Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that arbitration proceedings banks were launching against Croatia before international courts over the conversion of loans pegged to the Swiss franc were void, announcing an interpellation whereby SDP MPs recommend that parliament obliges the government to lodge an objection regarding the jurisdiction of a Washington-based court of arbitration over such cases.
"The arbitration proceedings banks have been launching at international courts in line with old agreements are void today, judging by what we know, judging by the opinion of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the European Commission," Milanovic told a press conference in the party's headquarters.
He announced an interpellation in which SDP MPs recommend that parliament obliges the government to lodge an objection regarding the jurisdiction of the Washington-based court of arbitration in proceedings banks have launched against Croatia over the conversion of loans pegged to the Swiss franc and to launch a procedure to exit bilateral agreements on the mutual protection of investments Croatia signed with EU member states prior to joining the bloc.
Noting that the government still had time to lodge an objection to the proceedings launched, Milanovic expressed concern that there was no indication of what the government planned to do with regard to the proceedings, which, he underscored, had huge political, legal and social implications.
He described the SDP's interpellation as a boost to the "slow government."
"The worst thing is that the government is not reacting because they probably cannot agree between themselves. This is some sort of help, the prime minister cannot only obstruct proposals coming from the coalition partners," he said.
The SDP recommends in its interpellation that parliament should also oblige the government to report to it within 60 days on the course and impact of loan conversions in accordance with two laws unanimously adopted in September last year.
Milanovic recalled the Constitutional Court's conclusion rejecting a complaint by banks asking for the temporary suspension of the two laws.
Former finance minister Boris Lalovac was asked to comment on announcements by the Franak association of loan holders that it would file lawsuits regarding loans pegged to the euro, to which he said that this was the just the first interpellation and that the SDP planned to be remain actively involved in the matter.
Milanovic confirmed that he would not attend the official commemoration for victims of the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp on April 22. He added that he would not attend the commemoration to be organised by the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities but that he would commemorate the Jasenovac victims together with the Serb National Council and the Association of Anti-Fascists.
He couldn't say when that would be, adding that he would inform the public in time and that he would not do it via a Facebook post like President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic did.
"I regret that this all started a year ago when the newly-elected president came to Jasenovac out of nowhere, without any announcement, under the pretext that it should not be politicised. But that is politics," Milanovic said.
He underscored that Jasenovac was a result of a criminal policy that was harmful for Croatia, adding that an agreement should be reached in Croatia on what is useful for the state and what is harmful.
"Let's come to an agreement on what is commercially useful for Croatia, what sort of iconography and messages cause harm so that we and they can shut up a little," he said.
He added that "in Jasenovac there are those who sympathise with the victims and those who are indifferent," adding that he would not attend the commemoration with the latter.