Sunday, 17 October 2021

Study Reveals Significant Inequalities in Access to Social Services

ZAGREB, 17 Oct, 2021 - The first national study on access to social services shows that members of different vulnerable groups in Croatia do not have equal chances of obtaining quality social services, with inequalities being greater at regional and local levels.

The study was conducted by the Stress and Trauma Rehabilitation Centre and the Zagreb Law School Social Work Study Centre in the period from March to May 2021 and it covered 395 cities and municipalities.

Data was collected from two sources - representatives of local government units and representatives of providers of social services in local communities (431 local professionals).

The study covered access to social services for various vulnerable groups: children and young people at risk, families at risk, poor citizens, persons with physical and mental disabilities, elderly and infirm people, and members of ethnic minorities and refugees.

The study confirms unequal access to social services and lack of access to individual services. Its findings reveal poor availability of social services for young people, families at risk, persons with physical and mental disabilities, members of ethnic minorities and refugees.

More available are social services for children, poor citizens and elderly people but it could not be concluded for most of these services either that they are generally available.

Significant regional and development-related inequalities were identified as well, with citizens who live in smaller, rural areas under the national development average having less access to social services on which their health, wellbeing and social inclusion depend.

Social services least available in Pannonian Croatia

Social services were the least available to people in Pannonian Croatia, which covers local government units with the lowest development index.

Experts believe that it is necessary to invest in the development of risk-prevention services and services that facilitate social inclusion, activation on the labour market and psychosocial empowerment once risks emerge, for all groups of users. They consider as less necessary services related to the provision of accommodation in their communities, the exception being accommodation for elderly and infirm persons.

The study was financed by the Active Citizenship Fund in Croatia, through financial mechanisms of the European Economic Area and the Kingdom of Norway.

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Friday, 30 July 2021

New Mayors of Pula and Vodnjan Ditch Two Major Projects, Jutarnji List Reports

ZAGREB, 30 July 2021 - In just two days the new mayors of Pula and Vodnjan rejected two major projects by the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) worth about HRK 90 million, Jutarnji List daily said on Friday.

Both projects are from the EU's Integrated Territorial Investment (ITU) mechanism, and a portion of the funding was grants from the European Regional Development Fund. But both independent mayors decided to forgo the grants arguing that the stakes of their respective cities in the investment projects were too high.

The aim of the projects was to convert a former industrial complex in Pula and an old oil mill in Vodnjan into tourism and cultural centres. A HRK 34.9 million grant agreement for the Mehanika polyvalent centre in Pula was signed in February, while Vodnjan's MMC Torcio project was awarded a HRK 7.15 million grant.

Both mayors said that the main reasons for rejecting the projects were too short implementation deadlines, an excessive credit burden on their budgets and too high bids for the performance of construction works.

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Sunday, 6 June 2021

Local Government Given Weak Grade by Entrepreneurs

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - Entrepreneurs expect local authorities to cut costs, downsize the number of employees in the administration, reduce administrative burden and utility fees, a survey by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) has shown.

In May, HUP carried out a survey among its members with the aim of examining what entrepreneurs expect from representatives of local and regional government in the coming period. Nearly 200 companies from all over Croatia, which employ more than 14,000 people, have responded to the survey, HUP said on Tuesday.

In the survey, local goverment received a weak grade  (D), which indicates less than satisfactory performance.

Top three priorities for entrepreneurship recovery

HUP members also highlighted the top three priorities that the municipal/city government must deal with immediately to encourage the recovery of entrepreneurship, and scaling down the costs and the number of employees in public administration was ranked as number one priority, as said by 47% of the respondents.

The second priority is the abolition of administrative and utility fees (44%) and the third priority is the abolition or reduction of surtaxes and other fess (41%).

HUP representative also expect and encourage greater involvement and participation of entrepreneurs in the work of local government.

We propose that economic councils be formed in the offices of mayors and county prefects, which would consist of up to fifteen entrepreneurs from the private sector, education representatives and representatives of other factors important for the local economic development. The council would discuss local economic issues, business conditions, permits and education, and in this way give added value to the economy and the wider community, said HUP's Kristian Krpan.

Local government gets weak grade D

The average grade HUP's entrepreneurs assigned to city/municipal government for encouraging entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial climate is a weak grade D, or an average of 2.3 on a 1-5 scale, HUP said.

The cities of Bjelovar, Virovitica, Sveta Nedelja and the municipality of Lokve were exceptions and received high average grades.

When it comes to counties, the two initiatives rated as most significant for launching a stronger investment cycle and creating new jobs were awarding non-repayable grants and adopting new county development plans to tap EU funds.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Milanovic: Renewed Division Of Croatia Into Regions Would Be Disintegration

ZAGREB, Sept 9, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday evening while attending a formal session of the Varazdin County Assembly marking County Day, that renewed division of Croatia into regions would be disintegration.

