- Published: 18.03.2020.
PM calls for solidarity, national unity
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Wednesday presented a package of measures in parliament worth over HRK 30 billion to help the economy and called for the nation's solidarity and unity during the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is a circumstance which calls for responsibility and solidarity, a circumstance in which it is time for the nation's unity," he said. We can only win the war against coronavirus if we are united, he added.
If we are not united, we'll have bigger problems
If we are not united, we'll have bigger problems and greater damage, the prime minister said.
He expects economic entities and employers to understand the moment the country is in and to recognise job preservation as a common objective.
"Only if we are all solidary as a society will we overcome this crisis better. It's important that we share the burden equally and with solidarity," Plenkovic said, thanking MPs for agreeing to a fast track debate and vote on the government's aid package for the economy consisting of 63 measures in 19 bills.
Aid package worth over HRK 30 billion
Presenting the measures from the aid package, the prime minister said that in the "big fight for health," the fight for each job must not be forgotten.
Measures for a three-month deferral of tax payments worth HRK 12 billion, HRK 5 billion to employers who do not lay off workers for the payment of net salaries, the deferral of loan payments to banks and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction ad Development totals HRK 17 billion, and sector measures total HRK 1 billion.
At this moment we don't know how much will be needed for new loans, Plenkovic said, calling on parliamentary parties to reach the highest consensus possible. He pledged that the government will continue to act transparently and brief parliament and the public about developments.
This package of measures may be the most complete one in any EU member state, he said.
Croatia plans to continue throughout the crisis, with full responsibility and protection of national interests, its role as chair of the Council of the EU and as a country which has responded to the crisis much better and faster, Plenkovic said.
Croatia dealing well with coronavirus
The prime minister said he was satisfied with how Croatia was dealing with the coronavirus epidemic. "Croatia has recognised this threat in time and met it prepared."
The situation is under control, with a moderate number of those infected, 81 as of this morning, he said, adding that in order to keep the situation in check as much as possible, more drastic measures had to be imposed.
At the recommendation of epidemiologists and the national civil protection authority, we have prepared measures to restrict gatherings and social contacts as much as possible, the prime minister said.
He informed MPs that the European Council met on Tuesday and discussed measures against the coronavirus pandemic. There is European solidarity, notably with those who have suffered great losses, he said, adding that he also talked with budget commissioner Johannes Hahn.
The Commission has allowed Croatia to utilise €174 million for faster contracting of projects co-funded by the EU, Plenkovic said.
Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said liquidity and jobs came first at the moment.
It's important that these measures have an impact as soon as possible and additional ones will certainly be needed, he said. "We are aware of the high pace of the crisis and all the implications for the economy."
In creating the measures to help the economy, the government cooperated with the central bank, so there is monetary and fiscal policy synergy as well as cooperation with the social partners.