Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Opposition MP Doesn't Believe There'll Be Anything of Zagreb Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 24 Aug, 2021 - Member of Parliament Anka Mrak-Taritaš on Tuesday said that it seems there won't be anything of Zagreb's reconstruction following the earthquake that hit the city 17 months ago and that the lack of goodwill for reconstruction is "the greatest shame of Andrej Plenković's government." 

Seventeen months after the earthquake, there is still nothing regarding Zagreb's reconstruction. There is no longer even any meetings between the government and City authorities. Damir Vanđelić, the director of the Fund for Reconstruction and Economy Minister Darko Horvat have even stopped debating in the media about who is more at fault for that," Mrak-Taritaš told a press conference on Tuesday.

As an example of what could have been done in that time, she recalled that the Empire State Building with its 102 floors was built in sixteen months' time, "and without disrupting traffic."

MP Mrak-Tartiaš warned that eight months had passed since money from the EU Solidarity Fund was paid into the government's account and "that Croatia is at risk of being the first member state to not spend that money within the set deadline and that the country might be compelled to repay it to the EU budget, while at the same time the government is using alibis why things are not being done, from the law to the programme of measures and the fund." 

The sole GLAS lawmaker believes that "it is absolutely certain now" that there won't be anything of Zagreb's reconstruction as that "requires the know-how, good management and will, yet there is none of that." She concluded that the fact that there is no will is the Plenković's government's greatest shame and sin of not doing anything."

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Thursday, 19 August 2021

SDP, GLAS Criticise Gov't Decision to Co-Finance Construction of Chapel in Bethlehem

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - The Social Democratic Party has criticised the government's decision to co-finance the construction of a chapel in Bethlehem with HRK 3.3 million, calling on it to use the money for the reconstruction of houses in the earthquake-hit region of Banija while the GLAS party called the decision scandalous.

"At a time when the healthcare system is under strain, when post-earthquake reconstruction in Zagreb and Banija is late and people lack basic conditions for normal living, our foreign minister considers it a priority to finance the Church," SDP political secretary and MP Mirela Ahmetović said in a statement.

Calling on the government to use the money intended for the chapel to rebuild a dozen homes in Banija or buy expensive drugs for children suffering from rare diseases, Ahmetović noted that the Catholic Church receives around HRK 300 million from the state budget annually plus donations from local government units.

Another opposition party, GLAS, described the government's decision as scandalous, noting that Croatia did not have a sufficient number of radiation therapy machines, which was why some cancer patients had to wait for therapy for up to three months.

"The Andrej Plenković government has always chosen its priorities wisely, including this time. Their clients and the Church that brings votes come first, and if something is left over, citizens get what they really need," the party said in a statement.

GLAS MP Anka Mrak-Taritaš proposed to the parliament that the government should purchase three new radiation therapy machines, one costing HRK 5 million.

Earlier in the day the government decided to allocate 3.375 million kuna(€450,000) for the construction of a Croatian chapel in Bethlehem and thus granted a request made by Conventual Franciscans in Zagreb.

The chapel will be built in Shepherd’s Field in Bethlehem to honour Croatian saints and Croatians who have been blessed.

Friar Sandro Tomasevic, a clergyman in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, told Hina that he was happy with the government's decision and described Croatia's plan to build the chapel as one of the six nations to do so in Bethlehem as a great success.

"It is a great thing for the whole homeland, particularly for our faithful and pilgrims," the priest said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Opposition Says Bill on Seeds Harmful

ZAGREB, 24 March, 2021 - Opposition deputies, notably those form the Bridge party, said on Wednesday that the bill on seeds and seed materials was harmful and that it would impose new costs, asking that the agriculture minister address the parliament with regard to the bill.

Bridge MP Miro Bulj called on members of the parliamentary majority not to support the bill, describing it as harmful.

"Instead of protecting our own seeds, we are imposing on hundreds of thousands of people who live in rural areas new costs related to seed processing. Who will be able to pay for that?" Bulj asked.

