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European Commission says INA stake limit is against EU rules - wire

The European Commission on Wednesday said that a Croatian bill limiting the stake held in oil and gas company INA by shareholders other than the state to 49% was not in line with European Union rules, Croatian news agency Hina reported on Wednesday.

Our services have analysed the bill and found that the bill in its present form does not comply with EU legislation, and we expect our Croatian partners to take this into consideration, Hina quoted the Enlargement Commissioner's spokesman Peter Stano as saying in Brussels.

Stano welcomed the fact that the Croatian authorities had consulted the Commission before passage of the bill, the agency said.

Amendments to the INA Privatisation Act were proposed for a limited period of time pending completion of the trial of former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, who is suspected of receiving EUR 10m in bribes from Hungarian peer MOL in return for making it possible for MOL to secure a dominant position in the Croatian company and to divest its unprofitable natural gas business, Hina said.

MOL owns a 47.26% stake in INA. The Croatian government holds 44.84%.