Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic and his associate Ranko Ostojic said on Thursday they were against sending troops to the border to deal with migrants, but added that the SDP would not scheme against the government, "regardless of how bad it is", as long as it tried to deal with the issue that all of Europe was faced with.
Speaking of national security, Milanovic, the previous prime minister, said the army had been helping the police, the only force with authority to control the border, for months. "The army on the border is a bad idea," he told reporters, adding that the SDP would continue to point to things it thought were bad but that it would not scheme.
The opposition leader said the decision on sending troops to the border was in the remit of the president and the prime minister, and not the deputy prime ministers. "Thereby, they are showing that they are an accidental government and that we have no government, yet we should have it."
Milanovic said Croatia could have sent troops to the border and put up a fence there long ago but that it would have earned a bad international reputation like Hungary.
Ostojic, the previous interior minister, said it was a small step between the army on the borders and the army in the streets, adding that in its platform the ruling coalition "openly wrote that it plans to militarise society through the homeland security project."
"Croatia has 21,000 police officers and 6,200 border police. We can engage the reservists too, but there's no reason to deploy the army on the border," Ostojic said.
Milanovic said Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko could not tell the prime minister or the interior minister what to do. "Deputy prime ministers are not ministers' bosses, they are in charge of coordination," he said, adding that the government should be structured but was not because "we have two deputy prime ministers who are there only to divide the spoils."
"I can't gloat because the government is falling apart... But that's their business as long as it doesn't become Croatia's business, which it is becoming by the day," Milanovic said, adding that the president wanted to be the prime minister and was assuming powers because "Croatia has neither a government nor a prime minister."