ZAGREB, October 23, 2019 – Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said after a three-hour meeting of the ruling coalition on Tuesday evening that the coalition was agreed that the budget and public finance framework for next year was good and should be maintained.
“We are all agreed, I believe that all members of the coalition and the parliamentary majority agree that the budget and public finance framework for next year is good and should be maintained,” said the minister.
The ruling coalition discussed at its meeting a budget revision for this year, the 2020 budget and the fourth round of the tax reform.
Asked if there was room in the budget to increase wages as much as striking teachers’ unions wanted, Marić said: “We must be very clear, you are aware of the restrictions for next year’s budget, we have to stick to them. The overall framework is sustainable and we are not bringing it into question. It is a question whether there is additional room for additional increases. Everything should be in line with possibilities.”
Asked again if this meant that the six percent wage increase offered to teachers was the government’s maximum offer, the minister said: “That’s right”.
As for an increase in the minimum wage announced by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković earlier in the day, Marić said he did not have any specifics and that they would be known after a government session.
He said that the dialogue on the budget and taxes would continue in the coming days, and that the related legislation should be formulated by the government next week and then forwarded to the parliament in the first half of November.
The minister said that the government spent as much as it earned and that any surplus would be directed into the business sector.
The minister also said that he believed the Croatian People’s Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, would support the budget.
As for criticism from Milan Bandić, the mayor of Zagreb and leader of the Labour and Solidarity Party, which is part of the parliamentary majority, that local government units would again lose a lot in the fourth round of the tax reform, Marić said that that would be discussed at a later stage.
He said that the government was not giving up on measures for young people and would put them forward as planned.
More budget news can be found in the Business section.