The Croatian government decided on Wednesday to discontinue the bailout of 31 medical institutions, after which those institutions will be returned to the care of their founders.

The government's decision is based on the recently amended Financial Rehabilitation of Public Institutions Act, which envisages suspension of the bailout of five hospital centres, two clinic hospitals and two clinics, and 18 county hospitals, which would be returned to the care of their respective counties, which will appoint their management boards.

Health Minister Dario Nakic said the legislation was amended because the financial rehabilitation of those institutions had not achieved its purpose.

He said that debts incurred in the meantime would not burden the health institutions' founders and that that issue would be dealt with by the Health Ministry and the founders of the medical institutions undergoing financial rehabilitation.

The government adopted a regulation determining the method for the calculation of financial aid for the fiscal equalisation of local and regional self-government units for this year in line with laws and decisions on criteria and measures for ensuring the minimum financial standards for public needs in the primary and secondary education, social welfare, health care and fire-fighting sectors.

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that the aid would be provided in the form of additional income tax revenue sharing and that this year 1.67 billion kuna had been earmarked for that purpose.

Also on the agenda was the government's position on the report on the operation of the Croatian Homeland War Veterans' and Veterans' Families' Fund for 2014. Minister Tomislav Medved said that soon amendments would be put forward to increase the minimum percentage of shares to be transferred to the Fund in future privatisation cases.

The government also approved a plan for the hiring of new personnel by the Defence Ministry this year, under which 862 persons would be hired by the ministry - 800 army and navy personnel, 40 cadets and holders of military scholarships and 22 candidates for officers from the labour market.

The plan also covers 250 non-commissioned officers, 54 candidates who are completing their education for commissioned officers this year, 38 non-commissioned officers and army members to be trained for the rank of commissioned officers, and six civil servants, Defence Minister Josip Buljevic said, adding that 20.3 million kuna of budget funds had been earmarked for that purpose.

Another 16 million kuna will be set aside to cover the cost of the participation of Croatian Armed Forces personnel in international military exercises this year.

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