Croatian Economy Minister Martina Dalic said on Monday the amendment of the law on the privatisation of the oil and gas company INA, recently requested by the European Commission, should be put in the context of the government's political decision to buy MOL's stake in INA.
Dalic was responding to questions from Croatian reporters in Brussels, where she attended a meeting of the Competitiveness Council on consumer protection in cross-border trade and public procurement.
Over two months ago, the Commission asked Croatia to amend the law on the privatisation of INA, which gives the state special powers in the company, including the right to veto decisions concerning the sale of shares. This, according to the Commission, is a violation of the free flow of capital and the freedom of establishment.
The request was sent in the form of a reasoned opinion, a second step in EU infringement proceedings. If Croatia fails to bring the INA law into line with EU law within two months, the Commission may refer it to the EU's Court of Justice.
In the meantime, the government decided to buy Hungarian energy company MOL's stake in INA, which Environmental Protection and Nature Minister Slaven Dobrovic discussed with European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete earlier this month.
Asked what would happen if the Commission took action against Croatia for breaching European regulations before the government bought MOL's stake, Dalic said she "would not speculate on other bodies' activities".
She said the important thing was that Croatia had a clear order of priorities, adding that Minister Dobrovic was communicating with the Commission. "This is simply about several parallel procedures and activities which all lead to the same goal."