HNB Governor Sure There Is No Reason for His Dismissal

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Croatian National Bank Governor Boris Vujčić talks about pressures on him and other issues.

Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić gave an interview to NOVA TV in which he talked about the possible audit of the HNB, pressures the Bank is under and other issues, reports on March 29, 2016.

There have been discussions about HNB for weeks now. Do you experience it as an attack on the central bank’s political independence?

I do not want to believe that this is the attack on the independence of the Croatian National Bank since it has been independent for the last 15 years. The law was changed in 2001. I think this is one thing in Croatia that should not be called into question.

HNB was even a topic in coalition negotiations. Do you know of any other European country in which coalition partners tried to agree who will take over the central bank?

I have never heard of it. I cannot comment on what was going on during the coalition negotiations since I have only information which was published in the media.

Latest information suggests that the State Audit Office will enter the HNB. Is this an attempt to find a reason to dismiss you?

Currently, we have an external audit of the HNB which is always checked by Parliament which receives all audit reports. Parliament may already seek additional audit. In addition, we also have a special Audit Committee which checks the audit. The audit should primarily serve to show to the public that all legal requirements have been fulfilled and that we work efficiently and economically. There are statistics that are very easy to check. Only three central banks in the European Union have a higher profit as a percentage of GDP than HNB.

Are you saying that you are sure that they cannot find anything to get you dismissed?

Of course.

Do you think they will give up on their plans to take over the Croatian National Bank?

I would not imply that their intention is to dismiss the governor. Although I must say that it was strange to hear that, when the audit comes to the HNB, there would be some bad results for the Croatian National Bank. It sounds like the audit report has already been written.

Do you think that the Prime Minister at the moment has the power and stability to prevent any kind of coalition attack on the independence of the central bank?

The Croatian National Bank is independent, according to existing laws. It acts independently and will continue to act independently. It is in the interest of Croatia to have an independent central bank, which will not be subject to any political influence. Any changes to the Law on the Croatian National Bank must first be sent for an opinion to the European Central Bank.

The European Commission is also checking the law which forced banks to convert loans in Swiss franc into euro. Would it be good for the state and the banks to sit down together and try to find a compromise?

At the moment, we have three open “fronts”. The Croatian National Bank is not part of any of these processes, so I cannot give the opinion on behalf of the government. So, one thing is a complaint to the Constitutional Court, the other thing is the arbitration proceedings in Washington for the protection of investments, and the third thing is the assessment of the European Commission on whether the law violates the rules of the European Union. The government and banks should always talk and discuss issues.

How long can these disputes last?

The disputes can last for years. All three “fronts” have different characteristics and possible outcomes and consequences.


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