The president of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and First Deputy Prime Minister, Tomislav Karamarko, on Thursday commented on criticism from economic analysts who said that the draft 2016 budget, which the government unveiled earlier in the day, was not reform-oriented and that it did not have enough austerity measures, saying that this was not true because under the draft budget the deficit is reduced to bellow 3% of GDP.
"Once you get to the structure (of the draft budget) you'll see that there are reforms there, harsh reforms. It's not true that we cut funds only to those on welfare, disabled people and high school students. We received positive assessments from Brussels for this," Karamarko said.
The Croatian government endorsed the draft 2016 budget at its meeting on Thursday, projecting revenues at HRK 114.9 billion, expenditures at HRK 122.4 billion and the deficit at HRK 7.5 billion or 2.2% of GDP.
The budget is based on the estimate that this year GDP will grow by 2%, after gaining 1.6% last year. The growth is expected to be underpinned by domestic demand, and foreign demand should also be positive, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said.
The European Commission also expects Croatian GDP to grow by about 2%, but domestic analysts are more cautious.
Karamarko also praised the initiative of Culture Minister Zlatko Hasenbegovic to replace all members of the Electronic Media Council, saying that the minister was doing his job.
The government on Thursday negatively assessed a report on the work of the Electronic Media Council and the Electronic Media Agency for 2014 and proposed to parliament to replace all Electronic Media Council members due to serious omissions in the execution of its legal obligations.
Minister Hasenbegovic said the report did not include full information which would show that the Council and the Agency had met their legal obligations and obligations from the work programme. The minister insisted that all conditions had been met to relieve the members of the Electronic Media Council of their duties.