The President of the European People's Party (EPP), Joseph Daul, said in Zagreb on Thursday that the deferment of the admission of the leading Serbian party into EPP is not connected with the election in Croatia and that the decision was in the remit of the relevant EPP task force.
The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), led by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, was to have been admitted as a member of the EPP, however a decision to that effect was postponed for "political reasons" unitl November.
Speculation arose that the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which is a member of the EPP had lobbied with the EPP arguing that admitting the SNS, which is headed by a former associate to Slobodan Milosevic, would reduce HDZ's chances in Sunday's election.
Daul, who arrived in Zagreb to show support to the HDZ in the election, refuted such speculation.
"That decision was made by the presidency and the decision has been postponed for 13 or 14 November," Daul said at a joint press conference with HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic.
"If I had to be concerned with elections in each of the 28 EU member states, that would be all I would be able to do. We have our rules, there is a task force that deals with the admission of parties. They are working on that and they prepare decisions when to admit or eliminate any party from the EPP," Daul said.
Daul commended MEP Plenkovic as being a "silent force that always knows how to gain support." "I decided to come and support Andrej because we have to work at the EPP level to preserve Christian-Democratic values, particularly in this region which is problematic and important with regard to security challenges," Daul added.
"The EPP needs a prime minister in Croatia like Plenkovic in order to ensure a safe future for the EU. We need men and women similar to Plenkovic who is honest, transparent and hard-working," he said.
Plenkovic said that the attendance of Daul and senior EPP official Doris Pack in the HDZ final election rally in Zagreb represented a strong boost from its political family and support for the direction HDZ is going in since he took the helm of the party.
"A modern, transformed HDZ with new rhetoric is involved with the same issues that are common to other countries, economy, competitiveness, social justice, new jobs, demographic policies and strengthening the rule of law," Plenkovic said.
He added that he conducted a quality and thoughtful campaign that will bring the party "far more seats than other parties," and expects the HDZ to be the relative winner and that it will form a stable parliamentary majority and government.