Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Thursday called for calm and consideration in statements and steps with regard to the indebted Agrokor retailer, reiterating that he would like the owner, the management, the creditors and the suppliers to find a solution to the company's sustainability.
The whole story should be made less dramatic, he told reporters in Valletta, recalling that the government was "drawing up a systematic law that will protect the interests of Croatia's economy and financial system, and all departments are making their final remarks so that the government can endorse the law tomorrow. After that, it will go to parliament."
Plenkovic said he expected a solution that would enable liquidity, restructuring and Agrokor's sustainability. "We would like the owner, the management, the creditors, the suppliers to find such a solution. Our interest is that everything that's happening with Agrokor doesn't have negative effects on the Croatian economy," he said, calling on everyone to be "considerate in their steps, in their statements because... financial markets are very sensitive."
Asked if, following claims by a representative of a Russian bank about wrongful book-keeping in Agrokor, he felt that Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, who worked in Agrokor before coming to the government, was somehow responsible, Plenkovic said he would rather not comment and that Maric was not in charge of Agrokor's financial statements, as he himself stated today.
Plenkovic said he wanted all the facts to be established slowly and thoroughly, adding that Maric was doing an excellent job.
Asked if the matter would turn into a political issue following the opposition's insisting that it be investigated by the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office and the USKOK anti-corruption office, he said the "opposition has its role" and that "this is a time for a high degree of political responsibility, for calm, not for scoring political points."
He said the opposition would have the chance to discuss the matter when parliament discussed the bill on systematically important companies.
Plenkovic was in Valletta attending a congress of the European People's Party. He met with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, saying they talked about Croatian-Hungarian relations and that they were "fully aware that, if we didn't have this whole INA-MOL situation, Croatian-Hungarian relations would be impeccable."
He reiterated that Croatia wanted to buy Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in Croatia's INA and that MOL remained intent on selling it. "This process will take a while and I think that, through quality, good neighbourly dialogue, we can help achieve that goal, and we are both working on that."