Milanović's statement is wrong and innacurate and surley made "under influence of sirocco", I won't interfere

Photo /Vijesti/2021/listopad/21 listopada/ed14cd3a-2d5f-4a83-bfc7-c8a9384b53d5.jpg

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Brussels on Thursday that the statement made earlier in the day by President Zoran Milanović regarding the retirement of the commander of the Honor Guard Battalion, Brigadier Elvis Burčul, was made "under the influence of the sirocco."

"The tirade we witnessed today is probably due to the sirocco... the grave accusations and insinuations are simply inappropriate and incorrect. If (Milanović) plans again to start a major feud and make threats, we'll shrug it off like we did the other day, so I'm not worried about that," Plenković said.

"The old people in Dubrovnik say that it is not good to make decisions when the sirocco blows," he added.

Earlier in the day President Zoran Milanović said that PM Plenković should "rein his pal in", a reference to Defence Minister Mario Banožić and his decision to send into retirement Brigadier Elvis Burčul, the commander of the Honor Guard Battalion, which is in charge of Milanović's security.

Speaking to reporters in Baćin, where he attended the 30th anniversary of the plight of local residents in the 1991-95 war, Milanović said that Plenković was the minister's "political guardian" and that he was not in conflict with Banožić over Burčul's retirement but that he would guarantee the army protection from "bullying and harassment."

Plenković dismissed Milanović's claim, noting that he had never and would never interfere in decisions regarding the promotion, retirement or decoration of Croatian Army officers, referring Milanović to talk to Banožić.

He added that Milanović could have phoned him about the matter but that there were no such contacts.

As for Milanović's statement that he would request a meeting of the Defence Council over the worrying material conditions in the army, Plenković said that they can talk about anything Milanović wants.

He added that he would not let anyone lecture him as to who had invested more in the army, noting that his government had done significant things for the army.

gas prices won't go up until heating season ends

The only ones that could feel the increase are businesses which did not have long- but short-term gas supply contracts, he added.

He was speaking to the press in Brussels as he arrived at an EU summit which will discuss the surge in fuel prices, among other things.

Plenković said the government had various tools at its disposal that it would use depending on developments with energy prices.

For now, the government has limited the maximum prices of petrol and diesel. "Thereby we stabilised expectations over the next month to see how the situation with oil prices will develop and in that way cushion any blow to households."

He said that after the government's abundant help to businesses during the pandemic and now that conditions had been created for the economy to rebound strongly, he did not wish living standards to be in jeopardy.

Rule of law

The EU summit will also address the rule of law after the Polish Constitutional Court found that in some elements national law is above European law, which was roundly criticised in the EU.

Plenković said it was necessary to first hear out Polish Prime Minister Mazeusz Morawiecki, who sent a memo to all member states' leaders, explaining what the court really decided.

"It's important that the EU does not divide because in times of crisis it's good for it to be as homogeneous as possible. But, on the other hand, when we were entering the EU, we too had to change our constitution quite a lot in order to align with the European legal order. Therefore our position is that we should honour all that we agreed to when we entered the EU."

The summit will also address the COVID situation, foreign relations, migration, trade, and the digital society.

Plenković said the situation in Croatia's neighbourhood would be discussed tonight as a continuation of the EU-Western Balkans summit held earlier this month.

Text: HINA