Tuesday, 14 September 2021

European Parliament For Recognising Same-Sex Marriage Across EU

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - A majority of members of the European Parliament on Tuesday endorsed a draft resolution seeking the recognition of same-sex marriages and registered partnerships in all member states.

The draft was endorsed by 387 MEPs, 161 voted against and 123 abstained.

The resolution says same-sex spouses and partners should be treated equally as heterosexual ones, and that marriages and partnerships concluded in one EU member state should be recognised in all.

Of the Croatian MEPs, the draft was endorsed by Biljana Borzan, Predrag Matić and Tonino Picula of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Valter Flego of the Istrian Democratic Party.

Independent Mislav Kolakušić and conservative Ladislav Ilčić were against, while Sunčana Glavak, Karlo Ressler, Tomislav Sokol and Željana Zovko of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) abstained.

Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (Human Shield) did not vote as he was in Rome, and Romana Jerković (SDP) could not because of technical difficulties, but her office told Hina that she "supports this resolution."

Speaking to Hina, Matić said the adoption of the resolution was a "civilisational achievement", while Flego said it was unacceptable that LGBTIQ rights were being reduced instead of advanced in many countries, and that it was time to "finally give everyone equal rights."

Ilčić told Hina the resolution "is consciously trying to equate the legal status of same-sex couples in all member states, thus negating the right of the states to independently decide which unions they will recognise and which they won't."

"That would mean that the whole EU must follow the most liberal states to avoid alleged discrimination, which is absurd, contrary to the treaties and the subsidiarity principle," he said, adding that the LGBT lobby was exerting enormous pressure on the European institutions.

The resolution also calls on the European Commission to take action against Romania, Hungary and Poland for violating LGBTIQ rights and fundamental EU values.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 25 June 2021

European Parliament Adopts Kolakušić Report On Better Law Making

June 25th, 2021 - The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a report by Croatian MEP Mislav Kolakušić, which underlines that it is necessary to oversee better the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality in the adoption of EU policies and to introduce the EP's right to legislative initiative.

Presenting the "European Union regulatory fitness and subsidiarity and proportionality report on Better Law-Making covering the years 2017, 2018 and 2019," Kolakušić said the expansion of EU powers harmed the EU's democracy and functioning, and that it was necessary to protect better member states' possibility to make decisions and act without European institutions interfering whenever possible.

620 votes adopted the report in favor, 20 against, and 51 abstentions.

The EP stresses that acting at the EU level must be justified concerning possibilities available at a national, regional, or local level while respecting retroactive assessment, impact assessment, and consultation with stakeholders.

MEPs call for reviewing the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and introducing the EP's right to legislative initiative, given that it directly represents European citizens.

Kolakušić said the report contained an important call on MEPs, all member states, and EU citizens that the EU must change and that the power to move bills must be given to citizens and their representatives in the EP.

The resolution presents solutions to the weakened regulation of compliance with subsidiarity and proportionality principles.

MEPs push for better participation by national parliaments in legislative procedures at the EU level.

The EP calls for more open access to the drafting of legislative texts and enabling the independent moving of bills.

To have better regulations, it is essential that the European Parliament, Council, and Commission be included in more structured cooperation to assess the application and effectiveness of EU law to improve legislation, the resolution says.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 30 October 2020

MEP Kolakusic Thinks Covid is 'Ordinary Cold' and Wants EP to Reopen Its Doors

ZAGREB, October 30, 2020 - Croatian independent MEP Mislav Kolakusic has sent a letter to his colleagues in the European Parliament, complaining about the closure of the EU House due to the new COVID-19 outbreak claiming that COVID-19 is just a cold.

"Tens of millions of our citizens fought numerous wars to preserve democracy. Millions of our citizens sacrificed their lives for the freedom of speech and movement, and we are closing the doors of the Parliament due to the fear of a possible cold," Kolakusic said in his letter which was carried by the Euractiv web portal.

In his letter Kolakusic says that despite the "indisputable fact" that although he knows "several thousand people, I do not know one single person who has Covid-19."

