Tuesday, 13 July 2021

New Waste Management Legislation Will Make Bills Higher, Says Opposition

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - Some opposition parties claimed on Tuesday that the new waste management law will result in higher bills for citizens and that this will in particular affect lessors and small entrepreneurs.

The entire waste management system is based on waste management centres which are very expensive and that will be evident once citizens receive their new bills, said MP Sanja Udović (SDP).

She claimed that in those areas where these centres have been established, citizens can expect their bills to increase by 100 percent. "We, in Primorje Gorski Kotar County can soon expect the end price to go up, that means the price citizens pay will increase by some 30 to 40 percent," she said.

MP Marin Lerotić (IDS) underscored that the new bill doesn't go in favour of citizens nor lessors or small businesses who have been categorised as non-households and will pay a higher price.

"Shopping centres will pay the same, minimal service, as will shoemakers, or camp sites for up to 10,000 people will pay the same as a family-owned camp site with a capacity of up to 12 people. Hotels with a capacity of 100 rooms will pay the same price as a lessor of a flat," warned Lerotić.

MP Josip Borić (HDZ) explained that the government was providing a framework for prices to be defined by the local government.

"The opportunity exists to reduce the price for those who need to be rewarded. It contains criteria that allow that reduction for enterprises to certain household members, you can make them up yourself and include them in the price list," he said.

Local government officials have to realise that their role in waste management will be more complex, constructive, creative and more responsible, state-secretary in the Economy Ministry, Mile Horvat said.

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

 

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Grbin: Change in Varaždin Sets Course SDP Will Stand for in Croatia

ZAGREB, 4 July, 2021 - Social Democratic Party president Peđa Grbin said in Varaždin on Sunday the changes the SDP was effecting in the city after winning local elections would set the course which the party would stand for in Croatia.

The chair of the SDP's Varaždin County branch, Barbara Antolić Vupora, told the press that new Mayor Neven Bosilj and his deputy Miroslav Marković were fighting "a corrupt, clientelist octopus," offering a management model in the service of citizens.

"Very concrete things have been done," Grbin said, adding that the number of people on supervisory boards and their fees had been reduced, "thus ensuring savings that will raise the quality of running the city for all."

He said Varaždin would launch the most important project for citizens in September, budget transparency. "Then the clientelist-corruption octopus that ruled Varaždin for years will not be possible ever again."

Speaking of those ousted from the party, Grbin said that those who had worked against SDP interests and those who had not been involved in local elections campaigns could not come back.

This is no score-settling with anyone, including former president Davor Bernardić.

Asked about the national COVID-19 crisis management team's latest decisions on restrictions for unvaccinated people and job-keeping payments, Grbin called them "insufficiently conceived."

He said the government's project to have 55% of the population vaccinated by 1 July "failed because the vaccination campaign doesn't work adequately," and that people were not clear on the benefits of vaccination and the consequences of non-vaccination.

"Instead of mustering the political courage to say that vaccination will be mandatory, the government is imposing the obligation of vaccination in other ways. People will revolt."

Grbin wondered whether making job-keeping payments conditional on vaccination "is a call on employers to fire those who are not vaccinated."

"What the government is doing won't contribute to improving the economic situation and fighting poverty. On the contrary, it can expand inequality."

Grbin announced that this autumn Varaždin would launch a project to fight period poverty by providing elementary school girls with hygienic menstrual products "which they couldn't afford otherwise."

He said that one in three women in Croatia could not afford those products.

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

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Friday, 2 July 2021

SDP, Bridge Against Vaccination Being Required for Job-keeping Payments

ZAGREB, 2 July 2021 - The Social Democratic Party called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday not to make vaccination a requirement for job-keeping payments, while the Bridge party said business owners were being blackmailed into vaccination.

"In Croatia, mandatory vaccination is possible, but the obligation is first established under the law on the protection of the population and then regulated and worked out under Immunisation Rules and the Mandatory Vaccination Programme. The obligation of vaccination can't be imposed in another way, notably not by linking support for entrepreneurs with vaccination," SDP president Peđa Grbin posted on Facebook.

He said the government's COVID-19 vaccination plan had failed. "Workers and entrepreneurs can't be held to account for that," he said, telling the government and Plenković, "if you want to link vaccination with some benefits, set clear criteria, define who will monitor them and enable them for all."

Bridge tweeted that Croatia was stuck with over 300,000 surplus vaccines because of poor government moves and communication omissions. "Bridge is against entrepreneurs, who are being forced into vaccination through blackmail, saving the government's mindless epidemic policy."

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

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: SDP Interpellation Won't Pass, They Must Pretend They Are Doing Something

ZAGREB, 29 June, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday the Social Democratic Party's interpellation on the government's slowness in post-earthquake reconstruction would not pass, adding that in the SDP "they have to pretend they are doing something" after losing in local elections.

