Wednesday, 4 May 2022

MP Says Government Must go Due to Lack of any Results

ZAGREB, 3 May 2022 - An MP of the Green-Left Bloc, Sandra Benčić, said on Tuesday that the Andrej Plenković government has to go, not only because of scandals in which its members were implicated but because of the lack of any results, reforms or vision.

Benčić made the statement ahead of a parliamentary debate to be held this week on an opposition motion to dissolve the parliament to call an election.

The MP said that in the six years of the government's term, the EU funding obtained under the first financial perspective had yielded no effects on key quality of life indicators in the country and that there were still no operational programmes for the absorption of funding from the new, 2021-2027 financial perspective.

Most importantly, there is no progress in reconstruction even two years since the Zagreb earthquake and close to a year and a half since the earthquake in Banija, Benčić said.

The government boasts about having managed to extend the deadline for the absorption of funding from the EU Solidarity Fund but is still not using it, she said.

"We will be late again and have to return the money", she said, adding that due to the lack of progress on any of the important issues in the past six years the government has to step down.

She noted that the appointment of Ivan Paladina as Construction Minister was evidence that PM Plenković did not have the support or the team in his HDZ party to check and propose scandal-free ministerial candidates.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 18 June 2021

Mozemo! And SDP Join Forces: 20 Main Zagreb Projects Presented

June the 18th, 2021 - Mozemo! and SDP have joined up at the Croatian capital city's helm and have presented 28 of the main Zagreb projects they intend to implement as a team.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, SDP and Mozemo! have signed a coalition agreement on cooperation in the City of Zagreb. The draft agreement contains 28 points on their programme cooperation, which will ensure a majority in the Zagreb City Assembly.

A list of 28 Zagreb projects that will be crucial during their first term has also been published, and we're bringing you a list of them below in full:

1. The reformation of the city administration, city institutions and city companies with the aim of the responsible, transparent and efficient management of the city administration, companies and property.

2. The establishment of a city treasury system that will be visible to all residents through an online platform to enable financial transparency

3. The acceleration of the post-earthquake reconstruction of public buildings and private homes damaged back in March 2020

4. The setting up of an online anti-corruption platform for reporting all irregularities and illegalities in the work of the city administration and city companies, especially in public procurement or tenders

5. The digitalisation of all administrative processes and the speeding up of procedures for residents, the use of digital technologies for communication with people and for the better regulation of traffic, public lighting, the water supply and waste collection

6. The management of Zagreb's city owned property in an efficient, transparent and sustainable way so that property income is used to maintain existing properties and ensure a more balanced development

7. The introduction of extracurricular activities within the scope of "Education for active citizenship" in primary and secondary schools, with the aim of preparing students to take a conscious, responsible and active role in society and care for the public good, a healthy lifestyle and responsible money management

8. The building of new nursing/care homes and the establishment of day care centres in city districts, as well as the provision of better care for the elderly in their own homes

9. The adoption of the traffic development plan of the City of Zagreb, the integration of the public transport system, the expansion of the tram network and the building of proper bicycle paths

10. The realisation of two brand new underpasses under the railway, one of which will be in the western part and the other in the eastern part of the city

11. The ensuring of a sustainable number of parking spaces per neighbourhood

12. The improvement of the availability of healthcare services through a better system of health centres more evenly distributed across the city's districts and the provision of preconditions for the construction of a hospital in Novi Zagreb

13. The increasing of palliative care capacities across the city

14. The development of new planning bases for the new General Urban Plan of Zagreb and Sesvete, in accordance with the principles of balanced polycentric development in which new housing units are accompanied by appropriate social and communal infrastructure

15. The construction of new public apartments for rent to make housing in the city more affordable

16. The increasing of the share of recycled and composted waste and the ensuring of all of the proper preconditions for closing the Prudinec - Jakusevec landfill

17. The proper development of a transparent system for financing cultural activities and appointing members of the governing bodies of cultural institutions, the introduction of the monitoring of the implementation of the programme and the ensuring of cultural facilities being more accessible in neighbourhoods

18. The expansion and improvisation of the water supply and drainage network

19. The modernisation of the city's kindergartens and schools in compliance with the pedagogical standard and the supply of all of them with locally produced food

20. The combatting of gender-based violence against women and LGBTIQ+ people

21. The improvisation of the city's sports infrastructure, especially for recreational and amateur sports

22. The improvement of people's social security through more adequate measures and services

23. The increasing of green and wooded public areas

24. The improvement the accessibility of the city to people with disabilities

25. The establishment of youth centres and support for young people, especially when it comes to education and employment

