Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

 Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic on Friday refuted media speculation that negotiations on the formation of a new government between the HDZ and the Bridge party had been broken off, saying they were proceeding in line with an agreed road map.

Plenkovic was responding to questions from the press about the veracity of news, reported by a number of media yesterday, that the negotiations had been broken off. He said there were contacts with Bridge at expert level and that formal talks between the two parties would resume on Monday.

Bridge refuted the news yesterday, saying it was untrue, incorrect and ill-meaning.

Plenkovic would not say if it was correct that the position of parliament speaker was being offered to Bridge leader Bozo Petrov, saying "nothing is being offered" but that many issues were being discussed, including the make-up of the government and the division of positions in parliament. He once again denied that the HDZ was negotiating with the Croatian People's Party and the Croatian Peasant Party.

As for Independent Democratic Serb Party vice president Milorad Pupovac's statement that members of ethnic minorities should be in public companies, Plenkovic said that in the current political situation, when ethnic minority MPs were not in a position to arbitrate who would be in power, the HDZ wanted to create a political practice under which governments, before taking office, would agree with ethnic minorities a road map of issues important for the protection of their rights so as to create a tolerant society.

He said it was natural that in 2016 ethnic minority MPs supported the government's work and that the government enabled the realisation of their rights and platforms.

Plenkovic said he talked with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European People's Party president Joseph Daul in Brussels yesterday and that he told them that the Croatian government and the Commission were corresponding about Croatia's conversion of Swiss franc loans.

He said the State Prosecutor's Office and the finance and foreign ministries "are having a very detailed and analytical communication" and that he urged Juncker to "bear in mind the interests of Croatia's taxpayers and state, in the context of the (conversion) law that was adopted in the Croatian parliament with a large majority."

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