ZAGREB, May 22, 2018 – Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday that all the coalition partners were very happy with the candidates for economy minister and deputy prime minister, adding that the relevant parliamentary committees were expected to endorse the nominations on Wednesday and parliament to confirm them on Friday.
The candidates, Darko Horvat as Economy Minister and Tomislav Tolušić as Deputy Prime Minister, were introduced to the ruling coalition partners by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
“Everyone was very happy. I expect that they will be supported by the committees tomorrow and after that there will be a vote at a plenary session on Friday,” Jandroković said after the meeting with the coalition partners.
Responding to a reporter’s remark that Horvat was former HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko’s man, Jandroković said that he is “very knowledgeable about economics.” “He was the minister for SMEs. For several years he was involved in energy and has a very respectable biography and I think that he is a very good choice. As far as Tolušić is concerned, as the current Agriculture Minister he is well informed of the situation in Agrokor, the overall situation in the economy and the absorption of European funds, and I believe he will be a good deputy prime minister,” Jandroković added.
Jandroković said there was nothing contentious in the coincidence that a Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) election video in 2016 was filmed in the office of lawyer Boris Šavorić, who is one of the lawyers involved in the drafting of the law concerning the indebted Agrokor food conglomerate. “As the party’s secretary-general, I chose the agency that worked on the HDZ’s victorious campaign, which was cheaper than all the previous campaigns. They were responsible for leasing media space and for promotional activities which included filming video spots. They chose the location and I don’t see anything contentious in that,” Jandroković said.
Commenting on the reports that some of Agrokor’s suppliers were complaining about the Agrokor settlement process, Jandroković claimed that the “settlement is in the interest of everyone participating in that process as well as in the interest of Croatia and the economy as a whole.” “The settlement is not only important for economic stability but political stability too because it is obvious that the disputes that have occurred regarding the settlement are causing and generating political attempts to shake up the parliamentary majority and the government. I believe that in the end reason will prevail and a settlement will be reached,” he added.
Reporters asked Jandroković about new mails leaked by the Index news website according to which the Borg mailing group also advocated the sale of the HEP electricity provider in order to buy back shares in the INA oil company. “I was very critical of those e-mails when they first appeared and have nothing more to add. I considered that to be an inappropriate way of communicating and now let this matter be dealt with by those in whose remit that is,” he said.
Asked whether it was possible that the prime minister did not know that the group was discussing the sale of HEP with ex-minister Dalić, Jandroković said that this was correspondence circulating between a certain group of people and that they who weren’t informed could not have known what they wrote to each other. Reporters insisted that nevertheless former deputy prime minister Martina Dalić was involved. “The deputy prime minister resigned as a result of her political responsibility,” he said.
Asked whether it was possible that no one knew about the planned sale of 25% of HEP’s shares, Jandroković said that that wasn’t the government policy. “There was a group of people who shared their opinions among themselves in messages but that wasn’t the government policy,” he said.
HDZ deputy president Milijan Brkić explained that Milorad Pupovac of the Independent Democratic Serb Party did not attend today’s coalitoin meeting because he had a previous engagement in the Serb National Council.