Tuesday, 17 March 2020

HDZ: Miro Kovač and Milijan Brkić Replaced from Positions in Parliament

ZAGREB, March 17, 2020 - The Presidency and the National Council of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Monday decided to replace Milijan Brkić as Parliament Deputy Speaker and Miro Kovač as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.

The decision was adopted with a consensus to replace Brkić and nominate Ante Sanader to fill his position and to later agree on the nomination of the person who is going to replace Miro Kovač, HDZ president Andrej Plenković said after the session of the HDZ Presidency and the National Council, the first one after Sunday's intraparty election

Plenković, who was re-elected president, answered in the negative when asked if this was an act of relation against "the losers", saying that the proposed measures were in accordance with the new party organisations and the new leadership.

Plenković won the 79% of the vote for the presidential position, and the election was organised in HDZ branches throughout the country and abroad in line with the one member-one vote principle.

His counter candidate Miro Kovac won 21% of the vote. The party's former deputy president, Brkić, who ran for a vice presidential position, was not elected.

Plenković also commented on the guidelines the European Commission published on Monday for member-countries with principles of integrated and efficient border management in the context of the coronavirus pandemic to protect human health and ensure the functioning of the single market. The guidelines will be presented at the government session on Tuesday.

"The Commission is trying to take measures that would prevent the spreading of the epidemics outside the EU members states, some countries are closing borders inside and what we must do is make a joint European response, while taking into account specific characteristics of each country," Plenković said.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

HDZ: Kovač Submits Over 17,000 Signatures in Leadership Bid

ZAGREB, February 29, 2020 - The candidate for the president of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, Miro Kovač, on Friday submitted more than 17,000 signatures supporting his bid, as well as signatures supporting candidates from his team for deputy president and vice-presidents.

The candidate for deputy president, Vukovar mayor Ivan Penava, submitted 16,718 signatures, while the candidates for vice-presidents Milijan Brkić, Tomislav Tolušić and Davor Ivo Stier submitted 16,262, 15,976 and 16,283 signatures respectively.

Kovač said that they had received very positive responses on the ground, adding that party members wanted change knowing that in this way the HDZ could not win the forthcoming parliamentary election, due in the autumn.

"The current HDZ leadership and the current president have no coalition potential. The people in my team have a profile that guarantees that we will be able to win the election for the Croatian parliament and form the next government," Kovac told the press.

He said that they were looking forward to a competition within the party, noting that their colleagues from the rival team, led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, were not their opponents but friends whom they wanted to "defeat in a sportsmanlike fashion."

Kovač said that there was place for all the people in the party and that he would not divide the party. He said he was looking forward to competing with the incumbent party president, Andrej Plenković.

Asked if he was satisfied with the number of signatures collected, given that the other team had collected considerably more, Kovač said that they did not want to exhaust themselves collecting signatures, noting that the number of signatures collected for the last presidential election was not decisive.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Kovač Says HDZ Turning into a Party Without a Flavour

ZAGREB, January 28, 2020 - A candidate for the president of the ruling HDZ party, Miro Kovač, said on Monday that the HDZ was turning into a party "without any flavour or smell", adding that he would change that and make the party victorious again.

In an interview with RTL television, Kovač said that the HDZ was in a difficult position after the defeat in the recent presidential election and that he would change that once he was elected its leader.

He said that he was "very relaxed" regarding his possible election as HDZ president and the election of Ivan Penava and Davor Ivo Stier his deputy and HDZ vice-president respectively.

Kovač said that he had a strong team and that "every HDZ member wishing for a change and wishing to help the HDZ become a party with a flavour and smell" was welcome.

He did not give a straightforward answer regarding President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's position in that team, saying only that they had not discussed it.

"Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's electoral defeat was not just her fault, she lost the elections also because of Plenković, who as the party's leader shares the responsibility for that," Kovac said.

He said that after the parliamentary elections, all parties except for the Social Democratic Party would be possible partners to the HDZ.

"The SDP is our main political rival, a grand coalition would be very bad for Croatian democracy," he said.

The HDZ leadership decided at a meeting last Friday to hold elections for the party president, deputy president and four vice-presidents on March 15.

The new leadership will be elected by direct ballot on a one-member-one-vote basis.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Kovač and Penava to Run for HDZ President and Deputy President

ZAGREB, January 26, 2020 - Members of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party Miro Kovač, Ivan Penava and Davor Ivo Stier confirmed on Saturday that they would run in the forthcoming party elections as a team, with Kovač and Penava contesting for the party's president and deputy president.

