Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Plans for Post-quake Reconstruction of Sisak County Presented to Local Builders

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivan Celjak on Wednesday presented local construction businesses and entrepreneurs with the planned dynamics of reconstruction in the  earthquake-affected areas.

The programme encompasses the reconstruction of buildings in health, education, culture, road infrastructure and the like, so that all the projects can be implemented as planned.

The county submitted 68 projects to the solidarity fund valued at HRK 698.5 million. They include 20 projects for healthcare, 11 for education, 9 for culture and 12 for road infrastructure projects.

Several projects were highlighted such as the Sisak General Hospital, the Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Popovača, the Sisak, Petrinja and Glina branch health clinics, the Topusko Sanatorium, as well as four elementary and seven secondary schools and cultural venues.

Celjak said that eight projects valued at HRK 7.6 million were planned for the first quarter, 19 in the second quarter worth HRK 405.9 million and 13 projects, valued at HRK 184.2 million, should be implemented in the third quarter of 2022.

"The funds for reconstruction have been secured and we decided on this clear and transparent approach to inform the construction sector of the plans and dynamics of reconstruction aimed at the timely preparation and application for tenders," he said.

(€1 = HRK 7.55)

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Most Projects in Zagreb Agreed Through Ministry of Culture and Media, Minister Says

ZAGREB, 23 Feb 2022 - Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Wednesday that Croatia found itself in a situation that isn't regulated by the EU Solidarity Fund (ESF) by experiencing two major earthquakes in relatively the same region in one year.

Speaking on Croatian Radio regarding post-earthquake reconstruction, Obuljen Koržinek said that Croatia was hit by two separate earthquakes in 2020 in the midst of COVID, when intervention was made even more difficult.

She underscored that the European Commission inspected Croatia's intervention plans for Zagreb and for the Banovina region, where more than half the ESF was allocated, and accepted Croatia's arguments and allowed it to absorb the entire allocation.

"The majority of projects for Zagreb that have been agreed were agreed through the Ministry of Culture and Media. We are monitoring what is being done in the field and we will certainly spend the entire allocation", she said.

She added that this however, will only cover a minor share of what is required for reconstruction.

The ESF is earmarked exclusively for public buildings and infrastructure while the reconstruction of houses and blocks of flats will have to be covered from the state budget, she said.

First step in Banovina region were minor repairs to houses

Asked why Zagreb and Banovina aren't the biggest construction sites, she cited numerous reasons. In the case of Zagreb that involves larger, more complex buildings, she said, this involves public procurement procedures so that the financing of such projects is transparent.

She recalled that a decision was made regarding Banovina to first deal with minor repairs, so that as many people in temporary accommodation could return to their homes.

Public procurement procedures have been launched for the construction of houses and that process will now be accelerated, she added.

She also underscored that the timeframe for the reconstruction of houses depends on a lot of factors and owners too have an important role and there are a lot of problems with ownership rights.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Croatia Receives Remaining €277.8m From EU Solidarity Fund

ZAGREB, 3 January 2022 - Last week, the European Commission disbursed a grant of €277.8 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to help Croatia repair the damage caused by the earthquakes that struck central areas of the country at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the Commission said on Monday. 

The Commission has awarded €319 million of EUSF support to Croatia following the devastating series of earthquakes that hit Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac, and Zagreb Counties in December 2020 and January 2021. €41 million was paid as an advance in August 2021, and the balance payment of €277.8 million was made on 30 December 2021.

"Croatia has gone through two terrible earthquakes in March 2020 and again a series of earthquakes in December 2020 and January 2021. The financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund to Croatia will contribute to the essential recovery efforts after the devastation brought by the earthquakes and it is a visible sign of EU solidarity,” said the Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira.

In late October, following an application by Croatia for compensation for the damage caused by the earthquakes, the Commission proposed a financial contribution from the EUSF of €319 million, which was approved by the Council of the EU and the European Parliament in mid-December.

Croatia had previously received a grant of €683.7 million to repair the damage caused by a devastating earthquake that struck  Zagreb in March 2020, which makes up more than €1 billion in total support.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Croatia to Get €319 Million in EU Grants to Repair Earthquake Damage in Banovina

ZAGREB, 30 Oct, 2021 - The European Commission has decided to award €319 million in grants to Croatia to help it repair damage caused by the 29 December 2020 earthquake in the central region of Banovina.

The EC said on Friday that it had adopted a decision to award Croatia grants from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) based on the country's application for the compensation of funds used to repair damage caused by the 29 December earthquake, the Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The EC decision is a draft that will be forwarded to the European Parliament and Council of the EU for further proceedings and the payment will be made once those proceedings are completed.

