Home' Hrvatski Vjesnik-The Croatian Herald : 3rd February 2016 Contents 16
THE NEW GENERATION │ Wednesday 3rd of February 2016
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THE NEW GENERATION │ Wednesday 3rd of February 2016
Three Australian men accused of
gang-raping a teenage backpac-
ker in Croatia have reportedly been
allowed to return home after pleading
guilty to the charges.
The men, one aged 21 and two aged
23, had not been allowed to leave
Croatia since last July after they were
charged with raping the 17-year-old
Norwegian girl in the toilet of a nightc-
But the men have been allowed to
return to Australia under a plea deal
whereby they admitted the char-
ges and paid the teen’s family abo-
ut $30,500 in total in exchange for a
suspended jail sentence, News Corp
The trio reportedly left Croatia after
the deal was made public and were
due to arrive in Australia last Sunday.
Australia’s Department of Foreign
Affairs and the mens’ lawyer in Croa-
tia, Jadran Franceshci, have been con-
tacted for comment.
In court, it was alleged that the men
had been drinking at a bar in Split, a
city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, abo-
ut 1.30am on July 16 when one drag-
ged the teen into the toilet.
The other two men allegedly joined
in the attack before the teen escaped
and told police.
Two of the men reportedly claimed
that the sexual contact was voluntary,
while the third denied having had any
contact with the teen.
The State Attorney’s Office had
called for the men to be kept in jail
after the charges were first brought
against them, but a judge of the Split
County Court ruled that they could
remain free in Croatia after their pa-
ssports were seized.
The men were facing a jail sentence
of 15 years before the deal was rea-
The court issued them with a one-
year jail sentence, which was reduced
to a five-year good behaviour bond af-
ter they each agreed to pay the teen’s
family about $10,200.
The bond is enforceable across Eu-
rope, but not in Australia.
Their identity of the men and whe-
re they live in Australia have not been
Tihomir Orešković, a businessman raised
in Canada, was elected prime minister
by the Croatian parliament recently.
While announcing his new cabinet, Oreško-
vić was confident and positive, calling his new
government Tim’s Team. In Canada, Orešković
was called Tim.
Orešković’s key priorities are to reform the
public sector, stabilise the budget deficit, and
aggressively work on foreign investment and
viable business opportunities to stimulate
growth and employment.
Since Croatia joined the EU in July 2013,
some analysts say that more than 100,000 pe-
ople have left the country in search of work.
On 23 December, 46 days after the 8 No-
vember elections and after five rounds of poli-
tical consultations with parliamentary parties,
Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
announced that the new prime minister-desi-
gnate would be the non-partisan and experi-
enced corporate manager Orešković.
She said that with 78 seats, the Croatian
Democratic Union (HDZ)-led Patriotic Coaliti-
on (59 seats) and the Bridge of Independent
Lists (known by its Croatian acronym, Most)
(19 MPs) had a majority in the 151-seat par-
The big election surprise is the success of
Most, a party led by the young mayor of the so-
uthern town of Metković, Božo Petrov, which
For the first time in Croatia’s history, a third
political option has pushed the two esta-
blished centre-right and centre-left political
groups to negotiate a concrete set of measu-
res and reforms to be implemented within an
The HDZ, led by Tomislav Karamarko, first
negotiated to form a government with Most
and the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led
“Croatia is Growing” coalition.
But Most and the SDP failed to agree a deal.
Finally, Most and the HDZ agreed to support
Orešković because some Most members oppo-
Prior to accepting this challenging positi-
on, Orešković was the chief financial officer of
Israeli company Teva Pharmaceuticals, the lar-
gest generic drug manufacturer in the world
and one of the 15 largest pharmaceutical com-
The Croatian-Canadian also served as the
CEO and chairman of the supervisory board of
Teva Europe and its Croatian subsidiary Pliva.
With HDZ-member Grabar-Kitarović hol-
ding the presidency since February 2015, the
centre-right option will have control of the
legislative and executive branches of gover-
‘Five factors of transformation’
The extensive international experience of
both Orešković and Grabar-Kitarović, a former
NATO assistant secretary general for public di-
plomacy, will surely improve Croatia’s foreign
policy agenda towards the European Union,
neighbouring countries, and the United States,
especially in the policy areas of defence, ener-
gy security, foreign policy, finance and migra-
Former PM Zoran Milanović’s diplomacy
was at times confrontational and led to dispu-
tes with Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia,
and the EU.
The Croatian public was surprised when
Orešković presented his new government, fu-
ture policies and reforms to the Parliament via
a PowerPoint presentation.
As a sign that Orešković will be a proactive
leader, he travelled to Austria on 14 January
before he was sworn in, accompanied by Croa-
tian National Bank (HNB) governor Boris Vuj-
cic, where he met with international investors
holding Croatia’s debts and presented his plan
to reduce the public debt.
“I took the opportunity to present the five
factors of transformation - namely, public sec-
tor efficiency, enhancing competitiveness, in-
vestment and EU funds, as a way of launching
growth, deficits and debt reduction, and heal-
th care reform,” said Orešković.
Unlike Milanović who openly stated that he
doesn’t want to meet companies looking to do
business in Croatia, the private sector is eager
to have a business-minded leader in gover-
It is unclear how the daily operations of the
future government will function.
If the political leadership allows the prime
minister to do his job and entrusts him with
the authority, along with the responsibility, to
manage the complexities of running a gover-
nment, the government has a unique chance
of being successful and, especially important,
Since the centre-right sealed a majority in
the European Parliament and the European
Commission was taken over by a centre-right
president, relations with EU institutions sho-
uld also be a positive factor for “Tim’s Team”.
Effective business communications cou-
pled with a serious reform programme should
make this government an attractive partner
to reinvent the troubled economy and inject
more competitive thinking within the gover-
nment and their bureaucrats.
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