ZAGREB, August 28, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday labelled as inappropriate and unacceptable the statements by Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Milorad Pupovac that Croatia had become a factor of instability in the region because it promoted intolerance and attempted to rehabilitate Ustashim, calling on him not to contribute to the polarisation of society.
“We consider it extremely inappropriate, even unacceptable, the statements by our coalition partner that would point to the conclusion that Croatia is a factor of instability in Southeast Europe and that present-day Croatia should be compared with the NDH (WWII Nazi-styled Independent State of Croatia) regime. We consider that to be absolutely untrue and this should be said clearly and I resolutely reject that,” Plenković told reporters after a meeting of the leadership of the ruling HDZ party.
He again strongly condemned last weeks’ attacks on Serbs and said he expected the police to prosecute the perpetrators. He added that the policy of the government and the HDZ was to create a country in which all minorities felt good and safe, including the Serb minority.
“I don’t accept and resolutely reject arguments which suggest that there is a climate in Croatia which incites intolerance towards minorities, for which our government and policy is least responsible. Everything we have been doing for the past three years has been aimed at reducing polarisation in society, at including minorities both in the parliamentary majority and, especially, in operational programmes for minorities, at reducing tensions, at dialogue, communication, building good neighbouring relations.”
Plenković said he wanted the political parties that fomented polarisation to be clearly identified, saying the ruling HDZ was certainly not one of them and that those wanting polarisation and conflicts were actually fighting against the government. “We are against any exclusion.”
Plenković said he expected Pupovac not to contribute to the polarisation of society. “Everyone who is responsible in Croatia and discharges key political duties, notably as part of the parliamentary majority, should contribute to reducing tensions.”
“I want the negative spiral that has begun in the past few days to end. As the government and the strongest party in the parliamentary majority, we must say: Enough with the spiral of hatred.”
Plenković said a polarisation of society occurred in 2015-16, boiling down to “us or them”, and that he had insisted that ethnic minorities and their representatives be part of the parliamentary majority.
“Where is the problem in us as the government and the HDZ as the strongest party extending a hand to all minorities in Croatia? I reject arguments that we are responsible for the climate (in society),” he said, adding that last week’s attacks were committed by individuals who would be brought to justice.
Plenković said he would talk with Pupovac and that, at the meeting, the HDZ did not discuss the possibility of dissolving the coalition with the SDSS.
More HDZ news can be found in the Politics section.