26. The provision of incentives for energy renewal, energy transition and the further development of green technologies

27. The encouraging of new technology companies in sectors such as that of the IT and the green economy to develop business in Zagreb

28. The enabling of continuous cooperation between the scientific research community, private companies and the City of Zagreb in order to develop communal innovations and create new work places

For more on Zagreb projects and Croatian politics in general, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

PM Andrej Plenkovic Comments on Mozemo! Win in Croatian Capital

June the 1st, 2021 - Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic has claimed that despite the clear Tomasevic and Mozemo! (We Can!) win in the City of Zagreb, making him the new mayor and marking a significant political shift, that Mozemo! have something against ''this Croatia''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, upon answering journalists' questions about the election results, PM Andrej Plenkovic (HDZ) said that he hadn't yet called Tomislav Tomasevic in person and congratulated him on his win and new title as the Mayor of Zagreb, but that he does intend to and will.

When he was asked how it is that everyone says they are winning, he simply said: "Count!"

“The numbers are always the best indicators. HDZ has 45 percent of cities and municipalities, 75 percent of the counties. HDZ has never won 15 counties before. I see that people Mozemo! paraphrased my message from back in 2016 when I said: "We're changing the HDZ to change Croatia." They're changing Zagreb to change Croatia. Obviously, they have something against the Croatia in which we managed to prevent social fragmentation, preserve 700,000 jobs, save 120,000 employers, pay 2.9 billion kuna within Zagreb alone for the salaries of 215,000 workers in the capital… I guess that's a message for change that needs to be done at the level of Croatia. I still have to listen carefully to precisely what changes they're calling for,'' said PM Andrej Plenkovic.

When asked what kind of cooperation he expects with Zagreb's new mayor Tomislav Tomasevic, he said that he has good cooperation with all leaders of local government units.

In a recent speech, he emphasised that the HDZ failed to win in only three out of six big cities. When asked by journalists whether or not the four largest Croatian cities are always the measure, Plenkovic pointed out the example of Velika Gorica near Zagreb, which, as he says, is growing, is now very large and that there is no big difference in population when compared to the likes of Osijek and Zadar as well.

"I'm delighted with the HDZ victory in Bjelovar-Bilogora County in the form of a young man of 36 years of age, who is one of those people of the new generation of HDZ. There, HDZ has returned to power after 20 years. It's the same situation in Varazdin County. For the first time in 20 years, Komadina had to go to the second round with Cappelli, where he won, although itsn't the sort of victory like he had before.

Of the 15 prefects we have, eight of them are "old" and seven are new. Of those seven, two are women and that’s just as important. The only women prefects are from HDZ - Antonija Jozic and Martina Furek Hajdin. The third candidate for mayor, Irena Hrstic, achieved the best HDZ result ever in Istria County, above 18 percent,'' he pointed out, emphasising that they also returned to power in Lika-Senj County.

He also accused RTL and Nova TV of deliberately mispronouncing the name of HDZ's candidate for mayor of Zagreb, Davor Filipovic, saying: "You should make a poster about what ideological television is like," to an N1 television reporter.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated section on Croatian politics.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Man Who Caused Incident Outside Tomašević's Campaign Headquarters Detained

ZAGREB, 31 May 2021 - The man who started a smaller fire near an entrance to a museum where Zagreb mayor-elect Tomislav Tomašević's team gathered on Sunday evening was taken to a police station in Zagreb on Monday, the local police reported.

The police did not reveal the identity of the suspect and only reported that an investigation was being conducted.

As Zagreb's mayor-elect Tomašević was preparing to address his supporters and public at his campaign headquarters on Sunday evening, an older man arrived at the scene, hurling insults at those attending the event and starting a smaller fire, after which he left. The man arrived at one of the fire exits of Zagreb's Museum of Contemporary Art, close to the stage, where he was stopped by security guards.

Shouting insults at the security guards, he spilled a flammable liquid on the floor and on one of the guards. He then set the liquid on fire but the fire was soon extinguished as the man walked away. Police were called to the scene after the incident.

According to media reports, the man called those attending the event communists and threatened to kill them.

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

Monday, 31 May 2021

What Will New Zagreb Mayor Tomasevic Do for Capital's Citizens First?

