Milanović Responds to Critics of His Comments in Leaked Audiotapes

Comments made by Croatian ex-PM and SDP Chief Zoran Milanović, during a meeting with the Veteran Union, caused controversy throughout the West Balkans and sparked a media frenzy.

Zoran Milanović (Image by SDP Hrvatske/CC BY 2.0)

Zoran Milanović (Image by SDP Hrvatske/CC BY 2.0)

Audiotapes of a secretly recorded meeting between Social Democratic Party’s top officials and representatives of the Veteran Union of Croatia were publicly released by Croatian Daily Jutarnji List on August 24th and 25th. The tapes contain some highly controversial remarks by the former Prime Minister Milanović on Croatia’s neighbors Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as on some domestic issues.

Milanović’s remarks on Serbian top officials, as well as on domestic issues like WWII era fascist greeting “Za Dom Spremni” (For Home Ready), and a comment that: “Bosnia is not a country”, caused outrage by both political players and the media in the West Balkans.

However, Milanović responded by saying: “We realized that we were being recorded, but we said nothing and just laughed about it. Recording speaks about the character of some people.”

Milanović defended his “controversial” remarks by saying: “I can’t really see anything controversial about it, for I said the same things during a debate with Plenković (HDZ chief).”

When you’re criticized by both the HDZ and the Serbian officials, then you are on the right track – Milanović

Yesterday, August 26, after an election rally in Dubrovnik, while talking to the press, Milanović doubled-down on his “controversial” comments, defending them by saying he doesn’t regret saying anything during the meeting with the veterans.

When asked about the media frenzy in Bosnia and especially Serbia, with some tabloids calling him “Ustasha” and a “fool”, Milanović responded by saying it is not the first time he was the target of the neighbors’ media condemnation.

“This is not the first time Serbian press is calling me “Ustasha” and “a fool”. If you have doubts about your standpoints, and you are then attacked by Culture Minister Hasanbegović, Toma Nikolić known as “Grave keeper” (Serbian President), Aleksandar Vučić (Serbian PM), and now even by the HDZ chief Plenković, who disappointed me a bit – then you know you are on the right track”, Milanović said.

Milanović explained that it is quite unnecessary for him to list all the good things he did for the Serbia minority in Croatia, and that he doesn’t feel obligated to justify himself to the Serb people.

I will block Serbian EU negotiations – Milanović

Milanović said that if he becomes PM again, that he will certainly block Serbian EU negotiations if they don’t repeal the Law of Universal Jurisdiction. He added that he will not cooperate nor respect “war mongers and enemies of Croats and Serbs – Tomislav Nikolić and Aleksandar Vučić”.

This statement will certainly further the deterioration of relations between Serbia and Croatia, which are at their lowest points since the 1990s, and have intensified the campaign for the Croatian early election, scheduled for September 11th.

by Armed Politics NewsDesk