Monday, 18 October 2021

Mislav Herman Re-Elected Leader of HDZ's Zagreb Branch

ZAGREB, 18 Oct 2021 - The incumbent president of the Zagreb branch of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, Mislav Herman, was re-elected to this post at the party's internal elections on Sunday.

Herman won 3,341 votes, while his rival Pavo Kostopeč received 1,931.

Herman called on the members of the HDZ's Zagreb branch to show unity and commitment so that they would take the helm of the city administration at the next local election.

Members of his campaign team, the current cabinet ministers Nikolina Brnjac and Josip Aladrović, as well as Mario Župan and Frane Barbarić, were elected vice-presidents.

On Sunday, the HDZ held elections for presidents and vice-presidents of 428 local and 20 regional branches, and for presidents and vice-presidents of 17 city districts, and the leadership of the party's branch in Zagreb.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Plenković Says Intraparty Elections in HDZ Democratic, Transparent

ZAGREB, 17 Oct, 2021 - Prime Minister and HDZ party leader Andrej Plenković said on Sunday that intraparty elections at which the leaders of the HDZ's city and county branches will be elected, were democratic and transparent.

"Anyone who wanted to run as a candidate could do so, and the process has been transparent and democratic. I do not see any relevant objections or anything that is not in line with democratic standards," said Plenković, who cast his vote in regular intraparty elections.

He expressed hope that local HDZ branches, which are to elect their presidents and vice-presidents today, would contribute to their local communities as well as the HDZ's national policy.

HNB governor should explain his statement about loan installment increase

Plenković was also asked to comment on Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić's warning in an interview with the Novi List daily that loan installments of debtors with long-term loans approved with a variable interest rate could increase from 10% to as much as 20%. Vujčić did, however, note that that scenario was not very likely.

"I have not read the interview, he should explain what he meant. As far as I understand, that is not a very likely scenario. If he has an opinion on the matter, he should make a statement," Plenković said.

In a comment on the International Day to Eradicate Poverty, which is observed today, Plenković said that the government's national development strategy stated that maximum effort should be invested to reduce the number of Croatians who were at risk of poverty or were poor.

"The 20% rate is still very high, as an EU country we must reduce it, not only through social policy but through a policy that enables wage growth and a general atmosphere of equal opportunities," he said, adding that his government would continue working towards that goal in the next three years.

Plenković believes that the progress made in the past five years in the fight against poverty is visible, albeit not as great as one would want it to be.

He wondered what the percentage of people at risk of poverty would be if the government had not intervened with job-keeping measures during the coronavirus crisis.

Asked about the investigation into police violence against migrants on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plenković reiterated that the case was contrary to the government and Ministry of the Interior's policy, that it was an isolated incident and that the government would do its best to prevent any similar incidents.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Milanović: You Won’t Hear Me Say That HDZ Is a Criminal Organisation

ZAGREB, 16 Oct, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Saturday that he did not consider today's HDZ to be a criminal organisation due to the Supreme Court's ruling in the Fimi Media case, but he noted that PM Andrej Plenković's statement, in which he linked the ruling with Milanović's rhetoric, was "silly".

"I think that it is irresponsible to link the ruling, whereby the Supreme Court actually upheld a lower court's ruling, with my statements. The idea that my rhetoric had influence on the Supreme Court's decision is silly," he told reporters during a visit to Samobor, a town west of Zagreb, where he attended a ceremony marking the town's day.

The Supreme Court last Wednesday partly upheld the verdict following the retrial in the Fimi Media corruption case, under which the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) was fined HRK 3.5 million while the former PM and HDZ chief Ivo Sanader had his prison sentence cut from eight to seven years.

Sanader and his co-defendants were charged with siphoning around HRK 70 million (€9.3 million) from state-owned companies and institutions through the Fimi Media marketing agency into the HDZ's slush funds from 2004 to 2009.

Commenting on Plenković's statement of Friday, Milanović said that he had indeed criticised the Supreme Court but that Plenković had confused the cause with the consequence.

