Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Google Search Croatia: What Did Croatia Google Search Most in 2020?

December 9, 2020 – It's been a funny old year. Funny as in unusual. Not so much funny haha. The extraordinary nature of the year is reflected in the most-popular Croatia Google search list for 2020, which has just been published. This year's searches hold a stark contrast to last year's.

In 2019, the end-of-year list for Croatia Google search was dominated by results for sporting fixtures, celebrities and entertainment. Although the EU election results and the long-running teacher's strike in Croatia also scored highly in 2019, this year has been dominated by searches of an even more serious and pressing nature.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the number one Croatia Google search for 2020 was Coronavirus. The global pandemic is likely to top lists all over the world. In this country, its ramifications also created several other high-ranking inclusions on the Croatia Google search list 2020.

Software Google Classroom and Office 365 za škole also feature in the top 10 Croatia Google search list 2020, as parents and students coped with the closure of teaching institutions and prepared to learn and receive lectures online. Another piece of online tech that features in the top 10 was ePropusnica, the travel pass required for inter-regional travel and international travel by car during the various stages of lockdown. If these results are anything to go by, Coronavirus has dominated the lives of Croatians in 2020.

Another big Croatia Google search term in 2020 was Zagreb earthquake. For anyone in Zagreb at the time of the first large tremor, this will also come as little surprise – it was the biggest earthquake experienced for 100 years in Croatia, and it came without warning. Though lasting just a few seconds, there was no reaction more immediate than that of city residents, who ran out into the streets partially clothed. Thousands must have searched the term to find out what was happening, and also after many of the hundreds of aftershocks that have followed.

Here's the list of biggest Croatia Google search terms in 2020

The most-popular Croatia Google search terms in 2020

1. Koronavirus
2. Google Classroom
3. Office 365 za škole
4. Potres Zagreb (Earthquake Zagreb)
5. Kobe Bryant
6. ePropusnica
7. Izbori SAD (US elections)
8. DIP
9. Joe Biden
10. Masoni (Masons)

The most-popular Croatia Google search apps in 2020

1. ePropusnice
2. Zoom
3. Andrija

The most-popular Croatia Google search events in 2020

1. Potres (Earthquake)
2. Izbori SAD (US elections)
3. Izbori (elections) 

Aside from the inclusion of the Masons (freemasons), the list is understandable on an international level. It perhaps tells us something about how Croatians use the search engine and how well they respect it as a source for delivering credible information. With Coronavirus vaccines now announced and, all hope, the biggest potential earthquake out of the way, for now, it's understandable for most Croatians to be looking forward to the return of more trivial matters dominating their Google searches in 2021.

Monday, 9 November 2020

2020 Anniversary of Devastating 1880 Zagreb Earthquake

ZAGREB November 9, 2020 - November 9th is the anniversary of the 1880 Zagreb earthquake. Holding a special significance in 2020 – the year of the largest earthquake since – we look back at the 1880 event and see what parallels may be drawn with today

'I have never seen more horrible images, nor deeper sorrow in my life,' wrote pre-eminent Zagreb novelist August Šenoa of the destruction visited upon his home city in the 1880 Zagreb earthquake. So influential are the books and writings of August Šenoa that he is regarded as the father of the Croatian novel and of modern national literature. And yet, his chronicling of the 1880 Zagreb earthquake and the devastation it left behind would be among his last writings. While assisting others in the earthquake's aftermath he contracted an illness that would kill him within the year. Upon his death, he was just 43 years old.

IMG_6704.jpegAugust Šenoa © Marc Rowlands

Šenoa was not the only victim of the 1880 Zagreb earthquake. Although not even invented at the time, the 1880 Zagreb earthquake is estimated to have measured 6.3 on today's Richter scale. Besides this being considerably stronger than the earthquake experienced in the city during 2020, back then the buildings of the Croatian capital were not constructed to today's seismic-aware stipulations. Many were no match for the 1880 Zagreb earthquake.


Two fatalities recorded in the immediate aftermath of the 1880 Zagreb earthquake (lithographer Stanić and bank clerk Lavoslav Smetana) and some 29 people were injured seriously. But, unlike 2020, the death toll would continue to rise, as people were left without heat, warmth or even adequate housing with winter fast approaching. Illness and disease visited the city, as did aftershocks like those which have continued to rattle Zagreb in 2020. By April 1881, 185 smaller earthquakes had been recorded. Residents whose houses were damaged were housed in barracks built for that purpose in the area of Zrinjevac and today's Klaićeva ulica.


