The Croatian Parliament’s third plenary session that began in January was adjourned in March. During this term’s first regular session, 38 laws were passed, three out of which were aligned with the acquis communautaire. On January 19, Sabor adopted the declaration on Croatia's membership in the European Union as a national strategic interest. The Law on the Ratification of the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union was passed on March 9, while the decision on appointing MPs as observers in the European Parliament was adopted on March 16.
Sabor je donio odluku o imenovanju zastupnika promatrača u Europskom parlamentu. Za promatrače su imenovani: Ingrid Antičević Marinović (SDP), Biljana Borzan (SDP), Davor Božinović (HDZ), Boro Grubišić (HDSSB), Romana Jerković (SDP), Frano Matušić (HDZ), Tonino Picula (SDP), Andrej Plenković (HDZ), Milorad Pupovac (SDSS), Jozo Radoš (HNS), Tanja Vrbat (SDP) i Nikola Vuljanić (HL).
Based on the MP clubs’ proposals, Sabor appointed twelve of its Members as observers in the European Parliament. Their term of office will last until Croatia becomes a full member of the European Union and twelve fully-fledged MEPs are elected.
Besides the work at the plenary session, March was marked by MPs and the Speaker's intense international political activities.
At the beginning of the month Boris Šprem received the Austrian President Heinz Fischer. He met with the delegation of the Slovenian Parliament and with the Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Karl Erjavec. The Speaker also received a visit of the delegation of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies as well as of the following ambassadors: Dutch Ambassador Stella Ronner-Grubačić, Portuguese Ambassador Paulo Tiago Jerónimo da Silva, Japanese Ambassador Masaru Tsuji, Spanish Ambassador Rodrigo Aguirre de Cárcer, Slovenian Ambassador Vojko Volk, Italian Ambassador Emanuela d'Alessandro, Greek Ambassador Ourania Arvaniti and Czech Ambassador Karel Kühnl. The Speaker also met with Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
From 27 to 29 March the Speaker was on an official visit to Macedonia, where he met with the President of the Republic Gjorge Ivanov, the Sobranie's Speaker Trajko Veljanoski and the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. “Croatia strongly supports Macedonia to join the EU and NATO promptly. Croatia bears a responsibility to promote European values in Southeast Europe," Šprem underlined.
The 70th anniversary of the anti-fascist uprising in the region of Hrvatsko zagorje took place under the high patronage of the Croatian Parliament. In the commemorative speech he held while visiting the exhibition in Kumrovec, the Speaker expressed his conviction that this manifestation would further explain the period of the Second World War to the young generation, especially to those who were born in time of peace. “I am sure this will help them learn to appreciate freedom and peace”, he pointed out.
Members of Parliament were also very busy in March. Srđan Gjurković, Andrej Plenković and Melita Mulić took part in the Conference on Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 held in the European Parliament. They presented Croatia’s main standpoints on the financing of cohesion and agricultural policies as well as on financing the protection of the EU outer border. Although Croatian MPs had taken part in the previous conference on multiannual financial framework, their participation in this year's conference is significant as in the discussed seven-year term Croatia will be a full member of the European Union, and as such, an item on the revenues as well as on the expenses list of the EU budget.
Croatian Parliament Deputy Speakers Jadranka Kosor and Josip Leko received Božo Ljubić, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kosor received the visit of the delegation of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The Italian guests also met with Milorad Puopvac, Chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee, and with Daniel Mondekar, Chairman of the European Integration Committee.
Milorad Pupovac met with the Delegation of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and he received a visit of the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohsen Sharif Khodaei. After meeting the Parliament Speaker, the Japanese Ambassador was received by the Deputy Speaker Milorad Batinić as well as by MPs Gordan Jandroković and Davorin Mlakar. The Austrian Ambassador Andrea Ikić- Böhm visited Milorad Pupovac and Gordan Jandroković.
These are the other meetings that took place in the Parliament Palace in March: the Vice-Chairwoman of the Gender Equality Committee Sonja König and the Chairman of the Agriculture, Fishing and Rural Development Committee Petar Čobanković met with the representatives of the Regional Center for Gender Equality to discuss the topic of enhancing women’s participation in the rural development of the region; the Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksandr Levchenko met with Branko Vukšić, head of the Croatian Parliament's Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, and with Daniel Mondekar, Chairman of the European Integration Committee; the French Ambassador Jérôme Pasquier met with Furio Radin and Tonino Picula; Furio Radin met with Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human; Czech And Slovakian national minority MP Vladimir Bilek met with the Slovakian Ambassador Roman Supek; Gordan Jandroković received the visits of the German Ambassador Bernd Fischer and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal; Biljana Borzan, Chairwoman of the Health and Social Welfare Committee, met with the Danish Ambassador Bo Eric Weber.
The Legislation Committee and the Judiciary Committee of the Croatian Parliament received the visit of the Delegation of the Legislation Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. They shared their experiences in the legislative process, namely in examining bills' conformity with the constitution. The Tourism Committee held a session on the strategy of tourism development in Croatia, while the Gender Equality Committee called the public’s attention to the events being held on March 2, the European Equal Pay Day, aimed at raising awareness of the gender pay gap.