Zagreb - The Croatian parliament on Tuesday adopted the state budget for 2023, the state's most important financial document geared towards alleviating the consequences of the economic crisis, maintaining economic growth and development and preserving social security.
The budget was supported by 77 MPs while 50 voted against it.
The first Croatian budget in euros is the seventh budget of the government led by Andrej Plenković.
Budget revenue is expected to amount to close to €25 billion, while expenditure is planned to total €26.7 billion, with the general government deficit set at €1.6 billion or 2.3% of GDP.
Next year inflation is expected to slow down from this year's 10.4% to 5.7%.
Tax revenue is expected to amount to €13.3 billion, an increase of 4.8%. Most tax revenue is expected to come from VAT, in the amount of €9.1 billion. Revenue from special taxes and excise taxes is projected to amount to €2.2 billion, while profit tax revenue is expected to amount to €1.6 billion.
The increased budget expenses reflect the government's policy, geared towards further enhancing the quality of social care and support to the most vulnerable groups, sustainability of the pension system, continuation of demographic measures and continuation of post-earthquake reconstruction.
Ten amendments put forward by MPs adopted
Also adopted were ten amendments proposed by MPs of the parliamentary majority and opposition MPs, worth €9.5 million, including one worth one million euros and proposed by SDP MP Sabina Glasovac for free menstrual products in schools and shelters for women victims of violence, and one by Marina Opačak Bilić (Social Democrats), who sought additional funding for the prevention of youth violence, worth €150,000.
Funding intended for the implementation of family and population policy measures was increased to €758,000 owing to an amendment put forward by Romana Nikolić (Social Democrats).
MP: Budget benefits state and government, not citizens
Nine party groups and 29 MPs initially put forward 428 amendments to the budget, of which 58 were invalid.
With the exception of the ten amendments that were adopted, all the others were rejected both by the government and the parliament.
The Opposition was angry about it and reiterated its objections in the parliament today.
SDP MP Peđa Grbin said the budget benefitted the government and the state but not the citizens.
He said that the budget did not guarantee that wages and pensions would go up next year or that social benefits would increase.
Grbin noted that the biggest problem was the fact that anti-inflation aid measures would expire at the end of March and that the budget did not envisage any aid schemes beyond that deadline.
The budget was increased by €20 billion, of which only one billion is intended for higher wages and pensions, he said.
That means that citizens should prepare for a drop in wages and pensions and lower living standards, he said.
The Opposition also objects that the 2023 budget does not envisage any serious reforms.
HDZ MP: 2023 will be challenging, gov't has created right measures
The budget does not bring anything new but further borrowing in the amount of €1.8 billion, said Marijan Pavliček (HS), noting that his "late grandfather would handle state finances better than this government."
He also stressed that the European Commission was enabled to borrow "in our name." "You are now allowing Brussels to do what Belgrade used to do," he said.
Bridge party MPs reiterated dissatisfaction with the rejection of their amendments intended for the earthquake-struck Banovina region, criticising Petrinja Mayor Magdalena Komes (HDZ) of voting against her own town by voting against Bridge's amendments.
HDZ MP Grozdana Perić dismissed the opposition's objections, stressing that the 2023 budget was designed to alleviate the consequences of the crisis and maintain economic growth and social security.
We are one of the few countries that has economic growth, in 2023 we will enter the euro area, we are reducing imbalances, she said.
Next year will be challenging but the government's fiscal policy measures are appropriate, she said.