Croatia’s opposition fears that Ivan Turudić, the country’s new attorney-general, will use his new position to obstruct the work of the EU Prosecutors Office specialised in fighting EU funds fraud.
Možemo, one of the main opposition parties in Croatia, is set to submit a report to the European Commission in the next few days against Andrej Plenković’s government, accusing it of violating the acquis and the obligations Croatia took on when it joined the EU.
As MP and coordinator of Možemo Sandra Benčić said in an interview for Euractiv, the Green-Left Party only adds to the motion the assessment given by the new prosecutor Ivan Turudić in an interview for N1 television, that Croatia does not need an EPPO office, as several other EU members do not have one.
“This clearly shows what we were all afraid of, that Turudić will use the position of prosecutor general to obstruct the work of the EPPO in Croatia. He has the authority to resolve jurisdictional conflicts between the State Attorney’s Office (DORH) and the EPPO,” Benčić told Euractiv.
She added that it is true that the EPPO does not have an office in five EU member states but that Sweden and Poland have announced “increased cooperation” with this European judicial body, while Denmark and Ireland have an opt-out clause.
“This leaves only Hungary as a role model for Andrej Plenković,” Benčić stressed.
She noted that “it is clear to everyone why Hungary does not have an EPPO, and now it is also clear that we have a state prosecutor who would support the policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. This shows the political direction of Plenković’s government,” Benčić said.
The election of the new chief prosecutor has been a hot topic in Croatia for days. While Prime Minister Plenković and his ruling centre-right HDZ wholeheartedly supported Turudić’s election, almost all opposition opposed it.
The opposition fears that the HDZ is “pushing” Turudić to protect itself from possible prosecution on corruption charges if the party loses power in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
In the end, Sabor, the Croatian parliament, elected Turudić as the new chief prosecutor on Wednesday. The left and centre opposition parties announced a protest in Zagreb on 17 February but left Most and other opposition parties from the right of the political spectrum out of their organisation.
Benčić added that Možemo is talking to the centre-left SDP and other related parties about joint participation in the Croatian parliamentary elections in certain constituencies. However, she notes that the date of these elections is not yet known, and she fears that the ruling HDZ may call them only in the autumn or even in the middle of summer when people are on holiday, and Croatia is in the middle of the peak tourist season.
(Adriano Milovan | Euractiv.hr)
Read more with Euractiv
Slovakia excludes NGOs from disinformation fightRobert Fico’s government is mulling the exclusion of NGOs in the government’s plans to fight disinformation, which plans to scrap the former “non-conceptual” action plan “with elements of politicisation”.