Financial aid to the victims of the 1880 Zagreb earthquake came from all over Europe. Most was donated by Austria-Hungary, but funds were also collected in Copenhagen, Istanbul, Cardiff, London, Paris, Bern, Sofia, Alexandria, and help was sent by Pope Leo XIII. Residents of the Polish city released the book 'Krakow Zagreb', and one too in Lviv, Ukraine 'For Zagreb'. Proceeds from their sale were presented to the Mayor of Zagreb in 1881.


Some parallels between the 1880 Zagreb earthquake and the earthquake of 2020 are extraordinary. Although in just the first 24 hours after the 1880 Zagreb earthquake, 3,800 passenger tickets were issued at Zagreb's Central Station to those fleeing the city, the lucky escapees were largely from the upper classes. Most of the poor were left behind and, just like the Zagreb volunteers of today, many assisted in helping others and in the city's reconstruction.


The 1880 Zagreb earthquake so badly damaged the city's cathedral that the main nave collapsed and the cathedral tower was damaged beyond repair. Herman Bollé was an Austro-Hungarian architect who had been persuaded to come and work in Croatia by Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer and Croatian painter Izidor Kršnjavi. One of his first assignments in the country was to assist work on the completion of the cathedral in Đakovo, which was Osijek-born Strossmayer's seat. After this, Bollé was tasked with renovating St. Mark's Church in Zagreb and assisting in the restoration of Zagreb cathedral. He had just started work on building the grand domed arches of Mirogoj cemetery when the 1880 Zagreb earthquake hit. Though Mirogoj was considerably closer to the epicentre of the earthquake, Bollé's new construction was virtually undamaged. This served as proof of his ability and the sturdiness of his constructions. He was immediately promoted to oversee the reconstruction of Zagreb cathedral.

zagreb-19th-century-18.jpgZagreb cathedral, with its single spire, prior to the 1880 earthquake © State archives in Zagreb

In a move which, at the time, caused no small amount of controversy, he opted to take inspiration from earlier versions of the cathedral and rebuild it in a Neo-Gothic style. It was only at this relatively recent juncture in the life of Zagreb cathedral that its two iconic spires appeared. This was not the only new addition Zagreb received after its earthquake.

Zagreb_Cathedral_interior_1880.jpegAnother Ivan Standl photograph, this one from inside Zagreb cathedral

Just like the damage wrought on German cities during the bombing campaigns of World War II, the devastation of the 1880 Zagreb earthquake acted as a catalyst to aspiring new construction work. Many of the iconic and historic buildings in Zagreb's Lower Town were built in the following years, including the main train station, as were some of its best-loved parks and fountains. More than 700 new buildings were built in the subsequent 10 years, and in response, the city’s population grew by a third.

image (1).jpg

If residents today draw any inspiring positives from the parallels between the 1880 Zagreb earthquake and that of 2020, surely the city's resilience, persistence, indefatigability and community spirit must be chief among them. And, if the rebuild following the 2020 earthquake follows in the footsteps of the last one, the city of Zagreb that we could see in years to come may well be like that seen by its residents in the decade following 1880 - a beauty unimaginable while still in the midst of turmoil.

Several photographers were commissioned to document the aftermath of the 1880 Zagreb earthquake including Ivan Standl. Their work appears here courtesy State Archives in Zagreb, The Croatian Ministry of Culture, Zagreb City Library or lies within the public domain

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Thursday, 29 October 2020

Meet Zagreb Volunteers, the Heart and Soul of the City

October 29, 2020 - TCN joins Zagreb Volunteers Centre in Čučerje to find out who are the Zagreb volunteers and why they do what they do. Čučerje is a semi-rural community which lies at the epicentre of the March 2020 earthquake.

By the time we ran out of the building, the first tremor had stopped. At 6:25am, the asphalt road lay quiet and motionless. People in pyjamas, nightgowns or underwear stood on the pavement. Others emerged even later. Although masonry in other parts of the city continued to fall, the 5.5 magnitude earthquake that visited Zagreb on 22 March 2020 was over. It had lasted much less than a minute. Its repercussions would last much longer.

