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S.O.S Adriatic tells Minister of Economy: Let the citizens decide or resign!
Activists from the S.O.S. Adriatic coalition staged a protest today (June 17th 2015) in Zagreb during a conference on the country’s energy future. Activists hung large banners with messages “Don’t spOIL the Adriatic”, “Go solar, not fossil” and “Minister of Dirty Affairs”.
They also offered mock “sardines in crude oil” to the attendees of the conference. The conference was attended by the Croatian Minister of Economy, Ivan Vrdoljak, who is responsible for the implementation of the project of oil drilling in the Adriatic Sea.
“Mr. Vrdoljak has been continuously ignoring appeals from our citizens, tourists from other countries, public figures and experts to suspend signing the harmful contracts with the oil companies. We demand a referendum on this issue – the future of our tourism and our country is at stake. Otherwise, we demand his resignation,” said Zoran Tomić, the head of Greenpeace in Croatia, on behalf of the coalition S.O.S. for Adriatic.
The S.O.S. for the Adriatic coalition claims that the signing of the contracts before the referendum, which was announced by Prime Minister Milanović, would mean blackmail of Croatian citizens. Namely, if the disputed contracts are signed, and citizens in a referendum stand against the exploration and exploitation of oil in the Adriatic, the tax payers will be imposed to pay damages to oil companies. In a recent survey, as much as 74% of people said they would like to decide about the future of the Adriatic, which means that by ignoring these facts the Minister could cause direct damage to the state budget.
“The Ministry of Economy and the Agency for Hydrocarbons claim that oil exploitation is the path towards economic growth and energy independence. However, drilling for oil in the Adriatic represents a direct risk to tourism, fisheries, the environment and people, while the uncertain earnings from oil would be 100 times lower than the secure income from tourism. Tourists perceive Croatia as a destination of natural beauty and innocence, so we should not gamble with such richness for profit of a small number of people, of which the average citizen has a lot more harm than good,” concluded Luka Tomac from Zelena akcija (Green Action), member of the coalition S.O.S. Adriatic.