Prime Minister holds a press conference.
Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković held a press conference and spoke about the decision of the European Commission not to institute corrective measures for Croatia and the conclusions of the European Council about the migrant crisis, reports Jutarnji List on March 9, 2016.
Orešković described everything that the government undertook in the past two weeks in order for Croatia to avoid corrective measures by the European Commission (EC), due to excessive macroeconomic imbalances. He said that yesterday’s EC decision was a very positive message.
“We have submitted a reform program to the European Commission. Croatia is the only country which was threatened with corrective measures, which would be a disaster. It would be a disaster primarily for investors because Croatia has still not started the implementation of reforms”, explained Orešković, adding that it would not be good for the citizens as well, since the Commission would be very actively involved in the reforms which he believes Croatia can implement by itself. “A few days ago I sent a letter to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker that this government was ready to implement reforms, and that there was no reason for the EC to initiate corrective measures”, added Orešković.
“Yesterday, the European Commission confirmed our plan and budget, so I think we have received a very positive message. I would like to thank all the ministers, especially Finance Minister Marić, because we have received support from the European Commission. Angela Merkel has also supported our plan. In two weeks, a lot has changed and everything turned out positive for Croatia”, said Orešković.
Responding to a reporter’s question about the details of reforms, Orešković emphasized reforms related to the healthcare system and ways to reduce the growing debt in the sector, specifically mentioning consolidation, administrative processes and public procurement. “Today, I will meet with the finance minister and then you will get more details. The first is that we will reduce the debt. The budget will not be increased, the deficit will be below 3 percent of GDP. There is also the healthcare system, the debts are rising and we have to bring them down. We will not touch salaries and pensions. But, if someone is going to retire early, they will see a difference”, commented Orešković.
“I have asked each minister for proposals to be presented at a session of the government. In two or three months, I will ask for new proposals to increase efficiency. Every day, ministers will get to know their ministries better and discover better opportunities”, said Orešković.
Talking about the migrant crisis, the prime minister thanked Interior Minister Vlaho Orepić, who was also present at the press conference. “Comments from our neighbours are extremely positive. We have cooperated without any tensions and today the situation is very positive for Croatia and our neighbours.” At the EU summit on Monday, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria advocated for the closure of the Balkan migrant route and the result is that today not a single migrant entered Croatia, said Orešković.
“So far, we have worked well with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar. We will see what will happen on the ground and then we will react. It is clear that we need to provide assistance to Macedonia and Greece”, said Orešković when asked about the possibility of increase in human trafficking in Croatia.
Interior Minister Orepić added: “He have instituted a normal border regime, but there will probably be exceptions. There are agreements how to resolve these situations. There are 408 people still in Slavonski Brod who will be returned to Greece”, said Orepić.
The prime minister also talked about the issue of the new veterans minister: “I was looking for several candidates, as you know, but that does not mean that I will met with everyone. Yesterday I had a meeting with Milijan Brkić. The conversation was open and constructive, and today I am going to meet with several candidates”, said Orešković.
He also commented on his relations with First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko. “Deputy Prime Minister Karamarko and I have good relations. He has his own opinion and everyone is entitled to their own views. I will make the decisions after I investigate everything. There is a question of time, for example, when I am in Brussels I do not have time, but we will solve it all”, concluded Orešković, referring to the issues of dismissal of Security Intelligence Agency director Dragan Lozančić and appointment of the new veterans affairs minister.