Sunday, 3 May 2020

Three Associations, GLAS Against Non-Working Sundays

ZAGREB, May 3, 2020 - The associations -- a Croatian association of agricultural producers, a national association of cafe and restaurant owners and the Voice of Entrepreneurs -- said in their joint press release that ban on Sunday trading would reduce revenues of retailers, small farmers and cafe owners.

The press release issued on Sunday recalls that those businesses have already been hit hard by the corona crisis, and ban on Sunday trading would be additional shock. They ask for regulation of the work on Sunday rather than ban.

Tihomir Jaić of the Croatian association of agricultural producers said that family farms that sell their produce on the farmers' markets would suffer from that ban on Sunday shopping.

Vedran Jakominić of the above-mentioned association of cafe and restaurant owners said that the ban on Sunday trading was an act of encroaching on the economic and human freedoms, although cafes and restaurants could be nominally open on Sundays.

He said that due to the ban on Sunday work of shopping centres, cafes and restaurants placed in those facilities would not be allowed to work, too.

The Opposition party GLAS on Sunday reiterated its position that the ban on trading on Sunday was only in the interest of the election campaigning of the ruling HDZ party led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, while this measure would be to the detriment of small businesses.

Small retail owners and agricultural producers cannot endure that ban now when they do business in restrictive conditions due to the epidemiological situation, sad GLAS.

The temporary ban on Sunday trading has been recommended as an epidemiological measure to curb the COVID-19 spread.

More economy news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

GLAS Demands Payment of Full Wages for People in Self-Isolation

ZAGREB, April 23, 2020 - The opposition Civil and Liberal Alliance (GLAS) has called for the payment of full wages for people in self-isolation rather than HRK 4,250 (€560) a month as is now the case.

The party has put forward amendments to the Compulsory Health Insurance Act proposing that people ordered into self-isolation because of the current coronavirus pandemic be paid the full amount of their wages. It also suggested that organ donors on sick leave also be paid their full pay.

"We don't expect the government to accept our proposal. The coronavirus has brought about many changes, but it hasn't brought about one change and that is that the opposition's proposals are accepted," GLAS leader Anka Mrak Taritaš told a press conference in Parliament on Thursday.

GLAS MP Goran Beus Richembergh said that "the call by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic for us to weather this crisis together is hypocritical and a pack of lies because the ruling parties haven't considered or accepted any of the proposals put forward by opposition parties."

"All the ruling parties are doing and saying is geared towards the forthcoming elections," Richembergh said.

A similar proposal was recently made by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as well.

Mrak Taritaš also commented on the consequences of a strong earthquake that struck Zagreb and its environs on March 22, saying that nothing had been done.

"The prime minister can't keep his eyes firmly shut while going around the town and not see that, and Mayor Milan Bandić, instead of handing out building material, could at least have had the streets swept and washed and the rubble taken away," she said.

More coronavirus news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

GLAS Urges Government to Regulate Electric Scooters

ZAGREB, March 5, 2020 - The leader of the opposition liberal party GLAS, Anka Mrak Taritaš, on Thursday again urged the government to regulate electric scooters so as to prevent possible road accidents.

"Amend the Road Safety Act as urgently as possible before something serious happens," Mrak Taritaš said at a press conference after the government rejected the amendments to that effect put forward by GLAS.

GLAS proposed that electric scooter drivers, who are still treated as pedestrians under the law, should be required to wear high-visibility vests and helmets and to have appropriate lights on their vehicles.

The parliamentary Committee on Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure today rejected our proposal by five votes against, although it includes concrete and well-balanced solutions for all road users concerned, GLAS MP Nada Turina Đurić said.

"It is intolerable that in a law-governed country in the 21st century the driving of thousands of electric scooters is not regulated, and risks are great," she said.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

GLAS Launches Its Election Platform

ZAGREB, February 29, 2020 - The GLAS party will run in the coming parliamentary elections with the platform "Green development - free development", party leader Anka Mrak Taritaš said on Saturday.

Speaking at a news conference at which this opposition party presented its coordinators for ten constituencies, Mrak Taritaš recalled initiatives launched by GLAS, including a proposal for a revision of the Vatican agreements, a proposal for the adoption of a resolution on the climate and environmental crisis, and proposals for a more efficient judiciary.

"Green development is a topic that cannot be ignored, climate change and its consequences have made us realise that we have to make big adjustments. Those adjustments are on the one side dangerous and on the other they create new opportunities for our economy and we must be prepared to use them," said Mrak-Taritaš.