Speaking to the press in Petrinja, Plenković said he had not seen the interpellation but that "when someone loses so badly in local elections, when they have a 13% rating, they have to pretend they are doing something." He added that parliament would reject it.

Plenković visited Petrinja to see the demolition of buildings damaged in December's earthquake and meet with the task force dealing with its consequences.

He said that when the reconstruction law was being passed, he said he wished to incorporate in it all constructive ideas and that no prior law included so many proposals from the opposition.

He said interpellations like the SDP's one did not serve to improve something but to show distrust in the government.

In the interpellation filed today, the SDP asks for urgently amending the reconstruction law, including local government in discussions about it, and informing the public more transparently, among other things.

Asked who was responsible for the fact that 150 damaged buildings had been torn down in the Banija region since the December 2020 earthquake and only three in Zagreb since the March 2020 quake, Plenković said the goal in Zagreb had been to first provide institutions that would be in charge of the whole process, then financing, and cooperation between the state, the city and the quake-affected counties around Zagreb.

He said the processing of reconstruction applications in Zagreb was "somewhat slower" than expected but that property-rights relations in the capital were "even more complex" than in Banija. "We tasked (Construction) Minister Horvat with accelerating all processes and I expect all who should help him in that to contribute."

He said Reconstruction Fund head Damir Vanđelić must be propulsive, notably regarding the reconstruction of private houses and buildings.

Citizens should be responsible and contribute by getting vaccinated

Asked if Croatia would have to resort to COVID-19 vaccination incentives, like some countries that have announced financial rewards, Plenković asked whether that meant "bribing people to be vaccinated?"

"What will we give to the 44% who have been vaccinated? If we give HRK 100 to someone who hasn't been vaccinated but is waiting and calculating, what about the million and a half who have been vaccinated? Give them money retroactively?"

Plenković said people were "fully informed" about all key matters and that every citizen had the responsibility to contribute to society by getting vaccinated.

Recalling the number of COVID deaths, he said everything should be done to motivate people to be vaccinated, adding that Croatia had 670,000 doses available.

If they were administered, he said, "we would practically solve all problems" and stop the virus from spreading. He said it was a matter of common sense and that, perhaps, young people should be motivated to attend concerts and big events with COVID certificates.

Asked what message inconsistencies in enforcing COVID restrictions sent to those undecided on vaccination, Plenković said that "everyone who is responsible will contribute, who isn't, won't."

He said Croatia had been applying mild restrictions out of respect for its citizens, considering them smart and responsible. He said the Croatian mentality would not accept tough restrictions. "We didn't decide in vain that we would not be a country with a curfew. That wouldn't have been well-accepted and I think we did the right thing."

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

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.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Možemo!, SDP Sign Agreement For Zagreb City Assembly

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević and Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Peđa Grbin said on Wednesday that Tomašević's Možemo! platform and the SDP had signed a coalition agreement for the City Assembly and that its chair would be from the SDP.

The agreement contains 28 programme goals, including social and housing policies, environmental protection, waste management, water supply and drainage, and sustainable transport. culture, education,

Speaking to the press, Tomašević highlighted stepping the post-earthquake reconstruction of public and private buildings, reducing the number of city offices, a more transparent budget, and digitalising the city's administration and companies.

He said the majority in the City Assembly would have 28 deputies, that Možemo! and its partners would chair 14 of the 18 committees, and that Možemo! and the SDP had agreed to annually evaluate the realisation of the programme goals.

Tomašević said the Možemo! and SDP programmes were highly compatible and that he expected good cooperation as Zagreb needed a stable majority given all the challenges, adding that the City Assembly would be inaugurated tomorrow.

Grbin: The agreement is a pledge for the future

Grbin said the SDP Presidency's candidate for the assembly chairman was Joško Klisović, who had been the party's mayoral candidate.

He said that Zagreb's many problems had to be dealt with right away, adding that they could not be solved if the mayor's proposals did not have firm support in the City Assembly.

Grbin said the recent talks between the SDP and Možemo! had been "unbelievably constructive" and that their programmes were "very complementary and that's why we found a common ground on what our priorities will be."

As for goals of special importance to the SDP, he mentioned the introduction of a city treasury and an Internet platform to enable anyone noticing corruption in the work of the City Assembly to report it.

Grbin said today's agreement was a pledge for the functioning of Zagreb that would ensure the city's transformation as the SDP and Možemo! had announced during their mayoral election campaigns.

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

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

SDP Adopts Draft Programme For Cooperation With Možemo! in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021- The presidency of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has adopted a draft programme for cooperation with the green-left platform Možemo! and their partners in Zagreb, which will ensure their majority in the new City Assembly following recent local elections, the SDP announced on Monday evening.

Addressing the press after the SDP Presidency meeting, Glasovac said that the draft 28-point programme was adopted unanimously and that several other details needed to be agreed before Wednesday, when the programme is expected to be signed.

