Negotiators of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led coalition and the Bridge reformist party met on Thursday to discuss state administration and local and regional self-government and after the meeting they said they agreed that Croatia needed a territorial reorganisation, namely a smaller number of municipalities and counties.
"We agreed on many things in the local and regional self-government sector," Bridge's Ivan Kovacic told the press.
He said they did not discuss the cancellation of individual municipalities and that the criteria for this would be defined at a later date, adding however that 550 municipalities was too much for Croatia. He also added Croatia had too many counties.
Today's talks did not focus on the salaries of MPs and the reduction of the number of seats in parliament, adding that the Bridge's position on the issue was the same as during the election campaign.
Branko Grcic of the SDP said his party agreed that the number of counties in Croatia should be reduced.
He stressed that streamlining local government did not necessarily mean dismissals, but added that it was agreed that in the next term the government would continue the process of streamlining the total number of employees. "Not drastically, because some statistics show that we are close to the EU average, but just enough to create room for the money we need to award the best in the system," Grcic said.
He said the talks also focused on reducing the number of local officials, by nearly a half, namely abolishing the position of deputies of directly elected local self-government leaders, except in places where deputies come from the ranks of ethnic minorities or from the ranks of the Croatian people in areas where ethnic minorities comprise a majority in the local population.
He underscored that legal changes would not enter into force before the next election cycle.
Grcic declined to speculate how long negotiations with the Bridge party could last.