default_eblnews.jpg

 Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday that Prime Minister-Designate Tihomir Oreskovic "may be good at what he does, but he is not independent or neutral, he is the candidate of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)."

"They say they were preparing him to be the Minister of Finance. He was chosen by the HDZ and not by (the Bridge party). That's clear to everyone," Milanovic said in an interview with the RTL commercial television network in the evening. "The question is how decisions will be made. My experience is, if you are a small country, then you have a problem. And if such a country is represented by a weak politician, then they play around with you."

Milanovic said that his government had been "a natural centre of decision making" in the country. "It was clear who those people were and who they were accountable to. That's not the case now. We stood up against the banks and centres of power. Do you expect that from this government? No way," he said.

Commenting on a statement by his party colleague, Split Mayor Ivo Baldasar, that the SDP leadership should resign, Milanovic said that since 2007 there have been "more or less the same people in the party" who were opposed to anything the party did. "Mr Baldasar has experienced a strange transformation, especially after April 10 this year when he laid wreaths on the anniversary of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH)," he said, referring to the Nazi-style Ustasha regime that had ruled Croatia during World War II.

Milanovic elaborated on his earlier statement that the Bridge party had decided to join a "criminal, spy and pro-Ustasha coalition", saying that it included people indicted for crimes and that Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Tomislav Karamarko and "his clique" had connections with spies.

"There is not a country in Europe where this position is held by a former secret service chief who was found to have been involved in wrongdoing. It's another matter that the DORH (State Prosecutor's Office) did nothing about it," Milanovic said.

"If the HCSP (Croatian Pure Party of Rights) is a spiritual renewal organisation, then it's all right, but I don't think so. They are partners to the HDZ, and even the HSP Ante Starcevic party renounced them. These are the facts, and that is how Croatia has been poisoned for four years," he said while explaining what he had meant by referring to the ruling majority as a pro-Ustasha coalition.

When asked why then the SDP had been willing to form a tripartite government with them, Milanovic said that in all documents they had insisted on two criteria: "All the thieves must be removed, the parties must renounce them, and anyone who intimidates minorities and spreads ethnic, religious and even racial intolerance should not be allowed to sit at the same table with them.  Never once did I back down from this nor would I ever do that."

Speaking of secret meetings with representatives of the Bridge party, which prompted Bridge leader Bozo Petrov to terminate negotiations with the SDP-led coalition, Milanovic said that those meetings had taken place at the start of December and at the request of people from Bridge. "I must say that those people were quite fair to Bridge and even to Petrov. It was just that they were haunted by certain things and felt very badly about it."

He would not say how many of the Bridge people were involved in those meetings or who they were, but noted that most of them were interested in becoming members of Parliament. "They used this to hold them in check, which led to an impasse and then happened what happened."

Milanovic said he believed the SDP would be a tough opposition. "Now they will try to euthanise Croatia and make wimps out of all of us, but they will not succeed. We'll give them hell."

Milanovic said he would run for another term as SDP leader at the next party elections "not because I think that the party can't do without me or that it needs me more than ever, but because I think that now is the time when we must prevent this euthanasia. ... I am still younger than many, but I am the most experienced. In this country I am the most experienced," he stressed.

Related stories

SDP chief confident of election victory

HDZ-led coalition is election loser, says Ostojic

Milanovic: Nobody won elections, gov't will be weak

Petrov says today's meeting historic

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.