Prime Minister Plenković announces intention to buy MOL’s share of INA.
According to information from Croatian government, MOL has won one of two arbitration proceedings against Croatia. In early 2014, Croatia filed an arbitration complaint against MOL asking the tribunal to declare void the changes to a contract between Croatia and MOL made in 2009 about the management rights in INA. Croatia also requested compensation for damages incurred as a result of the agreement, signed during the tenure of Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. However, the arbitral tribunal decided that the offered evidence was insufficient to prove that the contracts concluded in 2009 arose as a result of corruption, reports Večernji List on December 24, 2016.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković held an urgent press conference late on Saturday afternoon and confirmed that Croatia would buy back MOL’s share of INA. “ We will buy the entire MOL’s package of INA shares. We will do it in a way which will not burden the public debt of Croatia. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Speaker of Parliament Božo Petrov have been informed about the issue. We have made the decision in the best interest of Croatia, since INA is a strategically important company for Croatia”, said the Prime Minister.
Croatian government, led at the time by Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, filed the arbitration complaint in 2014 at the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Geneva. The arbitration proceedings were one of the reasons for disagreements between HDZ and MOST during the previous government, which ultimately led to the fall of the government led by then Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković.
HDZ demanded that arbitration proceedings should be abandoned, while MOST vehemently opposed that proposal, arguing that it was in a national interest to continue. The two parties now claim that they have reached an agreement that the government will start the process of purchasing MOL’s share of INA, so that the strategically important oil company would be brought back under the state control.