PM sees tax reform as one of most important in this gov't term

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the government session on Thursday that tax reform was of the the most important reforms to be implemented during his premiership, underscoring his expectations that after its implementation, Croatia would have a stable, sustainable and predictable tax system, as one of the important factors of the overall legal security.

Economists: Tax breaks only one in string of necessary economic measures

Economic analysts have welcomed caretaker Finance Minister Zdravko Maric's announcement of tax breaks but they warn that the planned tax changes are only one in a number of measures that need to be implemented to make the national economy more competitive.

EU: Referendum crisis mustn't escalate, Bosnia has to continue with reforms

The EU will not allow that, Wigemark said after a meeting with government officials which was also attended by Director for the Western Balkans at the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Genoveva Ruiz Calavera.

AmCham: Tax reforms to improve competitiveness

The American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia  (AmCham) on Monday proposed a series of measures to improve the economy's competitiveness through tax reforms.

Serbian PM presents reforms in marathon address to parliament

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday announced the stepping up of economic reforms and the downsizing of the public sector in a five-and-a-half hour address to the parliament, which the Opposition likened to speeches from the Soviet era during which deputies were not allowed to go to the toilet.

European Commission pleased with Izetbegovic-Dodik agreement

Izetbegovic responded to criticism on Monday stating that Covic's claims were incorrect and that cantons had not been excluded from participating in the decision-making process that were crucial for European integration.

Albania parliament passes judiciary reform key to EU accession

Albania's governing and opposition parties passed a judicial reform package on Thursday, meeting a condition of the European Union for accession talks with the ex-communist Balkan state, Reuters reported.

Bosnian PM says Serb entity blocking country's integration with EU

"All committed to working actively on that, rather than just paying lip service," Zvizdic said.

Croatia Can Do Better initiative calls for education minister's resignation

This civil society organisations making up the group called on citizens to attend the rallies set for June 1 at 6 pm to "clearly and loudly say that education is a priority for Croatian society."

Brok: Bosnia must meet EU candidate status requirements by July

Brok visited Sarajevo at the helm of a delegation including Croatian members of the European Parliament Tonino Picula and Andrej Plenkovic. They talked about the situation in BiH with its Council of Ministers Chairman Denis Zvizdic.

Reform plan good but was in past too, says analyst

The reforms show that the planned goals and reforms are definitely good but this was the case in past years too, yet Croatia was not successful in implementing the reforms to which it committed, Splitska Banka economist Zdeslav Santic told Hina.

IMF says national reform programme encouraging, sees public debt as big risk

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission said on Tuesday that the Croatian government's national reform programme was encouraging, warning however about the existing risks to the national economy.

PM: Once it sees planned reforms, EC will revise figures upward

Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic has said he is confident that once the European Commission analyses the measures from his cabinet's National Reform Programme, it will improve its forecast for Croatia's economic growth.

HUP sees latest downgrade as warning that reforms are necessary

The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) said that Croatia's downgraded economic growth forecast was the confirmation but also a warning that reforms were necessary and that time was running out.

Judicial reforms to start at commercial courts

In order for changes in the judiciary to facilitate economic recovery, as recently announced by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, the Justice Ministry plans a set of reform measures to be implemented first at commercial courts.

PM says refom package will bring better future to all citizens

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

HGK: Reforms are focused on critical areas

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) says that the National Reform Programme, adopted by the government on Thursday, is focused on areas where reforms are needed the most, ...

PM: Reforms to cut public debt and accelerate growth

Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic on Thursday underscored that the National Reform Programme was aimed at cutting the public debt and accelerating economic growth through 61 reform measures in four key areas.

Government endorses National Reform Plan

The reforms are grouped into four areas: macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability, facilitating doing business and improving the investment climate, public sector efficiency and transparency, and better education for the labour market.

Horvat: Reforms will remove barriers to doing business

The Minister of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Darko Horvat, announced on Tuesday that this week the government would unveil a reform package aimed at creating a legislative framework to remove legal insecurity and administrative barriers to doing business.

Unions against reforms of pension, health care, welfare systems

Economic and Social Council (GSV) president Mladen Novosel said on Monday that, of the ten proposed reforms, the unions objected to those of the pension, health care and welfare systems.

Govt. wants to structurally transform state through reforms in ten areas

The government is expected to submit a document with ten key reform proposals to the European Commission by the end of this month.

