said the president was elected to also represent the army at home and abroad, which the minister "neither can nor has the right to restrict."

Miljenić said the president would continue to go where he had to and that under the constitution and the law, the minister was not authorized to withhold per diems for soldiers accompanying the president.

He added that it was Hranj who gave the commands based on which travel orders were issued, and noted that the commander in chief represents the Armed Forces and that they support him in doing so, in which the minister of defence has no say.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Minister Worried About Drugs in Military

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Wednesday expressed concern about narcotics in the military, saying they should be eradicated after a member of the special forces commands tested positive for cocaine.

"A clear instruction about zero tolerance has been given. Constant checks are being done. In that way, there are certain results every week and I am sure that we will eradicate this thing from the Croatian Army," the minister told Nova TV.

He said this was not a new problem and that no one wanted to tackle it seriously until now.

The latest case was discovered on Monday during extraordinary testing at Lora Naval Base in Split as part of the month of combating addiction.

It was not the first time that cocaine was discovered among members of the special forces command and Banožić said the whole situation worried him.

"As soon as you have any form of addiction in the environment, of course, it's not healthy and as such, it can't be part of the Croatian Army, as a moral message to society as well as for the development of Croatian soldiers in the system."

Earlier this month, police discovered five kilos of marijuana in the family house of an active serviceman in Dalmatia.

Asked if the drugs were for personal use or if this was something bigger, the minister said "there are certain conclusions based on the investigation done by the military criminal police that it's a larger quantity, just as the marijuana case we had last week. It seems there were five kilos. It suggests that it was not only for personal consumption."

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

PM Says Gov't Won't Step Down, No Early Election

ZAGREB, 14 Nov, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Sunday that protesting against vaccination was allowed and that everyone was entitled to their opinion, but added that the government would not step down and there would be no early election.

"We must respect each other. I haven't noticed that some of the protesters have asked us to meet with them. I heard they call us Mengele and want resignations. We are not like Mengele," he told the press, adding, "all we are doing is in the interest of citizens."

He said it was good that more than two million people in Croatia had been vaccinated and that foreigners were coming to Croatia to get vaccinated. "If people from Russia and Azerbaijan can invest in coming to Croatia to get vaccinated, then that shouldn't be a problem for our people."

Plenković thanked doctors and other health workers for their efforts in the treatment of COVID patients.

Croatia soon to have 10,000 COVID deaths

He said it was absurd that citizens were not using the opportunity to get vaccinated, bringing themselves into danger. He added that Croatia would soon have 10,000 COVID deaths.

"COVID certificates are no coercion to vaccination, just a filtre, a guarantee to be responsible towards those who have been vaccinated. Whether you will be alive and healthier or pretend that there is no coronavirus and perhaps die, that's a choice."

Plenković said he disagreed with claims that the media equated those speaking responsibly and those "talking nonsense," adding that he was not blaming the media and that in this crisis one should not eliminate all the good things that had been done and focus on omissions.

"The media are very important, common responsibility is important. You can write whatever you want, but we will say what we think is important for Croatian citizens," he said.

Croatia's COVID measures extremely balanced

Asked if Croatia would introduce restrictions like Austria, Plenković said every country was adjusting to the situation and respected those vaccinated, adding that it was understandable if someone could not get vaccinated for medical reasons.

"But to deny coronavirus, to say that there are some bad governments which have nothing better to do than limit citizens' freedoms, that's nonsense. Besides, our epidemiological measures have been extremely balanced."

Plenković said that despite the pandemic, people were receiving salaries, Croatia's credit rating was upgraded and growth was 9%. He added that people who refused to get vaccinated were affecting "healthcare, expenses and general social problems."

Deputy PM Boris Milošević to take part in Vukovar remembrance procession

The prime minister went on to say that he would take part in the Vukovar remembrance procession next week, as would Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milošević.

Asked to comment on President Zoran Milanović's claims yesterday that Defence Minister Mario Banožić was a "corrupt loony" and a case for the European Anti-Fraud Office, Plenković said he failed to see that. "Sometimes when people talk about people, they mostly talk about themselves."

He said he did not know when the conflict with Milanović over Banožić would end, adding that the government was dealing with important things. "Those with a lot of time and few powers deal with unimportant things so that the public could realise that they exist."

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Milanović: Plenković’s Cynicism Ruining Croatia Spiritually, Materially

ZAGREB, 13 Nov, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Saturday criticised Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's statement that he expected Milanović to release a letter from the military chief-of-staff, saying "such cynicism and contempt for the truth and rules is ruining Croatia spiritually and materially."

That letter is to his defence minister and is classified, Milanović told press. In the letter, he said, the military chief-of-staff "warns, asks, even tells (the minister) that he is harassing the entire system, that he is strategically mobbing him and jeopardising the system."

"That document is not secret, I can declassify and make it public tomorrow, but I wanted Plenković to read it first. I wrote in the letter that I ask him to pay special attention to it... One corrupt loony can cause enormous damage, which is currently happening," the president said, alluding to Defence Minister Mario Banožić.

Speaking of a scandal involving the transport of bishops by a Navy vessel, he said the military must not be used for that and would not be any more as long as he was president. Banožić brought the bishops into an awkward position, he added.

As for the prime minister's statement that the Navy would not be ruined because of that transport, Milanović asked him if the EU would be ruined because of the recently arrested former EU funds minister Gabrijela Žalac.

Such a cynical approach by the prime minister when someone commits an evident offence with criminal intent, that's favouring, that's protection, he said.

Banožić is a case for OLAF and should be removed at once

Milanović said that due to Banožić's arbitrariness, the soldiers escorting him were not receiving per diems. That's a crime, that's his revenge. We'll see how to legally stop such barbarous behaviour, he added. "Banožić is a case for OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) and should be removed at once."

The president reiterated that he would "sit at the table only with Plenković," not with Banožić.

Fitch rating upgrade expected

Commenting on the Fitch Ratings agency's upgrade of Croatia's credit rating, Milanović said it had been announced and expected due to Croatia's upcoming euro area entry.

Asked to comment on Žalac's arrest earlier this week, he wondered how Plenković would explain in Brussels "this fiasco with EU funds and the people he trusted. Because this is a fiasco. Such outrageous things rarely happen. This is indeed an outrage."

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Page 1 of 4

Search