Monday, 20 June 2022

Parliamentary Delegation Pays Tribute to Stjepan Radić, June Victims

ZAGREB, 20 June 2022 - A parliamentary delegation on Monday laid wreaths and lit candles at Zagreb's central Mirogoj cemetery to commemorate the 1928 killing of two Croatian deputies and the fatal wounding of Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) founder Stjepan Radić in the parliament of the then Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

The Croatian parliament in 2015 proclaimed Stjepan Radić and the June Victims Memorial Day in tribute to HSS founder and MP Stjepan Radić and Croatian MPs Pavle Radić, Đuro Basariček, Ivan Pernar and Ivan Granđa.

Pavle Radić and Đuro Basariček were killed in the parliament of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes on 20 June 1928 by Serbian Radical Party politician Puniša Račić while HSS founder Stjepan Radić was fatally wounded in the attack and died several weeks later. MPs Ivan Granđa and Ivan Pernar were wounded.

Parliament Deputy Speaker Željko Reiner, who headed the parliamentary delegation, said today they were paying tribute to the Croatian greats.

"Stjepan Radić brought together a large number of those who... opposed the Great Serbian hegemony in the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Belgrade's anti-Croat policies," said Reiner.

Radić is doubtlessly one of the great historical figures on Croatia's long, difficult and bloody journey to freedom, Reiner said, adding that Radić, just like Ante Starčević and Eugen Kvaternik, had dreamed of what was achieved by Croatia's first president Franjo Tuđman and Croatian defenders - a free, independent and democratic Croatia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 27 May 2022

2022 Revised Budget Adopted

ZAGREB, 27 May 2022 - The parliament on Friday passed by a majority vote a revised budget for 2022, whereby the expenditure side will increase by HRK 10.9 billion to HRK 184.7 billion and the revenues will go up by 6.6 billion to HRK 171 billion.

As a result, this year's budget deficit will widen from the initial projections of 2.6% of the GDP to the deficit-to-GDP ratio of 2.8%.

Most of the rejigged budget outlays refer to the health system, in the amount of HRK 4 billion, of which the largest share will be used to cover hospitals' and pharmacies' debt to suppliers.

The opposition MPs who voted against the budget revision criticized the proposal as bad.

In mid-may, the Fiscal Policy Commission said that it believed that the proposed 2022 budget revision was appropriate to the current circumstances however, this independent body underscores that it is necessary for Croatia to absorb more EU funds to fund investments and schemes to boost productivity and implement cost-cutting reforms.

In a press release released on 17 May, the commission underscored the need to implement reforms to limit expenditure for healthcare, pensions, and unemployment benefits.

Also today, the parliament passed a law on the registry of persons with disabilities.

The legislation on investment stimulation was today endorsed, providing for some additional benefits for users of state subsidies for investments in the event when their projects are affected by extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(€1 = HRK 7.529160)

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Jandroković Reassures Ukrainian Official of Croatia's Continuing Support

ZAGREB, 26 May 2022 - Croatia supports Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue providing Kyiv with humanitarian, political, and technical assistance, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Thursday in Zagreb at a meeting with a deputy chair of the Verkhovna Rada, Olena Kondratiuk.

The Ukrainian deputy parliament speaker thanked Croatia for the support it has extended so far to her country, including the reception of several thousand refugees.

A press release issued by the Sabor quotes Jandroković as saying that he conveyed Croatians' strong solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Croatia, which itself was a victim of military aggression in the 1990s, can understand the grave situation that Ukrainian defenders and people are now experiencing, reads the press release.

Kondratiuk informed Jandroković of the current military and humanitarian state of affairs in Ukraine and notified him of Ukraine's efforts to be granted EU candidate status.

In this context, she thanked Croatia for its support to Ukraine's European aspirations and also for assistance in mine clearance and in the rehabilitation and treatment of wounded war veterans and for offering its experience in the peaceful reintegration of occupied areas and post-war reconstruction.

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.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Croatian Parliament Passes Law On Adoption Of Euro As Legal Tender

ZAGREB, 13 May 2022 - The Croatian parliament on Friday passed a law on the adoption of the euro as legal tender, with 117 MPs voting in favour, 13 against and one abstaining.

MPs rejected amendments by Bridge and the Green-Left Bloc and a conclusion by Bridge that the government had not endorsed.

The euro is expected to be introduced on 1 January 2023.

As of the 5th of September this year through 2023, prices would be displayed both in kuna and in euro.

