Saturday, 19 January 2019

Parliament Speaker Jandroković Worried about Incidents

ZAGREB, January 19, 2019 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Friday commented on this week's incident involving Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and MOST MP Nikola Grmoja, saying the prime minister's reaction, no matter how inappropriate, was a reaction to unacceptable accusations of high treason.

"We're not all the same. There's a reaction, there's a trigger, i.e. what the MOST MP said," Jandroković told reporters in Rugvica near Zagreb, inviting them to find out the roots of the commotion in parliament on Wednesday, i.e. who caused the incident by using inappropriate language.

He said Grmoja's accusations of high treason were serious and that he made them because Croatia was not blocking Serbia's European Union accession negotiations. "When you accuse someone of high treason, you have accused them of a serious crime," he said, adding that everyone must be accountable for their actions.

"Political dilettantism, populism and demagoguery in which one is calling for bringing Croatia into an international situation which would harm it, only someone who is politically rather stupid can do that or someone who understands nothing or is very ill-meaning and malicious," Jandroković said.

After a reporter noted that HDZ MPs had also accused the opposition of high treason in the past, he said those were isolated cases, whereas Grmoja did so intentionally. "They are deliberately causing tensions between the Croatian people and the Serb minority. It's planned. They are doing it to score cheap political points," he said, calling it a dirty political game.

Jandroković said Plenković did not try to assault Grmoja but wanted to explain to him that what he had said was unacceptable.

As for five demands which the Zagreb mayor forwarded to the government, he said he had not seen them. "We won't agree to any blackmail. Those who blackmail can't be part of the ruling coalition. If there is any blackmail, we will go to an early election."

Reporters asked Jandroković if there was a connection between a recent assault on a high school student in Vukovar who attends classes in the Serbian language and a press conference by mayor Ivan Penava and the publication of a video of Serb students who did not stand up as the Croatian national anthem was played. He said he could not talk about a connection before the investigation was over.

"I can't tell you what could have produced a certain effect, but I'd also like to ask whether it's OK that someone doesn't stand up during the Croatian anthem. We are talking about children here. They should be protected and children's right to privacy should be respected, but it would also be good to tell everyone in Croatia that they should stand up when the Croatian anthem is played because it's a sign of respect for the Croatian state and the Croatian people."

Jandroković pushed for a balanced approach to serious matters. "This is crossing the line of simple politics. This is encroaching upon fundamental freedoms, fundamental rights. Those freedoms and rights are being threatened and we must be very careful about what we say and how we say it."

More news on the Croatian Parliament can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

After Tensions in Parliament, Government and MOST Trade Accusations

ZAGREB, January 17, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he would not tolerate accusations about high treason, saying that deputies of the MOST party were continuously contributing to growing hate speech and that there was no scenario in which he would cooperate with them.

"Yesterday's debate in parliament resulted in a salvo of insults, lies, defamation and this time even slander, even accusations against the deputy prime minister and myself about high treason. This is a new formulation coined by a MOST MP. I believe this is absolutely unacceptable, this is the line that defines that we as politicians involved in a political struggle, in dialogue, can tolerate insults, lies and slander, but we cannot tolerate accusations of high treason," Plenković said at his cabinet meeting.

During a parliamentary debate on a report submitted by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković about his attendance at European Council meetings in 2018, Nikola Grmoja of the opposition MOST party said that Plenković and Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić were working in the interests of Serbia, which caused an uproar in the parliament chamber, prompting Speaker Gordan Jandroković to order a 10-minute break in a bid to defuse the situation.

During the break Grmoja told the press that Plenković had attempted to lunge at him, but was prevented by other MPs.

Plenković said at the cabinet meeting on Thursday that this was MOST's constant contribution to the spreading of hate speech, "a spiral of hatred that keeps spinning." "In my response I have clearly said that neither I as prime minister, nor this government or the ruling Croatian democratic Union (HDZ) party will tolerate the spreading of the kind of hatred that this party is spreading. We draw a line here. Under no circumstances will we cooperate with such political actors," Plenković said.

The political secretary of the MOST party, Nikola Grmoja, on Thursday commented on Wednesday's incident, saying that he would not take back a single word, on the contrary, he would further emphasise certain things.

MOST leader Božo Petrov said the prime minster had shown that he had a glass chin, while MP Miro Bulj said the prime minister acted like a bully. "Yesterday's incident in parliament during which the prime minister attempted to lunge at Grmoja and things almost became physical between the prime minister and an MP, tells us that all masks are off. The person who claims that it is his objective to 'de-dramatise' the events has made a drama like we haven't seen since 1990," Petrov told a news conference.

Petrov said he could understand if the prime minister was angry or nervous because "it is very difficult to explain why he and his government have enabled the opening of new negotiating chapters for Serbia, despite the fact that Serbia has not met benchmarks from Chapter 23."

