Croatia: Corruption and COVID-19 Coronavirus Crisis

Hrvoje Zekanovic, MP (L) Zeljko Glasnovic, MP (R)
Croatian Parliament 3 April 2020
Photo: Screenshots

While issues and matters relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus) is and has for some weeks now been overshadowing everything else there’s no doubt that times of upheaval (and COVID-19 coronavirus has created one) are always times of radical change, times of control; in this case control of people behaviour and choices in living. There are those who believe the pandemic is a once-in-a-generation chance to remake society, restructure processes that have not worked and build a better future. Others fear it may only make existing injustices worse. If there is one injustice defining life of ordinary citizens in the Croatian society it is corruption. Corruption at all levels of power or at all processes people’s lives depend upon – whether it is nepotism, whether it is bribery, whether it is embezzlement and theft – the pandemic and focus on measures to stop or slow-down the spread of COVID-19 currently seems a fertile ground for “business as usual” when it comes to dealing with corruption. This is regretful, for this crisis could also be a time when restructures are made in order to eradicate the crippling corruption in Croatia.

Rewind your mind back a few weeks and imagine someone telling you that within a month, schools will be closed. Almost all public gatherings will be cancelled. Hundreds of millions of people around the world will be out of work due to compulsory closures of shops and non-essential services. Governments will be throwing together some of the largest economic stimulus packages in history. In certain places, landlords will not be collecting rent, or banks collecting mortgage payments, and the homeless will be allowed to stay in hotels or empty apartments free of charge. Governments will delve into direct provision of basic wage or income. Large number of countries in the world will be collaborating – with various degrees of coercion and nudging – on a shared project of keeping at least two metres between each other whenever possible. European Union free travel and movement between member states will cease to exist and police and armies of each member state will make sure its borders are impregnable. More than likely than not, you would have labelled the person who told you all that, and more, as a lunatic, at least.

The size and speed of what is happening is dizzying, but also is the fact that we appear to be getting accustomed to hearing that democracies are incapable of making big moves like this quickly; that firm government control is what’s essential in order to save our lives and livelihoods! In many cases, and so too in Croatia, minority governments are on the road of using control of coronavirus threat to citizens in order prove that they are legitimate, and powerful. Any glance at history reveals that crises and disasters have continually set the stage for change, often for the better = but not always! The global flu epidemic of 1918 helped create national health services in many European countries. The twinned crises of the Great Depression and the second world war set the stage for the modern welfare state. Will the coronavirus crisis in Croatia set the stage for eradication of corruption, I wonder and wish it would.

Unless focused upon, corruption is likely to increase during these pandemic times in Croatia and measures, such as introduction of Code of Conduct or standards or strict checks and balances, independent audits of practices, standing down of the incompetent politically suitable employees from public administration, etc. must be introduced, otherwise, the fear for a decent livelihood will not only be fuelled by COVID-19.

On Friday 3 April 2020 in the Croatian Parliament, Members of Parliament Hrvoje Zekanovic (President of Croatian Sovereignists) and retired General Zeljko Glasnovic (Independent Member for Croats living outside of Croatia) addressed the Parliament with speeches that reflected on the possible dangers of government appointed body that has absolute powers at this time of crisis, political machinations and manipulations benefitting only the political party in power, the corruption embedded in the government system riddled with former communists and how the crisis may and should be used for major restructures which no government of Croatia has achieved so far.

Hrvoje Zekanovic, MP, among other things said: “… we have a strange scenario, surreal, unrealistic, and I wonder if maybe this crisis has been welcomed by some structures… banks for example… banks have struggled to place their money for years. Lots of money, cheap money, they even gave it out without charging interest. Suddenly all the countries of the world and our Croatia are rushing to the banks, to international markets, anywhere, seeking money to save their national economies. It is an interesting coincidence, that is, to know that someone is benefiting from this crisis because all countries in the world are very economically indebted at the moment, to whom, to banks. And the other fact is that the banks had a major problem with the placement of their funds, that they had piles of money, billions and billions of dollars or euros that they could not place. And now, Croatia has suddenly sobered up, the HDZ elections are over, the old HDZ president is the new HDZ president, Andrej Plenkovic, has swept up the competition and is free to deal with the corona crisis. All of a sudden, as politically imagined as it is, a new body, some new faces … and then suddenly it rushes to grips with the corona crisis. And suddenly we have a new body that has absolute powers. This body, the Croatian Parliament, gave it the ability to do whatever it wants. And in all the media, we have one real agitprop – yesterday, in the Open program, we have three ruling party politicians, zero from the opposition. Check out any news on Croatian television … or any other national television … and you will not be able to see, except in some sideline frames, the opposition or some other people who are critical of the government’s response to this crisis, and the mouths of national television will be full of praise for the measures of the Croatian government …”

