Saturday, 23 April 2022

Sobočan Company's Solar Power Plant Put Into Operation

ZAGREB, 23 April 2022 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić formally opened a solar power plant in Mursko Središće on Friday, saying that the Sobočan company has put this northern town on the European map of positive production trends. 

The project cost HRK 4 million (€533,000), of which 70 per cent was provided by the European Union. Thanks to the solar power plant, as much as 70 per cent of the needs of the Sobočan company for its production processes will be met using renewable energy.

Over the last 20 years, Sobočan has evolved from a small family firm into one of the leading European manufacturers of furniture and equipment for world renowned brands, its founder, Franjo Sobočan, said.

He said that the company had begun its green transition in 2016 by building a wood-waste burning plant, and that now it is one of the leaders in applying solutions based on renewable energy sources.

Ćorić said that with its competitiveness and the fact that it exports about 70 per cent of its production, Sobočan can be an example to the entire industrial sector in Croatia. He said that the company has shown how to cope with competition on the global market and become a success story.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Zagreb-Based Company Returns 95% of Processed Hazardous Waste Into Production

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić on Tuesday visited the Premifab company in Zagreb which recycles and processes hazardous waste and returns 95% of it into production.

Premifab cofounder Igor Podravac said the company used hazardous waste to make a solvent and that it was totally CO2 neutral, without any harmful emissions.

In Croatia, the company mostly covers the pharmaceutical and automobile industries as well as the production of food packaging. It generates 35% of its revenue in the region, cooperating with the car industries of Serbia and Slovenia, the Slovenian pharmaceutical industry, and several companies in Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ćorić said the company was a good example of the circular economy Croatia needed, notably in the processing of hazardous as well as other types of waste.

He said 1,600 tonnes of solvent waste from various companies arrived in Premifab every year, where it was processed so that 95% was returned to senders in the form of a solvent that could be reused.

"In this way, Premifab participates in Croatia's waste management system in the best possible way," he said, adding that it also reduces the import of solvent waste.

Premifab will next invest HRK 80 million in a new, much bigger plant in Ivanić Grad, Ćorić said, adding that it is the only company in Croatia regenerating solvent waste.

He went on to say that incentives for electric cars could be increased this year and that he was sorry the transfer to a circular economy and renewables was not more dynamic in the years when it could be done without major shocks.

Ćorić is confident the energy crisis will cement the orientation to green energy in Croatia and elsewhere in the EU in the long term, and that incentives will be increased next year for including renewables in industrial production as well as among private clients.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Minister Expects Fuel Prices to go Down as of Next Week

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Tuesday that fuel prices could go down next week again, and that in case they escalated significantly for a longer period of time, the government could again resort to reducing excise taxes.

Ćorić told reporters this after a meeting of the ruling coalition partners, when asked how the government planned to respond since fuel prices have gone up again.

As of Tuesday, Eurosuper 95 is sold at most petrol stations in the country at HRK 12.45 per litre, HRK 0.61 more than on Monday, when it cost HRK 11.84 per litre on average, while the price of Eurodiesel has gone up by HRK 1.49, and prices of premium fuels have also increased.

Ćorić said that last week had brought an increase in fuel prices in reference markets and the increase was primarily due to an increase in prices of diesel and blue-dyed diesel, and slightly less of petrol.

"It is encouraging that the first two days of this week have brought a drop in fuel prices in reference markets and if that trend continues, next week we will have again a drop in prices. Until then, we will not respond," he said.

Fuel prices have been oscillating for weeks but should they escalate more significantly and over a longer period of time, the government "would possibly again resort to (reducing) excise taxes" as "it has no other significant instruments," he said.

No marked rise in electricity prices other than the one announced, no rolling blackouts planned

As regards the increase in electricity prices, reporters asked the minister if citizens should fear the increase would be higher than the government's projection of 9.6%, to which Ćorić said that the 9.6% increase was calculated based on the consumption of the average household in Croatia.

"The increase is as has been communicated. Whether it will be 8.7% for someone or 10.1% for someone else, depends on the size of the household and monthly consumption... however, an increase that would be more significant than the one announced will not happen," he said.

Ćorić also said that Croatia was not at risk of rolling blackouts and that it meets most of its electricity demand from own production, with imports constituting only a smaller portion.