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Croatia more than 45,000 people have been infected with coronavirus and 530 people have died.

For Kolakusic, this is just about a "cold", which by the way has cost the lives of more than one million people worldwide, says Euroactive.

Many MEPs are unhappy because they cannot temporarily access the European Parliament both in Brussels or Strasbourg.

The cause of their disgruntlement is a possible decision by the parliament's leaders to temporarily close the central attendance register throughout November. That means that MEPs will not receive daily allowances which amount to €323 for each day spent in Brussels or Strasbourg. They can receive that allowance only if they confirm their attendance in the central register.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Croatian President Will Debate Presidential Candidates Tomorrow

The incumbent Croatian president has accepted the HRT invitation to debate with the other presidential candidates. We have learned that HDZ candidate, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will nevertheless come face to face with the other presidential candidates in a debate, which is being coordinated by HRT (Croatian Radio Television) tomorrow night December 17, 2019 at 21:05h.

Grabar-Kitarović confirmed the news and stated that "each candidate who has collected 10 thousand signatures must have an equal opportunity and no one should be underestimated or favored before the first election round takes place."

All Eleven Croatian Candidates Expected to Attend

According to unofficial reports, all eleven presidential candidates are expected to show up at HRT studios on Tuesday at 21:05h. The debate will be televised on HRT1, as reported by Jutarnji List/Zadarski on December 16, 2019.

The eleven presidential candidates are:

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović – Current President | HDZ
Zoran Milanović – Former Prime Minister | SDP
Miroslav Škoro – Folk singer and former Croatian Parliament Representative | Independent
Mislav Kolakušić – Former Judge and EU Parliament Representative | Independent
Dario Juričan – Legal name: Milan Bandić. Filmmaker and Performance Artist | Independent
Dejan Kovač – Economist and Princeton graduate | HSLS
Dalija Orešković – Former Chair Conflicts of Interest Croatian Parliament | Independent
Ivan Pernar – Member of Croatian Parliament | Party of Ivan Pernar
Anto Đapić – Former Osijek Mayor and Former Member of Croatian Parliament | DESNO
Nedjeljko Babić – Regional party candidate | HSSČKŠ
Katarina Peović – Former member of Zagreb assembly | Workers’ Front

Milanović Sought Guarantee for President’s Appearance

Earlier on Monday, SDP presidential candidate Zoran Milanović spoke about the debate, saying that he had sent an official memo to HRT seeking a guarantee that the current president would appear - otherwise he would not participate.

“Presidential candidate Zoran Milanović will participate in the debate organized by HRT on December 17, 2019 if President of the Republic, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is running as a candidate and defending her term, agrees to participate in the debate. If HRT, as organizer of the debate, can confirm and guarantee the arrival of President Grabar-Kitarović, Zoran Milanović is also ready to participate. Please confirm that she will attend,” the memo reads.

“However, we are still waiting for HTV's response. The day before the much-publicized debate, they don't want to reveal on public television whether Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is coming to the debate? Give us an answer and let us know because we’ll continue to think that HTV is negotiating with the HDZ behind our backs. You're not going to bring Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović through the back door, in the dark, to Prisavlje (location of HRT headquarters), are you? We expect a response by 10am on Tuesday,” Milanović wrote on Facebook.

A response from Grabar-Kitarović's headquarters has arrived in the meantime.

"Finally, we were able to get a confirmation that the current president is coming to the debate. I'll respond. I know what I've been doing for the last 10 years and I know I'll be the target of criticism for those who want to celebrate through the night. My goal is for a normal Croatia and it starts on January 5th," read his Facebook update on December 16, 2019.

Earlier Debates Abandoned Due to President’s Non-participation

Zoran Milanović and Miroslav Škoro had refused to participate in debates among the four most popular candidates, which other TV stations had tried to coordinate, since Grabar-Kitarović chose not to participate. As she did not consent, planning for those debates failed. Mislav Kolakušić was the only candidate who had given his consent.

