Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Živi Zid, SDSS Submit Candidates for European Parliament Elections

ZAGREB, April 9, 2019 – Živi Zid submitted its candidate slate for the European Parliament elections, headed by party secretary Tihomir Lukanić, to the State Election Commission (DIP) on Tuesday.

Lukanić said Živi Zid was ready in cooperation with same-minded political parties to redefine and redesign Europe.

"We want to bring optimism to this country and people and pull them out of the jaws of crony organisations which have been suffocating us and displacing us around the world for the past 30 years," Lukanić told the press.

Živi Zid President Ivan Vilibor Sinčić last month in Rome met the leaders of kindred European parties - Luigi di Maio from Italy's 5 Star Movement, Pawel Kukiz from the Polish party Kukiz 15 and Evangellos Tsiompanidis from Greece's AKKEL in an attempt to form a new group in the European Parliament.

Apart from Lukanić, the Živi Zid slate also includes Dolores Schauer, Dominik Vuletić, Goranka Dorotić, Branimir Bunjac, Nikolina Budimir, Ivana Delaš, Dinko Štimac, Igor Markešić, Maja Očko Šunjić, Zvonko Šegvić and Sinčić.

The Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) also submitted its slate for the European Parliament elections, headed by party president Milorad Pupovac, to the State Election Commission (DIP) on Tuesday.

Pupovac told the press their ambition was a Europe free of dangerous nationalism.

"We have submitted a surprise slate, a slate that wants to enter the European Parliament and represent what we represented when we supported Croatia's accession to the European Union and EU enlargement," Pupovac told the press, presenting the slate of his party, which is running in European elections for the first time on its own.

Apart from Pupovac, the SDSS slate also includes Dejan Jović, Dragana Jeckov, Jugoslav Vesić, Boris Milošević, Anja Šimpraga, Dejan Mihajlović, Mirjana Oluić, Nikola Ivanović, Tatjana Vukobratović-Spasojević, Aleksandra Ratković and Srđan Jeremić.

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

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Serb Minority Leader Pupovac Runs for European Parliament

ZAGREB, March 30, 2019 - Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Milorad Pupovac said on Saturday that the participation of his party in the forthcoming European Parliament election was emancipating for the Serbs in Croatia.

"Participation in the forthcoming European Parliament election is emancipating and liberating for the Serbs. In doing so, we can help change the atmosphere in Croatia, help people free themselves from fear and stereotypes, and have a greater sense of freedom. If we manage to achieve that, we will be in the European Parliament and in the European atmosphere no matter how many votes we win. And if we do win one seat, which is what we are striving for, that will be a huge achievement," Pupovac told Croatian Radio in an interview.

Asked whether he would go to Brussels if he won a seat or he would give up his seat as the leader of the MOST party, Božo Petrov, had announced, Pupovac said he had no less obligations than Petrov. "My focus is on the success of the slate and the party and on the success of the people on the slate and less on my own success," he added.

Speaking of the reasons why the SDSS was running in the election on its own, Pupovac said: "The HNS (Croatian People's Party) initiated talks with us to run together in a coalition, but then they changed their mind and decided that they could give us only one or two places on the slate, which we could not accept."

Pupovac said that his recent threat of leaving the ruling coalition was serious. "We reached a line we couldn't and shouldn't cross. The line is still here and we're still walking on it. We don't want to cross it and that's what our message was about. We analysed the political circumstances and activity of the SDSS and generally the exercise of rights by Serbs in Croatia, the state of democracy and democratic values on the one hand and the implementation of operational programmes for the minorities in Croatia, including the Serbs, on the other," the SDSS leader said.

"Attacks on constitutional and democratic values by far right, historically defeated forces in Croatia have become too strong over the past year and too widespread in the political and public sphere," he added.

Pupovac said that the problem lay in a conflict between policies aimed at restoring values that were essentially undemocratic. "The policies that were defeated in the Second World War and the policies of the war in the 1990s, and the lack of preparedness on our part as the coalition and government. I say 'our' on purpose because we cannot deny our responsibility for this regardless of how much we are actually involved in the government. The lack of preparedness to recognise what is going on and respond to what is going on. We as the ruling coalition and as the government should have recognised these phenomena and responded to them in time."

