Friday, 15 October 2021

Independent MP Collects 34 Signatures for No-Confidence Motion Against FinMin

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - Independent member of parliament Karolina Vidović Krišto said on Friday she had collected signatures of 34 lawmakers for her initiative to launch a no-confidence vote in Finance Minister Zdravko Marić because he had stayed on a yacht owned by a private businessman this summer.

Vidović-Krišto said that she was glad that the initiative was supported by 34 MPs from different ideological groups.

"This is great news for citizens, as the MPs have overcome their partisan frameworks and are fighting for the common good, and that is the fight against corruption," she told a news conference in the parliament.

She said that when it came to the Opposition, only lawmakers from the We Can party and the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) had not signed her petition.

Vidović Krišto accused Marić of serving "the interests of power centres" rather than working for the benefit of Croatian citizens.

The case of Marić staying on a yacht of a businessman grabbed the limelight in mid-August after some media outlets started speculating whether the minister's short travel on a private yacht constituted a conflict of interest.

The minister said then that the yacht was owned by his friend Blaž Pavičić and that Pavičić had not used any tax breaks or a loan from the Croatian development bank (HBOR) and that he had no tax debt written off during Marić's ministerial term.

During today's news conference, Vidović Krišto accused Marić of lying that the businessman concerned had no business deals with the Croatian state.

She criticised Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for his failure to sack Marić over this case, and accused the prime minister of ignoring the Croatian laws, obstructing the Croatian institutions and disenfranchising the Croatians.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

 

Friday, 8 October 2021

Jandroković: In Past 30 Years Sabor Has Fulfilled All Key Tasks

ZAGREB, 8 Oct 2021 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Friday, Parliament Day and the 30th anniversary of the decision on independence, that the Sabor had fulfilled all its key tasks.

Regardless of all the criticism, I believe that in these 30 years the Sabor has fulfilled all its key tasks and that it has adopted all important and big decisions, Jandroković said at a ceremonial session of the parliament in memory of 8 October 1991, when the Sabor adopted the decision to sever all state-legal ties with the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), which meant that Croatia had declared its independence.

He underscored that throughout history the Sabor symbolised Croatian statehood and that until the modern state, with "more or less success," it always defended the interests of the Croatian people. "It is the central place of political life and since 1990 also the keeper of the fundamental values of constitutional order."

With wise decisions and togetherness we achieved all objectives

He greeted those present, including former parliament speakers and heads of state and government, congratulating them on Croatian Sabor Day and the 30th anniversary of the decision on independence.

We were faced with crisis situations, under great pressure and sometimes even blackmail by the international community, however, with wise decisions and the vision of those who led the country, we achieved all our objectives, said Jandroković.

We are all Croatia

He called on colleagues to jointly seek solutions that will make Croatia a better country, telling them, "We are all Croatia."

Even today the future is uncertain and sometimes it appears that it will be more difficult than the present. Let's work together in matters that seek a compromise and show respect towards one another. We need to seek solutions that will make our homeland a better country, because "we are all Croatia," he underscored.

He told fellow parliamentarians that they need to take account so that their actions strengthen state institutions, develop a culture of cooperation and compromise when necessary. We cannot resolve problems with exclusion and radicalism, he said.

He recalled that over the past two years the Sabor has been faced with the challenges of the pandemic and earthquakes and said that he is confident that it reacted solidly.

He underscored that the times ahead bring other challenges such as climate change, natural disasters, and a changing geopolitical situation. We need to follow what is happening, particularly in our neighbourhood which is turbulent, he said.

As for short-term objectives, Jandroković noted reconstruction in the wake of the 2020 earthquakes, laws related to joining the Schengen Area and introducing the euro currency, and said that particular attention needs to be dedicated to Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "We need to preserve their constitutionality and equality. There are also issues related to the status of Croats in Serbia," he added.

Tuđman, Domljan, Gregurić

Jandroković recalled all those who participated in making the decision of 8 October 1991, all those how participated in democratic processes, in preparing and adopting key decisions, the heroes of the Homeland War and all those who participated in any way in building the Croatian state and institutions, Croatian defenders, particularly the families of those who lost their lives.

