“The man has sizeable assets, which on the one hand deserves respect, but on the other hand, one always wonders how somebody’s property was acquired, if they are not a top athlete or innovator but a broker,” said Milanović.
Commenting on the fact that the new minister was not a member of the HDZ, Milanović said he saw that as a sign of caution having to do with the arrest of former construction minister Darko Horvat by the Office of the Attorney-General.
“When half of your government is arrested, with some members having been arrested unconstitutionally and completely inexplicably, you get extra cautious,” said Milanović.
The ruling coalition earlier in the day unanimously supported Ivan Paladina as the candidate for the new Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets, to be voted on by the parliament on Wednesday.
Among other things, Paladina was also the CEO of the Institute IGH civil engineering company and the chief advisor at the Croatian Postal Bank (HPB).
On ministry’s reaction to court decision on Burčul’s retirement
Milanović also commented on the Defence Ministry’s reaction to the Administrative Court’s decision to quash its decision to send into retirement Colonel Elvis Burčul, commander of the Honorary and Protection Battalion, which protects the president.
The ministry said the court decision would have no effect on Defence Minister Mario Banožić’s decision to send Burčul into retirement.
“The ministry’s message is criminal behaviour, I do not consider it binding in any way,” said Milanović.
He said that with its decision the court had actually told Banožić that he had made up the reason for Burčul’s retirement and that his reaction was completely normal “for a petty thief and liar.”
On sanctions against Russia
Milanović also commented on the sanctions which Croatia, as part of the EU’s response to the Russian aggression on Ukraine, can impose on Russian companies and oligarchs, stressing that one should take care the sanctions do not turn into an act of retaliation.
“There has been in the HDZ, notably during (former HDZ leader Tomislav) Karamarko’s term, a… group of people linked with Russians and Ukrainians,” he said, adding that decisions on who could be subject to sanctions were very arbitrary.
“One should be careful with that and take care, regardless of what the document says, that Croatia does not suffer harm,” he said.