Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Festival of Equal Opportunities Opens

ZAGREB, 7 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Tuesday opened the Festival of Equal Opportunities, an international event in which persons with disabilities perform in a musical, theatre and art programme together with artists as well as in recreation and sport games.

The festival celebrates diversity and equal opportunities, which must be ensured for all persons with disabilities in Zagreb, he said, adding that all barriers to feeling equal must be removed.

The festival is taking place in Zagreb's central square until 9 June and has been organised by the Zagreb Association of Physically Disabled for the 20th year in a row. It features more than 900 performers from Croatia and abroad, including 600 persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities make up 13% of Croatia's population and due to countless physical, institutional and social barriers, they are excluded from everyday life and condemned to invisibility, which is a reflection of structural discrimination, so the public does not perceive it as a problem, said Viktorija Lisec, the Association's president.

The prime minister's envoy, Culture Ministry state secretary Ivica Poljičak, said the government was doing everything to make everyday life easier for persons with disabilities. Their participation in cultural events stimulates their creativity and contributes to society's diversity and to raising public awareness, he added.

Science and Education Ministry state secretary Tomislav Paljak said the festival was special because it enabled persons with disabilities to show the talents that equated them with others.

The deputy ombudsman for person with disabilities, Dario Jurišić, said they should have equal rights and obligations, and that the festival's purpose was a social approach to the inclusion of isolated groups.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Zagreb Mayor Announces Talks on LGBT Associations' Demand for Own Center

ZAGREB, 4 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Saturday he would talk with LGBT associations about their demands for getting their own center, stated at today's 21st Pride parade.

"There are various models to realize that. We'll see the details, what they are proposing," he said while taking part in the march.

Tomašević said the 21st Pride was a parade for the 21st century Zagreb, a city "which is open to every diversity, tolerant of all differences and open to all."

He also commented on a lawsuit filed against him by the organizers of the Walk for Life march because the city refused to hoist their flags on its masts. "I'm not afraid of that. It is in the mayor's remit to decide on putting flags on city masts."

He said that although Walk for Life organizers had not been allowed to hoist their flags, freedom of speech and assembly had been not jeopardized and they had stood in public spaces.

"However, hoisting flags on city masts means the city administration's support. Walk for Life's goals are completely opposite to our program, in which we promised to ensure the availability of abortion, which is legally allowed, and allowing that would have been hypocritical," the mayor said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Tomašević: Zagreb Ready to Provide All Assistance to Ukrainian Refugees

February 26, 2022 - Today Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced the beginning of the arrival of Ukrainian refugees in Croatia, following the Russian invasion of their country. The mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević shared on his social networks that they will provide all the necessary assistance for them.

Being the third day since the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory began, neighboring countries begin to receive Ukrainian refugees at their borders. This is the case of Poland, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary, but also that of nearby countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic, all of whom, in addition to expressing their solidarity and condemning the Russian invasion, have confirmed their support in receiving and attending to the refugees. Although Ukraine does not belong to the European Union or the Schengen area, some of these countries maintain border agreements with Ukraine, and others have indicated that they will not require visas or permits to facilitate their entry.

The Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic stated today that several Ukrainian nationals have already arrived in Croatia and that the groundwork to make them comfortable and provide for their needs is now underway.

The news comes just after Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic took to Twitter to tweet that he has spoken with the government and with the Red Cross and that things were now fully underway to accept fleeing Ukrainian refugees.

The mayor of the Croatian capital of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, has been the most recent authority to speak out on the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, and through a post on Facebook, he has expressed his solidarity, and also guaranteed his support and assistance for them.

''The City of Zagreb is ready to provide all possible assistance to refugees from Ukraine. We will make more locations available for the eventual reception of refugees, depending on their needs. This is the least we can do in solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine and the human tragedy they are going through'', reads the post shared by Tomašević.

The mayor of Zagreb finished his post by condemning the Russian invasion in Ukraine: ''I strongly condemn the aggression against Ukraine, because of which many lives will be destroyed - the violence must stop so that the innocent do not continue to suffer''.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Friday, 28 January 2022

Deputy Mayor Says Solution to High Corporate Gas Bills to Be Sought with State

ZAGREB, 28 Jan 2022 - Deputy Mayor Danijela Dolenec on Thursday evening commented on Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić's accusing the City of Zagreb and Mayor Tomislav Tomašević of being responsible for markedly higher corporate gas bills in Zagreb, noting that a solution would have to be sought in cooperation with the state.

