The ministers of environmental protection, justice and the economy, Slaven Dobrovic, Ante Sprlje and Tomislav Panenic respectively, on Friday visited the eastern city of Slavonski Brod and held talks with city officials regarding air pollution in that city and announced new measures to deal with the problem.
Minister Dobrovic said that it was clear that the Rafinerija Brod oil refinery in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina was the main source of air pollution that significantly impaired the quality of life of the city's residents.
"The problem is being solved at the inter-state level through a joint task force, but there have been no desired results. The process of modernisation of the refinery is too slow and we do not have firm guarantees as to how it will be carried out. We are therefore forced to resort to other solutions and raise efforts to deal with this problem to a higher level," said Dobrovic.
"There are technical measures to put the oil processing industry in a satisfactory framework. Here those limits have been exceeded multi-fold, and that simply cannot be tolerated any longer," said the minister.
Justice Minister Ante Sprlje said there were certain legal models with which to tackle the problem.
"I am concerned about the fact that the health and lives of Croatian citizens are being harmed from Republika Srpska, namely by the oil refinery across the Sava River. We must establish who is responsible for that and bring those people to justice. The fact that they are on the other side of the border does not mean that they will be able to get away with it," said Sprlje, announcing the launching of legal proceedings to determine the responsible representatives of the oil refinery in Bosanski Brod.
Mayor Mirko Duspara said that one of the ways to deal with the problem could be to withhold support to Bosnia and Herzegovina in its EU membership talks.
"The government probably thinks differently but I am not in the government," said Duspara.