After government announced plans to partially privatize HEP, everybody would like to get a piece of it, preferably for free.
Announcement from some of veterans’ associations they will demand to be given seven percent of shares of Croatian Electrical Company (HEP) if the government proceeds with its plans to sell 25 percent minus one share of the company was met with silence among members of ruling parties, reports Večernji List on January 6, 2017.
Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Martina Dalić said earlier that the decision about their demands would be made later during the process. She pointed out at “successful IPOs of HT and INA”, and added that the government “would use the same process in this transaction as well”. In previous privatizations, some of the shares were given to the Veterans’ Fund, in which many war veterans have a share.
Veterans Affairs Minister Tomo Medved did not want to comment on whether the Veterans’ Fund should receive HEP’s shares as well, although it is no longer legally required. “The focus of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs at this moment is on healthcare for veterans and I am currently in discussions with managers of county hospitals”, said Medved when asked about whether the government would accept veterans associations’ demands. He repeated the same reply when asked if the government would discuss the matter in the forthcoming period, adding that the issue of transfer of shares to the Veterans’ Fund should be addressed through a new law on the rights of Croatian war veterans, which should be adopted in the first quarter of this year.
HDZ’s coalition partner MOST also did not want to comment on the matter.
On the other hand, former Veterans Affairs Minister Predrag Matić (SDP) supports the veterans’ request. He said that he demanded the same thing while he was a minister in Zoran Milanović’s government, when privatization of insurance company Croatia osiguranje was discussed, but then Finance Minister Slavko Linić was strongly opposed to the idea.
“Previous HDZ government abolished the legal obligation for shares to be given to veterans and I did not manage to get these shares. But, this is now ‘people’s government’ so I am certain they will do it. Since the number of shares for veterans is no longer limited to seven percent, I expect they will give them more”, said Matić ironically. He added that leaders of veterans associations spoke too early and that they “should have first go to HDZ party headquarters in order to be told what to say”.
“War veterans were the ones who handed over INA to MOL. We have minutes from a meeting when veterans first said they would not sell their share of INA to MOL, and then, after Prime Minister and HDZ president Sanader called them, they suddenly changed their minds. The same will happen this time as well, after HDZ tells them that something else is in the interest of the state”, said Matić.
In addition to war veterans, current and former employees of HEP have also expressed demand that they should be able to buy company’s shares at a privilege price.