Commission won't launch proceedings against PM and delegation over Helsinki trip

NEWS 03.12.2019 13:22
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Source: N1

The Conflict of Interest Commission on Tuesday decided to drop a case against Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and a few of his ministers over travel allowance documents for a trip to Helsinki last year where they attended a meeting of the European People's Party (EPP).

Commission chairwoman Natasa Novakovic said today that no proceedings would be initiated against Plenkovic and several current and former ministers from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) for their trip to Helsinki on 7 and 8 November 2018 as the commission had not been provided with necessary documents and data from the competent departments.

Novakovic said that the Commission was therefore unable to establish the relevant facts.

“We have been exchanging correspondence for a year and still do not have the documents. If we do not have them now, we will probably not have them later either,” Novakovic said.

The Commission decided by a majority vote that PM Plenkovic, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic and three former ministers — Tomislav Tolusic, Nada Murganic and Lovro Kuscevic — had violated principles of conduct as prescribed by legislation on the prevention of conflict of interest. The Commission finds that they acted irresponsibly and non-transparently in connection with the non-deliverance of documents in the Helsinki case.

The Commission open this case after some media outlets reported that in November 2018, Plenkovic and his cabinet ministers travelled to Helsinki for an EPP meeting aboard the government jet. Those media outlets wondered who covered the cost of their trip and accommodation in Helsinki and whether it was an official trip of a government delegation or a trip by an HDZ delegation.

Plenkovic says all about Helsinki trip spelled out to Commission

This September, Prime Minister Plenkovic said that the government had sent everything it had been requested to the Conflict of Interest Commission.

“I won’t submit anything else. We spelled everything out for them,” Plenkovic told a press conference in Government House when asked about travel allowance documents for the trip that were requested by the commission.

He dismissed any suspicion of conflict of interest saying that he went to Finland in his capacity as prime minister to meet with Finland’s prime minister who was not connected with EPP.

Vecernji List: Officials, who participated in EPP congress in Zagreb, flown by government planes

The Zagreb-based daily Vecernji List on Tuesday morning reported that the heads of state or government who recently participated in an EPP congress in Zagreb arrived in the Croatian capital aboard their governments’ planes, and that this fact had not stirred any attention in their countries of origin.

In this context, the daily mentioned German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, and Bulgarian and Greek Prime Ministers Boyko Borisov and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and some other office-holders, who according to information provided by the Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, were flown by their governments’ jets.

The daily commented that while in Croatia the fact that a Croatian delegation travelled aboard the government plane to an EPP meeting in Helsinki raised dust, in other countries such situations attracted no attention.