Zdravko Marić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric on Monday commented on a warning sent by the European Commission (EC) regarding the conversion of loans pegged to the Swiss franc, underscoring that the conversion was conducted lawfully in accordance with the law and a solution would be found with the EC and Croatian banks through dialogue aimed at protecting the state budget and taxpayers.

The EC on Friday confirmed that it had sent Croatia a formal warning in mid-June regarding the conversion of loans denominated in Swiss francs into euro loans, being of the opinion that the country's loan conversion law had shifted all of the conversion costs onto banks and that its retroactive application jeopardised the principle of legal security.

Emphasising that the EC's opinion was not surprising because during the actual process of adopting the law facilitating the conversion there had been "certain warnings and objections by Brussels," Maric said that it was "essential to say that the law was adopted in accordance with the law."

"The conversion has been consumed by almost 94% of debtors with Swiss franc pegged loans and their loans have been converted to the euro or kuna currency and there is no going back now," he said replying the reporters after signing an agreement between the European Investment Bank and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

A solution for this case, he said, will be sought in dialogue with the EC and Croatian banks which provided loans pegged to the Swiss franc and based on that dialogue we will respect Croatian legislation and defend national interests.

"You can be assured that we will do everything in our power to protect the state budget and taxpayers," Maric underscored.

Adding that he understood the great interest of not just the 60,000 citizens who had loans pegged to the Swiss franc but the general public for a solution to be found, Maric said that he could not specify what compromise might be reached as this was a "very complex problem."

The issue of loan conversions was also discussed with credit rating agencies. That matter, Maric said, could potentially jeopardise the state budget in the sense that taxpayers would have to bare the brunt and we explained the situation to them too and what steps might be taken next without going into detail and we will do everything we can so that the bad scenario doesn't occur.

Asked whether this could mean that credit rating agencies could revise Croatia's rating, Maric said that our economic indicators are in our favour but agencies focus on the political situation too.

"We expect a decision that will be based on the talks we had about three weeks ago when their delegation was in Zagreb. The economic indicators, that is, economic recovery, primarily the situation in public finances where we showed the domestic and international public that we are indeed responsibly managing the public debt and the recent examples of our activities on international and domestic markets go in our favour. Therefore, we could say that we have a lot of arguments and reasons to defend our credit rating," he said.

Latest news

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Messi grabs winner as Barcelona go top with victory over Atletico

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.

Croatian government condemns extremism

The Croatian government on Sunday condemned all forms of extremism and acts of provocative nature aimed against the Serb minority in Vukovar as well as the rally organised by the Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights (A-HSP) in Zagreb on Friday.