Wednesday, 30 June 2021

MP Sandra Benčić (Možemo!) Says PM Plenković Boasting About Salvaging Economy While Destroying Factories

ZAGREB, 30 June, 2021 - The situation at the Orljava clothing factory in Požega, whose workers have not received wages for three months, shows that PM Andrej Plenković is destroying state-owned companies while boasting that he is salvaging the economy, MP Sandra Benčić said in parliament on Wednesday. 

"The Prime Minister is boasting about salvaging the economy in the COVID-19 crisis while at the same time the state is destroying its own companies," Benčić, an MP of the Green-Left Bloc said, noting that the state's lack of interest in talks with protesting Orljava workers seemed to be an introduction in the company's bankruptcy to result in its partition.

Workers' Front MP Katarina Peović called for solidarity with Orljava workers.

"This is yet another case in which a company is being destroyed so that it could be sold," she said, stressing that Orljava was a state-owned company and wondering about the reason for the government's "irresponsible behaviour towards the company and its workers".

Croatian Sovereignists MP Željko Sačić stood up for Pula Faculty of Medicine Dean Krešimir Pavelić who was replaced on Tuesday after publicly stating his position on vaccination against COVID-19.

Sačić said he would request an explanation from the science and education minister and the competent institutions about why and under which circumstances Pavelić was replaced.

He noted that Pavelić's view was based on statistical and scientific data and that he expressed concern about side effects and harmful consequences of individual COVID-19 vaccines, adding that one should put a stop to "totalitarian and undemocratic treatment of different opinions."

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

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Zagreb Local Elections 2021 Analysis: No "Ideological Referendums", Strictly Freedom And Solutions Wanted

May 30, 2021 - Following the turbulent public debate of the Zagreb mayor candidates that ended with Tomislav Tomašević winning the capital of Croatia, TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac brings you the Zagreb Local Elections 2021 Analysis, concluding that Zagreb is a city open for all ideologies but in constant search of quality solutions.

It's official – Tomislav Tomašević (seen on the lead image) is the new mayor of Zagreb, the 54th in a row when you look through Zagreb's history.  

As a brand new chapter in Zagreb's local politics is turned, many are still uncertain about whether the former mayor Milan Bandić would lose or win another mandate if he hadn't suddenly and prematurely passed away earlier this year. Still, as Jelena Pavičić Vukićević, Bandić's successor joined the mayoral race and came in third place (despite being perceived as the keeper of Bandić's tradition), we could argue that is the indication that Bandić being suspected of corruption (and taken to court on several occasions) could've been the political end for him, had he lived to see the fight. But, of course, given Bandić's strong personality, that indication needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as many believe that not only would Bandić get to the second round of elections - but he'd even win them.

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Former Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić, screenshot / Al Jazeera Balkans

A quick recap

In the first round, Tomislav Tomašević from the green-left platform We Can! (Mozemo!) earned a stunning 45,15 percent (147,631) votes. Not only was that twice as more than Škoro and Pavičić Vukičević combined, as N1 reported, but it was also more than with what Milan Bandić won in the second round of local elections back in 2017.

The mayoral race in Zagreb was highlighted with the question of who will succeed Milan Bandić and who will properly address all the debts and unfairly earned employment in the city administration as well as the overpricing of numerous city projects (such as the many fountains and the plagued Sljeme cable car). Additionally, there were the issues of the handling the mess of the Jakuševec junkyard, as well as handling the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb's very heart. The only thing the majority of the candidates agreed to be good were the city's social policies, but they can still be improved.

However, as TCN previously reported, before even officially entering the second round, Miroslav Škoro turned the elections from practical questions of handling corruption to the age old and frankly boring ideological battle, accusing Tomašević and the We Can! (Mozemo!) platform of wanting to revive Yugoslavia.

''That's the extreme left, and it will be stopped in the second round, so help me God“, said Škoro on the night of the first election results.

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Miroslav Škoro, screenshot / Domovinski Pokret

This sort of rhetoric took everyone by surprise. Dražen Lalić, a sociologist and a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences at the University of Zagreb, commented for RTL that Škoro himself is a radical candidate and that We Can! (Mozemo!) are neither extreme nor are they the radical left.

