Prime Minister: Everything Must Be Done to Prevent Tensions in Society

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, September 29, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has condemned Friday’s attack on MPs Milorad Pupovac and Boris Milošević of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), saying that absolutely everything should be done to prevent hate speech, stigmatisation and any tensions in society.

“I condemned the attack already yesterday, in a government press release. I spoke with Mr Pupovac as soon as I heard the news. He explained the circumstances, how it happened. I expect the police to investigate this incident, identify the perpetrator and punish him accordingly,” Plenković told the press on Saturday after a meeting of the association of war veterans from the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party.

The Serb minority MPs were attacked in Zagreb’s Dolac open-air fruit and vegetable market on Friday afternoon, when they had food leftovers thrown at them by an as yet unidentified assailant or assailants.

Asked whether he was surprised by the attack, given that Pupovac had been demonised by some veterans’ associations in recent days, Plenković said that he had made it clear at today’s meeting that “absolutely everything should be done to prevent any tensions in society, to prevent hate speech and stigmatisation.”

“I strongly oppose this as prime minister and president of the HDZ. Those who do such things should think carefully about their responsibility and the implications. In 2018, we are building Croatia as an inclusive and tolerant society in which the majority should protect the minorities. That’s the key, including the representatives of the Serb minority in Croatia,” Plenković said.

He said that the HDZ’s policy on this matter was quite clear, adding that “the high-level of protection of the rights of the ethnic minorities must be deeply rooted in our political culture and action.”

Plenković declined to discuss the details of the conversations he had had in the previous days with HDZ vice-president Milijan Brkić regarding the so-called “fake text messages” scandal, saying that he had responded to this question on Friday. He added that the authorities should take all the necessary steps to shed light on this affair.

Asked if he found it questionable that the drivers for Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić and Veterans’ Affairs Minister Tomo Medved received disability pensions and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, the prime minister said he had no knowledge of their individual status. But it is possible that people who took part in the Homeland War and have disabled war veteran status can do work for which they are qualified in accordance with the law, he added.

The scandal broke out after it was found that an IT specialist at the Ministry of the Interior had fabricated text messages for the indicted former Dinamo Football Club boss Zdravko Mamić so that he could use them as evidence of pressure being put on one of the judges in his trial. The driver for the agriculture minister, who is a close friend of HDZ vice-president Brkić, notified the IT specialist that he was under investigation and should destroy the evidence. Both the IT specialist and the driver have been arrested.  

Responding to questions from the press, Plenković said that the government was seeking solutions that would ensure sustainable long-term operation of the ailing Uljanik and 3. Maj shipyards, while taking into account general interests and the state budget.


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