Friday, 5 February 2021

Ćorić: Istria County Made Step Forward in Waste Management

ZAGREB, 5 February, 2021 - Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić said in Pula on Friday, after meeting with county and city authorities, that in the past ten years Istria County has made a step forward in waste management and that it is the direction the rest of Croatia should take.

"Building a county waste management centre, despite the challenges that it presented for some time, was from our perspective a huge job done by Istria County. In the past few years we have been dedicated primarily to constructing these lower parts of the infrastructure, which entails building recycling yards, financing sorting facilities, containers and lorries for special waste categories, an entire infrastructure that helps make this system successful," Ćorić told reporters, adding that "that path is challenging and will last from some time yet."

He said that he had an opportunity today to discuss the challenges facing local government in Istria in achieving waste management plans that were designed four years ago.

Ćorić said that today's talks on the functioning of the Kaštijun waste management plant, related to local government allowances, were very constructive and that he is convinced that Istria County and Pula were exemplary of how things should be.

Responding to reporters' questions about handling Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF), Ćorić underscored that the government had decided to cofinance the handling of SRF from the Kaštijun area through the Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund in an effort to facilitate Kaštijun's financial position as a legal entity. On the other hand, he said, the long-term plan is for the state to create premises that would be used to handle SRF.

"That is still going on to this day in several cement factories around Croatia, however that problem needs to be resolved at the state level, because in the case of cement factories we are talking about market competition which could be very expensive for waste management centres like Kaštijun or Marinščina," said Ćorić.

Friday, 5 February 2021

Conclusion on Chamber of Commerce Goes in Direction of Reforming it, Minister Says

ZAGREB, 5 February, 2021 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Friday he was pleased that the epidemiological figures in Croatia had been much more favourable for a few weeks now and that he believed that the government would have the opportunity to ease the measures as of 15 February.

"What that specifically means, I cannot tell you at the moment as it will depend on the numbers in the coming days. However, I believe that our entrepreneurs, who have shown great understanding for everything that has been happening, but also protested against the fact that they have been closed for some time, will be satisfied," Ćorić said in Pula, responding to questions from the press.

He added that entrepreneurs could count on all possible support from the state for as long as they are unable to operate.

"We are talking about covering salaries on the one hand and fixed costs on the other, and there are also (credit) lines for liquidity. There are currently nearly 3,000 applications for the €50,000 COVID-19 liquidity loans," Ćorić said.

Talking about membership fees for the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Ćorić said that "the conclusion adopted by the parliamentary majority goes in the direction of reforming the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in a functional, organisational and ultimately financial way".

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Minister Tomislav Coric Praises Government Job Preservation Measures

December the 17th, 2020 - Minister Tomislav Coric has praised the Croatian Government's economic measure which was introduced in order to help employers preserve jobs during the pandemic, and he offered further comments on the duration of the now well known 4000 kuna per worker measure.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Minister of Labour, Josip Aladrovic, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Tomislav Coric, and the director of the Croatian Employment Service, Ante Loncar, came together to sign a contract for the “Stimulating education for related trades based on the PHASE II apprenticeship system'' project.

The aim of the aforementioned project is to improve and develop the model of education for occupations within the system of related trades, the solving of problems related to the lack of licensed natural and legal persons conducting apprenticeships, as well as the lack of motivation of economic entities to participate in the process of enrollment into occupations from the system of related trades.

"Aside from the associations which are representing the employers, we're going to hold a meeting with representatives of the main trade union centres in the context of the upcoming festive period and the eventual actions that we're going to be taking," announced Minister Tomislav Coric.

Measures to help the economy

Minister Tomislav Coric also commented on the duration of the Croatian Government's economic measures during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

"This current phase we're in, despite the relatively positive numbers when it comes to new cases of infection in the past few days when comparing them to the week before, we believe that this measure will continue for some time. As long as phase A of the lockdown of part of the sector lasts, ie the reduction of economic activity in the country due to reduced revenues, the longer the measures to help the economy will last. Therefore, on the one hand, we've got the measure of 4,000 kuna per worker, on the other hand, we've got the measures to shorten working hours, and finally, we've got measures to cover part or all of the fixed costs of a company, depending on the level of their revenue decline.

