President Milanović: My View is that Everyone Should Get Vaccinated

24. November 2020.

Prior to the opening of the exhibition “Protreseni MUO: od potresa do potresa 1880. – 2020.” (Shaken Museum of Arts and Crafts: from Earthquake to Earthquake 1880-2020”), the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović talked to the press and commented on Monday’s National Security Council meeting as well as on the new measures expected in the fight against COVID-19. He confirmed that he raised the issue of vaccination at the NSC meeting and its connection with Article 17 of the Constitution, namely “imposing certain solutions to the public, something we have been seeing for months related to some legal order and framework”.

President Milanović explained that he raised the issue of the vaccine so that those who decide, i.e. the Government, are aware of the potential challenge, and added that he can be the Government’s debating partner, but it’s the Government that must make the decision. In terms of the vaccine, he announced that he’ll the first one to get vaccinated if necessary. “I trust it. I get vaccinated when necessary, my children get vaccinated. There is no circumventing it if you’re a responsible citizen. My view is that everyone should get vaccinated and I count on the public mindedness”, he said, and invited the citizens “to get vaccinated because vaccines have saved millions of lives in the last 70 years”.

Asked by a journalist whether vaccination should be mandatory, President Milanović said that he does not know the Government’s position on this matter and what the intent of vaccination is. “The state is going to procure nearly three million doses of vaccine with taxpayers’ money. Will vaccination be mandatory, this is a very serious topic, he said. He is certain that some people will not accept this readily, “which doesn’t mean that the Government should knuckle under if it is estimated that something that should be most protected is highest in the value system”.

Regarding the National Security Council meeting, President Milanović said that he has waited too long to meet with the Prime Minister. He also commented that these meetings are always above expectation given that expectations are low. “It was ok”, he added. He said that this Council makes sense as a top briefing and that decisions weren’t necessary for all items. He confirmed that it was stated at the NSC meeting that the rights of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina were being violated under the Dayton Agreement. “We’re not in favour of the collapse of B-H although I see that I’m already being reproached for that”, he added.

Asked by a journalist whether his relations with the Prime Minister were mended, he replied that such things shouldn’t be viewed personally. “I’m not here for approval ratings or the spotlight”, President Milanović concluded, and repeated that he has not criticized any Government measure, but cautioned that this level of measures shouldn’t have been adopted and cannot be adopted without being given the green light from Parliament.