Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Plenković Issues Message for World Press Freedom Day

ZAGREB, 3 May 2022 - The imperative of every democratic society is to provide journalists with conditions for unobstructed, safe and professional work, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

"Freedom of the press is the foundation of every democratic society in which it is imperative to provide journalists with conditions for unobstructed, safe and professional work," Plenković wrote on Twitter.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Plenković Accuses Milanović, Bridge of Hypocritical Policy Towards Bosnia Croats

ZAGREB, 3 May 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday evening that President Zoran Milanović and his "supporters" from the Bridge party were pursuing a hypocritical policy aimed at doing harm to the government and to the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Plenković said that Milanović's proposal that members of the Croatian parliament should vote against the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO was perfidious.

"He (Milanović) has not said that he will block their accession. He has disseminated a perfidious, even worse claim. It was him who said that he would call MPs traitors and he insisted that the Parliament should block (their accession)," Plenković said explaining "the perfidious situation" created by Milanović.

The PM elaborated that this political game was aimed at destabilising Croatia's institutions, the government, and doing harm to the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He also noted that as far as he could see, only Milanović was against Sweden's and Finland's membership of the alliance, while nobody else in NATO supported such idea.

"Such attitude against NATO's expansion is a pro-Russian stance. He is the only one who advocates that. Only those who advocate pro-Russian views can be satisfied with such attitude," Plenković said, recalling Milanović's criticism of Ukraine.

Plenković noted that Milanović's pro-Russian position does harm to Croatia in international circles and also to the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As for the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plenković said that the election system in that country was bad not only for the Croats but also for the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia's government believes that the election law must be amended, he added.

The government works on that consistently, it holds talks with the Bosniaks, the Croats and partners in the international community on that topic, Plenković added.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Croatian PM says Holocaust Victims Must Not be Forgotten

ZAGREB, 28 April 2022 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković issued a message on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, on Thursday.

"On the occasion of Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day we show our respect for the victims of the Holocaust and the Ustasha regime. We are not forgetting, we must not forget," Plenković said in a Twitter post.

"By promoting a culture of remembrance we are building a future in which tolerance and respect will be the foundation of peace," the PM said.


For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Parliamentary Committees Support Piletić As New Labour Minister

ZAGREB, 28 April 2022 - Three parliamentary committees on Thursday supported by majority vote Marin Piletić as the new minister of labour, pension system, family and social policy.

At a joint session of the family, youth and sport committee, the labour, pension system and social partnership committee, and the health and social welfare committee, Piletić said the priorities included the government's strategic plan goals, 100,000 new jobs by 2024, a 70% employment rate, unemployment below 5% and youth unemployment below 10%.

The goals include an average net salary of HRK 7,600, a minimum wage of HRK 4,250, 10% higher pensions, increasing the minimum guaranteed allowance to HRK 1,500 as well as accommodation capacity for older people.

"There is enough time until the end of the term to achieve that," he said.

Presenting Piletić to the committees at the start of the session, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković dismissed claims that many people refused the position of minister. "If you find someone I asked to be in Marin's place before I asked him, I'll resign at once."

The committees' opposition members asked Piletić about solving problems in social welfare, providing for older people, pension funds, fostering, and pension indexation.

"It would be totally irresponsible to promise higher pensions as of Monday or by the end of the year," he told Sabina Glasovac of the Social Democratic Party about indexing pensions with real price rises, adding that it is necessary to discuss the possibilities with the minister of finance.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Parliament's Constitution Committee Supports Šimpraga As Deputy PM

ZAGREB, 28 April 2022 - The parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System on Thursday supported by majority vote Anja Šimpraga for deputy prime minister, amidst criticism from the right and praises from the left, which nonetheless withdrew its support.

Šimpraga, an MP of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), received seven votes for and three against.

It is expected that the parliamentary majority will support her tomorrow as deputy PM for social activities and human rights.

The committee's right-wing members called her out for not respecting the fact of the Serbian military aggression on Croatia or the legitimate 1995 Operation Storm.