Be sure and watch the debate tomorrow December 17, 2019 on HRT1 at 21:05h. Follow our Politics page for updates on the 2019/2020 presidential elections.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Kolakušić Says His Platform Envisages Difficult Changes

ZAGREB, November 23, 2019 - Independent presidential candidate Mislav Kolakušić said in Zagreb on Saturday that he did not want the support of citizens who were not informed about his platform because the changes he advocated were difficult and meant fewer state administration employees but also higher wages.

"If you abolish municipalities, towns and ministries, the consequence is a loss of jobs," Kolakušić told reporters in downtown Zagreb where volunteers were collecting signatures of support for his presidential bid.

He said that those who wanted to vote for him had to know what would happen if he was elected president.

"If you want to fight corruption, that means that thousands of people will end up in prison," he said.

He described the economic situation in Croatia as disastrous, adding that citizens were wrong to believe that the state could keep borrowing forever.

Since 2007, Croatia has paid a debt of 207 billion kuna for pensions, while an additional 200 billion kuna will have to be paid in the next ten years, he said.

In July, the Austrian labour market will open for Croatians, which means that 100,000 to 200,000 Croatians will emigrate because they do not want to work for low wages, which will cause an even bigger gap in the pension system, he said, repeating that Croatia had to turn to job creation in the business sector.

"If we do not start opening factories and creating real jobs, we do not stand a chance, now is the time to change because in five years' time it will be too late," he said.

Kolakušić went on to say that the judiciary could not be independent if judges had low salaries but that for judges' salaries to go up, the number of judges had to be halved.

He believes that Croatia stopped being a parliamentary democracy in 2000 because amendments to the constitution adopted at the time enabled borrowing without the parliament making a decision to that effect.

Asked about the ongoing strike of primary and secondary school teachers, he said that he always supported civic action. "We have been plundered because citizens are passive, they must insist on their rights but whether there is money is a different matter," he said.

As for the course of the presidential campaign so far, he said that he had not heard a single sentence about matters vitally important to citizens because candidates kept talking about football clubs, the past, Communism and the Ustasha instead of about the economy and judiciary.

Among citizens who came to express their support to Kolakušić at the stand where volunteers were collecting signatures for his presidential bid was also Živi Zid president Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, who won almost 300,000 votes in the first round of the last presidential election.

Sinčić called on the citizens who had voted for him to now vote for Kolakušić.

Kolakušić said that if he was successful in the presidential election, he would also participate in parliamentary elections but with a citizens' slate and not a slate of political parties.

More news about Mislav Kolakušić can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Kolakušić: Croatians are Apolitical and Politically Illiterate

ZAGREB, November 10, 2019 - Presidential candidate Mislav Kolakušić said on Sunday that Croatians are apolitical and politically illiterate, and if he fails in the forthcoming presidential election, he will return to his duties as a member of the European Parliament.

"Unfortunately, most Croatian citizens have chosen to be apolitical and consider it a very good move. Well, my dear citizens, whether your family lives as they do in Norway or in the poorest African country is decided by politics and you decide who runs politics," Kolakušić, a former judge at the Zagreb Commercial Court, said in an interview with the N1 television channel.

"Croatians are absolutely politically illiterate," he said, but added that he continued to believe that important issues should be decided in referendums. He is confident, for example, that if there were a referendum on abolishing all taxes, citizens would be against.

He said he was in favour of a system that would allow holding several offices at once, adding that this would make it possible for the people to know who was responsible. He said that if the citizens voted for the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) or the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at the next parliamentary election, it would mean they did not want change.

"You can't change anything, because regardless of your will you lack these 76 votes in Parliament that decide. I didn't enter into politics to do something that makes no sense but to try to change things, and you can do that only if you have power. What business do I have in politics if the citizens choose one of the direct candidates of the HDZ or SDP in these elections? In that way they say they don't want change and why would I spoil their pleasure?" Kolakušić said.

"The people are always like their leader. Every nation decides on turning points in its development and is guided by its leader. The key is in Parliament, everything changes in Parliament," he added.