Plenković on Friday said, among other things, that he did not know if some judges worked under the pressure of Milanović's rhetoric.

"And then the Supreme Court does what? It takes revenge on the HDZ by listening to me, who had criticised it. I think such statements are for the Logic Olympiad," Milanović said.

He noted that he did not consider Plenković responsible for crime in the HDZ and did not claim that today's HDZ was a criminal organisation.

"You won't hear me say that the HDZ is a criminal organisation. Not all people there are clean today, but today's HDZ has that, too, in its past. Just as the SDP has in its past the fact that it is the successor to the Communist Party," he said, adding that those things should be left to the past and that new people were emerging and answering to voters.

He said that he had been the first in the country to raise the issue of criminal liability of legal entities.

"There was a law from 2003 which envisaged for the first time that kind of legal responsibility. I raised that issue in the parliament, I was not Prime Minister at the time, and, to my surprise, the Public State Attorney launched the procedure and the (Fimi Media) ruling is a result of that. So in a way, I am responsible for the ruling," he said.

Protesters should not rally outside office-holders' homes

Asked to comment on protests held outside the homes of members of the national coronavirus management team, Milanović said that protesters should not do that.

"They are free to disagree with what those people do, but to protest now, after a year and half? They could have done it earlier if they had objections, and they should especially not be doing it outside (COVID-19 response team's members') homes because that way they disturb their neighbours," Milanović said, calling on the protesters to end the protests.

Speaking about the prosecution of crimes committed in the 1991-95 Homeland War, Milanović said that the Croatian judiciary had done its best, notably with regard to the prosecution of members of the aggressor forces.

"Evidently some things are no longer possible due to the passage of time. I am sure the Croatian judiciary does not have an agenda to help the enemy. There are real limitations regarding time, place and facts. I am not satisfied, but on the other hand, a lot has been done so I can say that I am also satisfied," he said.

We have no relations with Belgrade and Serbia

As for people gone missing in the war, Milanović said that Belgrade was familiar with the destiny of close to 2,000 missing persons.

"We will insist on that, we won't let the matter rest just like that," he said, adding that Croatia currently has no relations with Belgrade.

"Relations with all the others are good or very good, they are not good only with Belgrade and those currently in power there," he said.

Milanović announced that he would attend this year's commemoration of the fall of the eastern city of Vukovar.

"This year is different, last year the way things were organised was wrong," he said.

He welcomed the government's decision to limit fuel prices but noted that it would cost.

"The government has the instruments, naturally all of that costs, and one should be aware that producers and distributors who have fixed costs will have to be compensated somehow," he said, estimating that prices of energy products should go down in a few months.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Zagreb University Student Council: Lavish Expenses By President Mihovil Mioković

September 30, 2021 - The Zagreb University Student Council president Mihovil Mioković has published the expenses of the council. 700,000 kuna spent on questionable things stirred up quite the controversy.

Established on September 23, 1669, Zagreb University remains the oldest and biggest university in Croatia to this day, but sadly, it has plenty of issues with the current University Chancellor Damir Boras.

As TCN wrote earlier in March of 2021, the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia ousted both Boras and Vice-Chancellor Miljenko Šimpraga. The causes of that were, as the Union said, various violations of academic community principles and the laws prescribed by both Croatian University documents and Zagreb University documents.

''On a number of occasions, Boras violated the academic rights and freedoms of employees of the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as their right to elect the faculty head by rejecting the candidates recommended by the Faculty Council on three occasions,'' said the Union at the time.

As Telegram's reporter Dora Kršul, with a history of exposing foul play at the university wrote for Telegram earlier this week, the Zagreb University Student Council has its own dirt too.

Mihovil Mioković, the president of the Zagreb University Student Council (who is otherwise a student of the Faculty of Economics) and a party member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) allegedly spent 700,000 kuna from the university budget on highly questionable things. Mioković, previously noted for defending Boras's controversial decisions, published reports of the council's spending over the last two years on social media.

