Monday, 19 October 2020

President Says People are Medjimurje's Resource

ZAGREB, October 19, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic on Monday visited the Knowledge Centre and the Centrometal company in Medjimurje County, saying his impressions were excellent and that Medjimurje "has no special resources other than people."

Asked by the press what he would highlight, he said "work, organisation and resources... there are no special resources (here) other than people."

"This should be a model to everyone in Croatia," he added.

Centrometal is one of the leading manufacturers in Medjimurje, primarily manufacutring central heating boilers and solar systems, and it is mainly focused on renewables.

Its director Davor Zidaric said the company managed to weather this year's crisis without asking for assistance despite a three-week closure during the spring lockdown. The company was established in 1965 and employs 245 workers.

He said the company exported 70% of its products, not just to Europe, and that last year's revenue was HRK 270 million, "an increase of some 10%."

In Cakovec, President Milanovic also visited the Knowledge Centre and the first mechanical engineering research institution in northwestern Croatia, the Development and Educational Centre
for the Metal Industry - Metal Centre.

After visiting the Knowledge Centre, housed in a former barracks, he said these facilities were built for an empire more than a century ago, after which they were taken over by the former Yugoslavia and then Croatia which, he added, did not need them so they were given to local government.

"This is just one small example of how to approach ideas responsibly, diligently and constructively," he said, adding that good organisation in order to obtain European money was also necessary.

"This Knowledge Centre has a dozen institutions in which more than HRK 95 million has been invested in the last decade, mostly absorbed from European funds," county prefect Matija Posavec said, adding that more than 1,500 people work or study there.

"We have two research centres, the Medjimurje College, three Technology and Innovation Centre buildings, a student dormitory, development agencies and institutions, and software used by Porsche is also maunfactured here," he said.

(€1 = HRK 7.57)

Sunday, 27 September 2020

President Replies to Government's Call to Apologise, again Invites PM to Meeting

ZAGREB, Sept 27, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic has replied to the government's call for him to apologise to everyone he has insulted, saying ironically that he wants to apologise to those, notably government ministers, whom the prime minister and some of his associates exposed to undeserved loss of face.

"The President of the Republic apologises in good faith to all those, primarily ministers, whom the Prime Minister and some of his associates have exposed, through their indolence and inaction, to undeserved humiliation," Milanovic said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

The post appeared after on Saturday the government, in response to Milanovic's criticism of the work of investigative and judicial bodies in the JANAF scandal, and his statement that he would invite PM Andrej Plenkovic to a meeting on that topic said that "Milanovic should first apologise to all those he has been insulting, and then stablise."

Milanovic says in his post that he also apologises to citizens for ministers' luxury cars and undeclared assets.

"The President of the Republic also apologises to all citizens because the (Andrej Plenkovic) government for years included ministers who could not explain the origin of their luxury Mercedes cars or failed to declare their assets worth millions of kuna because they amassed such a fortune that they themselves were unable to count those assets. And all of that happened just because the Prime Minister did not want to know anything about it... regardless of how much others spoke or wrote about it, or warned him," Milanovic said.

Milanovic also attached to his post a link to an article by Deutsche Welle from 2014 under which the then German minister of the interior, a member of the CDU party, had information about an investigation against a member of parliament from the SPD party.

President again invites PM to a meeting 

Milanovic today again invited Plenkovic to a meeting at which they would discuss their opposing views on the functioning of state institutions in the context of the JANAF graft scandal.

"I once again invite the Prime Minister to a meeting, whenever it suits him. Lest it is forgotten," the president said in his Facebook post.

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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

National Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women Marked in Zagreb

ZAGREB, September 22, 2020 - The national day for the elimination of violence against women was marked on Tuesday outside the Zagreb Municipal Court where three women, killed at the court during divorce proceedings in 1999, were commemorated, with the message that any violence is unacceptable.

President Zoran Milanovic said at the commemoration that the tragedy at the Municipal Court would forever be "a stain and a painful reminder of what  happens when rage and hate get the better of a person, especially a man."

The responsibility of men is crucial, it starts in the family and at school, Milanovic said, adding that the situation had improved since he was a child as things that were once considered normal are no longer considered normal.

"We will never be like Denmark or Sweden, nor should we, but we must take care that boys are taught, while they are still little, that problems are not solved with fists and that they should channel their rage, energy and hormones into something acceptable and definitely non-violent," said the president.

Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said that the government worked continuously on amending the legal framework as well as on raising awareness of domestic violence and its prevention and of the need to send a message that it was unacceptable.

"We are all collectively and individually responsible and should not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to cases of domestic violence and violence against women and children," he stressed.

