SEPTEMBER 6 2012 20:23h
ZAGREB, Sept 6 (Hina) - Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic on Thursday rejected criticisms that the government damaged the eastern region of Slavonia with a new statistical division of the country into two regions, telling Slavonians, "May my right arm dry up if we forget Slavonia".
Speaking at the beginning of a government session, he labelled as "malevolent and ominous" accusations that because of the new division Slavonia would get less money from the European Union funds, saying that with such claims "two (political) parties are trying to spite one part of Croatia."
"We won't forget (Slavonia). We will do everything and use all potentials to pull it out of the economic crisis and the crisis of an irresponsible, populist and inflammatory policy which is pushing Slavonia away from the EU."
Milanovic said the division of Croatia into two statistical regions was in its interest and that in the years ahead Croatia would "catch up" with the EU average with enormous funds at its disposal, the drawing of which would depend only on how organised Croatia's politicians were.
Commenting on claims that because of Zagreb the Continental Croatia region would quickly reach 75 per cent of the average European GDP per capita and lose the possibility to use EU funds at favourable terms, Milanovic said Croatia would have to have China's growth rates in the next several years for those unrealistic threats to come true.
"I'm glad our political opponents are such optimists, but that won't happen," he said, telling Slavonia the government would not forget about it.