"What was done in 1993 without a referendum, at the height of the war, when there were more pressing priorities than local government, will not be easily reversed," he said and added that the counties, as the form of administration and "transmission between the central government (and regional government) in a country of just four million people", made more sense than regions.

A renewed division of Croatia into regions would be disintegration, the president said.

He expressed hope that Varazdin County would continue "in the good direction", emphasizing the importance of absorbing EU funding as a measure of success.

PM: A harmonious approach to the development of northern Croatia

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who also attended the ceremony, spoke of the efforts made by the government in its previous term to ensure a more balanced development of the country.

"That's the foundation of our policy which is based on four pillars: continued, steady and open dialogue, functional decentralization, fiscal decentralization, and project cooperation," the prime minister said.

He also recalled government aid to employers and workers, including those in Varazdin County, to help them cope with the crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

"The government has so far provided HRK 300 million (€40m) for the benefit of workers. Had we not done that, they would probably be in trouble now, many of them would possibly be out of work," Plenkovic said, that 34,000 workers in Varazdin County were covered by the government's aid measures.

He said that Croatia was facing the challenges of recovery and development which required aligning priorities for "a harmonious approach to the development of northern Croatia."

County Prefect Radimir Cacic said that for three years in a row Varazdin County was by far the most successful county in absorbing EU funds in the segment of energy renovation.

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Civic Engagement in Rijeka: "Kvart za 5"

November 28, 2018 - Could civic engagement success stories spark hope for a better tomorrow? Get to know one such story about the 'Kvart za 5' initiative.

With Croatia being awash in a sea of incompetent and corrupt politicians at every level of government, including local self-governing bodies, and with most Croatians being oblivious of how we are systematically being deprived of real democracy, it is a really nice surprise to see a group of young people (none of whom have ever been part of a political party!) organized in a civic initiative with the idea of being the change they want to see in their local community.

And that is what 'Kvart za 5' initiative is all about. These five fellow lady citizens of Rijeka met through volunteering in their local community and are engaged in projects of public importance. They are united by the same goal and vision: to make their city a cleaner, more safe, and pleasant place to live in. And what better place to start than their own neighborhood?

kvart za 5

For years before the 'Kvart za 5' initiative was launched, Sandra Ivić (lawyer), Nina Majcan Šprajc (film location manager), Sandra Grozdanov (preschool teacher), Barbara Miletić (entrepreneur) and Palma Karković Takalić (archaeologist) were individually trying to work towards improving the quality of life in their local community. It all started by repeatedly contacting officials of the Školjić - Rijeka Old Town area committee about the problems they've been encountering in their neighborhood: environmental nuisance and the ever-increasing number of offenses against public peace and order during any time of day or night, casual littering and poor hygiene of public spaces, urination and unattended dog fouling, poor pest control, etc.

Their neighborhood was also lacking green spaces, while the few parks and recreation facilities were poorly maintained and in desperate need of makeovers. On top of that, the ladies demanded complete reconstruction of the Ivan Klobučarić Square – what was once a beautiful park and Nikola Tesla Elementary School playground is now a vast concrete floor that's been for years a constant reminder of a disgraceful waste of city's money and the failed Rijeka City Library project.

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Driven by the same desire to turn Školjić - Rijeka Old Town into a "five-star hood," the forenamed residents decided to take matters into their own hands: they've teamed up, joined forces and in December 2017 'Kvart za 5' was born. Since then, they've managed to get funds from the Rijeka Local Partnership Program and used the granted 40.000 kuna to revitalize the Školjić park with children's playground equipment, plus they invited their neighbors to help them repaint the park benches. And that's just the beginning of the 'Kvart za 5' story.

Ladies of 'Kvart za 5' have no intention of running for any kind of political office. Besides, the last thing this country needs is more politicians. What we do need, especially on a local level, is more good neighbors and active community members like the women standing behind the 'Kvart za 5' initiative.

And while the rest of us can only look up to these five ladies – or maybe even try to actively participate in our own local communities to address health, environment, safety, and other needs – their neighbors are invited to show support by voting for them at the Rijeka 2018 local committee elections which are to take place Sunday, December 2nd, 2018 at the Nikola Tesla Elementary School.

Stay tuned for more related news by following our dedicated page here.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Franković Remains Firm, Sends Letter to Cruise Lines International Association

''We stand firmly behind the claim that Dubrovnik cannot accommodate more than four thousand passengers at the same time.''

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Pametno Party Presents Proposal for New Local Government Structure

Many parties say they support territorial reorganization of local government units, but this is one of the first specific proposals.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Less Than Ten Percent of Croatia's Local Government Units Know How to Manage Their Properties

Surprising absolutely no-one, the State Audit Office announces disappointing results of local government units property management skills.

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