1442px-Oštećena_zgrada_Đorđićeva.jpgDamage to a Zagreb city-centre building in the 2020 earthquake © Franjo Tahy

The tragic news of a fatality filtered through the media several hours later, as did pictures of the devastation visited upon the Croatian capital's buildings. Some of its oldest were hit particularly hard. However, most modern constructions had emerged largely unscathed. Acknowledging the area's seismic capabilities, everything built after the 1963 earthquake of Skopje in neighbouring Macedonia had been constructed to withstand such force.

Offers of help soon began to arrive from overseas. Despite international struggles related to Coronavirus, many still had sympathy upon hearing of the Zagreb earthquake. This outside sympathy and the media that prompted it were rarely directed to the semi-rural communities which experienced the earthquake's fiercest force.

_MG_7323.jpegThe front of the town church in Čučerje, surrounded by scaffolding seven months after the earthquake

The small town of Čučerje is just short of 11 kilometres to the north-east of Zagreb city centre. In late October, the town looks impossibly pretty – houses perched in the foothills of Mount Medvednica, surrounded by greenery and trees exploding in a myriad of autumn shades. But, behind the colourful exterior lies a hidden suffering.

_MG_7314.jpegThe spire of Čučerje's church is scarred on all sides by long-veined cracks

Čučerje lies just 500 metres from the epicentre of the earthquake. Scaffolding bolsters the town church, its spire scarred on all sides by long-veined cracks. Back from the main road, down simple, country lanes, sit houses much older than those standng proud above the centre. Here, life still exists in a way similar to that of the original residents of such dwellings. Elderly neighbours are preparing to heat their homes by wood-fired burners, chasing away the chill seeping in through the cracks the earthquake has left. As winter approaches, such hardships are not always reported as loudly as those faced by the damaged cultural institutions holding priceless collections in the capital. But, the struggle does not go unnoticed by Zagreb Volunteers Centre (VCZ).

_MG_7306.jpegČučerje residents and members of Zagreb Volunteers Centre meet in the community centre to plan the day's action

Established in 1998, Zagreb Volunteers Centre acts as a conduit between charities, communities and non-profit organisations who need support and those willing to donate their time to good causes. Since it was formed, over 18, 000 people have submitted their names to the centre as potential Zagreb volunteers who may be called upon. The centre has helped over 700 organisations find Zagreb volunteers.

“Before 1996, there was a set-up that facilitated international volunteering - it helped connect Croatians with international actions that were looking for help,” says 28-year-old Dunja Hafner, who works for Zagreb Volunteers Centre. “But, it was noticed that some people couldn't commit to an overseas trip and that others simply just preferred only to volunteer locally. The logical step was to move into facilitating that.”

_MG_7338.jpegZagreb volunteers gather in the early morning mist

“Since we started, the numbers of Zagreb volunteers in our database has grown steadily. But, over more recent times, volunteering does seem to have become a more popular thing to do. And, many people have put their names forward for volunteering since the advent of the earthquake. In the immediate aftermath, there were so many people volunteering that we had to just direct people to the specific groups who were appealing for help. We even had to turn down some Zagreb volunteers who offered their time. That had never previously happened in the history of the organisation. Now, we are managing better and we help co-ordinate some of the actions ourselves.”

“Before the earthquake, the main volunteering areas to which we would send people were actions for children, the elderly, events like culture, sports and music festivals, animals, ecology projects and nature conservation.”

_MG_7399.jpegMy name is Dražen Blažević (centre), I was born in Croatia. My mother and grandparents are all from Zagreb. This is the city where I live. At the moment, I don't have regular employment, so I can afford to give my time to an action like this. While I'm looking for a full-time job, I make ends meet by doing food deliveries on my bicycle. Why am I here today? Honestly, it was only two weeks ago that I just had this feeling that I should give my time to help people. In one minute I decided I would volunteer. Before this, the kind of help I would give was only to my neighbours, the elderly relatives of friends. People like that. As an official volunteer, this is my first time. Maybe this sounds a little selfish, but I thought it would make me feel good.


_MG_7368.jpegMy name is Alexandra and I am from Čučerje. I live here with my family. Right now, I am without a full-time job, so I take on some other daily obligations – I accompany kids to kindergarten and school, and I help out in our local church. I look after their social media pages for them. I also play the organ in the church. It was a very simple decision for me to join in with today's action – I live here. I walk past the devastation left by the earthquake every day. This town has experienced lots of problems because of the damage. For me, giving my time today is a way of showing the love I have for my town and the people who live here. Well, something like that.


