darko horvat.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

The Croatian Minister for SMEs, Darko Horvat, has said that that Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic is completing his team for negotiations with Hungary's MOL on the topic of the relationship between the two biggest stakeholders in the Croatian oil and gas group INA, and Horvat is confident that the negotiating team will be set up in two or three weeks.

"The premier has announced this (the establishment of his negotiating team), let us respect his decision. Currently, he is completing the team," Horvat said on Monday, adding that he was confident that PM Oreskovic will also notify the Croatian public about key items of the negotiations and about the objective of the entire process.

Speaking of the INA company, the prime minister Oreskovic said on 12 May that he would form a team of negotiators. "INA is a strategic company for Croatia and I will get much more involved in this entire process," he said then, adding that the arbitration with MOL would continue.

Minister Horvat of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said recently that no arbitration should have been launched between Croatia and Hungary's MOL over INA, and raised the question who would pay costs in the event that the Croatian side lost the arbitration.

Horvat, who seemed very sceptical about the outcome of the arbitration, said today that the government should be flexible and that it should know how to negotiate.

In early May he said that he had presented his position about the arbitration proceedings on several occasions. "I do not think that arbitration should have been launched at all. Arbitration proceedings are very expensive for Croatia," said Horvat then. He also wondered about the sources of funds to cover costs if Zagreb lost the case, thus reflecting his position that it might be advisable for Croatia to abandon the arbitration regarding INA. Minister Horvat said he would not want to prejudge any outcome, but he would like to see bilateral negotiations in parallel with the arbitration, "Croatia enters a system of negotiations with counterparts from the Hungarian Mol, that is our strategic partner."

In late April, Deputy Prime Minister and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov said that abandoning the arbitration process would be damaging.

"I don't think that cooperation may be agreed upon through ultimatums," Petrov said.

Media outlets claimed in early May that leaders of the HDZ and of the BrIdge party had met at talks at which the HDZ had reportedly insisted on deciding on Croatia's withdrawal from the arbitration with MOL over INA.

Petrov said that abandoning the arbitration process would be pernicious.

"We have reasons for optimism about arbitration," Petrov told the Croatian Radio a few weeks ago in a comment on media speculations about his party's and the HDZ positions on the arbitration.

Related stories

Latest news

Plane crashes at airport in Melbourne

A five-passenger charter plane has crashed into a building next to Essendon Airport in Melbourne, with witnesses reporting explosions, fire and black smoke, police said Tuesday.

Air France pilots give green light to lower cost subsidiary

Members of Air France's main pilots union on Monday voted to accept the creation of a new lower cost subsidiary that the flag carrier hopes will help it compete on long-haul routes.

US Army General McMaster tapped as Trump's national security advisor

Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster will be the new White House national security advisor, US President Donald Trump told reporters Monday.

Greece's creditors want sweeping reforms before next bailout payment

Greece must make sweeping reforms to its labour market, pension system and collective bargaining agreements in order to receive its next vital bailout payment, the country's European creditors said Monday.

President wants to recall "politically appointed ambassadors", can't do it without gov't

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said that many politically appointed Croatian ambassadors were not carrying out state policies but that she could not replace them without the government to appoint career diplomats who would fight for Croatia's interests.

Izetbegovic hopes ICJ will confirm Serbia's responsibility for genocide

The Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, on Monday rejected criticism stirred up by the announcement that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement made after Bosnia sued Serbia for genocide.

British lawmakers locked in heated debate over Trump's state visit

Allowing US President Donald Trump to visit Britain would be akin to "pimping out the Queen," one British lawmaker said Monday during a heated debate in British parliament over two petitions concerning the US leader's future state visit.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's sharp-tongued ambassador to the UN, dies

Russia's long-time ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York on Monday, following a career that spanned four decades and saw Russia emerge from the Soviet Union and experience many turbulent events in its relations with the West.

French police raid National Front over European Parliament payments

France's far-right National Front Monday said that investigators had searched its offices in relation to allegations that it misused European Parliament funds.

Unhappy Presidents' Day: Trump still manoeuvring after Sweden comment

Donald Trump used his first Presidents' Day in office to continue trying to talk his way out of comments implying a terrorist attack in Sweden that never happened.

Croatia supports Kosovo's territorial integrity - Grabar-Kitarovic

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday expressed the support to Kosovo's territorial integrity and Euro-Atlantic aspirations during her talks with the visiting Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj.

Petrov rules out early parliamentary election

Parliament Speaker and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov on Monday dismissed speculation about a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority, saying an early election was likelier, but that right now he did not see "such a scenario."