May the 31st, 2021 - Zagreb has a new mayor and a major political shift has taken place in numerous places across the country which were former HDZ strongholds. With the results finally in after the second round, just what does brand new Zagreb mayor Tomasevic from Mozemo! (We Can!) promise to do for the capital's residents?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the new Zagreb mayor Tomasevic said last night that he expects the official handover to take place at the end of the week and that the first meetings are expected as early as today.

"I'm going to proudly lead this city to a better future and I will be the mayor for all of its citizens, both those for whom I was the choice and those for whom I wasn't the choice. I believe that all of the citizens of this city, regardless of how they voted and whether they went to the polls at all, want better living conditions in their neighbourhoods, more accessible kindergartens, better healthcare services, more care homes, better public transport, better bike paths, more green areas, they want this city to finally give a bit of perspective to young people,'' said the new Zagreb mayor Tomasevic when giving his winning speech.

Tomasevic and his party Mozemo! announced that they'd reduce the existing 27 city offices, and thus the head offices, down to about 15. This of course also requires a vote in the Assembly. However, the late Milan Bandic's top people will not be easily replaced - the contracts for 11 of them will cease to be valid by the end of the year, but some of them have contracts for another three years and Zagreb mayor Tomasevic cannot dismiss them, even if he fully cancels their positions in the city's offices.

"We;'l talk to all of those people and directors, we'll see what projects are underway, what the deadlines are. There will be a normal transition of power. We'll have about 15 city offices, and for coordination, 27 offices are way too many, that's clear,'' said Tomasevic after the first round.

He also spoke about his first moves between the two rounds of local elections.

“We can immediately restructure the city administration and establish a city office for reconstruction. Currently, 80 percent of apartment buildings haven't even submitted a request for renovation, because people are struggling with documentation, which is a failure of both the city and the state. The city has the human capacity to form an office that will help people meet the requirements, that they don't have to collect documentation by going to city and state offices, but that we do it for them and communicate with people on their own doorsteps. The first thing that will be felt immediately after the change of government will be in the city administration, which will become open, accessible and transparent,'' Zagreb's new mayor assured, giving hope to many still struggling shamefully after the March 2020 earthquake struck Zagreb.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

We Can! Says Government Not Adequately Prepared For School Year

ZAGREB, Aug 20, 2020 - Members of parliament from the We Can! the political platform said on Thursday that they were appalled that there was still no protocol or scenario for the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year, noting that the government was as prepared as the worst pupil before an exam.

"We are appalled, alarmed and frustrated because what is happening now is something that we have been warning about and saying that it should not happen when it comes to the start of the school year," Tomislav Tomasevic, head of the We Can! the political platform told a press conference in front of Government House.

We do not have an A scenario, in case the epidemic calms down, for a normal beginning of the school year, or a B scenario, if the epidemic gets worse, but the pupils still have classes in school, or a C scenario, if the option is distance learning, he said.

He said that because concessions had been made to night clubs, the tourist postseason and the beginning of classes were jeopardised, so criticism of the national COVID-19 response team was justified.

The We Can! the political platform supports the opening of schools, but they said that educational facilities would not have enough time to prepare classes, and uncertainty and concern ran high among pupils, parents, and teachers.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

We Can! Calls for Central Institution to Lead Zagreb Post-Quake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, Aug 13, 2020 - The We Can! the political platform said on Thursday that they would request that the law on Zagreb area post-quake reconstruction should provide for the establishment of a single, central institution to lead the reconstruction process, instead of six currently envisaged, so as not to diffuse responsibility.

MP and head of the We Can! platform Tomislav Tomasevic told a press conference in front of the government's building that members of the platform had been to Dubrovnik last week to see how that city had been and still was being reconstructed.

The conversations held in Dubrovnik made them realise that it would be best to have one central institution in charge of Zagreb's post-quake reconstruction, he said.

"... in our opinion, that should be an institute for the reconstruction of Zagreb and the surrounding area. Otherwise, the responsibility is diffused so everyone is responsible and in the end no one is actually responsible for the reconstruction," Tomasevic said.

He reiterated that the bill that had passed the first reading envisaged six institutions that would deal with the reconstruction. According to him, a central institution should be jointly established by the state, the city and other counties, and all state and local institutions should send their best people to it.

Tomasevic thinks that the law on the reconstruction was "more or less" going in the right direction, but he underscored that the first reading had shown that there were many things to be improved, especially concerning social criteria, liens and the unclear status of people who had been paying for earthquake insurance.