Bridge MP Marija Selak Raspudić said the bill declared war on small producers.

Social Democrat Domagoj Hajduković, too, criticised the obligation to process seeds to be planted on own fields, saying that it would cause new costs for producers.

The opposition also demanded an answer as to the reason for the introduction of a new category, farm seeds, which, they said, did not exist in the EU.

Other countries are not familiar with that term, said Anka Mrak Taritaš of GLAS.

We are introducing new terms and increasing costs for our farmers even though no one is asking us to do so, said Ružica Vukovac of the Homeland Movement.

The State Secretary at the Agriculture Ministry, Tugomir Majdak, dismissed the criticism, noting that small producers, hobbysts, gardeners and organic farmers would be exempt from the obligation to process seeds.

"The term farm seed is being introduced and that seed will have to be processed by registered suppliers to ensure minimum possible presence of harmful organisms," he told MPs.

Seed and the seed material are strategic products which must be available, safe and of good quality. The bill is aimed at regulating production, trade in and import of farming production materials, he said, noting that the bill does not restrict the use of autochthonous seeds for one's own noncommercial needs.

Specifically, in the case of seed exchange at fairs, production on small farms, seed exchange between individuals and groups, there will be no restrictions, certification or control of such seeds, he said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Croatian Parliament (Sabor): About 75 kg of Food thrown Out in Croatia Annually Per Head

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - About 75 kilograms of food is thrown out each year in Croatia per head, lawmakers underlined on Thursday during a debate on an agriculture bill which among other things regulates the prevention of waste food.

"Food waste has reached a value of 20% of the total amount of food produced in Europe and on the global level losses amount to one-third of all the food produced, while in Croatia we throw out 75 kilograms of food each year per head," said MP Marijana Petir of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) caucus.

The agriculture bill, she said, would be the basis for documents that will regulate more clearly activities regarding food donations and preventing food waste, but also a system of quality food production.

The EU foresees reducing food waste by 50% by 2030 and we too have to achieve that aim, Petir underscored. "Any reduction of throwing out food means less pressure on farmland and reduced consumption of water, pesticides, and fertiliser."

MP Marija Selak Raspudić (Bridge) said that a quality system of food donations is important given the increasing poverty, but added that the bill does not provide a clear plan and that the most important thing would be to establish a food bank.

Anka Mrak Taritaš (GLAS) too underlined the need for a food bank so that surplus food can be distributed at the national level.

State Secretary in the Agriculture Ministry Tugomir Majdak said that the amount of donated food in 2019 had increased by 30% compared to 2018 and amounted to 1.5 million tonnes.

With regard to reducing food waste, Majdak explained that a guide has been prepared for food donations, a feasibility study for a food bank has been prepared, and tax reliefs on food donations have been defined.

The amendments to the law will align it with EU regulations regarding the prevention of food waste.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

24 Billion HRK Invested In Islands In The Past 14 Years

ZAGREB, 3 March, 2021 - In the past 14 years almost HRK 24 billion has been invested in Croatia's islands, an average of HRK 1.7 billion a year, a government representative said in parliament on Wednesday, reporting on the implementation of the Islands Act in 2018 and 2019.

MP Anka Mrak Taritaš of the opposition GLAS said a debate on the report was an opportunity to talk about how to keep people on the islands and how much was invested in renewables, environmental protection and waste management.

Croatia systematically caring for islands

MPs of the ruling HDZ said Croatia was systematically caring for its islands, including through investments, absorbing EU funds, renewing the fleet and dealing with waste management.

Mirela Ahmetović of the opposition Social Democratic Party said the increase in investment in the islands was not only a result of the law but also thanks to efficient local government.

She criticised Croatian Post for investing only HRK 430,000 in islands, despite record profits, for the procurement of air conditioning units.

Sandra Benčić of the opposition green-left bloc underlined the importance of investing in quality education.

Number of island residents up by almost 5,000

In 2018, the population of 51 island local units went up by 4,903 from 2011 and in that period 36 island towns and municipalities recorded positive trends, said Spomenka Đurić, state secretary at the Regional Development Ministry.

