Maritime Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic on Friday signed a HRK 5.6 million agreement with the executives of port authorities in Primorje-Groski Kotar County to co-finance four port infrastructure projects in the county.

The ministry will provide two million kuna to co-finance the construction of an extension of an operating pier and ferry ramp in the port of Susak; HRK 1.5 million for the reconstruction of Njivice port; HRK 1.1 million to prepare the sea belt and construct access roads required for the construction of a new section of Moscenicka Draga port and a further one million kuna to adapt the area of partially constructed utility facilities in Podvorska port in the town of Crikvenica.

Butkovic announced that an agreement would soon be signed for the extension of Stinica port in Lika-Senj County valued at HRK 3.5 million. This year's budget has foreseen HRK 37 million for these projects, Butkovic said, adding that he would advocate that next year these funds be higher.

He underscored that the national strategy for the construction of county ports should be completed by the end of November, which will provide an opportunity for similar projects to apply for European Union funds.

Before signing the agreement, Butkovic spoke with County Prefect Zlatko Komadina about other projects in the county and said after the meeting that they had discussed the continuation of construction of the Istria motorway network.

Asked by reporters about the government's intention to sell its shares in the Port of Rijeka, Butkovic said that that decision had not been made and added that the government had decided to remove some companies from the list of strategic enterprises and that this should facilitate the appointment of management boards in some companies.

Butkovic personally considers that the Jadrolinija ferry company and ACI marina operator should not be sold in any case. He added that Croatia Airlines had generated a profit over the past three years and that any stronger development of the national airline is not possible without a strategic partner.

Asked about possible replacements in state port administrations, Butkovic said that the work of all executives was being assessed and that contact had been made and new governing councils had been established. Terms for most executives are about to expire and these positions will be advertised accordingly, he said.

Asked about the Peljesac Bridge, he said that a call for tenders would be issued in June and if there were no appeals a contractor could be selected by the years' end.

The construction will be conducted in three phases - the bridge, access roads and a bypass around Ston and the total value of the project is 380 million euro, he said and added that the state would try to reduce its share of the costs.

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