The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Martina Dalic, said on Monday that decisions of the government were made by the coalition partners together, dismissing speculation that the Bridge party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, was against the proposed sale of government shares in the HEP power company in order to buy the Hungarian energy group MOL's stake in the INA oil and gas company.
Speaking in a Croatian Television political talk show late on Monday, Dalic was asked whether Bridge would block the sale of a quarter of HEP shares for the purchase of half of INA, as indicated by the party's MP Miro Bulj. She said that decisions of the government were reached in dialogue with the coalition partners.
Bulj said on his Facebook page that no one has the right to sell HEP other than its owner, that is the Croatian people. "Any decision to sell HEP without the approval of a majority of Croatian citizens expressed at a referendum would be yet another in a series of betrayals of national interests," he wrote.
Dalic said that she was speaking in her capacity as Deputy Prime Minister of the joint government of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Bridge. "Bridge is our coalition partner. The decisions we are discussing here are government policy. (Bridge leader) Bozo Petrov has made that clear too," she added.
Dalic said that the planned sale of HEP shares and purchase of MOL's stake in INA "are two separate transactions that represent the realisation of national interests concerning the energy independence and security of Croatia. Ultimately, it will enable Croatian citizens to participate in the results of development and operation of HEP."
Under Croatian and EU laws, keeping 75 percent plus one share in HEP means that the company will remain under full government control, just as it is now when the government is the 100% owner, Dalic said and added that the government ownership of this stake in HEP will be regulated by a separate law.
"Croatia will retain full control over its electricity potential, that is 75 percent plus one share in HEP, and will gain the right to decide on its position on the oil and energy map of Europe," Dalic said.