She said investments in the islands increased every year because the state recognised them as areas of special interest and big potential.

The absorption of EU funds through strategic projects significantly contribute to investments, from HRK 530 million in 2017 to HRK 1.4 billion in 2019, Đurić added.

Speaking of key strategic projects, she mentioned Pelješac Bridge, island ports and water supply.

Đurić said 45 islands are permanently or temporarily inhabited, with 51 maritime routes, 58 community health centres, 102 primary and 13 high schools, and 23 care homes.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Saturday, 29 February 2020

GLAS Launches Its Election Platform

ZAGREB, February 29, 2020 - The GLAS party will run in the coming parliamentary elections with the platform "Green development - free development", party leader Anka Mrak Taritaš said on Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference at which this opposition party presented its coordinators for ten constituencies, Mrak Taritaš recalled initiatives launched by GLAS, including a proposal for a revision of the Vatican agreements, a proposal for the adoption of a resolution on the climate and environmental crisis, and proposals for a more efficient judiciary.

"Green development is a topic that cannot be ignored, climate change and its consequences have made us realise that we have to make big adjustments. Those adjustments are on the one side dangerous and on the other they create new opportunities for our economy and we must be prepared to use them," said Mrak-Taritaš.

She said that the key topic of the second part of the party platform was personal freedoms.

"The right to choice, a secular state, equality before the law and further progress in realising one's full potential for all people are the main elements of our policy," Mrak-Taritaš said, adding that the party looks forward to diversity.

GLAS is willing to cooperate with all parties that share its values, she said.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

GLAS Party Leader Apologies for Omission in Declaration of Assets

ZAGREB, February 19, 2019 - The leader of the opposition GLAS party, Anka Mrak-Taritaš, on Tuesday apologised for her failure to state in her declaration of assets that she had received a remuneration of 38,950 kuna (5,200 euro) for sitting on an examination commission during her term as Construction Minister from mid-November 2012 to mid-January 2016.

This omission is now being dealt with by the Conflict of Interest Commission, after the case was reported to it in December 2018. Mrak-Taritaš believes that the purpose of raising this matter now is to smear her reputation.

The Jutarnji List daily reported on Tuesday that during her term as Construction Minister Mrak-Taritaš appointed herself the head of the ministry's commission for organising state qualifying exams and did not report the remuneration for that job in her declaration of assets. She issued an apology on her Facebook account for the omission in the declaration of assets.

Mrak-Taritaš said in her apology she is sorry to see that the issue has been raised now instead of as soon as she finished her ministerial term. She said she will submit all the relevant documentation to the Conflict of Interest Commission.

She said she had received a monthly remuneration of 800 kuna as the head of the commission for state qualifying exams, and that the reason for the omission was the fact that this income was paid by the ministry which also paid her monthly salaries.

She dismissed the claim that she had appointed herself to the post of the commission's head, adding that she and other members of the commission had been appointed by her predecessor in the ministerial post, Ivan Vrdoljak. As soon as she became the minister, she signed the appointment as the continuation of the commission's work, according to her explanation on her Facebook account.

More news on the GLAS party can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

“Plenković and Ministers Lied to the Nation”

ZAGREB, August 25, 2018 - GLAS party leader Anka Mrak Taritaš said on Friday that it was now undoubtedly clear that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his ministers had lied to the Croatian public about the so-called Borg group and Agrokor, and that they had used state institutions to help a particular interest group gain significant material benefit.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Plenković and Kolinda Less and Less Popular

While Andrej and Kolinda spend time refusing to see eye to eye on key matters, the public loses their already weak confidence in the pair...

Friday, 20 April 2018

GLAS Liberal Party Proposes Revision of Vatican Treaties

ZAGREB, April 20, 2018 - The GLAS party on Friday informed that it had sent a motion into parliamentary procedure proposing the launching of negotiation procedures to amend the treaties between the Holy See and Croatia with the aim of protecting secular values which, this opposition party underscores, is a constitutional category.

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