After Prime Minister-designate Tihomir Oreskovic outlined his cabinet's programme in parliament on Friday, several Opposition lawmakers took the floor to criticise the agenda, with Ingrid Anticevic Marinovic of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) seeing a slide with pyramid graphic presentation as a hint at the power of the secret organisation of Free Masons.

"I hope that this is not a symbol of Free Masons and the Illuminati," the SDP parliamentarian said, wondering if Oreskovic "is advocating a new world order".

The PM-designate did not respond to the criticisms from Opposition lawmakers, but listened to them patiently.

Another SDP MP, Tanja Vrbat Grgic, criticised the manner in which Oreskovic presented his programme as "corporate brainwashing".

Some SDP deputies found fault with the PM-designate for failing to mention his foreign policy agenda or Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, the nomination of a historian, Zlatko Hasanbegovic, as Culture Minister was the most disputed issue for SDP lawmakers who criticised the nominee for claiming that anti-fascism was not one of the pillars of present-day Croatia but rather a platitude.

Rajko Ostojic of the SDP said that if there had been no struggle against fascism, "today we would not have excellent nominees for health and tourism ministers, Dario Nakic (born in Zadar) and Antun Kliman (born in Istria) ," alluding to the fact that thanks to the victory of anti-fascists in the Second World War, Zadar and Istria had been reintegrated into Croatia.

SDP MP Nenad Stazic called on Oreskovic to withdraw Hasanbegovic's nomination, accusing Hasanbegovic of being a member of an association whose website promotes the salute " Ready for Home", used by the Nazi-style Ustasha regime in WW2.

Stazic claims that Hasanbegovic will restore the auspices of the Croatian state over Bleiburg commemorations.

In May 1945, soldiers of the Ustasha regime and Croatian civilians retreated to Bleiburg, Austria in order to surrender to the Western allies, who turned them over to the Tito-led partisans. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians were killed or went missing in the Bleiburg field and during death marches back to Slovenia, Croatia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia. In April 2012, the parliamentary Presidency led by SDP Speaker Boris Sprem decided that the commemoration at Bleiburg, Austria will no longer be held under parliament's auspices.

Stazic's criticism triggered a response from Milijan Brkic of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) who said that Stazic's speech was an attempt to go backward. Brkic accused the SDP of pushing Croatia backwards while in power in the last four years.

As for Stazic's criticism of the nominee for Veterans Minister, Mijo Crnoja, who proposed publishing a register of traitors, Brkic said that the outgoing government had published a register of war veterans and he saw no reason why a register of those who had attacked Croatia should not be made public.

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.