Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Zagreb Cable Car Not Even Finished, Repairs Already Needed

December the 29th, 2020 - It's common knowledge that things tend to grind along at somewhat of a snail's pace in Croatia, and the much talked about Zagreb cable car which will certainly add more life to beautiful Sljeme which towers above the capital, isn't immune to this endemic slowness.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, apparently, the Zagreb cable car will not start running on January the 3rd, 2021, as was previously and proudly announced by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic, 24sata reports, adding that the Zagreb cable car, although not really even entirely finished yet, already requires repairs. The problems began to occur during the process of obtaining all the documentation and the necessary permits for the Zagreb cable car, Jutarnji list writes, which shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who knows what trying to do even the most basic of things in Croatia is like.

In order to obtain a permit for use, it is necessary to perform a technical inspection, and after the permit is granted, a certificate is still required and needs to be issued by the relevant Ministry of Transport. Given the fact that the festive period is upon us and things run at an even slower speed, it is difficult to expect that everything will be done, dusted and up and running by January the 3rd, 2021.

In addition, as stated 24sata writes, even when the permits needed are issued, works will have to continue because repairs need to be done, that is, the steel structure of the roof of the upper station on Sljeme itself must be strengthened. Due to these additional works, the Zagreb cable car project, the associated costs of which have been constantly increasing and have now reached the staggering amount of 710 million kuna without VAT, could turn out to be even more expensive.

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Monday, 23 November 2020

Left-Wing Parties File Criminal Report Against Mayor Bandic for Sljeme Cable Car

ZAGREB, November 23, 2020 - The We Can! and Zagreb is Ours! political platforms on Monday filed a criminal report against Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic for abuse of office and power and for illegal favouritism related to the construction of the Sljeme cable car.

"According to the conspirator who sent a video to all media outlets with clear evidence, DORH (Office of the Chief State Prosecutor) and the USKOK anti-corruption office should already act ex officio. However, I am filing a criminal report against Bandic for abuse of office and power, graft and conspiracy to commit crimes" Councillor and MP Tomislav Tomasevic said.

That is not only Bandic's but also Andrej Plenkovic's cable car

He filed a criminal complaint also so that institutions would report to him on what they had done, he added.

"For this 13 unlucky years, the City of Zagreb has been waiting for the repair of the old Sljeme cable car or for a new one. The HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) even set the construction of a new cable car as a condition for forming a coalition with Milan Bandic. So this most expensive cable car in Europe is also HDZ's cable car, not only Bandic's, but also Andrej Plenkovic's cable car," he said.

Coordinator for cable car construction from Bandic's party

In addition to that, in 2016 Bandic appointed Vladimir Gruborovic, a member of the the Main Committee of Bandic's party, as the coordinator of the team for the construction of the cable car, which includes representatives of the City Administration and all city companies.

That is more than enough evidence, Tomasevic said.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

No Traditional Format of Advent in Zagreb Event this December

ZAGREB, Nov 4, 2020 - During the Advent season, Zagreb will be decorated and illuminated for Christmas and the New Year, however, there will be no traditional format of the Advent in Zagreb event due to the epidemiological circumstances.

Mayor Milan Bandic said on Wednesday that some cultural events would be scheduled, Advent and Christmas decorations would be set up and several stands would also be installed for local service businesses in the city center.

However, there would be no traditional format of the Advent in Zagreb, he told local radio.

The epidemic of coronavirus also forced the city authorities to cancel the Interliber book fair. The fair will be organized online, and the mayor promised financial support to the publishers and bookshops.

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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Free Parking around Health Institutions Introduced by Zagreb Mayor

ZAGREB, Oct 28, 2020  - Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic has made a decision to introduce free parking around health institutions in the city.

"The coronavirus epidemic has entered a dramatic stage, with the health system being under extreme strain, so with this decision I want to make the situation at least a bit easier for citizens who seek medical assistance," Bandic said in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, calling on other towns to do the same.

The decision will be in force until the epidemiological situation normalizes.