Trade unions to organise protest rally on May 1

The SSSH and NHS trade union federations will mark International Workers' Day, May 1, by staging a protest rally against the government's plans to reform the health and pension systems.

Unions to fight pension and health reform measures

The Association of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (SSSH) and Independent Croatian Unions (NHS) on Thursday objected to announced reforms to the pension and health systems, stating that they would fight against the measures that the government has announced in a letter to the European Union.

National reform programme at next govt session

The reform plan is a quality one, Oreskovic said. Perhaps it may not be to some people's liking but I think that the programme is fair, that it is balanced and that it will be to the benefit of Croatian citizens.

Karamarko: Health reforms will not affect poorest citizens

First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko, during Question Time in parliament on Wednesday, refuted speculation that the poorest citizens would be hit by reform measures in the health system.

Round table debate on reforms held in Zagreb

A member of the Economy and Energy Committee in the Budestag, Klaus-Peter Willsch, said that one of the main problems was the fact that there was a belief in Croatia that once the country entered the European Union all problems would be solved.

Municipal officials discuss public administration reforms

"The role of municipalities for the survival of rural areas in Croatia" was the theme of a conference held on April 1-2, gathering municipal officials from around Croatia to discuss reforms in public administration and ways to improve living standards in rural areas.

Proposed 2016 budget not reform-oriented, analysts say

The proposed 2016 budget is not reform-oriented, and genuine reforms might be visible only in the government's economic programme, which the European Commission will assess in May, and in the 2017 budget, analysts say.

PM says EC sends Croatia very positive message

Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic on Wednesday informed a news conference of what the government had done in the past two weeks so that Croatia could avoid European Commission's corrective action over excessive macroeconomic imbalances, ...

Croatian defence minister supports Kosovo reforms

Croatian Defence Minister Josip Buljevic met with Kosovo's state leaders in Pristina on Monday, supporting a reform of Kosovo's security force, the implementation of the Pristina-Belgrade agreement, and Kosovo's Euro-Atlantic integration.

Gov't working meeting analyses implementation of economic recovery measures

A press release notes that the HDZ started its cooperation with the German IFO Institute back in 2014, resulting in the said Programme which, like the Bridge's Reform Plan, actualised the current situation in Croatia.

FIFA approves wide-ranging reform package

Football's beleaguered ruling body FIFA approves a wide-ranging reform package with an overwhelming majority of 89 per cent to restore its credibility in the wake of corruption probes.

Dombrovskis: EC report to confirm "limited progress" of Croatia

The European Commission vice-president for the euro and social dialogue discussed with members of several parliamentary committees the report on macroeconomic imbalances and risks which the Commission is due to release on Friday.

SDP official says guidelines reflect no serious reforms

Social Democrat Party (SDP) parliamentarian Branko Grcic said on Thursday that the government's guidelines for the 2016 budget failed to provide any outlines of reforms which the cabinet of Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic had so far announced.

President calls for implementation of structural reforms

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Tuesday welcomed the positive economic indicators in Croatia, but warned that this trend could not be sustained in the long run without genuine structural reforms.

Political crisis in Ukraine prompts joint German, French visit

The French and German foreign ministers were on their way to Ukraine Monday after publishing a joint editorial saying the country was in urgent need of reforms and calling on politicians to "remain true to the spirit of Maidan."

Public administration minister: Reforms will bring savings

The Croatian government's objective is to conduct reforms so that we have an efficient public administration. The task is very clear, however, achieving it is a little more difficult. We plan to approach that very seriously. 

Institute of Public Finance: Reforms should focus on budget expenditure, public debt

The Institute of Public Finance (IJF) on Tuesday released the publication "To the Government and the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia" recommending all-round and not partial reforms focusing on the expenditure side of the budget and public debt management.

Petrov: Gov't set to enhance networking of public administration

Deputy Prime Minister and Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov has said in an interview to Hina that the new government will be committed to reinforcing the networking of all public administration bodies.

Karamarko positive new gov't will be stable

Asked by reporters in the HDZ headquarters about the prospects of the Oreskovic cabinet, Karamarko said today it would be "a stable government."

Varga: Announced health reforms continuation of outgoing govt's project

Outgoing Health Minister Sinisa Varga on Friday commented on PM-Designate Tihomir Oreskovic's announcement of reforms in public procurement and administration in the health sector ...

