Thursday, 2 June 2022

PM Says Gov't To Intervene Over Fuel Prices If Necessary

ZAGREB, 2 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday announced that the government would reduce excise duties or margins if necessary due to an announced significant increase in fuel prices as of next Tuesday.

Web news portals reported on Thursday that as of next week, the price of all diesel fuels will increase by HRK 0.90 per litre, while the price of petrol will go up by about HRK 0.70 per litre.

"We have the legal basis to intervene as regards margins and excise duties, we have already done it. There is still room in that regard and this afternoon the inner cabinet will discuss the situation. We will hear the assessments of the ministries of economy and finance and make the best decisions for Croatian citizens," the PM said.

Asked if excise duties were on the agenda, he said that excise duties and margins are the two elements in which the government can intervene.

At most petrol stations in Croatia, a litre of Eurosuper 95 petrol has been selling for HRK 13.86 since Tuesday, which is HRK 0.03 more than on Monday while the price of Eurodiesel was HRK 0.22 dearer.

Hina's source from energy circles estimates that fuel price increases, including major ones, are possible as long as the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine lasts. The source adds, however, that the price increase announced for next week can hardly be justified with the latest package of EU sanctions against Russia, because its effects, i.e. a partial cessation of crude oil imports from Russia, can only be expected in a few months' time.

Retailers and suppliers should be asked why they are reacting so quickly to announcements of what might happen, the source said. He added that Croatia is not really dependent on crude oil or oil product deliveries from Russia, because most of its supplies arrive by sea.

The retailers and suppliers contacted by Hina did not want to talk about prices, hence the new prices will, as usual, be known on Monday to take effect on Tuesday.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

One Of Two Strategic Goals Achieved By Meeting Euro Criteria, PM Says

ZAGREB, 2 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday Croatia was one of the EU member states outside the euro area which had met all the criteria for membership in the European economic and monetary union, whereby one of the government's strategic goals has been achieved.

Speaking after a meeting with the European Commission Executive Vice President for An Economy that Works for People, Valdis Dombrovskis, Plenković said Croatian officials had the opportunity to hear the Commission's assessments on its convergence report on Croatia and the other countries still outside the euro area.

"Such a positive report on Croatia is very good, given that by all criteria, which are equal for all, we are the only country meeting the criteria for membership in the European economic and monetary union," he told the press.

The Commission presented the report yesterday, confirming that Croatia is one of the observed member states meeting all nominal convergence criteria and that its legislation is fully aligned with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as well as the Statute of the European System of Central Banks and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The Commission, therefore, concluded that Croatia is prepared to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023, becoming the 20th euro area member state.

"It's particularly important that Croatia meets the price stability criterion. You have seen that over 12 months up to April this year the average inflation was 4.7%, and the reference value was 4.9%, so we were within that criterion," Plenković said.

It is also very important that Croatia has received confirmation from the ECB that it is below the Maastricht budget deficit criterion of 3% of GDP.

"Croatia no longer has macroeconomic imbalances and in this whole set of our efforts, from responsibly managing public finance, coming out of the excessive deficit procedure, raising the credit rating to investment level, the fact that we carried out all the reforms that were on the table after entering the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and the banking union on time, in line with the action plan, shows that by implementing the euro introduction strategy, Croatia has achieved one of the fundamental political goals during the terms of our two governments," Plenković said.

The other goal is entering the Schengen Area, he added.

For more, check out our politics section.

 

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Plenković: Tuđman Played Crucial Role in Croatia's Efforts to Become Independent

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Prime Minister and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenković recalled on Saturday that the basic principle of the policy of the first Croatian president and the HDZ founder, Franjo Tuđman, was "always and everything for Croatia".

Addressing a scientific conference in Zagreb on the occasion of Tuđman's 100th birth anniversary, Plenković said that Tuđman had played the key role in Croatia's efforts to become an independent state.

Plenković highlighted the achievements of the first Croatian president in the establishment of democratic institutions, the defence of Croatia's territory against the Great Serbia aggression from 1991 to 1995 and against the Slobodan Milošević regime as well as Croatia's return to the community of European and world nations.

 All that makes Tuđman the greatest Croatian politician and statesman, said Plenković.

Condemning the undemocratic movements in the modern Croatian political history and strong advocacy of Croatians' right to sovereignty and modern democracy are some of Tuđman's most important ideas, Plenković told the gathering.

Tuđman's advocacy of the democratic right to express one's own opinion and his struggle for the Croatian cause exposed him to repression during the Communist  regime, Plenković recalled.

