Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday he expected the European Commission to be considerate in addressing the issue of Croatia's law on the conversion of Swiss franc loans and to have understanding for Croatia's positions.
Plenkovic was speaking to Croatian reporters after talks with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.
"We underlined the importance of the issue pertaining to the conversion of Swiss franc loans and the law that was adopted, suggesting that the Commission should approach this topic considerately and with due attention because it's important that, after the law addressed citizens themselves, we don't have a situation that's detrimental to Croatian state interests, notably Croatian taxpayers," Plenkovic said.
In June, the Commission warned Croatia in a letter about the law on the conversion of loans denominated in Swiss francs into euros, saying the law shifted all the costs onto banks and that its retroactive application threatens legal security. The Croatian government yesterday endorsed a reply which it will send to the Commission by the end of the week.
The government "articulated its position precisely, replying to the Commission and presenting our view in an elaborate way. We expect the EC to have understanding for Croatia's explanations and Croatia's positions," Plenkovic said, adding that Croatia's new government would "defend national interests, in this case the Croatian budget."
Asked about UniCredit's lawsuit against Croatia over the conversion law, Plenkovic said the arbitration proceedings had not been initiated by Croatia and that Croatia was aware that the Commission was questioning bilateral investment protection agreements, on which the lawsuit is based. He added that he did not discuss details with Juncker.
Plenkovic also met with European People's Party president Joseph Daul. "Both Juncker and Daul are extremely glad that an EPP party won an election in a central European country on rational topics which avoid divisions in society and which are pro-European. That's what we will advocate, seeing to Croatia's interests in the EU, naturally. I think the moves we have been making after the election are on that track and our partners recognise and appreciate that."