He then individually thanked former heads of state and government as well as former and current parliamentarians for their contribution to the homeland.

For more on politics,CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Gordan Maras' Post-Political Life: From Politics to Business

September 29, 2021 - Gordan Maras' post-political life sees the former economy minister and MP going into private business.

Croats often discuss politics, whether on social media or in bars over coffee or something stronger. As such, one could say they love politics but despise politicians.

If you regularly read TCN's political section, you can see why. Numerous instances of corruption among political elites or an inadequate bureaucratic system are just the tip of the iceberg. Add-in politicians (for a year, most notably President Zoran Milanović and Prime minister Andrej Plenković) spending more time insulting each other than dealing with the many problems Croatian people have, and you can really understand the constant trash-talking about politicians that Croats almost constantly do.

Some Croatian politicians, such as the late Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, despite heavy criticism, remain in power till the end of their lives. In contrast, others, such as former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, eventually retire from politics (and then spend time writing for TCN, no less).

One such politician who recently said goodbye to politics is Gordan Maras.

Many Croatian media outlets, such as Dnevnik.hr reported on Maras's social media post that his 20-year-old long political career doesn't mean the end of his working days.

After briefly being unemployed, Gordan Maras came with a business plan and became an entrepreneur. More precisely, he will be a consultant for European Funds, as well as a project financing advisor. Basically, if you have an idea to start a business, but you don't know how to start it, Maras is now the guy to talk to.

''I feel full of energy, thirsty to work and aware that I have a fresh start in front of me and I'll do everything I can to use this opportunity,'' Maras said, as noted by Dnevnik.hr

In general, apart from receiving edgy humour and cynicism at your expense from the public, the end of a political career may not be so bad after all. If your political endeavor brought you to parliamentary level politics, you're in line to receive a parliamentary pension. As Mirovina.hr writes, a parliamentary pension is 10,077 kuna, allowing for a more than pleasant life.

''If an MP has held office for three consecutive years, in each term longer than half, he may retire with 15 years of service. His pension is 55 percent of his base salary (parliamentary net salary), increased by two percent per year of service,'' informs Mirovina.hr when stating the conditions you need to satisfy for a Croatian parliamentary pension.

Gordan Maras, having been an MP from 2007 and economy minister from 2011 to 2016, certainly has the right to this luxurious pension. Not to mention the fact that his last job was being the head of Zagreb's local SDP branch.

Maras stated how ''a parliamentary pension was never an option'' and despite corruption scandals he was allegedly involved in, that is a praiseworthy decision on his part. But the downside is that he still received state aid for his new private business adventure. Let's just hope he will pay his taxes.

Gordan Maras's career change is followed by the tensions in the Croatian Socialdemocratic party (SDP) after new party president Peđa Grbin removed Maras and three other (in)famous party members: Rajko Ostojić, Zvane Brumnić, and Nikša Vukas. As TCN reported, this decision caused an unbelievable tremble within SDP, the second biggest political force in all of Croatia.

Despite the current president Zoran Milanović (who is also the former prime minister and the head of the government which had Maras as a minister) starting his career in SDP, the party hasn't won any parliamentary elections since 2015. Grbin hoped to improve SDP's rating by removing those associated with ''less than top quality'' political work (or alleged criminal affairs) in the past from the party. He also believes these individuals are the result of less than satisfactory election results with Rijeka being the only big city an with SDP mayor.

With Maras now retired, new faces came to the parliament. From the green-left Možemo! Party (currently ruling Zagreb) or the Centre-party Fokus (who earned their name in handling Sveta Nedelja ) to conservative star Marin Miletić from the Most party. With new names for every political preference, there may be a glimmer of hope that these new names will work honorably and convince Croats that politicians aren't so bad after all. Who knows, maybe the millionth time's a charm?

Learn more about Croatian politics and history from the 1990s on our TC page.

