Monday, 16 May 2022

Milanović Sees Constitutional Court's Decision as Coup D'Etat

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Monday that the Constitutional Court's ruling on the Bridge party's two referendum questions was "trampling on the Constitution and an act of a coup d'etat!".

Earlier on Monday, the Constitutional Court concluded that the questions in the two referendum petitions launched by the opposition Bridge party - to abolish mandatory COVID passes and transfer the powers of the national COVID response team to Parliament - failed the test of constitutionality. 

"What these ten judges did today is a coup d'etat. That court needs to be abolished by a referendum so they can see what the will of the people means when 400,000 people consciously sign a petition. They dared check the mental state and sobriety of 400,000 Croatian citizens who clearly called for amendments to the Constitution," President Milanović said in the town Petrinja.

Milanović recalled that former President Ivo Josipović gathered constitutional experts in 2015 to recommend changes to the Constitution and that one of them was that the notion of epidemic should be entered into the Constitution.

The current president added that today that issue is no longer relevant because the epidemic has passed.

"The Constitutional Court does not have the right to question the constitutionality of the question to amend the Constitution if conditions stipulated by Articles 86 and 87, paragraph 3 are met regarding the number of signatures. That has been met! The Constitutional Court needs to be informed of that. Anyone who requests the opinion is violating the Constitution and that is the parliament belonging to the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) ," said Milanović.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Leaders of 3 Minor Croat Parties Support Milanović's Policy for Croats in BiH

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - The leaders of three Croat parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Monday supported President Zoran Milanović's policy considering the issues burdening Croats in that country, including his idea to block Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO unless the election law in BiH is amended.

Earlier on Monday Milanović called on representatives of Croats in BiH to clearly state if they agree with his policy so that he can continue pursuing it.

"I support President Milanović's policy and call on institutions in Croatia to help in finding a solution to the Croat issue in BiH and to take all the necessary steps, regardless of how difficult they may be," the leader of the HDZ 1990, Ilija Cvitanović told the web news portal.

He added that this was a 'historic moment' for Croats in BiH and that it has to be utilized.

The leader of HSS BiH, Mario Karamatić posted on Facebook that he can see "the point, interest and advantage' in what Milanović is doing and asked that he continued doing so.

"Mr. President, please do not give up from us too, like many others who have done so for whatever reason," Karamatić wrote.

Leader of the Republican Party Slaven Raguž said that "over the past 15 days, Zoran Milanović has done more to internationalize the Croat issue in BiH than HDZ has in the past 20 years."

Milanović has been repeating for days that Croatia should block Finland and Sweden's accession to the alliance until the election law in BiH is amended in an attempt to prevent the more numerous Bosniaks to outvote Croats in that country at the October election.

However, Croatia's Prime Minister and leader of the HDZ, Andrej Plenković, has accused Milanović's rhetoric saying that it has damaged attempts for an agreement to be reached over the election reform.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

ZSE Indices Slide

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices slid 0.2% on Monday amid cautious trading.

The Crobex decreased by 0.22% to 2,077 points and the Crobex10 by 0.25% to 1,238 points.

The industry index saw the biggest decline, of 0.96%, while the construction index rose by as much as 15.13%, thanks to a jump in the price of the stock of the Institut IGH construction company by nearly 28%, to HRK 110 per share.

Regular turnover amounted to HRK 5.8 million, or HRK 1.1 million less than on Friday.

The only stock with the one million kuna turnover mark was that of the Croatian Postal Bank (HPB), which turned over HRK 1.14 million, closing at HRK 910 per share, down 0.55%.

Forty-one stocks traded on the ZSE today, with 16 registering share price increases, 15 recording price decreases and 10 remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.526206)

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Croatia Airlines and Lufthansa Technik Continue 30-Year Cooperation

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - Croatia Airlines (CA) and the German aircraft maintenance company Lufthansa Technik celebrated 30 years of successful cooperation in Zagreb on Monday, and that cooperation is continuing and soon a new two-year contract will be signed.

By combining the strengths of employees and professional knowledge from both companies, excellence in technical aircraft maintenance has been reached, which is recognised by our partners across the world. As a result, Croatia Airlines' Technical Sector has become a center of excellence in which the most demanding technical services are provided to domestic and foreign aircraft, said the president of CA management board, Jasmin Bajić.

He said that Lufthansa Technik was a world leader in its field and that CA experts had so far conducted over 210 major inspections of Lufthans aircraft, all of which had begun with the first CA flight to Frankfurt in 1992, when CA procured three aircraft from Lufthansa, also signing a technical support contract for the aircraft.

In addition to that cooperation, in 2001 CA obtained a JAR 145 certificate for an independent base and line maintenance of foreign aircraft at the Zagreb technical center, at Zagreb's airport, where they have three hangars, and their work didn't stop even during the pandemic, when they signed an addendum to all contracts with Lufthansa.

