nada šikić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

Speaking to reporters ahead of a government session on Wednesday, Construction and Physical Planning Minister Lovro Kuscevic and Labour and Pension System Minister Nada Sikic expressed satisfaction with the European Commission's assessment of the national reform programme and its further recommendations, to be published later in the day.

The national reform programme contains serious measures designed to improve public finance, the health system and the business environment, reads a draft document to be adopted by European commissioners in Brussels today, the Vecernji List daily, which has seen the document, reported.

The daily said that the EC would give Croatia five new economic recommendations - that the government launch the introduction of real estate tax by the end of the year, that it launch measures by the end of the year to discourage early retirement and reduce the number of special welfare mechanisms, that it stop the fragmentation of public administration and make it more efficient, and reduce para-fiscal charges as well as improve the efficiency of commercial and administrative courts.

Vecernji List said the EC did not intend to step up the monitoring of macroeconomic imbalances in Croatia or introduce corrective measures.

Kuscevic said that the national reform plan was the first serious government plan in Croatia's history, which had also been recognised by the EC as something that would encourage development, improve the investment climate, improve the country's rating and its citizens' living standards.

Asked to comment on the EC's recommendation about speeding up the introduction of real estate tax and what could be expected this year in that regard, Kuscevic said that deadlines would be respected.

"It is most important to register all properties so that one day, if that tax is introduced, it could be levied in a fair way that will not excessively burden any citizen," Kuscevic said.

Asked about the amount of the tax rate, the minister said that it would be equal to the municipal services rate.

Labour and Pension System Minister Nada Sikic said that she was satisfied with the EC's assessment of the national reform plan.

Asked about the recommendation for expediting the discouraging of early retirement, Sikic said that "it requires a public debate and that decision is not only up to the government but also the society."

She added that after the debate, a joint position would be adopted as to what was the best solution for all.

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