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torek, 7 decembra, 2021

Hrvatski Suverenisti: “We want sovereign nations that listen to the will of their people”

Interview with Marko Milanović Litre, Member of Parliament of the Croatian Sovereignists (Hrvatski Suverenisti) and Chairman of the Citizens’ Initiative for the Euro Referendum

The Croatian sovereignists participated in the 2020 parliamentary elections in a coalition with the Fatherland Movement, receiving 12% of the vote and 16 seats in the Sabor (Croatian Parliament).

Two weeks ago, on October 3rd, both parties joined forces with the Independents for Croatia (Neovisni za Hrvatsku) with 3 deputies and the Generation of Renewal (Generacija Obnove). The new organization, called Croatian Sovereignists, is the third largest political force in Croatia.

You are the leader of a citizens’ initiative calling for a referendum against the government’s introduction of the euro as Croatia’s single currency. What is this initiative about?

The government wants to introduce the euro without any debate, neither in the media nor in society. With this initiative, we want to ensure that the Croatian currency, the kuna, is protected by an article in the constitution and, of course, that the Croatian people decide in a referendum whether they want to adopt the euro. And it is also a question of democracy, because we do not want a government that does not listen to its people. Our position as a party is clear: Croatia’s accession to the eurozone is another step towards the federalisation of Europe and our country.

In countries such as Spain, the introduction of the euro has led to a significant rise in prices and a fall in the value of wages, although the government at the time assured that this would not happen. Are you afraid that the same will happen in Croatia?

Yes, in the countries where this has happened, the result has always been a loss of purchasing power in wages. The loss in the economy as a whole may be smaller, as in Italy, where it was 1%, but if you look at consumers, the percentage is much higher. We commissioned a survey to find out what Croats think about joining the eurozone. 70% of respondents said there was insufficient debate and only 22% were in favour of the measure.

In 2018, 400,000 signatures were submitted for a petition to hold a referendum on the signing of the Istanbul Convention, but the government prevented the referendum. Could something similar happen in this case as well?

The number of signatures required for a referendum is 10 percent of voters, up from about 380,000 signatures at the time. However, the government has invalidated more than 40,000 signatures because the data submitted was incorrect, so the required number of 10% was not reached. This time we will be very careful not to repeat this. We will start collecting signatures on October 24 and have fifteen days until November 7 to collect between 250,000 and 300,000 signatures. It will be two intense weeks, but I am convinced that we will have the support of many Croats.

Last Sunday, your party joined forces with other patriotic organizations to form a larger party. Are the Croatian Sovereignists the common home of patriots and conservatives?

Yes, even if the official merger will not be completed until next year due to bureaucratic problems, but otherwise our structures come together and create new local working committees. This merger was very necessary for Croatia, as the centre-right and the right were always very divided, which was very convenient for the HDZ government (European People’s Party). It was not easy, but we understood that it is the best for Croatia and for the values that our parties stand for.

What do the Croatian Sovereignists stand for?

Our people have had to pay a high price for freedom, and we want to preserve that freedom, so it is important to defend our sovereignty. We also want a genuine democracy in which the Croatian people are represented, and the fall of the euro is a good example of this. As far as the EU is concerned, we are in favour of European cooperation, but we are concerned about its ideological orientation and want to reform it in order to make it what it was when it was created and to restore its Christian values.

Her party has excellent relations with the Polish Law and Justice (PiS) party. You have just returned from Poland after meeting with various representatives of the government and the PiS. Is the Polish government a role model for you?

Yes, the Polish government has managed to take advantage of the European Union to develop Poland and lead the country to prosperity. It’s funny, because when you talk to an older Croatian about Poland, for example my parents, they think it’s a Third World country because that was forty years ago. Today, Poland is a successful country in terms of economy and everything else, and I believe they have completely shaken off the communist mentality they suffered from after the Iron Curtain. That has not happened in Croatia. We still have economics teachers who taught the five-year plans in Yugoslavia and who now teach capitalism. I always compare this situation to Moses and the forty years in the desert. He was not lost, but it was about changing the mentality of his people so that a generation with new ideas could come. I believe this is coming to Croatia, and our goal is to establish this new mentality as soon as possible.

Do you know the work of VOX in Spain?

I know them. We share the same values as VOX and are in the same European group, the ECR. Our MEP Ladislav Ilčić attended the big Viva21 event in Madrid and was impressed by the organisation of the event. In his opinion, it is an example of the strength of conservative and patriotic values in Spain and Europe. We do not want a superstate in the European Union, but sovereign member states that listen to the will of their peoples and not to the bureaucrats in Brussels or Strasbourg.

Bureaucrats who seem obsessed with attacking Hungary and Poland.

The Poles and Hungarians are trying to bring the European Union back to its origins, to cooperation between sovereign nations, not to cooperation in which we are told how to govern our country. What the European Commission is doing is very dangerous: it is blackmailing the Polish government and threatening it with the withdrawal of funds because its Constitutional Court has ruled that Polish law is above EU law. If the EU continues on this path, there will be no more sovereign nations.

What do you think of the new European group, led by Viktor Orbán, among others?

I think it is a big step forward, even though I believe that the formation of this group will not take place immediately, but will take a lot of time. Ideologically, we support the Hungarian government, but it is also true that we have some differences regarding the integration of Serbia and Montenegro into the EU, as we are concerned about Russian influence in both countries.

I wanted to ask you about the memory of Tito’s victims. There are still many open wounds in Slovenia and the political heirs of the executioners do not want reconciliation. Is that also the case in Croatia?

Of course, this has become a problem, and in every discussion everything is taken to extremes: Ustasha (fascists) against partisans (communists). In Croatia it is not like in Poland, and the former communists still have a great influence in our society, in the faculties, everywhere. Tito was nothing more than a butcher of his own people, just as Stalin was a butcher of the peoples of the Soviet Union. People in the West have a romantic image of Tito because he was not allied behind the Iron Curtain, but he was no better than the other communist dictators. The destruction of the Croatian nation and Croatian identity is well known, but there is no consensus that he was a criminal. Every time this issue is discussed, the Croatian media draw the far-right card. I believe that this generation of change is necessary for Croatia to regain its Western and Christian values.

This article was first published by EL CORREO DE ESPAÑA, our partner in EUROPEAN MEDIA COOPERATION.

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