ZAGREB, July 27, 2020 – The government has responded to President Zoran Milanovic’s statement that the national coronavirus crisis response team is a “paraconstitutional” body, saying that the decisions by the team are not constitutionally questionable and that it is odd that he wants the new virus to be accepted like tooth decay.
“It is odd that the President of the Republic wants us to accept the coronavirus like tooth decay while at the same time calling for the declaration of a state of emergency, i.e. activation of Article 17 of the Constitution. The decisions made by the national coronavirus crisis response team are not constitutionally questionable or political. They are made based on guidance from medical professionals and their primary aim is to protect the lives and health of our citizens,” the N1 television channel published the government’s response on Sunday evening after President Zoran Milanovic’s appearance in its current affairs programme earlier in the day.
The government recalled that the legal basis for the crisis response team’s decisions was the law on the protection of the population from contagious diseases, the civil protection law and Article 16 of the Constitution.
The restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the virus and protect human life were proportionate and well balanced, which is also in accordance with the Constitution, the government said.
“The team will continue to do their work responsibly and efficiently and prepare new measures to contain the spread of the infection, while further monitoring the development of the epidemiological situation,” the government said in its response.
N1 said that the Constitutional Court declined to comment on Milanovic’s statement.
In the interview, Milanovic said that war was not the only state of emergency. “Is the situation we are now living in normal and usual? Of course, it is not. War is not the only state of emergency. This is a natural and economic disaster and it is on this ground that we are having our rights restricted. At first, they are absolute, but you cannot live in a community where your rights are absolute and your obligations non-existent,” the president said.
He also commented on the role of the national coronavirus crisis response team. “It is not normal that a group of people who have not been elected by the people should decide how many people are allowed to attend a wedding celebration. I am in favour of taking an initial decision by a two-thirds majority. The government needs a power of attorney for how many people can attend a wedding celebration and I would give it to it if I could.”