Lufthansa Technik Vice President for Corporate Sales for EMEA, Kai Roepke, also said the cooperation was extremely successful, adding that it was a great example of international cooperation.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Const. Court President Calls On Everyone to Respect Court Decisions

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - Constitutional Court Chief Justice Miroslav Šeparović said on Monday that the court's decision on the Bridge party's referendum initiative related to COVID crisis management was not the defeat of that court, and called on everyone advocating the rule of law to respect court decisions.

"This is by no means the Constitutional Court's defeat but it is in line with what the Constitution envisages and that is for the Constitutional Court to decide if a referendum question is in line with the Constitution. I call on everyone who advocates the rule of law to respect the court's decisions. Referendum initiatives are legitimate and for signatures to be collected but the Constitution says that the Constitutional Court decides on constitutionality," underscored Šeparović.

Šeparović said that it was only the Bridge that was trying to exert pressure through the media on this judicial institution and neither the ruling parties nor the opposition tried to pressurize the court. The court president underscored that pressure can never bring any results.

"The court delivered its ruling within the prescribed deadline of 30 days," he added, in reference to the Bridge's accusations that the court failed to hand down the rulings within the timeframes.

"The stories about politicking are old and always come to the fore when someone is not satisfied with a court decision," he added.

Šeparović explained that the Bridge party did not tell citizens exactly what would happen if the referendum managed to amend the Constitution the way the party had requested.

"They probably went toward legitimate political objectives, but they went about it in the wrong way." 

"They claimed that if the Constitution were to be amended the way they wanted then the parliament would have to decide by a two-third majority but they also kept the word that it 'could.' As such, nothing would have changed with the proposed constitutional amendment which in itself is not contrary to the Constitution but is contrary to the rule of law because you cannot tell citizens to go to a referendum and amend the Constitution, but there is no point to do so because the Sabor will not have to decide by a two-thirds majority," said Šeparović.

Šeparović did not wish to speculate why the Bridge launched the referendum initiative and whether they had sought advice in that regard. "They probably had legitimate political objectives but went about it the wrong way," he said.

Šeparović on plans for new law on abortion

Asked whether the right to abortion should be in the Constitution, Šeparović said that the Constitutional Court never gives its opinion in advance or whether something be inscribed in the law or the Constitution as that is a matter for the law-making authorities.

"The Constitution Court assessed that the existing law (on the termination of pregnancy) is in line with the Constitution. As such, there is no legal ban on pregnancy termination and there is no referendum on that issue. Whether the creator of the Constitution wishes to change something is a matter for the legislature and the Constitutional Court will not enter into that. We have said that a new law needs to be adopted, for preventative education to be regulated and for pregnancy termination to be an exception. The Sabor has not respected that and that isn't just undermining the Constitutional Court's authority but also infringe the rule of law," said Šeparović.

"I expect the government to make a recommendation and for the Sabor to adopt a new law on pregnancy termination."

He added that he still expects the Sabor to adopt a new law as ordered by the Constitutional Court and claimed that that was sending a bad message to citizens.

''If the Sabor does not respect the court's decisions how can we expect citizens to. The Constitutional Court does not have the means to make the Sabor adopt a new law. The strongest weapon the court has is to abolish the existing law and determine a deadline when that law would no longer be in effect. In this case, we did not establish that the law was unconstitutional but we did order the Sabor to replace the outdated law which had several problems and for it to be amended and a new law to be passed," said he.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Hina Notifies Parliament, HND of Pressure Exerted by Bridge MP On Its Reporter

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - Hina's director-general Branka Gabriela Vojvodić on Monday notified the national parliament and the Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) of pressure exerted by Marija Selak Raspudić, a parliamentary deputy of the Bridge party, on a Hina reporter in the parliament's press room recently.

During the incident, which was provoked by the dissatisfaction of the opposition Bridge party with a news item that Hina published last Friday on the motions sponsored by the Opposition which were not supported by the ruling majority,  Bridge parliamentarian Nikola Grmoja was first to enter the press room and criticized Hina's journalists, finding fault with their work and how they covered the activities of his colleague, Marija Selak Raspudić.

After that, MP Selak Raspudić entered the press room and accused in an inappropriate manner Hina and its reporter of having intentionally censored her and abused her.

The parliamentary deputy was also dissatisfied that Hina did not make it clear in its reports every time she was first to open discussions in the parliament.

"Having in mind the fact that Hina reporters covering the activities in the national parliament and in other state institutions are not there to quote in the entirety all that is said by any of politicians and office-holders and that their duty is primarily to inform the public of what they find the most important, I consider that the behavior of parliamentary deputy Selak Raspudić amounts to the violation of the right to free reporting by journalists," says Vojvodić.

She calls on the HND as the professional association, and the parliament as the institution where the incident took place, to condemn the behavior of MP Selak Raspudić in this case and any similar potential behavior of politicians towards Hina reporters and reporters of other media outlets.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

HGSS Rescue Helicopters On Standby as of 1 May

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - An increasing number of mountain climbers and tourists in non-urban areas made the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) put its helicopters on standby as of 1 May, one month earlier than usual and they will remain on alert until 30 October, HGSS reported on Monday.

