17:54 / 17.02.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

Prime Minister Plenković meets with EC President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković

Foto: HTV / HRT

“At a meeting with EC President Ursula Von Der Leyen, we discussed Croatia's path to Schengen, the Eurozone and the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in Brussels. He also confirmed that the EC will extend the deadline for using money for reconstruction until June 2023, and said that reconstruction work must be intensified.

Invitation to the leaders of parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach an agreement

“The position of the Croatian side is clear that additional efforts must be made in order to reach an agreement between the political parties,” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. He called on Bosniak and Croat parties to make further efforts to reach an agreement on the election law in order to go to the next elections with a fair law that will allow for legitimate representation. He said that Croatia is a friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina and wants to see that country in the European community.

Regarding talks on reconstruction after the earthquakes in Zagreb and Petrinja and the 683 million euros we received for the reconstruction of Zagreb from the European Solidarity Fund and 319 million for the reconstruction of Banovina - the Prime Minister reiterated that Croatia found itself in a specific situation in which two big earthquakes occurred in a nearby area causing progressive damage, in the midst of the COVID pandemic.

“With the arguments I presented to the President of the EC, she concluded in good faith, and that is the position of the Commission - to join the deadlines for the reconstruction of Banovina and Zagreb and that it be June 2023,” said Plenković. “Despite the ‘doubting Tomas’ the issue is now resolved,” he added.

Intensifying the work of Horvat, Beroš, Fuchs, Obuljen Koržinek ...

“We have a position here, quality relations, reputation, but also objective reasons that have put us in a situation where part of the funds in the short term may not be able to use. We opened the space to use it all. Now that means intensifying the work – this includes Minister Horvat, Beroš, Fuchs and Obuljen-Koržinek. The city of Zagreb is also a great responsibility. There are enough funds. I am sure that the funds will be used,” the Prime Minister said, saying: "I expect all departments to get down to business."

Responding to a journalists' statement that European rules regarding spending are very strict and the question of which arguments were "decisive" in merging the two funds into one, Plenković reiterated - two earthquakes, progressive damage and the COVID pandemic. The Commission agreed that it was a matter of force majeure and the issue was resolved.

We recall that the European Commission will extend the deadline for Croatia to use the funds of the Solidarity Fund for repairing the damage from the earthquake in Zagreb until June 2023. This is an amount of 5.1 billion kuna intended for the construction renovation of public buildings, which was to be spent by mid-June or would remain unused.

Strive to avoid conflict

Plenković also reported that an informal meeting of the European Council was held on the security situation in Ukraine and relations between Russia and the West.

Macron, Sholz and Morawiecki informed us about the activities, and the key message of the meeting is 'give space to negotiations, strive for de-escalation and avoid conflict or aggression against Ukraine at all costs',” said Plenković and emphasized respecting the sovereignty of each country according to international law and further assistance to Ukraine.

The security situation in Eastern Europe is being discussed in Brussels today. 30 defense ministers gathered at a NATO meeting. Also in Brussels are 40 leaders of African countries and 27 European ones who, over the next two days, will try to place relations between the two continents on a firmer foundation.

Source: HRT

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