Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Coalition Partners: Marić One of Most Successful Ministers, With Few Mistakes

ZAGREB, 6 July 2022 - The ruling HDZ party's coalition partners said on Wednesday that the resigned Finance Minister Zdravko Marić was one of the most successful ministers who had led Croatia into the euro area and who had results, with just an occasional mistake. 

Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of parties making up the parliamentary majority, Reformists leader Radimir Čačić said that Marić had done his job excellently and had results to show.

Čačić: Number of excellent results, guarantees a failure

"His results are entry to the euro area, the country's improved credit rating and debt stabilisation, which is very important. However, he also made big mistakes, such as the billions of kuna spent on guarantees for shipyards. He obviously could not say no to that," he said.

Speaking of Marić's successor Marko Primorac, Čačić said that he lacked experience in the private sector, which could pose a problem.

"The new minister understands public finance but he has no experience in the real sector. It is one thing to read about football, and another to play it," he said.

Hrebak: Politicians are not robots

HSLS leader Dario Hrebak said that there was nothing mysterious about Marić's departure.

"If he feels that he has done his best, that there are no more challenges, that his ambitions have been fulfilled, then his move is responsible. Marić has kept the financial system stable, weathered all crises so far and in a few months we will be joining the euro are," Hrebak said, commending the minister for tax reforms, which, he said, made him the country's best finance minister.

"But politicians are not robots, they have emotions and plans. He has been doing a very responsible job for more than six years for a salary that is 4-5 times lower than what he could have earned," he said, noting that Marić's successor would have enough time to acquaint himself with the system and prepare for the challenges expected in autumn.

Čuraj: Personal, family reasons 

The HNS party leader and state secretary at the Finance Ministry, Stjepan Čuraj, said that he believed the reasons why Marić had resigned were personal and had to do with his family.

He noted that the finance minister's job was not very rewarding and that the salary did not match the amount of responsibility.

Six years is a long period, he has made results and has something to leave behind, Čuraj said, adding that the new minister was an expert and that he had operational experience as a member of supervisory bodies.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Plenković and Jandroković Extend Best Wishes For Orthodox Easter

ZAGREB, 23 April 2022- Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković issued messages on Saturday offering their best wishes to the Christian Orthodox faithful who celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar.

"May Easter, a symbol of hope, peace and faith, be an inspiration and encouragement to you in overcoming the challenges and tests that lie ahead," the prime minister said in his message, noting that this oldest Christian holiday is a reminder of the universal human values of kindness, solidarity and tolerance.

"May the spirit of this great holiday further strengthen us in our efforts to make the community that we live in an even better place for all its citizens. On behalf of the government and on my own behalf, I wish you an abundance of good health, joy and peace and that you spend this holiday among your families and loved ones," Plenković said.

Jandroković said that the Easter message of hope and peace, at the present time of uncertainty, divisions and the war in Ukraine, promotes solidarity, charity, mutual understanding and respect for the differences among people..

"The atmosphere of Easter fills us with joy and love and inspires us through the strength of faith to celebrate the victory of life over death and of light over darkness. (...) This greatest Christian holiday invites us to find in ourselves the strength of forgiveness and sympathy and to lend a hand of support to those in need," Jandroković wrote.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Jandroković: EU Should Focus on SE Europe, Moscow Might Use Vulnerabilities

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - The European Union should in particular focus on southeastern Europe and monitor the impact of the Ukraine war on the situation in the region as well as the potential growth of Russian influence, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday.

"We need to follow the potential effect of a spillover of the Ukraine conflict to neighbouring areas as well as to southeastern Europe," Jandroković said in his address on the second day of the conference of EU parliament speakers in Brdo Pri Kranju, Slovenia.

"I emphasise that the European Union should in particular focus on southeastern Europe," he added.

Jandroković said the main challenges to stability in the region were issues stemming from the past conflicts and Russia might use "vulnerabilities to expand its influence."

That's why it is necessary to support the European membership prospects, sovereignty and integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina based on the equality of all three of its constituent peoples and their legitimate representation in the country's political institutions, he added.

Jandroković said that the EU should focus on southeastern Europe because otherwise other countries would spread their influence and pose "a potential threat to the EU and our values."

"Russia is already showing an inclination towards these parts of Europe," he noted.