She said that the key topic of the second part of the party platform was personal freedoms.

"The right to choice, a secular state, equality before the law and further progress in realising one's full potential for all people are the main elements of our policy," Mrak-Taritaš said, adding that the party looks forward to diversity.

GLAS is willing to cooperate with all parties that share its values, she said.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Friday, 14 February 2020

GLAS for Enabling Life, Informal Partners to Provide Foster Care

ZAGREB, February 14, 2020 - MPs of the GLAS opposition party said on Friday they had tabled amendments to the Foster Care Act whereby life and informal partners too would be included in the definition of a foster family.

Referring to a recent Constitutional Court decision that life partners should be able to become foster parents, Anka Mrak Taritaš said the court had pointed out that everyone had the duty, in their everyday activity, to abide by the constitution which, she added, banned discrimination and guaranteed that everyone was equal under the law.

"The Constitutional Court also reminded us that in foster care, it's not important what kind of union foster parents live in, but that they give their best to the child or adult they foster," she told reporters.

The court warned us that when the Foster Care Act was moved and adopted, which is in the remit of the government and parliament, neither convincing nor objective arguments were put forward that would justify its restrictiveness, stressing that same-sex partners have the status of a family union and all the rights that entails, Mrak Taritaš said.

"The Constitutional Court reminded us that, regardless of our cultural, religious or any other views of the world, we should have more respect and understanding for one another," she added.

Health problems, ethnicity, number of siblings make adoption of a large number of children more difficult

Goran Beus Richembergh said more than 1,000 children were growing up in homes instead of foster families. For a large number of them, because of various health problems, ethnicity, mostly Roma, or number of siblings, it is not easy to find foster parents, he added.

We find it necessary to amend the Foster Care Act as soon as possible to include life or informal partners in the definition of a foster family, which would prevent any interpretation of the law at the expense of life partners, the MP said.

More news about human rights in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 13 December 2019

GLAS Wants to Regulate Electric Scooters

ZAGREB, December 13, 2019 - The GLAS opposition party has sent to parliament a bill of amendments to the law on road traffic safety to regulate electric scooters, which the current law list among pedestrians, and prevent accidents.

GLAS warns that for driving an electric scooter, some of which can reach a speed of 40/h, it is not required to have a driver's licence, helmet or high visibility vest, and that they drive without restrictions on the pavement, bike paths, roads and motorways.

GLAS proposes introducing the name "small electric vehicle" for electric scooters, and welcomes their use as they do not pollute the environment or congest traffic.

"Some countries have noticed in time the increase in the number of these vehicles and have regulated them by law. Given the trends, there will be more and more of them here as well, so it's better to immediately regulate them and prevent possible accidents, instead of changing the law in fast track procedure," MP Anka Mrak Taritaš told the press on Thursday.

MP Nada Turina Đurić said having a completely unregulated area was worse than having a poor law.

"With the amendments, we wish to restrict the behaviour of these new participants in traffic because in Zagreb there are already thousands of them. We propose that they must use existing bike paths, so we call on cities to designate more bike paths. Where there are no bike paths, they should use the pavement, and only when neither is available, they would be allowed to use roads, but only in urban areas, definitely not in long-distance traffic. That's why we call on local governments to take a more active part in regulating this type of traffic," she said.

The bill bans electric scooter drivers from consuming alcohol, obliges them to wear high visibility vests and helmets and to light their vehicles.

"We wish to limit the speed and increase safety, we wish to legalise all that because now, if an accident happens, it's not clear how to treat scooter drivers," Turina Đurić said.

More transportation news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Religious Instruction Should Be Taught in Church, Not in School

ZAGREB, October 25, 2019 - Opposition GLAS party leader and whip Anka Mrak Taritaš said on Friday that religious instruction should be taught in churches and not in schools as it was not in line with the principle of secularism, and that it was high time the state made it clear.

Addressing reporters in the parliament, Mrak Taritaš said that a year and a half ago GLAS had launched an initiative to have the agreements on relations between Croatia and the Holy See amended, with one of the amendments referring to education.

GLAS vice-president Goran Beus Richembergh, recalled last summer's debate between Bishop Vlado Košić and Science and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak about the education reform, stressing that after the minister said that the Church should stay away from the school system, the Church nonetheless carried out a campaign infringing on the content of some textbooks.

It was owing to public pressure that publishers subsequently removed certain content from textbooks, Richembergh claimed.

