President Talks with German Chancellor in Berlin

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ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 – Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday during a dinner given on the occasion of an economic conference organised by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, after which she refuted Croatian media speculation that Franjo Varga, the main suspect in a fake texts scandal, was involved in her 2014 presidential campaign.

“We talked about the position of women in politics as well as many other topics in international politics, including US President Donald Trump and his relationship with Europe,” Grabar-Kitarović told Croatian reporters after the dinner during which she also talked with Prime Ministers Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland and Ana Brnabić of Serbia.

She announced that in her speech on Wednesday, when the economic conference ends, she would talk about the Three Seas Initiative and the need to erase differences between old and new Europe.

She said that she would not talk about the Global Compact on Migration. “I said everything there was to say about it. Now it’s up to the Foreign Ministry to continue the job.”

Asked about her national security advisor Vlado Galić and the text messages scandal, the president said Varga had not worked on her election campaign and that Galić told her he had been in contact with Varga twice “during the campaign when various trolls and websites which promoted hate speech appeared.”

“But Varga didn’t work for the campaign. No services were asked of him nor did we create any trolls. Frankly, I was too busy with the programme at the time to think about logistics. I only know that I told my associates at the start of the campaign that I wanted everything to be clean, no dirty deals. As you know, during the campaign I never condemned anyone but talked about work and performance and I never let anyone be personally attacked,” Grabar-Kitarović said, adding that she would discuss this matter with Galić again.

Nacional weekly speculates in its latest issue that Varga was involved in her 2014 presidential campaign because, by his own admission, he was brought to the ruling HDZ party, which nominated Grabar-Kitarović for president, by Galić, her current advisor on defence and security.

For more on the so-called fake messages scandal, click here.


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