Croatia at EU Top by Number of Government Ministries

Total Croatia News

The current government has 20 ministries.

The government of Andrej Plenković could mark the second anniversary of its term in office in October this year by reducing the number of ministries, according to sources from the government and parliament, reports Jutarnji List on March 30, 2018.

Although a specific proposal does not yet exist, and this issue is not in focus at this time, the idea is being seriously considered. The prime minister himself seems ready to start discussing the issue after the summer break, in order to cut the number of ministries by the end of this year.

The rumours were confirmed on Wednesday by Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević, who said that “Croatia could manage its resources more rationally, including with regards to the number of ministries.” “The Administration Ministry is in the process of negotiating two important public administration projects, and this will help us analyse all public authorities, local and regional, as well as those at the state level. After that’s over, it will be possible to discuss reorganisation,” said Kuščević.

Another source said that it was just a question of when the changes will happen. “The prime minister thinks it would be a good idea, possibly to reorganise the government on the second anniversary of its term,” said the source.

In October 2016, during negotiations about the ruling coalition, Plenković said that the government could have 18 ministries or two less than the previous cabinet. But, the number was initially increased to 19 ministries, which was then further increased to 20, after the new Ministry of State Property was “invented” for Minister Goran Marić, who refused to be a minister without portfolio. In that way, despite all the talk about a decrease in the number of ministries, the current government remained at 20 ministries.

The rumours are that between two and four ministries could now be merged with others. Social policy and health might be joined in one department, as they once were. Also, the Ministry Tourism might be abolished and turned into a directorate within the Economy Ministry. After the energy portfolio was transferred to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Small Crafts has lost much of its power. “Perhaps we should put tourism industry within the Economy Ministry? And why do we have the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning? Or the Ministry of Administration? Is the Ministry of State Property really needed?” asked a source.

The Ministry of Construction could be merged with the Economy Ministry, and also with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, although green associations would probably protest. Some say there is no need for a separate Administration Ministry, which was once part of the Ministry of Justice, so they could be merged again.

“The optimum number of ministries would be somewhere around 15, but it is hard to expect a drastic decrease in their number this year. Still, without major drama, the prime minister could merge at least two or three ministries. The half-point of the term is ideal for some form of government reconstruction, and with this, we would send a message that we want a more rational government,” said a source.

With 20 ministries, the Croatian government is the largest in the European Union. For example, Germany, with 81 million inhabitants and one of largest economies in the world, has just 14 ministries.

Austria, with 8.5 million inhabitants, has a federal chancellor, a deputy chancellor, two state secretaries and 12 ministries. Belgium has a federal government with 13 departments and four state secretaries. Bulgaria, with 7.2 million inhabitants, has one ministry less, and the Czech Republic, with more than 10.5 million inhabitants, has 16 ministries.

Romania, with almost 20 million inhabitants, has 16 ministries, Cyprus has 11 departments, and Denmark, with 5.6 million inhabitants, has 17 ministries. Estonia has 14 departments, Finland 13, and France, a country with 66 million inhabitants, has 17 ministers and three state secretaries. Greece has 16 ministers, just like Ireland, which is very similar to Croatia in terms of population.

Italy, with 60.8 million inhabitants, has 13 ministries, one minister without portfolio in charge of constitutional changes and relations with the parliament, and five state secretaries. Latvia has 13 ministries, while another small Baltic country, Lithuania, with less than three million inhabitants, has 14 departments. Malta has 15 ministries. while Hungary, with almost 10 million inhabitants, has the smallest number of departments in the EU – just eight.

The Netherlands, with nearly 17 million inhabitants, has 13 ministries and seven state secretaries, and one of the larger EU countries, Poland, with 38 million inhabitants, has 17 ministries and four state secretaries.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Goran Penić).


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