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Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

At the start of the first session of the Tihomir Oreskovic Cabinet, the new ministers submitted reports on the takeover of ministerial duties, the situation in their respective ministries and estimates about ministry budgets for this year.

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miro Kovac said that he had found 1,098 employees in his ministry, which was less than the envisaged 1,344 employees, and that there was still room for new hiring. Of the said number of employees, 665 work in the ministry's main offices and 453 work in diplomatic and consular missions.

Kovac said that three important processes were under way - the process of succession to the former state (Yugoslav federation), the process of adjustment of diplomatic missions to the Schengen standards, and the Croatian House project, the future seat of the Croatian mission to the EU in Brussels.

He said that the ministry budget was in the black, that 88% of the 2015 budget had been spent, and that the ministry could continue functioning on that budget this year as well. Consequently, "there will be no requests for additional funds", savings will be made in diplomatic and consular offices and projects that are difficult to implement will be discontinued, Kovac said.

Defence Minister Josip Buljevic said that the Armed Forces functioned normally, that the situation in military missions abroad was good and that the President of the Republic had been briefed about the situation.

He said that his ministry's budget had been continually decreasing and in 2015 accounted for 1.3% of GDP as well as that the first briefings with his associates showed that the ministry would be able to function within that budget.

The Defence Ministry has 1,011 employees, the Armed Forces number 16,094 active personnel and 1,520 civil servants.

Minister of the Interior Vlaho Orepic said that the migrant crisis was one of the most important issues within the jurisdiction of his ministry, recalling that he had visited the winter reception centre for migrants in the eastern town of Slavonski Brod.

A total of HRK 145 million has been spent on care for migrants, he said, adding that by Thursday morning more than 611,000 migrants has passed through Croatia.

The EU has granted Croatia funds in the amount of EUR 12.4 million for the management of the migrant crisis, but only 9.9 million has been withdrawn so far.

He stressed that activities were under way on ensuring that migrants did not stop in Croatia at all.

Orepic said that the ministry budget totalled HRK 4.7 billion and that the proposed budget for 2016 could be at the level of the 2015 budget despite a deficit of HRK 300 million that was primarily due to obligations related to the Schengen passport-free travel regime, but that savings would be made in other budget items.

Justice Minister Ante Sprlje said that his ministry in 2015 received 950,000 cases and processed 970,000, while around half a million remained unprocessed.

The ministry's budget in 2015 was HRK 2.4 billion, which meets the ministry's needs, even though an increase of HRK 40 million might be requested to cover the cost of intellectual services, said Sprlje.

The justice system (ministry, courts, prosecutorial authorities, etc.) has 13,588 employees. The ministry itself meets around 70% of its employment quota which numbers 4,500 jobs and additional hiring will be needed.

A large number of employees have fixed-term employment contracts, which also needs to be dealt with, said Splje.

New Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic said credit liabilities in the sector covered by his ministry amounted to more than HRK 5.5 billion.

In the period from 2016 to 2020, a total of EUR 5.3 billion in debt will have to be paid, of which EUR 1.47 billion in 2016. The debt is related to loans taken by the HAC and ARZ motorway operators, the Hrvatske Ceste road operator, and the HZ Cargo, HZ Infrastructure and HZ Passenger Transport companies, said Butkovic.

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Tomislav Tolusic said that the absorption of EU funds in 2015 was HRK 4 billion, almost 50% less than the planned amount of HRK 7.8 billion.

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