The ministry recalls that in August 2021 Croatia received a part of an advance in the amount of €41.325 million and under the EC's draft decision, the total amount of grants for damage repair is €319,192,359.

Also, Croatia has so far received €683.7 million in grants to repair damage caused by the 22 March 2020 earthquake in Zagreb. The total amount of grants for earthquake damage repair to be obtained from the EUSF is more than a billion euros, the ministry said.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

New Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević: Sandra Benčić (Mozemo!) On First Moves

June 1, 2021 - With the new Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević soon coming to the office, Sandra Benčić of the green-left platform Mozemo! (We Can!) spoke to about the first moves of the new administration.

Following intense post-first round campaigns in Zagreb for the second round of local elections, Tomislav Tomašević is the new mayor of Zagreb. Additionally, Tomašević's green-left coalition Mozemo! earned 23 seats in the City's assembly, and if the previously announced support of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) that has five, Mozemo! will have the majority in the assembly. 

The new mayor is expected to take his seat by the end of this week, and as reports, Sandra Benčić, the Mozemo! MP says that ZG Holding chief and directors can be removed from their position immediately.

However, first and foremost, the earthquake damages seem to be taking the lead.

„The most urgent thing is to prepare documentation for the reconstructions of kindergartens, schools, and institutions in the city ownership that were damaged in the earthquake. We have to do that as fast as possible because the deadline to pull money from the EU Solidarity Fund is June 2022. I'm afraid there will be a fiasco regarding how much will the State pull from the fund, but we can only take the money for estates in the city property, and the damaged kindergartens and schools are our priority“, told Benčić for

She added that they plan to start an Office for Zagreb Reconstruction and establish mobile teams which will help citizens to fill in documentation and requests for the reconstruction of damaged homes.

Regarding the statement about the fiasco with the State pulling money from Solidarity Fund, the conflict with the government was sparked yesterday when PM Andrej Plenković talked to the press regarding Tomašević's victory. He said he didn't congratulate Tomašević yet, but he will and that he expects good cooperation.

„I see that Mozemo! is paraphrasing my message from 2016 when I said that we are changing Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) so we can change Croatia. They say they are changing Zagreb to change Croatia. Clearly, they have something against this Croatia“, said Plenković, sparking controversy.

And Benčić is not the one to remain silent on such statements.

„Yes, we do have something against this kind of HDZ and evening HDZ with the State. They are not the State but an interest group that trapped our country. We want to see the country returns to all its citizens and that, of course, hurts them to the level that the prime minister allows himself these kinds of statements which, if they weren't malice, would be at minimal, unsmart“, said Benčić.

With the biggest number of votes in the history of mayoral elections in Zagreb, Benčić continues they are ready to justify this trust, and they start with work immediately.

„We are going with the financial revision of City's administration, restructuring City offices. We will do it step by step and connect offices while ensuring that functions and services need to deliver to the citizens. It should be noted that Zagreb used to have fewer offices, 17 until 2000 and then offices start to grow exponentially, only to put politically suited people to positions and raise their payments“, explained Benčić.

 And the new Mayor Tomislav Tomašević also gave an interview on Monday. As Jutarnji List reported, Tomašević also talked about his plans to improve Zagreb and fulfill his promises, particularly with so many earned votes.

„This big trust is also a big responsibility. Citizens can expect that we will lead by example from the start. The city administration and authority will be based on three things: decency, modesty, and being at the citizen's service.

He also added that Mozemo! is considering filing a lawsuit against Miroslav Škoro for the filthy instigating campaign, as Tomašević and many other public figures described it.

„I wouldn't like this to happen to anyone anymore on any other elections in Croatia, regardless are we talking about a candidate from the right, left or center," commented Tomašević.

Although no direct link can be proved at the moment, Škoro's rhetoric could've been the fuel for the attacker that set fire to the Mozemo! election headquarters at Zagreb Contemporary Museum on the election night saying to the gathered that „they are communists“ and how he will „kill them all“, on which T-portal reported

The elections are over, but will Zagreb continue to celebrate in such a majority as it did on election night? This is something only Tomašević on his new function can answer in the following months and years.

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

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

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek Confident of Prompt Reconstruction of Quake-Damaged Monuments

ZAGREB, 8 April, 2021 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Thursday the most important thing in the reconstruction of the cultural heritage was to reinforce and repair all monuments in a short time and that the first allocation would help to carry out all urgent works in 18 months.

The first allocation at our disposal is €680 million from the European Solidarity Fund, she told the press, saying that the recently outlined national recovery and resilience plan included reconstruction funds.

Croatia also has at its disposal funds approved by the World Bank, she said, adding that she also expected the approval of an allocation following last December's earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County.

