This Week in Croatian Politics – Pensions and Hooligans

Lauren Simmonds

croatian politics

August the 25th, 2023 – This week in Croatian politics, we’ve had the 254th session of the government, during which topics like Croatian detainees in Greece and pensions were discussed. Croatia is also set to continue and boost its firm support for the people of Ukraine in their fight against Russian aggression.

The government extends former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s personal protection again

She hasn’t been the Croatian President or even active in Croatian politics for a very significant amount of time now, but Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic apparently still needs to have police officers protect her 24/7. Plenkovic’s government has made sure to extend the period during which she’s entitled to personal protection yet again.

As Index vijesti/news writes, Dnevnik Nova TV recently found out that the former president’s right to personal protection wasn’t extended to the full term of six months this time, but to three months only.

This is the seventh time since the end of her mandate that Grabar-Kitarovic’s right to personal protection paid for by the state has been extended. The reasons why the former president still has 24-hour police protection are not known, according to Dnevnik Nova TV, but Kolinda claims that it “isn’t as glamorous as it looks”.

Back in April this year, Nacional wrote that the former president is protected 24 hours a day by two police officers, which was approved by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic from the summer of 2020 due to extraordinary circumstances.

Nacional then wrote that the police are guarding the former president, but not her family members. That was the proposal of the Council for the Coordination of Security and Intelligence Agencies, according to the Interior Ministry (MUP), and the government approved it.

“It’s not as glamorous as it looks because every time you want to go out for coffee, to a friend’s house, to dinner, you have to call the security to pick you up. You can’t just go somewhere alone because they’re responsible for your life 24 hours a day,” said Grabar- Kitarovic back in 2018.

Looking back at others from the history of Croatian politics, former President Ivo Josipovic didn’t have any bodyguards protecting him after his mandate ended, but his predecessor Stjepan Mesic didn’t give them up. Due to the need to pay these people monthly salaries, provide their accommodation, pay for their plane tickets, etc, the costs to keep these MUP employees protecting Grabar-Kitarovic stretch to a good several thousand euros.

The 254th session of the government has taken place

This week, the 254th session of the Croatian Government was held, during which numerous topics were discussed, including the ever-pressing issue of pensions and Greece. Plenkovic began the session by discussing a recent visit to Greece regarding the detained Croatian hooligans who were arrested in Athens.

“Among other things, we used this visit to Greece to deal with the issue of the still detained Croatian citizens there. We once again condemned violence and hooliganism, expressed our deep regret for the loss of life and reactivated relations between Croatia and Greece. All in all, everything was very well received. We asked the Greek authorities to ensure to continued safety and security for the detainees,” Plenkovic said.

He added that those in Croatian politics fully respect the independence of Greece’s judicial bodies. “The Greek Government’s policy has always been consistent and clear and they’re making properly caring for the detained Croatian citizens a priority,” he added.

The issue of Croatian pensions then came to the forefront of the discussion

He stated that the government is trying to increase the monthly pension payments for all those entitled to a Croatian pension.

“In addition to harmonising pensions, the government has implemented a number of measures to ease this situation with increased costs. We implemented a comprehensive pension reform, we introduced a national allowance for the elderly, and today we’re adopting all of those changes,” said Plenkovic, adding that “the average pension amount during the term of our government has increased by 44 percent, and the lowest pensions increased by 51 percent. We’re going to continue to take the proper measures so that pensions will continue to increase,” he added.


He also referred to inflation, stating that a lot of responsibility is needed in order to reduce inflation, particularly from those in Croatian politics. He added that the government will continue its efforts to reduce the inflation rate.

“We’ll make a decision today that will mean the payment of a 5-10 percent supplement to the salary of civil servants and state employees, and to those who don’t get supplements to the greatest possible extent,” he said. Almost 29,000 employees in the civil service sector will be entitled to this allowance, the prime minister said.

A new aid package for Ukraine

“We’re going to make a decision on a new package of military aid for Ukraine,” announced Plenkovic, noting that this is a significant donation that represents ongoing and unwavering Croatian support for Ukraine. More details can be read about that topic by clicking here.

What else was discussed?

On the rest of the agenda of this week’s government session are; the final proposal for amendments to the Law on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters with EU Member States, the Draft Proposal for Amendments to the Law on National Compensation for the Elderly, the Proposal for the Adoption of the National Plan for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2027, and the Proposal for a Decision on the Payment of Supplements on salaries.

Milanovic makes another potentially damaging comment about the Croatian detainees in Greece

President Zoran Milanovic is one of those figures in Croatian politics who always crops up in the media for often rather bizarre comments. He’s now more or less turned his attention away from making politically harmful statements about Ukraine and Russia, and is focusing his attention on he Croatian detainees in Greece. He has previously claimed that the Greeks are “treating them like weeds” “treating them like prisoners of war” and believing that they are being “put in different Greek prisons to be beaten and raped”. None of these statements have been very well received in nearby Greece (and with good reason), and despite Plenkovic’s best efforts to be diplomatic, the comments from Milanovic just keep on coming.

As Index vijesti/news writes, Milanovic recently said that behind the case of the detained Dinamo Zagreb fans, who have been being kept in Greek prisons for almost two weeks now, is a political farce and that the Croatian Government cannot do much about it.

“It’s not easy for the government, after a few days the prime minister said exactly the same thing as I did. He’s also suspicious about all this. We’re waiting to see what exactly they’re going to be charged with. They can’t just detain people without a legal basis. This is one of the foundations of European continental law, that kind of freedom,” said Milanovic while visiting Lokve.

“That habeas corpus has, in this case, been grossly violated, I don’t see this as the rule of law. They gathered all these Croatian fans there and put them in prison,” Milanovic said when replying to a journalist’s question as to whether he was satisfied with the involvement of the executive authorities regarding the Croatian citizens who are currently in prison in Greece.

“As I already said, in the first five days the wheat should have been separated from the chaff, after that those who are guilty should be convicted, and the rest should’ve just been sent home,with some kind of misdemeanor punishment. This is a political farce in which the government must create the impression that it has done everything it can, but the reality is that it can’t do much,” he asserted.

He stated that the Greeks are treating them like prisoners of war – again

After Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recently travelled to the Greek capital of Athens, where he met with his Greek counterpart, while the Minister of Justice Ivan Malenica and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gordan Grlic Radman visited the hooligans in prison, Milanovic reiterated that they’re being treated as prisoners of war and that they’re being subjected to collective punishment.

“They’re being treated like prisoners of war there, so let’s have them be treated according to the rules of the law of war and we’ll do a swap, we will round up a hundred Greeks for no reason, let’s say its because because they were throwing papers. I just know that someone will say that someone died. Yes, it’s terrible that someone lost their life, but they didn’t go there with the intention of killing anyone. They didn’t even have any weapons on them, because they wouldn’t have been able to cross the border with them. This is just a whole series of common sense barriers that clearly indicate that this is political hogwash. Alright, now let them translate this into Greek,” he said.


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