''Regardless of Škoro having a doctorate in economis, he's illiterate in the political sense; he doesn't know even the most basic terms. Extreme means outside of the system and not going to the elections. Radical actors are inside the system, and I think Škoro is radical. On the other hand, Tomašević and We Can! (Mozemo!) are very moderate in their attitudes; they're young people. There were no incidents and they are were moderate,'' said Lalić for RTL. He added that Škoro is probably aware that he had absolutely chance of winning but was still trying to reach the far-right electoral body.

24sata columnist Tomislav Klauški wrote about how Škoro's war with the perceived ''extreme left'' is quite literally the only thing in his entire programme. He concluded that such a move isn't going to work for Zagreb, which has never voted for far right options, and he also reminded that former mayor Milan Bandić, despite his many flaws, also came from the social-democratic political option.

''His filthy campaign from the first round, where his agency spread lies that Škare Ožbolt works ''for the Serbs'', where his news sites spread stories that Filipović's father is Serbian, and warned that Tomašević is a concealed right-winger, Škoro is now going further with that into the second wrong. As if Zagreb doesn't have enough problems to talk about,'' wrote Klauški on Monday after the first round.   

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Dražen Lalić, screenshot / N1

Škoro then continued to push the narrative of these elections, declaring them an ideological referendum among right-wing and conservative circles. Škoro also accused We Can! (Mozemo!) of being foreign mercenaries working for famous philanthropist George Soros or wanting to revitalise Yugoslavia, and Škoro's associate Zlatko Hasanbegović stepped out into the Croatian public space calling the party a lesbian syndicate - weird indeed. Additionally, Nikola Grmoja (Most) stated for N1 that Mozemo are iPhone Soroshians, and accusations accompanied by rather odd name-calling saw a random generator on the internet designed to mock these terms by random options. Meanwhile, Tomašević continued his campaign by talking about solutions to the problems Zagreb is currently facing but occasionally making remarks on the accusations by his opponents and sometimes even throwing some accusations in Škoro's direction in return.

67% : 33% K.O.

This focus on actual problems Zagreb is facing and the refusal to dwell into ideological issues, along with the experience of activism for Zagreb's interests, proved to be the winning formula for Tomašević, beating Škoro with amazing 199,630 votes compared to Škoro's 106.300 votes. Not only did Tomašević beat Škoro by far, he also earned more than former mayor Milan Bandić did, and nobody has had more votes in Zagreb's mayoral elections to date. 

Škoro lost his own so-called ideological referendum, but let's imagine for a moment that he actually won. Whether Škoro (or some other analysts who believed these elections would finally prove how Zagreb looks at things with an ideological eye) likes it or not, this "referendum" neither proves that Zagreb has turned to some radical left nor does it prove the opposite. First of all, only 45.7% of people voted on the second round of these elections. That's not even half of the total number of citizens that have the right to vote in Zagreb. Secondly, the culture and overall vibe of Zagreb truly tells us that Zagreb is diverse and very much open for everybody.

Zagreb - The pioneer liberal city for every idea

One thing we can say for certain about Zagreb's philosophy, if you will, is that Zagreb is proud to be a pioneer of development and a role model for the rest of the country. To illustrate that, Zagreb was proud that they'd be the first to use telecom lines, and by the time the rest of Croatia got telephones, Zagreb already had mobile phones. Being the capital city of Croatia, and the biggest city in the country, a centre of politics, education, science, culture, and more, Zagreb attracts people from all over the country and abroad, having bloomed into a multi-cultural city whose people have various ideologies and convictions.

When you look at ideological conflict in Croatia, which sadly doesn't seem to be anywhere near its end, it is often perceived that if you're a Croatian nationalist and conservative in Istria, you'll feel quite lonely indeed. On the other hand, left leaning progressives and liberals living in Dalmatia or Slavonia, areas that are known to be quite conservative, can't wait for a chance to leave those areas.

That being said, apologetics of all ideologies head to Zagreb, and Zagreb is a place where looking straightly from an ideological view, everyone is equally happy and miserable at the same time, but overall they're in a better position than in the rest of Croatia is. Before the pandemic, you had a regular event called ''Coffee with non-believers'' hosted by various venues such as Spunk bar or No Sikiriki. The event allowed for all atheists, agnostics, or even religious people unhappy with the breach of secularity by the Catholic Church in Croatia – to find those who think like they do, meet in person, talk, and have a good time.

On the other hand, in the Veliki Tolk pub in Opatovina, you have ''Right-wingers in the Pub'' which provides the same comfort and good times for the conservative-oriented people.

