Saturday, 20 March 2021

Association: Forest Management Company Manipulating Citizens and EU Institutions

ZAGREB, 20 March 2021 - On the occasion of the International Day of Forests,  the VIDRA war veteran association on Saturday held a news conference outside the European Commission office in Zagreb, accusing the Hrvatske Šume, the state-owned forest management company, of manipulating citizens and EU institutions.

Hrvatske Šume manipulates and uses citizens for unlawful forest work. It falsifies business documents to mislead EU institutions and acquire undue financial benefits, the association and members of its Green Unit, a forum against forest destruction, said.

"We are glad that there is a growing public awareness of the importance of reforestation, but the public must know that Hrvatske Šume receives funding for its activities, including reforestation, from both the EU and the Croatian state. Hrvatske Šume uses citizens, even the Croatian Army, to do volunteer work for which it has taken the money and which it has pledged to do," VIDRA head Vesna Grgić said.

She noted that "it is even more scandalous that the way Hrvatske Šume increases its biological forest renewal rates. In other words, it uses volunteer work to improve its reports that are sent to the EU," Grgić said, recalling that the Green Unit had on several occasions filed reports about this with the competent Croatian institutions. Still, they failed to respond, which was why VIDRA sent a detailed report, including on excessive cutting down of trees, to the European Commission, which is now checking the allegations.

Grgić also claims that since 2013, when upon its entry into the EU, Croatia assumed obligations arising from the European Directive Natura 2000, "forest destruction has been reported in forests protected under Natura 2000 that is up to 300% greater than in forests not covered by the special protection regime."

Grgić called for "imposing a years-long ban on any felling of trees, imposing the obligation of reforestation and punishing the perpetrators of the ecocide that has been going on in Croatia for years."

She also said that the Green Unit "has information on wrongdoing" in hydraulic fracturing in Croatia.

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Saturday, 30 May 2020

Wind Park Case: Ex-state Secretary Taken to Detention Unit After Questioning

ZAGREB, May 30, 2020 - Josipa Rimac, the Public Administration Ministry State Secretary who was fired on Friday, presented her defense to anti-corruption investigators but she did not answer any questions, and after spending the night in detention she could be taken to the investigating judge on Saturday, her lawyer said.

Lawyer Zeljko Gulisija told the HTV public broadcaster on Friday that his client could be taken to the investigating judge on Saturday if the anti-corruption office USKOK asked that she be remanded in custody.

Gulisija said that his client was "shocked by today's events" after earlier in the day she was arrested with 12 other persons, including the CEO of the state-owned Hrvatske Sume forest management company, Krunoslav Jakupcic, the HDZ mayor of Gracac, Natasa Turbic, and Assistant Economy Minister Ana Mandac, whom the government also dismissed on Friday.

Sources close to the investigation say that Rimac is suspected of influence peddling and receiving a bribe of €45,000 to favour the C.E.M.P. company, which built a wind park near Knin.

She is also suspected of exerting pressure on Hrvatske Sume to make it change its decision not to green-light the Krs-Padjane wind park, built by C.E.M.P.

USKOK believes that Hrvatske Sume CEO Krunoslav Jakupcic and Ivan Melvan of the company's branch in Split were the ones who eventually approved the wind park project in early 2020.

Jakupcic's attorney Vladimir Teresak said that his client had presented extensive defense and that he was charged with acting in line with Rimac's instructions.

He said that Teresak pleaded not guilty to the charges.

C.E.M.P. on Friday issued a statement dismissing allegations of illegal conduct in the project, claiming it could prove the lawfulness of its actions with existing documentation on the project.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

JYSK Holds Action to Plant 10,000 Seeds on Medvednica

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of April, 2019, this past weekend, as part of a socially responsible project, the popular JYSK retail chain held a voluntary action to plant 10,000 European beech seedlings in two zones in the Medvednica Nature Park in Sljeme, above Zagreb, which have been most adversely affected by the weather's elements over last few years.

"We got together on Sljeme so that JYSK's volunteers, together with citizens, planted 10,000 beech seedlings donated by JYSK as part of our action. We're renewing the area in two zones of the Medvednica Nature Park, which died a couple of years ago after stormy weather.

''In addition to helping financially as a company through such projects, we want to help and in a different way to keep track of nature for the next generation,'' said Vesna Kukić Lončarić for JYSK Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

The project was realised in cooperation with Croatian forests (Hrvatske šume), and the afforestation was carried out in the area around PD Risnjak within the Medvednica Nature Park. Despite the unfavourable weather conditions and even some snow, the afforestation action was supported by numerous citizens interested in the conservation of the environment who planted as many as 10,000 seedlings in the aforementioned locations. Among them was the famous Croatian singer Mirela Priselac Remi.

"We welcome JYSK's initiative and we'd like to thank them for their activities as part of their socially responsible business towards the forests. Such actions contribute to raising awareness among all citizens of the need for forest conservation and they are endangered by climate change and the irresponsible behaviour of individuals,'' she stated.

''Without the forests, there's no clean air nor is there any clean water, and such young and healthy forests as are sprouting here are our best allies in alleviating the consequences of climate change. There are multiple uses of forests, and only with responsible management can we manage to preserve them,'' said Damir Miškulin from Croatian forests.

For this project, JYSK collected funds from the sale of 50 percent of recycled plastic bags during the first three months of this year, which were donated for the purchase of seedlings for the purpose of afforestation. JYSK's objective is to raise public awareness of the importance of our forests and their development with a positive example, and continue to implement such projects throughout the year and throughout the whole of the Republic of Croatia.

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