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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

What Crisis? Milan Bandic to Employ Another 150 People in City Administration

October the 28th, 2020 - The ongoing coronavirus crisis might be wreaking havoc with the economy and seeing people lose their jobs, but Milan Bandic is committed to employing more and more people within Zagreb's city administration, regardless of the less than favourable economic situation plaguing the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic plans to employ a total of 150 people in the city's administrative bodies by the end of this year.

Although 97 employees were planned to be hired by the city administration earlier this year, on January the 30th, that number was adjusted on June the 18th, following the lockdown, to include a further 15 new employees, and now, at the end of the year, the mayor has found that another 38 people need to be employed within the Croatian capital's administration.

When compared to the original plan from back in early 2020, this is an increase of more than 50 percent. Jutarnji list wanted to find out why there was such a big gap between the original plan, whether someone is responsible for this sort of poor planning, and how much the work has increased. They asked the City of Zagreb for an answer.

The figure on the second correction of the employment plan in the city bodies was published on Monday in the Official Gazette of the City of Zagreb. It follows that on October the 16th, Mayor Milan Bandic established that it was necessary for the City Office for Strategic Planning and Development of the city to employ four more people.

The city's Office of Economy, Energy and Environmental Protection, which initially planned to employ four people back at the beginning of the year, has increased that number by four more so it should employ a total of eight people by the end of the year.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Zagreb Mayor Bandic Stands Firm With Capital's Enfeebled Hospitality Sector

October the 21st, 2020 - The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a horrific blow to the world's tourism, travel and hospitality sector, and countries which rely more heavily on attracting foreign tourists have struggled to stay afloat as the virus continues to spread. Croatia is not immune (no pun intended) to these negative trends, and the Croatian hospitality sector is now at its weakest. Zagreb Mayor Bandic has vowed to stand by and support the Croatian capital's suffering hospitality and catering sector.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, following a meeting with Zagreb Mayor Bandic, the president of the National Association of Caterers, Marin Medak, has more than likely reassured many that their demands had been met, according to a report from N1.

"Zagreb Mayor Bandic instructed that the measures for all caterers be extended and that those people are exempted from paying rent and costs for the use of public areas. Those who rent space from the City of Zagreb are also exempt from making payments, their utility/communal fees will be reduced by 30 percent, too. It would be great if the state did the same. We hope that this will continue until the spring,'' said Marin Medak of Milan Bandic's fight for the capital's services.

He pointed out that they demanded that consumption tax also be abolished, that parking spaces near the driveway be vacated if guests only wanted to come and pick up food, that heating be installed on the terraces so that drinks or food could be sold outside to preserve jobs, as well as other certain things that are necessary for the organisation of the wildly popular Advent in Zagreb event. For example, the rule that only caterers may compete for the use of Christmas cottages and that the event goes in terms of having 15 ''little'' advents in the City of Zagreb.

Advent will, at least as things currently stand, continue to be held in Zagreb this festive season, but on a smaller scale than it has been in previous years. Milan Bandic supported the city's worried and downtrodden caterers regarding the latest measures of the National Civil Protection Headquarters, and stated that he will remain shoulder to shoulder in support of them.

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Monday, 5 October 2020

Civil Associations Say Zagreb Manhattan Project Fails, Bandic to Fall

ZAGREB, October 5, 2020 - Following reports that a project dubbed the Zagreb Manhattan will not happen, civil associations which have been campaigning against it said on Monday that the failure of the project was actually a victory for citizens who would also remove Mayor Milan Bandic from power in local elections next year.

The plan by Mayor Bandic to cede to a private company more than a million square metres of valuable city land within the Zagreb Trade Fair Centre and the nearby racecourse has finally failed, four civic associations said after the head of the city department for economy, Mirka Jozic, confirmed to Jutarnji List daily that plans for the project no longer exist as changes to the town plan enabling the project have not been adopted.

The four associations - Green Action, the Siget civic association, Zagreb is Calling You, and the Right to the City, said this was a final victory of all citizens, civic and professional associations, journalists and the "real opposition" in the Zagreb City Assembly.

They recalled that they had all persistently pointed to the fact that the project would enable a private company to privatise a large area at the expense of the city.

"We have shown how persistence and a strong campaign can stop even Bandic's mega-projects," the associations said.

