Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Milanović Says is Also President of BiH Citizens With Croatian Citizenship

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović said in New York on Tuesday that he was also the president of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Croatian nationality who have Croatian citizenship, and this statement was questioned on Wednesday by some media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Some media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as Oslobođenje daily newspaper or BiH's N1 broadcaster reported today that Milanović had said he was "the president of Croats in BiH".

They left out part of the statement in which Milanović said that Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, just like Croats in New York, had Croatian citizenship and the right to vote in the election and that it was "a formal and legal fact that he is also their president".

He stressed that this was with "full respect for the countries" in which they live.

The statement was made in response to a reporter's question asking him to comment on the situation when Željko Komšić, the current chairman of the BiH tripartite Presidency who sits in the presidency as the Croat member, came to the UN General Assembly.

"Komšić came here as one of the Presidency members, I don't know... on whose behalf he's speaking, even if he was the representative of Croats because... I said I was the president of Croatia, the president of Croatian citizens, Croats and, in a way, of those Croats living in Bosnia and Herzegovina," as stipulated by the Constitution, said Milanović.

He added that he had often raised the issue of the voting right of Croatian citizens outside Croatia, in a bid to reduce it to a reasonable level, and his argument for that had been also not to undermine the neighbouring country where the polling stations for Croatian elections were also set up.

Earlier, Milanović also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

I have been telling Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan all this time that there is absolutely no one in Croatia who would talk about secession, which is something we can hear from some other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that isn't smart, it isn't necessary, Milanović said.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Commemoration Held For Three Women Killed at Zagreb Court 22 Years Ago

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Government officials and representatives of the judiciary on Wednesday attended a commemoration at Zagreb's Municipal Court for three women killed at that court 22 years ago. 

On 22 September 1999, during a divorce hearing, Mato Oraškić killed his wife Gordana, her attorney Hajra Prohić and judge Ljiljana Hvalec as well as wounding court reporter Sanja Cvetković.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said the perpetrator had been given a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and called for joint, strong and coordinated action in preventing violence against women.

"In partnership with civil society organisations we have enabled progress in the cooperation of all government agencies, introducing stricter penalties, improving procedural law, and ratifying international treaties such as the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which has made it possible for us to align our legal order and improve legislative and procedural frameworks for dealing with that phenomenon," said Plenković.

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in an increase of violence but noted that the number of misdemeanor reports for violence had decreased while the number of criminal reports had increased.

Sanctions are now harsher and the message of the government and the entire society to abusers is that violence is unacceptable and that the victims are not alone, he said.

Attending the commemoration were also European Association of Judges President Đuro Sessa, Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica, and Supreme Court Deputy President Marin Mrčela, who all called for raising awareness of the problem and resolutely fighting and preventing violence. 

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

 

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Equality of the Sexes Can Increase Croatia's GDP by €4bn a year - McKinsey Analysis

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - If it steps up efforts to reduce the gap between the sexes and uses the potential of the female population, Croatia could increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by €4 billion a year by 2030, shows an analysis by the McKinsey & Company consultancy, released on Wednesday.

A Winning Combination: How empowering women can benefit central and eastern Europe (CEE), is the title of an analysis studying the presence of women in the cooperate sector in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Women account for 52% of the population in those countries and more than 60% have university education. Despite that, they account for only 45% of the total workforce, McKinsey's analysis notes, adding that by increasing the equality of the sexes, central and eastern Europe could unlock €146 billion in GDP a year until 2030, which is roughly the amount of Croatia and Slovakia's GDP combined.

Three key factors for that would be increasing the participation of women in the total workforce, increasing paid hours for women and better representation of women in high-productivity sectors.

Increasing women's participation to help curb labour shortage

A partner at McKinsey & Company, Marta Matecsa, underscored that more women participating in the workforce would significantly help resolve labour shortages. Currently, the CEE has 630,000 job vacancies.

If the region reinstates its pre-pandemic growth rate, the number of job vacancies could increase to more than 2 million by 2030, said Matecsa.

Women hold only 8% of director positions

McKinsey's analysis shows that women account for more than 60% of graduate students in the CEE and as much as 37% of all managers - a share that is larger in comparison to Western Europe and even Nordic countries.