That money will be provided for as long as we're witnessing such circumstances in regard to the functioning of the domestic economy. As circumstances change, new, possibly additional measures will be adopted, so that could mean that some of these measures will be abolished,'' he said, adding that everything depends on whether the epidemiological situation in the country improves or worsens.

Regarding the decline in the number of employees in Croatia, Minister Tomislav Coric pointed out that the country is at the same level as it was before the pandemic struck the country. "We don't have a significant increase in terms of unemployment. This first of all confirms the fact that Measure 3250, ie the ''4000 kuna measure'' hit the spot properly and made sure unemployment, despite the crisis that hit the whole of Europe, avoided hitting Croatia too significantly,'' Minister Tomislav Coric pointed out.

He also commented on the business and functioning of INA, which is an ongoing saga. "Unfortunately, over the last fifteen years, INA has been the subject of politics as a company, as has its very functioning, instead of being a subject of business,'' he stated briefly.

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Monday, 7 December 2020

Small Business Owners Demand Urgent Reforms

ZAGREB, Dec 7, 2020 - The Voice of Entrepreneurs association laid a wreath outside the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development on Monday, calling for "urgent and brave" reforms and the replacement of Minister Tomislav Coric.

Cars and buses briefly blocked the traffic in the street in front of the Ministry as protesters lit lanterns and laid wreaths and flowers at the entrance to "pay their last respects" to small and medium-sized businesses hit by the partial lockdown imposed as part of government efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

They once again appealed to the prime minister to fire "the worst economy minister Croatia has ever had." They drew attention to the "intolerable absence of concrete aid and compensation" for all businesses experiencing a sharp decline in their activity. 

The association's head Hrvoje Bujas said that Croatia had lacked key reforms over the last 30 years. "It is high time we organised ourselves to ensure the implementation of key reforms. It is also high time that the reforms become the key topic for every economy minister and for every minister in the Croatian government, including the prime minister," he said.

Bujas said that Croatian small business owners were leaving the country in search of better business conditions abroad. He stressed the need for a better functioning judiciary, optimisation and digitalisation of public and local government, lowering VAT and scrapping various parafiscal charges.

The association's executive director Drazen Orescanin said that they had good dialogue with some of the ministries and state institutions, but not with the Economy Ministry. He complained that Minister Coric was not communicating with them at all.

Orescanin said that the present government should represent all people and not just voters of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party. If the party cannot find an appropriate person to serve as Economy Minister, there are many competent experts for this post who are not members of any party, he added.

At the end of the protest, two police officers approached Bujas and Orescanin and took down their details as well as the registration numbers of the vehicles that blocked the entrance to the Ministry building.

"We'll see what the police will do. We won't be surprised if we get fined," Orescanin told Hina, adding that this was not a protest rally but a gathering because protest rallies were not allowed in the present time of the pandemic. He noted that about 20 members of the Voice of Entrepreneurs and partner associations were present, which is in line with the epidemiological measures, while the rest were representatives of the media. They all wore face masks and did not violate any measures, he stressed.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

'Voice of Entrepreneurs' Writes to PM, Seeks Immediate Dismissal of Minister Coric

December 3, 2020 - A letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic from Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs), seeking the immediate dismissal of Minister Coric. 

