Sunday, 27 March 2022

HSLS Proposes Government Reshuffle

ZAGREB, 27 March 2022 - Dario Hrebak, leader of the HSLS, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said after intraparty consultations on Sunday that the HSLS proposed a government reshuffle so that the government could focus on key problems to secure economic and overall stability as well as euro and Schengen area entry.

"With regards to the current political situation, the HSLS believes that at the moment Croatia needs stability in light of the global trends, lack of security, war, pandemic, refugee crisis and the related consequences such as inflation pressures, problems in supply chains and changes in energy policies and relations," the party said in a statement.

The HSLS leadership said the government had its support to keep the country stable, as well as make the necessary adjustments to overcome the current situation that was affecting everyone.

"As a constructive member of the ruling majority, the HSLS considers it necessary to refresh the government so that it could focus on dealing with key problems and secure economic and overall stability as well as accession to the euro zone and the Schengen areas," the statement said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 8 November 2021

Zagreb Opposition Strongly Against Plans To Cancel Stay-at-Home Parent Scheme

ZAGREB, 8 Nov, 2021 - Opposition parties in the Zagreb City Assembly - the HDZ, the HSLS, Bridge and the Homeland Movement - on Monday strongly opposed plans to abolish a grant scheme for stay-at-home parents as well as reduce grants for layettes for newborn babies.

HDZ deputy and HDZ Zagreb city branch leader Mislav Herman said on behalf of the HDZ/HSLS group that the announced drastic cut in grants for stay-at-home parents and the proposal to shorten the period during which they receive them was tantamount to their abolishment.

The City of Zagreb last Friday put to public consultation a decision abolishing grants for stay-at-home parents after their child reaches the age of seven, and the grant for those with younger children is reduced to HRK 1,000 per month, from 65% of the gross average pay in Zagreb.

Herman said "the abolishment of the grants was accompanied with a bizarre explanation that it was a huge cost."

"Does demography in the 21st century in Croatia and the whole of Western Europe have a price? We believe it does not, and that the benefit of this demographic measure was great," said Herman.

He added that the measure currently costs HRK 44 million a month, while city subsidies for kindergartens amount to HRK 45 million a month, which, he said, could result in the cost of kindergarten subsidies going up because of children who will return to pre-school institutions due to the cancellation of grants for stay-at-home parents.

Herman also believes that Deputy Mayor Danijela Dolenec's view that the grants had yielded insignificant results "is not competent as no concrete figures have been provided."

He claimed that the scheme had stopped negative demographic trends in the city, concluding that Mayor Tomislav Tomašević was guided by "ideological and not by financial interests."

Bridge: 2,700 Zagreb children left without kindergarten care in 2020 

Bridge deputy Lovro Marković said that the city had not made a thorough analysis of demographic and economic effects of the scheme, introduced by former mayor Milan Bandić, and that it did not know how its cancellation would affect the filling of kindergarten capacity in Zagreb, adding that in 2020, 2,700 children could not enroll in kindergartens.

"The scheme for stay-at-home parents covers more than 6,000 children, and according to current rules, coming from families with more than one child, those children will have advantage when enrolling," he said.

His Bridge party also strongly criticises the reduction of grants for layettes, stressing that that measure was a way for taxpayers to get back the money paid into the city budget in the form of local rates.

Peternel: Tomašević attacking foundations of Croatian society

Homeland Movement deputy Igor Peternel said the abolishment of the scheme was "outrageous", causing complete mistrust in state institutions.

"We consider this to be a worldview-motivated decision which symbolically strikes at the foundations of the Croatian society, namely at the family," said Peternel, condemning also the reduction of grants for layettes.

Last Friday, the city administration submitted for 30-day public consultation its proposal to abolish grants for stay-at-home parents, as well as reduce allowances for layettes for newborn babies.

A document has been released analysing the demographic and financial effects of the scheme, as well as its effects on the inclusion of women in the labour market and children in educational institutions.

"There will no longer be new applications for the scheme, only regulating the rights of existing beneficiaries, and the right to use the measure is reduced to seven years of age of the child," Deputy Mayor Dolenec said.

