Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Branko Bačić: Vučić's Call is a Provocation, Illegal to Hang Out Another Country's Flag

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) whip Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that the call by Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić to "Serbs in all Serb lands" to hang out their Serb flags on 15 September, wherever they may be, is inappropriate, unacceptable and a provocation.

"I consider that to be a provocation and inappropriate, all the more so, because it is in violation of the law," Bačić told reporters in the Croatian Parliament, citing the Public Law and Order Act which says that displaying other countries' flags is not allowed.

I expect the Serb community to respect the law

"I expect that our fellow citizens and members of the Serb community in Croatia will respect its laws," said Bačić, underscoring that it is inappropriate and unacceptable for the "president of Serbia to call on citizens of Croatia, notably members of the Serb community in Croatia, to hang out Serbian flags in Croatia on 15 September."

Asked if the police would monitor that, Bačić said that the Croatian police perform their duties according to the law and that he believes that this will be the case tomorrow too.

"It is not particularly hard to check if someone has displayed the flag of another country in their window," said Bačić.

He rejected claims from the opposition that the government should have reacted more sharply to Vučić's call and that it did not do so because of the cooperation with its coalition partner, the Independent Serb Democratic Party (SDSS).

He underlined that HDZ is cooperating properly with its coalition partners. "The ruling majority is stable but that does not mean that we will pass over this kind of call, merely because we are in a coalition with members of national minorities," he said.

Bačić would not comment on a statement by SDSS MP Milorad Pupovac that all Serb minority institutions should hang out the Serbian flag alongside the Croatian flag and that he saw Vučić's call as an encouragement and not as an imposition.

Ruling majority is stable

Ahead of the autumn sitting of the Sabor, Bačić said that the ruling majority is stable and that the government has full support in addressing numerous challenges, from economic recovery and the fight against the pandemic to the reconstruction of earthquake-struck areas.

He expects the government to adopt amendments to the Reconstruction Act by the end of the month to accelerate the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and the Banovina region.

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

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

HDZ Whip: Shopping Hours to be Adjusted to Seasonal Activities

ZAGREB, 6 July, 2021 - The whip of the ruling HDZ, Branko Bačić, said on Tuesday the parties of the parliamentary majority supported amendments to the Trade Act, adding that shopping hours would be adjusted to seasonal activities.

Parliament will debate the amendments in the autumn.

Speaking to the press after a meeting of the parliamentary majority, Bačić said they talked about the problem of restricting shopping hours until 9 pm, notably during the summer tourist season, when they have the biggest turnover.

"We must take account of the international convention on the rights of shop workers to daily and weekly rest," Bačić said, adding that it was important to reach as much consensus as possible with those to whom the law applied.

"We'll take into account rest and adjusting shopping hours to seasonal activities across Croatia. We'll give employers the possibility to decide how many Sundays in the year they will work."

Reformists president Radimir Čaćić pushed for as much flexibility regarding shopping hours as possible, saying that family firms should be allowed to work when and how long they wanted.

He praised the proposal by Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners Party "not to define shopping hours but the number of non-working hours, to say that a shop must have eight non-working hours. That's very good as it allows everyone to organise themselves as they wish."

Bačić said the parliamentary majority also talked about plans to make job-keeping payments in sectors affected by the epidemic conditional on worker vaccination, adding that the purpose was to stimulate employers with a high vaccination rate "for contributing to curbing the epidemic as soon as possible."

He said the government was not shifting responsibility to employers and that measures to that effect would be agreed by the government, the social partners and legal experts, taking Croatia's economic interest into account.

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

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ): "National Recovery Plan is Developmental and Based on Reforms"

ZAGREB, 13 April, 2021 - The ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) caucus said on Tuesday that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan was a developmental document that is based on necessary reforms and that its objective is Croatia's overall economic development.

HDZ whip Branko Bačić told a press conference in Parliament House that with that document Croatia received the highest amount of all EU member states according to its GDP. "And that is one of the indicators that one loves Croatia through deeds and not words," claimed Bačić.