Kolakušić said that the Croatian parliamentary system is irreparable because political parties are financed from the state budget, which he would abolish and introduce financing through contributions by members. "If there are not enough interested members to join a club, then the club should not exist."

Commenting on other presidential candidates, he described Miroslav Škoro as a reserve candidate of the HDZ, while accusing the SDP's Zoran Milanović of being responsible for 300,000 citizens with blocked bank accounts during his premiership.

During the interview, Kolakušić criticised the media several times for poor-quality content and for turning into party mouthpieces rather than reporting facts.

"The media never asked me questions of vital importance to Croatia," he said, adding that he would attend presidential debates only if they were serious and focused on important issues.

Kolakušić said he had no intention of spending a penny on his election campaign, stressing that voters could find everything on the internet. "Our videos have got 55 million views via Facebook alone. If you want to inform yourself, there are places, and if you don't, then do as you please."

Kolakušić said he would sort out the lack of money for pensions by removing false pensioners, false war veterans and false disabled persons from the system. He believes that at least half of the veterans in the system are fake.

He also believes that counties should be abolished or reduced to only symbolic functions, that the government should have only ten ministries and not more than five agencies, and that the number of judges should be halved.

More news about presidential elections can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Presidential Hopeful Kolakušić Says Campaign Will Cost Him Nothing

ZAGREB, October 28, 2019 - Mislav Kolakušić, a Croatian member of the European Parliament who plans to stand in Croatia's presidential election in December, has said that his presidential campaign "will cost nothing".

Kolakušić, who was a guest in a talk show of the national television (HTV) on Sunday afternoon, said that the providing political parties and political options with funds from the state budget "creates an army of incompetent sinecurists".

He said that parties that could not fund themselves on their own or by membership are "incapable of anything".

Kolakušić, a judge-turned-politician who was perceived by media as the biggest surprise of the 26 May European elections in Croatia by winning a seat in the European Parliament, told the HTV that the team for his presidential campaign was the same as in the campaign for the Euro elections, and some of those activists used to be members of the anti-establishment party "Human Shield".

Kolakušić recalled that as soon as he had won a seat in the EP, he announced that he would run also for the president of Croatia.

Commenting on strikes, he said that industrial actions and protests were always welcome, however he did not think that the ongoing strike of teachers had any strength.

"If I were the prime minister now, I would immediately downsize the state administration and local authorities by 30%, which means the cutting of 100,000 jobs," he said in response to the question how he would ensure enough money for salaries and pensions.

He said that the state must be first put in order and that trade unions must be now patient.

Kolakušić added that he was for the reintroduction of a presidential system in Croatia, which used to be in place during the term of the first Croatian President Franjo Tuđman.

More news about presidential elections can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Croatian MEP Didn't Vote for von der Leyen Due to “German Supremacy”

ZAGREB, July 17, 2019 - Croatian member of the European Parliament, Mislav Kolakušić, said on Wednesday that he had not supported the election of German politician Ursula von der Leyen for the European Commission President due to "the Germany supremacy" in the European Union.

"Instead of the equality and the rule of law we have the supremacy of Germany. I could not accept that in addition to all other posts allotted to German representatives, the job of the EC president is also going to Germany," Kolakušić told Hina the day after von der Lyen was confirmed as the EC President.

Kolakušić said that Ursula von der Leyen had understood that this practice was unfair and that she therefore announced that she would take into account central and eastern European member-states when nominating candidates for the heads of the influential departments in the Commission.

The European Parliament on Tuesday elected German Christian Democrat Ursula von der Leyen president of the European Commission.

She received the votes of 383 MEPs, while 327 were against and 22 abstained. One ballot was invalid. In order to become the new Commission president, von der Leyen had to win at least 374 votes.

More news about European Parliament can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Court President Calls out Kolakušić for Sensationalist Claims about Corruption

ZAGREB, May 30, 2019 - The president of the Zagreb Commercial Court, Nino Radić, on Thursday dismissed claims by a former judge and recently elected member of the European Parliament, Mislav Kolakušić, who, he said, was continually and falsely accusing him on social networks and in media outlets of being a source of corruption in Croatia.