Dear Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,

Glas poduzetnika Association considers it inadmissible that Mr. Ćorić is still the Minister of Economy. Namely, the Minister has already shown several times that he does not care that the Croatian economy is failing, that many companies will close their doors and that tens of thousands of workers will lose their jobs. We believe that it is unfitting for the Minister of the Government of the Republic of Croatia to avoid taking responsibility. Also, we have expected of Mr. Ćorić to offer specific solutions and initiate the necessary systematic reforms that would enable the survival of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Many entrepreneurs in recent weeks have been shocked by Minister Ćorić's statements about the situation in our economy and the seriousness of the situation. We are surprised by the lack of tangible assistance and compensation for companies that are facing a large drop in revenue and are not formally closed. We must also point out that the Ministry of Economy ignores all our inquiries, requests and suggestions. Minister Ćorić allows the destruction of micro, small and medium-sized companies and acts as if it does not concern him. In a hopeless situation in which many entrepreneurs found themselves, the minister showed frivolity and nonchalant behavior, and the last straw was the statement "that not all businesses will fail without more generous help from the state, as the entrepreneurs themselves claim."

We believe that Minister Ćorić's behavior in this situation is inappropriate, and we see his unwillingness of dialogue, lack of understanding of the economic issues and lack of experience in the private sector as the main problems. We have a very unusual situation in which the Minister of Economy has not worked a single day in the private sector. In addition, we have to point out that Mr. Ćorić is related to numerous current scandals in which Croatian taxpayers' money has been stolen.

UGP believes that Croatia can offer a much better and more competent person to lead the Ministry of Economy. In a sea of ​​bad predecessors, entrepreneurs cannot think of a worse minister than the one we have today.

We hereby plead with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to urgently relieve Minister Ćorić of his duties and appoint a Minister of Economy who will be competent for the said position. Also, we insist on behalf of all entrepreneurs in Croatia that the next minister should be someone who has experience in the private sector. We believe that only such a person will be able to understand the specific problems of entrepreneurs and that they will be open to dialogue and cooperation.


Hrvoje Bujas

President of the Glas poduzetnika Association

For more on the Glas Poduzetnika movement, follow the dedicated TCN section

Monday, 30 November 2020

Proposals to Employers on Monday, They Insist on Any of Their Two Models

ZAGREB, November 30, 2020 - Economy Minister Tomislav Coric said on Sunday evening that during the weekend, the government's delegation led by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric had listened to the proposals of employers for measures to ease their situation after the imposition of tighter anti-COVID restrictions. 

Coric told the RTL commercial broadcaster that the government was fully aware of the adverse impact of the latest epidemic prevention measures on certain businesses and that the government would propose compensatory measures on Monday.

We will continue implementing the scheme of grants in the amount of HRK 4,000 per employee per month, the minister said and that employers will have access to the so-called COVID loans and that some of their fixed costs would be covered through the assistance provided by the government.

All those proposals will be discussed during their meetings on Monday.

HUP expects gov't to accept one of their models of compensation 

The Croatian Employment Association (HUP) said on Monday morning that they would insist on the the acceptance of any of the two models presented by bar and restaurant owners last Thursday to help them survive the new partial lockdown, saying that otherwise many of them would go bankrupt.

The first model envisages long-term compensation by slashing VAT to 5% for three years and to 13% over a longer term, and providing job-retention aid until April 2021, i.e. HRK 4,000 per employee and writing off taxes and contributions until 1 May 2021.

They also proposed compensation of €10 per square metre of their establishment, COVID loans to ensure liquidity for three years and a moratorium on loan payments for businesses which are not allowed to work.

The second model envisages ensuring revenue for entrepreneurs in the amount of 50% of their turnover at the same time last year as a direct grant which would also be used for salaries, including a contribution write-off.

This model also envisages exemption from all fixed liabilities for the duration of the lockdown, including rent and utilities. Exemption from parafiscal levies was also proposed.

Friday, 6 November 2020

PM: Coric Will Remain Minister, Opposition is Trying to Destabilise Gov't

ZAGREB, November 6, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Friday that Tomislav Coric would continue to be minister despite the fact that the opposition had launched "an action aimed at destabilising the government."

