Tuesday, 19 April 2022

€1.6m To Be Granted to Civil Society Projects for Development of Local Communities

ZAGREB, 19 April 2022 - Over 12 million kuna (€1.6 million) will be allocated for projects which civil society associations are going to implement for the development of local communities, the Croatian government's Office for Cooperation with NGOs reported on Tuesday.

The office announced that the ceremony at which the grants will be awarded will be held at 1400 hours today. The grants will be given to 20 associations.

The office recalls that the government has launched a HRK 120 million (€16 million) scheme called  "Strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations to respond to the needs of the local community" for projects designed to contribute to the even regional development and to the economic and democratic development of the country.

Specifically, the scheme "seeks to strengthen the capacity of CSOs active in local communities to implement activities tailored to local problems and to work directly in areas funded by the European Social Fund (employment, education, social inclusion, good governance) at the local level, but also improve the capacity of civil society organizations to provide an effective response to the needs of the local community in crisis situations."

Saturday, 16 April 2022

PM Plenković Wishes Happy Easter

ZAGREB, 16 April 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday issued a message with the best wishes for Easter and calls for showing solidarity with those in need in the Croatian society as well as with all persons whose lives and freedoms are threatened by the war and military aggression in Ukraine.

In the light of the greatest Christian holiday, I wish a happy Easter and health, peace, love and family togetherness, Plenković said underscoring that our thoughts are with those in need in the Croatian society as well as with all persons whose lives and freedoms are threatened by the war and military aggression in Ukraine.

May the power of Christ's resurrection give us faith and hope about overcoming all the difficulties and challenges we are faced with and about building better mutual understanding and respect in the society, says the premier.

He also underscored that the Croatians are called on to care for the future and survival of the Croatian nation, with demographic revitalisation being an essential a prerequisite for that.


Tuesday, 29 March 2022

HDZ Whip Says PM Has Absolute Support For Possible Government Reshuffle

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Ruling HDZ party whip Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković enjoyed the absolute support of the party's parliamentary group and its partners in the ruling coalition for a possible government reshuffle.

After a meeting of the ruling coalition, Bačić told reporters that a government reshuffle was not discussed except for the coalition partners having given, at the end of the meeting, their full support to the PM for a possible reshuffle and "its scope".

"It was stressed that the Prime Minister enjoys the full support of all coalition partners for a reshuffle, when he opts for it, and the extent of it," said Bačić.

Asked about allegations in the Nacional weekly that eight HDZ MPs would vote against a reshuffle if Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak was to be replaced, Bačić said it was idle talk and that the HDZ party group "is absolutely unanimous."

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Government Employee Unions Demand 8% Base Pay Rise

ZAGREB, 15 Feb 2022 - Croatian Police Trade Union president Dubravko Jagić said on Tuesday, after negotiations with government representatives, that government employee unions demanded an 8% base pay rise as public employee unions, rejecting the government's offer of a 2% rise.

We demand the same as the public services, a base pay rise in three instalments: by 4% as of 1 March, by 2% as of 1 July and by 2% as of 1 November, Jagić told the press after the ninth round of negotiations at the Labour Ministry.

"I think we will arrive very soon at a joint solution to the satisfaction of our members," he said, adding that they expect a new government offer next week.

"The new collective agreement must be better than the current one. We demanded from the government a 13th month pay, increases of indices and everything else, just like the public services. We expect to be equated with the public services," Jagić said.

Government will take a position on union demands next week

Assistant Labour Minister Dražen Opalić said the government was offering a 2% base pay rise in the second half of the year but that the unions wanted "a little more ambitious" pay rise this year.

"The government took note of that and we agreed to resume the talks next week, and the government will take a position on the demands of the public and government employee unions," he said.

In previous negotiations, public employee unions requested an 8% base pay rise. Vilim Ribić of the Independent Science and Higher Education Union criticised the government for "saying that it doesn't have the money although, according to all indicators, it does."

Next year Croatia is expected to be the second fastest growing economy in Europe, GDP has risen by 10.5%, inflation was 4.6% last year and is expected to be 4% next year, he said, adding that all indicators point to the need for a stronger intervention by the government.

We heard the same story that there was no money for public and government employees during the 2008-15 financial crisis, then during the euro crisis and then during the pandemic crisis, Ribić said.

We are always hearing the same story, even now when there is money and everything is  changing, he added.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Gov't Establishes Human Rights Council

ZAGREB, 10 Dec 2021 - The Croatian government on Friday formed the Human Rights Council, with Deputy PM Boris Milošević, who is in charge of social affairs and human rights, recalling that Croatia was observing Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Day commemorates 10 December 1948 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the foundation of the international human rights system.

The establishment of the Human Rights Council builds on the political tradition of the existence of a separate interdepartmental body that helps the government in its efforts to recognise and respond, as constructively and as efficiently as possible, to the new challenges regarding  human rights, Milošević noted.

The government's decision defines the tasks and composition of the Council, to be headed by Deputy PM Milošević.

The government today also adopted a programme of measures for the reconstruction of buildings damaged in last year's earthquakes in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County, Zagreb County, Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County, which is being aligned with amendments to the law on the reconstruction of earthquake-damaged buildings.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Damage Caused by Natural Disasters in Farm Sector Ytd Estimated at €68m

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - First estimates show that the extent of the damage inflicted on Croatia's agricultural sector so far this year by natural disasters is HRK 509.2 million kuna, the agriculture ministry's reps told Hina on Friday.