Zeljko Glasnovic, MP, among other things said: “…we need to respect neutral sources, no one knows how long this will last… of course we cannot separate politics from the economy and today the economy from the coronavirus … I think the first step of any economic measure is that if we talk about solidarity, that we take care of the most vulnerable group of people. They are the disabled, the old people, etc. This is the real right-wing, not the red-right that first secured money for its  three generations in advance… we do not yet have the origin of property or the names of people who have bank accounts abroad, and we know that maybe everyone of them was in the Party (Communist) … Now is the time not only for economic security, but the time is now, because crisis is the best stimulus, crisis and fear, for best structural reforms that no government has ever made. We have tightened the belts, the grey economy is double what it was in the European Union, and we know how many, well, how some Croats are creative accountants, they are masters of it… how is it possible for one person, as one small example, to be spending public money and spending 170,000 kunas on representation (entertainment) without having to answer to anyone! That’s right, the grey economy and now the professionalisation of the administration and now it’s time for all these institutions to work in sync to see that the money is going where it should go … you enjoyed the Party, you are doing well today, you have created a second generation of emigrants, and I would send all of you an auditor-general, this inspector … I don’t know what his financial status is … you are all linked together, I don’t trust you, I believe in God and mathematics, I would solve everything in three months and would first come to your door …”

The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published on 24 March 2020 its fifth round evaluation report (for full pdf report click here) on Croatia dealing with preventing corruption in government (top executive functions) and the police and it will be most interesting following up on what is being done to curtail corruption; to bring it down to insignificant levels.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. It helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. Currently it comprises the 47 Council of Europe member states, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the United States of America

Croatia joined GRECO group in 2000 and this year’s report was focused on evaluating the effectiveness of the measures adopted by the authorities of Croatia to prevent corruption and promote integrity in central governments (top executive functions) and law enforcement agencies. The report contains a critical analysis of the situation, reflecting on the efforts made by the actors concerned and the results achieved. It identifies shortcomings and makes recommendations for improvement. GRECO’s plan is for Croatia to report back on the action and measures taken, on compliance, in response to GRECO’s recommendations within 18 months of the adoption of this report; that would be around mid-2021.

In this report GRECO considers that developments in recent years have shown a need to ensure that integrity standards also apply to people working in an advisory capacity for the government. More specifically regarding members of the government, state secretaries and assistant ministers, the report calls for the adoption of a code of conduct, to be supplemented with practical guidance, briefings on the integrity rules in place and confidential counselling.

When it comes to the police, the report notes a relatively low level of trust in the police and considers that more needs to be done to prevent corruption risks within the police itself.

GRECO further recommends that the current rules on the taking up of employment – when a person entrusted with top executive functions leaves an official position – need to be broadened and considers that the lack of rules on reporting and disclosing contacts with lobbyists/third parties that seek to influence the public decision-making process constitutes a gap. This gap must be filled in order to further improve transparency.

Efforts to prevent corruption risks within the police itself, GRECO report says, should start with comprehensive risk assessment of corruption-prone activities within the police, as a basis to adopt an integrity and anti-corruption strategy for the entire police force. The report furthermore acknowledges the existing code of ethics for police officers but considers that it would need to better cover all integrity matters and be supplemented with an explanatory manual to become a truly practical tool and a reference point for the to-be-revised police trainings. Furthermore, more attention needs to be paid to the current appointment and promotion processes of police officers and their employment after they leave the police. Finally, GRECO recommends that a requirement be established for police staff to report integrity-related misconduct they come across in the police service.

