Government to Audit Croatian National Bank?

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Such an audit would allegedly be against EU rules.

For the last few days, there have been strong tensions in the relations between the prime minister, the governor of the Croatian National Bank (HNB), leaders of parties and MPs from MOST and HDZ regarding the issue whether to vote in Parliament about the report on the activities of the central bank. How serious the problem is has been demonstrated by yesterdays’ decision by MOST to leave Parliament and prevent voting on other issues, reports Jutarnji List on March 12, 2016.

Prime Minister Orešković has been put in a very awkward position, since his government has already accepted the HNB report. He has good working relations with Vujčić and is aware that voting whether to accept or reject the HNB report could represent a breach of contract with the European Union which guarantees independence to the HNB.

Furthermore, the latest events have raised the issue of whether 15 MPs from MOST are united, and who can actually control them: party president and Deputy Prime Minister Božo Petrov or economic strategist and Member of Parliament Ivan Lovrinović. Informed sources claim that MOST MPs will not accept party discipline and that their leaders will have to adapt to their prevailing mood from issue to issue. This, in turn, raises the question of sustainability of the ruling coalition and the government.

The HNB issue also reveals profound divisions within HDZ where some very loud and prominent members actually seem sympathetic to radical changes advocated by Lovrinović. Still, HDZ can somewhat better discipline its MPs.

It seems that HDZ and MOST yesterday reached a compromise to send the State Audit Office to the central bank. However, such a solution has opened new sensitive issues. First, the sending of state auditors to the HNB would also be a breach of contract with the EU. Second, it is clear that the State Audit Office is not qualified to control institutions such as the HNB.

Many are starting to question whether the new government can ever function well and how many more times can MOST leave Parliament together with the opposition MPs when some other important but controversial law will be put to a vote. Some are already trying to guess which is the next issue on which MOST could join forces with SDP.


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