ZAGREB, July 21, 2020 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Tuesday the outgoing government dealt successfully with many crises and fulfilled its goals, and that the new government would reduce divisions in society and do more for poorer citizens.
“We have been faced with many crises. I think we have overcome and managed them well. And I’m pleased that we won the confidence of a huge majority of voters in the (parliamentary) election, that practically a couple of hours after the results we ensured a parliamentary majority with our former partners, ethnic minority representatives, the HNS and Reformists,” he told the press after the last meeting of the outgoing cabinet.
He said they tried, as well as they could, to contribute to citizens’ well-being and Croatia’s development, to realise their platform and stick to four goals – political stability, legal certainty, economic growth and social solidarity.
Skeletons from transition closet
Asked about the biggest omission or failure over the past four years, Plenkovic said they had too little time to work on what they wanted in peace.
“Many skeletons from Croatia’s transition closet, society and economy were coming to the table. We were at a speed called crisis management. It was practically non-stop. I don’t know which other crisis could have happened that didn’t happen in this term,” he said.
“My ambition was to reduce tensions back in 2016. Then I said we were embarking on a transformation of the HDZ so that we could proceed with the transformation of relations in society.”
He said they transformed the ruling HDZ party gradually and retained all the fundamental values, firmly setting the anchor on the center-right, and that both members and citizens supported that.
“The HDZ, when it ran in the election with its partners, was attractive to a large number of Croatian voters. That’s my fundamental goal in politics. I think what people want most is security, serious and responsible people who will stick to to their values, while respecting others.”
We will reduce divisions in society
The new government will reduce divisions in society and do more for the fellow citizens, notably those living on the brink of poverty, pensioners and those with the lowest wages, Plenkovic said.
“We will make an effort to gradually raise all that and for the situation to be better for them on the micro-level. If macro-successes with big numbers stay abstract too long and aren’t visible on the micro-level, we won’t be able to connect the really big steps forward and the everyday reality of our fellow citizens.”
Plenkovic went on to say that he did not consider the ministers who had to step down a mistake of his because what was later on possibly problematic was not evident, nor could he have known about it, when they were forming the outgoing government.
Asked if he had asked the new ministers whether there was something he should know and if he feared that some scandals might surface, he said they were all serious and responsible as well as rational enough to talk transparently. “From what I heard talking with them, everything should be OK.”
Speaking of structural reforms, he said they must use the enthusiasm from the success at the European Council and the drive of all the new government members to get to work in every sector – healthcare, justice, administration, the labour market, the economy, tax and administrative relief and reducing non-tax levies.
“We must constantly see to it that everything we do is seen, heard, explained, and understood, and that it gets certain support. That’s the key.”
As for a national development strategy, he said it was done, that they did not want to adopt it during the election, that it was adjusted due to the coronavirus and that it would take into account the new circumstances.