Left-wing members praised her personally and her work so far, but would not support her, saying this vote was not about her but the Andrej Plenković cabinet.

Presenting her to the committee, Plenković said he expected her to contribute to human and minority rights and to hate speech prevention in line with the government's concept.

Šimpraga said she would deal with the most vulnerable social issues, such as human and minority rights, gender equality, the rights of the LGBT community, Roma and all other vulnerable groups, as well as with the aftermath of the 2020 earthquakes.

Šimpraga said she would work in the spirit of her predecessor Boris Milošević, "who brought peace", continuing to build inter-ethnic confidence and inclusion.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Milanović Calls on HDZ to React to Plenković's UDBA-style Methods

ZAGREB, 26 April 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday once again accused the PM of using methods of Yugoslav-era secret service UDBA in calling out generals for supporting a request that he pardon two former intelligence officers, and called on HDZ members to react or they would be his accomplices.

Speaking to the press, Milanović reiterated that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was "a protege of the communist regime" and that he had labelled the Homeland War generals supporting the pardon of former senior Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence officers Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač as "UDBA poodles", and said that he was a "perfidious, evil guy."

Milanović conceded that Plenković did not say literally "UDBA poodles", but remarked that by implying that the generals "were brought in by their ears to sign something" begged the question if they were "people with autonomy of will or just garbage."

Milanović said "UDBA fed (Plenković) when he was a child" because his mother worked in a military hospital and his father worked in the office of the director of Television Zagreb and taught communication studies during communism. A person with such parents "knew he was protected by UDBA," he added.

Milanović said "only people who passed UDBA's school" could accuse Homeland War generals "of being the promoters and protectors of UDBA officers."

He called on members of the ruling HDZ to oppose this and to realise that they were led by people using UDBA-style methods "who stop at nothing... to stay in power."

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Plenković and Jandroković Extend Best Wishes For Orthodox Easter

ZAGREB, 23 April 2022- Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković issued messages on Saturday offering their best wishes to the Christian Orthodox faithful who celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar.

"May Easter, a symbol of hope, peace and faith, be an inspiration and encouragement to you in overcoming the challenges and tests that lie ahead," the prime minister said in his message, noting that this oldest Christian holiday is a reminder of the universal human values of kindness, solidarity and tolerance.

"May the spirit of this great holiday further strengthen us in our efforts to make the community that we live in an even better place for all its citizens. On behalf of the government and on my own behalf, I wish you an abundance of good health, joy and peace and that you spend this holiday among your families and loved ones," Plenković said.

Jandroković said that the Easter message of hope and peace, at the present time of uncertainty, divisions and the war in Ukraine, promotes solidarity, charity, mutual understanding and respect for the differences among people..

"The atmosphere of Easter fills us with joy and love and inspires us through the strength of faith to celebrate the victory of life over death and of light over darkness. (...) This greatest Christian holiday invites us to find in ourselves the strength of forgiveness and sympathy and to lend a hand of support to those in need," Jandroković wrote.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Pensioners' Associations Demand 10% Pension Rise

ZAGREB, 21 April 2022 - Two pensioners' associations on Thursday asked the government to raise pensions by 10% and change the pension indexation model, due to the rise of inflation and food prices, for seniors shortchanged in the pension reform.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, they say that in February the average pension was 35.5% of the average pay, which puts Croatia at the bottom of the EU. Last year two in three pensions were below the poverty live at just over HRK 2,900.

Since the rise of inflation and food prices poses an additional blow to pensioners' low living standards, the associations expect the prime minister to take action to protect the oldest citizens.

The associations demand that by the end of June, pensions be raised by 10% for all those who retired after 1 January 1999, saying that this would total HRK 308 million a month for 1.14 million pensioners.

The associations don't want the 10% increase to be in force only until prices on the world market are put under control, but a lasting intervention for seniors whose pensions have been cut by 10% by the then pension reform.

They also demand that pensions up to HRK 2,000 be indexed by 120% and those from HRK 2,000 to 4,000 by 110%.

