After two-hour talks on Thursday between representatives of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Bridge reformist coalition on reforms on which Bridge makes its support for the new government conditional, it was said that a high degree of agreement had been reached with regard to the need to declare an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic.

"We have reached a high degree of consensus and agreed that we will both support a decision to declare an exclusive economic zone. Our position is that its declaration is of interest to Croatia. I would also like to recall that our party's presidential candidate, who is President now, also advocated in her election campaign an exclusive economic zone," Oleg Butkovic of the HDZ told reporters after the talks in the HDZ offices.

He recalled that Croatia adopted a decision to declare a Protected Ecological and Fisheries Zone in 2003, in 2008 it suspended its application to EU member-countries, and in 2013 a Croatian Party of Rights - Ante Starcevic party member of Parliament proposed declaring an exclusive economic zone.

"The Zoran Milanovic government absolutely rejected the proposal. After that, Croatian member of the European Parliament Ruza Tomasic raised the issue of declaring an exclusive economic zone and we saw that the then commissioner said that Croatia could opt for such a solution but that fisheries and joint fishing is something we have to agree on with other EU members," said Butkovic.

His party colleague Miro Kovac, too, agreed that the HDZ was in favour of declaring an economic zone in the Adriatic. "We will step up our activities on the foreign political front as well, we have shown that we are self-confident, we know what we want and we have that legal obligation," said Kovac.

Bridge and the HDZ also agreed on the need to reform election legislation. "Citizens want changes in that area as well. They have made it clear that the election law should be changed too, we have agreed that the political system must be more transparent, more democratic and more attractive to our citizens... and enable the participation at the highest level of all citizens in the political life," Kovac said.

Asked if the HDZ would agree to reducing salaries of members of Parliament and their number, Kovac said that they "agree with changes, but will explain everything in our written replies to the colleagues from Bridge."

Robert Podolnjak of Bridge repeated that Bridge wanted a smaller parliament and proposed downsizing it to 111 deputies.

The issue of voting of the Croatian expatriate community is regulated by the Constitution and there is no logic in restricting the number of diaspora MPs while the total number of MPs varies. "The issue of the diaspora is more dominant than it deserves to be and you cannot implement a single change of the Constitution without that issue cropping up as important for a party to negotiations. We don't have a definite position on the matter, but we would like a public debate to involve all sides. Diaspora voting is not regulated well, we have also discussed postal voting, many countries have postal voting and we don't see any reason not to introduce it here as well," said Podolnjak.

Related stories

Bridge, SDP to continue discussing exclusive economic zone

Bridge: There won't be a tripartite government

Croatia to launch consultations with EC on EEZ

Bridge party presents seven terms for cooperation with SDP, HDZ

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.