Reducing Croatia's budget deficit and public debt, improving all indicators for doing business in the country and cutting taxes are some of the main guidelines in the economic programme submitted by Prime Minister-designate Tihomir Oreskovic as the new cabinet sought approval from parliament on Friday.

According to the document on the cabinet's 2016-2019 term, the future government will focus on "further smart fiscal consolidation" with the aim of reducing the budget deficit and public debt.

To this aim, the government would be supported by a Public Debt Management Agency, whose establishment is envisaged in the programme.

One of the goals is to to create a stable tax environment through a tax system based on the principles of fairness and simplicity and scale down corporate taxes, notably through the abolishment of extra taxes.

The business sector should make efforts to enhance the performance in all indicators from the World Bank's "Doing Business" report, and in this context, the new government will be committed to the maximum simplification of regulations for starting up businesses and for doing business and to the simplification of proceedings for tackling insolvency, pre-bankruptcy procedures, bankruptcy and liquidation.

One of the tasks is to redefine tasks and business systems of the supporting institutions such as the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and the Croatian Chamber of Trades (HOK), including the reduction of membership fees.

In the energy sector, the programme envisages the establishment of a mandatory energy stock exchange, the separation of the energy transmission system from the distribution system, and a temporary moratorium on the construction of thermal power plants and on the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas in the Adriatic.

The regional development and European Union funds sector plans to adopt a strategy of regional development by 2020 and double the amount of the absorbed EU funds.

In the agricultural sector, the new government aims to overhaul the Ministry of Agriculture and draw up a strategy for the development of agriculture and for the forestry and timber sectors.

The tourism sector can expect amendment of the legislative framework with the aim of boosting competitiveness. The document also envisages a cut to the current Value Added Tax on accommodation and catering in tourism from 13% to 5.5%. State-owned tourist companies are to be privatised, and the government will encourage the sale of Croatian-made food products in the national tourism sector.

In the infrastructure and transport sector, the government will focus on connections to European transport corridors and on improving the quality and safety of roads as well as on completing the infrastructure in seaports, airports and in the railway sector.

One of the aims is to develop a broadband Internet infrastructure.

In the construction sector, the government plans to merge and consolidate land registers kept by courts and those kept by land survey offices. It also aims to put in use dormant state-owned property.

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.