The government has announced that as of next month it will pay an energy allowance for seniors whose pensions are below HRK 4,000.

The associations welcome that, but propose that seniors whose pensions are below HRK 1,500 be entitled to a HRK 400 monthly energy voucher, to which only those receiving national and guaranteed minimum allowances are entitled.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

PM Says Croatia Will Provide Ukraine With Additional Assistance

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - Croatia will provide Ukraine with additional assistance, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wrote on his Twitter account after his telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday.

"I have expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people and condolences on all the victims of the Russian military aggression. Croatia will provide additional assistance to Ukraine," PM Plenković twitted. He did not specify what kind of help would be offered.

The Ukrainian president twitted that he had "informed about the course of countering Russian aggression. Discussed the importance of increasing sanctions pressure on Russia. Thanked for supporting Ukraine's movement to the European Union and for the important defensive assistance."

The Croatian PM also twitted that Zagreb strongly supported the intensification of process of bringing Ukraine closer to the EU, "in line with our declaration adopted in Kyiv in December 2021," when the two countries signed the joint declaration on Ukraine's European perspective.

Earlier on Monday, Zelenskyy handed to the EU envoy the completed questionnaire which will form a starting point for the European Union to decide on membership for Kyiv.

During the ceremony at which he formally submitted the completed questionnaire on European Union membership,  the Ukrainian president said he believed this step would lead to his country gaining candidate status within weeks.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Minister Says President Would Set Precedent by Pardoning Mustač, Perković

ZAGREB, 16 April 2022 - Justice Minister Ivan Malenica said on Saturday that President Zoran Milanović would set a precedent if he pardoned Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustač because, since taking office, he had not responded to the 274 pardon applications sent him by the ministry.

Speaking to Hina, Malenica said that in a little over two years the ministry had sent 274 pardon applications to the President's Office, enclosing reports prepared by the ministry based on the Pardons Act.

Until now, the president has not exercised his constitutional power to pardon someone and if this happens now, it would be a precedent in Milanović's term, he added.

Malenica said that during his presidential campaign, Milanović said the pardon institute was a relict of the past which he would not use. "If this has happened now, it's up to President Milanović to explain his political decision to pardon someone."

Malenica went on to say that in taking over the sentences against Mustač and Perković, Croatian courts had acted in line with the law "because the proceedings were upheld at all levels of the judicial authority and the decisions are final."

"This is the very early stage of serving a prison sentence for the gravest crimes," he added.

Perković and Mustač, former Yugoslav and Croatian intelligence officials, were sentenced by a German court in August 2016 to life for assisting in the murder of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković in Germany in July 1983. On Tuesday, their attorney Anto Nobilo announced pardon motions.

Explaining the procedure, Malenica said the motion was submitted to the Justice Ministry, which requested from the prison and the relevant judge all relevant information for writing a report on the motion.

According to the media, Nobilo's motion is to be signed by retired generals Ante Gotovina, Ivan Čermak, Ljubo Ćesić Rojs, Pavao Miljavac, Davor Domazet Lošo, and Marinko Krešić, who has said he is considering withdrawing his signature, which general Krešimir Ćosić has already done.

The media have reported that the generals feel that Perković and Mustač deserve to be pardoned because of their contribution to the creation of the Croatian state and its defence.

Germany requested their extradition from Croatia as Croatia was entering the EU, which took place in July 2013, whereby Croatia assumed the obligation to execute the European Arrest Warrant.


After the warrant for them was issued, the Croatian parliament passed a law on judicial cooperation in criminal matters with EU member states, under which the EAW would not apply to crimes committed prior to 7 August 2002. This prevented the extradition of Perković, so the law was dubbed Lex Perković.

Despite that, Croatian courts extradited Perković and Mustač to Germany. Due to Lex Perković, as the then prime minister, Milanović suffered major political damage.

Under the Pardons Act, the president pardons persons convicted by Croatian courts or serving sentences in Croatia. The presidential pardon is not conditioned by the length of the sentence served.

For more, check out our politics section.

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