For more news from SDP 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, 15 September 2021

PM Andrej Plenković Says it's Reasonable to Adopt Euro 9.5 Years After EU Entry

ZAGREB, 15 Sept, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday during the national parliament's Question Time that it was reasonable for Croatia that entered the EU in 2013 to switch to the euro nine and a half years after its admission to the Union.

"It seems a reasonable time frame to me for a country that joined the Union on 1 July 2013 to adopt the euro on 1 January 2023, that is nine and a half years," Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in response to the question from Marko Milanović Litre (Croatian Sovereignists) whether the citizens should be asked about the adoption of the euro and renunciation of monetary sovereignty.

"You are a new MP. Your predecessors in this same parliament ratified the EU Accession Treaty by 150 votes in favour. Your colleague, Ruža Tomašić, thanks to whom you are sitting here, was a member of the European Parliament in 2013. Your colleague Ilčić has rushed to the EP where he is paid in euro," Plenković said.

The PM said that the strategic goal of his government was to get Croatia into two deeper integrations - the Schengen passport-free travel zone and the euro area.

"We have made sure to fulfil the Maastricht criteria in the present circumstances of a pandemic, earthquakes and crises and have come close to adopting the euro, and now we listen to this initiative of yours. I don't know if we have all slept through this entire period," the prime minister said.

"Is there anyone who still thinks that EU membership is bad for us, after we have absorbed 44 billion more than we have contributed?" he concluded.

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

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Parliamentary Committee Endorses Bills on Copyright, Electronic Media

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian Parliament's Information and Media Committee on Tuesday endorsed the Copyright and Related Rights Bill and the Electronic Media Bill after debating copyright protection and user comments.

Culture and Media Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said the biggest contribution of the Copyright Bill was that it eliminated legal uncertainties concerning exceptions and restrictions.

It ensures a broader approach to protected content as well as equitable compensation for stakeholders in the digital environment.

The bill regulates in more detail the rights of news publishers and defines the copyright generated within the collective protection system.

The bill also regulates content aggregators such as Facebook and Google, proposing that part of the revenue they generate from the content goes to news publishers and journalists.

As for the relationship between phonogram producers and performers, the minister said the proposed solution recognised performers as the weaker party and aimed to improve their position without endangering phonogram producers' business, she added.

Regarding the relationship between news publishers and aggregators which use their content for free, resulting in losses for both publishers and journalists, the bill regulates a collective exercise of their rights to ensure a better position for them.

The minister said the bill defined journalistic work as copyright work for the first time with the aim to strengthen the position of journalists and protect their work. In doing so, she added, one must not mix areas regulated by the media law and those regulated by the copyright law.

The amendments to the Electronic Media Act oblige media to transparently declare their ownership and sources of financing. As for user comments, users will have to register so that they are accountable, instead of publishers, if their comments break the law.

Independent MP Nino Raspudić said the bill stipulated what one was allowed to love and hate and that several articles introduced gender identity.

The minister said he was telling untruths and that Croatia was a democratic state in which no one censored anyone and no one was fined for stating their views.

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

 

 

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Opposition MP Doesn't Believe There'll Be Anything of Zagreb Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 24 Aug, 2021 - Member of Parliament Anka Mrak-Taritaš on Tuesday said that it seems there won't be anything of Zagreb's reconstruction following the earthquake that hit the city 17 months ago and that the lack of goodwill for reconstruction is "the greatest shame of Andrej Plenković's government." 

Seventeen months after the earthquake, there is still nothing regarding Zagreb's reconstruction. There is no longer even any meetings between the government and City authorities. Damir Vanđelić, the director of the Fund for Reconstruction and Economy Minister Darko Horvat have even stopped debating in the media about who is more at fault for that," Mrak-Taritaš told a press conference on Tuesday.

As an example of what could have been done in that time, she recalled that the Empire State Building with its 102 floors was built in sixteen months' time, "and without disrupting traffic."