She said the damage to the cultural heritage in Zagreb following the March 2020 quake was estimated at €7 billion.

The reconstruction of complex monuments such as Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery would take years and the necessary funds will be raised from various sources, the minister said.

She said her ministry had received more than 130 acceptable reconstruction applications and that contracts had been signed for a little over 40 monuments, including sacral and public buildings.

She added that public procurement was already under way and that over the past year experts from the ministry and Zagreb's faculties of civil engineering, geodesy, and architecture had completed the required documents for all monuments.

The first objective is to reinforce the buildings to prevent them from being a threat and deteriorating, the minister said.

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


Friday, 15 January 2021

Minister Says HRK 12 bn Secured for Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - Construction Minister Darko Horvat said on Thursday that around HRK 12 billion had been secured through the EU Solidarity Fund, World Bank loans and the state budget for the reconstruction of areas hit by last year's earthquakes.

Speaking in an interview with the HTV public broadcaster, Horvat said that clear rules on how to organise reconstruction would be published in the Official Gazette within a month from the earthquake that hit Sisak-Moslavina County on 29 December.

He added that the government still did not have a complete financial framework for reconstruction but that so far HRK 12 billion (€1.6 billion) had been secured.

"Some sources are known and some we are still trying to secure. Around HRK 12 billion has been secured - through the Solidarity Fund, World Bank loans, the budget. As part of the National Recovery Plan we will also seek.... grants as well as loans," the minister said.

The Croatian government earlier on Thursday formulated amendments to the Act on Post-Earthquake Reconstruction, originally intended for the City of Zagreb and Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje counties, hit by a 5.2 magnitude quake on 22 March 2020, to make the law refer also to the post-earthquake reconstruction of Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties.

The reconstruction of buildings destroyed in the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties will be fully financed by the state.

Bosnian Croats to finance reconstruction of one institution, houses

Leaders of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Thursday they would finance the reconstruction of one state institution as well as build family houses in the quake-hit areas of Croatia.

This was agreed at a meeting in Mostar between the leader of the HDZ BiH party, Dragan Čović, and local officials from a number of towns and municipalities in the neighbouring country and visiting Croatian state secretaries Zvonko Milas and Nikola Mažar.

Solidarna foundation raises HRK 8.4 mn for quake-hit area

The Zagreb-based Solidarna foundation earlier this week reported that it had raised more than HRK 8.4 million (€1.12 million) for Sisak-Moslavina County.

Some of the donations paid into the foundation's 5.5 Fund have already been used to buy consumables for people affected by the earthquake and the foundation also plans to participate in the long-term reconstruction and recovery of the quake-hit county.

The 5.5 Fund was established by the Zagreb Earthquake Relief civic initiative and the Solidarna foundation after the 22 March 2020 earthquake in Zagreb. At the time, the foundation raised HRK 1.5 million for earthquake victims. It reactivated its fund after the earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County and its fund-raising campaign is still underway.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Earthquake Damage HRK 86 bn, Croatia Applies For Support From EU Solidarity Fund

ZAGREB, June 10, 2020 - The Croatian government will apply to the European Commission for financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund in repairing damage caused by an earthquake that struck Zagreb and its environs on March 22. The damage is estimated at €11.5 billion, while the maximum amount that can be obtained from the fund is €600 million.

During its meeting on Wednesday, the government adopted a conclusion on the application for financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund which has been aligned with the methodology used by the UN, EU, and World Bank, which is essential for submitting a request for assistance from the fund.

Based on this methodology, the direct damage caused by the quake to 25,000 buildings in Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County is estimated at HRK 86 billion or €11.5 billion, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said, adding that the European Commission had been sensitized about Croatia's application and would consider it.

The maximum amount of aid from the fund is €600 million and Croatia expects the first installment of €100 million this summer and the rest by the end of the year.

The aid funds can be used for 18 months after being approved.

To illustrate the extent of the damage, Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavic said that the EU's seven-year financial envelope for Croatia amounts to €10.7 billion.

According to Pavic, such aid can primarily be used for the reconstruction of hospitals and schools, infrastructure and energy supply installations, drinking water, and telecommunications facilities.

Prime Minister Plenkovic added that the total amount of direct damage caused by the earthquake was equal to 60% of the state budget and that 22 Peljesac bridges with access roads could be built with that amount.

He announced that the government would seek other sources to finance the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs, adding that donor conferences were not an option in the EU because they were organised for third countries.

Of the aid from the fund, HRK 54 million (€7.2 million) would go towards covering the costs of accommodation rental for citizens who cannot return to their own homes, strengthening the infrastructure of cultural heritage, and the costs of cleaning operations, Minister Pavic added.