Thursday, 30 June 2022

Finmin: Fuel Vouchers Being Considered

ZAGREB, 30 June 2022- Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said after a government session on Thursday that one of the measures being considered was the introduction of fuel vouchers, but added that he didn't want to prejudge anything.

Since the decision to cap fuel prices at petrol stations not located on highways expires next week and since it is certain that oil prices will continue to rise on the markets, reporters asked Marić what further measures were being considered by the government, to which he responded that the government was waiting for all calculations regarding oil prices and that Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović was in additional talks with distributors and producers.

Asked about the possibility of fuel vouchers being introduced, Marić said that this was one of the measures being considered, but that its preparation required some time.

It has to be considered whether the measure would apply equally to everyone or not.

"We have been working on that, among other things, for the last few days and weeks," Marić said.

Asked by reporters whether food vouchers were also being considered, Marić recalled that VAT had already been reduced to the lowest possible level for fresh food, such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.

He reiterated that the government expected other "links in the chain" to contribute and that now was the time for joint action.

Government to support consumer protection associations

Asked about the remarks from consumer protection associations that they had been allocated too little money for monitoring the rounding of prices in the process of changing over to the euro, Marić said that "as a rule, no matter how much you give, more is always asked for".

He said that HRK 700,000 was earmarked in the budget for that purpose, and there were also European sources, but that the government would find the money for such an important purpose as consumer protection.

"They should not worry. If they have good suggestions as to how to better monitor prices and prevent unjustified price increases, we will be very happy to support that," Marić said.

As of 12 July and the final formal decision on Croatia's entry into the euro area on 1 January 2023, it will possible to show dual prices, and some businesses will start doing so then, but this will become mandatory on 5 September, said Marić.

For more, check out our politics section, and for the latest fuel prices click on this web site.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

FinMin: National Recovery and Resilience Plan Generational Opportunity

April 24, 2021 - Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Saturday that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) was the topic of the government's meeting earlier in the day, was a generational opportunity for Croatia.

The government is expected to endorse the plan on Thursday.

"We are going to finalize and hammer out this document at the government's session on Thursday, and we will very likely adopt the final draft of the plan which we will forward to to the European Commission for fine-tuning and evaluating," Marić told the press after today's meeting of the inner cabinet.

The procedure of evaluation and assessment of national recovery plans from Croatia and other EU member-states will take several months in Brussels, according to the minister.

Marić recalled that Croatia's national plan is about 10 billion euros, and two-thirds (6.3 billion) refer to grants. After that, the following stages are about loans for 3.6 billion euros.

Furthermore, the Multiannual Financial Framework for Croatia envisages 12 billion euros, and also there is the Solidarity Fund. All those are great financial amounts in the next few years, the minister said.

The deadline for applying projects under the recovery plan in mid-2026 and tapping funds can be until the end of that year.

The approval in Brussels would pave the way for the disbursement of a 13% pre-financing, which is about 800 million euros. After that, the amounts will be allocated to Croatia twice a year based on the fulfillment of the criteria as agreed with European institutions, Marić said.

Asked by the press about the engagement of the private sector, Marić said that the first component of the Croatian NPOO plan is about the enterprise sector, making up 50%. He added the combination of the private and public institutions pertaining to education, healthcare, public administration, judiciary, pension system, social policy, and initiatives for the post-earthquake recovery.

The direct effect concerning the private sector is 34%, and also, any investments have implications for the private sector, he said.

Croatia one of the few EU members where the plan was to public consultation

Marić dismissed criticism about a lack of transparency when it came to the document. He said that Croatia was one of the few EU member-states to have this document put to public consultation. Social partners were provided with an insight into the draft document, and a plenary session of the parliament discussed the matter.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Zdravko Marić Reveals When Euro Will Become Croatia's Currency

The introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency, thus replacing the Croatian kuna, has been the subject of much talk and heated debate. While some are completely for the move for practical reasons, others are sad to see the kuna go, seeing the introduction of the euro as a loss of Croatia's precious identity, which was so hard-won.

The debate about Croatia's imminent entry into the formerly highly problematic Eurozone continues to go on, with frightening memories of the Greek crisis still fresh in many a mind. Some are even demanding a referendum on the adoption of the euro, but the truth of the matter is that Croatia had to agree to adopt the euro eventually in order to join the European Union, of which it became a full member back in July 2013. Love it or hate it, it's happening - but when?

Croatia has officially sent its letter of intent to the appropriate bodies, as well as a list of promises to reform many key areas in the country's usually draconian national policies. The country's letter was met with a positive reaciton from the powers that be, and Croatia now has a mere twelve months to implement everything asked of it in order to enter the ERM II, a sort of pre-euro waiting room, in which it will remain for around two years.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of July, 2019, the aforementioned letter of intent that Croatia sent to Brussels regarding Croatia's planned introduction of the euro was assessed by Finance Minister Maric as one of the most important moments in Croatia's recent history. It is possible, as he himself says, that the euro will become Croatia's official currency at the beginning of 2024, as he said to RTL.

"It's difficult to say which year it will be, but I'd say that [the above mentioned date] is possible. We've taken over the obligations to fulfill some of the [prescribed] measures. We have to do this ourselves to boost economic growth. The year you've mentioned is realistic,'' the minister confirmed.

He also announced what many, especially those working in tourism, have been wanting - a lower VAT rate from January the 1st, 2020.

"We have pledged to continue reducing the parafiscal charges. One of the relief measures is the lowering of the VAT rate as of January the 1st, 2020. We're well on track to find space to give a new ''flywheel'' to employers to be able to pay their employees higher salaries. When it comes to what shape that will take and which way it will be done, we'll have to wait a few more weeks. When we do everything, I will first present it all to the President of the Government, the Croatian Government and the parliamentary majority, and then we will go public with it all,'' the minister stated.

The final decision when it comes to Croatia's entry into the Eurozone lies with the Eurozone's member states, and the European Central Bank.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more on the political scene in Croatia, as well as Croatia's pending Eurozone entry.