ivana maletić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR/ ds

Representatives of the Bridge party and the Patriotic Coalition led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) discussed entrepreneurship and the judiciary for more than three hours on Tuesday as part of negotiations on the formation of the new government.

Speaking to the press after the meeting held at HDZ headquarters, Ivana Maletic of the HDZ said she was optimistic and that the reform platform proposed by Bridge did not contain any unacceptable points, while Bridge's Tomislav Panenic said that the talks were held at the level of experts and that the issue of the prime minister-designate was not discussed.

"I am definitely optimistic and we believe that the necessary changes will happen. There are no unacceptable points because all the points are focused on entrepreneurship and its development, and our documents also give priority to entrepreneurship. We were glad to see that our colleagues from Bridge put emphasis on the link between entrepreneurship and the judiciary and how important it is to streamline the justice system to make it quicker and more effective so as to help both entrepreneurs and citizens," Maletic said.

"Today we talked at the level of experts. Our talks were not political, we discussed the judiciary and entrepreneurship. We tried to be as specific as possible so that our proposals would be acceptable. We did not want to make any political conditions, but we wanted this to be for the benefit of the citizens," Panenic said, adding that the talks were constructive and that he hoped that their common views would also be constructive.

Asked whether his party was satisfied with the talks with the HDZ and the SDP, Panenic answered affirmatively.

Maletic said that the talks were held between "two reform-minded partners". 

"We want changes in Croatia. We want the focus to be on entrepreneurs, we want state administration to serve them and not the other way round. That will require different reforms in different areas, and that's what we talked about," she said.

Asked what specific offers had been made, Maletic said that no offers had been made. "It was a constructive conversation on specific changes and reforms that have to be carried in Croatian society and institutions in order to ensure growth and development," she added.

Before the meeting, HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko had proposed to Bridge leader Bozo Petrov that a chapter on national security be included in negotiations, Hina learned from a high-ranking HDZ official.

Karamarko said he was satisfied with the topics proposed and with the course of negotiations so far, but stressed that special attention should also be paid to national security in light of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, the ongoing migrant crisis and many security challenges facing Croatia.

The existing national strategy was adopted more than 13 years ago and global challenges have changed significantly since then, he said.

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