They noted that it was still not known how much Bandic's insistence on the project would cost taxpayers as an initial agreement on the project, which he refused to make public for months, states that any disputes would be resolved through arbitration in line with the rules of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.

The associations therefore demand that all information regarding the financial implications of the project be published.

They also recalled the failure of Bandic's plan to have changes to the town plan enabling the project adopted without any public consultation and their campaign and protests against the project, noting that the project would be remembered as  a symbol of Bandic's rule of Zagreb, "marked by currying favour with individual private companies, privatisation of valuable city land and other property and partnerships with companies that profit from Zagreb while citizens pay for their projects."

"Citizens managed to bring down Bandic's insane project and in seven months they will topple him in elections as well," the associations said.


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Saturday, 25 July 2020

Zagreb Mayor Pledges Aid to Residents in Repairing Storm Damage

ZAGREB, July 25, 2020 - Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic has pledged aid to residents in repairing the property damage caused by a severe storm that hit the capital on Friday evening, when nearly 100 litres of rain per square metre fell in 10 hours, leaving many properties flooded. 

"The damage will be compensated for, but what cannot be compensated for is a human life. I regret to say that one young life was lost," Bandic told a press conference on Saturday. He announced that he would visit the family of a 53-year-old voluntary firefighter who died in the line of duty, on Sunday.

The mayor thanked the emergency services for a prompt response. He reassured the residents by saying that the damage would be assessed and that they would be assisted in repairing the damage.

Asked to comment on the fact that he has been the mayor for 20 years and that every time a heavy rain occurs residents see scenes like these, Bandic said that he and his team have done more about the municipal water supply and drainage infrastructure than all the mayors of Zagreb in the last 100 years combined.

Reporters also asked the head of the Department for Emergency Management, Pavle Kalinic, whether the water drainage system could have been damaged by the March 22 earthquake, to which he said that this was yet to be looked into and assessed.

Chief fire officer Javor Lozar said that the city's public fire brigade and about 50 voluntary firefighter associations had carried out over 250 response operations between 9.30 pm on Friday and 11 am on Saturday, involving 180 firefighters. They were engaged in pumping out the water from residential buildings and underground car parks and rescuing people from vehicles and basement flats. Lozar said that there had also been a fire in two flats that were promptly brought under control and no major damage was done.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Zagreb Activists Accuses HDZ, City Mayor Of Passiveness In Post-quake Rebuilding

ZAGREB, May 24, 2020 - The political platforms and parties led by activists Tomislav Tomasevic and Sandra Bencic on Sunday reiterated their accusations against Mayor Milan Bandic and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) for failure to take decisive steps in the post-quake rebuilding of the city.

"We believe that the political passiveness of the HDZ and of Mayor Milan Bandic will cause a political quake in the next parliamentary elections," said Tomasevic, who together with another five activists held a news conference in front of Government House, on Sunday morning.

Tomasevic held a grudge against Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic for failing to initiate an international donor conference for the post-quake reconstruction of the capital city, and in this context he mentioned that for instance, Albania organised such conference for raising a billion euros, two months after its devastating quake in 2019. Northwestern Albania was struck by a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake on 26 November.

Zagreb and its environs were hit by a 5.5-strong quake on 22 March.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Bandić Says Not Likely to Support Dissolution of Parliament without Law on Zagreb

ZAGREB, May 12, 2020 - Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić said on Tuesday that the parliamentary group of his Work and Solidarity Party was unanimous that it would not support the parliament's dissolution if parliament did not previously vote in a law on the reconstruction of Zagreb.

Bandić said he would be happy if the law was voted in by the current parliament, adding that even though this was difficult to expect, he had heard that the bill would receive first reading "as early as next week."

Bandić believes that the law on the post-quake reconstruction of the capital city could be adopted under fast-track procedure.

"There is still time for those in charge at the state level to respond appropriately because this is a top priority," said Bandić.

Commenting on announcements that people in self-isolation would be allowed to go to the polls in the coming parliamentary elections, Bandić said that the precondition for holding elections "is a zero or close to zero rate of the coronavirus."

"Anything that would put citizens' health at risk would constitute the scoring of cheap political points and timing elections to suit one's own interests. I'm against that and we will be against that."

More election news can be found in the Politics section.

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