Jadranka Kosor: Let me Tell You About 2011 to 2017

Total Croatia News

On December 9, 2011, I signed the EU Accession Contract. The government made it possible for the same to be done by the then Croatian President Ivo Josipović. It’s been five years since that moment, but the five year anniversary was not commemorated in any way, and hardly anyone has mentioned it in the public media. Obviously, the fact that Croatia de facto became an EU member on December 9th 2011 is considered not worth mentioning.

The Parliamentary session ended in December of last year, and representatives will be on holiday until at least January 15. They were able to go gift shopping without any worries, as their salaries were due to for a tidy increase from the beginning of January, through tax reforms. The same was true for government members and the Croatian president (who stood to gain about 2 thousand kuna) and other officials. This is somehow considered normal, despite the contrast with the 330 thousand frozen salaries of ordinary citizens. The increases apply, just as to all other above-average salaries, as the Government deemed any discussion about freezing officials’ salaries “demagogy and populism.” MOST put up an unskilled, weak and sham resistance (after all, they also like higher wages, only losers wouldn’t want them). In like vein, SDP members were rubbing their hands with glee in the parliamentary corridors, for persuading Most to accept their demand for an increase in the minimum wage in the merketplace. More pay is more pay, just as lower pay is lower pay. However, the SDP omitted to explain to the uninformed public and Božo Petrov that any increase in the minimum wage is a new obligation for employers, while an increase in officials’ salaries is a new demand on the state budget.

When MPs voted on the budget (including for the first time Glavaš’s and Pupovac’s parties in the parliamentary majority uniting as one), they increased the budget of the Directorate for Airplane Management by 3 million kuna, as well as agreeing a 4 million kuna increase for the Office of the President, which now stands at 12 million kuna, while in 2011 the budget of the President of the Government was 2,383,000 kuna. This was not explained. Yet citizens have the right to know why these funds are being increased. Similarly, they should be told for whom and why tonnes of salmon are being purchased for the office on Pantovčak whose principal resident promised to move her office to Visoka street (around this time two years ago).

Unfulfilled promises are already being replaced by new ones which will remain unfulfilled, just like the promise that Croatia would be the richest country in the world. We’ve entered the new year with decisions to buy a military squadron, increase the military budget and also to buy back INA. This was announced at a specially convened press conference (questions barred) on Christmas Eve. We were told that the buyback plan had been made, the model prepared, but no details would be given, as they would be released when the time comes. There was no mention of when the government had held a session on the topic of INA before the press conference, nor what form any discussion took. Nor was it stated whether coalition members were informed about the buyback model. As questions were not allowed, these issues remained unanswered.

In the meantime, Petrov stated in a television interview the buyback model was being discussed. This was followed by his partner Andrej Plenković stating for another television programme that there was agreement to sell part of HEP in order to buy buy INA. Petrov had nothing to say in response to this. It would have been interesting to hear from him when it was that MOST approved the sale of HEP, and whether HEP is important for Croatia’s energy independence. Also, as Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, why did he not disclose this fact when talking on RTL, while allowing the PM elected by Parliament, of which Petrov is the leader, to say it on Nova TV? All the more so, as it is for Parliament to discuss the purchase of INA, the sale of HEP and the far-reaching consequences of both for Croatia, since we function in a parliamentary democracy where the Government answers to the Parliament which elects it (and brings it down, as we saw in June of last year when the MOST-HDZ government fell).

The Croatian President makes no comment on the money, models and plans which could shake up Croatia, although previously she has been known to barge into ministries attempting to threaten ministers (rememberimng, for instance, the events in the Ministry of Agriculture). She has gone off on a trip to America which is neither official nor wholly private, but the Pantovčak office chooses to say nothing about that, or rather no more than saying they have nothing to say. And then on Wednesday (January 4th) they stated it is an official trip, using commercial flights (as did all the President’s predecessors). Otherwise the President’s Office has remained silent on details, even though it is their job to inform the public precisely and clearly. The most that came out on Wednesday was that the President was meeting members of America’s “political and social organizations and non-governmental representatives.” What, who, how, when?! And not a single selfie to show for it!

It is a fact that no President of any democratic country can have secrets from the people, populace and citizens of his or her country when travelling anywhere, let alone abroad. It is the citizens who pay for these trips (which always include security staff). The people must be told the reasons for the visit, and why the trip took place at New Year, when Presidents are usually with their citizens, rather than just sending greetings through Facebook with a photo of Santa. A fake Santa, of course, as a real one does not exist.

In the meantime, there is still no Commission for Pardons following its dismissed due to irregularities. The Commission for the Move from Pantovčak has been operating without success for the past two years. The Commission to debate the Ustashi symbols in Jasenovac and elsewhere has apparently not even been formed yet – this last is one of the fifty ‘priorities’ of the Government).

No one speaks of the problems in the Immunology Institute: people come to work, do nothing, and get paid. Oddly, the sale of HEP is presented, according to the Deputy PM, as a solution to the issue of favouritism and nepotism in allocating jobs. Meanwhile, a young operative recently took over a local radio station and employed close colleagues from his political party, while other employees were selected through a tender in Parliament, all of them members of or close to the ruling parties. The scandal surrounding the employment of someone’s Best Man which brought about a revision of the Croatian Water Board’s Statute has already been completely forgotten.

On January 4th, line Minister Dobrović, in the name of MOST, stated that the decision to sell HEP is a “good direction” and a “prerequisite to strengthening HEP.” But nothing is given sufficient strength before being sold, as we have seen, unfortunately, in the case of INA. It seems the mistakes of the past have not been punishment enough, so a new privatisation is underway for the re-purchase of INA,  even though no one knows how this transaction might end. Minister Dobrović informed us that the “politics of hopelessness and absence of ideas are at an end,” because that was what he was primed to say. So, it’s a question of ideas and new hope, and any opponents are promoters of hopelessness and an absence of ideas.

The key questions in this tale are political. In the past few years, especially after its painful experiences with INA, the HDZ has been strongly opposed to selling off strategically important resources. In its 2011 election programme, among other things, the Energy chapter stated: “We will enable the arrival of domestic and foreign investors in the energy sector, but under the principle of new construction, not the sale of existing infrastructural energy buildings and companies. To this end, the Law on the Privatisation of HEP has been abolished at the beginning of 2010.” Further: “We are against the sale of state property!! We will not privatize our rich natural resources, our energy and transportation infrastructure.”

True, all of this was back in 2011, but the main actors of the newest story were HDZ members at the time, so resisting the sale of any strategic resources was their programme too. As they might say in the USA: “get with the programme!”

For the original and more from Jadranka Kosor’s blog, click here.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment