Sunday, 20 September 2020

Minister Says Credit Rating Result of Govt's Consistent Macroeconomic Policy

ZAGREB, September 20, 2020 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Coric said on Saturday that Standard&Poor's agency having affirmed Croatia's credit rating of BBB- was a result of the government's consistent macroeconomic policy in recent years and the political stability it had created.

"It is a fact that we introduced clear measures also during the election period, on the one hand to preserve jobs and on the other to maintain the economy's liquidity. The GDP drop, despite a very large share of tourism in GDP, is smaller than was projected and our recovery from the crisis and return to the level of 2019 will happen somewhat sooner," Coric said in an interview with the RTL broadcaster.

"In the coming period we will be continuously monitoring economic trends and we are confident that we will respond appropriately if necessary," he said.

Commenting on President Zoran Milanovic's statement that estimates by credit rating agencies were obsolete, Coric said that "(Milanovic's) economic advisors evidently did not brief him appropriately."

"Rating agencies' forecasts do not refer only to interest rates and cheap money, which is what he was talking about, but also to a country's adequacy for doing business and finally, for the overall economic relations in the country. That is why those estimates are very much relevant for all potential investors in Croatia," he said.

Commenting on corruption scandals involving members of his HDZ party, Coric said that "corruption affects most systems."

One should fight corruption continually, the minister said, adding that he believed the legislative changes and the action plan and strategy for the fight against corruption, announced by Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica, would help make progress in that regard.

He also underlined the importance of making the spending of budget money more transparent.

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Friday, 4 September 2020

EconMin: As Much EU Funds as Possible Should be Channelled to Economy and Private Sector

ZAGREB, September 4, 2020 - Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Coric said on Friday that he would try to steer as much funds from the EU aid package of €22 billion intended for Croatia as possible to the economy and private sector.

Coric was addressing participants at the Croatian Money Market conference in Opatija.

He said that he had heard from representatives of the real sector in which direction they thought Croatia's recovery should be going.

"We all share a certain dose of optimism about what is to come. The question of distribution of European funds from the EU envelopes of the 2021-2027 operational programme and from the recovery and resilience programme, will be a key issue. The ministry and government intend to direct the majority of those funds towards the economy," Coric said.

He added that it is necessary to improve the domestic economy's competitiveness and productivity in a number of industries, digitise the economy and improve the trade balance by reducing the deficit and boosting GDP growth.

Asked by reporters how much of the €22 billion was available to the private sector, Coric said that that has not been defined yet because neither of the two envelopes had been fully defined at the European level.

"We will probably have to wait for a few months for the answer to that question. Recovery plans need to be officially submitted to the European Commission by April next year and the major part of the funds will be based on that," he said and added: "It is important that already now we allocate as much money as possible to the private sector. There is no alternative. We have to be as strong as possible so that we can return to the pre-crisis level," said Coric.

Responding to reporters' questions, Coric said that the public debt would not explode and that a brilliant job had been done with regard to settling solvency and the government's liabilities for 2020.


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Wednesday, 26 August 2020

INA's Layoffs Decision Is Business Decision, Says Minister

ZAGREB, Aug 26, 2020 - Economy Minister Tomislav Coric said on Wednesday INA's decision to lay off 250 workers was a business decision, and that INA recently submitted a proposal to the Strategic Projects Commission to declare the Sisak biorefinery a strategic project.

Asked by the press to comment on the announcement that 250 INA workers would lose their jobs, Coric said there was no satisfaction if people lost their jobs at the end of a process of transformation, but that INA's business decisions of several years ago were going in that direction.

"The thing that we can express satisfaction about, is that the workers are leaving with relatively favorable severance packages."

The oil company said earlier this week that, given the circumstances of operating during a pandemic, the INA Group began organizational changes and that the restructuring would cover a maximum of 250 workers. This news has caused great concern in the town of Sisak and the Sisak refinery, whose workers have warned that the layoffs would halve the refinery's staff.

Asked about the layoffs, Coric said the company's direction was its decision and that the global oil business was in trouble because of the coronavirus and other circumstances.

He said he was pleased that INA's proposal to declare the biorefinery in Sisak a strategic project, was recently submitted to the Strategic Projects Commission.

We are pleased about that because I think that the direction which INA is taking in fact - a sustainable, green direction - is the right one, Coric added.

INA council to discuss Lazard's final report soon

The minister said the government received Lazard's final report on INA. The company is the government's advisor on the possible buy-back of MOL's stake in INA.

He added, however, that the make-up of the council on negotiations with MOL on the possible purchase changed last week. "In the weeks ahead, that report will be presented to the council members and then we will go a step further."

Asked if the political decision to buy back the stake was still on, Coric said the government decided to do that in 2016 and that the decision was confirmed in the HDZ's platform for this year's parliamentary election.

"We will try to enter into talks with the other side, present our offer and try and restore Croatia's ownership of INA."

A member of the press remarked that consultants said the buyback was not worth it. Coric said that he did not have that information.

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Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Plenkovic: No Way Anyone Monitors Journalists' Correspondence

ZAGREB, May 26, 2020 -  Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Tuesday rejected claims that reporters' correspondence was being monitored, underscoring that there is no way that that could even be thought of.

"I deny that in the strongest terms," Plenkovic said in Vrgorac when asked to comment on a statement by Environment Minister Tomislav Coric at a press conference earlier in the day related to a memorandum between INA and JANAF, when Coric called out N1 TV reporter Hrvoje Kresic for his writing in a reporters' social network group.

Coric said that from Kresic's work and messages in the group, it was evident that he was not happy with the appointment of INA's management board.

"No one in the government or anyone else can or must have any insight into anyone's correspondence, especially between journalists," said Plenkovic.

Plenkovic described the memorandum of understanding between INA and JANAF as protecting the government's national interests in INA.

"INA is one of our largest companies. It is also very important for energy independence and generally for the economy. It is key that consultants will present their preliminary estimates and evaluation around 10 June and after that we can decide further," he said.

Commenting on a statement by Social Democratic Party leader Davor Bernardic that the memorandum was a "betrayal of national interests," Plenkovic said that Bernardic is an immature politician who, with his conduct, disqualifies himself for any serious position in state institutions.

Plenkovic added that the government was aware that Janaf and INA had signed the memorandum and that Minister Coric informed the public in detail about that today.

The President who may not go to the polls is degrading yet another important institution - the State Prosecutor's Office

Asked by reporters about the newly appointed chief state prosecutor, Prime Minister Plenkovic said that she (Zlata Hrvoj Sipek) was appointed today in the parliament following a public call for applications that was advertised by the State Prosecutorial Council.

"We interviewed all six candidates. Based on the programme she presented and her experience, she has worked in the State Prosecutor's Office for more than 25 years, has enormous professional experience, knows the system well, she knows what needs to be done in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and I expect that, in line with that, she will continue the work of that important institution," he said and added that he considers her to be the right choice considering the other candidates.

Plenkovic reacted to claims by President Milanovic that she was the prime minister's choice for the chief state prosecutor.

"She was the choice of the government' and the parliamentary majority," Plenkovic underlined.

"Seeing that this is not someone who has come from outside the state prosecution system, I think that it is bad that the president, who said that he might not vote in the parliamentary election, is now degrading yet another important institution, and that is the State Prosecutor's Office," Plenkovic concluded.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Minister Tomislav Coric Discusses Public Sector Pay Cut, Reforms, Economy

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of May, 2020, although the Croatian Government predicts a GDP decline of 9.4 percent, economists warn that a much larger decline is possible. Minister Tomislav Coric is also an economist by profession, and he spoke about these concerning figures on RTL Direct.

The worst-case scenario that Croatia can more or less count on if nothing is done is a 20 percent GDP drop in which Croatian society will lose 89 billion kuna. In that case, every citizen of Croatia would have an average of around 22,000 kuna less than last year.

Tomislav Coric first revealed whether or not he would bet that Croatia's GDP decline would be at 9, 15 or 20 percent. That is, how much this freezing of the economy and of the normality of life will actually cost us.