This means that the beneficiaries whose children have already reached the age of seven or more will no longer be eligible for the grant as of 30 April 2022, which creates a period in which they can adapt to the new circumstances, that is, they can look for a job and get a job while they are still using the grant.

The grant for beneficiaries who have children under the age of seven will be reduced to HRK 1,000 per month as of 1 May.

They can use the measure until their child reaches the age of seven, but they can also find a job immediately and they are also allowed to enroll their child in kindergarten in May, said Dolenec.

The analysis attached to the public debate shows that the City of Zagreb has spent HRK 1.8 billion on this scheme since 2016, and if applications had not been suspended in August, the monthly budget expense for that measure would be HRK 700 million.

"The amount is equivalent to the construction of 27 new kindergartens in Zagreb", said Dolenec, adding that the measure was unsustainable for the budget.

She underscored that the demographic effect of the measure was small, that is, dubious.

"For families with three and more children there is a small increase in the period when the measure was introduced, but the total number of live births has not risen," she pointed out.

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Friday, 2 July 2021

HSLS Condemns Grmoja's Statement about Paedophiles and LGBT Persons in Same Context

ZAGREB, 2 July 2021 - The HSLS party on Friday condemned a statement by Bridge MP Nikola Grmoja who expressed disgruntlement over the promotion of sexual minority rights and linked the LGBT community to paedophilia.

"Tolerance and intolerance are two opposites that best symbolise two Europes today, a democratic one with liberal principles of freedom, equality and tolerance as part of their state policies, and an undemocratic one led by Orban's policies of intolerance and discrimination," HSLS leader Dario Hrebak said in a press release.

He said that in that kind of Europe there are two mutually opposite Croatias, one that belongs to the EU with its values and the other which is represented by "Orban's poltroons," which is the group that "Grmoja obviously belongs to," who are bothered by democracy and the values it consists of.

HSLS, which is part of the ruling coalition considers that the purpose of political institutions is peaceful conflict resolution between individuals, protecting individuals from any form of oppression and finding solutions to political problems that would be in accordance with the wishes and interests of individuals.

Democracy is not only its institutions but values it is founded on, and the relationship towards minorities in fact shows how a society puts its democratic values into practice, said Hrebak.

We must never stop fighting against backward ideas because by condemning them and clearly distancing ourselves from them, we are protecting democracy and its institutions, he added.

Grmoja on Wednesday announced that he would put forward and anti-phaedophile bill that would also ban "LGBT propaganda" being spread to minors.

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

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Opposition: It's Not Good That PM Plenković is Trying to Intimidate Media

ZAGREB, 2 June, 2021 - Recent frequent attacks on media, reporters and political analysts by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković were met on Wednesday with condemnation by opposition MPs, who called on him to accept criticism and on media not to allow to be intimidated.

Social Democrat Arsen Bauk said the prime minister had opted for the "attack is the best form of defence" approach.

"Some defeats at local elections are painful for the HDZ, notably the prime minister, because he chose or imposed some of the candidates. It is not good for the prime minister, who has both objective and real power, to try to square accounts with or intimidate reporters, media and their editors and owners. I hope you will not let yourself be intimidated by him," Bauk told reporters in the parliament.

Judging by their response, I can see that they are not intimidated, he said, adding that he was fascinated by Plenković's claim that rival broadcasters had colluded to devalue the HDZ's candidate for Zagreb mayor.

Stephen Bartulica of the Homeland Movement said that media were possibly responsible for the latest developments because they had been very mild towards Plenković from the start.

"I definitely support media freedoms and it is not unusual that media in Croatia and the rest of the world are leaning to the left, but I think that what is more important here are the so-called independent analysts who often have material interests and certain relations with political camps and NGOs and who act in public as if they were unbiased," said Bartulica.

The sole MP of the Reformists party, Natalija Martinčević, who chairs the parliamentary Media Committee, said that the prime minister was very nervous, which she considers inappropriate.

"Communication with the media must be civilised. We are all expected to behave that way and so is the prime minister. There is no justification for his behaviour," she said.

Most MP Marija Selak Raspudić said that media had been the PM's fetish for a long time.