Supreme Court president Djuro Sessa, who also attended the commemoration, said that everyone witnessed violence on a daily basis, from verbal assaults to physical violence in public, and that people were starting to consider this as something normal, which was why it was up to judges not to accept it.

Zagreb Municipal Court president Jadranka Liovic Merkas warned that 20 years since the Municipal Court tragedy, despite a good legal framework, the number of women victims of violence was still high.

"By commemorating that tragedy every year we are trying to point to the problem of violence against women and send a message of zero tolerance to any form of violence," she said.

On September 22, 1999 Mato Oraskic killed Judge Ljiljana Hvalec, attorney Hajra Prohic, and his wife Gordana Oraskic and severely wounded court reporter Stanka Cvetkovic during his divorce proceedings.

Croatia observes September 22 as the national day for the elimination of violence against women in memory of the victims of that murder as well as all other women killed in violent crimes.


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Thursday, 10 September 2020

Milanovic in Principle for US Offer for Fighter Jets

ZAGREB, September 10, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic said on Thursday that the American offer for multi-purpose fighter jets should be given priority in principle, although price and expert judgement would ultimately be the decisive factors.

"American aircraft should be the first choice. I say that completely openly. There are many reasons for that -- they have donated a lot of equipment to us, they are still donating. I can say this publicly because I am not participating in the procurement," said Milanovic, asked about the best offer for fighter jets after four countries submitted their bids, and the United States are offering new F-16 Block 70 aircraft.

He underscored that both the price and what is obtained for it will be the decisive factors, and the decision would be made by experts and the government.

"If we have decided to get 12 fighter jets, let us get them. But we need 12 new jets or minimally used, not jets used in war, or in Syria," said Milanovic.

He also commented on the commission on the purchase of fighter aircraft, saying that some "characters" first decide on procurement and then, in the second phase, give their opinion on what they had previously decided.

"There is a functional dilemma here," said Milanovic. He especially pointed out the fact that the head of the Security-Intelligence Agency (SOA), Daniel Markic, and Croatian Army Chief of Staff Robert Hranj, who is, he said, a naval admiral, not an expert on aircraft, were members of the commission.

Milanovic said that, for the sake of peace, he would support the work of the commission on the procurement of the jets but that he and his associates would not partake in the decision-making "so they do not give an opinion on something they participated in."

"That would be a conflict of interest," Milanovic said.


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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Defence Minister Says That President's Visit To Albania Was Official

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020 - Defence Minister Mario Banozic said on Wednesday that according to his information President's visit to Albania was official and dismissed remarks that the ministry was keeping mum about the case.

"From what has been given to me in writing, it was an official trip, and the Conflict of Interest Commission will establish... if it was a private or an official visit," Banozic told the press in Split.

He said the media interpreted his recent statement about the president's visit to Albania flippantly. He explained that he was stating the rights which the president and Armed Forces commander in chief had in using military resources under the Defence Act.

Banozic said that in his statement he pointed to the amount that was paid because the expenses for the use of those resources were covered by the Defence Ministry, not the president's office and that he would always comment on that. He added that it was not true that the ministry was keeping quiet about it.

Banozic said the ministry did not participate in organizing the president's trips and that they were organized by the president's office in cooperation with its services.

He said the Armed Forces received a request, under the Defence Act, based on which he, as a minister, gave his consent for diplomatic or ceremonial purposes.

Banozic said he did not have the legal grounds not to consent to the use of the military and that any questions about this case should be put to the president's office.

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Wednesday, 20 May 2020

President Calls Parliamentary Election for July 5

ZAGREB, May 20, 2020 - The parliamentary election will be held on July 5, President Zoran Milanovic decided on Wednesday.

The election for the tenth parliament will be held on July 5 in Croatia and on July 4 and 5 abroad, in Croatia's diplomatic and consular offices.

The decision on the election takes effect on June 2. Parties and independent slates and candidates will then have 14 days to submit their slates to the State Election Commission (DIP), which then has 48 hours to publish the list of valid slates and candidates, whereby official electioneering begins.

Although Croatia has few new COVID-19 cases per day and a good epidemiological situation, the July election, because of the epidemic, will be held somewhat differently than all previous elections. DIP will define how the vote will take place together with the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

Voters will elect 151 MPs, of whom 140 in ten constituencies in Croatia, three will be elected by expatriates and eight by ethnic minorities.

The slates must have at least 40% of candidates of each sex, otherwise, they will be disqualified and those proposing them face an HRK 50,000 fine.

Campaign costs must not exceed HRK 1.5 million per constituency. Parties running in all ten constituencies can spend HRK 15 million.

This parliamentary election will be the third in which voters can give a preferential vote.

(€1 = HRK 7.55)

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