Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Minister of Maritime, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković and Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak were in Bjelovar today. They attended celebrations marking the city’s day, the Day of Bjelovar Veterans and a ceremonial session of the City Council. After the session, the Prime Minister made a statement and answered questions from journalists.
Conveying congratulations on the City Day, he said that he was glad that the ceremonial session focused on the achievements made so far for a better life for the people in Bjelovar.
Integration of Bjelovar with Zagreb
“I believe that all projects that are well prepared in the coming years will help the development of Bjelovar. The expressway is particularly important and will finally be completed by the end of our Government's term. Thus, Bjelovar will finally be integrated with Zagreb, which will also contribute to economic integration. The road, which is worth 400 million kuna, will continue to Virovitica, which is one of our traffic priorities,” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
He added that the North project will be worth 15 billion kuna over the next seven years, and will enable all counties in northwestern Croatia to develop better and provide better connectivity, and boost the economy.
“We will help resolve the issue of completion of the General Hospital in Bjelovar, projects related to tourism, geothermal springs,” said the Prime Minister listing the projects, adding that Minister Nataša Tramišak will today hand over documents on 11 million kuna provided by the Government for their co-financing.
“Regional development policy is one of our strongest and most successful policies. This is being demonstrated here in Bjelovar as well,” said Plenković.
On post-earthquake reconstruction
When asked how much space the Government has to help Zagreb in infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Plenković said that today they made the decision to give Zagreb an interest-free loan of 150 million kuna.
“This is liquidity assistance to the capital of Croatia, given the obligations, given the difficulties,” said the Prime Minister and pointed out that the capital is extremely important to them.
“I think that cooperation in these past few months with all departments is very good. There are no open issues,” he added.
He did not want to talk about the head of the Reconstruction Fund, Damir Vanđelić.
“I have nothing to add. You have Minister Darko Horvat in charge of reconstruction. It is important to me that Zagreb and the Banovina are renewed and that the Law is adopted as soon as possible. Everyone should do their job, not deal with other topics,” said the prime minister.
The prime minister also declined to answer questions about the Supreme Court's leadership, saying he did not know what President Zoran Milanović said about it today.
On the visa-free regime with the United States
“I think it is great news, dedicated work and success of the Government. Finally, after a number of years, we have come below 3% on denied US visas. We belong to the countries that the United States says are their reliable, correct and responsible partners in terms of security,” said the Prime Minister.
He is sure that this will lead to a growth in trade with the USA, and he also thinks that it is very good for the path to the Schengen regime.
The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
“My policy and the policy of the Government are partnership and quality relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. We show Croatia's commitment to closer and better connections with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our position is not from yesterday or the day before yesterday,” he said.
“There are three important points, three images of the international community towards Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is a picture of the international community from 1995. It happened after the Republic of Croatia helped liberate parts of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina with its actions. Other pictures follow. Like images of the international community through the verdicts in the Sejdić-Finci case. There is also a third international community, when you no longer have any actors who remember that period and who know who was who. Now some other actors are leading this issue and trying to find a solution. We oppose the trivialization and simplification that goes from Dayton to Brussels,” pointed out the Prime Minister.
When asked by journalists about the situation in Kosovo, the Prime Minister said that the situation in Kosovo needs to be de-escalated.
On EU money
Asked about statements of some politicians that Croatia received the most money from the EU because it is the poorest member, he said that these were people who did not give anything on Croatia's path to the EU from 1992 to July 1, 2013.
“If we had actors like these, we would not have entered the EU for another 150 years and would have remained somewhere in the mud and no one would have known about us,” said Plenković.
“That's the difference we're going bring out into the open. It is good to have actors now advocating a false referendum on the euro with some odd question that is inherently ridiculous. Let's see what people on the political scene in Croatia think, let me see who it is. For example, those from Zagreb, the “We can” party, they don't know if they are for the euro or not, they are not sure, but they don't know, they should learn a little more about it. As for the Social Democratic Party, let's hear whether you are for or not,” said Plenković.
He added that now is the moment when we need to see who, in the moments after overcoming the crisis, provided the state with 25 billion euros in grants for a whole decade, and who are those who "might not want Schengen tomorrow, would not want the Euro, and believe visas are not a big deal?"
“We have a debate that is bizarre to say the least,” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
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