He explained why he supported the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. "That's why we joined the coalition and what we were working on during the first two years in office - to remove chauvinistic phenomena and radical, exclusive historical revisionism from the public and political mainstream, especially the denial of war crimes committed by the (Nazi-allied) Ustasha movement during the Second World War."

Pupovac said that the SDSS had threatened to leave the coalition unless the policies were changed. "If we have agreed to restore electricity and water supply in areas where Serb refugees have returned, then this agreement should be strictly observed, rather than have someone at a lower level reduce the agreed amount of money," he said.

He noted that the restoration of electricity and water supply, as agreed under the operational programme, had begun last year, adding that "neither the government of Zoran Milanović nor of Jadranka Kosor, and especially the government of Tihomir Orešković, paid any attention to that."

The SDSS leader explained why Prime Minister Plenković's wish for a single commemoration ceremony at Jasenovac, the site of an Ustasha-run concentration camp during the Second World War, was unlikely to come true this year either.

"The question of negationism and radical historical revisionism by those who would want to completely change the 20th century history of Croatia, to make something white out of black, make something clean out of something dirty, make something true out of lies and turn the truth into a lie. At a time when every effort is made to say that Jasenovac did not exist, and such people are allowed on public television, in public libraries, pastoral centres, a diocesan centre, it is not realistic to expect us to say, 'well, that's nothing,' while at the same time the Bleiburg myth continues to be fostered the way it is. These two things cannot go together," Pupovac said.

Pupovac said it was unacceptable to him that 2 million kuna (270,000 euro) was annually allocated for the Jasenovac Memorial Centre and 40 million kuna (5.4 million euro) for the Vukovar Memorial Centre.

"These are the reasons why we must seriously discuss how to change the practice of commemorating events from the Second World War and the war that broke up our common state. If we find that, we will be together again," Pupovac said.

He also spoke of his attendance at a ceremony that commemorated NATO's bombing of Serbia. "I was there to pay tribute to the people who were killed in NATO's bombing campaign in 1999, just as I attend commemorative events elsewhere," Pupovac said.

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

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Serb Minority Party SDSS Remains Part of Ruling Majority

ZAGREB, March 26, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said Monday that a meeting with the president of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), Milorad Pupovac, was good and that the SDSS would remain part of the ruling majority, reiterating that it would be good to hold a single commemoration ceremony at Jasenovac and adding that the government was still considering whether or not the restructuring of the Uljanik dock was sustainable and if not "other solution will be found."

"We talked about all aspects of cooperation and the functioning of the parliamentary majority. Clearly, certain things concerning the implementation of operative programmes of minority issues can me further advanced, I am open to that. We will do our best to have everything on the level of individual departments done faster and more efficient and the SDSS is still part of the ruling majority," Plenković said commenting on his meeting with Pupovac held earlier in the day, which he described as "good."

Plenković also commented on two commemorations in Jasenovac. "Because of the reverence the victims of the Jasenovac concentration camp deserve and the condemnation our government and I personally made with regards to the Ustasha regime, it would be good if all of us went to Jasenovac together, because the commemoration is whole only is representatives of the Serbs, Jews, Roma, Croats and anti-*fascists associations are there. I see that as an effort to try to take a stand towards all totalitarian regimes without any dilemmas. I will again go to Jasenovac," Plenković said.

Plenković also said he did not have time to read about what Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said about Operation Storm, adding however that Operations Storm, Flash and the Homeland War were the foundations of modern-day Croatia which enabled the reintegration of areas that had been occupied for over four years.

Reporters also asked the PM about the situation in the Uljanik and 3. Maj docks, adding that the government was still considering whether or not the restructuring of the Uljanik dock was sustainable and if not "other solution will be found."

More news about the status of Serbs in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Plenković Comments on Status of National Minorities

ZAGREB, March 13, 2019 - Commenting on the Independent Democratic Serb Party's (SDSS) view of the situation in the ruling coalition, which that party made public recently, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that it had been his ambition since 2016 to try and reduce polarisation in Croatia and that he wanted each member of national minorities in Croatia to feel well.

