Last Thursday, on 8 March 2018, we have witnessed two public confrontations directed against the Western officials by Balkan individuals. On the first one, a Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva in the European Parliament confronted Robert Kadlec over the US secret bio-weapons program, and on the second one Croatian MP Ivan Pernar in Zagreb delivered a speech against the EU delegation led by Günther Oettinger, a German politician and the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources. Here’s the full transcript of the second confrontation:
Mr. Günther, I have been witness to your speech, in which you mentioned, among other things, that you are fighting the Eurosceptic and populist movements in the European Union (EU). I come from a party which is just like that, which fights against Croatia’s membership in the EU and against your totalitarian agenda, whose goal is to break every opposition to your global project. Croatia is not responsible for its difficult situation, it is a consequence of the monetary policy imposed by the EU, which turned our Central Bank into an exchange office already in 1994.
In the model you advocate, Mr. Günther, debt is returned by taking new debts, and in such a model, debts of all countries are growing. You know that the debt of Germany is also growing, as it grows in all other countries. This model leads to endless borrowing and ultimately privatization of the entire state property, and leads the population into poverty. Croatian shipyards are collapsing because the EU has asked for the state to cease subsidies.
I can tell you that we, the members of Human Shield [the opposition party “Živi zid”], will make the utmost effort to get Croatia out of the EU, and to stop participating in the imperialist wars around the world, led by the European Union and the United States. You are talking about refugees, but wasn’t Germany the one who participated in overthrowing Gaddafi in Libya, and has created a refugee crisis of unprecedented scale?
At this point Domagoj Ivan Milošević, a member of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, the parliamentary Finance and Central Budget Committee and chairperson of the European Affairs Committee, tried to interrupt Pernar’s speech, but he asked for a permission to speak freely, and then continued:
Mister [Oettinger] has mentioned the suppression of illegal immigration, but he did not say who was responsible for it. Who did the invasion of Iraq? You know, Mr. Günther, that in 2016 the total number of Afghan refugees in Germany stood at 125,000, and before the NATO invasion, or American invasion, there were 20 times less. Your policies, i.e. the European Union, has created these refugees. And now, when it has destroyed their lives and ruined their future, you are closing boundaries for them.
You should keep in mind the question of the world’s largest refugee population, the Palestinians, who live under occupation and are victims of violations of all the international conventions, laws and rights they have. You know all that. They became victims mainly because of Germany. They are the victims, in fact, of those policies. The land is seized and their future is taken away. You do not fight for them.
The same thing is with Syria. You have armed, i.e. the European Union and the United States, have armed rebel groups that are related to terrorists. You are all aware of it. You’ve created a crisis and a chaos, and you are now trying to close the door to people who run away from your policy. Very inhumane. And let’s not talk about the living conditions of refugees, and how many homeless people there are in Germany, in Italy, and in France.
Milošević again objected, but Pernar continued:
Colleague Günther Oettinger, your policies on budget, savings, and cutting the deficit, imposing it all on Croatia, introducing property taxes and similar things, these are the policies that we [Human Shield] reject and we will fight it by all means.
We will fight for Croatia to be a sovereign state, not a puppet of the European Union, where various bureaucrats from Brussels come to give directives, like in the Stalin era and in a Soviet collective system, where you set us a quota policy, where you prohibit us to protect our domestic production with tariffs, and so on.
And if you are wondering why Croatia is in trouble, it is because of the fact that it entered the European Union, because the Croatia’s accession was based on lies. The EU promised Croats a better life, higher wages, more jobs, higher production, less taxes, etc. But all went the other way around, Mr. Günther.
Pernar got interrupted by Milošević for the third time, and then added:
Mr. Milošević, you see this level of democracy in the European Union. When Mr. Finance Commissioner Günther Oettinger spoke, you did not interrupt him and could talk about what he wanted, but when Ivan Pernar speaks, he is suggested to speak less, that he speaks too long, and so on. Mr. Oettinger, you have shown that you do not really admit any democratic principles, your goal is not Europe of diversity in which people think differently, but Europe of single-mindedness in which anyone who thinks differently from you, Brussels bureaucrats, gets silent or interrupted while speaking, and you fight against them instead of changing your policies.
Your policy is a disaster, and therefore populist movements win. You, bureaucrats from the European Union, have brought countries into trouble, you have created an immigrant crisis and poverty, and because of you AfD is now the strongest party in Germany, because of you Matteo Renzi collapsed in the elections and Eurosceptic populists came to power in Italy. The same will happen in Croatia, Mr. Oettinger. Thank you.
After this speech, Oettinger was about to give an answer, but Pernar stood up demonstratively to show his disrespect to him and to the institution he represented. However, Oettinger insisted on giving a reply, with the rhetorical question “Don’t you want to hear my answer?”. In line with Pernar’s expectation, Oettinger has offered the classic propaganda and defended pro-war policies: “I believe you agree that Gaddafi and Assad are bad people.” At that moment, Pernar stands up, and leaves the meeting, adding:
That’s imperialist propaganda. You only repeat what your friend Donald Trump is saying.
Marko Knežević is a historian and freelance journalist from Bar, Montenegro. He is a frequent traveller to the Middle East and East Asia.