PM Andrej Plenkovic: Budget Can Handle Crisis, No Need for Panic

Lauren Simmonds

As Hina/Novac writes on the 9th of September, 2020, the Croatian state budget can withstand the crisis, there’s no need to panic, PM Andrej Plenkovic assured on Wednesday on the Croatian Radio show “A sada Vlada/And now the Government”, adding that he believes in a quick recovery of the Croatian economy.

When asked how much space there is in the budget and how much more it can endure in this crisis, PM Andrej Plenkovic said that it can endure it all and that there shouldn’t be any panic. He added that those in the public space and the media space should stop creating panic.

“Recently we had a discussion at a meeting of exporters. Not only my message, but also the message of ministers and governors (CNB, op.cit.) Is: ”Let’s not create something that doesn’t exist”. We’ve had the biggest economic crisis in the last hundred years and we solved it so that we have practically the same level of employment, ie unemployment is as it was before the crisis, and the tourist season managed to happen in the best possible way,” said the Prime Minister.

He added that the fall in Croatia’s GDP is likely to be smaller than the first projections during the spring, and he expects its growth next year. According to him, the government “fought well” for 22 billion euros from European Union funds from the new seven-year budget.

“We’ve dealt with all the preconditions. We’re continuing to help vulnerable activities with 4,000 kuna, micro-enterprises with 2,000 kuna, and there is a measure for part-time work in the amount of 2,000 kuna per worker. That will cost us about 800 million kuna by the end of the year. The government has been making decisions on time, sending out a message of security and predictability to the private sector. For the budget, we’ve solved everything properly, gone to domestic and international financial markets, and we’ve contacted international financial institutions and secured what we’ve been lacking,” PM Andrej Plenkovic said.

According to him, Croatia is more resistant to the current crisis than it was to the one which occurred back in 2008 and 2009.

“Therefore, let’s not panic. We’re working very seriously and responsibly, and it is up to the businesses to do the best they can in this framework. We’ll ensure stability, and it is up to them to fight. Enterprises are fighting in other countries, and we were quicker with our national measures than some other larger EU members who were waiting for European solutions,” the prime minister stressed.

Commenting on the articles according to which Croatia is undercapacitated to withdraw EU money, he pointed out that it is easy to problematizs this when someone else fights for 22 billion euros.

He added that from the current financial perspective for 2014-2020, Croatia contracted 101 percent, and more than 40 percent of the available funds were paid out, and that money can be spent for another three years.

“The absorption capacity isn’t the same in 2013 and in 2020, now, the mechanisms are faster, people are more established, projects are better and things are going much more concretely,” assured Plenkovic.

He added that he is personally leading a group of ministers tasked with preparing Croatia’s recovery and resilience programme which is based on EU guidelines.

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