The association of retailers with the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) said on Tuesday they were "unpleasantly surprised" by threats coming from Economy Minister, Davor Filipovic, calling on him to "name the culprits who are manipulating prices, instead of stigmatizing the entire sector."
“We are unpleasantly surprised by the threats from the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Davor Filipovic, who declared the whole retail sector, which employs nearly 200,000 workers, unfair at today’s meeting,” HUP said.
Speaking to the press after meeting with representatives of retail chains and associations on Tuesday, Filipovic said that increasing prices because of the changeover to the euro was unacceptable and that the government would do all in its power to protect the living standards of Croatian citizens. He said that all options were on the table, from black lists to a price freeze on a wide range of products.
HUP said that the Euro Adoption Act clearly set out rules for converting prices from kuna to euro and that speculations on the part of retailers were not possible. It said that all retailers had consistently complied with the rounding formula.
The HUP retailers said they could not agree to their entire sector being stigmatised and called on the government to name and sanction individuals for violating the rules. They said that prices had been on the rise in Croatia over the past year and a half not because of the changeover to the euro but because of the COVID-19 crisis and the Ukraine war.
HUP said that the continued rise in prices was due to price changes by producers and distributors, noting that the inflationary effect on food prices was around 20%. It also noted that retailers had not changed their margins in the last year and a half.
“Retailers are ready to talk with the government about further measures in fighting together against growing inflation,” HUP said.
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