The Croatian parliament has passed new laws to liberalise the energy sector in advance of a planned privatisation programme. The five energy laws will create a legal framework for the reform of the energy sector, rendering it compatible with European Union regulations. The new legislation will also facilitate the privatisation of the country’s two main energy companies, the electricity utility HEP and the oil and gas concern Ina. The sale of the two companies, the largest in the country, will be carried out with help from foreign advisers hired by the government.

Croatian consumers pay around 40 per cent less than other consumers in Western Europe for energy but the government denies privatisation will push prices up. However both companies are currently losing money as a result of government control of the prices of electricity and fuel.