Casual TweetUp With Milanovic and Lalovac Covers not so Casual Questions

Total Croatia News

Questions ranged from Swiss Francs, public debt, regionalisation to legalisation of marijuana

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Minister of Finance Boris Lalovac participated in a TweetUp on Monday, October 27, 2015. Even though they were both casually dressed and comfortably seated in their lounge chairs, they were answering very serious questions regarding the Croatian economy and current affairs.

Regarding regionalisation of Croatia, Milanovic stated that he is not in favour of creating 5 regions, instead the current system should be amended, tweaked a bit in order to make it more efficient but he is definitely for decentralisation. The end goal should be to make municipalities stronger: ” Croatia should not be a centralised country like it is now, however, in order to change to 5 regions as some parties are suggesting, we would have to answer a lot of questions. Counties should act more rationally and more power and authority should be transferred to municipalities and cities. Our current system is somewhere in the middle now, so if it isn’t broke, why fix it?”

One of the first questions was related to the unwillingness of the opposition leader Karamarko to take part in a public debate with Milanović. The prime minister commented: „That was my initiative, it is the foundation of democratic culture, but Karamarko doesn’t seem to think it’s a good idea, finally, there’s someone in Croatian politics even more arrogant than I am“.

Minister Lalovac could not escape the question regarding Swiss Francs, since he also has a bank loan in this particular currency: „Yes, I do have a loan in Swiss Francs and my monthly payment quickly rose from 3600 to 6000 kuna.

When asked what will happen with his solution to the Swiss Franc problem  if the banks do not honour the agreement, Lalovac said that the banks have stopped communicating with the Ministry completely in the last 10 days:“ They have to honour the agreement and start communicating by November 15th, if they don’t they can expect penalties after the stated date. We have the prepared tools and legislation in our drawer. For them, the new tax is more damaging than the conversion in the long run“.

Minister Lalovac answered questions regarding public debt and frozen accounts of citizens stating that there is still a lot to be done in this area:“ Our public debt has risen. For instance, we have two hotels that were not privatised, each one of them with a debt of 250 million kuna, which was transferred to the State instead of privatising the hotel. We had over a billion kuna in debt just in hotels, which were not privatised, so instead of creating value they were creating huge public debt. Now all public companies should be heavily controlled. As for the debt of citizens, we tried to resolve that problem. We tried to see how it is possible for someone who was 300 kuna in debt to suddenly find themselves owing 2000 kuna. Our public notary fees are irrational, and we are working on changing them“.

Prime Minister added his two cents about state owned hotels „ We’ve privatised most of them because they were creating enormous public debt. Hundreds of millions of Euro were invested, they’re now employing people, wages are being paid and a lot has been done in that department. Just look at Kupare. They’ve been deteriorating for decades and now it looks like they will become a new Ritz Carlton hotel“.

Milanovic also answered questions regarding Pelješac bridge:“That is a done deal, it will be built, but unlike our political opponents we will not have five fake construction site opening ceremonies. Yes, I originally wanted a corridor 10km above Neum, but that is not happening so we will go ahead with the bridge, rest assured, that is a done deal“.

Complete legalisation of Marijuana was also one of the questions, whether we will ever consider it, and the Prime Minister answered: I don’t think we’re ready for that particular move yet. As a father of two sons, I can’t tell you what I really think. Whether we should look up to Washington DC, Colorado and some other places where it has been legalised, I think we should wait, but that’s not my definite answer“.


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