Plenković also recalled that 23 years had passed since Tuđman's death, 33 since the establishment of the HDZ party, 32 since the first democratic multiparty election, 30 years since Croatia's international recognition and the country's admission to the United Nations.

Tuđman's "Always and Everything for Croatia" should be a guiding principle to all of us  policymakers who work responsibly for the benefit of the Croatian people in the homeland and for the benefit of the Croats as an equal constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ethnic Croat minorities in the neighbouring countries, said Plenković, recalling Tuđman's commitment to permanent ties between Croatia and Croatian expatriate communities.

He praised the era of the first Croatian president as a period of Croatian national renaissance.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

PM: Problem With Energy Crisis is Nobody Knows How Long it Will Last

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - Croatia has so far taken in 18,000 Ukrainian refugees and the problem with the current energy crisis caused by the Russian aggression is that it is not known how long it will last, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday addressing a conference of young European leaders.

"The problem with this crisis is that nobody knows how long it will last and instruments of control of energy product prices are weak," the PM said in his address at the European Young Leaders (EYL40) conference, speaking about the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"In fact, we do not have global mechanisms to control prices of energy products," he said, stressing that a common European solution to the crisis was necessary.

Unlike the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected only a fragment of the population, elderly and at-risk groups, the energy crisis is affecting everyone because "99% of human activities" are connected to energy products, he said.

The Zagreb conference was attended by some 40 successful individuals from all around Europe - parliament members, business people, astrophysicists, athletes and artists, among others, including Sarajevo Mayor Benjamina Karić.

Speaking of the Russian aggression, Plenković said few people had expected it to happen and that it was interesting that intelligence data from Western allies had proven "completely precise."

The Russian attack has caused a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, with close to six million having left the country and 13 million having been internally displaced, and, together with the energy crisis, it has caused wider political instability, Plenković said.

"We do not know if the aggression on Ukraine will be the only or the last aggression," he warned, mentioning in that context developments so far in the east of Europe, notably Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus.

He said that Zagreb's official position is one of full solidarity with Ukraine and that so far 18,000 Ukrainians had arrived in Croatia.  

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 9 May 2022

PM Issues Message For Europe Day

ZAGREB, 9 May 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday extended his best wishes to everyone for Europe Day, saying that we live in a time of great challenges that demand bold decisions and unity.

"I wish everyone a happy #EuropeDay! Through #CoFEU we've heard what European citizens are most concerned about," the Croatian prime minister said in the message, referring to the Conference on the Future of Europe, which started a year ago and ended today, on Europe Day.

"This is a time of great challenges that demand bold decisions and unity," Plenković wrote on Twitter.

The prime minister was probably referring to the world's challenges after it had just begun recovering from a two-year COVID-19 pandemic and Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, after which Europe and the world faced a number of challenges due to the rise in food and energy prices.

"We have the responsibility to continue building a Europe of peace, rule of law, social justice and economic development," the prime minister wrote.

On Sunday, 8 May, which is celebrated as Victory in Europe Day, the day of victory in the Second World War, Plenković paid an unannounced visit to Ukraine in order to show solidarity with the country's leadership and people, as well as to express support for its European path.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Plenković: Trust Between Bosniaks and Croats in Federation Needs To Be Restored

ZAGREB, 7 May 2022 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday it was necessary to restore the trust between Bosniaks and Croats in the Federation entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina because without it, it would be difficult to ensure the functioning of the country which is choosing a new parliament in October in accordance with the old law.

The issue of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina is important to Croatia and it is regrettable that the Bosniak and Croat parties have failed to reach an agreement on the electoral law reform ahead of the 2 October general election despite US and EU mediation, Plenković said at a working dinner held as part of the Global Europe Seminar in Salzburg on Friday.

In the autumn, "institutions will again be elected according to the old law and one constitutional people will not have its legitimate representatives," the prime minister said and added: "That's why we will try to restore the trust between Bosniaks and Croats in the Federation because it will be difficult for the country to function without it."

Earlier this week, the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina called the general election for 2 October even though the election law was not amended to prevent the more numerous Bosniaks from outvoting the Croats and to ensure the election of legitimate representatives of the Croats.

War in Ukraine

Speaking of the war in Ukraine, Plenković said that Russia had largely underestimated Ukraine's resistance, adding that Ukraine should be assisted in different areas and its ambition to get a special status in the EU should be supported.

"Russia has largely underestimated Ukraine, the courage of its people, the heroism of its soldiers and their determination to to fight back," the PM said. "We should support Ukraine's ambition to get a special status in the EU, but we should also support the EU membership ambitions of other countries."