Oreskovic says enjoys support of HDZ, Bridge to implement reforms

He said that he had presented his plan to the investors and received support from them. "But most of them wanted to know if I had the support of the political parties for the implementation of the reforms," he added.

Karamarko: It's in everyone's interest for best candidates to be selected

"We are seeking experts and at the moment Croatia deserves the best," Karamarko told reporters after he had met with Prime Minister-Designate Tihomir Oreskovic and Zagreb University Chancellor Damir Boras earlier in the day.

Trade union urges employment growth, better living standards, available quality services

The Croatian trade union federation SSSH on Tuesday sent the next government an open letter, calling on it to focus, aside from current reforms, on employment growth, improving living standards and ensuring quality public and social services.

Karamarko and Petrov to be deputy PMs

Asked what position he would hold in the new government, Petrov said that he would be a deputy prime minister and that Karamarko woud be the first deputy prime minister. 

HDZ chief comments on talks with Bridge on gov't make-up

He underlined that the two sides would also discuss a possibility to merge all public companies into a single consortium, based on the Austrian model, which he said had proven to be good and efficient.

Karamarko: HDZ to present govt. scheme to Bridge on Monday

"The first polls show that he's already won citizens' confidence. Oreskovic is certainly something fresh and I'm glad that we managed to win him over to take this job."

Petrov hopes some reform goals to be attained in 2016

 This will not be easy, but we are ready for challenges. We wish our society let optimism and audacity for the turn for the better run away with it,

HDZ chief for gradual public administration overhaul

"For the reforms to be implemented, it is necessary to have comprehensive solutions. This means that we will not solve a problem by creating a new one."

Oreskovic says is fiscal conservative, political centrist, will choose cabinet after New Year

 "Financially speaking, I'm a fiscal conservative. Businesswise, I'm not for risky moves and experiments. The business world has its laws, rules and standards and I respect them... 

Health union surprised by Bridge's reform measures

"This could only mean one thing - that such an agreement will define some rights that doctors still don't have and other medical workers don't deserve.

Bridge dismisses speculation about health system privatisation

The party said in a statement that it was against the further privatisation of the health system and advocated more entrepreneurial spirit in the health sector.

Oreskovic: I am a patriot, honoured to be given opportunity to help my country

Oreskovic told reporters that he and Bridge members discussed many topics, including the healthcare system and the economy, ways to kick-start the economy, regulations, administration and changes.

Bridge agreeing strategy for negotiations with SDP

"We have always supported him. He's an honest man, a new face in Croatian politics representing change," Ivan Lovrinovic said 

SDP Presidency decides on Bridge's proposal, Karamarko walks out of meeting

Karamarko said that it was difficult for his coalition to sign an agreement with those responsible for "the impoverishment of Croatia over the last four years."

Three blocs mostly agreed on necessary reforms, talks to continue on Monday

The SDP's negotiator Branko Grcic made a similar assessment, while the HDZ's Zeljko Reiner warned that there were a lot of things on which they had not agreed yet.

Chamber of Commerce urges forming gov't, launching reforms

Speaking of the HGK, he said a lot had been done over the past 18 months, including structural reforms "which aren't over yet... We want to make the Chamber a quality service for businessmen."

SDP chief: Talks with Bridge lose sight of reforms, resemble attempt to save HDZ

"I say once again, we are for talks with Bridge, we are not fakes. It's well-known that all of the HDZ's coalition partners are ruined," Milanovic said.

Petrov expects talks with Patriotic Coalition to end in week or two

"Since the SDP (Social Democratic Party) rejected our proposals, we decided to continue the talks with he Patriotic Coalition and we believe we could complete them very quickly," 

Reforms stagnated in 2015, employers slightly optimistic about 2016

HUP president Gordana Deranja said that Croatia was at the end of a year that would overturn a series of negative trends and that it had finally come out of recession and was beginning to see economic growth.

Bridge to continue talks with HDZ coalition, leaves door open to SDP

HNS member Goran Beus Richembergh has said that Bridge's negotiations are a farce and that Bridge and the HDZ are only negotiating about how to divide positions.

HDZ to decide on Bridge's proposal for tripartite government on Monday

After the SDP rejected Bridge's proposal for a grand coalition, the HDZ said on Saturday they had expected that "the anti-reformist SDP will reject Bridge's proposal."