Regardless of what kind of genre of music you listen to, what movies you want to see, what kind of clubs you want to go to, mainstream pop, alternative rock, electronics, jazz... Zagreb's public sphere offers something for everyone.

Zagreb does have hospitals whose doctors refuse to perform abortions, but if there is any place a woman can have her reproductive rights respected in Croatia, then that place is Zagreb. Despite several violent homophobic incidents, the relaxing atmosphere of the LGBTQ Pride picnic on Ribnjak Park, and the support coming for the parade from the windows of Zagreb's buildings show that Zagreb is a safe place, and you won't feel alone because of your sexual preferences.

How these ideologies co-exist in being equally happy and miserable at the same time was perfectly demonstrated over the last two weeks. LGBTQ flags put out for the International Day Against Transphobia were torn down by vandals on the Victims of Fascism Square. A few days later, a pro-life initiative, Hod za Život“ (Walk for life) flags displayed on Ban Jelačić Square, were also quite quickly torn down. And the culmination of that event was seen on Saturday when the pro-life Walk For Life march was met with counter-protesters from Crveni Otpor (Red Resistance), which is pro-choice. So, as we can see, these ideologies create conflict at times, but more often, it's a peaceful co-existence. Equally miserable and happy at the same time, and still in a better position than the rest of the country.

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Pro-life march in Zagreb © Hod za život - Zagreb

 

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Pro-choice protesters waiting for pro-life march in Zagreb © Faktiv

Zagreb is liberal in its nature, courtesy of the growth and development it has seen, and even in the event that a conservative or even a radical conservative ever took the mayoral position, Zagreb wouldn't lose what it is in its soul.

Those who vote in Zagreb proved that ideological disputes are irrelevant, as long as freedom is respected by the candidate, and as long as you are not a radical and have a good solution for the city's problems, you're more than welcome to try and be a mayor.

Democracy is yet to be understood

That being said, there are some issues these elections highlighted for the political culture of Zagreb. First, Zagreb citizens that don't vote need to understand that voting is very important as our democratic right to have our say in what we want in Zagreb (as in the entire country). The freedom and all of the perks of living in Zagreb that citizens enjoy or don't enjoy are the direct results of politics, and any improvements or downfall in the city will come from politics. Having your say in these dynamic events is something that shouldn't be missed.

Democracy isn't a once-every-four-year event but a continuous practice of civic participation to make sure that promises before the election don't end up forgotten after the celebration.

Tomašević has said that "Zagreb is ours" (as is the name of one of the political parties in the Mozemo! platform), and so it's important for him to be open for the city's citizens, but also for citizens to be open to communicate with the local authorities to make a better community.    

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

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

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Tomislav Tomašević: War Veterans Programmes Won't be Halted, City Offices to be Merged

ZAGREB, 26 May, 2021 - Zagreb mayoral candidate Tomislav Tomašević said on Wednesday it was not true that city programmes for war veterans would be halted once his We Can! party came to power but that rather city offices would be merged to improve coordination of city programmes.

"As regards accusations that programmes intended for war veterans would stop if we come to power, I can say that that is not true. I have said on more than one occasion that we will merge offices, I was not speaking about the cancellation of programmes, because I do not know of any other capital city in the world that has 27 departments," Tomašević told a news conference.

On being given police protection

Asked by reporters if he had been given police protection, Tomašević told reporters to ask police about that because security assessment was not what he and his colleagues did.

"We have been in touch with police regarding security risks. But the police are the ones to make decisions on the matter, and I cannot speak on their bahalf about that," Tomašević said.

Asked about the Otvoreno political programme on Croatian Television of Tuesday, in which he faced off against his rival in the 30 May runoff for Zagreb mayor, Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement, and if he would sue him for false claims, Tomašević said that he was focused on his campaign now.

"That did not happen only yesterday. We are talking about an unbelievable misrepresentation of facts, someone is accusing you of covert campaign financing while at the same time they report zero donations," said Tomašević.

He noted that the internet was full of paid advertisements with false information on the We Can! platform and his family.

He added that Željka Markić of the In the Name of the Family civil society group yesterday made one more slanderous claim against him, saying that he had a gross salary of HRK 25,000 in a nongovernmental organisation.

"She should say which NGO she was referring to and when it happened," he said, noting that an unprecedented hate-mongering campaign was under way on the political scene in Croatia.