"Let me remind you of his high school graduation thesis 'Means of Mass Communication' in which, apart from extensively quoting (Yugoslav Communist politician Edvard) Kardelj and Marx, he also says that the Party is the one to control all information in society. He then advocates some democratic trends and says that media should be democratised, but it seems that as an experienced politician he has accepted the principle that the Party should control all information and is surprised when he does not manage to do it," said Selak Raspudić.

HSLS MP Dario Hrebak said that every politician had their own style of communication, noting that the prime minister was evidently irritated by something.

"I, too, am sometimes unhappy with the media but everyone has the right to say what they think, I would not be a liberal if I thought differently," he said, adding that he believed the prime minister would mend his relationship with the media and some reporters.

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

Saturday, 11 January 2020

HSLS Leader for Forming Liberal Bloc for Parliamentary Election

ZAGREB, January 11, 2020 - Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) president Dario Hrebak on Saturday called on centre parties to unite for the next parliamentary election, saying the HSLS and several liberal centre parties shared a similar political agenda.

"Fighting corruption, increasing transparency, introducing digitisation. That's the political agenda the HSLS shares with... Pametno, Start and Lipa," he told reporters ahead of an HSLS Presidency meeting.

Hrebak said the forming of a coalition for the coming parliamentary election would depend solely on the support other parties showed his party's transparency project, such as the one in Bjelovar.

Asked if he had already contacted those parties, he said intensive talks were under way and that his party was open to collaboration with any political party.

Hrebak said the transparency project in Bjelovar, of which he is the mayor, would be the HSLS trademark and that its message was that citizens had the right to know how their money was spent on the local as well as the state level.

He went on to say that big parties like the HDZ and the SDP had done less about corruption over the past 30 years than the HSLS in Bjelovar over the past year.

He said they "are not the solution, they are the problem. They can't successfully fight against corruption."

Hrebak said corruption must be dealt with and that what was going on in Zagreb must stop, adding that the ruling HDZ's biggest mistake was to cooperate with Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić.

He said the HSLS, which has one MP thanks to a coalition with the HDZ, would no longer unreservedly support anyone. "It's no secret we support the ruling party, but it's no secret either that we are bothered that (Bandić's MPs) still rule in the Croatian parliament."

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

HSLS Decides to Stay in Ruling Coalition

ZAGREB, September 15, 2019 - The main committee of the Croatian Social and Liberal Party (HSLS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, on Sunday turned down the proposal of the party leader Darinko Kosor to leave the coalition at the state level.

After the party leadership's meeting in the coastal town of Novi Vinodoski, Kosor said that the Main Committee had turned down his proposal with the sole explanation it would not be good if this party of liberal and civic orientation leaves the coalition due to the topic concerning ethnic minorities.

This past Wednesday Kosor said that the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Milorad Pupovac fed right wingers with his policy and comments as well as all who caused ethnically motivated incidents, that he did not retract any of his recent statements, and that the HSLS would decide on Sunday whether to remain in the ruling coalition. Kosor posted on Facebook: "Yes to the protection of Serbs, Croatian citizens from violence in Croatia. No to the SDSS lecturing democratic Croatia."

Speaking to Hina, Kosor said that if nothing changed in the meantime, his party would decide on Sunday whether to leave the coalition.

The HSLS caucus comprises Kosor, two MPs from the Croatian Christian Democrat Party and one MP from the regional HDSSB party. Kosor said each party would decide whether to stay in the ruling coalition.

The ruling majority has 82 seats in parliament.

More political news can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 14 December 2018

HSS, HSLS Expel Members Who Supported Zagreb City Budget

ZAGREB, December 14, 2018 - After they facilitated the adoption of the Zagreb City budget for 2019 by voting for it in the Zagreb City Assembly on Thursday, Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) secretary-general Ilija Ćorić and Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) City Assembly member Miroslav Polovanec were expelled from their respective parties.

Informing reporters of Ćorić's expulsion from the party, HSS leader Krešo Beljak told a news conference that Ćorić's decision had taken him by surprise, the more so as earlier in the day Ćorić had made it clear that he would vote against the budget proposal, as agreed within the City Assembly group of which he was a member. "But evidently we mustn't let anything take us by surprise in politics considering that we know who our opponents are - Mr Bandić and Mr Plenković. This is clearly their doing," Beljak said.