''Two MacBook computers, a Lenovo ThinkPad computer, countless promo T-shirts, badges, Samsung Galaxy phones, a paper shredder, communication training for the council's president (for Mioković himself), a Galko business bag and some loudspeakers are just some of the expenses the Student Council spent 700,000 kuna on. As visible from the documentation published by the council's leader, signed receipts were sent to be paid to Tonći Lazibat, the finance Vice-Chancellor and potential candidate for the new Chancellor of Zagreb University,'' wrote Telegram.

It's worth adding that Chancellor Boras has already won two terms, so he can't compete in the upcoming election in February 2022. Thus, the question of who will run for Boras's replacement remains an open question.  Mioković responded to Telegram's questions stating that these are small and justified expenses.

''I think it's much more effective to have everything seen in black and white, all of the finances, everything I signed, because these are literally small expenses, receipts totalling 100 to 150,000 kuna,'' said Mioković to Telegram.

From expensive phones to the communication training Mioković didn't even complete in the end, the biggest outrage was triggered by the Galko Business bag. Usually costing around 1,500 kuna, Mioković said he got it at a discount for 1000 kuna and added that he bought it because he didn't receive a bag along with his newly purchased laptop.

''It's a leather bag that will really serve to future generations of the student council once I return it along with the laptop. The rain can't ruin it, it's of good quality,'' said Mioković in an attempt to justify the expenses. These justifications, however, weren't really well received by the public.

From various student initiatives (the biggest one being 300=300, which mainly advocates for the equal qualification recognition of state and private universities) previously protested against the current university leaders to the student council itself.

As Večernji List reported, the unsigned thread on the Facebook page of the Zagreb University Student Council condemned Mioković's actions and called for his resignation. Additionally, Mioković left HDZ and told N1 that he was "advised“ to do so.

''I was contacted by someone on a local level, who, in my opinion, doesn't have any legitimacy nor authority. Then I contacted the HDZ youth president who advised me to leave the party and I said OK,'' Mioković said briefly for N1. He added he feels his conscience is clear and that he plans to run again for the council president despite the lack of support from HDZ.

To top it all off, as Srednja writes, the Student Council of Zagreb university also celebrated 25 years of its work this week.

''Through all the years, the goal of student representatives is to protect the rights and promote interests of students,'' wrote Srednja.hr. There can be no doubt, however, that these recent events added a bitter taste to the jubilee.

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

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

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Branko Bačić: Vučić's Call is a Provocation, Illegal to Hang Out Another Country's Flag

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) whip Branko Bačić said on Tuesday that the call by Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić to "Serbs in all Serb lands" to hang out their Serb flags on 15 September, wherever they may be, is inappropriate, unacceptable and a provocation.

"I consider that to be a provocation and inappropriate, all the more so, because it is in violation of the law," Bačić told reporters in the Croatian Parliament, citing the Public Law and Order Act which says that displaying other countries' flags is not allowed.

I expect the Serb community to respect the law

"I expect that our fellow citizens and members of the Serb community in Croatia will respect its laws," said Bačić, underscoring that it is inappropriate and unacceptable for the "president of Serbia to call on citizens of Croatia, notably members of the Serb community in Croatia, to hang out Serbian flags in Croatia on 15 September."

Asked if the police would monitor that, Bačić said that the Croatian police perform their duties according to the law and that he believes that this will be the case tomorrow too.

"It is not particularly hard to check if someone has displayed the flag of another country in their window," said Bačić.

He rejected claims from the opposition that the government should have reacted more sharply to Vučić's call and that it did not do so because of the cooperation with its coalition partner, the Independent Serb Democratic Party (SDSS).

He underlined that HDZ is cooperating properly with its coalition partners. "The ruling majority is stable but that does not mean that we will pass over this kind of call, merely because we are in a coalition with members of national minorities," he said.

Bačić would not comment on a statement by SDSS MP Milorad Pupovac that all Serb minority institutions should hang out the Serbian flag alongside the Croatian flag and that he saw Vučić's call as an encouragement and not as an imposition.

