The head of the Bridge party's negotiating team for agriculture, energy and environmental protection, Ruzica Vukovac, said that Friday's negotiations with the Social Democratic Party-led (SDP) coalition had been very constructive, with which SDP negotiator Branko Grcic agreed.

Bridge believes the situation in agriculture is serious and wants the establishment of a bank that would back and lend to agricultural producers as well as a redefining of the farmland allocation system, Vukovac told reporters. She added that today's talks were "the first step towards a consensus and the finding of concrete solutions. We also talked a lot about ecology and our resources and big potential in energy, which is insufficiently used."

Asked how much today's negotiations would impact Bridge's decision whether to support the SDP-led coalition to form the new government, Vukovac said she was very pleased for now and that she would present her impressions to Bridge's National Council on Sunday.

Grcic said the two sides agreed that it was necessary to support family farms through financing, solvency, state aid, and a balanced allocation of farmland.

As for Bridge's demand for the establishment of an agricultural bank, Grcic said the SDP mentioned that the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development already had programmes for agriculture. "We also talked about the possibility of new programmes in some commercial banks in which the state is the majority owner," he said, adding that it was imperative to ensure cheap financing.

As for energy, Grcic said Bridge preferred domestic sources and reversible production and hydro-electric power plants. He said the two sides agreed that water utilities should not be privatised or leased in the long-term but restructured.

Grcic said the two sides were agreed on many issues but that some needed more discussion, such as Bridge's view that the current landfill maintenance and waste processing were outdated. He said the construction of the Plomin C thermal power plant, to which Bridge objects, was not discussed.

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