The institutions or bodies in Croatia that deal with fighting against corruption are several. They include the Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Measures, the Ministry of Justice’s Anti-Corruption Sector, the Police National Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (PNUSKOK), the USKOK – Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime and the National Council for Monitoring the Implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy. Indeed, the Croatian people have been listening to its governments saying that corruption must be eradicated for decades and yet nothing much changes. Corruption and clientelism thrive unabated, bar for a handful of legally pursued cases of high-profile personalities. The fact that corruption keeps on thriving in Croatia comes as no surprise – those in power and high positions would have to remove themselves from those positions in order for eradication to work. Many, many are those who held powerful positions during communist Yugoslavia, or they are the descendants of them.  Hence, nothing short of thorough weeding and lustration will eradicate corruption. The judiciary if filled with former communists or descendants of communists who had amassed personal wealth through corruption; the same goes for many members of parliament, for members of major political parties, for officers in government and public administration, for heads of government owned companies, for heads of many politically active NGO’s…The abuse of public institutions for personal gain is blinding in Croatia and the current government control of almost everything citizens do in this COVID-19 pandemic could easily lead to pushing Croatia even further down the world corruption-free index ladder. Clientelism is rife and the pandemic will surely feed it more in the environment of having a government-created body with absolute powers in what a citizen may or may not do; who gets the lucrative contracts and who does not! Ina Vukic

Fragmented Body Politic – Symptom Of Lost Control Over Croatia’s Socio-Political Destiny

Photo: Alamy.com/ licensed/copyright (c)

Fragmentation of the so-called patriotic (domoljubne), usually dubbed as right-wing, body politic in Croatia has never been more vigorous than at the present time. All parties and political movements (and there are many) involved proclaim either in words or implications a vigorous critical loyalty to Croatia and, ultimately, to the values of the 1990’s Homeland War. However, regretfully, although all proclaim same or very similar political-social goals, burrows that separate them from each other appear insurmountable.

Fragmented body, say many an academics in the world, symbolises castration anxiety as well as loss of control; in this case over national direction. The emergence and seemingly flourishing on life-support from sections of the electorate of more than 150 political parties in Croatia vying for power, espousing a desperate need for change, may be construed as evidence that control has actually been lost in Croatia especially over the process of full democratisation as espoused in the values of the Homeland War.

In recent years, it has become obvious to all but the willfully blind that much is not well with the Croatian self-determination and ordered liberty to be had in a functional democracy where red tape and corruption are minimised (where detrimental practices inherited from the communist Yugoslavia era are thoroughly weeded out from society and public administration).

The signs that something is seriously wrong are myriad:

  • a degree of political polarisation unprecedented since the era when Croats won the bloody war of Serb aggression in 1990’s through which independence was won – through which Croatia seceded from communist Yugoslavia
  • a bitter and debilitating culture war between and within both the left-winged (mainly former communists) and right-winged (who pursue decommunisation and Croatian national identity in accordance with Homeland War values) political spectrum that appears to define and/or steer everyday life of even ordinary people;
  • the erosion of the bonds of civic amity and emergence of a civic culture animated by mutual hatred and contempt based on political ideology and directions in which Croatia should develop and assert its place in the democratic world;
  • a pervasive cynicism and a growing crisis of legitimacy of all or any party or movement body politic;
  • the seeming loss of any notion of an overarching common good to which private interests must be subordinated and resultant understanding of politics as a zero-sum game;
  • and what might be called “gridlock” wherein the fragmentation of the national body politic into a plethora of competing interests (more often personal than not) whose conflicting and ever-escalating demands induce something akin to political paralysis. (Most Croatians are acutely and keenly aware that the system is broken, that public institutions are not functioning the way they should in a democracy but seem unsure as to how to fix this.)

Indeed, Croatia (as do some Western countries) seems to be witnessing the rise of what several political scientists call “anomic democracy” in which democratic politics becomes more an arena for the assertion of conflicting interests than the building of common purposes. A common purpose for Croatia, as the values asserted via the 1990’s Homeland War tell us, is that of democratisation and decommunisation. The latter encapsulates the absolute need to rid the country of the totalitarian-like control in all aspects of state authority and expression whether it be in user-friendly legislation that promotes economic growth, an independent judiciary or balanced mainstream media etc.

In fact, so divided does Croatia appear and so dysfunctional has its politics become that it feels like being in the midst a “cold civil war”.  The vitriol that gushes out between people of differing political allegiances is often suffocating. Perhaps herein lies the reason why true national leaders, whom a significant portion of people trust, are practically non-existent or, at least, invisible, or not afforded a chance to shine in the environment of many egocentric or “I know best” players.

