Will the Croatian government abolish the Veterans Ministry?
It has been three weeks since Minister of Veterans Affairs Mijo Crnoja has resigned and the government has still not selected the new minister. In an interview with Index, Ines Strenja Linić (MOST) revealed that her party is thinking that perhaps the Veterans Affairs Ministry should be abolished and merged with Defence Ministry, but they have not yet discussed the issue or made any final decisions. She pointed out that the decision about the Ministry would be left to veterans and their associations, reports Index.hr on February 17, 2016.
“Before any decision is made, it is necessary to see what would be the best solution for the veterans. Their rights should be consolidated in a single law, and then it will be easier for them to exercise their rights and for the implementation of the laws to be controlled. Only then should we decide whether we should have a separate ministry or whether it should be merged with the Defence Ministry. I believe that the majority of veterans would be honoured since most of them used to belong to that Ministry. There are also parents, spouses and children of the killed and missing, civilian war victims and others, but it should not be a problem to regulate it all”, said Strenja Linić.
She stressed that MOST believes that the overall number of ministries should be reduced. “Everything is a matter of agreement about the reduction of unnecessary costs. We need to define priorities, and the money saved should be directed to those most in need”, added Strenja Linić. When asked whether this would mean that the Veterans Ministry could in future be merged with the Defence Ministry, she said that no such decision has been made.
“Maybe we could form a new ministry comprised of several ministries, or it could be just the Defence Ministry. But, nothing has been discussed nor decided. These are just some of the opinions”, concluded Strenja Linić.
HDZ ministers Oleg Butković and Lovro Kuščević said on Wednesday that they were against the abolition of the Veterans Affairs Ministry. “I think it is a very important ministry, and these are people who have made their sacrifice for their country. We have to take care of these people”, said Kuščević. “I think this is a topic that needs much more serious discussion”, concluded Kuščević.
Regarding the possibility of merging the Defence and Veterans Ministries, Pero Ćorić, secretary general of HSP AS and a member of the Council for Cooperation between the Patriotic Coalition and MOST, said on Tuesday that his party believed that the Veterans Ministry was not necessary, since the rights of veterans and their families are defined by laws which should be implemented by the Defence Ministry.