Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's government has rejected an interpellation submitted by the Social Democrats regarding the failed attempt at acquiring 12 F-16 fighter planes from Israel.
The Government rejected the motion, arguing Croatia was not to blame for the collapse of the deal. Defense Minister Damir Krstičević said the SDP's demands an formal report on the matter by the government to lawmakers was unwarranted.
"Israel sent an official statement to Croatia reporting that, contrary to what it had promised, it could not secure the required approval of the US. The Republic of Croatia could not influence this outcome and is not responsible," Krstičević said during Thursday’s cabinet meeting.
Prime Minister Plenković said the government did everything it could to acquire high-quality planes that were well equipped.
"Unfortunately, because of circumstances beyond the government's control, this transaction did not occur. There are lessons to be learned from this," Plenković said.
The SDP's Peđa Grbin believes the fact that the PM has pledged to do things differently the next time around, indicates mistakes were made.
"This procurement was riddled with mistakes. I am fully aware that they are trying to prove this wasn't so through certain media, but I believe we are smart enough and have the English skills to understand exactly what the United States had warned Croatia about," he said, referring to the correspondence sent by US officials warning Croatia that the US would not approve the deal unless Israel removed its technology from the planes.
The SDP's Igor Dragovan, the head of the Defense Committee in parliament, says the interpellation motion will give lawmakers the opportunity to address this issue openly and in detail.
The leader of the HDZ in parliament Branko Bačić said the ruling majority would vote against the motion.