Speaking to the press, Plenković said he had “initiated (a) detailed verification of what we can get, how much it costs, what the Croatian Army needs.”
He said the procurement was a detailed process that began in 2017 and thereby Croatia was reinforcing its defence cooperation with the United States as well as its own army and contribution to NATO. Croatia is also strengthening its economy since part of the job will go to the Đuro Đaković company, he added.
Commenting on President Zoran Milanović’s pressure to procure the Bradleys, the prime minister said, “Pressuring the government, which was the one to embark on this process, is a little ridiculous.”
Plenković said he initiated a verification process over the past six weeks and that the General Staff and the Defence Ministry were consolidating their stand.
He said more consultations would be held. “We’ll decide as we planned, but fully conscious that we have the key elements on the viability of that process.”
Plenković said that as he understood it, the stand of the General Staff and the Defence Ministry was to procure the A2 ODS version of the Bradleys. This version is on the table, but together with the weaponry and everything which makes the vehicles good and useful, he added.
Commenting on today’s record-high number of daily coronavirus cases in Croatia, Plenković said the fourth wave of the pandemic, dominated by the Delta variant, had merged with the wave in which Omicron is dominant. He said the number was as expected and reiterated that protection from the virus lay in vaccination and individual responsibility.
Asked if hospitality establishments would be required to close earlier, he said the national COVID-19 crisis management team had not yet considered that option.
Commenting on the opposition’s collecting signatures for a vote of no confidence in Construction Minister Darko Horvat, Plenković said it would not pass. “We will reject this (initiative) too. The parliamentary majority is strong.”
The prime minister also commented on the latest developments concerning Serbian tennis player Novak Đoković, who was denied entry to Australia, saying that everyone should comply with COVID regulations.
A journalist noted that Croatia changed the definition of close contact after Plenković met with Đoković after the 2020 Adria Tour in Zadar. After the tournament, Đoković tested positive for the virus.
Plenković said that story and the one regarding a religious procession on Hvar island, also from 2020, were “the stupidest and rudest theses in the media sphere when it comes to what is called, deliberately and in a politically orchestrated way, the inconsistency of the (COVID crisis management team).”
The prime minister also commented on the search for Matej Periš, a 27-year-old Croatian who went missing in Belgrade on 31 December, saying he was communicating with the relevant ministries on a daily basis and that they were communicating with the Serbian authorities.
“I have the impression we still don’t have the whole picture,” he said, adding that as prime minister he was interested in “getting the full story.”
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