Deputy PM Božo Petrov Talks About First Moves of New Croatian Government

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MOST leader on Tim, HDZ and the next steps. 

Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and MOST leader Božo Petrov gave an interview to on January 24, 2016 about the first moves of the new government, about negotiations with HDZ and PM Orešković, and other issues.

What are the first steps that the government will take?

The first thing we will do is to start the process of connecting all public bodies by increasing the scope of “e-government” project, so that all local and regional authorities as well as public authorities at the national level are connected. The goal is to increase transparency and efficiency. We will form an expert team which will analyze the work of public bodies in order to prepare everything for streamlining and possible restructuring of the public administration system.

Which reform is the most important for you personally?

I cannot single out any particular reform as the most important because they are all very important. A single reform does not mean anything and everything must be done together. If just one reform is implemented and others are not, there will not be any major progress.

Have you abandoned the idea of reducing the number of counties?

We have not abandoned anything that we have demanded during the negotiations with both coalitions, but we did say that we would do an analysis and after that we will address this problem. So, if the analysis shows that the number of counties should be reduced then it will be reduced.

Who was more difficult to negotiate with, HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko or Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković?

It was not difficult to negotiate. We have negotiated with them about different things. The reforms that we are seeking to implement were acceptable to both parties but the question is what will happen once we start working on them.

During the negotiations, there were rumours that MOST members Ivan Lovrinović and Jure Martinović will be ministers. However, in the end they were not selected?

We wanted to have people in government who have some knowledge and experience in the sectors they were nominated for. But, the story does not end just with ministers.

Are you worried about two of them possibly leaving the party together with Ivica Mišić and would that weaken the position of MOST in the government?

Regardless of the fact that Lovrinović did not support the government, which he is entitled as Member of Parliament to do, because MOST MPs do not have to vote for things they do not agree with, we expect he will continue to be a part of MOST parliamentary caucus. The same goes for Mišić and Martinović.

Now when you know everything that has been said during the parliamentary debate about Veteran Affairs Minister Mijo Crnoja and Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović, do you think MOST should had vetoed their nomination to be in the government?

I would first like to see in what context they said what they said, and then I would think about it. To my knowledge, Hasanbegović said some of these things not as statements but as questions. I do not know whether it is right to review some of the things from history, but then on the other hand deny that Croatia has gained its true independence in the Homeland War. My position is that I condemn all totalitarian regimes. For me personally, the problem is not anti-fascist movement but what came after that, a form of regime which existed and I do make a difference here. Croatia has been creating its history since the Illyrians, but we must be clear what happened when. As for the registry of traitors mentioned by Crnoja, I do not know in what context he said it, but if someone were to seriously think about it even for a moment, MOST would never allow it.


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