SDP and MOST against ECB’s Comments on Changes to Law on Croatian National Bank

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Former Finance Minister Lalovac wants a “very harsh” response to European Central Bank.

Former Finance Minister Boris Lalovac (SDP) criticized on Thursday in Parliament the opinion that the European Central Bank (ECB) gave on MOST’s proposed amendments to the Law on the Croatian National Bank (HNB), stressing that the opinion should receive a “very harsh” response, reports on November 3, 2016.

“I think that we should respond very harshly because this ECB’s opinion is an insult to Croatian Parliament”, said Lalovac during the parliamentary debate on the legislative amendments. The SDP’s MP said that those who wrote that opinion, and it was not “written abroad, but here”, had given a clear message to all members of Parliament, “you should not discuss this, you do not have the right to debate it”.

The European Central Bank said that, if Parliament were to have the right to vote on adoption of HNB’s annual reports and the semi-annual information on the financial situation, that could affect institutional independence of the Croatian National Bank, since it would go beyond the issue of transparency and accountability of the central bank to the national parliament.

The decision of Parliament whether to adopt the aforementioned acts seems to imply that Parliament could give direct or indirect instructions to HNB and its bodies responsible for decision-making and its members, for example, in terms of changes to the HNB annual report or in terms of challenging HNB assessments on price stability and implementation of monetary policy, said the ECB in its opinion.

Nikola Grmoja (MOST) agreed that Parliament should react to the ECB’s opinion. “This Parliament should stand up to some clerk from the European Central Bank you wrote this letter at the urging of HNB Governor Vujčić”, said Grmoja, adding that MPs should not allow “some official” to dictate what Parliament can do.

Ivan Lovrinović (Let’s Change Croatia) reiterated the need to restore the responsibility of the central bank in relation to Parliament, which appoints and dismisses the governor. “This is the highest body in the state and people must be held responsible here for their good and bad policies”, said the MP, adding that he did not want the Croatian National Bank to be “a state within a state”. Lovrinović insisted that Parliament must vote on reports on HNB operations, adding that similar process existed in other countries as well.


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