Croatia’s critical public consensus regarding secession from communist Yugoslavia was at its peak during 1990’s and the Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ led this field of goal-focused national harmony. Then came year 2000 and increased subversive political activities from former communists which resurrected Pro-communist Yugoslavia nostalgia in at least 30% of the Croatian national body politic. This, undoubtedly, led to the collapse of the overwhelmingly widespread consensus as to how Croatia should develop and a disastrous and shameful treatment of war veterans from the Homeland War. The results of such a collapse in consensus is a society that begins to disintegrate into collection of warring tribes. The most striking example of this occurs when a society explodes into bitterly opposed camps that, disagreeing fundamentally on the moral and political principles that should govern public life, are ultimately unable to coexist in peace. It is not rare to come across people in Croatia who believe that nothing bar “gunpowder” will save Croatia, i.e. bring it back to the point of “Croatia above all else” that was in the 1990’s! On a lighter or less dramatic note, as the public philosophy that united Croatian people in the 1990’s gradually disappears, the society splinters into a multitude of hostile groups – a multitude of political tribes, as it were, which far from viewing each other as partners in a common enterprise and exhibiting an attitude of trust or civility toward one another, will instead view each other with hostility, fear and resentment.

At the same time, insofar as decisions on public policy involve the use of means to achieve social goals, the loss of shared purposes make decision-making increasingly difficult, if not impossible. If we can’t agree about where we are trying to go, how are we ever going to agree about – or even rationally discuss – the best means to get there? In short, the groups into which the polity has fragmented will be increasingly unable to reach agreement about public policies, increasingly reluctant to make compromises, and increasingly unwilling to sacrifice their own interests for the good of the community as a whole. Thus, unified action on the part of the community will become increasingly difficult if not impossible and political paralysis increasingly possible. The machinery of democracy continues to operate, but effective governance becomes impossible. The end result is the loss by the state of its legitimacy, its moral authority.

Today in this year of General Elections due around September election platforms are already being formulated and it is not unusual to come across the slogan or rhetoric that goes something like this: ”We will return Croatia to the Croatian People”, “We will return the government to the people”, etc. These emerge from a number of political parties or movements, particularly those who have positioned themselves on the right-wing or conservative side of the political spectrum.

But, how can you have “government by the people,” without having a people?

Surely, the multitudes of political parties and movements – the many personalities vying for the top, result in the scattering of votes (people) that would form that critically needed consensus for the country. Today in Croatia, pluralism has grown to the point where, we’ve reached the stage where we are ceasing to agree even in basic respects on what man is and how he should live, where morally and intellectually we can scarcely be considered one people. This is particularly visible in the shambles and political trade-offs regarding the importance for Croatia’s sovereignty of the Homeland War. The ever-growing loudness of pro-former-communist regime via left-wing parties and political movements, aggravates the critical consensus for national direction to a painful level. Hence, the common body of cultural capital on which Croatia has historically traded is disappearing noticeably, and its political institutions have become increasingly dysfunctional in that they fail to adhere to common good and insert into the “national” the “personal” interests. As for what the future holds, insofar as the prospects for re-establishing some type of substantive consensus any time in the foreseeable future seem slim, it seems likely we’re looking at dysfunction as far as the eye can see. And, that is not, to put it gently, a happy prospect.

Our politically fragmented country, as reflected in the current heated political factions, created an embankment foreclosing the opportunity for the creation of real discourse. The impetus is on us, the citizen, to act as catapults and destroy that wall, and partake in holistic discourse with one another, to push for and stand behind a leader who has not lost sight of why Croatia fought for independence and has the skill and supporting “machinery” to avert the possible disaster of the loss of Croatian identity and will. This thought, or rather wish, leads me to the beginning of this article regarding the fragmentation of the patriotic body politic.

On Sunday March 15th the Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ (current major political party holding a coalition government) is holding Party elections, characterised by the split of the party into two evidently viciously warring camps. Current President Andre Plenkovic and his team on one side and Miro Kovac and his team on the other – each asserting that they are the right people to reinvigorate this fragmented party into what it once was – a party to be looked up to by a large proportion of the nation’s population. The implications of this rest on the realisation that even the Croatia’s major political party, that ushered in Croatian independence and secession from communism, has lost the critical consensus regarding where Croatia should go or should be; one faction claiming to be “more Croatian” than the other.  Furthermore, also on the right-wing of politics, there are a number of political parties and movements and independent politicians vying for a similar outcome if elected into government at this year’s General Elections. The leading groups opposing HDZ’s control of the right-winged or patriotic electorate are the Croatian Sovereignists (led by Hrvoje Zekanovic and made up of a number of smaller political parties and individual activists) and their current coalition partners in the Parliamet (Block for Croatia/Zlatko Hasanbegovic and independent MP Zeljko Glasnovic) as well as the newly founded Domoljubni Pokret (Patriotic Movement) headed by Mirislav Skoro.