Next year there will be no cost for exchanging kuna cash for euro, which will be done in banks, post offices and the Financial Agency. Citizens will be able to exchange kuna bills for euro in the central bank indefinitely.

Bridge and Sovereignists against euro

Before today's vote, some of the opposition again spoke against introducing the euro.

Miro Bulj of Bridge said an estimate of the effects of the introduction should have been made, calling on parliament to repeal the law and saying that experts should state their opinion and the people decide in a referendum.

Marijan Pavliček of the Sovereignists said the party was concerned about how citizens would survive the month upon entering the eurozone and how pensioners and workers would live.

He said it was insane to enter the eurozone during the EU's biggest energy crisis, biggest economic uncertainty, and the biggest inflation in 20 years.

2022 budget revision included in agenda, debate next week

Parliament today added 14 items to the agenda, including a draft revision of this year's budget.

"We'll debate it next Wednesday," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Parliament: Digitisation of Notarial Services Good, but Fees are High

ZAGREB, 4 May 2022 - Both opposition and ruling parties in the Croatian parliament on Wednesday welcomed the government proposal that the services of notaries-public should be digitised and accessible to the public, but opposition lawmakers warned that notarial fees were high and that they would be regulated by rules and not by law.

Presenting the proposal to amend the Notary Public Act, Josip Salapić, state secretary at the Ministry of Justice, said that the proposed amendments allow parties to participate in legal procedures online and that they provide for new rules in the appointment of notaries.

"Until now, the minister signed a decision on the appointment of a notary-public without seeing who this person was. We had certain problems about it and now we want everything to be transparent," Salapić said.

The proposal provides for the selection process to be conducted by an independent commission and for short-listed candidates to be interviewed by the minister.

MP Miro Bulj (Bridge) objected to this, asking whether candidates would need "a party membership card" for the interview. He also expressed his dissatisfaction at the fact that notarial fees would be regulated by rules and not by law, over which parliament would have no influence.

Katarina Peović of the Workers' Front also complained about high notarial fees, to which Salapić said that notarial expenses had been reduced to a minimum through amendments to the Enforcement Act.

Lawmakers agreed that the Signature, Manuscript and Transcript Authentication Act, adopted 50 years ago, should be repealed.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Parliament Speaker Extends Easter Greetings

ZAGREB, 16 April 2022 - Sabor Speaker Gordan Jandroković says in his Easter message that this Christian holiday encourages the promotion of peace, forgiveness and charity, and he calls for thinking of all who are suffering and who have lost the hope and joy of their life in these fast-changing times marked by the Ukraine war.

Wishing a happy Easter to the Croatians in the country and abroad, the parliament speaker said on Saturday that Easter is a holiday of families and reflects the importance of the family blessing and care for children and the youth who have passed through the very demanding last two years marked by the pandemic and earthquakes.

"This greatest Christian holiday urges us to strengthen togetherness, mutual respect and respect for diversities as well as to strengthen solidarity to ensure that every human being can have a dignified life," says the Parliament Speaker, among other things.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

MPs Welcome Greater Use Of Green Energy And Hydrogen Strategy

ZAGREB, 24 March - Members of the Croatian Parliament on Thursday welcomed the proposal for a national hydrogen strategy until 2050, stressing the importance of economic development based on hydrogen, own energy production and increased electricity production from renewable sources.

Some opposition lawmakers warned of the commercial unprofitability of green hydrogen.

In recent years, Croatia has been making a great effort in decarbonising its energy sector and economy, its goal being to ensure that by 2030 at least 36.6 per cent of electricity consumption comes from renewable sources, said Ivo Milatić, state secretary at the Ministry of Economy.

A hydrogen-based economy is an important part of plans by EU member states towards a green energy transition, and the proposed strategy follows up on the EU hydrogen initiative, which Croatia signed in 2018, he said.

The proposal puts emphasis on renewable hydrogen, obtained by low-carbon emitting technologies. Some sectors of the Croatian economy have already expressed an interest in developing hydrogen technologies, which is why a government strategic document is needed to give direction to the development of hydrogen technologies, Milatić said.

Ljubica Maksimčuk of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was interested in whether Croatia was ready for the first phase of the strategy, from 2020 to 2024, which aims to ensure the production of one million tonnes of renewable hydrogen.

"Croatia is ready for this. Under the National Recovery Plan, we have undertaken to install 10 refuelling stations over the next three years and finance a certain number of electrolysers," Milatić said, adding that there was interest from hydrogen associations and private and public companies.

In response to a question put by Andreja Marić of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Milatić said that 60 public transport buses in Zagreb would switch to hydrogen use and that a hydrogen refuelling station would be installed for that purpose.

