Opposition against Privatization of HEP

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SDP says that it is unacceptable to partially privatize Croatian Electric Company (HEP) in order to renationalize oil company INA.

SDP official Peđa Grbin said that the government’s idea to partially privatize Croatian Electrical Company (HEP) in order to buy MOL’s share of oil company INA was unacceptable to his party, reports Večernji List on January 1, 2017.

Speaking in front of SDP headquarters, Grbin told reporters that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković a week ago surprised and even shocked Croatian public with the information that Croatia will buy MOL’s share in INA, and warned that there was no information about how much it will cost, where the money would be found and what would the government do with INA once it is renationalized. “Now we have received an answer to one of those questions, and I can clearly say on behalf of SDP that the proposed model with partial privatization of HEP is completely unacceptable”, said Grbin.

Citing Prime Minister’s statement that HEP’s shares would be bought by Croatian citizens, pension funds and businesses from Croatia, Grbin said that the Prime Minister, as a lawyer and a man who has spent a lot of time in the European Union, knows very well that EU rules do not allow privatization processes which would be limited only to Croatian citizens and businesses.

“The idea to start a privatization of one company owned by Croatia in order to nationalize another is absolutely unrealistic”, said Grbin, adding that such a move would be “pure Sanaderization” of the Croatian economy, alluding to former Prime Minister and HDZ president Ivo Sanader.

Grbin also said that they were not against nationalization of INA in principle, if assessments show that it would be economically viable and sustainable, and that it would not be a long-term burden for the budget. However, Grbin added that the track record of HDZ’s management of INA was very dubious.

He pointed out that three weeks ago SDP demanded a special meeting of Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs to discuss the issue of INA, but the ruling parties refusing to convene the meeting. “I have to ask them why are they doing it, are they hiding something, because that was obviously not about the interests of citizens or the public interest”, said Grbin. He stressed that almost all HDZ presidents in history were in one way or another involved in shady dealings related to privatization of INA, particularly Sanader and Tomislav Karamarko.

Asked whether SDP-led government of Prime Minister Zoran Milanović had intended to privatize HEP, Grbin said that it was considered at the time, but the idea was dropped because analysis concluded that it would not bring positive effects for the Croatian economy.


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