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

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

70 Cities Elect Mayors in 1st Round of Elections

ZAGREB, 18 May, 2021 - During the local elections held throughout Croatia on 16 May, a total of 70 cities managed to elect their heads in the first round of voting, while others will have mayoral runoffs on 30 May.

Of those 70 mayors, who clinched the victory in the first round of voting when they gained the support of more than 50% of the voters who turned out for the elections, 36 winners are from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), or six fewer than in 2017, whereas 13 Social Democratic Party (SDP) mayoral candidates gained outright victory, or one more than in the first round of the local elections in 2017.

Seven female mayors winners in first round

Of those 70 mayors elected in the first round of the elections, seven are women.

According to the report provided by the gradonačelnik.hr portal, there is a rising trend in the election of mayoral candidates who are not members of political parties and who are introduced as independent candidates. Ten independent mayors were elected on Sunday.

Donja Stubica mayor reelected with support of more than 83% of voters

Of the winners with an outright victory on 16 May, the most successful mayor who managed to gain the largest support was independent Nikola Gospočić, who was reelected for another term in Donja Stubica with 83.01% of the voters who went to the polls voting for him. In the previous term, he was a member of the SDP party and left it before these elections.

Another independent mayor, Dinko Burić, won 82.15% of the support for his new mayoral term in the eastern city of Belišće.

In terms of the percentage of support, Darijo Vasilić of the regional PGS party ranks third, winning 80.26% of votes for another mayoral term in the City of Krk.

Of the regional parties, the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) remains the strongest. In the first round of the voting, five IDS candidates were elected mayors.

Four biggest cities to have mayoral runoffs

Zagreb

Tomislav Tomašević of the We Can!, New Left, ORAH and For the City coalition took the lead in the mayoral race for Zagreb on Sunday, winning 45% of votes, and will face-off with Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement party (12%) in the second round of the elections.

Split

In the biggest Croatian Adriatic city, Ivica Puljak (Centre) and Vice Mihanović (HDZ) will face off in the 30 May runoff. Puljak won 26.82% and Mihanović 23.23%.

Rijeka

In the northern coastal city of Rijeka, the current deputy mayor Marko Filipović (SDP, HSU, IDS, HSS) won 30.25% of votes, followed by independent Davor Štimac (16.10%).

Osijek

In the eastern city of Osijek, Ivan Radić (HDZ) won nearly 39% of votes, ahead of independent Berislav Mlinarević, backed by the Homeland Movement and Bridge (about 20%), and they will vie in the second round of the elections on 30 May.

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

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Austrian MEP Backs Tomislav Tomašević, Says Green Policies Are Neither Left Nor Right

ZAGREB, 18 May, 2021 - Thomas Waitz, a European Green Party co-chair, has said in an interview for Hina that green policies are neither left nor right but rather focused on dealing with the consequences of the human beings' actions on the climate and environment.

Waitz, an Austrian member of the European Parliament, visited Croatia in early May at the invitation of the leader of the Croatian OraH party, Zorislav Antun Petrović, to support the Green-Left Coalition's candidates in the campaign in the run-up to the local elections which Croatia held on 16 May.

On Monday, this Austrian MEP congratulated Tomislav Tomašević of the Green-Left coalition for a convincing victory in the local polls in the City of Zagreb. Tomašević  mustered 45% of the vote in the first round of the elections for the mayor of the Croatian capital city and will face off Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement (12% of the vote) in the runoff set for 30 May. The coalition led by Tomašević won the elections for the city assembly and was short of one seat for an absolute majority.

On Monday, Waitz tweeted: "Congratulations to the Green-Left coalition for their great result in the local elections in Zagreb yesterday."

"The Green-Left coalition won 23/47 seats in the City Assembly! Zagreb deserves a citizen-led & democratic movement to lead the recovery efforts," the Austrian politician added.

The European Green part also stated that its partners in Croatia were focused on the green post-quake recovery and that they promised to put an end to clientelism and poor management of the city.

Waitz, whose Greens Party is a junior partner in the ruling coalition led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Austria, says in the interview which Hina published on Tuesday that the preservation of the planet could be considered generally a conservative policy as we would like to protect the planet  for the future generations.