Speaking of today's coalition meeting, he said that one of the topics discussed were renewable energy sources.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Minister Talks Heineken Croatia's Green Policy, Price Hikes, Đuro Đaković TEP

ZAGREB, 8 March 2022 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić on Tuesday visited the Heineken Croatia production plant in Karlovac which has invested €10 million in green projects over the past ten years as part of its sustainable business strategy.

We had great support from our employees, consumers and the local community in that, underscored Heineken Croatia's CEO Marta Bulhak.

Ćorić assessed that the company is a good example of "what Croatia needs because all industry has to move to a green transition and to undergo digitisation and transfer to a circular economy."

He congratulated the company, that employs over 300 workers, 120 of whom are hired in Karlovac, for the company's "green policy."

Heineken Croatia is a part of the international brewing company HEINEKEN and is the second largest beer producer in Croatia.

More measures to deal with rising prices, if necessary

Speaking about the decision taken by the government yesterday to cap the fuel prices, Ćorić said that "as soon as it becomes necessary, additional measures will be taken to preserve the living standard of citizens and to make it possible for the economy to function normally."

"The thing that is happening on the gas and petroleum products markets as well as on the electricity market is the consequence of extraordinary circumstances in eastern Europe and the Russian aggression on Ukraine which has led to all markets erupting but I am certain that that will calm down," said Ćorić.

In the context of whether Croatia should ban the import of gas and oil from Russia, Ćorić said that Croatia will follow suit with the majority of EU countries. It is good that Croatia has an alternative supply direction through the LNG terminal, he underscored.

The fact that we have an LNG terminal on the island of Krk could help us to experience a smaller blow than many other European economies, said the minister.

Ćorić would not specify if he supported a ban on importing energy from Russia and underscored that that decision would be made at the highest political level while in his capacity as the economy minister he would try to make sure that the economic shock in Croatia leaves the least trace and for us to come out of this even more resilient and stronger.

Asked about the coming tourism season, Ćorić said that we can expect it to be a good season if the war in Ukraine stops in a short time, however, if the crisis lasts, people will be more cautious about deciding to travel.

Asked about workers' expectations for a similar procedure to be taken for the Đuro Đaković Termoenergetska Postrojenja (TEP) company as in the case of the takeover of Sberbank Croatia by Croatia's HPB bank, Ćorić said that contact has already been made and that the ministry's officials for industry are seeking a solution.

"Đuro Đaković TEP has been existing for decades. It has changed owners and has now fallen victim to the circumstances. The fact is that the owner is on the list for sanctions. We are deeply convinced that the company that employs 860 workers, particularly in Slavonia which is a less developed region, deserves special attention and that is why we are seeking a solution to prevent production from halting and with regard to liquidity and bank loans, to ensure undisturbed functioning," he said.

The minister said that refugees arriving from Ukraine would not be treated as a burden or cost as the Croatians had experienced the same destiny in the early 1990s.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Minister: Those Fishing in Troubled Waters During Euro Changeover to be Exposed

ZAGREB, 5 Feb 2022 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Saturday that anyone trying to fish in troubled waters by unjustifiably increasing prices during the euro changeover would be exposed.

"There will be continual monitoring by the state, and, I'm confident, by consumer associations as well. Those who fish in troubled waters and possibly increase prices without justification must be exposed," the minister told reporters during a visit to Split.

Speaking of inflation, he said that global markets had unfortunately started raising gas, electricity and oil prices and that the state could not influence it more significantly except by cutting taxes to alleviate the impact as much as possible after electricity and gas prices go up on 1 April.

"As of 1 April we will do our best so that the electricity and gas price increase is as small as possible," he said.

The minister also noted that this year's inflation would be slightly higher than last year's rate of 2.8%.

Ćorić said that he believed that if the situation on the energy market calmed down, Croatia would not experience the impact of price hikes as experienced by some other EU members.

Asked if inflation would have an impact on this year's tourist season, Ćorić said that if commodity prices increased by a few percentage points in the first half of the year, a likely rise in energy prices could lead to a rise in prices of services.

"I think it will have an effect (on this year's booking prices) but I hope that it will be reasonable and that we will not fish in troubled waters because that makes us less competitive," the minister said.

