Croatian government adopts EU presidency action plan

Photo /Vijesti/2019/04 Travanj/04 travnja/DSC_5958.jpg

Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejcinovic Buric on Monday unveiled a government action plan for the Croatian presidency of the European Union which determines the content of the presidency, logistics, human resources and a schedule of important meetings.

"This is the biggest task state administration has ever had and therefore it requires a special approach and the activation of everyone, both in state administration and outside of it, such as professionals, representatives of civil society, the Croatian parliament and many others," Pejcinovic Buric said at a cabinet meeting.

Croatia takes over the six-month rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2020, and Pejcinovic Buric said that the action plan was also a guide to the public on the significance and functions of the presidency.

"This is a good way to keep track of everything that is done. We have drawn from the experience of others. This is a major task for both large and small member states, those that do it for the first time and those that held the presidency before. It is important that we prepare the presidency well, and this is a good opportunity for Croatia to show that it is ready to implement all activities as a member state," the foreign minister said.

The National and University Library building will serve as the headquarters of the Croatian EU presidency where most formal activities and meetings will take place.

About 30 high-level events will take place in Croatia during its EU presidency, a summit of heads of state and government, 20 informal councils of ministers and conferences, and four major events that will be organised by the Croatian parliament. 

Most of the activities will take place in Zagreb, but some will be organised outside the capital to promote other parts of the country, Pejcinovic Buric said.

Gov't to allocate EUR 3.5 mn for projects important for Bosnia-Herzegovina Croats

Projects and programmes that are considered important for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be financially supported by the Croatian government, which has decided to set aside HRK 25.8 million for that purpose in 2019, or 1.8 million more than in 2018.

"Caring for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a constituent and equal people, and our responsible policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a neighbouring, friendly and sovereign country, are evident through our support to programmes and projects that are important for the Croat people," Zvonko Milas, head of the State Office for Croats Abroad, said at a government meeting in Zagreb on Monday.

This year, the Croatian government is setting aside HRK 25.8 million to help the Croats ion Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a 7.5% rise compared to 2018.

The government has set up a task force to coordinate and finance cultural, educational, scientific and healthcare programmes designed to help the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that the projects of that kind facilitated efforts aimed at protecting the identity of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina as an equal and constituent people.

The government sent to the parliament a bill redefining the role and importance of the Police Academy.

HEP granted permission to extend time for guarantees to subsidiaries

The Croatian government on Monday granted permission to the national electricity provider HEP to extend the time frame for issuing HRK 600 million (EUR 81 million) in guarantees to its subsidiaries.

The main purpose of the guarantees is to provide a substitute for all forms of bank guarantees for clients and suppliers of HEP's subsidiaries.

The time frame approved will apply until 31 December 2021, and individual guarantees may be valid by 31 December 2025 at the latest. Individual guarantees will be approved by the HEP management, and HEP undertook to repay its commitments without encumbering the government budget.

Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Coric said that HEP had so far issued HRK 119.03 million (EUR 16 million) in guarantees and that the purpose of today's decision was to make it possible for HEP to issue guarantees to its subsidiaries over the next three years.

The guarantees concern the existing obligations of the HEP Group's subsidiaries arising from contracts with business partners and are not an increase in the HEP Group's debt, Coric said.

Submitting a report on the execution of contracts on hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation by 31 December 2018, Coric said that all five contracts signed in June 2016 were being duly executed.

Text: Hina