Ćorić said earlier in the day that Tomašević and his team were responsible for the markedly higher corporate gas bills in Zagreb, and not HDZ personnel, because they failed to procure it at better prices.

Tomašević said the former director of the City Gasworks' Supply division, Igor Pirija, who ran the division until last October, was responsible and that he was HDZ personnel, claiming that he did not buy gas at cheaper prices on time and that Zagreb businesses were in trouble because of him.

"The former management of the City Gasworks' Supply division made a number of bad business decisions that resulted in losses for that company and higher bills for corporate users. In the spring (of 2021) it signed contracts under which already then it sold gas at prices that were below market prices while buying it at variable prices. It created a huge risk and we see the consequences now," the deputy mayor said.

She put this in the context of the global energy crisis, saying that not only Zagreb but other local government units as well were having problems with gas prices and that a solution would have to be sought in cooperation with the state.

Talks are underway and the public will be informed of the results, she said.

Dolenec also noted that one should establish if the unfavourable contracts on gas prices were only bad business moves by the former management of the City Gasworks' Supply division or were harmful contracts for which one should be held criminally liable.

She also said that the city would cover the difference in the gas bill of the soup kitchen in Zagreb's Sveti Duh neighbourhood, which from the earlier monthly amount of HRK 6,000 has risen to 25,000.

"The St Anthony of Padua soup kitchen... provides around 400 meals a day. The city has financed soup kitchens since 2004, and in the budget for this year HRK 700,000 has been earmarked for soup kitchens," Dolenec said, noting that the city would make sure the operation of the soup kitchen was not jeopardised.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Mayor Says Zagreb Holding Group Has Around 700 Surplus Workers

ZAGREB, 4 Jan 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Tuesday that Zagreb Holding has around 500 surplus workers and that the Zagreb Holding Group has around 700 surplus workers, noting that consultations are underway between the management of this city-owned multi-utility conglomerate and trade unions.

Of the 700 surplus workers at the level of the Zagreb Holding Group, around 100 hold managerial positions as coordinators and advisors while the labor surplus is highest among the administration staff, Tomašević said at a regular press conference.

The Zagreb Holding management has formally started consultations with trade unions on the surplus labor even though talks have been underway since November, and the analysis on surplus workers and their positions was made internally, within Zagreb Holding, by comparing the number of employees with that in other comparable municipal companies, he said.

"Now the formal process of consultations with the trade unions has been launched to define more precisely the number of surplus workers and the criteria for determining surplus labor," Tomašević said, adding that those found to be surplus workers would be offered other positions, within Zagreb Holding, that was in short supply.

He explained that those were operational jobs such as street sanitation, waste collection, water supply fieldwork, and maintenance of green areas. These jobs will be offered equally to everyone - both to surplus administration staff and to surplus managerial staff, he said.

Tomašević explained that those who do not accept the new job offers will leave with severance pay, but he declined to specify the amounts they will be offered.

Commenting on the harsh reactions of some of the trade unions to the plans for lay-offs, Tomašević said that he was not involved in negotiations with the trade unions but would like the process to "be conducted as much as possible between the (Zagreb Holding) management and the unions, as has been the case so far."

He added that lay-offs and reassignments were part of the consolidation plan for Zagreb Holding, which after a long period ended the year 2020 with a loss, a negative result that continued in 2021 as well.

"In addition to the losses, Zagreb Holding owes around five billion kunas, and a large share of those obligations... mature in 2023. The Zagreb Holding management has a duty to stabilize the conglomerate's business operations in 2023so that it stops making losses and can service and refinance its debt," said the mayor.

Bulk waste collection normalizing

Tomašević confirmed that on Monday all the necessary permits were issued to use the Jakuševec waste collection and recycling center for bulk waste. The center has a warehouse and smaller waste separation units, he said, noting that bulk waste collection was being normalized and that recycling yards were being emptied.

"The facility in question was built before but it has not been used for as long as 15 years. Now it has finally been put into operation," Tomašević said.

Commenting again on the bursting of water supply pipes in the city, the mayor said the matter was entirely within the remit of the city, which was working on solutions to renew the city water supply grid in which no investments had been made for years.

"The main investment cycle, worth as much as two billion kuna, should be launched this year," the mayor said, noting that the city had been working with the Hrvatske Vode state-owned water management company and the competent ministry on defining water supply projects.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Commission Quashes Zagreb Mayor's Decision on Bulky Waste Tender

ZAGREB, 1 Oct 2021 - The State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures has quashed a decision by Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević and the city will have to complete a previous tender and sign a preliminary agreement with the Reoma Group or Petar Pripuz's Cezar company, Večernji List reports on Friday.

