MOST Opens Negotiations with HDZ and SDP
On 17 November, the Bridge of Independent Lists (MOST) opened the first round of negotiations to form a new government; the discussions were held with the centre-right Patriotic Coalition, led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and the Croatia is Growing coalition, led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The first round of meetings addressed the judiciary and entrepreneurship, local government administration, agriculture, etc. MEP Ivana Maletic (HDZ) stated there were no unacceptable points, since they all focused on entrepreneurship, which is crucial to the HDZ programme. Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport, and Infrastructure, Sinisa Hajdas Doncic (SDP), said they agreed on 95% of issues, adding that some of the requirements could not be fulfilled immediately.
The focus of the second round of negotiations was on local self-government. While SDP agreed to MOST’s request for the reduction of the number of counties, HDZ decided to leave that question open.
In the third round of negotiations (20 November), the parties discussed the areas of agriculture, energy and environmental protection. MOST advocates VAT reduction to 10% on domestic agricultural products and production materials, VAT reduction to 5% on organic production, as well as establishing an agro-bank. Deputy PM and Regional Development and EU Funds Minister, Branko Grcic (SDP), said that they discussed the possibility of forming a special agricultural department within the Croatian National Bank (HNB).