božo petrov.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Deputy Prime Minister and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov has said in an interview to Hina that the new government will be committed to reinforcing the networking of all public administration bodies.

"The first thing we are going to do is to launch the process of connecting all public bodies, that is increasing the volume of the work of e-administration, namely e-Croatia, so as to network all units of local and regional self-government and public bodies at the state level with an aim of enhancing both transparency and efficiency. We will set up a task force to analyse the performance of public administration bodies so as to pave the way for rationalisation and possible overhaul of the public administration," said Petrov in the interview which Hina published on Sunday.

Asked which reforms he would prioritise, the Deputy PM Petrov said that he could not single out any reform as he held that all planned reforms were equally important.

"One reform per se does not mean anything, they must be conducted as a package. If one is carried out, and others are not, no headway will be made. All those reforms are to be launched immediately and in parallel."

Asked by Hina, whether his party and the new government had given up from downsizing the number of counties, Petrov answered in the negative .

During post-election negotiations with the two major coalitions, "we said that a high-quality analysis would be made, and after that we will start solving the issue. If the analysis proves that this segment should be scaled down, it will be scaled down," he said.

Asked about the fact that as many as four government members, including him, are from the southern town of Metkovic, which elicited criticisms that they may have been chosen in line with their place of birth, Petrov said that the main criteria were competence, integrity and commitment to work, and added that short-listed ministerial candidates had been interviews by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic.

Petrov admitted that he had personally recommended only Vlaho Orepic as the new Interior Minister.

Asked about possible dissensions in the Bridge parliamentary club, having in mind that three members have already shown dissatisfaction, including two ministerial hopefuls Ivan Lovrinovic and Juro Martinovic who have remained MPs, Petrov said that "regardless of the fact that Lovrinovic did not vote for the approval of the new government, to which he is entitled as a parliamentary deputy given that Bridge deputies do not have to follow the party discipline, we expect that he as well as MPs (Ivica) Misic and Martinovic will take part in the work of the Bridge and its parliamentary group."

Asked about his opinion on the outrage which some NGOs and Opposition MPs showed regarding the appointment of Zlatko Hasanbegovic as Culture Minister, Petrov said that he found nothing contentious in the anti-Fascist movement but in what ensued after that (after WWII). "It was a form of regime." "For me, Croatia has been created since the Illyrians, (...) and it should be clear what happened in specific periods of time."

As for a registry of traitors as proposed by War Veterans' Affairs Minister Mijo Crnoja of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Petrov said that Bridge would not ever allow it.

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