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Referendum Initiative Ends: ‘Thanks People, We Saved our Motorways’

MsIt looks as if Croatia will go to the polls to decide whether or not the nations motorway should be privately leased out…

The referendum initiative ‘We are not giving away our motorways’ against the government monetizing 1,017 kilometres of motorways which was launched two weeks ago ended this weekend, and according to organiser Mijat Stanić, it looks like enough signatures have been gathered to force a referendum.

“Thanks people. We have saved our motorways. Thanks to all the volunteers who patiently collected signatures from the first to the last-minute, despite the weather, pressure and sometime abuse,” said Stanić.

The government last year engaged a consultancy firm to assess monetization possibilities for the motorways due to the large debt the state-owned company operating them are in. A tender was proposed, which will be offered for between 30 and 50 years, and would go for between 2.5 and 3 billion euros to a private outfit. The concession would include the sections; Bregana – Zagreb – Lipovac, Zagreb – Split – Ravca, Zagreb – Rijeka, and Zagreb – Gorican.

Earlier this month Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović said that the state-owned motorway operators were in debt to the tune of over 4 billion euros, and in reality Croatia did not own the motorways, but they belonged to the foreign banks which issued the loans to build it. Milanović said that a lump sum obtained from a 30-50 year concession on the motorways would go to paying back the majority of debt, instead of paying long-term interest payments for the next 25 years to the banks. (Facebook)

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