_MG_7516.jpegMy name is Borut Babanić (right) and I'm from Zagreb. I work as a project manager. I wanted to volunteer so I could help people. The residents of Čučerje are some of the worst affected by the earthquake and so that's why I want to come here specifically. I wanted them to not feel that they are alone. This is the first time I joined an action via the Zagreb Volunteer Centre.

My name is Antonio Frinčić (left). I'm from Zagreb. I work for the Croatian Foundation For Children. It's an organisation that assists in looking after children and families who have small incomes or limited means. It's a state-funded organisation. My position there is a paid one. This is not the first voluntary work I've undertaken, but it is the first time I have volunteered through the Zagreb Volunteer Centre. My answer is the same as Borut's – I came here because I wanted to help these people.

Borut and Antonio are pictured side-by-side because they spent most of the day working together. When they arrived in the morning, they were strangers. They left as friends.

_MG_7371.jpegMy name is Marina Krolo and I'm originally from Split. I studied in Zagreb, finished university here and then stayed. My regular role in society is that I'm a tour guide and tour leader. That pretty much means that this is my year off, ha! There's not much work for a tour guide in 2020, so I'm trying to put my free time to good use. This is the first time I've volunteered through Zagreb Volunteer Centre.


_MG_7357.jpegMy name is Vincent Matijaca. I was born in Split. I'm based in Zagreb now. We opened a company BioCro LTD in the United Kingdom a few months ago. What we're trying to do is assist small producers and OPGs from this region to place their products internationally, including the UK and other countries in Europe. Why am I here today? Well, we believe that you can't start promoting sustainability and help solely from the office, we believe our project to be more hands-on. By doing that we hope to be able to show what we're about, and to set an example that perhaps others will follow. We've previously joined actions through other Croatian volunteer organisations and others internationally, but this is the first time we've done so through Zagreb Volunteer Centre.

_MG_7512.jpegLocal people from Čučerje and the surroundings had prepared food to make sure the volunteers didn't go hungry. This dish was made and donated by a local hairdresser. It is a local speciality called tenka gibanica. It was delicious.

_MG_7393.jpegMy name is Tomislav Vlajčić and I'm from Zagreb. At the moment, my regular time is spent studying economy and training football. I'm the team leader of a faculty-related group Tourism Lab that's interested in that area of our economy. This is my first time volunteering. I decided to come because it's a good opportunity to help people who are in need and I'm really glad I came. The experience was really worth it and meeting new people, seeing a slightly different culture is priceless. I would recommend it to anyone because it all starts with us.


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Friday, 9 October 2020

Croatia to Get €683.7 m to Remove Consequences of Zagreb Earthquake

ZAGREB, October 9, 2020 - The European Commission on Friday proposed that Croatia be allocated aid in the amount of €683.7 million from the European Solidarity Fund to remove the consequences of a strong earthquake that hit Zagreb on March 22.

The first tranche, in the amount of €88.9, was disbursed in August in the form of an advance payment. The EC's proposal is yet to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament and the funds will be available right after that.

The aid for Croatia is part of a broader package worth €823 million which the EC proposed on Friday. The rest of the package is intended for removing the consequences of floods in Poland (€7 million) and advance payments in the amount of €132.7 million as assistance in coping with the health crisis caused by the coronavirus in Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Croatian Sense Of Humour Undiminished By Continuing Earthquakes

September 2, 2020 – Declarations of love, funny trading offers for chickens, appeals for dates and creative swearing have lightened the mood after earth tremors, as the Croatian sense of humour spills over into the unlikely forum of an earthquake-reporting app

The earthquake of 22 March 2020 was an unforgettable experience for anyone in Zagreb. The strongest to have hit the Croatian capital in 140 years, it has naturally been followed by a series of aftershocks. Eight particularly forceful tremors have been accompanied by more than 1000 smaller aftershocks. The vibrations have become as much a part of 2020's everyday life in Zagreb as putting on a mask.

While some still become mortified by these tremors, many Zagreb residents have now become accustomed to this low rumbling of the ground. They can now laugh and joke about it.

