JANUARY 5 2007 14:11h

Parliamentary Intrigue Over EFPZ


It is unlikely that Zlatko Kramaric of the HSLS learnt anything new in Brussels because he does not speak English, some claim.

In his discussion on the Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone (EFPZ), a representative of the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), Ivan Cehok, described Croatia`s actions as follows: we keep putting on belts around ourselves and our trousers are falling, the more we tighten our belts, the more our pants keep falling. He went on to suggest a “compromise” by which both the ecological and fishing components of the EFPZ would be activated on the first day of July 2007.

Not much later, an amendment to that effect, drawn by Cehok`s club of representatives, was distributed around parliamentary seats.


And speculations rose amongst us, MPÂ’s, and especially amongst journalists. The HSLS is part of the ruling coalition. Prime Minister Ivo Sanader is counting on their votes. Where did this proposal come from? Is Cehok playing solo or did Kramaric inform him from Brussels of a new compromise Sanader had managed to arrange with the heads of the European Commission? It is unlikely that Kramaric learnt anything new in Brussels because he does not speak English, some claimed. If this is true, Sanader would have been the first to take advantage of this fact and present MPÂ’s with a government-drafted amendment, said others.


That is why the voting on the EFPZ and the amendments was anticipated with particular curiosity, all the more because, apart from Cehok, Kramaric also appeared in parliament (he arrived from Brussels with Sanader), and HSLS president Durda Adlesic was not present.


During the formation of a quorum, none of the three MPÂ’s of the HSLS were present in the parliament hall.


No-one from the HSLS was present in parliament when Foreign Minister Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic was voicing the governmentÂ’s opinion of the HSLS amendment, which the government did not accept. They passed up their right to comment on the governmentÂ’s negative response and to request a vote on their amendment.


I later found out that they had been watching the development of events outside the parliament hall on television. And ran into the hall a moment before the voting on the EFPZ. And voted for the government proposal. This was the first time in my mandate in parliament that a club of MPs supported a government proposal, while their original amendment had been rejected.


With this heroism during the discussion, amendment and the voting for the government proposal, Cehok certainly lost both his trousers and underpants. The functions of six state secretaries in SanaderÂ’s government, from the ranks of the HSLS, are still stronger than the oppositionÂ’s call that gets Cehok carried away from time to time.


Dragutin Lesar,

Croatian People`s Party (HNS)