''I'm convinced that in the next eight months, the Croatian economy, with additional engagement and favourable circumstances in the context of the tourist season, can achieve a better result,'' Tomislav Coric said, adding that it was obvious that any fall in GDP means a loss of economic power for Croatia.

"That's a fact and we've been witnessing this ever since the pandemic began. That's why we came up with a set of measures. We have already done a lot to get the Croatian economy out of this situation. If circumstances turn out to be more favoruable after June, GDP will fall below nine percent,''

He did not say what plan B was in case things go sour, but simply said that he believe we can be more optimistic about 2021. Once again, however, he still danced around the question of what precisely plan B is in case the coronavirus pandemic returns in another wave this autumn.

"Plan B always exists. The economy always works, at a higher or lower level,'' Tomislav Coric said. Asked again what plan B was, he simply said: "If the economy were to be locked up again, a decline in GDP would reflect that," but once again failed to specify any of the details of this "plan B".

However, almost 14,000 people have been left without work in Croatia, their lives have been threatened and they need more than words from Tomislav Coric, but also from those in power.

"As far as people being out of work is concerned, what we will not experience as a result of this situation is an increase in employment. I believe that there will be no significant increase in unemployment. The measures we have put in place are there to make sure we don't end up with even more people ending up being out of work. In the US, 26 million people have lost their jobs,'' Tomislav Coric said, referring to citizens' desire for territorial, public administration and public sector reform.

"As far as public and civil service reforms are concerned, their employees are regular citizens just like all of us. Reducing the number of employees would mean leaving even more people unemployed. Next year will be the year to reflect on all of these reforms,'' he noted.

''At the government level, we're working to further reduce the budget. We don’t want to cut the branch we’re sitting on off. Most of the funds that we need are created from debt, and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric has gone in that direction. We'll certainly be able to borrow because we have a responsible policy,'' concluded Minister Tomislav Coric.

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Thursday, 5 March 2020

Croatian Environment Minister Tomislav Coric Meets with Greta Thunberg

The current Croatian Environment Minister, Tomislav Coric, has met with one of the world's most influential young people - Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Greta Thunberg, a seventeen-year-old climate activist from Sweden, has taken the world by storm. Having started out by protesting alone outside the Swedish Parliament in a school strike for the climate, she quickly gained international fame, with schools joining her in her protest from across the globe.

She has also stirred up a significant amount of suspicion and dislike from those who either dispute her claims about climate change or have simply decided they don't like her. Regardless of the varying opinions the world has on Greta Thunberg, who has since spoken at the UN, she has become known as the most influential climate activist on the face of the planet.

Tomislav Coric, the Croatian Environment Minister, met with Thunberg and expressed his gratitude and appreciation, as well as his support for everything she is doing.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2020, the Croatian Environment Minister expressed his sincere support for Thunburg's tireless work on climate change activities.

Tomislav Coric held a meeting with Ms Greta Thunberg in Brussels, Belgium, on the eve of the meeting of the Environment Council. Thunberg was invited by the Croatian Presidency itself to address the EU ministers.

Minister Coric expressed his support for the work Greta Thunberg is engaged in and the youth who have come together in the name of the Fridays for Future movement and expressed his commitment to activities to combat climate change.

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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Tomislav Ćorić Discusses Croatia's Aims in Renewable Energy in Bilbao

As Jasmina Trstenjak/Novac writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, the Republic of Croatia must, and is, turning more and more strongly towards using its own renewable energy sources, this was the main message of the Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy of Tomislav Ćorić at the Wind Europe 2019 Conference & Exhibition, held April from the 2nd to the 4th of this month in Bilbao, Spain.

It's been three and a half years since the historic COP 21 in Paris, which was one of the most important first steps towards a global low-carbon transition. The goal is to limit global warming below 2 degrees celsius, up to a maximum of 1.5 degrees celsius.

"Although we've done a lot since then, there are still many challenges ahead of us," Ćorić stated at the beginning of his speech on the subject, held at the largest and the most significant European event in the area of ​​wind energy use, in which the Republic of Croatia participated for the very first time.