The Croatian sense of humour is a diverse beast – it can be dark, brutal, scathing, self-deprecating, gentle, simple, outrageous, creatively profane or simply just bizarre. In this diversity and relentless ability to laugh at all situations, the Croatian sense of humour and that of some immediate neighbours, is much closer to that which the British have rather than other Europeans. It is British comedy shows that regularly delight Croatian TV audiences, not those from Germany, France or Italy.

i-beg-your-pardon-927744_1920.jpg© Alexas_Fotos

Jokes and swearing about the earth tremors are a classically Croatian response. Alongside the Croatian sense of humour and general tomfoolery, they have recently spilled over into an unexpected forum. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre is a pretty serious institution. It was established in 1975 and has 84 professional institutes as members in as many as 55 different countries. Their app is a world leader for the public reporting of earth tremors. Although, in the hands of funny Croatians, it has of late become a bulletin board for declarations of love, statements of the surreal, an app for trading and dating.

"Matija, I love you" read one of the first comments in response to the latest aftershock, which occurred on Friday 25 September. "Nikolina from Jazbina, I love you," declared another.

"I'm opening the bottle, is there any frightened girl nearby so that we can be scared together?" appealed one lonely chancer from the Kvatrić neighbourhood. Rather bafflingly, another simply wrote “Milk shake. Strawberry.”

This weekend's corruption of the EMSC app is not without precedent. “Does anybody here have any yeast? Dubrava and surroundings” begged one local, several weeks ago. Another trader at least made reference to the earth tremors when he advertised “I sell chickens. They are small and stressed out - and will remain small! I buy chickens, too. But only those who are resistant to earthquakes.”


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Monday, 14 September 2020

Minor Earthquake Jolted Zagreb on Sunday, EMSC Said

ZAGREB, Sept 14, 2020 - A minor earthquake jolted Zagreb, measuring 1.9 on the Richter scale, shortly before midnight on Sunday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

The earthquake occurred at 11.55 pm and had its epicenter eight kilometers northeast of Zagreb, the EMSC said.

The Croatian Seismological Service later said that the earthquake measured 2.2 on the Richter scale.

This was yet another in a series of minor tremors that had occurred since March 22 when a magnitude 5.5 quake struck the capital, leaving extensive property damage and fatally injuring a girl.

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Friday, 11 September 2020

Act on Post-earthquake Reconstruction of Zagreb and its Environs Passed

ZAGREB, Sept 11, 2020 - The Croatian parliament on Friday adopted the act on the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and of Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb Counties, with 124 parliamentary deputies supporting the legislation.

A total of 138 parliamentary deputies participated in the voting, and ten abstained from it, while four voted against.

In the 151-seat parliament, apart from deputies of the 76-strong ruling majority, also some of the Opposition lawmakers voted for the act.

Four parliamentary deputies who are self-isolating voted via video link, which happened for the first time in the Croatian legislature.

Under the act, the government will provide 60% of the funding for the structural reconstruction of private buildings, while local government units and owners will each contribute 20%.

Property owners whose monthly income does not exceed HRK 4,000 and those whose property was worth less than HRK 200,000 on the day of the earthquake will also be entitled to free reconstruction. This will also apply to disabled Homeland War veterans, disabled persons, and welfare beneficiaries who receive maintenance support.

The owners of the property which will be reconstructed under this scheme are not allowed to sell it within five years upon the rebuilding.

The government is supposed to inform the parliament once a year about the process of reconstruction under this act.

26,000 buildings damaged in the 22 March quake

The March 22 earthquake has been the most destructive in the last 100 years and it claimed the life of a young girl in downtown Zagreb.

The damage caused is estimated at HRK 86 billion, which is about 60% of the state budget and surpasses anything Croatia has experienced.

Some 25,000 buildings were damaged in the City of Zagreb, 510 in Zagreb County, and 409 in Krapina-Zagorje County, or nearly 26,000 buildings in total. About 1.5% of them are public buildings and 98.5% are privately owned.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2020

PM: Aim is for Zagreb Reconstruction Law to be Good, Sustainable

ZAGREB, Sept 9, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday the aim of Zagreb Reconstruction Law on the post-earthquake reconstruction of the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb counties was quality and sustainable law which would ensure long term restoration.

He was speaking at a cabinet meeting which adopted a conclusion giving a government representative consent to accept about 30 amendments to the final bill submitted by others.

The government's approach is inclusive and consensual, so we decided to accept any amendments and many of them were identical, Plenkovic said, adding that the relevant ministries analyzed the proposals thoroughly, consulting experts.

The amendments will be debated by parliament on Thursday.

Horvat: We followed experts' proposals

A total of 183 amendments were submitted to the final bill. Presenting the government's conclusion, Construction Minister Darko Horvat said the government's analysis was based on experts' proposals.

We are willing to fully accept some 30 amendments and three parts, he told reporters.

