ZAGREB, November 7, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday refuted speculation that Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić would deliver a speech in the Croatian parliament during a European People’s Party congress, saying Vučić had the right to attend the congress because he was invited by EPP president Joseph Daul.
He was commenting on media reports that Vučić would speak in parliament because he is scheduled to speak at the EPP congress taking place in Zagreb on November 19-21.
“It’s not good to say lies which others then relay. This is very important for freedom of the press and professional reporting,” Plenković told reporters.
He is confident there will be no drama about Vučić’s arrival, although reporters remarked that there were protests when Vučić last visited Zagreb in February 2018. “Today we will be in Geneva together. We see each other at many international meetings.”
“He and his party are an associate member of the EPP… He was invited by president Daul. If he wants to come, he’ll come,” Plenković said.
He said the EPP congress would be the biggest meeting of any European political group ever held in Croatia.
Plenković went on to say that the EPP Political Assembly would meet in parliament, “a body which meets every four to six weeks.”
The congress will be held at the Arena sports centre, which can host the 2,000 prime ministers or party presidents from the EPP group that have been invited. “Many have confirmed their arrival. As far as I know, Mr Vučić hasn’t yet.”
Asked if it was right for Vucic to come to Zagreb a day after the anniversary of the fall of Vukovar in the 1990s war, Plenković said he could not see why those two events were being linked given that the date of the EPP congress was defined two years ago. “Why are we mystifying something? I appeal to all of you to stop making something that is normal not normal.”
After N1 television said Vučić would speak in the Croatian parliament, Plenković’s HDZ party too said Vucic would not speak at a session of the EPP Presidency and Political Assembly to be held in parliament on November 19.
Vučić is scheduled to speak at the Arena centre the next day as one of 60 speakers, according to the official mobile app of the congress.
More news about relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.