Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Pedja Grbin on Thursday commented on an advertisement by the State Property Management Office (DUUDI) for the selection of consultants for an initial and independent evaluation of the portfolios of several companies owned by the state, warning that the privatisation of companies of strategic interest to the state would be against the law.

Grbin wrote on his Facebook profile that the advertisement was a sign that the government had formally launched the privatisation of remaining state-owned companies. He warned that the list of 54 companies also included companies that were of strategic interest, such as Hrvatske Autoceste, Janaf, Plinacro, Zagreb Airport, etc.

Grbin claims that the legality of such a decision is questionable considering that the State Property Management Strategy that is in force specifically defines that companies of national strategic interest cannot be privatised, "unless specified by law."

"Therefore as long as the Strategy that was adopted by parliament is in force, the government cannot autonomously decide on the privatisation of those companies but has to either change the Strategy and consequently the Property Management Law or adopt a separate law on the privatisation of the companies in question. Anything else would be illegal action by the government," Grbin claims.

He recalled that the intention of the previous (SDP-led) government to monetise the debt of two state-owned motorway operators had resulted in a referendum initiative and that the Constitutional Court had ruled that the referendum could not be held as well as that before launching the procedure for the monetisation of the motorway operators' debt, the government would have to propose a bill to parliament whereby the concession to manage existing motorways would be declared a strategic interest.

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