tihomir orešković.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said on Friday that over the past three months, namely during the first 100 days in office, the government got organised, it adopted a realistic budget and a quality reform package which would bring a better future for all citizens.

"Great changes are ahead of us and we must keep our promise," the prime minister told Croatian Television.

He said the appointment of government members lasted a little longer than expected, but that they managed to define a realistic plan -- a 2% GDP growth, a deficit of less than 3%, and an employment growth.

The government wants to reduce debt by 100 million euros in a month, Oreskovic said, adding that 2016 would be the first year to record a reduction of the public debt.

"The announcement of a debt reduction is a message that rating agencies will see as a positive signal and a true indicator that the things are moving forward and that the country's credit rating could improve in six months," the PM said.

Given that the government planned to reduce the public debt by selling its share in some companies, Oreskovic was asked which state-owned companies the government planned to sell. He responded that the government had not yet defined which companies would be sold, adding that first his cabinet needed to see which companies were of strategic importance.

Asked about the introduction of property taxes, Oreskovic said property taxes would be introduced in two phases. In the first phase, municipal fees would be replaced by taxes and citizens will not feel the change, he said. In the second phase the value of property will be taken into account, as will the number of properties a person owns, Oreskovic stressed. He said the plan was to implement this reform in 2020.

Oreskovic also said Croatia had EUR 10.7 billion available from EU funds.

Asked if he was satisfied with cooperation between the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Bridge party, Oreskovic said this was a new team and a coalition and that in the first three months they got to know each other a little better. He also said there were some differences in opinion, adding however that all of this was normal.

Commenting on his meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who visited Croatia earlier this week, Oreskovic said Croatia and Turkey had good relations which would only grow stronger, adding that Turkish investors were interested in tourism, agriculture, infrastructure and marinas.

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