Jandroković said that Croatia "strongly condemns" the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, which began on 24 February, and that the Croatian Parliament had adopted a resolution by consensus condemning the invasion.

On the sidelines of the conference, Jandroković met on Monday with his counterparts Igor Zorčić from Slovenia, Jüri Ratas from Estonia and Markéta Pekarová Adamová from the Czech Republic, while on Tuesday he is due to meet with Spain's Meritxell Batet Lamaña.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Jandroković: Post-Earthquake Reconstruction is Priority, Must Be Accelerated

ZAGREB, 22 March 2022 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday, the second anniversary since a 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck Zagreb and the surrounding area, that reconstruction was a priority and needed to be accelerated, adding that there were great expectations from the new Construction Minister Ivan Paladina.  

"The new minister has the task to speed up reconstruction, use all available funds from the Solidarity Fund and move the people who are now living in containers to their homes as soon as possible. That's a priority," Jandroković told a press conference after a meeting of the Parliament Presidency.

"Reconstruction is very important. There are great expectations from the new minister, he is facing great challenges, and I hope he will be successful. The reconstruction process must certainly be faster than it has been," he added without wanting to point the finger at those responsible for the slow pace of reconstruction.

He said it was not true that nothing had been done in the last two years because a certain number of houses had been repaired and the process of seismic retrofitting was about to begin.

"We want this to be done as soon as possible. The deadline for the use of funding from the Solidarity Fund is June next year and I expect all the money will be spent by then. I also expect that the majority, if not all of the people now living in containers will be relocated to their homes by the end of the year," Jandroković said.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Croatia Still Far From Meeting Waste Management Targets

ZAGREB, 15 March 2022 - Croatia is still far from meeting the waste management targets, the parliamentary Committee on Environment and Nature Protection said on Tuesday.

The Committee discussed waste sorting infrastructure and technology in local government units. It met in the northern town of Prelog, which is regarded as an example of good practice in this regard because it has tripled the percentage of waste separation in the last five years.

A total of 1.7 million tonnes of municipal waste was generated in Croatia in 2020, which is a decrease of 6.5 per cent from 2019, and amounts to 418 kilograms per capita, said Mile Horvat, state secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

"2020 saw a rise in the number of local government units separately collecting biowaste from municipal waste. This activity was carried out by 20 units more than in 2019," Horvat said.

At least 65 per cent of municipal waste should be recycled by 2035, but many local government units are far from meeting this target, said Pero Čosić, deputy chairman of the Committee.

He commended the town of Prelog as an example of good practice because it had tripled the percentage of separately collected waste in the last five years, which has now reached nearly 70 per cent of waste separation.

"The amount of mixed waste has also been reduced, to below 100 kilos per capita, which makes Prelog one of the leaders in sustainable waste management in Croatia," Čosić said.

Such local examples show that the system of waste separation on the doorstep and establishment of local infrastructure for waste processing and recovery, along with raising of public awareness, are the key to meeting the set targets, Čosić said.

The mayor of Prelog, Ljubomir Kolarek, agreed, saying that his town's success in waste management was the result of systematic work and public awareness raising over the last ten years.

The Committee said that the new Waste Management Act had set new, more ambitious targets with regard to municipal waste management, and that HRK 1.25 billion (€167m), which is planned to be invested in the waste management system through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, should contribute to waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

PM Plenković to Address Parliament on Ukraine

ZAGREB, 1 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković will submit a report on the situation in Ukraine to the Croatian parliament on Wednesday.

The report comes after Russia mounted a military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Croatia has expressed its strong support for Ukraine and sharply condemned the unprovoked Russian aggression.

The Croatian parliament has adopted a declaration on Ukraine, calling on Russia to immediately cease the military attack and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.

The Croatian government has adopted a package of support measures for Ukraine relating to the possible acceptance of refugees, gas supply, and a ban on the use of Croatian airspace by Russian airlines and aircraft.

Croatia will support Ukraine with protective military equipment and infantry weapons, worth HRK 124 million (€16.5m) in total.

The government measures have been backed by the parliamentary majority and the opposition.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Ukraine Ambassador Thanks Croatia's Parliament, Government and People For Their Support

ZAGREB, 25 Feb 2022 - Ukrainian Ambassador to Croatia Vasyl Kyrylych on Friday thanked the Croatian Sabor, government and people for their support to Ukraine which is faced with Russia's aggression.