Mayor Tomašević recently cancelled a tender for the recycling of bulky waste, explaining that the city did not need privately owned companies to do it because its Čistoća public sanitation company could do the job.

Two bids had been submitted to the tender, one by the Reoma Group, which offered to recycle the city's bulky waste for HRK 89 million and one by Cezar, which offered to do it for HRK 125 million.

The public procurement procedure itself was advertised in December 2020 but the previous city government did not make a decision on the matter, explained Tomašević, who took office after the May 2021 local elections.

Tomašević in September announced that the city would purchase crushers for bulky waste and that one was already being tested. Meanwhile, he sent some of municipal bulky waste to Sisak to be recycled by the local Royal Media company because of problems with the necessary licences and procurement so currently bulky waste from Zagreb is crushed in Sisak and taken back to Zagreb's Jakuševec landfill.

Tomašević now faces one more obstacle - the State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures and the Reoma Group, whose complaint against his decision to cancel the tender has been accepted by the Commission.

The State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures has concluded that there were no grounds for Tomašević's decision to cancel the tender because it believes that the city's explanation that it has only now become aware that it can recycle bulky waste on its own cannot be true.

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Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Croatian Chamber of Agriculture Concerned Over Plans to Relocate Fairs From Central Zagreb

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) on Tuesday requested a meeting with Mayor Tomislav Tomašević after the announcements that fairs and food festivals could be relocated from the centre of Zagreb caused concern among HPK members.

The HPK president Mladen Jakopović said in a press release that in recent years Zagreb residents have had an opportunity to buy home-made products and locally grown agricultural produce at various events organised in the main square Trg Bana Jelačića.

Lately, we have received information from the organisers of such events and from producers that the new city administration seems inclined to relocate those events to less attractive venues.

That's why the HPK would like to meet with Mayor Tomašević and his aides to discuss the matter and present their position on the short supply chains and the protection of domestic production, Jakopović said.

The HPK is willing to provide the City of Zagreb with all the necessary support to improve, in cooperation with farmers, the availability of locally grown agricultural products to all citizens of Zagreb, in compliance with the EU criteria and the criteria for the protection of urban space.

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

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Zagreb City Authorities Cut Planned Vehicle Procurement by Two Thirds

ZAGREB, 21 Sept, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Tuesday that instead of the planned procurement of 150 cars, the city administration would procure 50 vehicles for city services and half of these will run on hybrid or electric power.

"We cancelled the previous call for the rental of 150 vehicles which was valued at HRK 4.5 million a year and we will now launch the procedure for the procurement of 50 vehicles and the cost for that will be HRK 1.8 million a year," Tomašević told a regular press conference.

The novelty is that half of those vehicles will run on hybrid or electric power. "In that regard, our administration will promote green public procurement. We want to change the city's vehicle pool and there will be some savings in terms of power used by cars," he said.

Deputy Mayor Danijela Dolenec informed that a task force would be established for the city's finances. She will head that advisory task force that would be set up to help improve overall financial sustainability and plan the city's budget and of its companies.

The five-member task force includes two external members: parliamentarians, Damir Bakić of the We Can party and Boris Lalovac of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

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

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Zagreb City Administration Appoints New ZET Supervisory Board

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Tuesday that the city administration had appointed a new supervisory board of the city-owned ZET public transportation company, which will advertise vacancies for the new management in the coming days.

he new members of the ZET Supervisory Board are Marko Slavulj, Marko Borski and Sanja Stojić.

Tomašević said that ZET cost the city HRK 1.1 billion annually and that the city's contribution was HRK 790 million. He added that an additional HRK 80 million should be secured through a budget revision.

The number of passengers in public transport has been falling and the number of vehicles on roads has been growing. That is not a good trend and should be reversed and that is what we expect of the new ZET management, the mayor said.

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

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević Presents Three New Zagreb Holding Management Board Members

ZAGREB, 24 Aug, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Tuesday presented three new members of the Zagreb Holding multi-utility conglomerate's management board, saying they have ten years of experience in managing positions in Croatian and foreign companies and will take office in September.

"After receiving 73 applications, we shortlisted and interviewed 15 candidates. We chose those three and they will take office in September," Tomašević told the press.

The three new members are Ivan Novaković, Boris Sesar and Matija Subašić Maras.

In June, Nikola Vuković was appointed Zagreb Holding Management Board chair and Ante Samodol a member. The latest additions complete the appointment of the Zagreb Holding Management Board.

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


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