HGSS noted that this is the first time its rescue helicopters were put on alert so early in the year as they are usually made available for standby service as of 1 June.

"However, because of the continual increase in the number of mountain climbers, recreational hikers and tourists in non-urban areas, it is necessary to put helicopters on stand-by earlier and that will last until 30 October," HGSS chief Josip Granić said.

He added that HGSS is working on forming additional teams in order to be able to react at any time of the year including prior to the peak tourist season and postseason. Soon helicopters will be on alert throughout the year.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Constitutional Court Says Bridge's Referendum Questions Unconstitutional

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - The Constitutional Court ruled on Monday that the questions in the two referendum petitions launched by the opposition Bridge party - to abolish mandatory COVID passes and transfer the powers of the national COVID response team to Parliament - were not in line with the Constitution.

The decision on the first question was passed by three votes against and the decision on the second question by one vote against.

The court found that the first question was not in line with the rule of law because it does not meet the requirement of "reasonable purposefulness and effectiveness of the referendum."

The second petition called for the adoption of an act to amend the Protection against Infectious Diseases Act to ensure that any measures restricting rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution are adopted by Parliament rather than by the national COVID-19 response team.

The petition proposed that decisions by the national COVID-19 response team should be submitted by the government to Parliament for confirmation within 30 days of their adoption.

The court found that the amendment proposing the transfer of decisions that are inherent to the government to the legislature encroaches upon the structural features of the Croatian constitutional state and infringes the constitutional division of powers and responsibilities of the Croatian Parliament as a legislative authority and the national COVID-19 response team as an executive authority, "and is hence contrary to the Constitution and the rule of law as one of the highest values."   

The court said that, in view of the necessity of urgent action, Parliament could not be expected to adopt measures requiring a rapid response by a two-thirds majority.

At the same session, the court unanimously abolished Article 11 of the regulation governing procedures that precede the conclusion of legal transactions concerning the allocation of state-owned immovable properties for use by state administration bodies or other beneficiaries of the state budget and other persons.

The court launched the procedure to test the constitutionality of the section of the Courts Act concerning background checks of judges and temporarily suspended all actions being undertaken based on the legal provisions contested.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

400 Croatian Ambulance Drivers Go On Strike

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - About 400 ambulance drivers and paramedics went on strike on Monday saying they will continue striking until their demands are met and their pay is aligned with that of drivers in the medical system, with shop steward Vladimir Markuš saying that the Health Ministry pushed them into the strike.

"The consequences of the strike will be visible already today and even more tomorrow. We are going until our demands are met, but unfortunately, the Health Ministry has literally pushed us into this strike," Markuš told Hina.

The strikers are calling for a regulation that would align their earnings at the country level because now their wages vary up to HRK 1,500 in some cases, depending on which county they are in.

Ambulance drivers are striking in several counties and cities.

About 400 ambulance drivers are on strike at local health clinics, while another 300 drivers at emergency medical centers in seven counties, who are not allowed to strike, are working to rule.

Markuš added that the only response strikers received from the ministry were that Minister Vili Beroš was "away today" and he had made a statement yesterday.

"The minister is calling for care for Croatian citizens who will not be getting their rights, yet he contributed to the fact that many people have not been able to exercise their rights. Patients have been waiting for MRI tests for up to a year and a half. These people are being deprived," Markuš said.

"We will not leave patients without care. Those needing transport will get it but those who are not urgent cases won't because only about 30% of drivers are working and they cannot handle all that work," added Markuš.

Markuš appealed to the ministry to resolve their problem so that the system does not collapse.

"We are waiting for the competent authorities to do their job and adopt a regulation on indexation. As soon as it is adopted, we will cease the strike," Markuš said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

"Croatia Volunteers" Campaign Involves Young People in Tackling Present Crises

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - The "Croatia Volunteers 2022" campaign took place on 11-14 May as part of the European Year of Youth, focusing on the potential of young people in tackling the challenges of current natural and social crises, the Croatian Volunteer Development Centre (HCRV) said on Monday.

The campaign involved 200 organizers and several thousand volunteers in over 90 towns across the country who carried out over 300 activities benefiting the local community. Its aim was to promote the importance and benefits of volunteering for social development.

"This year we wanted to emphasize the potential and strength of the systematic involvement of young people in tackling the challenges of climate change, COVID-19, violence, wars, and the large influx of refugees," HCRV said.

Organizers believe that the unity and solidarity of young people speed up the process of recovery during and after crises, and hope that young people in rural areas will also join their campaign.

Volunteers carried out educational and creative workshops targeted at different societal groups, provided social services, carried out activities aimed at vulnerable groups, took care of animals, promoted environmental protection, and organized scout meetings.

The campaign was carried out in partnership with the Croatian Red Cross, the Croatian Youth Network, and the Croatian Scouts Association.

For more, check out our politics section.

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