Purchase of Building for Croatia’s EU Mission in Brussels Provokes Controversy

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President Grabar-Kitarović has called on State Attorney’s Office to investigate the matter.

Former Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusić reacted to a statement by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović who called on the authorities to investigate the purchase of a building in Brussels which is supposed to house Croatia’s representation to the European Union. Pusić said that the allegations about irregularities during her tenure were false, reports 24sata.hr on March 11, 2017.

“Insinuations published as a statement made by the President, related to the purchase of the building for the Croatian mission to the EU in Brussels, are false. In that statement, the President suggested that there were irregularities with the purchase of the building and that the State Attorney’s Office should urgently investigate the matter”, wrote Pusić on her Facebook profile.

She said that negotiations about the building in Brussels began long before she became foreign minister. “During my term, we managed to buy the building for several million euros less than the cost which was originally negotiated. As a member of the European Union, Croatia has a need for a building of its mission, which it did not have before it became a member. That is the reason why the negotiations started several years before the membership itself and they were successfully concluded just at the time when the need for it became a necessity. All procedures were done according to the law. It is necessary to adapt the building, just like it is always necessary to adapt any other building which could be purchased, since you always have to organize offices and bring the building to specific purpose. This work is carried out very slowly, which was a problem in my term as well, when I repeatedly insisted that the work should be accelerated”, said Pusić. To insinuate that there were criminal offences committed has as its sole purpose to spread lies in public, said the former Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

Večernji List published an interview with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in which she spoke about “failure to prosecute the purchase of a building in Brussels which, although paid 11.5 million euros, is still unfinished and unoccupied”.

Commenting on the issue on Friday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that he had asked for information on how things stand with the adaptation of the building. “This building is large enough to accommodate not only the permanent representation to the EU, but also all diplomatic missions in Brussels. It can also become home to representations of individual Croatian counties which are now dispersed all over Brussels” said Plenković to reporters after the EU summit. “I have asked to see where we stand with this. It has been four years and it is about time that the building is put into use, so that we can save funds which are currently being spent on rental of office space”, said Plenković.


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