PM: President does what she thinks is good for Croatia, but I don’t understand her


Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic on Friday commented on President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s visit to Hungary and her participation in a meeting of the Visegrad Group there, saying that one could not prevent the president from doing what she believed was good for the country but that he did not understand her moves.

In an interview with Media Servis, Milanovic repeated that Croatian government officials did not attend the meeting of the Visegrad Group, adding, “You cannot stop the President; she is doing what she believes is good for Croatia but I can’t understand her moves at all.”

He described as completely unacceptable her statements to Hungarian media regarding the current refugee and migrant crisis, including her claim that the Croatian crisis management system had collapsed after a few hours.

“If you visit Hungary on (Croatia’s) Independence Day and talk there with the man who at the moment is one of the least welcome people in Europe, and you allegedly represent Croatian interests, it’s normal to consult with the prime minister who heads the institution in charge of foreign policy. The government is in charge of foreign policy, not the president. In almost all aspects,” Milanovic said.

“At the moment Hungary is Europe’s appendix thanks to its prime minister who was an active communist turned liberal, turned I don’t know what. My positions have always been the same and when the Croatian president… says that the system collapsed, I say that the system is exemplary. That is what all European leaders think and see and say. Everyone chooses their own company. My company are Angela Merkel, (Austrian Chancellor Werner) Faymann, (Slovenian PM Miro) Cerar – regardless of some misunderstandings between Croatia and Slovenia; what her and (HDZ leader Tomislav) Karamarko’s company is, I don’t know, I’m not Khuen-Hedervary,” said Milanovic.

The PM added that he had conducted talks with “everyone… everyone that matters at the moment – Hungary does not matter – and we have concluded that building a wall on the border with Serbia would destabilise the region.”

Commenting on parliamentary elections set for November 8 and claims by HDZ leader Karamarko that the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its coalition partners did not have anything to offer to Constituency No. 11, covering the Croatian diaspora, and “are therefore not going there”, Milanovic said: “We never went there and our position is clear”.

“Our position is clear, the Constitution is clear, laws are clear, you do not have to nominate a slate for that constituency, especially if it consists of people from Zagreb rather than from Bosnia and Herzegovina. What I and my government have done for the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be checked by going to Tomislavgrad, Kraljeva Sutjeska, Siroki Brijeg, or Mostar and asking any Croat there.”

He congratulated Karamarko on a new baby, saying that it was “nice” and that he would make it possible for Karamarko “to spend a lot of time with his child.”

The PM believes that his government deserves another term in office because of “what it has done to remove the consequences of the former government’s actions.”

Croatia has stabilised since the incumbent government’s term in office began, Milanovic said, confident of election victory.

He added that the SDP’s platform had been written by Croatian politicians for Croatian people, not by people from Germany or the Bosnian Serb entity, and that the platform would be presented soon.

Asked if it was possible for him to lose the post of SDP leader if he lost the election, Milanovic said that the SDP was a serious and strong party that “does not meander like the HDZ.” (Hina)