There does not seem to be much movement on either the left or the right side of the political spectrum to reel into their fold voters from the opposing ideological camps. This of course suggests that nationally, ideological divisions still prevail and, hence, attachments to individual politicians rather than party programs (for all the people regardless of their political ideology). Political ideology defined life during the communist Yugoslavia era and it seems it will take some serious work in order to free the people of this burden, and encourage them to look beyond political personalities when voting. Otherwise, fragmentation of body politic will continue to flourish even though the race to secure a cushy position for the individual politician and not for true representation of voter or constituency needs is obvious, and in essence disliked by the very constituency.

As socio-political actors, it is time when people and politicians need to realise that they are not on a crusade when it comes to Croatia as a legitimate State; rather, that they are, at this time of severe fragmentation of body politic,  on an exploratory expedition to bring Croatia to how it was imagined and fought for during the Homeland War. Croatia is independent, sovereign and as such has the capacity and validity to make its own decisions for national welfare.

While the end-goal of electoral politics is winning, it should also be more about the advancement of certain programmes and policies. In a democracy it is the latter that brings in votes. And when faced with the reality of electoral or body politic fragmentation arrived at through personal ambitions of individual politicians, unless critical consensus is reached between them, leading to programme-framed and managed coalition – victory is poor, if at all existent. An interesting six-month period for Croatia and its progress into full democratisation and national identity – coming to your door! Play your part for Croatia! Ina Vukic

 

Croatia: Interview With Hrvoje Zekanovic

Hrvoje Zekanovic, MP
Photo: fah

With conservative political orientation Hrvoje Zekanovic was elected into the Croatian Parliament in 2016. Prior to that, having graduated from the University of Zagreb, he worked for some ten years as a Geography professor in the coastal town of Sibenik. His political and parliamentary career has so far marked a rather high public profile in Croatia with his strong stance against gender ideology and the Marrakech Agreement as well as being a central personality in the so-called Croatian Sovereignists, a political group whose agenda included coalition, union and togetherness of a number of small political parties in Croatia and publicly involved political activists with view to steer towards a united front within the ring-wing political landscape for a better Croatian future. With this political movement of united politicians Croatian Sovereignists had in May 2019 won a seat in the European Parliament. The movement now (November 2019) transformed into a political party “Croatian Sovereignists” with Hrvoje Zekanovic as its president. Mr Zekanovic is currently visiting Australia and I have taken this opportunity to interview him.

You are currently on a visit to Australia. What impressed you the most in being among Croats living in Australia?

I am most impressed by the fact that despite being thousands of kilometers away, almost at the other end of the world and for many decades, the Croatian community has retained and continues to live and has not forgotten its identity, heritage and culture.

Have you come across some concerns, as well as desires, of Australian Croatians with regards to the relationship between Croatia and its Diaspora? If yes, can you please briefly tell us about them?  

Regretfully, I have. Many Croats are saddened not only by the current political situation in Croatia but also by all the politics during past decades of Croatia towards Croatian emigration and emigrants. That is, when the Homeland needed its Croatian emigrants living abroad those Croatians helped their Homeland without delay. However, the negligence shown by the Croatian political establishment towards Croatian émigrés is perhaps best represented by the fact that there are only a few places where Croats living on this continent can vote during elections. I agree with the émigrés who say that they re second-grade citizens; while in Croatia there are voting places, polling booths, for just a few dozen of voters and in Australia there are cities with a million or millions of people, among them tens of thousands of Croats, have not a single polling booth for Croatian elections where citizens can vote. Also, I have come across much bitterness because of the complicated legal process or regulations during attempts from the diaspora to invest in Croatia. That is, a large number of attempts by diaspora Croats to invest in Croatia have ended with abandonment due to corruption, nepotism and, I dare say, due to criminal activities.

Recently, the „Croatian Sovereignists“ political party was founded in Zagreb and you are a member of that party. What has inspired you, personally, for the establishment of that political party?

