June 21. 2024. 6:58

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Croatia PM unveils new €1.7 billion relief package

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic presented a new relief package worth €1.7 billion at a meeting behind closed doors of Croatia’s Economic and Social Council (GSV) on Monday.

The new measures are grouped into three main areas, intended to offset the rising cost of energy and record-high inflation, plus a new set of subsidies and incentives, Plenkovic told reporters after the meeting.

The government will continue regulating the prices of natural gas – widely used for heating – as well as electricity prices, until at least the end of September, he added. Some fuel costs will also continue to be subsidised.

Plenkovic did not disclose the exact details of the package, which the government is set to unveil in full on Tuesday, but listed the vulnerable groups which will be covered by this latest set of measures after the meeting.

These include retirees receiving state pensions totalling less than €610 per month, everyone receiving child payments, the unemployed, veterans of the 1991-95 war of independence, fishermen, farmers, and the transport sector. Subsidies will also be provided for investments aimed at improving energy efficiency.

Some 128,000 families and 230,000 children would be entitled to higher child payment claims, the state news agency Hina reported – from €45 per month given to families with a single child, up to €160 for families with five children or more.

In February, September, and December 2022 Plenkovic’s government rolled out a series of measures designed to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, totalling some 26.5 billion kuna (€3.5 billion). These included a mix of tax breaks, increased social benefit payments, and subsidies for energy and fuel costs.

The latest set of measures was also eagerly awaited by local governments throughout the country, as the cost of energy has become a serious burden for their budgets, and lifting the price caps originally imposed in 2022 would have presented a serious risk to their self-sufficiency.

“Our main task is to ensure that we go through this crisis together so that everyone remains standing on their feet,” Plenkovic also told reporters.

(David Spaic-Kovacic | EURACTIV.hr)