Ruling majority is stable

Ahead of the autumn sitting of the Sabor, Bačić said that the ruling majority is stable and that the government has full support in addressing numerous challenges, from economic recovery and the fight against the pandemic to the reconstruction of earthquake-struck areas.

He expects the government to adopt amendments to the Reconstruction Act by the end of the month to accelerate the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and the Banovina region.

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

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Božinović: Opposition Seems Not to Want Corruption Cases to Be Prosecuted

ZAGREB, 11 Sept, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Saturday criticised statements by some Opposition MPs following arrests in two corruption cases in Međimurje County. 

"I am certain that already the present and the future will prove their cheap political statements wrong. They seem not to want such cases to be prosecuted," Božinović said in an interview with Croatian Radio.

Speaking after the arrests of Međimurje County head Matija Posavec and Social Democrat (SDP) MP Stjepan Kovač, MP Nikola Grmoja of the Bridge party said on Friday that the arrests were politically motivated to "divert attention from the scandal in Kutina" involving the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, while the SDP's Arsen Bauk said that the timing of the arrests in two unrelated cases showed "a skilful manoeuvre" by the Attorney-General's Office (DORH).

Responding to these accusations, Božinović said that in the first eight months of this year the police had brought corruption charges in 86 percent more cases than in the same period last year. "This means that the police, along with USKOK (anti-corruption office) and DORH, are fully committed to their work, and great changes can be seen in this regard."

"However, no changes can be seen in reactions from the Opposition. Whenever the police and DORH do something, the Opposition immediately says that it is politicisation. I cannot understand those people at all," the minister said.

Commented on the fact that one of the suspects in the Kovač case is a police officer, Božinović said that the police have zero tolerance to any illegal behaviour. Last year proceedings were launched against more than 540 police officers and so far this year against more than 320 officers, he said. 

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 July 2021

HDZ, Labour and Solidarity Party and SDP Receive Largest Donations in H1 2021

ZAGREB, 23 July 2021 - In the first half of 2021, the three political parties with the largest donations are the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which received HRK 1.9 million, the Labour and Solidarity Party of the late Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić with 1.7 million, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) with 1.1. million.

According to the data provided by the State Electoral Commission (DIP) on its website, there were 250 donors who financially supported the ruling HDZ in the first half of 2021.

In terms of the amount of donations, the Križevci-based construction company Radnik was the top donor for the HDZ with HRK 150,000 donated. The Šibenik-based Impol-TLM contributed HRK 128,500 and the Širjan company, specialised in growing cereals, provided HRK 70,000.

The top two donors of the Labour and Solidarity Party were the Ivanić Grad-based construction company RAUD and the Gornji Vugrovec-based Agrina PAD specialised in landscaping services.

The top donors of the SDP party were Crodux Plin and the Crodix Derivati dva, each contributing HRK 200,000 (the maximum amount allowable as a donation to a company).

The Zagreb Is Ours party received HRK 70,000 in donations, and its member Urša Raukar-Gamulin, who has recently attracted the media limelight after her declaration of assets showed her to be one of the richest MPs, and her husband donated HRK 5,000 each.

The We Can party received HRK 52,000 in donations and one of the donors, Rajko Bajakić, donated HRK 5,000 three times, or 15,000 in total. Bajakić has attracted the attention of the media after he was appointed by the new Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, as a member of the supervisory  board of the Zagrebački Holding multi-utility conglomerate.

(€1 = HRK 7.522815)

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Women Work One Month For Free, Says MEP Glavak

ZAGREB, 14 July, 2021 - Women work one month for free due to lower wages and their total income, and consequently their pension, is lower because they care for children and the elderly, Croatian MEP Sunčana Glavak (EPP) said on Wednesday.

She was speaking at an event at Plitvice Lakes which discussed how to strengthen the position of women in Croatia and Europe, held as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Glavak said a division into men's and women's departments was not felt in the EP because the persons there were competent, but added that a balance had not been achieved anywhere in Europe.

