LNG Terminal to Improve Croatia’s Role in EU Energy Strategy

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, January 30, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday that by building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the island of Krk, Croatia would assume a much more important role in the European energy policy, noting that talks were underway with the Hungarian side on the jointly-owned INA oil company and the recapitalisation of the Petrokemija artificial fertiliser producer.

“Energy policy is a policy of today and of the future. We want Croatia to be an active stakeholder in it, in close dialogue with the European Commission and other member-states, and we want all national decisions to be part of that broader framework of energy policy management at the EU level,” Plenković told reporters on the margins of a panel discussion organised by the Jutarnji List daily.

He said that the government planned to adopt a new energy strategy for Croatia this year.

The LNG project is of strategic importance for Croatia, Europe and Croatia’s partners globally. “I believe that with such a terminal we would have a much more important role in Europe’s overall energy policy,” Plenković said.

Asked if he had discussed with Primorje-Gorski Kotar County head Zlatko Komadina the adoption of a law on the LNG terminal, he said that the government pushed for partnership with local government units, notably counties, and that the LNG project was of strategic importance. The relevant ministries will provide the county authorities and the county assembly with all information regarding the environmental impact study for the project, said Plenković.

Asked about talks Economy Minister Martina Dalić held last week in Budapest, Plenković said Dalić and Environmental Protection and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić visited Budapest to continue the dialogue with the Hungarian side, including representatives of MOL. “They discussed the continuation of the process in Croatia, where consultants are being selected to help in the process of buying MOL’s stake in INA, as well as the recapitalisation of Petrokemija, its restructuring and sustainability of its operations,” said the PM.

Asked how the talks were proceeding, Plenković said that ways were being sought for Petrokemija, which is an important partner to all gas suppliers in Croatia, including INA, to be capable of regularly meeting its obligations and launching the restructuring process. “I believe that those who have been making profit for years in partnership with Petrokemija have special responsibility,” said the PM.

At an assembly held in mid-January, Petrokemija’s shareholders decided on the company’s recapitalisation to collect 450 million kuna (approx. 60 million euro). Petrokemija said earlier that it had received several binding bids for its recapitalisation. According to media reports, among the bids are those by Austria’s Borealis, the Croatian companies INA and PPD.

Asked about changes in INA’s ownership structure, Plenković said that in the case of national companies, it was important for changes to render those companies efficient and ensure that they were managed well. “That is the key goal,” he said, repeating that the Hungarian side wanted a fast and fair agreement on MOL’s exit from INA’s ownership structure.

Asked to comment on differences in the ruling coalition regarding tax breaks for citizens and the business sector, given that he has announced a lower VAT rate and that his coalition partners also want less taxes on wages and small businesses, Plenković said that he had promised to do his best to lower the standard VAT rate.

“With the tax reform, which is integral, we have already freed 2.5 billion kuna in the economic sector, and this year tax breaks will amount to around 1.2 billion,” he said, adding that ideas about unburdening the economy and taxpayers were welcome but that one should take care of keeping the revenues side of the budget sustainable.


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