Way out of crisis
Josipovic: Croatia at start of road to exit from crisis
President Ivo Josipovic said in an interview for Croatian Radio that Croatia was at the beginning of the road towards the exit from the crisis and that many difficult months and days still lay ahead of the Croatians.
In the interview aired on Monday, President Josipovic said that the exit from the recession required many tough moves, and that the welfare state had to distribute the burden of the crisis in a fair manner so that those with higher affluence should be given larger segments of the burden.
Commenting on the first moves of the cabinet led by Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Josipovic said that everyone had been satisfied with the reduction of the state budget, however, this also had side effects such as lower funds to be spent on education, the military and other social activities.
He went on to say that the government's top priority was to create new jobs and launch investments. With some time passing, these will be the criteria of its successfulness.
Asked whether he was satisfied with the government's course, the president said that the government was just beginning its term and that he was satisfied with the measures for the reduced budget and with new ideas for filling the budget with revenues from contribution and tax payment.
As for the government's decision to okay price rises for electricity and gas, Josipovic said that those should be followed by complementary measures so as to make it easier for the most vulnerable categories.
Asked whether the agreement regulating relations between INA and MOL could be changed to the benefit of the Croatian side, Josipovic said he hoped that the Hungarian partners would embrace an approach leading to fairness and the right of partners to participate on an equal footing in the management of INA, relative to their share in INA's capital.
As for intra-party elections in the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the president said it was important that they were democratic and result in the election of candidates ready to be the opposition and in the future perhaps a successful government.
I would prefer more talk about projects and visions which that party has for Croatia rather than imputations, he said.
As for an anti-Roma incident in the southern town of Skabrnja, Josipovic said that the trend of lack of tolerance was rising in Europe and that there was no justification for that.
He said he was surprised that the "heroic Skabrnja", which was the victim of hatred and crime (committed by Serb insurgents and the Yugoslav People's Army) had contracted "this virus of intolerance". Josipovic expressed hope that such incidents would not recur in that southern Croatian village.
Asked whether there was a possibility for amending the treaty between Croatia and the Vatican, Josipovic answered that such possibilities always existed, however, according to the current assessments, there was no need for such a move.
As for the outcome of Sunday's general elections in Serbia, Josipovic said that the results were as expected, adding that he would like to see the continuation of the trend of improvement of Croatia-Serbia relations.