Who is Andrej Plenković, Croatia’s Likely Next Prime Minister?

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Source: Andrej Plenković/Facebook

HDZ president is Croatia’s likely next Prime Minister.

After Sunday’s elections, it is clear that by far the best chance to form a government has HDZ, and that its president Andrej Pleković is therefore the most likely candidate to become the next Croatian Prime Minister.

Andrej Plenković was born in 1970 in Zagreb. His family is originally from the island of Hvar. He is married to Ana Maslać Plenković, a lawyer born in Dubrovnik, and has a son. He is fluent in English, French and Italian.

He studied at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, where he graduated in 1993 with a dissertation “The Institutions of the European Community and the Decision-Making Process”. During his studies, he worked as a volunteer interpreter for the European Community Monitoring Mission in Croatia in 1991 and 1992. As a student, he gained practical knowledge at the Stephenson Harwood law firm in London. He was an intern for the European People’s Party in the European Parliament in 1993, while in 1994 he worked as an intern at the Croatian Mission to the EU, which was led at the time by Ambassador Ante Čičin-Šain.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Plenković completed a course for diplomatic advisor, while in 1999 he passed a counsellor exam at the Diplomatic Academy. At the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, has completed postgraduate studies in international public and private law.

Plenković was hired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1994 as an associate in the Department for European Integration. He was working on Croatian relations with the Council of Europe and the European Union, which included the negotiations on the Agreement on Cooperation Between Croatia and the EU.

In 1995, he became chief of staff of the then Deputy Foreign Minister Ivan Šimonović.

In October 1997, he became head of the Department for European Integration, which he remained until the end of 2001. In the meantime, in 2000 he was the campaign manager for Mate Granić, former Foreign Minister who was HDZ’s presidential candidate.

He was a member of the negotiating team for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU and the deputy secretary general of the organizational committee for the Zagreb meeting of heads of state and government of the European Union and the countries of South Eastern Europe, which took place in November 2000 and is still the most important international summit held in Croatia.

From 2002 to 2005, he was deputy head of the Croatian delegation to the European Union in Brussels, in charge of coordinating political activities.

From 2005 to 2010, he was deputy ambassador in France, in charge of political and organizational issues.

Upon his return to Zagreb, from April 2010 to December 2011, he was the state secretary for European integration during the government led by Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.

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He joined HDZ in 2011 and in December he was elected as an MP. He was member of the HDZ Parliamentary Group and of parliamentary committees on foreign affairs, European integration, justice, environmental protection, and inter-parliamentary cooperation.

He was HDZ’s candidate at the Croatia’s first elections for members of the European Parliament which took place in April 2013. He was elected to the European Parliament and received the highest number of votes among all HDZ candidates.

On 1 July 2013, the day when Croatian became a member of the European Union, Plenković became an MEP. At the regular European elections in May 2014, Plenković was re-elected as an MEP, again winning the highest number of preferential votes.

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After Tomislav Karamarko resigned as HDZ president in June of this year, Plenković was the only candidate for his successor. The election among party members took place on 17 July. He received votes from 97,823 members, out of the total of 208,277 party members, and he became the fifth HDZ president. “Today we begin a new chapter. These are challenging times for HDZ, Croatia, Europe and the world. HDZ and Croatia need a new vision and approach”, said Andrej Plenković in his speech after he was elected as HDZ president.

He is considered to be a moderate who wants to position HDZ as a centre-right party and it is expected that he would pursue strongly pro-European policies.


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