"First of all, I would like to thank the Croatian parliament, the government of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian people for their strong support to Ukraine," Kyrylych told reporters in Parliament House after the Sabor adopted the Declaration on Ukraine.

The Sabor adopted a Declaration on Ukraine today with 133 votes in favour and one abstention. The declaration most sharply condemns the unprovoked aggression by Russia against Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. Katarina Peović (Workers' Front) abstained from the vote.

Kyrylych said the declaration was a "strong message of support to Ukrainians in this very difficult situation."

He noted that Croatia already passed through what is awaiting Ukraine because it "experienced and knows what it means to defend your country."

"You defended your country, we will defend ours," said Kyrylych.

"We don't need anyone else's, but we will not give ours away," he added.

Kyrylych said that Ukraine was fighting against "Russia's brutal imperialistic conduct," and that the Ukrainian army is "strong in spirit" because it is defending its country.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Sabor Speaker Worried by Russian Aggression, Expresses Solidarity With Ukrainians

ZAGREB, 25 Feb 2022 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Friday voiced concerns over the latest developments in Ukraine and expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian nation.

"We denounce the Russian aggression on Ukraine and we hope that the hostilities will stop and that human lives will be saved," Jandroković said before the parliamentary debate on Croatia's declaration on Ukraine, drawn up by the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs.

"All of us are following the developments in Ukraine with disbelief, anxiety and concern," the parliament's chief said.

The Russian aggression has violated all the tenets of the international order and law, he added.

"We must take into account Croatia's interests, and also being a country that experienced the Serbian aggression, we convey our solidarity with the victims and we will help them as much as we can and thus contribute to efforts to bring this sad episode to an end," Jandroković said.

On Thursday, the foreign affairs committee unanimously adopted the declaration on Ukraine.

The declaration states that the Croatian parliament calls on Russia to immediately stop the military attack and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.

The parliament also condemns the recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk regions as independent entities because that act represents a gross violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and undermines the foundations of the international order.

The document gives full support to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

The parliament expresses full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and calls on the Croatian government to provide humanitarian and technical assistance.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Parliament: Heated Debate Over COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 10 Feb 2022 - A formal discussion in the Croatian parliament on Thursday on the Bridge party's motion for a referendum on COVID certificates was preceded by a heated debate on the counting of signatures and the purpose of COVID measures.

Bridge MP Miro Bulj wondered why the ruling majority did not want to determine a deadline for the referendum. "Why haven't they set a deadline? In whose interest is it to block our initiative?" he asked.

Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin claimed that since the outbreak of the pandemic this government has been wandering, and that different rules apply to different people.

That has led to the situation that Croatia has the highest COVID death rate and the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and its actions have led to this referendum, he said.

Grbin recalled that the last referendum motion too had a lot of unclear situations and appealed that signatures should not be counted by the government but by the State Electoral Commission (DIP) and that a deadline should be fixed for that. 

Marijan Pavliček (Sovereignists) said that the introduction of COVID certificates was ridiculous because they have not produced any results and called on the ruling majority to accept the will of the people and call the referendum as soon as possible.

Dalija Oreškoivć (Centre) said that the HDZ's 'engineering' has shown that it does not respect the state, institutions, parties, or citizens.

HDZ whip Branko Bačić dismissed the criticisms and said that the Sabor decides on the technical aspects and the proposal by its committee that the government should check the signatures and that representatives of the referendum initiative should participate in checking the signatures.

The referendum calls for the abolishment of COVID certificates, even though they exist in other EU member states, and abolishing them would mean to indirectly and directly shut Croatia's borders and would contribute to the spreading of the virus in society, said Bačić.


Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Parliament's Gas Bill For Last Three Months of 2021 Soars 4.5 Times

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - Parliament told Hina on Tuesday that it spent HRK 882,000 on gas for the last three months of 2021, four and a half times more than at the same time the year before.

The gas bills for October, November and December 2020 totalled HRK 192,000.

The bill for October 2020 was HRK 41,500, just under HRK 70,000 for the following November and over HRK 80,000 for December 2020.

The gas bill for October 2021 was HRK 184,588, rising to HRK 333,812 for November and to HRK 364,162 for December.

Parliament spent HRK 1.3 million on gas last year and HRK 438,300 in 2020. The bill covers two buildings.

Parliament said it procures gas via the Central State Office for Public Procurement.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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