Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko welcomed Friday's decision by the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague to suspend arbitration proceedings in the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia until it studied the legal implications of Croatia's decision to withdraw from the arbitration.

"That is a positive decision. Unlawful and unfair actions on Slovenia's part have been uncovered, and we cannot lose a piece of our territory because someone was unfair in that process," Karamarko said on Friday while answering questions from the press during a visit to Razanac on the island of Pag.

He was also asked what would happen with a building in Brussels which the previous government had bought for the Croatian diplomatic mission for 88 million kuna. The building is still not in use and the mission is renting another building. 

"That is something in the style of the former government," Karamarko said, adding that this problem would be dealt with by Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac. "That problem needs to be resolved because we cannot afford to waste money."

Asked to comment on the announcement by the Bridge party, a junior partner in the coalition government, that it would submit an amendment to this year's budget proposing that a portion of funds for science be reallocated from funds intended for political parties, Karamarko said that democracy was based on the work of political parties. "A party that has no money cannot operate. The HDZ is a big party and, for example, when we have an election campaign, we take out a loan. If that percentage were to be taken from the HDZ, who would it be taken from? Staff, secretaries, cleaners? That would not be good."

Karamarko recalled that his proposal was that government and parliament officials and other office holders should renounce 25% of their salaries. "Why would someone with a monthly salary of 3,000 kuna lose 25% instead of me who has 15,000 kuna?" he said, adding that his proposal was fair.

 

(1 euro = 7.52 kuna)

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