Bosnian Ambassador to Italy to Represent Croatia in European Parliament?

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New MEPs will replace Andrej Plenković and Davor Ivo Stier who resigned after they entered Croatian government.

Former HSP AS president Ivan Tepeš has decided to decline to take his seat as a Member of European Parliament, where he was supposed to replace Croatia’s new Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier (HDZ), reports on October 24, 2016.

“It is true that I have decided to decline my seat in European Parliament because I want to stay to live and work in Zagreb and Croatia. I have informed my party about it on Friday”, said Tepeš on Monday, asked whether it was true that we would give his seat to HDZ’s Željana Zovko, who was behind him on HDZ’s coalition candidate list for European elections in 2014.

Tepeš refused to further explain the reasons for his withdrawal from European Parliament, but his party said on Sunday said they would consider such decision to be “political blackmail”. That is what the new HSP AS president Hrvoje Niče warned about HDZ president Andrej Plenković in an open letter. He asked Plenković for the two parties to come to an agreement about the replacement, in the spirit of their coalition agreement. Unofficial sources from HSP AS say that in recent days Tepeš has repeatedly met with Plenković and Stier and that he decided to withdraw from Brussels “from completely unknown reasons”.

Given that new Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and new Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier have resigned from European Parliament, two candidates will have to replace them. The first should be Ivica Tolić (HDZ) who will replace Plenković. Since Tepeš, who was supposed to replace Stier, decided against taking his seat, the next on the list is Željana Zovko, a Croat born in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At a joint candidate list of the Patriotic Coalition for the European elections, she was at ninth position and won 2,392 preferential votes.

Zovko is a professor of French language, and in 1999 she started working for the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 2004 to 2008, she was Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to France, and from 2008 to 2011 she was Ambassador to Spain. Then she returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she worked for three years as a foreign policy advisor. Last year, she became Ambassador to Italy.

Positions in European Parliament are considered to be very lucrative, since salaries of MEPs are much higher than for any official in Croatian Parliament or government.


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