Croatian Opposition MPs Quit Parliament Over Handling of ‘Gas Affair’

The headquarter of Hrvatska Elektroprivreda, HEP. Photo: EPA/ANTONIO BAT

"We want a session of parliament, we are not going on vacation until this gas affair is fully resolved. If you decide to ignore our request, we will leave parliament and will not take part in votes," said MP Marija Selak Raspudic from Most (The Bridge) party, after almost all opposition clubs insisted on an additional session.

Parliament speaker Gordan Jandrokovic answered the opposition demands by setting out the conditions needed to meet them. "If you collect 76 signatures, and if an additional session is called by the government or the President, there are rules, and I'll follow them," he said.

The affair concerns massive state purchases of gas, which then had to be re-sold at a lower price, causing a big loss to the budget.

The war in Ukraine has caused a crisis in the global energy market, and many countries, including Croatia, adopted measures to protect the most vulnerable social categories such as households, hospitals and schools.

In September 2022, the government passed a decree on avoiding disturbances in the domestic energy market, empowering the state-owned power utility Hrvatska Elektroprivreda, HEP, to purchase gas from the semi-state-owned oil company INA at a fixed price.

HEP bought gas from INA at a rate of 47.60 euros per MWh. But HEP continued to buy more gas, even when it filled up its storages. The surplus then had to be re-sold at a lower price than the purchase price, in some cases for as little as one cent per MWh.

There is still no official data on how big a loss was caused by such trading but the weekly magazine Nacional put the figure at up to 200 million euros.

Minister of Interior Davor Bozinovic on...

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