GOVERNMENT: New State Property Ministry to Manage €3.5 Billion Asset Portfolio   

pxl_251016_145416437 November 2016, VG Intelligence Weekly Issue 29

In mid-October, newly appointed Prime Minister (PM) Andrej Plenkovic presented his Cabinet of 20 ministers to the Croatian Parliament (i.e. Sabor). The final ministerial count came as a surprise to those who had been closely following the negotiation process between PM Plenkovic’s Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and his coalition partner – the Bridge of Independent Lists (MOST). Namely, for several weeks after reaching a partnership deal, sources close to the PM continued to announce the reduction of Croatia’s large government cabinet from 20 ministries to 19. However, in what appeared to be a last minute reshuffle, Plenkovic named Goran Maric as his twentieth Minister without Portfolio. After the PM’s announcement, Maric was quick to explain that his “without portfolio” title was a temporary one. Indeed, during a Government session held on 3 November, the PM confirmed that Maric will head a newly established Ministry of State Property. During the HDZ – MOST post-election negotiations, Maric, an economics professor, parliamentarian, and football (i.e. soccer) referee, was mentioned as a potential Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister. Present (and former) Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic was apparently offered the position of Tourism Minister, which he declined, and it appears that a last minute intervention by President Kolinda Grabar – Kitarovic convinced Plenkovic to retain Butkovic. In the game of post-election chess, Maric will head one of the most important ministries and will manage a portfolio of state-owned assets, roughly valued at € 3.5 billion, including 49 companies considered to be of strategic interest to the state...

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