New Croatian MEP arrives in Ferrari to “represent the little man” in Brussels

New Croatian MEP arrives in Ferrari to “represent the little man” in Brussels
Homeland Movement's Stjepo Bartulica became the party's first MEP. / Homeland Movement via Facebook
By bne IntelliNews June 10, 2024

Stjepo Bartulica, the first MEP elected from the rightwing Homeland Movement, caused a furore when he arrived at his party’s headquarters in a red Ferrari, before pledging to “represent the little man” in the European Parliament. 

Photos widely published in the Croatian media show the politician’s red sports car parked outside the Homeland Movement’s campaign headquarters in the International Hotel on the evening of June 9. 

Addressing party members gathered to celebrate the party’s first MEP seat, Bartulica said that he will represent “the little man” in the European Parliament, not European bureaucrats. 

Expanding on his agenda, Bartulica said his motto will be "Croatia first", and he plans to focus on migration. 

"My big topic will be borders. Every country is sovereign and must be able to decide who to let in. We know that the asylum system is abused, that must change," said the politician, as quoted by Jutarni List. 

He also referenced the victories for rightwing and far right parties in the weekend’s elections which saw French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party humiliated by a victorious far-right National Rally. 

“Sovereignist movements are growing all over Europe, we see, and the Homeland Movement is growing on that wave,” said Bartulica. 

He did not comment on his choice of vehicle.

Photos of Stjepo Bartulica's red Ferrari have been posted widely on social media. Croatia's 24Sata reported that the car in question cost €348,000. Source: 24Sata via Twitter. 

Minister of Agriculture Josip Dabro of Homeland Movement told RTL: "I don't understand that gesture, at first I thought it was a joke, a mockery, but I don't know what the message is ... you should ask him.”

Days before the election, Bartulica was embroiled in a scandal when revealed that he had purchased a €300,000 villa on the island of Prvic. According to his declaration he and his wife earn €3,600 euros a month, which with loan repayments of €3,562 would leave them with just €38 a month to live on. 

As reported by Index, Bartulica then announced on June 6 that he pays his daily living expenses with money his mother gives him.

Bartulica did refer to the revelations during his speech, claiming he had been the victim of a “dirty campaign”. 

"Everything I have acquired, I have acquired in an honest way, I have nothing to apologise for,” he said. 

President of Homeland Movement Ivan Penava also talked of a dirty campaign. 

Despite this he said, “We confirmed our status as the third force in Croatia.”

Final results for the election put Homeland Movement in third place with 8.82% of the vote, after the senior ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). 

In Croatia, Homeland Movement is the junior partner of the HDZ, but is positioned further to the right of its partner. It is not yet known whether Homeland Movement will opt to join the rightwing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) or the more extreme Identity & Democracy (I&D) group in the European Parliament.