A Week in Croatian Politics – Croatia Supports Albanian EU Path

Lauren Simmonds

croatian politics
Davor Puklavec/PIXSELL

October the 6th, 2023 – This week in Croatian politics, Croatian support for Albanian EU plans has been highlighted. Plenkovic has talked revenues and come for all those in Croatian politics criticising what his government has achieved. Fighter jets and helicopters have also been high on the agenda…

Plenkovic claims that Croatia will enjoy more revenue in the future than it did in 2019

As part of Vecernji list’s recently held Hrvatsku kakvu trebamo/The Croatia We Need conference, Prime Minister Plenkovic openly stated that he doesn’t expect that a possible decline in exports and industrial production. He added that such an event occurring in the future won’t lead to Croatian economic downturn.

“Croatian economic growth this year will be between 2.6 and 3 percent. Everyone is currently revising their growth estimates to the upside. Last autumn, the government estimated growth of 0.7%. We’ve already revised it twice ourselves and we intend to revise it again in a week or so, and I expect that there will be more or less a convergence of those estimates. The tourism data also shows us that we’re going to be better off than we were last year in terms of revenue. We’ll also see higher figures than those we earned back in 2019. Otherwise, domestic growth projections for 2024 and 2025 currently stand between 2.5 and 3 percent,” concluded the Prime Minister.

You can read more about the topics discussed at the aforementioned conference, which included women in leadership positions and Podravka’s successes as explained by Martina Dalic, by clicking here.

An air ambulance (helicopter) service will finally be established, according to Health Minister Vili Beros

“We’re now within reach of the establishment of an Emergency Helicopter Medical Service”, Minister of Health Vili Beros proudly asserted recently after landing in one of the four helicopters purchased for the long awaited fulfilment of what is by now very old promise. It seems that, finally, the Health Ministry is about to establish the services of helicopter ambulance in the Republic of Croatia.

“These helicopters are specially designed for the Emergency Medical Service; they aren’t classic helicopters adapted to this service, it’s actually other way around. It wasn’t engineers but medical experts who designed these craft. This is the only helicopter that allows the doctor to sit at the head of the patient and intubate them. We thought about all the details, including the difference between urban and rural and the coastal areas of the country, that is, the islands”, explained Health Minister Vili Beros.

You can read more about the Health Ministry’s decision by clicking here.

Croatia’s new fighter jets were handed over this week at the French Air Force base

Marko Prpic/PIXSELL

The handover ceremony of the first Rafale multipurpose, the new Croatian fighter jets, was held at the French Air Force base on Monday. Retired pilot Ivan Selak commented on the purchase, pointing out potential issues.

“I’m not euphoric about this at all and I don’t think that this is something new for the history books. It’s not a historical decision to receive or hand over a plane. So, let’s start thinking about all of this in a much more serious way,” Selak stated for N1/writes Index.

He spoke about the logistical and technical segments: “The procurement process was first of all a miss, and then it ended up being delayed. Acquiring a fighter plane isn’t an easy process. I partially participated in the first commission, when the F-16 procurement was to be realised. To be honest, I was only on the first committee, and I expressed a negative opinion, after which I was never invited back.

To be affirmative, the government has made a good decision, this is a fantastic plane, all fighter jets of the fourth or fourth plus generation are absolutely superb. The only thing is, with this kind of investment, we must stay aware of the possibilities and quality. The problem we’re going to have is that we’re not going to use it enough to make it profitable.

You can read more here.

President Zoran Milanovic makes his desire for Albanian EU membership clear

Albania is still awaiting a decision on its hopeful European Union path, and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic has made his opinion clear – Albania should absolutely join the bloc.

He event went as far as to tell Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama that he will continue to push for Albanian EU membership to happen ”as quickly as possible” during Rama’s recent visit to Pantovcak following a meeting with PM Andrej Plenkovic. Milanovic that Croatia and Albania enjoy excellent, friendly relations and that the country has unwavering support for Albanian efforts to enter the EU. He said he will continue to stand by Tirana’s side in its quest.

The official visit of the Albanian PM to Croatia saw the heads of the two nearby countries discuss the importance of continued peace in this region of Europe, with Rama citing Croatia as an inspiration to Albania and an example of success. They also condemned Serbian actions in Kosovo and said that such ”terrorism” cannot go without punishment.

Plenkovic talks reform success and adds that he’ll attack all those in Croatian politics who claim they’d be able to do what his government has

Slavko Midzor/PIXSELL

As Index vijesti/news writes, Andrej Plenkovic reiterated at a recently held HDZ press conference that the goal of the announced tax reforms is tax relief for the most vulnerable in Croatian society, as well as an increase in peoples’ net salaries.

“The idea is to relieve the most vulnerable among us, those who have the lowest salaries, and in this way to increase the net salaries taken home each month by everyone,” Plenkovic said after the session of the wider HDZ Presidency. Once the package for this reform is completed, the first reading in the parliament will take place before the summer recess, and the second reading in the autumn. This way, if it’s accepted, it will be able to enter into force on January the 1st, 2024, he announced.

He added that the government relieved both the general public and the economy in several rounds of tax reforms by more than 11 billion kuna (pre euro accession). He then added that the revenues of counties, cities and municipalities had all increased by 11 billion kuna since 2017.

He then openly attacked HDZ’s opposition in Croatian politics, emphasising the drop in the inflation rate, the reduction of the share of public debt in GDP, the upward revision of growth projections for this year, the surplus in the budget for 2022, the maintenance of the investment credit rating, the increase in average salaries to 1,100 euros net.

He then moved on to addressing the criticism he’s received from the opposition that this was nothing but a transparent HDZ pre-election move.

“You’ve actually got two Croatias. There’s the one that didn’t make any contribution, and the government. You have the opposition that will insist on not doing much else other than sitting back and insulting HDZ, they’ll call us traitors and all the rest of it, throwing around these weird theories. This is an insult to us and we intend respond to everyone, including quasi-analysts. We’d like to remind you that it’s because of this government that Peljesac Bridge was finally built, it was this government that made sure the works on the Učka tunnel were done… So, in short, nothing was done by the opposition, but by our government, and all of these are our projects. We did all this, not them,” Plenkovic said of the negative remarks HDZ continues to receive from others in Croatian politics.

He then declared that he would “attack those in Croatian politics who claim that everything HDZ has managed to achieve could have been achieved by any government”.


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