Croatian lawmakers adopted the 2020 budget on Thursday with 80 lawmakers voting in favor of the bill, 41 against, and one abstaining.
The government bill envisages 145 billion kuna in revenues and 147 billion kuna in expenditures, with most government agencies receiving an increase in funding.
The budget was drafted under the assumption that Croatia's economy will grow at a rate of 2.5% in 2020.
The government expects a 6.7% increase in revenues from the 2019 budget, 5.4% more than the 2019 budget revision, which was also adopted by the parliament today.
The government expects to spend five percent more in 2020 than it planned to do in 2019. The budget gap in 2020 is projected at 2.15 billion kuna, around 0.5% of GDP.
The leader of the HDZ in the Sabor, Branko Bačić, said on Thursday that the budget vote showed ruling majority was strong and unified, adding that he did not share the view that the budget did not include the demands of striking teachers.
“I don't think the budget excludes education-sector workers' demands for a six percent wage increase because the government did secure funds for an increase. You would not be able to tell from the budget if it refers to an increase in the base salary or an increase in the job complexity coefficient because the total amount is as demanded by unions and next year each teacher and employee in the education sector will get a wage increase," said Bačić.
Opposition MPs disagreed and expressed disappointment that the demands of teachers were not met.
“No, the rights of educators were not built into the budget, but their rights certainly were. They care more about that and staying in power for another year, than they do about teachers,” said SDP MP Arsen Bauk.
“The government clearly made the assessment that this was the maximum it could give. We insisted, and this is included in the budget, as agreed, that teachers get the 2% starting July 1st, if their salary coefficients are not revised by then,” said Milorad Batinić of the People’s Party, a member of the ruling coalition, referring to the deal the government offered teachers, but was turned down by unions on Wednesday.