A group of Opposition MPs on Wednesday sent a letter to the European Commission claiming that the government had unlawfully launched the proceedings of relieving the chairwoman and members of the Electronic Media Council of duty.
Pedja Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) told reporters in parliament that several countries, notably in eastern Europe, had over the past several years attempted to relieve of duty independent regulators before the expiration of their term in office.
There were trials because of this before EU courts during which it was determined that those countries had violated European law, Grbin said adding that these proceeding can result in big fines that must be paid by EU member states.
Grbin underscored that Opposition MPs, namely 21 MPs from parties belonging to the SDP-led coalition Croatia is Growing, the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) and independent MP Stipe Petrina, primarily wanted to warn Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic about this, confident that the prime minister "did not have enough information at his disposal when he greenlighted that decision, namely that he was not aware that his actions could create direct damage to Croatia."
"I will not speak here about pressure on the media, I believe we all know that, we will not speak about a protest outside the Electronic Media Agency, or what was said during that protest. I want to speak about the fact that at this moment, should Croatia proceed with the process, it will violate European law and risk sanctions. We want to prevent this which is why we are warning relevant bodies about irregularities in this proceedings," Grbin said.
Asked if one could draw a parallel between this and the attempt of the former government to relieve of duty the leadership of the Personal Data Protection Agency but those plans were scrapped following the European Commission's warning that the decision made by an independent regulator could be disputed only by a relevant court, Grbin called on the prime minister to draw a lesson from the mistakes his predecessors had made.
"We have been part of the EU only for the past two and a half years and we are still finding our feet. Making a mistake is not as big of a problem as repeating it," Grbin said.
Goran Beus Richembergh of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) said "it is common knowledge that state terror starts with a march on institutions or to put it in words of the culture minister, with a landing operation on those institutions."