President Milanović at Association of Croatian Trade Unions ceremony: Inflation concerns me most

17. March 2023.

“Inflation is what concerns me most, because it is partly caused by the war in Ukraine, but basically it is the monetary policy and all that has happened in the past ten years – money practically becomes free and available to everyone, and then its value is like all else that is readily available”, the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović stated today at the 30th anniversary ceremony of the foundation of the Association of Croatian Trade Unions.

“Your union is a public sector union, one to which each government wants to be a good employer. Nobody from the position of public authority starts with the intention to harm public sector employees. In some periods it is easier, in others harder, yet in others impossible”, President Milanović told representatives of the third largest union headquarters in Croatia that encompasses 10 unions with more than 60,000 members in healthcare, preschool education, primary and secondary school education, science and higher education, justice, pension insurance and bank activities.

In his address President Milanović recalled the period of the past decade and the financial crisis during which certain acquired rights had to be abolished. “It was terrible because money was expensive. Credit rating agencies cut our salaries and told us how suitable, convenient and safe we are as those who take a loan. It was very soon evident that the criteria of the credit rating agencies were arbitrary. That has changed, this government is living the whole time in a period when money is unbelievable cheap”, the President noted, and underlined that inflation has returned after a number of years in which there was no inflation.

Speaking of inflation during socialism, he said that it was destroying people who lived off their salary. “In that social system of ownership, the ones who lived off their salary, the teacher, the doctor, the judge, the civil servant, were vulnerable and faced continuous rising inflation”, the President stated, and reminded that since 1993 when Croatia adopted its counter-recession stabilization programme and fixed its currency of the time the Croatian dinar, lived with no inflation.

“We have forgotten what that looks like. And now after so many years and for the first time in the more recent Croatian state history we have an inflation of over 10%. When you have free money, when the interest rate is such that everybody can get a loan, then it is easier than ever to take out a loan, it is simpler than ever for the state”, President Milanović explained, and mentioned that inflation is not the same in all of Europe not even in the euro area, which is a specific phenomenon that speaks of the imbalance and inequality among the states.

In conclusion, he told members of the Association of Croatian Trade Unions that they have to impose themselves, seek justice and their rights, and wished them mutual understanding in their negotiations with the government. “Fight more and be persistent, but in the end realize that the government has its limits and that it would prefer to give you everything, but it cannot”, President Milanović stated.

Also speaking at the ceremony besides President Milanović and the president of the Association of Croatian Trade Unions Sanja Šprema were the president of the Independent Trade Unions of Croatia Krešimir Sever, the president of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia Mladen Novosel, the director general of the Croatian Employers’ Association Irena Weber, the president of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Bosnia and Herzegovina Selvedin Šatorović, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Education Ivica Šušak, the Deputy Mayor of Zagreb and delegate of the City of Zagreb Danijela Dolenec, and the Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy and delegate of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament and the Prime Minister Marin Piletić.

Alongside President Milanović was the Special Adviser for the Economy Velibor Mačkić.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Dario Andrišek