ZAGREB, November 2, 2020 – President Zoran Milanovic said on Monday that he would support a possible lockdown to help in efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, but he would oppose a curfew, explaining that Croatia is not in a state of war but in an emergency situation.
“I will be the first one to back a lockdown but not a curfew,” Milanovic said, adding that he was against a curfew and against situations where people, who, for instance, walk their dogs after 8 p.m., have to explain why they are outside.
Addressing reporters after a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Social Democratic Party at whose helm he was from mid-2007 to late 2016, the president said that any decision on imposing a lockdown could not be made by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic or the head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), Krunoslav Capak, but that it was the responsibility of the national parliament.
Damage to be caused by a lockdown is huge, people are at the end of their tether, notably those who do not work in the civil service, Milanovic said, adding that society should care for the elderly and the ill, while others should behave responsibly and prudently.
He went on to say that the current situation requires more engagement from some professionals, for instance, physicians, adding that “there are enough doctors, but they should be paid well,” and that Finance Minister Zdravko Maric should take care of that.
In a message to the government and the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Milanovic said they should not be “hiding behind clerks” and leaving decisions they are afraid to make to HZJZ head Krunoslav Capak.
“It is unfair,” he added.
Milanovic says willing to attend Vukovar commemorative march but…
In connection with the 29th anniversary of the fall of the eastern town of Vukovar and the southern town of Skabrnja into the hands of the Yugoslav People’s Army and rebel Serbs, to be marked on 18 November, Milanovic said that he was willing to attend the commemoration in Vukovar.
“A lot will depend on an agreement between Plenkovic, (war veterans’ minister Tomo) Medved and (Vukovar Mayor Ivan) Penava and the local bunch,” Milanovic said, adding that attending the ceremonies was definitely an honour and a duty.
He noted, however, that before his departure to Vukovar he would consult the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA), because “I do not have to take part in any shows.”
In that context, he said that he did not want a recurrence of the situation of 18 November 2013, when he and some other state officials were prevented from joining the commemorative march through the city.