Tuesday, 29 March 2022

HDZ Whip Says PM Has Absolute Support For Possible Government Reshuffle

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Ruling HDZ party whip Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković enjoyed the absolute support of the party's parliamentary group and its partners in the ruling coalition for a possible government reshuffle.

After a meeting of the ruling coalition, Bačić told reporters that a government reshuffle was not discussed except for the coalition partners having given, at the end of the meeting, their full support to the PM for a possible reshuffle and "its scope".

"It was stressed that the Prime Minister enjoys the full support of all coalition partners for a reshuffle, when he opts for it, and the extent of it," said Bačić.

Asked about allegations in the Nacional weekly that eight HDZ MPs would vote against a reshuffle if Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak was to be replaced, Bačić said it was idle talk and that the HDZ party group "is absolutely unanimous."

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Minister Expects Fuel Prices to go Down as of Next Week

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Tuesday that fuel prices could go down next week again, and that in case they escalated significantly for a longer period of time, the government could again resort to reducing excise taxes.

Ćorić told reporters this after a meeting of the ruling coalition partners, when asked how the government planned to respond since fuel prices have gone up again.

As of Tuesday, Eurosuper 95 is sold at most petrol stations in the country at HRK 12.45 per litre, HRK 0.61 more than on Monday, when it cost HRK 11.84 per litre on average, while the price of Eurodiesel has gone up by HRK 1.49, and prices of premium fuels have also increased.

Ćorić said that last week had brought an increase in fuel prices in reference markets and the increase was primarily due to an increase in prices of diesel and blue-dyed diesel, and slightly less of petrol.

"It is encouraging that the first two days of this week have brought a drop in fuel prices in reference markets and if that trend continues, next week we will have again a drop in prices. Until then, we will not respond," he said.

Fuel prices have been oscillating for weeks but should they escalate more significantly and over a longer period of time, the government "would possibly again resort to (reducing) excise taxes" as "it has no other significant instruments," he said.

No marked rise in electricity prices other than the one announced, no rolling blackouts planned

As regards the increase in electricity prices, reporters asked the minister if citizens should fear the increase would be higher than the government's projection of 9.6%, to which Ćorić said that the 9.6% increase was calculated based on the consumption of the average household in Croatia.

"The increase is as has been communicated. Whether it will be 8.7% for someone or 10.1% for someone else, depends on the size of the household and monthly consumption... however, an increase that would be more significant than the one announced will not happen," he said.

Ćorić also said that Croatia was not at risk of rolling blackouts and that it meets most of its electricity demand from own production, with imports constituting only a smaller portion.

Speaking of today's coalition meeting, he said that one of the topics discussed were renewable energy sources.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

HDZ Official Rules Out Scrapping COVID Passes

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) vice president Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that the current epidemiological situation did not allow for a possible revocation of COVID passes.

"It's neither under discussion nor consideration," Bačić said in response to reporters' questions if the authorities are considering doing away with COVID certificates.

He recalled that the current epidemiological situation, including a rate of only 67% of fully vaccinated persons and the current incidence rate, were not conducive to plans to ease the restrictions.

Since the introduction of the COVID certificate mandate in the public sector, approximately 120,000 asymptomatic citizens have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

He said that vaccination rates in the countries that are now thinking of scrapping COVID passes are much higher than in Croatia.

There is no country in Europe that has completely done away with COVID certificates,  he said.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Six-Party Coalition to Run in Local Elections in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County

ZAGREB, 9 March, 2021 - Representatives of the Social Democratic Party, the Croatian Pensioners' Party, the Primorje-Gorski Kotar Alliance, the Istrian Democratic Party and the Croatian Peasant Party on Tuesday agreed to run together in local elections set for May, their candidate for county head being Zlatko Komadina.

Social Democrat Komadina, who serves as the head of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, said the six-party coalition had decided to stay together after its current term as the ruling coalition at the county level.

Darijo Vasilić, leader of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar Alliance (PGS), said that the coalition had implemented 84 EU-funded projects worth HRK 300 million, investing in infrastructure, ports, the school system, health and other activities within the remit of county authorities.

Komadina said his SDP party would run in all 36 local government units in the county, nominating its own candidates for mayors or municipal heads or supporting PGS or independent candidates.

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

Friday, 26 June 2020

HNS Would Go Into Coalition With Parties That Support Its Election Platform

ZAGREB, June 26, 2020 - The Croatian People's Party (HNS) presented its election slogan on Friday - "Croatia is loved through work," saying that its platform includes measures for the economy and free kindergartens, adding that HNS is prepared to go into a coalition with anyone that accepts its election platform.

HNS has real solutions for real problems and after the election, we will go into a coalition with those parties that accept our election platform, HNS leader Predrag Stromar said.

"We would go into a coalition with the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) or the SDP (Social Democratic Party), but not with just anyone. We cannot accept extremists or loudmouths, those who come into the parliament to earn money or act out some stupidity, those sort of people are unacceptable to us," he added.

HNS said that its election platform was prepared in cooperation with citizens and based on their questions and suggestions, the main issues including higher wages, free kindergartens and resolving housing issues.

