Ines Strenja Linic, a parliamentary deputy of the Bridge party that constitutes the government together with the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-led coalition, on Wednesday demanded that Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner of the HDZ immediately add to the parliament's agenda the appointment of Social Democrat (SDP) MP Ranko Ostojic as the chairman of the parliament's domestic policy committee.

"Bridge insists that the Committee be immediately set up through the appointment of the Committee chairman, and the strongest Opposition party is entitled to this position," Strenja Linic said, explaining that the Parliament Speaker should urgently add this item to the agenda.

"At this moment this is crucial for the national security of the country and this must be an absolute priority," she said.

Last Friday, the majority in the parliamentary Elections and Appointments Committee turned down a proposal from Opposition party benches that former minister of the interior Ostojic of the SDP be appointed chair of the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee. The vote was taken without a prior debate, and Committee Chair Franjo Lucic of the HDZ told reporters after the session that he did not contest the Opposition's right to appoint the chair of the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee but that Ostojic "is not an appropriate candidate." On Saturday, Reiner expressed fears that Ostojic might soon be found in conflict of interest.

During today's parliamentary discussion, Strenja Linic said that the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee should be constituted so as to discuss the case of Dragan Lozancic.  

The dismissal of Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) chief Lozancic was signed by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, but Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic has not yet co-signed the decision to that effect.

Strenja Linic interpreted this situation as meaning that Lozancic had not yet been fired yet the President was accusing him of breaking the law.

Therefore, the Bridge lawmaker believes that Lozancic must be questioned by the the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee.

"The Bridge party does not support his dismissal without the competent committee being convened," Strenja Linic said.

Nenad Stazic, who took the floor on behalf of the SDP, expressed fear that "national security is being undermined and the country has been pushed into a humiliating  position." Stazic accused Grabar-Kitarovic of signing Lozancic's replacement without any legal ground.

She was reportedly offended as the SOA had been surveilling people under investigation and she found herself "in a double bind" as her conversations with those people were recorded, Stazic said.

"We can give up prosecuting criminals or the president should give up her friends," said Stazic, who praised Lozancic for his performance as the SOA head, notably when Croatia's interest had to be safeguarded in Savudrija/Piran Bay.

Stazic also accused the HDZ of refusing to have Ostojic, whom he described as "incorruptible professional", at the helm of the above-mentioned committee. Stazic believes that Ostojic will efficiently monitor intelligence services.

Drago Prgomet of the Hrid party warned that intelligence agencies were currently without parliamentary, civilian or expert supervision.

Ivan Suker of the HDZ countered that the parliamentary debate was void of arguments, and therefore very dangerous for the country. He maintained that such a debate undermined the reputation and security of the state.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.