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Friday, 28 August 2020

We Can! MPs Say Bill on Post-Quake Reconstruction Leaves a Lot to Be Elaborated

ZAGREB, August 28, 2020 - Parliamentary deputies of the We Can! political platform have warned that the final bill on the post-earthquke reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs leaves a lot to be elaborated and that they will continue insisting on the establishment of an institute for reconstruction rather than a fund.

MP Tomislav Tomasevic said that his platform would submit a larger number of amendments to improve the bill.

He said the platform was satisfied with the social criteria and financial framework of the bill but was not happy with the institutional framework, which, he said, had stayed more or less the same in relation to the first version of the bill.

"The government still insists on a fund for the reconstruction of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb counties instead of an institute for the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs, which is what we have requested," said Tomasevic.

The We Can! platform wants the institute to be a coordinating body rather than "a kind of supporting administrative-financial body, which is what the fund will be under the bill."

Tomasevic also pointed to the importance of having a single institution in charge of the reconstruction process to prevent conflict of jurisdiction.

MP Sandra Bencic said that the government had not fully accepted their amendment seeking the establishment of an independent body in charge of overseeing how funds for reconstruction are spent.

She expressed concern about how citizens who have already started repair works on their properties will be financially assisted because the bill does not specify the amount of aid they are entitled to.

Bencic also called for regulating the issue of the market price of reconstruction work, saying that the price of some types of repair work was up to 400% higher than the ususual price.

The bill does not define precisely the issue of substitute housing, she noted.

MP Damir Bakic warned that the bill failed to mention that reconstruction work on public-purpose buildings would be entirely financed by their owners, i.e. founders.

It would be unfair and contrary to the intention of the law for reconstruction work on public-purpose buildings that are privately owned to be financed exclusively by their owners, he said.


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Monday, 24 August 2020

Zagreb Earthquake: Poorer Will Not Pay For Home Reconstruction

August 24, 2020 – Government proposes all reconstruction costs be borne by the state and city for the poorest homeowners in society.

In new government proposals, poorer residents of Zagreb and the two neighbouring counties most affected by this year's earthquake will pay nothing towards the cost of home reconstruction. The new proposals contained in the Law on Reconstruction of Zagreb will be officially presented in a government session on Thursday 27 August and then to parliament on September 2 or 3.

Homeowners in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, and Zagreb County whose residencies were damaged are those affected by the new proposals. If a homeowner or cohabiting couple earns HRK 8,000 a month or less and does not have assets of more than HRK 200,000, the state and the city will finance the entirety of their home renovations.

In the law's first reading, it was proposed that structural renovation costs be borne 60% by the state, 20% by city or regional government, and 20% by property owners and co-owners. Property owners whose income did not exceed HRK 4,000 per month in the previous year (or cohabiting couples earning less than HRK 8,000 per month), will now be exempt from any contributions towards reconstruction, provided they did not hold assets exceeding HRK 200,000 on the day of the earthquake, 22 March 2020. Assets refer to real estate, motor vehicles, and vessels, savings and shares.

For people meeting the criteria, apartment and house renovation costs will be borne 80% by the state, and 20% by city or regional government (City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, or Zagreb County). Reconstruction costs of the homes belonging to those left disabled of the Homeland War or beneficiaries of social care who receive maintenance assistance will also be fully financed.

Damage to a dwelling on Ilica in central Zagreb © Franjo Tahy

The proposals are aimed at assisting the poorest homeowners affected, although the implications stretch much further

People who do not meet the low income/low asset criteria, who do not have a home insurance policy, must pay for 20% of their home renovation. Those who do have an insurance policy can request payment or partial payment of that 20% by their insurers.

It is possible that some unmarried couples who are living together, but not officially co-habiting, and whose income and assets exceed the set amount, could benefit before other couples who are married and legally co-habiting.

There are also potentially serious implications for those who are on a very low income, but who have inherited a property worth more than HRK 200,000 (approx €26,500).

In the final bill, there remains a provision for mortgaging real estate if the owners and co-owners cannot secure 20% of building renovation costs.

The new proposals also include the possibility of obtaining financial assistance for the repair of staircases in buildings, in addition to previously announced assistance for the repair of gable walls, elevators, chimneys, and the replacement of gas boilers.

Damage from the earthquake in Zagreb and surroundings was estimated at 86.4 billion kuna (approx €11.5 billion). The new proposals mean that a larger amount than this previous estimation will now be needed.

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