OREANDA-NEWS Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday that the government was conducting a responsible policy towards the heavily indebted Agrokor food and retail conglomerate, adding that opposition leaders were not up to the required level of political responsibility in present circumstances.

Speaking to reporters after Question Time in Parliament, Plenkovic again dismissed the opposition claims that the law on the emergency administration of systemic companies was designed for Agrokor's founder Ivica Todoric. "I can't see the logic behind such statements," Plenkovic said, adding that opposition lawmakers "have lost the plot".

"(SDP leader) Mr Bernardic seems a bit distracted to me in what he is saying, but that's his responsibility," Plenkovic said, adding that by adopting that law the government had prevented the collapse of the most important conglomerate in the country and all its affiliates and suppliers.

"The fact that the collapse never occurred leaves the impression in the public and among stakeholders that there was never any problem anyway and it wasn't so dramatic," he added. He recalled that at the time the emergency administration was appointed Agrokor had 6 kuna in its account and suppliers had stopped delivering their goods.

Plenkovic said that the government's policy before and during the escalation of the Agrokor crisis was responsible and different from statements made by opposition leaders. "I firmly believe they are simply not up to the level of political responsibility required by the circumstances in which the country has found itself. Their statements and initiatives only contribute to the negative image of the country in the world."

The PM said that the government would continue its agenda, confident that it would achieve good results in the restructuring of Agrokor and ultimately in achieving a settlement. "I expect a detailed discussion on this matter on Friday," he said.

On Friday, Parliament is expected to vote on the opposition motion for no confidence in the government for its handling of the Agrokor crisis.

Responding to questions from reporters, Plenkovic said that the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds would issue a statement after Minister Gabrijela Zalac was accused that she had intended to award a HRK 10 million project to an acquaintance of hers through a direct deal before the procedure was suspended.

Asked to comment on the minister's behaviour in this case, Plenkovic said that Minister Zalac would explain what that was about.

Media say that the State Commission for Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures has upheld an appeal by the King ICT company and quashed the decision by Minister Zalac to award, without opening a public procurement tender, a HRK 10 million project to the Razvojna Platforma and Micro Projekt, whose executive and management board member Mladen Simunac has been an acquaintance of Zalac for years.

"As far as I know, if the State Commission for Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures made the decision, it means that no reimbursements were made. Sometimes procedures are conducted based on an open call and sometimes directly through negotiations, depending on what is offered. We should see the details, and I believe the minister and the ministry will provide an explanation of what this is about," Plenkovic said.

Zalac dismissed the media reports, saying that negotiations in this case were carried out "strictly in accordance with the public procurement law after a market analysis found that this was the best solution," Zalac told a press conference.