Croatian Parliament Debates 2019 Budget

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ZAGREB, November 27, 2018 – The parliamentary opposition on Tuesday strongly criticised the 2019 budget, saying it was neither developmental nor socially sensitive and telling Prime Minister Andrej Plenković that no one believed him, to which he responded by saying they were spreading demagoguery and manipulating.

“You are saying something no one believes. As if Croatia was a land of milk and honey. Why did 100,000 of our fellow citizens leave Croatia last year if it’s so nice here with Plenković,” said Gordan Maras of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Plenković said the SDP was “free to stick to demagoguery” and recalled that his HDZ party had almost double the support in opinion polls than the SDP. He added that when the SDP was in power, the government did not pay either holiday cash grants or Christmas bonuses and that the deficit was 17 billion kuna.

“You are criticising this government for not working on what everybody has seen, yet what you don’t see because your policy is to be demagogues and to manipulate information,” he told SDP MPs.

Nikola Grmoja of MOST complained about the deterioration of the business climate in Croatia, which Plenković dismissed, saying profit tax was cut and that the tax relief was slashed by 6.5 billion kuna and the administrative relief by 2.5 billion kuna.

Ivan Sinčić of the Živi Zid said a 2.9% growth was not enough to even pay loan interest. He said that over the past 27 years Croatia’s growth was 6.5% as against Slovenia’s 48%, Poland’s 124% and Slovakia’s 108%. “Where is the 5% growth from your programme?”

Plenković said a 2.9% growth, plus a public debt decrease, was much sounder than a 5% growth plus borrowing.

Anka Mrak Taritaš of GLAS said the 2019 budget was neither socially sensitive nor developmental and asked why expenditures were rising. “The real budget growth amounts to 2.8 billion kuna, all else are EU funds. We are talking about pension indexation, pay correction, population measures, education, capital investments and guarantees to Uljanik shipyard,” said Plenković.

Željko Jovanović (SDP) commended the higher outlays for healthcare but doubted that the money would be managed rationally.

Ivan Lovrinović of Let’s Change Croatia called Plenković a representative of the neoliberal doctrine because he filled banks’ pockets even more, while taking even more from those living off their work.

Presenting the 2019 draft budget, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said revenues totalled 136.1 billion kuna, including 51.8 billion kuna from VAT. Expenditures are planned at 140.3 billion kuna, 6.9 billion more than in this year’s budget. In said increase, 2.8 billion kuna refers to financing from general sources, while the remaining 4.1 billion kuna refers to European funds, he said.

For more on Croatia’s 2019 budget, click here.


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