He underscored that there is no strict difference between funds for the real sector and public investments because both sectors have to interact with the aim of developing Croatia's economy.

HDZ MP Marko Pavić explained that the plan relates to one-quarter of the €24.5 billion that Croatia has negotiated with the EU for the next 10 years, which is twice as much as Croatia had until now.

Pavić rejected opposition claims that not enough funds were foreseen for the private sector.

Croatia is near the top of EU countries with regard to allocations for the private sector, about one-third are direct allocations and more than half are indirect through public procurement, he underscored.

Direct allocations for the private sector in Spain, Portugal and Estonia, for example, are at 30%, in Lithuania between 10 to 20 percent and nothing in Germany, he added.

Pavić: Government is open to suggestions and constructive proposals from the Opposition

Andrej Plenković's government has shown that it knows how to obtain funds and that it has the creativity and know-how to use those funds, claimed Pavić and added that the government is open to any suggestions and constructive proposals from the Opposition.

Referring to the one-off COVID supplement for pensioners that the government announced on Monday, Bačić denied that this was a pre-election move. "Any measure can be considered to be a pre-election move regardless of when it adopted... The COVID supplement has occurred now when the government reached an agreement with its partners," he said.

Bačić commented on the initiative for stricter penalties for Ustasha symbols, reiterating that the HDZ advocates a comprehensive rule for the use of symbols of all totalitarian regimes.

Defending the use of symbols of just some totalitarian regimes opens new ideological debates and arguments that do not contribute to anything, and the only way to approach the matter is to have an equal distancing from all undemocratic totalitarian regimes, he said.

The use of the 'For the Homeland Ready' needs to be banned except when wartime units commemorate events in which their fellow fighters were killed, he added.

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

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Submits 272 Projects for Recovery and Resilience Facility

ZAGREB, November 21, 2020 - Dubrovnik-Neretva County has submitted 272 projects totalling HRK 6 billion for the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, ruling HDZ MP Branko Bacic said in Korcula on the southern island of the same name on Saturday.

He said the projects were aimed at improving living conditions in southern Croatia and recalled that HRK 760 million was secured earlier for eight ports in the county.

Accompanied by local officials, Bacic toured the port infrastructure in Korcula where HRK 39.5 million worth of construction and reconstruction works are under way.

County head Nikola Dobroslavic said Croatia's southern-most county was the most successful in the country in terms of EU fund absorption.

His deputy Josko Cebalo said they were preparing documentation for two projects worth HRK 60 million for fishing ports in Dubrovnik and Vela Luka.

Korcula Mayor Andrija Fabris said port infrastructure was key for islanders as it provided better connectivity with the mainland.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

HDZ Whip: Zagreb Post-Quake Reconstruction Law Must Stand Test of Time

ZAGREB, July 28 (Hina) - HDZ whip Branko Bacic said on Tuesday the bill on the post-earthquake reconstruction of the Zagreb area was good and that the goal was for the law to stand the test of time.

"Our goal is for the law to stand the test of time... and given the length of the reconstruction, to fulfill its purpose," he told reporters ahead of parliamentary debate on the bill.

Bacic said opposition MPs too had backed the bill, that it had passed regular procedure, and that it included numerous remarks from citizens and institutions.

He said the parliamentary majority was willing to accept good proposals from the opposition but added that concrete proposals would be visible only during the second reading of the bill when amendments were submitted.

Capak is doing an excellent job

Speaking of Krunoslav Capak, head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), whose epidemiological recommendations are being strongly criticised by the opposition, Bacic said the parliamentary majority and the government "fully support" him.

Capak is doing an excellent job as the HZJZ director and the coronavirus numbers over the past five months show that he, the HZJZ and the whole national COVID response team are doing a very good job, he added.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Construction of Pelješac Bridge Starting Soon With or Without EU Funds

It looks like the long-awaited Pelješac Bridge project is finally getting to the construction phase.

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