The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, commented on the new e-mails published on Thursday morning by the news portal Index.hr, which revealed that he had met with members of the mailing group tasked with drafting the Lex Agrokor bill on state-appointed crisis management.
“I must admit I didn’t keep up with the media today, I had other obligations, but I think I fully understand what kind of attacks we are exposed to right now. I repeat once more, I have based my entire career, my political life, on integrity and honesty, and I am as calm as I can be where this topic, and others, are concerned,” Plenkovic said in Sofia after the EU-Western Balkans summit, where the Sofia declaration was signed by the leaders of the EU and Southeast Europe.
According to Index.hr, the correspondence shows that Plenkovic was presented with the proposal for the consultants to advise the government for free, and receive their fees for services rendered through Agrokor.
The website said that Plenkovic knew who the authors of the controversial bill were, because he had met with them a week before the law was adopted by the government in April 2017.
“The problem of Agrokor’s debt is neither my personal, nor my government’s responsibility. It is another problem we inherited from the transition period, and this government has been dealing with it since day one. When Moody’s lowered the company’s rating in January, when information of a serious threat of bankruptcy started coming in, when our (coalition) partner, Most, came to us, almost flustered, saying that everything would fall apart, that something had to be done, then, as a responsible government, we looked into all scenarios available to us,” Plenkovic said.
He added that the final result of all these analyses was the law on state-appointed crisis management.
“I look at all the debates about who was consulted, who helped (in drafting the law). Some external experts we hired in cooperation with Most, Most suggested the representatives of the group. Petrov (leader of Most party) knows exactly who they were and why (they were chosen),” Plenkovic said.
“The fact is that the final law was ruled in line with the Consitution, which is without a doubt the most important thing, for me, that is crucial. The second thing is that the law became a part of the EU acquis,” he said, adding that the law was probably not ideal, but would be much better if they had had more time.
The only real serious question, Plenkovic said, is that of the subcontractors.
“No one asked me, and I did not know who the subcontractors would be. It is out of the question that I, let alone the government or the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), should suffer any damage or be held accountable for this situation. I want us all to look into how a story of success, because of various interests, came to a point where the entire process is questioned. What is problematic here is that some of the people (consulted in e-mails) were later engaged in a different way. I regret that. They all should have been employed in Agrokor, like many others were, and done deal. That would have been the right course of action, and there would be no problems today,” Plenkovic said.