Vesna Vučemilović (Sovereignists) wanted to know why the proposed strategy gave priority to transport over industry and to green hydrogen, which she said would have to be subsidised because it was commercially unprofitable.

Milatić said that Croatia was rich in renewable energy sources and that it would not be wise to go any other way than green hydrogen. He, however, noted that they were aware that ample government subsidies would be necessary as long as this technology did not become cheaper.

Responding to a question from independent MP Hrvoje Zekanović about the price of a kilogram of hydrogen, Milatić said that its price currently ranged between 12 and 15 euro and that a car with six kilos of hydrogen in the tank can drive between 500 and 600 kilometres.

Marin Miletić (Bridge) said that the EU planned to invest about €500 billion in renewable energy sources by 2050 and Croatia more than HRK 70 billion (€9.3bn), which is equivalent to the cost of 17 Pelješac bridges. He asked Milatić where Croatia would get that money from.

Milatić said that conventional renewable energy sources, such as wind and sun, would require minimum or no state subsidies in the near future. "Our focus will be on small solar cells on houses and on new technologies, and among new technologies, hydrogen will dominate financially and in any other respect."

 

Politics: For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

New Land Consolidation Bill Presented In Parliament

ZAGREB, 16 March 2022- Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković on Wednesday presented a new land consolidation bill aimed at facilitating the integration of small and irregular parcels into bigger and more regular ones as prerequisites for increasing production, cultivating land, and upgrading local infrastructure.

The money set aside to apply the law will help to consolidate 18,000 hectares, but there is interest in consolidating more, the minister said in parliament.

Twenty-three local units interested in the consolidation of 46,600 hectares replied to the ministry's call for applications last October, she told independent MP Marijana Petir, who asked if consolidation funds could be increased given the interest.

HRK 313 million has been set aside for farmland consolidation until 2026, of which HRK 263 million from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility and HRK 50 million in national funds.

Under the bill, consolidated land cannot be divided for 99 years, the minister told Luka Brčić of the ruling HDZ, who asked if Croatia was considering preventing further division of inherited land.

Land consolidation is of strategic interest to Croatia, the minister said, dismissing claims from Bridge MPs that the new law would be unfeasible and that everything was being shifted onto local government units.

Vučković dismissed as incorrect Bridge MP Miro Bulj's claims that 700,000 hectares of land was uncultivated.

Defending the minister, Stipan Šašlin of the HDZ asked Bulj why he did not do in Sinjsko Polje what Draž Municipality in Baranja did by consolidating over 800 hectares of land and building a HRK 25 million irrigation system.

Selling land to foreigners will mean "game over", says Beljak

Krešo Beljak of the opposition Croatian Peasant Party said that allowing foreigners to buy land would mean "game over" for Croatian farmers and agriculture.

The law will be unfeasible due to many obstacles, from unsolved property rights relations to the cadastre, the opposition said.

Processes should be made simpler and faster, said Ružica Vukovac of For a Just Croatia, adding that land has not been consolidated for 30 years.

Anja Šimpraga of the ruling coalition's SDSS said the bill provided a new approach and represented a huge step forward.

Ljubomir Kolarek (HDZ) said the new law would put to use farmland which was used little or not at all because it was not consolidated.

 

Politics: For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 11 March 2022

Croatia Sending Up to 70 Troops to Hungary, Parliament Decides

ZAGREB, 11 March (2022) - Croatia will send up to 70 troops to Hungary as part of NATO's Enhanced Vigilance, parliament decided by majority vote on Friday.

One MP voted against and 118 for the decision to send troops to Hungary, where they can be deployed this year and the next, with the possibility of rotation.

The decision was tabled by the government whose representative, Defence Ministry state secretary Zdravko Jakop, told MPs that Russia's invasion of Ukraine represented one of the most serious threats to European security in decades.

"The attack on an independent, peace-loving, democratic state is a bitter reminder that freedom, peace, security and stability can't exist if we are not ready to defend them," he said.

Jakop said NATO enhanced its rapid response force in recent months, deploying additional forces on its eastern flank, reinforcing forces in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and organising new battle groups in Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania.

HRK 38 million has been set aside in the state budget to send Croatian troops to Hungary.

Currently, 181 Croatian troops are deployed in UN and NATO missions, the most, 141, in Kosovo.

Also today, parliament unanimously voted for the participation of five Croatian troops in the EU's Cyber Rapid Response Teams and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security.

For more, check out our politics section.

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