She called on citizens to engage in a debate on that and other European topics via the Commission's platform “futureu.europa.eu.”

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said four women ministers in Croatia's 18 government departments was not enough, but added that they "run important departments and make a big contribution to this government."

He boasted that Croatian women hold high positions in European institutions - Dubravka Šuica is a Commission vice president, Marija Pejčinović Burić the Council of Europe secretary-general, Ivana Maletić a judge at the European Court of Auditors, and Maja Markovčić Kostelac the head of the European Maritime Safety Agency.

"As a government, we will continue to make an effort towards empowering and protecting women, towards equality and women's participation at a higher level and a high representation percentage," he said.

Present at the Plitvice conference were Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac, Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak and Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković, while Šuica and EPP Women President Doris Pack participated virtually.

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

 

 

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

New Waste Management Legislation Will Make Bills Higher, Says Opposition

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - Some opposition parties claimed on Tuesday that the new waste management law will result in higher bills for citizens and that this will in particular affect lessors and small entrepreneurs.

The entire waste management system is based on waste management centres which are very expensive and that will be evident once citizens receive their new bills, said MP Sanja Udović (SDP).

She claimed that in those areas where these centres have been established, citizens can expect their bills to increase by 100 percent. "We, in Primorje Gorski Kotar County can soon expect the end price to go up, that means the price citizens pay will increase by some 30 to 40 percent," she said.

MP Marin Lerotić (IDS) underscored that the new bill doesn't go in favour of citizens nor lessors or small businesses who have been categorised as non-households and will pay a higher price.

"Shopping centres will pay the same, minimal service, as will shoemakers, or camp sites for up to 10,000 people will pay the same as a family-owned camp site with a capacity of up to 12 people. Hotels with a capacity of 100 rooms will pay the same price as a lessor of a flat," warned Lerotić.

MP Josip Borić (HDZ) explained that the government was providing a framework for prices to be defined by the local government.

"The opportunity exists to reduce the price for those who need to be rewarded. It contains criteria that allow that reduction for enterprises to certain household members, you can make them up yourself and include them in the price list," he said.

Local government officials have to realise that their role in waste management will be more complex, constructive, creative and more responsible, state-secretary in the Economy Ministry, Mile Horvat said.

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

 

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

HDZ Whip: Shopping Hours to be Adjusted to Seasonal Activities

ZAGREB, 6 July, 2021 - The whip of the ruling HDZ, Branko Bačić, said on Tuesday the parties of the parliamentary majority supported amendments to the Trade Act, adding that shopping hours would be adjusted to seasonal activities.

Parliament will debate the amendments in the autumn.

Speaking to the press after a meeting of the parliamentary majority, Bačić said they talked about the problem of restricting shopping hours until 9 pm, notably during the summer tourist season, when they have the biggest turnover.

"We must take account of the international convention on the rights of shop workers to daily and weekly rest," Bačić said, adding that it was important to reach as much consensus as possible with those to whom the law applied.

"We'll take into account rest and adjusting shopping hours to seasonal activities across Croatia. We'll give employers the possibility to decide how many Sundays in the year they will work."

Reformists president Radimir Čaćić pushed for as much flexibility regarding shopping hours as possible, saying that family firms should be allowed to work when and how long they wanted.

He praised the proposal by Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Pensioners Party "not to define shopping hours but the number of non-working hours, to say that a shop must have eight non-working hours. That's very good as it allows everyone to organise themselves as they wish."

Bačić said the parliamentary majority also talked about plans to make job-keeping payments in sectors affected by the epidemic conditional on worker vaccination, adding that the purpose was to stimulate employers with a high vaccination rate "for contributing to curbing the epidemic as soon as possible."

He said the government was not shifting responsibility to employers and that measures to that effect would be agreed by the government, the social partners and legal experts, taking Croatia's economic interest into account.

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

Page 1 of 57

Search