New parl't speaker

Sprem: We need material and moral reconstruction

22.12.2011 u 17:15


The newly-elected Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Boris Sprem of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said in his inaugural speech on Thursday that Croatia needed "material and moral reconstruction".

"These are difficult times. We are facing resolute cuts. We need material and moral reconstruction of society," Sprem said. He added that the present crisis was "primarily our own product" and that it was also an opportunity "to develop new social relations and a new way of thinking."

Speaking of the role of Parliament since Croatia gained independence 20 years ago, Sprem said that it had contributed to the development and consolidation of democratic institutions and the rule of law in the country, demonstrating its lasting commitment to democracy.

"Our imperative duty is to promote the highest values that are laid down in the Constitution, and those are freedom, equality, ethnic equality, gender equality, love of peace, social justice, human rights, inviolability of ownership, conservation of nature and the environment, and the rule of law," Sprem said.

He said that the new Parliament would create a legislative framework to pull the country out of the deep economic and social crisis, the worst since the 1991-1995 Homeland War, and that sometimes measures that would have to be adopted would not be popular. "We will have to show through our actions that we serve the citizens and that we are not guided by our own personal, group, corporate, party or ideological interests."

Sprem said that one of the first decisions to be made by the new Parliament would be a referendum on Croatia's accession to the European Union. He stressed that he expected a vast majority of citizens to "say a historic yes" to EU membership. "It is up to us to end this long journey," he added.

MPs today elected the first working body -- the 9-member Credentials and Privileges Commission. Gordana Sobol of SDP was appointed its chair and Tomislav Culjak of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) her deputy.