The conference is focused on clean energy for Europe and brings together key European institutions and the European economy in the wind industry, 8000 participants, 300 exhibitors from various countries and as many as 155 speakers, including Croatia's Tomislav Ćorić, who presented those present with Croatian experiences and further plans.

He recalled the fact that Croatia realised that, for security reasons, it has to turn much more towards its own sources of energy, primarily relying on hydropower, the sun and the wind.

''We will intensively support the development of geothermal, biomass and biogas projects, addressing the needs of the industry, agriculture, and all those sectors that need the synergistic effect of electricity and heat production in a highly efficient manner,'' he continued by briefly outlining Croatia's energy plans, adding that a very important segment of energy transition is the increased share of electricity in transport, such as in heating and cooling systems.

Additional space can be seen in Croatian tourism, which accounts for almost 20 percent of the country's GDP, and has a disadvantageous relationship between the supply and demand of electricity in summer tourist months, so we can see the need for, and the opportunity to introduce a micro solar system. Tourism will profit even more, Tomislav Ćorić believes, with the electrification of transport, he therefore believes that it would be good to open the story of corporate contracts on the purchase of electricity in tourism.

Adding to the issue of tourism, he pointed out that Croatia is known for its more than 1,000 islands and that the island's dependence on energy imports could be reduced by the greater use of renewable sources and innovative energy systems, which could also lead to welcome cost reductions. Accordingly, the European Commission has started its initiative on the energy transition of European islands with a view to seeing them eventually become sustainable, and Croatia is aiming to continue this work during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of Europe, so as to continue to ensure the development of the energy transition strategy on Croatia's many islands.

''Among the 26 European islands are the Cres-Lošinj archipelago and Korčula, Brač and Hvar. In the first phase, Cres will make its energy transition plan this summer, and next year, Hvar, Brač and Korčula will do the same,'' the minister stated.

He also took the opportunity to announce Croatia's new energy strategy which is being brought in as early as this year, in which one of the key goals will be to increase the production of both wind and sun-sourced electricity.

''In line with this, we expect more renewable energy sources than in the past ten years. The goal is to have three times more wind and twenty times more solar energy in the next ten years. With the wind and other choices of renewable energy, we will achieve 32 percent of our total energy needs by 2030 and at least 56 percent by 2050, and the transition to renewable energy will reduce harmful emissions. We believe that further growth in green energy investment will also affect the country's development itself, as well as [provide] new employment and industry growth,'' concluded Minister Tomislav Ćorić at the Bilbao conference.

Maja Pokrovac, the director of the Croatia Renewable Energy Association, added that with the aim of achieving 32 percent of renewable sources, Croatia will contribute 36.4 percent according to the National Climate Action Plan and Action Plan sent to Brussels in late 2018, while the director of WindEurope, Giles Dickson, expressed his pleasant surprise with the fact that Croatia is the most optimistic country in JI Europe when it comes to the share of renewables in consumption.

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Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak for Novac/Jutarnji

Sunday, 10 June 2018

From Zadar to Zagreb: Environment Minister Coric Joins Nikola Tesla EV Rally

June 10, 2018 - The 2018 Nikola Tesla EV Rally reaches Zagreb, as Minister for the Environment and Energy Tomislav Coric joins the rally at the birthplace of Nikola Tesla. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Gas and Electricity Prices Will Remain Stable, Says Minister

ZAGREB, May 16, 2018 - Gas and electricity prices will remain stable this year, but the state cannot influence the rising price of oil, Minister of Environment Protection and Energy Tomislav Ćorić told an energy summit on Wednesday.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Energy Minister Optimistic about Future of Sisak Oil Refinery

ZAGREB, January 21, 2018 - Croatia's Environment Protection and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić on Saturday refuted claims that the decision of the oil and gas group INA to close the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) plant within the Sisak refinery would pave the way for the cessation of the entire production in the facility in Sisak, and underlined that the entire refining business in Sisak would continue.

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