Another Government cabinet session was held at the National and University Library. At the beginning, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković spoke about a package of measures to mitigate the growth of energy prices, and then addressed other issues including economic growth and coronavirus measures.
The package of measures to mitigate the growth of energy prices
At the beginning of the Government session, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković spoke about a package of measures to mitigate the growth of energy prices.
“Due to the increase in energy prices on the global market, unlike many citizens of EU countries, Croatian citizens have not felt a significant increase in energy. At the end of the year, electricity prices rose by over 30% and gas prices by over 70%, which was not the case in Croatia. However, due to the increasing price of gas and electricity, which should happen after April 1st or earlier, we have said that the Government will react and adopt a package of measures, a strong package that works in several departments and mitigates the impact on the standard of living of citizens due to rising energy prices. We also reacted to fuel prices. We have prepared a comprehensive package, its presentation will be in the middle of next week,” said the Prime Minister.
This package of measures will be related to expanding the scope and increasing the amount of social transfers to the most vulnerable groups in society, social institutions and retirees. The measures will ensure that the growth of electricity and gas prices, which unfortunately we will not be able to avoid completely, will be as small as possible. The Croatian Electric Company HEP will play a significant role in this and a number of aspects of tax relief are being prepared in this context,” added Plenković saying that that they spoke about this in general with unions, representatives of the Croatian Employers Association, The Croatian Chamber of Economy, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, and considered possible compensation measures and subsidies.
“The package will be generous, it will be strong and I believe that it will maximally protect the most endangered, but also the overall costs of our households from April 1st. It will also take into account entrepreneurs, pensioners and farmers,” emphasized Plenković.
The Prime Minister also referred to the GDP. He said we will have double-digit GDP growth this year.
“In 2022, the estimate for Croatia was reduced from 5.6% to 4.8% in 2022, and from 3.4 to 3% in 2023. According to the forecasts of the European Commission, Croatia would be the second fastest growing economy in the EU after Ireland (13.7%) with a real rate of 10.5%. We would have a twice as high GDP growth rate than the European Union average, which is estimated at 5.3%. Estimates are far above initial expectations. Our GDP in 2021 returned to levels above 2019, above pre-crisis times. Commodity exports increased by 26.5%, which is the third largest in the EU, behind Greece and Estonia,” said Plenković.
He said that we expect dynamic growth of 4.8% this year and added that investment activity will increase due to growing demand, accelerating post-earthquake reconstruction activities and implementing the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. In 2023, economic growth is expected to converge slightly to 3%, he added.
“With growth rates in all three years 2021, 2022, and 2023, looking cumulatively, Croatia would achieve the second highest real growth rate of 19.3% in those three years and would be immediately behind Ireland which would have 25.4%, while GDP growth for the EU is projected at 12.6% over the three-year period,” said Plenković.
Božinović: The headquarters will carefully analyze the possible dynamics of easing measures
The Head of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that, with increasing confidence, a weakening of the new wave cause by the omicron variant of the virus can be talked about, which caused a big increase in cases and at one point threatened to overburden the healthcare system.
“We analyze the situation every day, if such trends continue, with special monitoring of the health system, the headquarters will carefully analyze the possible dynamics of easing measures, or creating conditions for coexistence with the virus which is believed could remain in the community for a long time. In that sense, it will be of great importance to work on educating citizens and making recommendations on ways to effectively protect each individual, with emphasis on increased caution on the part of those who fall into risk groups for various reasons,” said Božinović.
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