Vrdoljak: HBOR needs to change its name and business method

"The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development needs to change its name and method of business and be transformed into the Croatian Development Fund that will provide financing for businesses," said Ivan Vrdoljak.

Minister of Science and Education Blazenka Divjak advocates the adoption of a law to check diplomas in all public companies, agencies, and state administration bodies.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Pametno, Fokus: It's Possible To Cut Taxes And Have Welfare State

ZAGREB, June 13, 2020 - A coalition comprising the Pametno, Fokus, Zagreb Independent Slate and Kvarner Union parties on Saturday presented its election platform which says that it is possible to cut taxes and keep a welfare state which would be wealthy and harmonious.

Pametno presidency member Ivica Puljak said emigration and lagging behind Eastern European and neighbouring countries were among Croatia's biggest problems.

"We have almost the same number of workers and pensioners, which is completely untenable for any economy."

He said Croatia was in such a poor state because irresponsible politicians and policies constantly kept them in the past.

Croatia must activate its innovative and creative enterprise potential as it is second to last in EU innovation rankings, he said.

Puljak said education reform was a top priority, that it should be returned to the right track and that it was imperative to raise the social status of all working in education.

Fokus president Davor Nadji said it was necessary to attract investors to Croatia by cutting income tax from the current 24% and 36% to 10% as well as profit tax from 12% and 18% to 10%.

He said highly paid jobs would result in higher pension and health insurance contributions, which would stabilise the two systems.

The coalition is for revoking 90% of parafiscal levies, downsizing the administration system by 10%, reducing the number of local government units, and merging utility companies, which they say would result in big savings and slash the number of politicians by 60-80%.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Pauletic: Condition For Coalition With HDZ Is That Plenkovic Is No Longer PM

ZAGREB, June 13, 2020 - Robert Pauletic of the Homeland Movement said on Saturday that the party's condition for a possible coalition with the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was that Andrej Plenkovic should no longer be the prime minister.

"(Homeland Movement leader) Miroslav Skoro has already announced this saying that Plenkovic could be a good foreign minister but not the prime minister," Pauletic told the N1 television channel.

He added that Plenkovic's ego probably would not allow him to be relegated from the position of the prime minister to that of foreign minister. "He has saved his premiership several times, but he can't do it anymore."

"If the SDP (Social Democratic Party) emerges as a relative winner, will it agree to Plenkovic being the prime minister? A grand coalition is possible and I wouldn't rule out that possibility. Plenkovic is politically closer to the left than to the Homeland Movement," Pauletic said, adding that Plenkovic proved this by forming a coalition with the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) and the Croatian People's Party (HNS).

Asked if the next prime minister should be a non-party person or the Homeland Movement would insist on its own candidate, Pauletic said they first needed to see how many parliamentary seats they would win.

As for a possible coalition between the Homeland Movement and the SDP, he said that it was highly unlikely because of their ideological differences. He added that a coalition with the SDSS was also unacceptable because "Milorad Pupovac has been sucking money out of the state budget for decades" and his weekly Novosti is anti-Croatian.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Left-Green Coalition Launching Petition To Speed Up Law On Zagreb's Reconstruction

ZAGREB, June 7, 2020 - A coalition of six left-wing and green parties are launching a petition on Tuesday to ask President Zoran Milanovic to call an emergency meeting after the formation of the new parliament to adopt a new reconstruction bill after a strong earthquake struck Zagreb on March 22.

The initiative is being launched by the coalition of the parties We Can!, the New Left, the Workers' Front, Sustainable Development of Croatia (ORaH), Zagreb Is Ours! and For the City.

The petition will be open for signature at several locations in the city and online, Tomislav Tomasevic, who will head the coalition's slate in the July 5 parliamentary election, told a press conference outside the government and parliament buildings in St Mark's Square in Zagreb on Sunday.

Tomasevic recalled that it was about two and a half months since the earthquake had struck the capital and its surroundings and that many problems remained unsolved. "Two months after the earthquake the Croatian parliament was dissolved without passing a bill on the reconstruction of Zagreb which the present government had been announcing for weeks," he said.

Given the forthcoming elections and the fact that parliament would take a summer break from July 15 to September 15, Tomasevic said that the coalition parties had decided to launch a petition to President Zoran Milanovic because under the Constitution the President can call an emergency session of parliament. In that case, the new parliament would start work immediately after its inaugural meeting, and lawmakers would not go on holiday but would work on a new bill on the reconstruction of Zagreb and its surroundings.

Tomasevic said they were angry because only 16 families whose homes were severely damaged in the earthquake had been granted state-funded accommodation. "Many families cannot find rented accommodation because owners are reluctant to rent their apartments for a longer-term and because they don't want to pay tax to the state," he said, accusing the government of tolerating the black market for an apartment rental for decades.

Tomasevic said they were also angry because the government had still not reported the damage to the European Solidarity Fund so that money could be drawn for Zagreb and its residents.

In conclusion, he said he believed that because of all this the citizens would punish both Mayor Milan Bandic and the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the ballot and would put their confidence in this coalition to fight for better laws.