Radić rejected Kolakušić's claim that as court president he had personally allocated 7,113 cases to judges who were his yes-men.

Commenting on accusations of corruption in the allocation of cases at the Commercial Court, Radić said that they were false and "exceptionally sensationalist", as evidenced by a check that did not identify any breaches regarding the 7,113 cases.

He added that according to a Justice Ministry report, in the past three years only two, entirely legal cases of personally handing out files were identified at the Commercial Court - one was allocated following a request to that effect and the other case concerned the joining of two cases, for which Kolakušić personally signed the ruling.

Radić claims that Kolakšić is "aggressively publishing untruths in the media arena and disseminating them via social networks which he edits very professionally."

Radić believes that by constantly repeating lies, Kolakušić "influences public opinion and unfoundedly jeopardises and causes harm to the work of the Commercial Court and the court's president."

Radić notes that as the court's president, he is not allowed to make public appearances the way Kolakušić is and that unlike Kolakušić, he respects the rule of law in public communication, particularly the code of conduct of judges.

He adds that regardless of all this, he hopes that the MEP will protect Croatia's interests in the European Parliament conscientiously, with commitment and without saying lies.

More news about Mislav Kolakušić and his political career can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Kolakušić Says He Will Run for President, All Other Offices

ZAGREB, May 28, 2019 - Mislav Kolakušić, whose is perceived by media as the biggest surprise of the European elections in Croatia on Sunday by winning a seat in the European Parliament, said on Monday he was partially satisfied with the election results, adding that he would run in the next presidential election in Croatia.

Announcing his decision to run for president, Kolakušić called on citizens to go to the polls and thus prevent a minority rule over the majority.

"Those who stayed home and who don't think they need to do their civil duty have enabled this, so that they can whine later. People need to understand that without civil responsibility there can be no civil society," Kolakušić told reporters adding however that turnout was five percent higher than in the last European election five years ago.

He said that Croatia was ruled by "a minority of 30 percent", stressing that people need to develop civil awareness and go to the polls.

Asked how he planned to run the presidential election campaign and sit in the European Parliament, Kolakušić said he would attend parliamentary sessions but his office will prepare materials. He also said he would be an independent MEP as he did not want to take part in adopting decision that are mostly harmful for the Croatian people.

Reporters asked him to comment on his announcement that he would also be Croatia's minister of the interior, justice minister and prime minister, which political analysts say is a characteristic of authoritarian states. Kolakušić said this was nonsense. Adding that ministers were part of the executive government and that they were chosen by the prime minister, namely whoever holds 76 seats in the Croatian Parliament.

Kolakušić said Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands have a single ministry of justice and the police. Only Croatia has 26 ministries -- 20 real and 6 fake, Kolakušić said.

There is no a single minister in Croatia who can realise their plan without the support of 76 deputies, which is why I need to have 76 hands because I don't want to be summoning ministers and tell them what to do. I will so that myself. I will do the job of the prime minister on a voluntary basis and I will be receiving the salary of the Justice Minister, Kolakušić explained.

I expect to receive citizens' support and in order to change anything I will need 600,000 votes. People will have a do-over at the next presidential election, Kolakušić said.

Asked whether he would be prime minister or president, Kolakušić said in the event of early election, he would be prime minister first.

The ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the strongest opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) have won four seats each out of a total of 12 seats allotted for Croatia in the new European Parliament, according to the reports from the State Election Commission (DIP) after it counted ballots from 99.72% of polling stations when the voting for the EP ended in Croatia on Sunday evening

Thus, the HDZ candidates with the five-year MEP term will be Karlo Ressler, Dubravka Šuica, Tomislav Sokol and Željana Zovko, and the SDP will be represented by Biljana Borzan, Tonino Picula, Predrag Matić and Romana Jerković.

The Sovereigntists, the independent slate led by former judge Mislav Kolakušić, Živi Zid and the seven-party Amsterdam Coalition have each won one seat.

Other slates have not passed the election threshold of 5% of the vote.

More election news can be found in the Politics section.