Nonetheless, women account for only about 20% of executive positions and only 8% of director positions. As many as 44% of the leading companies in the CEE do not have even one woman in that role.

In 2012 the share of women in management in CEE was 14%, just one percentage point behind Nordic countries and five percentage points ahead of Western Europe. Eight years later, the gap between the CEE and Nordic countries increased six-fold while the gap between Western Europe and the CEE was reduced to just three percentage points, McKinsey reported.

McKinsey added that a correlation existed between the portion of women in management positions and better financial results in companies.

Pandemic worsens balance between private and business life

The analysis shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has further worsened the balance between business and private life and even though both women and men now spend more time on household chores and unpaid care, more than 40% of female respondents said that the pandemic has significantly contributed to them considering reducing paid work or working hours and transferring to less demanding jobs or even leaving the workforce.

The analysis shows that 54% of women with children under 10 are actually considering just that.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Household Electricity Prices Won't Go Up This Year

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Economy Ministry state secretary Ivo Milatić said on Wednesday that electricity prices for households would not increase this year.

"You heard (power provider) HEP's clear statement that this is not being considered by the end of the year," he told Davor Dretar of the opposition Homeland Movement, who asked if electricity prices for households would go up this autumn.

Dario Zurovec of the opposition Fokus asked if arise was expected in a year's time given the turbulence on the world market.

Milatić said that if prices were corrected next year, the corrections "will not be as in neighbouring markets."

He said that if electricity prices continued to increase, some corrections would be inevitable, but added that Croatia was in a different position as 60% of the total energy production was renewable, with half of that from the hydro potential.

Household electricity prices won't be raised for political reasons

Mirela Ahmetović of the opposition SDP said household electricity prices would not be raised for political reasons but that they would be for businesses and that this would affect households through more expensive goods.

She said Croatia imported almost 35% of electricity and that this made it dependent on galloping prices.

Milatić said Croatia was in a "good position" with regard to the price of electricity and would stay there.

Croatia ranks 26th among 33 European countries when it comes to household and 21st when it comes to corporate electricity prices, he said, adding that refunds for energy poor citizens would increase if the price of energy they could not pay went up.

He also said that significant funds were envisaged to co-finance the construction of charging stations for electric cars.

Milatić said Croatia had a number of power providers, with HEP's companies holding 80% of the market. This is good, he said, as Croatia is not as affected by prices as some other countries.

MPs were debating an electricity market bill which envisages transition to clean energy and transposes an EU directive on common rules for the electricity market. One of its main novelties is that Croatian households will be able to buy electricity from a provider in any other EU member state and their citizens will be able to buy it from HEP.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Parliament Observes Minute's Silence For Women Victims of Violence

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian parliament on Wednesday observed a minute's silence for all women victims of violence on the National Day of combating violence against women.

"On this day we also remember all the other women who lost their lives due to violence," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said, recalling that parliament declared 22 September National Day of combating violence against women after the murders which took place on this day in 1999.

On 22 September 1999, during a divorce hearing at the Zagreb Municipal Court, Mato Oraškić killed his wife Gordana, her attorney Hajra Prohić and judge Ljiljana Hvalec as well as wounding court reporter Sanja Cvetković.

By observing this day, we wish to additionally raise public awareness, point to this social problem and send a clear message about zero tolerance to violence and about the importance of protecting victims and punishing perpetrators, said Jandroković.

Special emphasis should be put on recognising and reporting violence, he added.

The crime of 22 September 1999 permanently obliges us to be loud in condemning violence and leaving a more tolerant society to younger generations, said Ljubica Maksimčuk of the ruling HDZ, adding that violence against women and girls was one of the most widespread forms of violence in the world, often going unreported.

This government is resolute in the fight against all forms of violence, she said, underlining the importance of education and prevention from the earliest age.

Ivana Posavec Krivec of the opposition SDP said the aim of observing this day must be to raise public awareness of the problem of violence and to send the message about zero tolerance.

It would be good if we introduced civic education, teaching from the earliest age that violence cannot be tolerated, she added.

Nothing is more pathetic than when a man hits a woman, than a man who commits any violence against a woman, said Marin Miletić of the opposition Most.

