PM says accepts economy minister's resignation

Photo /Vijesti/2018/05 svibanj/14 svibnja/DSC_3274.jpg

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday that Deputy PM and Economy Minister Martina Dalic had decided to resign and that he accepted the resignation.

"After talks yesterday and today, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Martina Dalic and I decided that she should tender her resignation today, which I accepted," Plenkovic said at an extraordinary press conference.

He said Dalic had made a big contribution over the past 18 months, not just in the economy, the drawing up of the national reform programme and the euro introduction strategy, but also in dealing with the crisis in and the restructuring of the Agrokor conglomerate.

He recalled the context when the Agrokor crisis broke out 16 months ago, starting with a rating downgrade. "Then, as the government, we received information on the extent of the crisis and the problems in Croatia's biggest company," he said, adding that the government had been consistent in maintaining that the responsibility for the situation in Agrokor and for finding new funds lay first and foremost with the owner and the management.

"We didn't allow even one of our moves or statements to contribute to the creation of an atmosphere of crisis, panic, chaos and, consequently, possibly wider problems for Croatia's economic and financial system," said Plenkovic.

At the time, together with the Bridge party, which was fully informed of everything, we hired experts outside the state administration to prepare the avoidance "of the most unpleasant scenario, a string of bankruptcies, not just of Agrokor and the companies within its system, but many other related companies," he said.

In such circumstances, Dalic consulted "people who could help in a short time," people who could not be found in the state administration, said Plenkovic. "It was an emergency, it demanded emergency action, speed, and even work methodology," he said, adding that it was then that the law on emergency administration in systemic companies, dubbed Lex Agrokor, was drawn up.

"The law was drawn up in a matter of weeks and adopted at literally the last minute," he said, recalling that the accounts of Agrokor's companies were blocked, suppliers stopped stocking them, and 56,000 employees risked losing their jobs. He recalled that Lex Agrokor would not have been activated without the request of Agrokor founder Ivica Todoric and the then management.

"It would have been easier for everyone had the then management managed to secure a new loan and new liquidity so that the company could continue to operate but, unfortunately, it didn't happen," Plenkovic said.

He added that the subsequent hiring of international consultants, who chose their subcontractors, some of whom had been consulted when the law was being drawn up, "from our point view, that was the responsibility of the foreign consultants who chose their own partners."

"Today we can say that the fundamental goals of our engagement have been achieved, notably in terms of the leading role played by the deputy prime minister and all the experts in the state administration and those consulted outside the state administration," Plenkovic said.

"I'm sorry there was not a little more time in that process, a little more gradualness, a little more transparency so that we could have avoided these, when you look at the whole, really small shadows which are now leaving a stain on the otherwise extremely successful process of preventing the Agrokor crisis from spilling over onto other businesses and our financial system," he added.

He thanked Dalic for the cooperation and said he was sorry she was leaving the government because, with her knowledge and energy, she had made a very big contribution.

Text: Hina