He went on to say that the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict have diverted attention from other global crises such as the nuclear threat from North Korea, negotiations with Iran, tensions in the South China Sea, US-China relations, climate change and illegal migration. "Unfortunately, none of these have disappeared."

Plenković said that the situation in the Western Balkans should be monitored closely. "We must not let those issues be overshadowed because they, too, require action."

Noting that "every crisis is, at the same time, an opportunity," the prime minister praised the EU for its COVID-19 response, saying that it was a sign of European solidarity that showed the Union's purpose and mission.

Plenković estimated that it was too early to say whether the EU would manage to resolve the energy crisis in the same way, by showing solidarity, expressing hope that it would.

He mentioned the strategic decision to phase out the EU's dependence on Russian energy sources by taking into account the specific circumstances of each country and creating alternative supply routes and networks. In this context, he emphasised the importance of the LNG terminal on the Croatian island of Krk.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Croatia To Give €5 Mn Donation For Ukraine At Warsaw Donor Conference

ZAGREB, 5 May 2022 - Croatia will give Ukraine a donation worth €5 million at a donor conference taking place in Warsaw on Thursday, and the event will be addressed virtually by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Croatian government on Thursday decided to donate to Ukraine financial aid in the amount of four million euros plus a €1 million worth of water and medicines donated by Croatian companies.

"Croatia knows what is means to be attacked and will continue helping Ukraine from the heart and out of principle," PM Andrej Plenković told reporters while arriving for the conference, organised by the Polish and Swedish governments.

The conference is co-hosted by Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki and Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson, in partnership with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Plenković travelled to Poland together with Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović, and he is expected to hold a number of bilateral meetings on the margins of the event, including with outgoing Slovenian PM Janez Janša.

The Polish Foreign Ministry on Monday said it expected at least ten delegations at the event.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address the conference virtually, and a Ukrainian delegation is expected to arrive in the Polish capital.

At the last donor conference organised in Warsaw in early April by the European Commission, Canadian government and Global Citizens organisation, more than €10 million was raised for Ukraine.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Čović Calls On Plenković And Milanović To Advocate For Bosnia Croats In EU And NATO

ZAGREB, 5 May 2022 - The president of the Croatian National Council of BiH, Dragan Čović, on Thursday called on Croatia's leaders, while there is still time, to warn the EU and NATO of the threat of the "gross and organised" outvoting of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina at October's general elections.

Čović met separately on Wednesday with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović. 

Čović appealed to the two officials to additionally raise the issue and warn of the gross and organised outvoting of the Croat people in BiH within the framework of the international associations they belong to - the EU, NATO, and all others - while there is still time for that, HNS BiH said in a press release.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Central Electoral Commission called general elections for 2 October despite local Croat parties and Zagreb warning that based on the incumbent rules, the more numerous Bosniak people will once again outvote the Croats.

In the past three elections, Bosniak voters elected Željko Komišić as the Croat member of the country's presidency. Bosniak parties have announced that Bosniak voters will elect 6 of the 17 Croat delegates in the Upper House of the Federation entity parliament, which would be sufficient to exclude Croats from the government in that entity and at the state level.

Čović thanked Plenković and the Croatian government for their contribution to efforts to guarantee legitimate representation of the constituent peoples and for advocatingr the equality of Croats and for BiH's European path.

With regard to the meeting with Milanović, HNS BiH said that the need for an urgent agreement on election reforms was underscored and that all Croatian institutions will insist on that.

"Legitimate representation of the constituent peoples must be ensured but also the functionality of institutions in BiH," HNS BiH said in the press release.

 

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Plenković Meets With Business Executives to Discuss Aid for Ukraine

ZAGREB, 3 May 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Twitter on Tuesday he had met with the chief executives of several large Croatian companies to discuss ways of helping Ukraine, particularly in supplying medicines and water.

"I met with the presidents of the management boards of the Atlantic Group, Fortenova Group, JGL, PharmaS, Pliva and Podravka regarding further aid to Ukraine, particularly with regard to supplying medicines and water. I will join with my contribution at the donors' conference in Warsaw along with the government and Croatian companies," Plenković tweeted.

A high-level international donors' conference for Ukraine is being held in Warsaw on 5 May.

The initiative aims to provide humanitarian support to Ukraine. 

According to the UN, 13 million people in Ukraine need vital humanitarian aid, including shelter, food and medical supplies.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Plenković Issues Message for World Press Freedom Day

ZAGREB, 3 May 2022 - The imperative of every democratic society is to provide journalists with conditions for unobstructed, safe and professional work, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

"Freedom of the press is the foundation of every democratic society in which it is imperative to provide journalists with conditions for unobstructed, safe and professional work," Plenković wrote on Twitter.

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