MP Mrak-Tartiaš warned that eight months had passed since money from the EU Solidarity Fund was paid into the government's account and "that Croatia is at risk of being the first member state to not spend that money within the set deadline and that the country might be compelled to repay it to the EU budget, while at the same time the government is using alibis why things are not being done, from the law to the programme of measures and the fund." 

The sole GLAS lawmaker believes that "it is absolutely certain now" that there won't be anything of Zagreb's reconstruction as that "requires the know-how, good management and will, yet there is none of that." She concluded that the fact that there is no will is the Plenković's government's greatest shame and sin of not doing anything."

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

 

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

State Delegations Lay Wreaths at Mirogoj Cemetery

ZAGREB, 4 Aug, 2021 - On the eve of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, War Veterans Day and the central commemoration in Knin, state delegations laid wreaths at Zagreb's central Mirogoj cemetery on Wednesday.

The government delegation was led by Veterans' Minister Tomo Medved and a delegation of the Croatian Parliament was led by Deputy Speaker Željko Reiner.

The delegations laid wreaths at the Wall of Pain monument, the Central Cross in the Alley of Fallen Croatian Homeland War Defenders, the grave of Croatia's first president Franjo Tudjman, and at the common grave of unidentified victims of the 1991-95 war.

Wreaths were also laid by a delegation of President Zoran Milanović, led by his advisor on defence and national security Dragan Lozančić, as well as a delegation of the City of Zagreb, led by deputy mayor Luka Korlaet.

Shortly after that, a delegation of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), led by member of the SDP presidency and MEP Predrag Fred Matic, laid flowers and lit candles at the Wall of Pain monument and the Central Cross in the Alley of Fallen Croatian Homeland War Defenders.

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

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

GLAS Slams Gov't Proposal to Restrict Sunday Trading

ZAGREB, 27 July, 2021 - The parliamentary opposition GLAS party said on Tuesday that a government proposal to restrict Sunday trading was "harmful populism and hypocrisy" by the ruling HDZ party, noting that the government had not thought about fair remuneration for Sunday work.

"(Economy) Minister (Tomislav) Ćorić of the HDZ and Prime Minister Plenković himself have been insisting lately on banning Sunday trading so strongly that uninformed onlookers might conclude that their government has nothing better to do. And they have been doing so amidst a pandemic and crisis and after two disastrous earthquakes," the party said in a statement.

It noted that the government was not thinking about how to ensure fair remuneration for people who work on Sundays in the retail sector.

"If the government were really interested in solving the problem, it would accept GLAS's proposal for fair pay for Sunday work, instead of turning it down several times," the party said, adding that its MP Anka Mrak Taritaš would again submit a proposal to that effect to the parliament.

"It is also interesting how the HDZ sees the development of Croatia's tourism - shops would be allowed to work 16 Sundays a year, which means that the government restricts in advance the tourist season to that many weeks," GLAS said.

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

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Parliament Relieves Bačić of His Duties as HRT Director-General

ZAGREB, 15 July 2021 - Kazimir Bačić, who was recently arrested on suspicion of graft, was on Thursday relieved of his duties as Director-General of the HRT public broadcasting service by 116 to two votes.

The parliament also appointed the current Director of Programming Renato Kunić acting Director-General, and this decision was supported by 77 lawmakers, two abstentions and 42 MPs voted against it.

In early July, the HRT Supervisory Board unanimously agreed at an extraordinary meeting to initiate the procedure for the dismissal of Bačić after he was arrested.

USKOK corruption investigators suspect that Bačić, acting on behalf of businessman Milan Lončarić, took €50,000 in a bribe to the late Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić for the Gardens of Light project. As a reward for his role, Bačić is believed to have been given an apartment worth HRK 1 million (€133,300) in central Zagreb.

The parliament today dismissed a proposal made by Social Democrat Arsen Bauk that Kunić should be encouraged to withdraw HRT defamation lawsuits which the broadcaster had filed against some of its journalists. It was Bačić who had previously initiated those actions.

For more on Croatian politics, both local and national, make sure to bookmark our dedicated politics section and stay in the loop.

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