ZAGREB, April 19, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, speaking at a government session on Thursday, called on both those in favour and those against the Istanbul Convention to implement it together and efficiently, saying that the implementation was good, noble and useful.
“I call on all stakeholders in the process to calm tensions because, with the interpretive statement accompanying the Convention, the Croatian government guarantees that there will be no problems that would go against the values in the legal and education systems,” Plenković said.
The government is confident the Convention will bring benefits, primarily to women who are victims of violence, Plenković said, calling on both those in favour and those against the Convention to implement it together and efficiently. “Nothing unusual has happened in any other country that ratified and implemented the Istanbul Convention and nothing unusual will happen in Croatia either, and I invite everyone to have faith in the Croatian institutions,” Plenković said.
Plenković spoke about the Council of Europe (CoE) convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence at the start of the government session, commenting on CoE Secretary General Thornbjorn Jagland’s visit to Zagreb on Tuesday. Croatia will for the first time in its history take over the six-month presidency of the Council of Europe in Copenhagen on May 22.
Plenković said that he had told Jagland that it was not good for an organisation such as the Council of Europe to have the topic of one convention, which is noble and good, burdened by other topics and debates. “This is a situation that creates difficulties both for the Council of Europe and for countries that need to ratify it, at times of pan-European campaigns launched by agile activists who are against the ratification, notably those in the nongovernmental sector,” Plenković said.
This is why Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović will explain Croatia’s position on the Istanbul Convention at the meeting in Copenhagen, Plenković said. He reiterated that the fight against corruption, decentralisation, the protection of the rights of ethnic minorities and vulnerable groups as well as the protection of cultural heritage would be the priorities of Croatia’s presidency of the Council of Europe.
A total of 26 events have been planned to be held during Croatia’s CoE presidency, which will be an opportunity to promote the said topics and Croatia, and to strengthen common values, notably in the area of human rights.