Asked for a comment on the opposition's motion for a no-confidence vote in Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Coric, Plenkovic said that the opposition had launched "some kind of action aimed at destabilising the government on three counts".

According to Plenkovic, the first one is the commission of inquiry, and he says there will be no such thing, especially not to be used as a political instrument for attracting the attention of the media for six months, until the local elections, with the opposition creating an image that the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is corrupt. He underscored that a motion for establishing a commission on inquiry could be based on a specific topic rather than on a mishmash of topics.

Secondly, there is the interpellation on the Krs-Padjene wind park, to which the government has responded with arguments.

"We will show that it is a project that has lasted for 17 years, that all governments during that period were involved in it, and that the key decision granting (the Padjene wind park) the status of preferential electricity producer was adopted during the Zoran Milanovic government," Plenkovic said.

As for the third point, the initiative for a vote of no confidence against Minister Coric, Prime Minister said that this time they had chosen the minister.

"We will see what they have written, respond to them, have a discussion, they will not get the 76 votes they need, and he will still be minister," Plenkovic said, adding that the opposition will then probably move on to Minister Beros, the situation in the health system and so on.

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, 22 September 2020

Economy Minister: Advertisement for JANAF CEO Position to be Published Soon

ZAGREB, September 22, 2020 - Economy Minister Tomislav Coric said on Tuesday that the advertisement for the position of the CEO of state-run oil pipeline operator JANAF would be published as soon as possible, after the current executive Dragan Kovacevic was remanded in custody on corruption charges.

"Concerning the provisions of the JANAF statute, it is necessary to appoint an acting director until the appointment of the new one through a public competition," the minister explained.

He said that this would be done as soon as possible.

Asked by the press whether he had visited Dragan Kovacevic's club, Coric said that he had known Kovacevic since 2013.

Coric explained that he had "made his acquaintance first of all due to economic topics."

Coric, who had served as the energy minister in the previous cabinet, said that considering the fact that his department covered JANAF, he had met Kovacevic on several occasions and visited the club.

Media outlets have reported that "the club" in downtown Zagreb refers to private premises owned by Kovacevic's private company and used by state officials and business people to socialise.

Coric said that he had met Kovacevic a few weeks ago.

The scandal involving Kovacevic, as well as the owner of the private Elektrocentar company, two mayors and a few more suspects broke out last week. Twelve of the 13 suspects in this influence peddling and public tender probe have been placed in custody.

Kovacevic is suspected of having received kickbacks from the main suspect, the owner of Elektrocentar, Kreso Petek.


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Sunday, 20 September 2020

Party: Minister Lying About Severance Packages for Sisak Refinery Workers Being High

ZAGREB, September 20, 2020 - The Workers Front said on Sunday that Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Coric was lying about the severance packages for Sisak Oil Refinery workers being 60% above the average severance package, calling on workers to organise a protest outside government offices in Zagreb.

"The workers have sent us a document which shows the amount of the severance packages offered to workers with the status of Homeland War veterans, while severance packages for workers without that status have long been reduced to a maximum 18 wages," the party said.

Many redundant workers have underage children, some have children who are ill, many of them have taken housing loans, and many have fallen ill while working in the refinery, the party said, adding that there are plans to cut those workers' severance packages by 30% to 60%.

The Sisak Oil Refinery is part of the INA oil company, which is owned jointly by the Croatian state and MOL.

The Croatian government and MOL want to get rid of 250 workers and pay practically nothing so that the company's management could earn from that huge amounts that are treated as a business secret, the party said.

It recalled that nine years ago, redundant workers of INA, which at the time was one of the biggest debtors in the country, had been given higher severance packages than Sisak Oil Refinery workers were expected to get now.

In 2018 INA paid into the state budget HRK 560 million in dividends alone, and in 2019 it paid HRK 279.2 million, the party said, recalling that a war veterans' association planned to hold a meeting and a vote on the issue of severance packages in Sisak on Monday.


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