He said that the platform had sent a written request to Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic that the holidays should end on August 19 so that work on the second reading of the bill on Zagreb's post-quake reconstruction could start, but the parliament will start work after the summer recess on September 2.

Since they believe three weeks are enough to prepare the final bill, they call on the government to forward the final bill to the parliament for its second reading, at its first physical session.

"That way, we would have enough time to study the final bill, discuss it with professional associations, prepare amendments to improve it and have a quality law as soon as possible," Tomasevic said.

The We Can! political platform expects that the status of people accommodated in a Zagreb student dorm will also be finally resolved, as well as that of people whose homes were marked with a yellow label and who are not entitled to subsidised rent.

MP Sandra Bencic (We Can) announced that they would request that the reconstruction institute should become the central institution to coordinate the entire process and that it should consist of members of different professions, as well as that it should be appointed by the parliament, not the government.

They will request that reconstruction-related measures be adopted by that institute instead of the government and that it propose the budget.

As for budget control, Bencic underscored that it was crucial to prevent corruption risks. Therefore, they will request that the law should provide for an independent supervisory body that would release, in real time, data on sources of funds, public procurement, tenders received, the number of tenders, concluded contracts and payments.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Tomasevic Says Didn't Want to Take Part in Something Resembling "Political Trade-off"

ZAGREB, July 14, 2020 - The We Can political platform leader Tomislav Tomasevic said on Tuesday that they had rejected Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's invitation for a party-to-party meeting between the ruling HDZ and opposition parties, as for him all that bore a resemblance to political bartering.

Tomasevic said he could see no reason for "what the premier could say to me only what other colleagues from the Opposition should not hear."

He went on to say that he "cannot understand what he can respond to the premier's ideas about how to solve the social and economic crisis awaiting us that could not be heard by others from the Opposition."

 Tomasevic criticised the premier for being inflexible and insisting only on party-to-party meetings between him and Opposition leaders.

 Tomasevic went on to say that he saw no reason why the entire Opposition should not be present at such talks Plenkovic.

As for the government spokesman's comment that Opposition representatives who turned down the invitation did not realise the gravity of the situation, Tomasevic said that they could see how the situation was serious, however, they do not want to participate in anything resembling an over-the-counter trade-off.

 "I find this to be a bad practice," Tomasevic said.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Peovic Says Walk For Life Against Reproductive Rights, Equality And Solidarity

ZAGREB, June 27, 2020 - Katarina Peovic, who heads the slate of the political platform We Can! in Constituency No. 8, said in Rijeka on Saturday that the Walk for Life held in that city today was a walk against reproductive rights, women's equality and against solidarity and social justice.

Peovic made the statement at a news conference held before the start of the Walk for Life in Rijeka.

"All walks in Croatia have been cancelled due to the epidemiological situation, yet the Walk for Life is being held in Rijeka. It seems they want to infect Rijeka, but they won't succeed. The red Rijeka has always been a city of solidarity, equality, equity. It has always supported women's rights, accessible and free abortion, equal pay for women and men, higher wages, and policies advocating workers' and women's rights," Peovic said, among other things.

Friday, 24 May 2019

We Can! Coalition Says March for Life Tramples over Women's Rights

ZAGREB, May 24, 2019 - The March for Life tramples over women's rights with support from state and church, and its taking place on electioneering ban day favourises all extreme right wing parties, the European election candidates of the coalition comprising the We Can! platform and the New Left and ORaH parties said on Friday, calling on voters to march to polling stations on Sunday to defeat fundamentalism.

Speaking at a press conference in front of a banner saying "March to the polling stations, defeat fundamentalism!", they called on voters to be on "the right side of history" in the European Parliament elections on Sunday.

New Left candidate Rada Borić said "tomorrow again there will be a march against the lives of our sisters, daughters and mothers," and that it was clear that the March for Life tramples over women.

"The so-called March for Life is supported not only by the church but the state too. We are here because we know that tomorrow a concert will be given here by a person who doesn't keep his fascist iconography and fascist views secret, and we know that his performances are banned in Europe," Borić said about a concert which the singer Marko Perković Thompson will hold in St. Mark's Square on Saturday as part of the March for Life.

Responding to a question from the press, Borić said the support of the state and the church to the march was obvious. "The president will receive the marchers today," she said, adding that President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović did not receive those who had been for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, although the ratification had been in the government's programme.

More news about the abortion issue can be found in the Politics section.

Page 1 of 2