Croatia Faces Fallout from Personal Animosity between President, PM

Croatia's prime minister says he sees no prospect of cooperation with the country's president. The president says the PM has not shown "even the slightest interest" in resolving a raft of issues where their jurisdictions overlap.

That Andrej Plenkovic, the premier, and Zoran Milanovic, the president, do not see eye to eye has long been apparent.

But their relationship appears to have hit rock bottom after Milanovic's office published a letter on March 9 that he sent to Plenkovic at the end of last year, asking that they meet.

Plenkovic never replied, and has now accused Milanovic of playing games to deflect attention from his own scandals. "You cannot insult someone, and the next day offer to talk," he said.

But while the two men bicker, their mutual loathing means a batch of vacancies in Croatia's diplomatic service and armed forces will remain empty for the foreseeable future, at least until elections force one or both of them from office.

Parliamentary and presidential elections are due next year. Until then, said political analyst Davor Gjenero, in refusing to work with the president, "the prime minister is walking on very thin ice."

Croatian president Zoran Milanovic (L) and prime minister Andrej Plenkovic (R) in 2020/Photo: EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT

Foreign policy, defence, security

Since becoming president in early 2020 as the candidate of the opposition Social Democrats, Milanovic has frequently crossed swords with Plenkovic's centre-right government.

Critics of the president accuse him of shifting to the political right on a number of issues, and the tone of some of his public statements has raised eyebrows.

The men have exchanged some colourful insults, such as "flaming...

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