zdravko marić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Saturday that a Croatian delegation held talks in Washington with representatives of international financial institutions, including on the financial and business restructuring of the HAC motorway operator, and announced that Croatia could borrow on the foreign financial market during this quarter and that he planned to intensify the activities of his ministry's tax fraud office.

The Croatian delegation, consisting of representatives of the Finance Ministry and the central bank, is attending the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington on April 15-17.

Maric said the talks with IMF and WB representatives were constructive, focusing on structural reforms and the government's work programme.

"We have their positive reactions, full support and cooperation. But, like the domestic public, they urge us to a quicker and more efficient implementation of all reforms, including those regarding the political economy, by improving and advancing the decision making process at the level of ruling and political structures, making it quicker and more efficient," he told Hina in Washington.

On Friday, we had meetings with World Bank transport experts on HAC's business restructuring, they understand and support us, but we need more time to see which direction to take, Maric said, adding that the talks also addressed HAC's financial restructuring but that no specific amounts had been agreed.

This year alone HAC has to repay EUR 466 million in loans, so the company's biggest challenge is refinancing and restructuring.

Maric went on to say that lenders were interested in the government's economic policy. In this year's budget, the government plans to borrow one billion euros, including abroad.

"We have still not decided on which market to borrow and in which currency. However, we are actively following the situation on the financial markets, which is relatively good," he said, adding that depending on developments the plan was to "do something" during the second quarter.

Maric went on to say that, contrary to speculation that the Finance Ministry's tax fraud office will be closed, he wanted the office to step up its activities. He said his goal and task was that all ministry services, not just the tax fraud office, but the tax and customs authorities, the financial inspectorate and the money laundering prevention office, did their job. "I have full confidence in them and want their activities to be taken to a higher level."

Maric said his idea about a new organisation of the ministry was intended to make it as efficient as possible and avoid parallel management.

He said that in two weeks the government would discuss a national reform programme and convergence programme which Croatia must send to Brussels for evaluation by the end of the month. "Those two documents will contain... reforms of public administration, health care, the pension system, social welfare, public finance management, the education system, the management of public companies, of state property... Those reforms will be an integral part of those strategic documents."

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

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.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

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.