Beljak said he was confident that this was a case of corruption and called on state institutions to investigate it. He added that when asked why he voted the way he did, Ćorić told him that his circumstances made him do it.

Beljak also dismissed accusations by Zlatko Hasanbegović of the Independents for Croatia that the outcome of the vote on the city budget was a result of an agreement between Beljak, HSLS leader Darinko Kosor and Plenković.

Beljak also commented on GLAS MP Anka Mrak Taritaš' statement that there was no room in the Amsterdam Coalition (made up of GLAS, the HSS and the HSU) for people forging alliances with Bandić and the HDZ and that she expected Beljak to act accordingly.

"I did not have the impression that Mrak Taritaš would blame me or anyone in the HSS for that, I'm confident that the Amsterdam Coalition will continue to exist and not only that - we will consolidate it with true politicians and be an alternative to the decay that dominates the political scene in Croatia," said Beljak.

HSLS leader Darinko Kosor, who is also a member of parliament and of the Zagreb City Assembly announced today that Polovanec would no longer be a member of the HSLS or its group in the city assembly. "The HSLS voted in line with the party's decision - against the budget proposal, but members' terms are their own. All those who voted for the budget are no longer members of our group," he said.

Asked about the future of Jozo Miličević of the Zagreb Independent Slate, who is the deputy chair of the City Assembly and who also supported the 2019 Zagreb city budget, Kosor said that Milicevic was a member of another party.

Speaking to reporters after the City Assembly adopted the Zagreb city budget proposal for 2019 with the help of members of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), City Assembly chair and HDZ member Andrija Mikulić said that the HDZ had definitely not been involved in any political trade-offs and called on the opposition in the City Assembly to report their suspicions to the relevant state institutions.

"I was saying the whole time that I was an optimist, that I believe in the proposed projects and I thank God and all members of the City Assembly that reason has prevailed," Mikulić told reporters. "The vote was about supporting Zagreb's further development and not about relations between City Assembly members," said Mikulić.

The Zagreb City Assembly on Thursday adopted next year's budget of 8.19 billion kuna, up 185 million kuna from this year, with 26 votes in favour, 24 against and no abstentions.

More news on the Zagreb politics can be found in our special Zagreb section.

Monday, 29 October 2018

HSLS to Leave Ruling Coalition if Zagreb Mayor Bandić Joins Government

ZAGREB, October 29, 2018 - Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) leader Darinko Kosor said in response to questions from the press on Monday that his party would leave the ruling coalition if Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić's party joined the government.

Bandić's parliamentary group has increased to 10 members in the last few days, and media predict that it will continue to grow, although Bandić's slate has won only one seat in the present parliament.

The increase in the number of lawmakers in Bandić's parliamentary group has prompted media speculation that the Zagreb mayor could call for entry into the government given that now it controls twice as many MPs as the Croatian Democratic Union's (HDZ) strategic partner in the ruling coalition, the Croatian People's Party (HNS), which has two ministers.

"Unlike the other coalition partners, the HSLS is the HDZ's partner from before the elections when Plenković and I put together a coalition which no one believed would win the elections. We agreed then that we would build a decent Croatia. If now we were to allow the government to be changed based on political corruption, it would not be our agreement any more. I still believe that this will not happen, first of all that Andrej Plenković will not do that for his own sake. But if it does happen, we will no longer be part of the ruling coalition," Kosor told the press in the parliament.

Interestingly, Kosor does not seem to mind that both the ruling coalition and the government have been depended on Bandić’s MPs ever since HDZ broke up its previous coalition with MOST in spring 2017.

Bandić has been expanding his parliamentary group ever since, mainly by drawing in MPs from opposition parties who have suddenly decided they will no longer be in opposition.

If you are interested in latest news about Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, click here.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Nikola Dobroslavic to Remain Dubrovnik-Neretva County Prefect

The current Prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Nikola Dobroslavic, will remain in his position.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A New Vision for Turkish Tower?

Tonight, the project 'European Youth Park (Park Mladih) - from neglect to world attraction' will be presented. 

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