Monday, 5 November 2018

Veterans Outraged by Zagreb Mayor's Meeting with Serbian Politician

ZAGREB, November 5, 2018 - The Association of Zagreb war veterans who defended Vukovar sent an open letter on Monday to Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić expressing outrage and disappointment at Bandić's reception for the head of the town council of the Serbian town of Jagodina, Dragan Marković Palma, who together with Serbian paramilitary leader and war crimes indictee Željko Raznatović a.k.a. Arkan established the Party of Serb Unity in 1993.

The war veterans association criticised Bandić for receiving the Serbian politician whom they described as "a proven Chetnik" and "Arkan's errand boy". They also pointed out the fact that the reception in Zagreb on 2 November coincided with the observation of the 27th anniversary of the fall of the village of Lužac near Vukovar into the hands of Serb paramilitary forces led by Arkan in 1991.

On Sunday, the Split-Dalmatia County association of war veterans who were detained in Serb-run concentration camps described Bandić's decision to receive the Serb politician as abominable. That association said that the reception in Zagreb was an act of rubbing salt into the wounds of war victims.

Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Meved said on Monday that officials have to take account with whom they meet. “If indeed this is the same person, from what we can see on social media, that is absolutely unacceptable and I am personally very critical toward relations of that kind. We are aware that we have to normalise relations with Serbia. I am an advocate of cooperation, particularly in finding missing persons. We, however, have to take account with whom we meet and who those people are. If they participated in the armed aggression against Croatia, then it should be dealt with by some other authorities," Medved said.

Asked what message that meeting was sending, Medved said that he couldn't say as he wasn't familiar with the circumstances that led to the meeting or with the contents of the talks. "I was in Vukovar that day and I don't know the circumstances that led to the visit. I don't know the contents of the talks. I truly cannot comment in any greater detail. I am in contact with veterans' associations. In fact, those who have some knowledge of this event are reacting in an appropriate manner," he said.

The HVIDRA association of disabled war veterans on Monday criticised Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić for receiving Palma, whom they described as "a self-confessed Chetnik", saying that this was an affront to all veterans and victims of the Homeland War.

It is particularly incomprehensible that he came to Zagreb at the invitation of Mayor Bandić himself. "In doing so, Mayor Bandić humiliated the Croatian defenders and their families, Croatian institutions and our country, at a time of preparations to commemorate the sacrifices of Vukovar and Škabrnja," HVIDR said, calling on Bandić to apologise "to all those who sacrificed for the freedom of our country."

For more on Croatia-Serbia relations, click here.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Zagreb Suffocating in Garbage

The streets of Zagreb are filling with garbage, and the new contract between the city-owned Čistoća utility and the CIOS waste management company has not yet been signed. Zagreb is slowly suffocating in uncollected garbage, reports on November 5, 2018.

The residents of neighbourhoods of Trešnjevka, Kruge, Maksimir, Trnsko, Špansko, Savica and many others report their buildings being surrounded with containers full of garbage. Čistoća, the city-owned company which is supposed to collect the garbage, says they do collect garbage regularly, but that the growing problem is plastic waste, which is a global problem that has now affected Zagreb as well.

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CIOS is the company in charge of the plastic waste. At least it was before the contract expired. CIOS recently said they had fulfilled their obligations and taken the agreed amount of waste. However, the new contract between CIOS and Čistoća has not yet been signed, and the negotiations are still under way. It seems that the garbage collection will have to wait until the new contract is signed.

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However, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to garbage problems in Zagreb. This year, the Waste Management Plan was adopted, but just so that the city could nominate project to EU funds for grants for purchasing cans, trucks and other equipment. The construction of the Waste Management Centre in Resnik has been announced. The project will cost 300 million kuna, but it will not be finished any time soon.

It is no wonder then that, according to Eurostat data, Zagreb has become the European garbage capital, since just 1% of waste is recycled. According to the plan, citizens should separate waste at home, but Zagreb and Croatia are on the verge of failing to meet the EU recycling standard according to which they should recycle 50 percent of waste by 2020 and 70 percent by 2030.

While Zagreb is suffocating in garbage, Mayor Milan Bandić is on an official visit to Moscow, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented him with a decoration for promoting relations between Croatia and Russia.

