tihomir orešković.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Tomislav PAVLEK/ ik

Prime Minister-designate Tihomir Oreskovic said on Friday that he enjoyed full support from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-led Patriotic Coalition and the Bridge party regarding his plan to implement necessary reforms and expressed hope that other parliamentary parties would back him.

"We now have an excellent opportunity for Croatia and should seize it," Oreskovic told the press in Zagreb after meeting with executives of international banks and credit rating agencies in the Austrian ski resort of Kitzbuehel on Thursday.

He said that he had presented his plan to the investors and received support from them. "But most of them wanted to know if I had the support of the political parties for the implementation of the reforms," he added.

Oreskovic recalled that before leaving for Austria, he had held talks with HDZ and Bridge leaders Tomislav Karamarko and Bozo Petrov to acquaint them with the main points of his plan.

Asked by the press if he supported Bridge MP Ivan Lovrinovic's initiative to abolish the second pension insurance pillar, Oreskovic said he found this pillar very useful for investments in some strategic programmes to help increase Croatia's GDP, and accordingly yield benefits for Croatian citizens.

In relation to the nominations for ministers of finance and economy, the PM-designate recalled that he was entitled to propose his own candidates and would be able to veto proposals by the HDZ coalition and the Bridge party.

He said that he had already begun talks with the nominees for ministerial posts and that the talks would continue in the coming days.

Oreskovic said the selection of the right candidates for ministers was under way and emphasised that the ministers of economy and finance would be key to implementing his programme.

Asked whether he would draw up the state budget by the end of this quarter and what interventions he was planning in the expenditures and the revenues side of the budget, Oreskovic said that a combination of measures would lead to the accomplishment of the defined goals.

"This will be a combination including the use of assets and resources that we possess and that we will put in use. I believe that we can strengthen our revenues and optimise our resources in connection with expenditures so as to achieve better and more efficient effects," he added.

Oreskovic dismissed criticism that he had outlined his reform plan to foreign investors and bankers before presenting it to the Croatian public. He said he had presented it to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at a reception in her office on Wednesday when he had clearly warned of a high public debt.

He said the public would be acquainted fully with his agenda after the formation of the new government.

"It is clear to everyone that my focus is on reducing the public debt and kick-starting investments, which eventually will be great for all citizens, for the investors and for the economy and will have positive effects for Croatia," Oreskovic said.

During the news conference, Oreskovic expressed his satisfaction with the talks he had held with foreign investors and bankers in Kitzbuehel.

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