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

MOL welcomes statements by Croatian PM

Commisison finds Karamarko is in conflict of interest

Petrov sees no reason for gov't to break apart

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.