Sunday, 30 January 2022

Milanović: Every Citizen Knows Frka Petešić Committed Thievery

ZAGREB, 30 Jan 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Saturday responded to criticisms from HDZ member of the European Parliament Tomislav Sokol, saying that the prime minister's chief of staff, Zvonimir Frka Petešić, had committed "thievery" and that "every citizen knows that it's dishonesty, greed, plunder."

Sokol said earlier on Saturday that what was happening to Frka Petešić because of the state-owned flat in which he lives in Zagreb was a disgrace.

"We won't run away from the topic so easily by denying reality and switching arguments. That is a criminal offence," Milanović told the press in Sisak. "This is one elaborate impertinent fraud, committed with full awareness of its unlawfulness," he said.

Sokol also said that if anyone thought a crime had been committed, they should report Frka Petešić to the authorities.

Milanović said Frka Petešić should be reported "because there's not a chance that DORH (State Attorney's Office) will do it ex officio."

"Just as it's impossible for DORH to understand that what was happening in the State Assets Ministry was a crime. A whistleblower had to file a criminal report of 37 pages in order to be heard," he added.

The president said he would not report Frka Petešić, but reiterated that he committed a criminal offence and that attempts were being made to portray it "as an oversight."

"It's an elaborate process. Why doesn't he keep his books on Dugi Otok (island) if he lives there?" he said regarding Frka Petešić's claim that he keeps his books in a basement of a warehouse of the Državne Nekretnine state assets management company in Zagreb.

The president recalled that the Državne Nekretnine whistleblower had called out Defence Minister Mario Banožić for protecting one company.

"That company filed for bankruptcy. The state, because someone intervened, did not collect rent and came out the loser. Such favours don't come without a fee because that's a serious favour. If you allowed someone not to pay two or three million in rent, they will probably thank you. The company filed for bankruptcy, the state will get nothing. Who will be held to account?"

The president said that if anyone was embarrassing Croatia, "it's the HDZ."

"Where am I embarrassing it? In Moscow? In Kyiv? In Berlin? But yes, I surely get on some people's nerves. Yesterday I was America's man, today I'm Russia's man, but somehow I believe I'm Croatia's man."

Asked to comment on Zagreb Jewish Community head Ognjen Kraus's statement that he has still not met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković about banning Ustasha insignia, although a meeting was promised. Milanović said Plenković was stalling Kraus again.

"He'll trick him again. The law won't be changed. Unfortunately, Kraus won't get anything," he added.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Kulen, Prosciutto and Olive Oil Most Recognizable Croatian Products

January 5, 2022 - Key ingredients of the Mediterranean diet are becoming the most recognizable Croatian products in the world.

The pandemic and stagnation in the world market have further emphasized the need for Croatia to focus on its food production. This is especially true for meat and meat products. Nevertheless, the potential certainly exists because according to the calculation of the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb, in 2018, the self-sufficiency of the Republic of Croatia in meat production amounted to 70.64%, reports T.portal

Croatian Member of the European Parliament and negotiator of the EPP Group for the Committee Opinion on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection on the 'Field to Table' Strategy, Tomislav Sokol, managed to fight for the protection of traditional Croatian products such as kulen and prosciutto.

"The European Union is determined to make the food system healthier and more sustainable. This does not mean giving up our traditional meat products such as Slavonian kulen and Istrian or Dalmatian prosciutto. Moreover, I am sure that our products, known for their top quality and traditional production methods, do not threaten citizens' health. As a member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, and as a rapporteur for European citizens, I intervened in the text of the Opinion on the European Commission's Field-to-Table Strategy to protect the production of traditional Croatian products," says Tomislav Sokol.

Croatia has significant production potential in this sector, which opens new economic and development perspectives, especially for the Croatian countryside. Europe must become self-sufficient in producing quality and healthy food, and Croatian agriculture and the food industry must be integral elements of this system.

Sokol ensured that the Mediterranean diet does not qualify as unhealthy in that Strategy. Namely, other political groups in the European Parliament agreed on the text of the Opinion, which would label European, and thus the Mediterranean diet, unhealthy. However, during the negotiations on the specific amendment, Sokol insisted on changing the text of this act, which would mark the European and Mediterranean diet as unhealthy.

"I must admit that I was quite surprised when I noticed in the text that our diet was to be declared unhealthy. Flat and unfounded claims must not occupy space in official documents of the European Parliament. From the beginning, I was clear in my position, and I am glad that I was able to convince other fellow Members of my position. We are proud of our Mediterranean lifestyle and diet that includes the use of fresh foods, fish, fruits and vegetables, and essential olive oil," explains Sokol.

It should be reminded that the 'Field to Table' Strategy defines key priorities for setting up a sustainable and healthy food system, and the fact that the Action Plan accompanying the Strategy envisages the adoption of 27 legislative and non-legislative acts until 2024 shows how complex the implementation of this Strategy will be.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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, 20 November 2020

MEP Sokol and Suica Announce New Long-Term EU Vision for Rural Areas

ZAGREB, November 20, 2020 - The European Commission will develop a long-term vision for rural areas to enable them to make the most of their potential, which will also benefit Croatian villages and bring back young people, the European Commission's Vice-President Dubravka Suica said on Thursday.

Suica participated in a meeting of the Intergroup on Rural, Mountainous and Remote Areas & Smart Villages dedicated to a long-term vision for rural areas and creating a comprehensive strategy for their development until 2040, the press office of the European People's Party (EPP) said.

Croatian MEP Tomislav Sokol, vice-president of the intergroup, stressed that the goal of the intergroup was to strengthen territorial cohesion within the European Union, addressing the specific need of rural, mountainous and remote areas.

Rural areas are of the utmost importance for the EU, which depends on them for food, energy and raw materials. In addition, rural areas are a source of creativity and innovation in which a great part of European cultural and natural heritage is based, which needs to be preserved. The importance of this intergroup's work is exceptional: rural, mountainous and remote areas make up 80% of the territory and nearly 60% of EU population lives in them. As for Croatia, about 90% of the territory is rural and 10% urban, Sokol said.

He stressed that he would personally, and through the intergroup, work on making rural areas attractive and bringing young people back to them.

Suica said that the Commission would develop a long-term strategy for rural areas to enable them to make the most of their potential and support them in facing their unique set of issues, from demographic changes to connectivity, risk of poverty and limited access to services.

A hundred million people in the European Union live in rural areas, half of the territory is rural. Our aim is to offer them a new perspective of a green, digital and demographic transition. It has become less important where you are as long as you are connected, Suica said.

Sokol said that rural, mountainous and remote areas require special commitment and attention and called on the European Commission to adopt the European Rural Agenda with ambitious and concrete political goals that will be transformed into concrete activities on the ground.

By 2040 we will strive to make rural areas become attractive places to live and work in, especially for young people, Sokol said.