Bridge, HDZ, SDP happy with talks

Representatives of the Bridge party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) said after Friday's meeting that they were satisfied with the topics negotiated on reforms that need to be carried out, and that the "reformist" talks were expected to continue over the weekend.

Branko Grcic of the SDP told reporters he was optimistic and that they discussed "issues that remained disputed in earlier talks," such as the fiscal and monetary policies, environmental protection and agriculture. "Everything we did today we fully agreed on, with the HDZ too."

Asked if a tripartite government was acceptable to him, Grcic said it was.

Asked about the SDP's candidate for the prime minister-designate, which the three parties are to discuss at a meeting tonight, Grcic said the SDP-led Croatia Is Growing coalition was proposing Bridge leader Bozo Petrov but that "there will probably be alternative proposals" if Petrov was not nominated.

Ivana Maletic of the HDZ said the meeting was a continuation of previous "programme meetings... We are very pleased with this part of the agreement on programmes."

Asked about the option of a tripartite government, she said that would depend on developments.

Asked if Petrov was acceptable to the HDZ as prime minister-designate, Maletic said this was a question "for some other levels." "We met here (to discuss) programmes, reforms, development programmes for Croatia... We talked about public administration, units of local and regional self-government. Agriculture is the number one issue. We all agreed that it is the most important branch that we must continue investing in," she said, adding that the talks also addressed environmental protection.

"We talked about many things and we will probably agree on some. Whether we will agree on all of them, we'll see," said Zeljko Reiner of the HDZ.

Asked if they would all form the next government together, he said, "We will talk as we have done until now."

Bridge MP Ines Strenja Linic said "a whole new story" had begun and that "all three sides sat down with the reforms we talked about during the negotiations." She said she was very pleased with today's discussion and "we practically agreed on the disputes too. We met somewhere in the middle."

She said 2016 would be a very tough year when everyone would have to put their heads together to find solutions. "There are solutions... because we see that both sides are willing to put some ideologies aside and for the first time set goals together in order to pull Croatia out of the crisis."

She said that at the end of the talks everyone agreed on everything, and that reporters would get a "complete draft of our reforms in a dozen points after we discuss a few more sectors tomorrow."

Asked about regional reorganisation and if counties would still be called counties, Strenja Linic said they agreed that a uniform strategy and analysis of the state of affairs was necessary before deciding whether the current number of counties was optimal, whether there should be less, whether there should be regions and how many. "We will agree on that together."

Last update: Fri, 18/12/2015 - 20:07

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