Meeting with Paul Vandoren, EU Ambassador to Croatia (above) - 8.30 – 9.30 a.m. Monday 16th May: This was my response to the preliminary address by Mr. Vandoren
"Why is it planned that the signing of the Treaty (following the end of the negotiations) should precede the holding of the referendum, when it should, in my opinion, take place only after a 'Yes' vote. This is almost dismissive of the result of the referendum as a forgone conclusion and disrespectful to the Croatian people.
"You mentioned that the Government will step up its information campaign, in preparation for the referendum . . in fact, this will not be objective information but a one-sided propaganda campaign. I should like to know what legislation will be in place to ensure that the referendum is conducted freely and fairly."
Mr. Vandoren said that he anticipated that there would be a strong 'Yes' campaign.
"I agree completely! The Government will run a one-sided 'Yes' campaign and all the political parties will support the ‘Yes’ campaign. The ‘No’ campaign will be restricted to a few isolated individuals."
Mr. Gunnar Hökmark, the joint Chairman of the Committee, said that the way in which the referendum was conducted was not really our business and that it was the business of the business of the Croatian Government.
"The last five years has been spent judging whether or not Croatia was conducting itself, in accordance with the Rule of Law and whether it was satisfying various democratic standards. If that was our (the European Parliament's) business, then it must follow that the last stage – the referendum and how it is conducted – must be our business too."