After three-hour-long talks between the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led "Croatia is Growing" coalition and the Bridge (MOST) alliance of independent slates on the judiciary and entrepreneurship in the SDP headquarters on Tuesday, an SDP negotiator, Sinisa Hajdas Doncic, said that the two sides had harmonised views on 95% of the matters from those two topics.
Bridge's chief negotiator, Tomislav Panenic, said that during the meeting the Bridge team presented the party's views on necessary reforms which had to be carried out in the judiciary and entrepreneurship.
"We expect to have harmonised views and to get opinions from both (the SDP and the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ) on all topics, including the said two, by the end of this negotiating process, and after that our deputies, members and supporters will decide which side has offered better solutions for Croatian citizens," Panenic said.
Last week, Bridge leader Bozo Petrov had claimed that Bridge would insist on a government of national unity comprising all major stakeholders in line with to the results of the November 8 election.
The HDZ and its Patriotic Coalition won 59 seats in the 151-seat parliament, while the SDP and its partners in the Croatia is Growing coalition won 56 seats, according to the State Election Commission's provisional reports. In the parliamentary elections on November 8, Bridge won 19 seats and without it neither the SDP-led coalition nor the HDZ-led coalition can form a parliamentary majority.
Asked by reporters what would happen if both the SDP-led coalition and the HDZ-led coalition acceded to what Bridge requested, Panenic said today that he believed that there were some reforms which "are not acceptable to everybody", and that a better solution should be hammered out for difficult reforms.
SDP official Hajdas-Doncic expressed satisfaction with the course of today's talks. "The talks have been constructive and I am very satisfied. It means that the colleagues from Bridge are acquainted with the subject matter, and they have outlined the details of some reform measures."
"We have some matters agreed with Brussels regarding reform measures, and now we have elaborated some things in detail. My impression is that we agree on 95% of things," Hajdas Doncic said.
"The remainder is to be discussed in the next round of the negotiations which I expect in six-seven days' time," he said.
Asked whether the SDP found Bridge's proposals for the abolishment of dividend tax and a Value Added Tax rate reduction acceptable, Hajdas Doncic said that "the Bridge negotiators have been affirmative" and that they did not insist on an immediate implementation of tax changes.
It is well known that we are in the procedure to cope with the excessive budget deficit. We can accept some things soon, and we can agree on redefining profit tax rates, while VAT is for some other phase, its reduction is not possible in short term, Hajdas Doncic said.
Panenic said that the talks were not only about reaching agreement but also about seeking solutions that could be offered to citizens. "We who have defined them should also carry them out."
On Tuesday afternoon, Bridge started a round of talks with the HDZ.