Speaking to reporters on the margins of an event marking the 25th anniversary of the cooperation and partnership between Croatia and the World Bank, Plenković said that all outstanding issues would be discussed at a meeting to be held with SDSS leader Milorad Pupovac.

He added that his plan since 2016 had been to reduce polarisation in the Croatian society.

"Polarisation at the time was excessive for a society such as ours. I am working on reducing polarisation in my own way, gradually, but I don't have the impression that there is always understanding for what we do," said Plenković.

He said that at the time when he formed his government, he wanted all minority representatives in the parliament to be a part of the parliamentary majority. "That was my ambition because I think that it's good and healthy for our society. My hand is extended to all of them, I want them to live as befits the state of civilisation in 2019," he said.

He said that both this and last year the government had significantly increased funding to address minority groups' economic issues, housing construction and infrastructure issues.

"I want every Roma, Italian, Serb, Bosniak, Albanian, Czech, Hungarian and Slovak to feel well in Croatia. I want a society whose majority, because it is a majority, has the breadth, freedom and commitment to respect everyone living with us," he said, adding that not everyone on the political scene supported such a policy.

SDSS leader Pupovac has said on several occasions that his party is considering leaving the ruling coalition and last week he said that this had to do with hate speech that was being encouraged by the ruling structures.

At a party meeting held on Monday the SDSS decided that it would not leave the ruling coalition, authorising Pupovac and the party's parliamentary group to discuss the situation with the coalition partners.

More news about national minorities in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 11 March 2019

SDSS Party Decides to Stay in Ruling Coalition

ZAGREB, March 11, 2019 - The Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) decided at a leadership meeting on Monday that it would not leave the ruling coalition, authorising its leader Milorad Pupovac and the party's parliamentary group to discuss the situation with the coalition partners.

The party's Presidency today discussed relations within the coalition and the party's status in the coalition, deciding that it has reached a line which it cannot cross for the sake of defending basic democratic values, rule of law, freedom of the press, Croatia's international commitments, the rights of the Serb minority and everything that has been agreed with the government and signed and adopted in operational programmes concerning the Serb minority, the chairman of the SDSS parliamentary group, Boris Milošević, told the press after the meeting.

MP Dragana Jeckov said that the Presidency had authorised Pupovac and the SDSS parliamentary group to discuss the situation with the coalition partners, "those who still care about these values and issues."

Pupovac declined to speak to the press. Last week he indicated in several statements that the SDSS was considering leaving the governing coalition.

Coalition leaders are due to meet on Tuesday.

More news about the status of Serbs in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Serbian Minority Leader Calls for End to War Rhetoric

ZAGREB, April 8, 2018 - Serb National Council president Milorad Pupovac extended his best wishes to the Christian Orthodox faithful for Easter on Sunday, stressing the importance of peace in building a good life.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Ruling Coalition Supports Istanbul Convention, HDZ Says Government Will Not Collapse

ZAGREB, March 21, 2018 - Partners making up Croatia's ruling coalition support the planned ratification of the Istanbul Convention and the interpretive statement that will accompany the law on the ratification of the Convention is acceptable to them, reporters were told after a meeting of the coalition partners on Wednesday.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Serbian Minority Leader Wants Government to Stand Up to Extremism

ZAGREB, March 10, 2018 - The president of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) and a key member of the ruling coalition Milorad Pupovac said on Saturday that Croatia did not make enough effort to fight issues that were slowing down the society, such as retrograde ideological incidents, denial of civil rights and freedoms and clerical and nationalistic understanding of society.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Ruling Coalition Leaders Meet with Prime Minister

ZAGREB, March 6, 2018 - Representatives of the parties comprising the ruling majority said on Monday, after their regular meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, which lasted more than four hours, that they discussed current issues and that new Agrokor emergency administrator Fabris Peruško briefed them about the situation at the heavily-indebted food conglomerate, stressing that there was no mention of the opposition’s initiative for a non-confidence vote in Economy Minister Martina Dalić.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Political Parties Attack Historical Commission Conclusions

ZAGREB, March 1, 2018 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Davor Bernardić said on Wednesday the council for dealing with the past had adopted a shameful conclusion on the Ustasha salute "For the Homeland Ready" by "making it acceptable in exceptional situations."

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