Bridge says neither Milanovic nor Karamarko should be PM-designate

Our position is that neither Mr Milanovic nor Mr Karamarko should be given the mandate to form the new government because we believe that Croatia should take a new course and this entire reform process requires a new person

All three sides to attend cross-party meeting on Monday

"I will attend that meeting and I am willing to talk," Karamarko said after the meeting. "One must talk, we have agreed on that," Karamarko said, adding that no offers were made today.

Petrov says both HDZ and SDP agree with MOST reform proposal

In his brief statement to the press, Petrov said the talks also focused on Bridge's vision of forming a reformist government consisting of representatives of the SDP, the HDZ and Bridge.

Grcic calls on MOST to nominate parliament speaker candidate

"We are ready to support their nominee," Grcic told reporters, adding that in that way the new parliament would be inaugurated and talks on the formation of a new government could continue.

Petrov sends email to MPS and Bridge members

"Unfortunately a lot of things remained only at the level of political dialogue, just as a show for the public," Petrov said.

HDZ and MOST agree on main objectives

Presenting the Patriotic Coalition's 137-page responses, Maletic said the HDZ was satisfied with the negotiations (on a post-election coalition) and with what had been achieved.

Karamarko: HDZ against abolishing of counties, SDP's replies absurd

"Our answers to Bridge are based on our reform platform on which we have been working for the last three years and on which there is a high degree of agreement between us, ...

Karamarko says HDZ responses to MOST reform proposals ready

"I can say what the topic was. The president said, 'Try to agree as much as you can, so that we come out of this time vacuum which is entirely unnecessary,"

SDP coalition: Exclusive economic zone acceptable if in accordance with commitments

The coalition agrees in principle to reducing wage levies, but warns that such reductions should not threaten the health system.

SDP-led coalition responds to Bridge's reform proposals

Croatia today is growing. That's a result of the targeted and planned work of our government and the results of that work are clearly visible in numbers.

Milanovic again offers Petrov office of parliament speaker

That's what Bridge requested. Engaging the best we have, which is indeed the best in Croatia, we responded, adding something too.

Petrov says president wanted for warn about gravity of situation

"In that part of the meeting, (the president) just warned once again that such situations call for responsibility, that the situation is quite difficult,  ...

MOST MP says SDP offered her position in executive authority

"Others in Bridge are being approached too," she said, adding that she had informed the party's president, Bozo Petrov, and spokesman Nikola Grmoja, about the SDP offer.

Karamarko says Milanovic has no right to offer functions

Karamarko told reporters that Petrov responded well to Milanovic's offer by saying that it missed the point and that reforms were the most important thing to Bridge.

HDZ, SDP have until Monday to take official positions on Bridge's proposals

We are fully aware of the difficulty of the process we have launched and which questions the years-long practice of governance which was not focused on Croatia's well-being 

Petrov says Milanovic's offer missing the point

"It seems to us that we are still speaking a different language because the most important thing to Bridge is implementing reforms and reaching a consensus on them, 

Karamarko says has many credible signatures of support

"We must have a strong government with finished programmes and we have them. The economic aspect is very important as is the security aspect,"

Tusk reaffirms support for Bosnia's EU perspective

The European Union is ready to provide assistance in stabilising the situation, Tusk told a press conference after meeting members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency.

Bridge to hold closed-door meeting on Sunday; Prgomet says will attend it

Asked about their possible participation in the government, Grmoja repeated that no political negotiations on that had been conducted yet.

Unions say won't support gov't that reduces workers' rights

The publicly available Bridge documents contain mutually exclusive demands, for example those concerning the second pension pillar, or demands in contravention of the European Union acquis

Negotiator says SDP, MOST agree on 95% of things

"We expect to have harmonised views and to get opinions from both (the SDP and the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ) on all topics, including the said two, ...

HDZ leader says reforms common goal with MOST party

"I'm optimistic because we have prepared, we have been working on this three years. Reforms are our priority," Karamarko said.

Bridge party discussing reforms it will offer to HDZ and SDP

"Negotiators from the HDZ and the SDP will probably also need time to discuss our proposals, but the public will know which of our proposals are on the agenda of the negotiations,"

MOST party to continue to insist on reforms

"We are glad that voters showed how important reforms are to them," Petrov said, adding that he hoped that in the next week or two the two coalitions would accept that "

MOST member urges reforms, says alternative to reforms is bankruptcy

If no radical reforms are launched next year in the monetary and tax systems, public administration and public companies, the system will collapse