President Milanović: Plenković is dismayed at the work of European prosecutors now when it doesn’t suit him and when he thought he had enslaved the State Attorney’s Office

23. February 2024.

“It has been a pleasure to cooperate with him for four years and in that chain of command to be Commander in Chief to Admiral Hranj who is the epitome of what I call elite. His approach to work, the quality of the work he accomplished, the education he completed with excellence. That is a modern top-class soldier. He is retiring and it’s not easy to replace such individuals. Thanks to him once again”, the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović told journalists who asked who will replace the Chief of the General Staff whose term is soon expiring. Asked whether he is discussing who will replace him with the Government, the President stated: “When it will be decided, you’ll know, it’s a serious approach to the job”.

Journalists asked President Milanović had Prime Minister Andrej Plenković exaggerated when he said he was dismayed at the Chief European Prosecutor Laura Kövesi for daring to comment on his statement regarding the investigation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).

“I said we’re the only ones who care for this country, some work has to be done by the elite that will be populistic, but will not be thieves. I keep warning that every infatuation and delusion about Brussels is a double-edged sword and it will cut you at some point. Because it is a bureaucratic target and a superstructure that serves us in some way, but it must not fool us. And now AP himself has decided to stand up to it, since it concerns him. I have dilemmas about not only the European prosecutor, but about a number of usurping functions from Brussels. I have been saying this always, and Plenković runs into the arms of those people. In no case when someone from Brussels spoke against the democratically elected prime minister or president, he was silent and now he’s surprised when it concerns him”, President Milanović replied, and added that the Chief European prosecutor sent the Prime Minister a very reserved message not to interfere with this investigation”.

President Zoran Milanović said that the EPPO has become an issue for Prime Minister Plenković only because an affair that concerns him is being investigated. “Now that it doesn’t suit you, when you think and hoped that you finally enslaved the justice system and the State Attorney’s Office, now he’s dismayed. I’m not surprised that he’s dismayed. And when that same Brussels goes over the Slovaks, the Poles or the Hungarians with a fine-tooth comb, then Plenković has not sensitivity for that. He now presents himself as a jurist, a politician and a great Croat. Who cares, dude! Did you establish it? Yes you did. Play by the rules. But for the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) it’s harder to play by the rules than to give their heart”, the President noted.

Asked if he has a problem with the EPPO’s jurisdiction, President Milanović said: “I have no problem, but those are matters that should be discussed. Why? Because they encroach on national sovereignty. Therefore, this is always a topic for discussion because you don’t surrender and give in to anyone under any circumstances whatsoever. They don’t differ much from Plenković, but at this moment they are playing a different role. She is a politician, she sends political messages because she wants to last. But in that situation the Croatian interest is one hundred times more important to me than what some European prosecutor thinks or the President of the European Commission who got the job in a most down-to-earth political trade”.

“This is about Plenković”, President Milanović warned, and explained that Plenković has no right to talk about the EPPO’s jurisdiction. “That’s not your job, you should have thought about it earlier, but you didn’t because you reckoned they would jam-pack you with money which you would present as your merit, which isn’t true. They’re asking for what’s theirs now, they’re right. Nobody is asking him his opinion on the EPPO’s jurisdiction”, he noted.

Journalists asked the President if it’s Croatia’s interest to find out whether that money was spent legally. “Of course it is. They are stealing left and right, it cannot be endured any longer. Turudić was brought to the State Attorney’s Office to cover it up. And now that’s driving Plenković crazy”, he said, and added that now Plenković’s interests and those of the EPPO have collided. “He wanted to enslave the State Attorney’s Office, and this is what he got. He will never succeed at it. The guy he pushed into the State Attorney’s Office in a criminal, illegal and immoral way will never be able to do the job normally, not for one minute, because whatever he will do will be under scrutiny”, President Milanović added, and concluded that “Croatia is fatally regressing, this is a national catastrophe of epic proportions”.