Plenković Says Election Interference a Major Challenge for Democracy

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 6, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that election interference was one of the biggest challenges facing democracy.

Plenković spoke about the security challenges of the digital era in a lecture on Croatia’s EU presidency in 2020 which he gave in Zagreb.

Interference in elections “is one of the biggest challenges for the functioning of modern-day democracy,” he said, warning that a large number of voters obtained information from unreliable sources.

Commenting on the recent election for the European Parliament, he said that “mainstream parties” had prevailed.

The drop in the popularity of the People’s Party and the Socialists has been counterbalanced by the increase in the popularity of the liberals, Greens and conservatives, said Plenković.

Speaking of the priorities of Croatia’s EU presidency in the first half of 2020, Plenković cited demography, growth, employment and the youth, noting that low population growth rates were a problem in as many as 14 EU member states.

He said that Croatia supported the policy of EU enlargement and that enlargement would help reduce the number of security problems. There is no alternative to the enlargement process, he said.

The Croatian PM believes that enlargement has slowed down the growth of extremist parties in big EU member countries, which is why mainstream parties have taken over some of their rhetoric. “Without that, Bulgaria and Romania would already be in the Schengen area,” he said, but noted that the Schengen area of passport-free movement no longer existed “in its original form”.

“Enabling enlargement will require a reform of the Dublin Regulation,” he said.

Under the Dublin Regulation, asylum seekers stay in the first EU country they have entered, which is particularly opposed by Italy, which demands an even distribution of asylum seekers, which, in turn, is opposed by member states of the Visegrad Group (Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).

Plenković stressed that balance should be found between “compliance with positive European regulations and agreement on how to deal with the rest of the burden of migration movements that are behind us.” He also stressed that all countries were agreed that the EU’s external border had to stay impenetrable.

Plenković also noted that there was not enough awareness of the benefits and possibilities of EU membership in Croatia, and that countries that had joined the EU in 2004 were today “different countries”.

“Those 15 years have changed everything. They have changed the economy and mentality in those countries,” said Prime Minister Plenković.

More news about Croatia and the EU can be found in the Politics section.


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