Violence against women is present in all societies and the low number of reports is a special problem, for which there are many reasons, he added.

Sexual violence is one of the least reported crimes and there are 15 to 20 unreported rapes to every reported one, he said.

Hrvoje Zekanović of the opposition Sovereignists said Croatia adopted the Istanbul Convention in April 2018, when Prime Minister Andrej Plenković assured that domestic and violence against women would go down.

"However, he lied, it hasn't decreased but has even increased," he said, adding that the convention was about something else, not protection from violence.

"The human species is divided into two sexes, male and female, and it is not divided into two genders. Gender is something fluid, subject to change when it crosses your mind. That's what the Istanbul Convention is about," he said.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Inflation Should be Taken Very Seriously, Says Financial Minister

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Inflation should be taken very seriously because of the criteria for introducing the euro as well as living standards, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Croatian Radio on Wednesday.

Asked if inflation would threaten Croatia's entry into the eurozone, he said next year's budget deficit would again be within 3%, which would mean that the cost of COVID-19 of over HRK 35 billion would be almost totally a one-off.

The public debt-to-GDP ratio is again decreasing this year already, he added.

He said that inflation, one of the criteria for introducing the euro, had become a topic in recent months and that it must be a maximum 1.5% more or less than in the three member states with the lowest inflation.

Croatia's average inflation is somewhat below the EU average but Greece, Cyprus and Portugal still have very low inflation, which affects the formula for calculating the Maastricht criterion, he added.

But even with those three countries combined, he said, Croatia is still within the criteria for introducing the euro.

He said inflation was, first and foremost, affected by energy prices, oil in particular, and that this was reflected in food and construction material prices.

Speaking of fears of price rises after the introduction of the euro, Marić said that at least six months before it was announced that Croatia was entering the area, prices would have to be displayed in both kuna and euro for a year, perhaps longer.

Although the general VAT rate is not expected to be cut upon accession to the euro area, he did not rule out the possibility of cutting VAT on food.

Marić reiterated that Croatia would receive €25 billion from the EU budget in the next seven years, including €6.3 billion for its National Recovery and Resilience Plan, of which a 13% advance "is arriving in a matter of days."

Marić said he was surprised by the success of the tourism season, notably in July and August, but this month also as the amount of fiscalised receipts in tourism this month so far was up 24% from September 2019.

He announced a 2021 budget revision, alongside preparations for the 2022 budget, for mid-October.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Croatian FM Gordan Grlić Radman: Key for Afghanistan to Maintain Progress Made in Past 20 Years

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Afghanistan has come a long way in the past 20 years, making progress with the support of the international community, and now it's key that these accomplishments are maintained, notably regarding the rights of women and girls, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said in New York on Tuesday.

He was speaking in a ministerial meeting on Afghanistan as part of the 76th UN General Assembly. The meeting focused on maintaining the achievements of the international engagement in the country over the past 20 years, with emphasis on encouraging the prospects of women and girls and ensuring their access to education.

I believe we all agree that Afghanistan needs our constant commitment and assistance as well as support in recovery, Grlić Radman said, calling on the new government in Afghanistan to ensure respect for fundamental human rights, includes the rights of women and girls.

Croatia carried out in Afghanistan more than 70 development and humanitarian projects in education, healthcare and ensuring business opportunities for women. Most of the projects were aimed at strengthening the social status of women. The presence of Croatian women diplomats contributed to better understanding the needs of Afghan women and to bigger efficiency in project implementation, the minister said.

Together with its partners and allies, Croatia will continue to encourage Afghanistan to honour the international commitments undertaken by previous governments, which should lead to renewed international community commitment and support to the Afghan people in using the chance for a better future, he added.

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

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

President Milanović: "I think Serbian President Vučić is Proud of His Wartime Role"

ZAGREB, 22 Sept, 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović reiterated in New York on Tuesday that his current Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vučić, had incited to war and that he was probably proud of that.

In a talk at Columbia University on Monday, Milanović said Vučić had been a warmonger, which set off a storm in Serbia.

"You can't ignore which roles some people had in our region in the last 30 years. Blood was spilt, there was arson, killing, and some people incited to that," he told the press on Tuesday, adding that "Croatia has gentlemanly let it go but won't bury its head in the sand as many in Serbia are doing."

