ZAGREB, November 8, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party would not curry favour with those on the far right end of the political spectrum and that there was no price he would not pay to accomplish that.
“Everything I have been doing since assuming leadership of the HDZ has been to strongly anchor the HDZ as a centre-right party, not a party at the end of the political spectrum, but a party projecting stability, seriousness and trust,” Plenković told Croatian reporters covering his visit to Helsinki, where he attended a European People’s Party congress at which Manfred Webber was elected lead candidate for next year’s EU elections. He added that recent opinion polls showed that it was necessary to keep on that track.
He said the populist signals evident in elections in several European countries were something one should deal with. “I think we, as the most responsible party in Croatia, are dealing with that very well and will continue to do so. We won’t curry favour with those at the far right end of the political spectrum who, with their rhetoric, don’t contribute to the progress of Croatian society but pull it backwards. I will vehemently fight against that and there’s no price we won’t pay for that.”
Asked if this message was related to the president’s fall of six percentage points in opinion polls and developments concerning the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Plenković said he had not seen all the details of the polls but noted that the HDZ had gone up one percent and that he was glad the HDZ had been rising in all key opinion polls in recent months.
He reiterated that the Global Compact was a global response to the migration issue, and said its drafting began with a UN declaration in 2016, before he became prime minister, at a General Assembly session attended by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. She has recently said that she will not attend a Global Compact conference in Marrakesh next month.
Plenković said it was a solid document with some contentious formulations for some countries. “We have to demystify this discussion that started in Croatia’s public sphere. It’s a legally non-binding document, not a treaty, a catalogue of measures, and I see no reason why it should cause so many disputes and hysteria generated always by the same parties and actors,” he said, adding that a discussion would be held and a decision made on who would go to Marrakesh instead of the president.
He said there was no disagreement on this matter in the government and that the president was the one who changed her mind and decided not to attend the conference.
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