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Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir of the Croatian Peasant Party called on Friday for adopting a new national energy development strategy, saying Croatia could reduce its energy dependence by focusing on renewables.

Speaking at a conference in Split which she organised together with the German Hanns Seidel Foundation, Petir said Croatia "must focus on those energy sources that are easily available to us, that is renewable energy sources such as sun, wind, water and biomass."

She called for adopting a new energy development strategy and a renewables map to facilitate investments. She said investing in oil exploitation in the Adriatic was against national interests such as development of tourism and fisheries, and that building coal-powered thermal power plants could make Croatia even more dependent on imports as it does not have coal.

"Europe imports 53% of energy and pays over a billion euros daily for that," said Petir.

Environment and Nature Protection Minister Slaven Dobrovic said the cumulative sector could do a lot for a 100% renewable Croatia alongside the energy and transport sectors.

He said a new waste management plan showed the importance of proper waste treatment for a renewable and resource-efficient society. He underlined the importance of reuse and recycling, saying natural riches and resources were limited and that waste was not garbage. He said waste sorting and reuse could create added value, jobs and GDP growth.

The Hanns Seidel Foundation's director for Southeast Europe, Klaus Fiesinger, underlined the importance of regional and local government for renewables, citing Bavaria as an example.

The coordinator of the European People's Party's environment committee, Peter Liese, underlined the importance of investing in renewables and energy efficiency as pillars of the EU's energy and climate policies. He said the money Europe paid Russia and the Gulf countries for energy imports could be used for the development of new technologies, ensuring energy efficiency and job creation.

Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Zlatko Zevrnja said 135 MW of renewables were in use in the county, "which makes up 23% of national capacities."

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