Wednesday, 20 July 2022

SDP Calls for National Council to Combat Energy Crisis

ZAGREB, 20 July 2022 - Deputy whip of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Siniša Hajdaš Dončić said on Wednesday that SDP had submitted a motion to the Sabor for the establishment of a national council for energy and energy transition in order to activate renewables and help citizens in the energy crisis.

energy That proposal, said Hajdaš Dončić, is a hand to the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and all other parties because infrastructure and energy have no party connotations. "It is a Croatian public good and a Coatian national interest," he told a press conference, stressing that a national consensus is needed on the issue of energy.

He explained that due to the growing energy crisis and deviations in supply routes, "but also the timid implementation of some energy policies," SDP has proposed the establishment of a national council which, in addition to Members of Parliament, would include experts and scientists, and which would not be guided by narrow party interests because, he said, we believe that energy is above all political parties.

Hajdaš Dončić said that Croatia has a good energy infrastructure and the possibility of its expansion, but unfortunately, the INA oil company and the HEP power utility, did not expand into energy companies that would provide citizens and entrepreneurs with a much larger protection against inflation and the rapid energy price hikes.

Although the government and the president have their own councils for energy, it is important that the Sabor has one, too, without any party affiliation because many experts who could make a quality contribution shy away from being linked to a party, said Hajdaš Dončić.

SDP calls for a tax reduction on solar systems and energy savings

His party colleague and former environmental minister Mihael Zmajlović said that the intention is not to establish yet another commission or committee for its own sake but to highlight that energy management is a first-class economic and social issue because citizens are feeling the impact of energy price hikes and consequently increased food prices.

Our goal is to encourage the government to set frameworks so that renewable energy sources and natural resources are used as much as possible. Today Croatia is lagging behind in terms of the use of solar energy in Europe, ranking 24th, warned Zmajlović.

SDP has called for incentive systems to be easier, faster and more efficient, and for a VAT reduction for solar systems, Zmajlović said and added that the European Commission has also requested the strengthening of renewable energy sources and provided funds for this. However, he said, the government has not yet responded, even though this would significantly reduce the cost of living for citizens.

According to the proposal, the council chairman would be from the ranks of the opposition, the deputy chair from the ruling majority, following the example of the Anti-Corruption Council, and their term would last as long as the Sabor sits.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Opposition MPs Criticise Gov't for Not Tackling Energy Supply

ZAGREB, 13 July 2022 - MP Ivana Kekin of the Green-Left Bloc said on Wednesday the heating season was three months away, yet the government was not taking any action.

She said in parliament that while all of Europe was talking about energy supply in the coming autumn and winter, the Croatian government was avoiding the topic.

At the beginning of the year, the EU decided that all gas storage facilities must be 80% full by 1 November, while Croatia has only one storage which is barely 20% full now, less than at the same time last year, Kekin said, adding that the government has no clue where it will procure gas.

She also accused the government of pursuing a policy that favored Russian interests by awarding the job of leasing additional gas capacity to the PPD company.

MP Anka Mrak Taritaš (GLAS) criticized the prime minister for not giving recommendations on energy saving.

Our behavior will have to change for the sake of energy saving, not just because of Russia but also because of environmental protection and energy transition, she said, calling for taking action now.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

PM: Problem With Energy Crisis is Nobody Knows How Long it Will Last

ZAGREB, 12 May 2022 - Croatia has so far taken in 18,000 Ukrainian refugees and the problem with the current energy crisis caused by the Russian aggression is that it is not known how long it will last, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday addressing a conference of young European leaders.

"The problem with this crisis is that nobody knows how long it will last and instruments of control of energy product prices are weak," the PM said in his address at the European Young Leaders (EYL40) conference, speaking about the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"In fact, we do not have global mechanisms to control prices of energy products," he said, stressing that a common European solution to the crisis was necessary.

Unlike the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected only a fragment of the population, elderly and at-risk groups, the energy crisis is affecting everyone because "99% of human activities" are connected to energy products, he said.

The Zagreb conference was attended by some 40 successful individuals from all around Europe - parliament members, business people, astrophysicists, athletes and artists, among others, including Sarajevo Mayor Benjamina Karić.

Speaking of the Russian aggression, Plenković said few people had expected it to happen and that it was interesting that intelligence data from Western allies had proven "completely precise."

The Russian attack has caused a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, with close to six million having left the country and 13 million having been internally displaced, and, together with the energy crisis, it has caused wider political instability, Plenković said.

"We do not know if the aggression on Ukraine will be the only or the last aggression," he warned, mentioning in that context developments so far in the east of Europe, notably Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus.

He said that Zagreb's official position is one of full solidarity with Ukraine and that so far 18,000 Ukrainians had arrived in Croatia.  

For more, check out our politics section.

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