EU expects Croatia to invest in rail lines

Commenting on possible demands stemming from the European Green Deal for Croatia, Waitz recalled that the Council of the EU and the European Parliament had reached provisional agreement in April on the climate legislature whereby the EU set an intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. 

The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions implies the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels. Therefore Waitz recommends that Croatia should invest more in the rail network.

The European Union expects Croatia to implement such projects. Please invest in rail lines to Ljubljana, Maribor, Graz, Budapest and Belgrade, the Austrian MEP said.

He recalled that the EU policy "From Farm to Fork" envisages the reduction of the use of pesticides by 50% until 2030 and in this context he urged Croatia to  invest in the education and training of young farmers about sustainable farming.

He also commented that the mass tourism could be sustainable and in this context advocated providing  hotels and establishments catering for tourists with locally produced food..

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Budapest, Innsbruck, Grenoble Mayors Support Tomislav Tomašević For Zagreb Mayor

ZAGREB, 12 May, 2021 - The mayors of Budapest, Innsbruck and Grenoble have sent video messages of support to Tomislav Tomašević, the green-left coalition's candidate for the mayor of Zagreb, the We Can! political platform said on Wednesday.

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony says in his message that Zagreb and Budapest are not only geographically close but also friendly cities with many links, underlining how important it is for the progressive green agenda to strengthen its position in the region and to act together to achieve a viable, democratic future.

Karácsony says the policies Tomašević advocates, such as green public transport and recycling, are the key issues on which he is working as mayor too, and calls on the people of Zagreb to vote for Tomašević

Innsbruck Mayor Georg Willi says the challenge today is to find the right response to climate change and that green changes will primarily occur in European cities. That's why Zagreb needs strong advocates of those changes under Tomašević's leadership as mayor, Willi adds.

Grenoble Mayor Éric Piolle says he is looking forward to cooperating with Tomašević in the network of ecological cities flourishing across Europe, from Innsbruck and Amsterdam to Bonn and Hannover as well as many cities in France.

Piolle says Tomašević has been fighting for the environment for years, working on transparent policies and including citizens in shaping their city.

By electing Tomašević as mayor, Zagreb has a chance to join the increasing number of European cities governed by progressive green-left political forces which are making important steps forward in improving quality of life by taking account of climate change and other challenges of the 21st century, Piolle says in his video message.

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

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

MP Says Citizens Will Replace PM Andrej Plenković If He Does Not Change

ZAGREB, 28 April, 2021 - MP Bojan Glavašević of the Green-Left Bloc said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković "has a very serious problem with ignorance", and that Croatia needs a prime minister who is knowledgeable and that if Plenković refuses to change, citizens will replace him. 

"Instead of realising that he should inform himself about the scandals his colleagues are involved in, the prime minister insists on ignorance," Glavašević said, noting that his ignorance was being paid for with citizens' money and health.

With money, as in the case of a loan approved to former minister Gabrijela Žalac by two incumbent ministers, and with health, as in the shameful scandal with the Cijepise.hr platform for COVID-19 vaccination, Glavašević said, stressing that Croatia needed a knowledgeable prime minister.

"Because this one, who does not know, does not see, does not hear and does not want to know, see or hear, evidently lacks the capacity for his post," he said.

"This country and its people deserve better. If the Prime Minister does not change, citizens will replace him, it's only a matter of time and the number of victims of ignorance," Glavašević said.

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

 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Opposition: Health Minister Beroš Has To Go

ZAGREB, 21 April, 2021 - Opposition parties in parliament on Wednesday unanimously agreed that Health Minister Vili Beroš has to go and they expressed readiness to support the Social Democratic Party's (SDP) motion for no confidence in the health minister.

"There is a consensus among the opposition that Health Minister Vili Beroš has to go," SDP leader Peđa Grbin said after a meeting of opposition parties.

Grbin: We are giving Beroš an opportunity to step down

The motion will be launched soon but we will allow Beroš some time to think about everything that has occurred in healthcare and give him an opportunity to step down, said Grbin.

He denied that the motion was being launched as part of SDP's electioneering ahead of the 16 May elections, saying that this had to do with the health of Croatian citizens.

"The man who allowed hospitals to not be delivered medicines, for the debt in healthcare to escalate and who is being connected to numerous wrongdoings in public procurement in the hospital system, simply cannot be the health minister," underscored Grbin.

Grbin said that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković should think carefully in future about his criteria when selecting cabinet ministers.