Asked if the government would cap fuel prices, Ćorić said the government would respond if the prices escalated.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Economy Minister Says Mayor Responsible for Unacceptable Gas Price in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Thursday that Mayor Tomislav Tomašević and his team were responsible for the markedly higher corporate gas bills in Zagreb, and not HDZ personnel, because they failed to procure it at better prices.

Tomašević said earlier the former director of the City Gasworks' Supply division, Igor Pirija, who ran the division until last October, was responsible and that he was HDZ personnel, claiming that he did not buy gas at cheaper prices on time and that Zagreb businesses were in trouble because of him.

Ćorić said Tomašević should do his job and that Pirija was not in the HDZ.

Alluding to Tomašević's past as an activist, he said, "That phase is over, now it's necessary to run Croatia's largest city."

"At one time, Holding and the Gasworks were taken over by the new city administration. (Nikola) Vuković became the head of Holding for a few months. He could have procured the gas whenever he wanted. That procurement would have cost three and a half to four times less than it costs today," Ćorić said, referring to the Zagreb Holding multi-utility conglomerate.

He added that Vuković and his successors were appointed by Tomašević.

The minister said the mayor and his team should assume responsibility for the higher price, find the money, buy enough gas, whatever the cost, and honour the contracts with corporate clients.

He said Tomašević, Zagreb Holding and the team running the City Gasworks assumed responsibility for the Gasworks when they assumed responsibility for the city last May, regardless of who was director until one, two or five months ago.

"A new president of Holding's management board was appointed in June. Talks probably began then with the companies owned by Holding. Someone should have said then that the City Gasworks was short of 600 gigawatt hours of gas to meet corporate needs until the end of April," Ćorić said.

He reiterated that the price of gas at that time was several times lower than today and that the mayor and his team should have acted.

City Assembly vice president Mislav Herman (HDZ) told Tomašević to stop using the City Gasworks's previous management board as an excuse because he had enough time to buy gas at far lower prices.

He said that since Tomašević came to power, there was enough time to contract a new gas price, claiming that on 15 August last year the price of gas was about five times lower than today.

"Instead of making illegal appointments in Zagreb Holding during the summer, he could have been buying gas at then far lower prices so that our corporate clients' bills for December and the period ahead were far lower," Herman said.

He, too, said Pirija was not an HDZ member.

Friday, 2 July 2021

Ćorić: Vaccination Only Way We Can All Be Responsible

ZAGREB, 2 July 2021 - Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić said on Friday that vaccination is the only way we can all be responsible and that, if the tourism season fails, it will not be possible to find the necessary funding for all the needs in the years to come.

"Our economy is in the process of recovering, but it is highly dependant on tourism. If the tourism season fails, there is no magic wand with which we will be able to find additional funds to finance our needs, this year and in the years to come. That is why we all have to be responsible towards the country we live in and its economy, particularly to the most vulnerable groups of citizens. The only way for us to be responsible together is to be vaccinated," said Ćorić.

Asked about the possibility that entrepreneurs will have to be vaccinated if they are to receive aid, and whether this has been discussed with entrepreneurs, Ćorić said that that would be a responsible move.

Ćorić said that Croatia had the lowest percentage of inoculation of all Mediterranean countries.

"Anyone who is responsible should be rewarded and those who aren't should be subjected to criticism from the rest of us," he said. "Benefits should be linked to responsible behaviour above all."

Asked about the situation at the Brodosplit shipyard and whether workers should fear for their wages or dismissal, Ćorić said that the workers would fight for their rights.

"Brodosplit is a private company on the market. There are several companies within that conglomeration. According to information received, some of them have had their accounts blocked. Some of the problems are being resolved and I hope that Brodosplit, with more than 2,000 workers, will continue operating," he said.

The situation at Brodosplit is a reflection of the situation on the global market as many shipyards have lost ground to the competition, above all, China, he said.

"Want we want is that workers get their wages. That is what the government wants," Ćorić said.

He recalled that the government had bailed out shipbuilding for years through state guarantees on loans.

"One of the preconditions for guarantees was that all obligations to the Tax Administration had been settled," he underscored.

Ćorić was attending  the EveryDayGreen campaign at the Rijeka farmer's market dedicated to reducing the use of plastic packaging.