Kovač is an HDZ parliamentarian and served as the foreign minister in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković. Penava is the mayor of the city of Vukovar. Stier, a member of parliament and who served as the foreign minister after Kovač in the Andrej Plenković cabinet, will stand for a vice president of the party.

Addressing a news conference today in Zagreb, Kovač said that the HDZ needed now "a turnaround", and that this was the message of the electorate in the last two elections: the election for the European Parliament and the recent presidential election in which this ruling party "achieved unsatisfactory results".

He says the poor performance in the elections has been the outcome of the HDZ having "derailed from the tracks" which the HDZ founder Franjo Tuđman had laid down for the party.

Kovač said that nobody in the party had assumed the responsibility for the fact that the HDZ won only four seats in the EP. That situation then led to the HDZ's lack of success in the presidential elections, he added.

He also ruled out any grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

"We must not clash with our voters, members and sympathisers, or with people who have traditionally patriotic attitudes," he added.

Penava said that since the death of the first president and the HDZ founder Tuđman, the party had not had any efficient response to issues stemming from the Homeland War.

In this context he criticised coalitions with the HNS (Croatian People's Party) or the SDSS party representing the interests of ethnic Serbs rather than making partnership with "the parties that are naturally closer to us".

"We are the option for change," said Stier, who resigned as foreign minister in mid-2017 being unhappy that Prime Minister Plenković negotiated with the HNS to form a new parliamentary majority and government after the HDZ's cooperation with the MOST party failed. Stier had then expressed regret that the HDZ and MOST parted ways and had called then for new elections.

Stier said at today's news conference that the results of the two last elections were messages for the HDZ: one of them pertains to clientelism and the other to the political identity of the HDZ.

Stier sees the intra-party elections as the opportunity for the "confrontation of ideas" which can make the HDZ stronger.

He criticised the current HDZ leadership for having embarked on political confrontation with people pursuing conservative and sovereigntist policies.

The HDZ leadership decided at a meeting on Friday to hold elections for a president, a deputy president and four vice-presidents on March 15. The new leadership will be elected by direct ballot on a one-member-one-vote basis.

More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 21 October 2019

“For Progress in Relations with Croatia, Serbia needs Statesman Like Willy Brandt”

ZAGREB, October 21, 2019 - The chairman of the Croatian parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Miro Kovač of the ruling HDZ party, said on Sunday that for progress to be made in its relations with Croatia, Serbia needed a statesman like former German Chancellor Willy Brandt, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize almost 50 years ago.

On October 20, 1971, 25 years after World War II, Brandt was awarded for concrete initiatives designed to defuse tensions in relations between West Germany and the Soviet Union and Poland because he extended a hand of reconciliation between the peoples that had been enemies for a long time, Kovač wrote on social networks.

Even though a quarter of a century has passed since the aggression on Croatia and the Homeland War, war-related issues, such as the search for people gone missing and the payment of compensation to former inmates of Serb-run concentration camps, have still not been resolved, Kovac wrote.

The HDZ official believes that if issues stemming from Serbia's legacy from the 1990s war are not efficiently resolved, it will continue affecting relations between Croatia and Serbia for decades to come as well as affect the coexistence of the Croat majority and the Serb minority in Croatia, notably Vukovar.

"That's what history teaches us. If things from the past are not resolved, they always resurface somehow. For progress to be made in relations between Croatia and Serbia, we need as a partner a reputable statesman in Serbia, someone like Willy Brandt," Kovač said.

More on relation between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

“Croatia Has Profited from EU Membership”

ZAGREB, October 3, 2018 - Croatia has profited from its membership of the European Union, a discussion entitled "Five Years of Croatia's EU Membership" was told on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Prime Minister Removes His Party Opponents from HDZ Leadership

ZAGREB, June 5, 2018 - The Presidency and the National Council of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Monday evening with a majority vote relieved of duty Davor Ivo Stier and Miro Kovač, HDZ political and international secretaries, and appointed Lovro Kuščević and Davor Božinović to those posts.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Croatia Refuses to Open Border Issue with Bosnia

ZAGREB, February 19, 2018 - Opening the question of the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina would be like opening Pandora's Box and Bosnia and Herzegovina would fare far worse than Croatia, the Chairman of the Croatian Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Miro Kovač, said in Sarajevo on Monday.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Multi-Speed Europe: Croatia among Non-Core Members?

In a new, multi-speed Europe, Croatia would not be among the core countries.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Former Foreign Minister Kovač Confronts Official Version of Presidential US Trip

"It is a private visit with official contacts," answered Kovač, only to be appended by Klisović: "Private with taxpayers' money. I believe it was changed on the fly"

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