"From all of this we can conclude that this government is working in the interests of Serbia and not in the interests of Croatia. Working in Croatia's interests would mean that former prison camp detainees would receive legal protection in Croatia and a possibility would be created for Serbia to pay out damages to Croatian detainees. This hasn't happened to this day," Petrov said, adding that yesterday's incident showed that the prime minister had a glass chin.

Grmoja said that, although Serbia had failed to meet benchmarks from Chapter 23 in its accession talks with the European Union, it had nevertheless opened new chapters. He accused Pejčinović Burić and Plenković of doing nothing to prevent such developments. He then reiterated several times that the Croatian prime minister and foreign minister were working in Serbia's interests.

"The truth is that the entire debate and questions were appropriate and I didn't get the answers to my questions," Grmoja told the press, adding he was standing by all his claims. "I will not back down an inch because this is high treason!" Grmoja said.

MP Bulj said that it was not true that Milorad Pupovac of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), who was present during Wednesday's incident in parliament, had tried to calm the situation down. On the contrary, the entire time he was saying 'You are provocateurs and you are spreading hatred,' Bulj said.

More news on the incident in the parliament can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

(VIDEO) Did Prime Minister Try to Assault Opposition MP?

ZAGREB, January 17, 2019 - During a parliamentary debate on a report submitted by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković about his attendance at European Council meetings in 2018, Nikola Grmoja of the opposition MOST party said that Plenković and Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić were working in the interests of Serbia, which caused an uproar in the parliament chamber, prompting Speaker Gordan Jandroković to order a 10-minute break in a bid to defuse the situation.

Grmoja said that although Serbia had failed to meet benchmarks from Chapter 23 in its accession talks with the European Union, it had nevertheless opened new chapters. He accused Pejčinović Burić and Plenković of doing nothing to prevent such developments. He then reiterated several times that the Croatian prime minister and foreign minister were working in Serbia's interests.

In his response, Plenković said: "Don't say that. Your look pathetic when you say that the foreign minister is working in the interests of Serbia. You can be creative, but don't be pathetic." The PM said that he would not allow the situation to turn into a spiral of recriminations that could end up in incidents.

After Plenković's response, Grmoja kept on saying that the prime minister was nervous, which caused clamour among lawmakers.

At that point, the parliament speaker said that a 10-minute break would ensue, urging MPs to stop trading insults. "You are making serious accusations against the prime minister, claiming that he works in the interests of another state. That is slander," Jandroković said addressing Grmoja.

During the break Grmoja told the commercial broadcaster N1 that Plenković had attempted to lunge at him, but was prevented by other MPs.

After the break, several MPs again proposed a new break, while Grmoja kept claiming that Plenković had tried to lunge at him during the previous break. "I do not know if he would have hit me but he wanted to come at me in his nervous state," Grmoja said.

Lawmakers Milorad Pupovac and Anka Mrak Taritaš called for an end to emotionally-charged debates in parliament.

The government press office on Wednesday dismissed Grmoja's claims about Plenković and FM Pejčinović Burić working in the interests of Serbia as unacceptable allegations. The government also denied the MOST MP's claim that Plenković wanted to lunge at him but was stopped by other MPs during a break in the parliament session.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković commented on his conflict with Nikola Grmoja. Plenković said that Grmoja's tirade against Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić and him, virtually accusing them of high treason, constituted hate speech and slander.

"If a person tells you in parliament that you have systematically been working in the interests of another country, in this specific case Serbia, then that is unacceptable. This crossed the line of what is normal in the Croatian parliament," the prime minister said.

He said he was going to ask Grmoja to explain who he meant was a traitor, but the MOST MP had left the chamber.

"We have witnessed a lot of insults, defamatory and slanderous statements, especially by several MOST MPs. But when a member of the Croatian parliament accuses the government of working in the interests of another country, of high treason, then we can say that the line of what can be called a political view or opinion has been crossed. That's too much and that's why I told him that his comments were pathetic," the prime minister said.

More news on the MOST party can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Former Interior Minister Orepić Leaves MOST

Vlaho Orepić is in the war of words with the MOST leadership.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Nikola Grmoja Bungee Jumps from Franjo Tudjman Bridge!

MOST's Nikola Grmoja has taken things to new heights, quite literally.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Grmoja and Dobroslavic Enter Second Round for Prefect!

With a difference of 20%, the two Nikolas enter the second round for Prefect.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Nikola Grmoja Talks Football, Golf, MOST, Elections and More

TCN meets MOST's Nikola Grmoja on March 23, 2017, to discuss a range of topics currently in the public interest. 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

MOST: HDZ and SDP Have Not Responded to Our Conditions

MOST wants the major parties to state their position on its conditions for postelection cooperation.

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