Sandra Benčić of the Green-Left bloc said that she supports the no-confidence motion against Beroš but that Plenković too should be held responsible, who in the end is responsible for the entire situation in healthcare.

"It's clear that the prime minister will fervently defend his minister and then a month or two later when it is more politically opportune, he will call for his resignation. That is the prime minister's modus operandi. He expends people and then throws them out like an old rag and covers up his bad decisions with them," said Benčić.

Benčić: Opposition will prepare an expert analysis

She announced that in preparing the no-confidence motion, the opposition will prepare an expert analysis regarding access to therapy, medicines, the way the system is managed and of the Cijepise (Get vaccinated) application.

"Spending money in healthcare that way during the greatest ever crisis is equal to war profiteering," she claimed.

She too denied that this is all part of electioneering ahead of the local election.

Stephen Nikola Bartulica of the Homeland Movement said (DP) said that: "we are opening important topics and it is up to the prime minister to make serious moves. Instead of being a statesman and making courageous decisions he is a 'spin doctor' in Government House and releases cheap spins to the public every day."

The healthcare system is not being managed well and that practice has to change and reforms need to be urgently implemented, he added.

Hrelja: HSU supports motion to oust Beroš

Silvano Hrelja of the Pensioners' Party (HSU) said that the party supports the motion to oust Beroš, denying speculation that HSU would join the ruling majority.

"Cooperation on projects exists but there is no coalition there," said Hrelja.

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

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Opposition Accuse Government of Trying to Buy Votes From Pensioners and Young People

ZAGREB, 15 April, 2021 - Parliamentary opposition parties on Thursday criticised the government's plan to pay a COVID supplement to pensioners and a tax refund to young people in the run-up to local elections as vote buying.

Arsen Bauk of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) told reporters in the parliament building that the government "has obviously sorted its priorities to ensure the best possible election result" for the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

"We support a COVID supplement for pensioners, even before elections. I think the Croatian democracy is mature enough and that this will not result in voters voting en masse for the HDZ," Bauk said.

Homeland Movement MP Stjepo Bartulica said that Prime Minister Plenković often expressed his disdain for populists. "I see a great dose of populism in the timing of this measure," he said.

"We are all equal in Croatia, but obviously some groups are more equal than others, especially with elections coming up. In principle, I am not against helping the pensioners, but the way in which the government runs its policies actually increases cynicism in Croatia," Bartulica said.

Bridge's Božo Petrov noted that the government had promised several years ago that the living standards and monthly incomes of pensioners would rise considerably, suggesting that the measures proposed by the government should remain permanent.

Bojan Glavašević of the Green-Left Bloc said that "the pensioners and young people, as vulnerable groups, need systematic rather occasional assistance."

Unlike the opposition, the HDZ's Ivan Ćelić disagreed that this was an attempt at vote buying for local elections. "Let me remind you that a month before elections the (SDP) government of Zoran Milanović gave away electricity vouchers of HRK 200, which can be seen in the same way as the COVID supplement," he said.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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

 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Green-Left Bloc, Homeland Movement Criticise National Recovery Plan

ZAGREB, 13 April, 2021 - MP Sandra Benčić of the green-left bloc said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was "lying that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is completed," adding that it was an unambitious and incompetent programme which recycled 20-year-old reforms and projects.

Speaking to the press, Benčić said that MPs, who are due to debate the document on Wednesday, received only its summary because experts were still fine-tuning it.

She said the plan contained no links between investment in innovation and investment in the economy.

"The lack of ambition and incompetence of this programme is extremely worrying," Benčić said, adding that the plan would not help the economy and society to either recover or become more resilient to either climate change or other challenges of the 21st century.

Homeland Movement: Plan shows government has no daring for brave decisions

The whip of the Homeland Movement party, Stjepo Bartulica, said the summary of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan showed that the government lacked the daring for brave decisions and that Plenković had once again failed to adopt a serious strategy.

Bartulica said he saw no willingness for structural reforms and that the plan should have given more consideration to the demands and remarks by the enterprise sector as it was the one creating added value.

He said the plan also reflected no will to reform the health system, adding that the problem in healthcare was not doctors' expertise but how the system was managed and the monopoly of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund.

Speaking of totalitarian symbols, Bartulica said either all should be outlawed, including those of "communism and the totalitarian Yugoslavia," or that they be allowed as free speech.

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

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