Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko says that the Bridge party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, is walking on thin ice when demanding his resignation.

"You cannot run your own policies by dealing with internal problems of another party," Karamarko said in an interview with the Sarajevo-based Dnevni Avaz daily published on Friday.

Karamarko said that people in the Bridge party had no political experience. "They entered politics naively, thinking that theory is the same as practice."

"Pretending to be an example of moral fortitude and a model to others is a dangerous walk on thin ice. Mr Petrov and some others from Bridge are walking on a thin edge of mutual correctness and respect and I won't have much understanding for this any more," Karamarko said.

The Bridge party wants Karamarko to step down because of the business relationship between his wife and a lobbyist for the Hungarian oil and gas group MOL, claiming that this is a conflict of interest situation. The Croatian government and MOL are currently involved in two arbitration proceedings over the management of the Croatian oil and gas company INA.

Karamarko says that the business relationship was terminated when he became First Deputy Prime Minister. 

"It's clear to me that my political opponents are using all means available to inflict political damage on me, but in this case they crossed the line of good taste and good manners and started a brutal attack on my family. There is only one reason for that and that is my opinion and position on INA in which I clearly represent the national interests of Croatia," Karamarko said.

He accused the strongest opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) of making up scandals and paralysing the system in an attempt to return to power.

Asked about accusations levelled against the present government over its tacit support of the pro-Nazi Ustasha ideology in Croatia, Karamarko said that some people simply did not want to hear that he had distanced himself from any form of radicalism and totalitarianism. He said that such stories were "a part of plans to destabilise Croatia".

He stood in defence of Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic who "exposed the historical fact that antifascism and communism are not the same." He said that Hasanbegovic became the target of criticisms after he decided to put in order the financing of non-governmental organisations, which he said had been under the direct political influence of the previous, SDP-led government.

"There were a lot of conflicts of interest and violations of law in that sector," Karamarko said, adding that now the people who were left without money were spreading accusations of the revival of the Ustasha ideology in Croatia.

Related stories

SDP to initiate Karamarko's impeachment on Wednesday

Sincic says Karamarko should resign

Petrov says Bridge will vote no confidence in Karamarko

Commisison finds Karamarko is in conflict of interest

Karamarko affair is HDZ's problem, says Bridge

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.