If you want to read more about Mayor Bandić, click here.

Translated from

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Zagreb Mayor Bandić Decorated by Russian President Putin

ZAGREB, November 4, 2018 - The Russian Federation's President Vladimir Putin on Sunday awarded a decoration to the mayor of the Croatian capital city of Zagreb, Milan Bandić, for his efforts in strengthening friendship between the nations, according to a press release issued by the Office of the Zagreb Mayor.

During the ceremony, Bandić said that he expected the continuation of the enhancement of cooperation between the Croatian and the Russian people.

President Putin thanked the recipients of the Order of Friendship for their contribution to the promotion of the relations with Russia and its culture.

To read more about Zagreb’s Mayor Milan Bandić, click here.

Monday, 29 October 2018

HDZ Denies Zagreb Mayor Bandić Wants to Enter Government

ZAGREB, October 29, 2018 - The head of the parliamentary group of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) Branko Bačić said on Monday that Milan Bandić, leader of the Milan Bandic 365 party, had not asked to be added to the government and Bačić ruled out a government reshuffle, which the media speculate about following a rise in the number of lawmakers in the parliamentary club of Bandić's party.

The current government is halfway into its four-year term, Bačić said, adding that he could not speculate if there would be any changes in the make-up of the government later on, but currently there was no talk of a government reshuffle. "A marked increase in the number of lawmakers in Bandić's club says a lot about political parties and clubs which those lawmakers who joined Bandić left. This does not mean anything for the relations in the ruling majority," Bačić said when asked by reporters about the crossing of the floor and changes in sizes of parliamentary clubs.

Bačić also refused to answer hypothetical questions about what could happen if Bandić asked the government to be given a department. "I am not worried about the motives of those who have joined Bandić's club," Bačić said, adding that the HDZ had a stable majority of those who support it and the government.

As for Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) leader Darinko Kosor's statement that his party would leave the ruling coalition if Zagreb mayor Bandić's party joined the government, Bačić said that his message was that the HSLS should continue cooperating with the current ruling majority. "Darinko Kosor is an extremely fair coalition partner. There has been no dispute so far on any important topic and we will continue cooperating with the HSLS," Bačić said.

MP Stjepan Čuraj of the Croatian People's Party (HNS) said on Monday that this junior partner in the ruling coalition would no longer be part of the government if Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić's party joined it and that, if that happened, the HNS' Construction Minister Predrag Štromar and Education Minister Blaženka Divjak would leave.

"Eighteen months ago we gave a show of confidence in Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and this government and we absolutely don't expect that to happen. However, if it does happen, there will be absolutely no support for Milan Bandić in the government nor his associates from the Independents for Croatia in the Zagreb City Council," Čuraj told reporters.

He said the HNS "won't participate in such a government" and that its motives for joining the government were "clear, education first and foremost," which he said was obstructed by those against change such as Bandić. "We certainly can't continue to work on what we promised citizens if someone who is against that joins the government."

MP Marija Puh recently left the HNS to join Bandić's party.

If you want to read more about Croatian politics, click here.

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.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Zagreb Mayor Acquitted in One Case

ZAGREB, October 19, 2018 - The Mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandić, and his co-defendants have been acquitted of the charge of favourable treatment of a non-governmental organisation at the expense of the municipal budget.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Verdict in Zagreb Mayor Trial to Be Delivered on Friday

ZAGREB, October 15, 2018 - A verdict in the trial against Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić and his two co-defendants in a case dubbed "public stands", in which they allegedly defrauded the city budget of 308,000 kuna by having enabled the association "In the Name of the Family" to use stands for collecting signatures for a referendum free of charge, will be handed down on Friday, the president of the panel of judges, Zdravko Majerović, said on Monday.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Zagreb Mayor Pleads “Not Guilty”

ZAGREB, October 11, 2018 - Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić and his co-defendants in a case dubbed Agram entered pleas of not guilty at the start of a trial before the Zagreb County Court on Thursday. "Not guilty," Bandić told the court.

Monday, 8 October 2018

From Fountains to Squares, Bandić's Bitter Taste Lingers

The redesign of one much-loved Zagreb square makes it look like the Instagram logo from above, and Zagreb's residents aren't happy.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Square Reconstruction Ends in Controversy

Removal of trees from a square causes protests.

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