Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovac on Monday refuted media reports that Manfred Weber, chair of the European People's Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament, had telephoned Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, saying it was the other way round, as well as reports that the EPP was saying that the Croatian government had not shown that it could bring the expected stability and determination.
Kovac, who is also the international secretary of the HDZ party, confirmed that Weber and Oreskovic spoke this morning, that Oreskovic called him, and that Oreskovic chaired a government in which the HDZ had a majority. "Weber was surprised that information about that telephone conversation appeared in print," Kovac told reporters, adding that Weber told him that the EPP had partners in Croatia, the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and the HSS (Peasant Party).
Kovac said the HDZ would ensure stability in Croatia and carry out the necessary reforms because there could be no incumbent government without the HDZ.
Kovac said he spoke with EPP president Joseph Daul last night and that Daul was surprised by reports in Croatian print media that EPP members were of the opinion that HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko should step down if the affair linked to him was a burden to the HDZ.
"Daul was surprised when I told him that Croatian print media are reporting that there are some pressures on the HDZ. Daul said the HDZ was a member of the EPP and that it was independent in making decisions which concerned it and Croatian politics," Kovac said, adding that the EPP had supported the HDZ during the last election campaign and that the HDZ had the support of the EPP, Daul and Weber for the reform agenda.
Kovac said Daul told him that no Croatian journalist had called him and that the EPP had not discussed Croatia and the HDZ. He reiterated that the HDZ decided on its policy and the processes in the party independently. "We are a partner party and a party which participates in shaping the EPP's political life," he said.