"I think Vučić was proud of what he was doing. This is something that should be said from time to time, especially when someone... sends on a daily basis his political holograms, spokesmen and agitators to say on his behalf whatever pops into their heads. That's dirty and methodologically cheap," Milanović said.

Vučić said on Monday that Milanović was saying such things about him, "shallow and low insults", because Croatia is jealous of Serbia's economic success. He said Milanović was bothered by the fact that this year Serbia would surpass Croatia in GDP "by a 300 to 600 million euro margin."

"Serbia has a bigger total GDP even than Luxembourg. But Croatia's and Serbia's GDPs per capita are not even close. Serbia is much closer to Albania there," said Vučić. "In terms of general development, Serbia is not at Croatia's level. Life in Croatia is better and richer than in Serbia by all parametres."

Friendly talk on Bosnia with Erdogan

Milanović spoke to the press after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying they had a friendly talk on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"What I say in public, I say at such meetings," he said, adding that Turkey's foreign and defence ministers were also at the "quite open and very pleasant" meeting.

"What I underlined to Mr Erdogan is that there is no one in Croatia who will throw around stories that Mostar and Herzegovina will separate, which we hear from some others about some other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And that's not smart nor necessary. In Croatia, no one advocates such a policy and such outcomes nor thinks that," Milanović said.

While in New York, he was to have met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres, but the meeting was cancelled because Milanović had more important commitments.

That wasn't even supposed to be a meeting but a photo op and a five-minute talk, Milanović said. "At that moment, I assessed that I had something more productive, an informal meeting concerning the region, state business."

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

 

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković: Primary tobacco production has a future in Croatia

ZAGREB, 21 Sept, 2021 - Despite the big risks in the sector - shortage of labour force, age structure and health - primary tobacco production has a future in Croatia, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said on Tuesday at the 21st Tobacco Fields Day, held near Virovitica.

Minister Vučković said that tobacco production is valuable and that in Croatia it has its organisers, relatively secure purchase, the possibility of processing and a closed cycle to the production of almost finished products, which any country would support.

Besides income support, we will endeavour to support all investment initiatives through the rural development programme, said Vučković. She added that the government and ministry advocate retaining support at all levels in the European Union, specifying that an envelope valued at HRK 42 million is envisaged for the tobacco sector, the same as last year.

The Hrvatski Duhani company, which organised Tobacco Fields Day, has 360 producers in Podravina and Slavonia who cultivate 2,700 hectares of tobacco land.

The total annual value of buying tobacco amounts to about HRK 90 million and tobacco is one of the rare agricultural cultures with which Croatia has high competitiveness and a significant production at the EU level, given that Croatia produces about 5% of the EU's total tobacco production.

President of the management board at Hrvatski Duhani Imad Ud-Din Muhammad said that the company was one of the first to introduce sustainability in agriculture in Croatia, which has now been strengthened at the BAT Group level.

We are additionally strengthening investments in environmental protection, health and safety within the entire supply chain, he underscored.

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

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković: Mandarin is Important For Croatian Fruit Farming

ZAGREB, 21 Sept, 2021 - Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković has called on fruit and vegetable producers in the Neretva river valley of southern Croatia to form an association in order to increase their competitiveness and presence on the market, her ministry said in a press release on Tuesday.

Vučković met with fruit and vegetable purchasers in the Neretva valley on Monday to discuss wholesale purchases of mandarin oranges this year. The main topic discussed was compliance with the law prohibiting unfair trading practices in the food supply chain.

Producers and purchasers were called upon to agree details of their business relationship to make this business sustainable and ensure that neither party feels deprived of any of their rights.

Vučković noted that the mandarin is very important for the Croatian fruit-growing industry and that its entire production takes place in a relatively small part of the Neretva valley. She said that in the last two years the government had set aside HRK 26 million for mandarin growers alone.

Citing figures from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, the ministry said that 45,245 tonnes of mandarins had been produced in 2010-2020 in the area covering 1,984 hectares, with an average annual yield of 23 t/ha. Last year alone, 24.5 million kilograms of mandarin, worth €11.6 million, was exported, while 5.4 million kilograms, worth €4.3 million, was imported.

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

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