The campaign is aimed at reducing the use of disposable plastic packaging and promoting the purchase of fresh produce on the occasion of Planet Day.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Coric: JANAF Should Continue Its Successful Business Path

ZAGREB, Sept 23, 2020 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Coric said on Wednesday that the government would propose an interim CEO to the JANAF supervisory board at tomorrow's session, noting that this state-run oil pipeline operator should continue its successful business path.

"JANAF should continue doing business, it should continue its successful business path. JANAF ended 2018 and 2019 with good business results. ... The government, as the majority owner, will propose to the supervisory board that an interim CEO, an acting director, be appointed, and in the coming period that advertisement for JANAF CEO position for a period of four years will be published", Coric told reporters after the Big Plans Day conference.

Asked to comment on President Zoran Milanovic's claims that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic must have known about suspicions about JANAF CEO Dragan Kovacevic's corruption activities, which Prime Minister rejected yesterday, Minister Coric said that he had nothing to add as Prime Minister had been clear on the matter.

"It is on us to conduct the economic policy of our country and other policies, and it is on institutions that deal with investigations, proceedings and punishment in such situations to do their share of the work," Coric said.

Asked about public procurement and the fact that the Elektrocentar Petek company from Ivanic Grad did business with all state-run companies, local units, Economy Minister recalled the Public Procurement Act and the fact that the procurement contract is awarded to the company with the best price economy-wise, and that others can file a complaint to the State Commission for Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures (DKOM).

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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Green NGOs: Coric Should Answer For Influence Peddling In Wind Park Scandal

ZAGREB, June 30, 2020 - Non-governmental organisations Green Action and BIOM held a performance outside the Energy and Environment Ministry on Tuesday saying that Minister Tomislav Coric should hold to account for influence-peddling in the Krs-Padjen wind farm scandal.

"Minister Coric's political responsibility in the Krs-Padjen scandal is unquestionable and there are strong indications of his criminal responsibility for evidently unreasonable spending of public funds," the NGOs said.

They warned of multiple damages done as a consequence of Coric's political decisions. They claimed that the minister "in cahoots with the accused investors, has squandered HRK 1.2 billion of taxpayers' money, thus destroying our renewable future in the form of decentralised, local systems of renewable energy sources."

"Without Coric's decision, which contradicts expert opinion, the accused investors would not have been able to continue the project based on the old system of tariffs," Enes Cerimagic (Green Action) said. He claimed that HRK 1.2 billion in incentives more would have to be paid than the investor would have been entitled to under the new tariff system.

"Had Minister Coric abided by the law and asked for an assessment of the impact on the ecological network, the investor's approval to buy electricity at higher subsidised prices would have expired and the project would have been subject to the new tariff," Cerimagic said, adding that Coric thus caused multiple damages to the state, environment, nature and the budget.

Cerimagic said that the HRK 1.2 billion that has been squandered could have been sufficient for solar systems to supply 30,000 households."

Monday, 29 June 2020

Coric: HDZ Declined Donations From Businesses That Received State Aid

ZAGREB, June 29, 2020 - Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Coric said on Monday that the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party had declined donations from companies that had received state aid for job retention, calling on the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) to do the same given that it had already received such donations.

"The HDZ has so far received about HRK 1.75 million (€233,000) in donations, which is considerably more than our political opponents. This itself speaks of the HDZ's popularity and the inclination to donate funds," Coric, a member of the HDZ's main committee, said in response to questions from the press.

He said that the HDZ would insist on a transparent presentation of campaign costs, adding that even before the election campaign the party had decided to "negatively respond" to certain donations.

"All donations coming from legal entities which in recent months received aid as part of the economic recovery measures for job retention are considered unacceptable by the HDZ. We call on all other parties to follow suit because we are aware of the fact that some political groups in Croatia have received donations from legal entities that benefited from the economic recovery measures. We don't think that's fair," Coric said.

He said that the HDZ had been offered donations from several such businesses but that the party had paid the money into the state budget. He did not reveal details, saying only that those were several smaller legal entities with small donations.

"As far as we know, the SDP has received such donations. We call on them to be responsible in this election time and to refer such donations to the budget," Coric said.

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