"The clerics will continue to exert pressure and the minister will continue to give concessions to the Catholic Church. The integral curricular reform is not as it was presented to be, it opened the back door to religious content. It is against secular education for any religious community to introduce such content into textbooks as religious propaganda," said the GLAS MP.

More news about religion in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 20 September 2019

GLAS Calls for Sorting Out Land Registers, Upgrading Rail Network

ZAGREB, September 20, 2019 - The opposition GLAS party said on Friday it would propose the establishment of an agency to join land and cadastral registers and called for using EU funds to upgrade the country's railway network.

Addressing a news conference in the parliament, GLAS leader Anka Mrak Taritaš warned that land registers were in disarray and that of 3,351 cadastral communities, only 173 or 5% had been sorted out as well as that if the current rate of sorting out cadastres was maintained, it would take 150 years to sort them out.

GLAS therefore proposes that an agency be established to do that job, Mrak Taritaš told reporters.

The state has the duty to solve that problem and until that is done, investors will avoid Croatia and its citizens will not trust it either, she said, adding that her party would put forward a bill showing that that was possible.

Commenting on protests against climate change to take place in a few Croatian cities later in the day, Mrak Taritaš sad that countries had serious policies on climate change, noting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had announced that sizeable funds would be set aside for that purpose.

In Croatia, we act as if that problem did not exist, she said.

GLAS MP Nada Turina Đurić warned that the rail network was in poor condition and that a train ride from Zagreb to the northern Adriatic port city of Rijeka today lasted four hours, whereas some 30 years ago it took three and a half hours.

She recalled member of the European Parliament Jozo Radoš's amendment in which he stressed the need to seek funds from the EU for the modernisation of the regional rail network.

That should have been the basis for launching talks with Slovenia on the modernisation of the rail network to connect the port of Rijeka and the Slovenian Adriatic coast, however, everything was put on hold due to the border dispute between the two countries, she said.

Both countries would benefit from a possible agreement, as would Central European countries, she said.

More news about GLAS can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Hrelja Leaves GLAS Caucus to Continue as Independent in Parliament

ZAGREB, August 19, 2019 - The leader of the Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU) Silvano Hrelja on Monday confirmed to Hina that he was leaving the Glas caucus and would join the parliamentary group of independent MPs because he believes that in that way he will be more visible regarding issues concerning pensions, health and labour relations.

Asked about his moving away from the Amsterdam coalition, Hrelja said that such a decision has been made and that that coalition was the only possibility to participate in the European parliamentary election and that he believes all parties should participate at elections even though HSU did not consider that election to be the most crucial.

We need to participate at all elections if we want to develop a party infrastructure, Hrelja said, adding that they are aware of the Amsterdam coalition's capacities.

"As such we are returning to our old flock, from which we never departed and that is the coalition agreement with SDP (Social Democratic Party), and we will work together and try to find a way out of the current Croatian situation," he said.

I am spending a lot of time with SDP members and trying to create a common platform and our cooperation is excellent. We have supported the same presidential candidate and that's that," he said.

More political news can be found in the dedicated section.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

GLAS Party Leader Apologies for Omission in Declaration of Assets

ZAGREB, February 19, 2019 - The leader of the opposition GLAS party, Anka Mrak-Taritaš, on Tuesday apologised for her failure to state in her declaration of assets that she had received a remuneration of 38,950 kuna (5,200 euro) for sitting on an examination commission during her term as Construction Minister from mid-November 2012 to mid-January 2016.

This omission is now being dealt with by the Conflict of Interest Commission, after the case was reported to it in December 2018. Mrak-Taritaš believes that the purpose of raising this matter now is to smear her reputation.

The Jutarnji List daily reported on Tuesday that during her term as Construction Minister Mrak-Taritaš appointed herself the head of the ministry's commission for organising state qualifying exams and did not report the remuneration for that job in her declaration of assets. She issued an apology on her Facebook account for the omission in the declaration of assets.

Mrak-Taritaš said in her apology she is sorry to see that the issue has been raised now instead of as soon as she finished her ministerial term. She said she will submit all the relevant documentation to the Conflict of Interest Commission.

She said she had received a monthly remuneration of 800 kuna as the head of the commission for state qualifying exams, and that the reason for the omission was the fact that this income was paid by the ministry which also paid her monthly salaries.

She dismissed the claim that she had appointed herself to the post of the commission's head, adding that she and other members of the commission had been appointed by her predecessor in the ministerial post, Ivan Vrdoljak. As soon as she became the minister, she signed the appointment as the continuation of the commission's work, according to her explanation on her Facebook account.

More news on the GLAS party can be found in the Politics section.

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