OCTOBER 1 2012 21:14h
ZAGREB, Oct 1 (Hina) - President Ivo Josipovic said on Monday that former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader's verbal attack on State Prosecutor Mladen Bajic in a Croatian Television talk show on Sunday had no elements of a crime and voiced confidence that the show, although seriously disputable morally and politically, would not affect the verdict in corruption proceedings against Sanader.
"The judges are professionals and have to be able to deal with such possible influence. I think the verdict will be legal and just regardless of the show," Josipovic said on Croatian Radio when asked if Sanader tried in the interview to square accounts with Bajic before the state prosecutor submits a report to parliament and the first verdict against Sanader is handed down.
Asked if he believed Sanader's claim that Bajic had asked him twice to extend his term of office, Josipovic said he saw nothing "illegal in that if the man ran for office."
As for Sanader's accusation that his successor Jadranka Kosor, by agreeing to the term "junction", had made it possible to cede Croatian territory to Slovenia, to which Sanader would not agree even at the expense of Croatia's accession to the European Union, the president said that was Sanader's assessment.
Josipovic said parliament ratified the border arbitration agreement with Slovenia and that this should be respected.
Asked about Slovenia's insistence on solving the issue of Ljubljanska Banka's debt to former Croatian depositors as a condition for ratifying Croatia's EU Accession Treaty and Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec's statement that Croatia was constantly changing its mind about the debt issue, Josipovic said one should always talk, meet and seek a solution.
Josipovic said he agreed with Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic's statement that Croatia's position on the issue had always been the same and that it would honour everything that had been agreed and signed.
Asked whether Croatia should become the majority shareholder in its oil company INA and how he saw the statement by the majority owner, Hungary's MOL, that the statements by disgruntled Croatian members of INA's board were nationalistic, Josipovic said the public, MOL and politicians were confusing things.
"One question is whether you have a foreign partner in a company. That's still a Croatian company. INA is, regardless of who holds the majority stake, a Croatian company of which the Croatian economy as well as political policy have certain legitimate expectations."
He added that it was legitimate of the Croatian side to think of INA not as a tiny part of MOL but as a big and strong regional company and to encourage such policy. "I absolutely support the indication we received from the government that the national interest to make INA a big, powerful regional company will be ensured through the existing mechanisms."
Asked if a consensus was possible in parliament regarding the Bosnian border, the president said it was good that the Croatian-Bosnian border agreement was in the process of ratification. He said the border issue must be solved and that the ratification process was "an opportunity to decide on borders responsibly and based on facts."
Josipovic said it was important to precisely determine the borders of the former Socialist Republic of Croatia as it transformed into present-day Croatia. He said that if those borders were contained in the Croatian-Bosnian border agreement, "the whole agreement has to be ratified," adding that to change borders would require a two-thirds parliamentary majority.
Asked if the Zoran Milanovic Cabinet had kept in the past ten months any of its election promises on the economic front, Josipovic said, "Ten months isn't even a fourth of the term," praising the output growth and the good rating indicator.
"The government's most important task is to find investments and create jobs," he said, voicing confidence that the Milanovic cabinet wanted to use the mechanisms at its disposal and, first and foremost, to reduce unemployment.
The president supported the announced imposition of property tax, saying "it's just that those who have more should participate more in public needs, taxes and contributions. I'm for such taxes that won't crush taxpayers or economic initiatives."