She said that the cooperation programme included points on a transparent budget, civic education in schools, care for pre-school children, and certain infrastructure projects. 

Glasovac confirmed that the draft also dealt with the division of roles in the City Assembly, but would not say whether Joško Klisović, the SDP's mayoral candidate, would serve as deputy chairman of the Assembly. 

Možemo! said that it would discuss the draft on Tuesday.

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

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

SDP Leader Peđa Grbin: Majority in Zagreb City Assembly to be Formed, Zagreb Branch Dissolved

ZAGREB, 9 June, 2021 - SDP leader Peđa Grbin said on Wednesday that the majority in the Zagreb City Assembly would definitely be formed while the SDP branch in Zagreb would be dissolved to prevent the SDP from turning into "an employment office". 

Addressing a news conference on decisions adopted at a session of the party leadership on Tuesday, Grbin said that the session focused on two topics - dissolution of the party's Zagreb branch and the course of negotiations on the formation of the majority in the Zagreb City Assembly.

"I can say with certainty that on 17 June, when the Zagreb City Assembly is to be inaugurated, the majority will be formed. The SDP considers it an obligation towards the residents of Zagreb because we know that after years of poor governance, Zagreb deserves better," he said.

He noted that talks with the winner of the local election in Zagreb, the We Can! platform, including on the post of Zagreb City Assembly president, were under way.

As for the functioning of party branches, Grbin said that the most important decision made by the party leadership yesterday was the one on the dissolution of the Zagreb branch.

He recalled that a few months ago the party leadership decided to dissolve bodies of that party branch, adding that that decision had not proven sufficient to stop some bad processes that had been happening and make sure the branch operated as it should, focusing on citizens' problems.

"... This decision concerns those who have started treating the SDP as an employment service, who want to use it exclusively for their personal benefit," Grbin said, adding that the party's purpose was to work for the wellbeing of citizens and that radical decisions such as the latest one were sometimes necessary.

He said that concrete names would be discussed within the party and at a meeting of its Main Committee on Saturday.

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

Friday, 4 June 2021

SDP and IDS Waiting for Response from DIP to See Who Will Recount Ballots, Reports Jutarnji List

ZAGREB, 4 June 2021 - Both the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) have lodged objections regarding the ballot counting in the 30 May election for Istrian county prefect and are now waiting for the response from the State Election Commission (DIP), Jutarnji List daily said on Friday.

According to the results from DIP, SDP candidate Danijel Ferić was defeated  by IDS leader Boris Miletić by a margin of only 54 votes, which prompted the SDP to request a ballot recount at 12 polling stations. The SDP has said that they they have found 41 more ballots in favour of Ferić which were declared invalid. That is why they lodged an objection to DIP to recount all ballots and to give its opinion on the situation.

"The State Election Commission has 48 hours to tell us whether it will take our objection into consideration. (...) We would like to review the election materials in another 29 constituencies. Both us and the IDS are in a hurry to hear whether our objection will be accepted or not. We also want to know who will recount the ballots," said Sanja Radolović of the SDP.

She added that they had found various irregularities and that ballots for Danijel Ferić were added to the pile for Boris Miletić and vice versa.

The IDS said that they had lodged an objection with valid arguments, but they do not want to go into detail because, they say, they do not want to put pressure on electoral bodies, Jutarnji List reported.

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

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Milanović: Plenković is Promoter of Right to Lie

ZAGREB, 3 June 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Thursday called Prime Minister Andrej Plenković a promoter of the right to lie who had now classified himself "under authentic interpreters of battles from the Homeland War" and declared himself "almost a war commander".

The president wrote this on Facebook, reacting to Plenković's comment on his proposal that the anniversary of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm be commemorated in other cities besides Knin.

Milanović accused Plenković of "denigrating the proposal to commemorate Operation Storm in other cities in which heroic battles were fought in the Homeland War, and not only in Knin, declaring himself - with the words 'many of us look at Knin differently' - almost a war commander," Milanović wrote.

The president added that the initiative to commemorate Operation Storm "also where hundreds of Croatian defenders were killed, near Petrinja and Glina, for instance, was proposed to him by war generals and commanders who fought liberation battles".

Asked by the RTL commercial broadcaster to comment on President Zoran Milanović's proposal to commemorate anniversaries of the Croatian military and police Operation Storm in Knin every five years and to commemorate the anniversary in Glina this year, Plenković said on Wednesday he didn't know about it, but he found "the repeated use of double criteria particularly indicative".

"He constantly talks about Knin as some kind of train station, a barracks. Many of us look at Knin differently, at its role, at Zvonimir's City, at the Knin Fortress, at the symbolism of the flag at the Knin Fortress. Those are different views," Plenković said, referring to the turbulent history of that Dalmatian region.

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

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