Croatia to Challenge INA-MOL Arbitration Ruling

Total Croatia News

Prime Minister Plenković speaks about INA and other issues.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday evening that Croatia would challenge the arbitration ruling in the dispute with MOL over Croatian oil company INA, which was recently made by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Geneva, reports HRT on January 14, 2017.

Prime Minister Plenković was speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio Television given on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of international recognition of Croatian independence. He also pointed out that there was a second arbitration process between Croatia and MOL which was still going on in Washington. “We believe that we need to protect our interests with legal means, but also with other steps that we will take, and I hope there will be a broad political consensus in the country to purchase MOL’s share in INA”, said Plenković. Government issued a statement explaining that the annulment of the ruling would be sought from the Federal Court of Switzerland.

The Prime Minister said that energy policy was one of the most important policies of any country. It is considered a priority by the European Union and by the global community. The circumstances that exist today with INA as Croatia’s strategic company and the relationship which exist with MOL in recent years impose an obligation for Croatia to buy back MOL’s share in INA, he said, adding that this would retain strategic and management control over the company and ensure energy independence.

Plenković said that INA should be a vertically integrated company, with reserves of oil and gas, with its own refineries and its retail chain, which can function in a way that is good for Croatia and for other markets in southeast Europe. He said that efficient management of INA could be beneficial for Croatia and added that the company, after Croatia purchases its shares, could be open to other investors as well as for strategic partners at a later stage, but on different terms.

In the rest of the interview, Prime Minister said that at the moment he had confidence in Education and Science Minister Pavo Barišić, who was recently found guilty of plagiarizing his scientific research. “We can see there are differing opinions in the academic community”, said Plenković, adding that there are those who criticize the minister, but also those who support him.

Speaking about life in Croatia 25 years after international recognition of independence, Plenković stressed that all previous parliaments, governments and societal stakeholders sought to improve the quality of life of Croatian people, which is the basic task of the present government as well. Prime Minister hopes to continue positive trends with economic growth and macroeconomic indicators. “We are making efforts so that those who live in difficult circumstances would have higher wages, while tax reform has a goal of helping our citizens and giving greater opportunities for Croatian businessmen”, said Plenković.

Plenković stressed that the times we live in are very turbulent, and that things which seemed stable a decade ago are now changing, and that it was necessary for Croatia to adjust its position. “Croatia must have the strength for such challenges, for further economic positioning in relation to countries which are around us, but also with regards to security challenges that are present in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and in Eastern Europe”, he added, saying that Croatia, in this regard, “should be a strong state with strong institutions, with strong and capable armed forces and all other security services”.


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