Our slogan was that there is no alternative to togetherness. Of course, I refer to togetherness of all sovereignists and all patriots. Croatian sovereignists gathered together on exactly those principles. We are talking here about the joining together of a number of political parties such as Hrast, Croatian Conservative party, the Initiative or the Istanbul Convention, Croatian Bedem and about many distinguished individuals including General Zeljko Sacic, Kristina Pavlovic, Pero Kovacevic and Timislav Sunic. The togetherness has had the outcome of the third-best results in last European Parliament elections and, hence, due to public survey inclusions and ballot papers the logical step was to form the „Croatian Sovereignists“ political party. Of course, the platform continues to exist and many individuals, organisations and parties are coming on board.

What goals has your party set itself in relation to the Croatian diaspora?

The key goal is to enable the Croatian diaspora to vote equally as Croatians living in Croatia vote. The best way to achieve that is postalo or electronic voting.  Also, what we plan to propose is an Electoral law where Croatia would be one single electorate because we consider that the over three million Croats who live outside of Croatia across the world can only vote for three representatives in the parliament while Croats who live in Croatia have the right to vote for 148 representatives. Only in this way can the treatment of Croatian diaspora as second-class citizens be prevented.  Also, it is necessary to facilitate investment in the Homeland by emigrants. That is, corruption needs to be stopped and investments made easier.

Who are the carriers of leadership in „Croatian Sovereignists“?

The most important body of the party is the party’s Advisory Council , which for now has some twenty people who are prominent in the public political life. We do not want to brand any single person and with that reduce the togtherness which we have shown. I was elected as president at the party’s assembly meeting but we do not want to accentuate that because we consider that all the members of the Advisory Council and the Presidency contribute to the growth and strength of the Sovereingists.

So, how do you explain the fact that Ruza Tomasic has often been shown as a key or central personality for the Sovereignists both during the European Parliament elections and even these days?

Owing to the togetherness and, of course, to Ruza Tomasic as an excellent candidate, the Sovereignists won a mandate in the European Parliament. Many who who are afraid of us and who oppose us have attempted to belittle our strength want to ascribe our strength to only one person. Nevertheless, the Sovereignists’ brand is stronger than any one person and our opposition is well aware of that and, hence, will continue attempting to bring us down through personalisation of the story.

The concept of sovereignty is defined in dictionaries, what does sovereignism mean in the frame of you party? What stands behind the word and the concept of „Sovereignists“ as far as your party is concerned and why exactly did you choose that name?

There was a time when politics were categorised as either right or left wing and today it is divided into globalism or sovereignism. To clarify myself, it is divided between those who want a global amorphous society  without an identity and us who want our heritage, our tradition and our culture to be valorised in appropriate ways.  Croatia is a sovereign country on paper but in today’s globalised world Croatia has renounced much of its sovereignty to its own detriment. I think that the interest and the political goal of every Croatian politician must primarily be the interest of the Croatian state, the Croatian people, and not some super-imposed creation regardless of what it is called. Brussels, Washington … are not the capital cities for the Croatian people – Zagreb is.

What are the main goals or program points on which your party intends to work?

It’s difficult to lay out the whole political and economic program in only a few lines but that in which we are different from other political options is that we advocated without a compromise for for a society with justice and a society with values.

Are there any differences in the Croatian Sovereignists’ program to the programs which Hrast and Croatian Conservatives parties had before they joined forces to make up your party?

No, there are no differences and with that we accentuate sovereignism as a political commitment.

If you were in a situation where you would need to extract one single most important goal in achieving full and optimal democracy in Croatia what would that goal be?

I would prefer to choose two things and they are: demographic revival and fight against corruption and nepotism. It’s difficult for me to say which one is more important because without one or the other there is no prosperity.

Thank you for the interview. Do you have a message you would like to give for the Croats living outside of Croatia?

I must admit that I admire all those who have, in this case of Australia, at the other side of the world, managed to create for themselves and their families a solid existence and prosperity. I do not consider that it is essential, particularly for the older emigration group, to return to Croatia but we must set ourselves the priority of strong bonding of the entire Croatian corpus wherever it happens to live. In that way we can have a strong nation and a strong state in these seemingly, at first glance, peaceful but exceptionally turbulent times.

Interview by: Ina Vukic

 

 

 

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