Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Minister Says Science, Higher Education Act One of Key Laws

ZAGREB, 5 April 2022 - Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Tuesday that over the past two years his ministry had worked on amending legal regulations, with amendments to the Higher Education and Science Act, to be put to public consultation soon, being among the most important.

Addressing a conference on education, taking place in Zagreb, Fuchs said that the ministry had launched a reform of the entire system - from pre-school education to higher education.

This includes changes designed to make pre-school education mandatory, introduce full-day classes in primary schools, and increase the number of children attending grammar schools.

In Croatia, he said, 30% of students enroll in grammar schools while the European average is 45%. A reform of vocational education is also underway and entirely new curricula are being defined for a set of vocational programmes, he said.

Higher education and science law one of key laws

Speaking of the amendments to the Higher Education and Science Act, the minister said that they had been fully supported by the college of rectors and presented to all universities except Zagreb University, having received very constructive suggestions and proposals of which some would be incorporated in the amendments.

Fuchs said that Croatia's research and innovation results were significantly below the EU average, adding that Croatia was second to last in the EU in terms of the number of patents per capita, with only 4.8 registrations per million population, while the European average was 106.8.

Croatia is the third poorest-ranking EU member in terms of innovation success in 2020, he said, adding that this indicated that comprehensive measures should be undertaken to increase the capacity for innovation and cooperation between the research community and the industry sector.

Recalling that Croatia has an unfavourable ratio of financing and the average number of citations per paper, Fuchs said that this showed that investments in research were inefficient.

Number of students on decline, number of employees in higher education rising 

Fuchs said that in the past five years the number of students in Croatia had dropped by 16,000 or 8%, while the number of employees in institutions of higher education had increased by 6%.

The minister recalled that the share of state funding for the system of science and higher education was based on those institutions' results, saying that Croatia had committed to that under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, and that if it did not meet that criterion, it would be left without HRK 7.5 billion.

He also noted that one of the changes envisaged by the amendments to the Science and Higher Education Act was the introduction of a single, six-year term for university rectors.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Minister Says Final Bill on Social Welfare Meets Associations' Demands

ZAGREB, 27 Jan 2022 - Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović said on Thursday the government's final social welfare bill met the demands of associations of persons with disabilities, primarily by increasing certain allowances and eliminating the means test.

"Between two readings the government increased certain allowances, removed the means test. Practically all associations of persons with disabilities had asked for it, and we met their demands."

The minister stressed that amendments had been accepted regarding all five chamber laws and penalties for those unlawfully providing social services.

"The system will undergo reorganisation this year. We believe a good result has been achieved," he said.

Asked why the request of parents-caretakers was not met and they will continue to lose the right to their allowance immediately upon their child's death, the minister said a solution would be offered through the Labour Market Act.

"Or, more specifically, through the Employment Service because we believe that that allowance is the most similar to the unemployment benefit," he said.

As for the hospitality sector's warning that there will be problems with finding seasonal workers this year, Aladrović said that labour imports had been rising drastically for several years.

"I expect the increase to continue, but also domestic labour to be activated. Compared to 2019, there are practically 70,000 more workers, or 40,000 more than in 2021. It shows the trends and that the labour market will be very strong in 2022," he said.

Asked about travel agencies' wondering if job-keeping measures for the sector would be maintained, Aladrović said the government would back all those that had been affected by the coronavirus crisis and that it would define more detailed measures on Friday.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Opposition Amendments to Minimum Wage Bill Rejected

ZAGREB, 29 Oct 2021 - A government representative on Friday rejected all opposition amendments to the Minimum Wage Bill, of which most were put forward by MP Katarina Peović of the Workers' Front, and accepted only an amendment by Croatian Pensioners' Party MP Silvano Hrelja, who is part of the parliamentary majority.

The bill makes it possible for employers to cheat workers, enabling them to sign employment contracts setting the wage below the minimum wage yet pay the worker the minimum wage but make them work additionally for it, said Peović.

It is therefore important that overtime work, work on holidays, work in shifts and work in difficult conditions be paid for separately, she said.

The minimum pay must be defined as a decent pay, she said, noting that this was a constitutional category.

MP Sandra Benčić of the We Can! party said that the bill included "catches" that would enable employers to pay lower wages than the minimum wage of HRK 3,750 (€500), defined by the government.

MP Hrelja, whose amendment was the only one accepted by the government, had proposed erasing an article from the Minimum Wage Bill so that the minimum wage is not lower than the one determined by the bill and the planned working hours do not affect the amount of the minimum wage the worker should receive.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Parliament Discusses Amendments To Protection Against Noise Act

ZAGREB, Sept 9, 2020 - The Croatian parliament resumed its extraordinary session on Wednesday with a discussion on amendments to Protection Against Noise Act proposing measures to prevent excessive noise emissions, reduce the existing noise levels to the permissible levels, and align with EU law.

State authorities, local and regional government units, legal and natural persons are required to ensure protection against noise nuisance, while inspections are done by sanitary inspectors from the State Inspectorate, said MP Ivan Kirin of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

Anka Mrak Taritas of the Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS) asked if it was possible to arrange that church bells did not ring after midnight, especially in small tourist towns where visitors complain about the noise, to which she was told that the church bells were exempt from the law.

She also drew attention to the problem of apartment buildings with shops and cafes or restaurants that can be a source of noise nuisance. Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU) agreed with her, calling for the matter to be addressed interdepartmentally.

Noise second biggest cause of illness

Social Democrat Renata Sabljak Dracevac announced the SDP's support for the bill saying that it would align national law with that of the EU and provide citizens with much better noise protection.

Tomislav Tomasevic of the left-green bloc welcomed the bill, noting that noise was the second biggest cause of illness in humans, after air pollution.

Miro Bulj (Bridge) said that everything was done in the interest of profit, adding that EU laws are diligently copied but not obeyed. He underscored traffic as one of the main sources of noise.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.