These estimates are based on preliminary data collected in the Natural Disaster Damage Registry in compliance with the national legislation on mitigation and removal of consequences of natural disasters.

The ministry underscores that the registry does not contain the final data on the reported damage, or the number o businesses and individuals that have been exposed to the disaster.

The ministry notes that 20 million kuna has been set aside in the budget for mitigation and removal of the consequences of natural disasters this year and that farmers can also apply for aid and funding under the schemes envisaged in the Rural Development Programme.

In addition, the government has already decided to help farmers in the hailstorm-hit Požega-Slavonia County with an additional HRK 20 million.

 Agricultural producers whose perennial plantations have been damaged in disasters can apply for aid under the subsection "Renewal of farmland and production potential" within the Rural Development Programme.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Friday, 16 July 2021

Gov't Continues to Co-Finance Energy Renovation of Family Homes

ZAGREB, 16 July  (Hina) - The government will continue to co-finance the energy renovation of family homes even though the renovation programme ended last year, while the new one, which will cover the 2021-2030 period, is being prepared, the government decided at a cabinet meeting on Friday.

The government adopted a proposal to extend financing for the programme of energy renovation of family homes for the 2014-2020 period.

Funding for the energy renovation of family homes for this and next year, in the total amount of HRK 400 million, has been secured from the Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and from the distribution of proceeds from the sale of emission units, with HRK 300 million earmarked to co-finance the energy renovation of family homes that were not damaged in last year's earthquakes and HRK 100 million to co-finance the energy renovation of family homes that were damaged in the earthquakes.

The Environment Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund last month issued a call for applications for family home owners, with co-financing amounting to HRK 171 million, and for citizens at risk of energy poverty, with the total co-financing amount of HRK 32 million.

The call was closed on 1 September 2020 after applications far exceeded the planned amount of HRK 203 million. A total of 7,394 applications were received, of which 3,100 were approved, for which HRK 210.9 million was ensured. On the other hand, 1,200 applications did not meet the set criteria while more than half the applications were rejected because funding was insufficient.

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Thursday, 18 March 2021

Government Moves to Amend Volunteering Act

ZAGREB, 18 March, 2021 - The government sent its proposal to amend the Volunteering Act to parliament on Thursday, defining the operation of volunteer centres and their funding.

The proposal also defines the concept of corporate volunteering, given that many companies in Croatia have developed a system of volunteering, and the concept of volunteering coordinator, who plays a significant role in efficient management of volunteering programmes in organisations.

The proposal does not allow volunteering for a duration of more than 38 hours a week over a period of more than three months without a break of at least three months, or long-term volunteering that would otherwise constitute a commercial contractual relationship.

The Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrović, said that the volunteering sector was developing fast and that the existing law made the implementation of new volunteering initiatives difficult in certain aspects. He said that the proposed amendments would remove the existing obstacles and ambiguities.

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Saturday, 12 December 2020

Spokesman Says Gov't Has No Information on Any Threats Against Lauc

ZAGREB, Dec 12, 2020 - Government spokesman Marko Milic said on Saturday the government did not have information "about any threats" against a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Council, Gordan Lauc, who earlier in the day said in a Facebook post that some government ministers had openly threatened him.

"We are not aware of any threats and have not been informed about them by anyone," Milic said in response to a query from Hina after Lauc said in a Facebook post that some government ministers had openly threatened him.

In his Facebook post Lauc announced that he would launch legal action over lies and untruths which, he claims, are published about him in public.

Commenting on his role in the government's Scientific Advisory Council for the fight against coronavirus, Lauc said that he is not "the government's hireling" and that during the pandemic he had experienced "unpleasant situations, including open threats from some ministers."

After it denied having any information about the threats, the government noted that Lauc had been a member of the Council since March and that cooperation with him would continue with the aim of controlling and curbing the COVID-19 epidemic.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Minister Says Redesigned Job-keeping Measures to Go into Force soon

ZAGREB, Oct 14, 2020 - Labour and Pension System Minister Josip Aladrovic said on Wednesday that the government, together with restaurant and bar owners, employers and trade unions, was expected to redesign job-keeping measures by Friday, after which they would be activated next week.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a government session, Aladrovic said that the government would do what was necessary to help retain jobs.

He said that there were currently no mass-scale layoffs due to the coronavirus crisis in relation to the most critical months of the pandemic, which he said was a good indicator.

However, the government must act considering the epidemiological and economic situation that changes quickly, he noted.

The reason for redefining government measures is that in past months, the revenue of restaurant and bar owners had improved and some of them did not have to use government aid, said Aladrovic.

"We have been in touch with employers and trade unions on a daily basis. If different measures prove possible, to enhance the possibility to prevent layoffs, we will adopt them," he said.

Asked whether he believed, in the context of Monday's shooting in St. Mark's Square, that young person in Croatia were neglected, Aladrovic said he could not agree with that impression.

"... as regards youth employment policies, in the last term we reduced the youth unemployment rate from 50 to 18%," he said, adding, in response to a reporter's question, that he did not know the exact amount of the average wage of a young person but that a general wage increase had been recorded and that it must have had an effect on young people's wages.

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