Thursday, 10 June 2021

Tomašević: Nobody Can Be Satisfied With Rate of Reconstruction in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 10 June 2021 - After his first meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his ministers, Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said that nobody can be satisfied with the rate of reconstruction in Zagreb and that he expects a new era of cooperation between the city and the state.

Tomašević and Plenković met in Government House and discussed cooperation between the government and the City of Zagreb after the 22 March 2020 earthquake and the situation regarding the city's finances. Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets Minister Darko Horvat and Deputy Zagreb Mayors Danijela Dolenec and Luka Korlaet also participated in the hour-long meeting.

The main topic of the talks, held on the day that the first house with a red label in Zagreb was demolished, was post-earthquake reconstruction.

"We are glad that the demolition of damaged buildings is finally starting. Today three are being demolished, and more will follow in the days to come," said Tomašević.

Admitting that nobody can be satisfied with the rate of reconstruction, he said that the City of Zagreb would from now on be a proper partner so that the process is accelerated, particularly with regard to filling out application forms for apartment buildings.

Horvat and Tomašević announced that they would conduct a working meeting on Tuesday to discuss handling construction waste material as temporary landfills are full, as well as ways to accelerate reconstruction.

Not one decision on reconstruction will be political but based on expertise

"Bulldozers are positioned at three locations in Zagreb and buildings are being demolished," Minister Horvat said and added that the ministry had so far sent 36 decisions for demolition to the Reconstruction Fund and that another 18 decisions would be forwarded this week.

Responding to accusations by the fund's director, Damir Vanđelić, that the ministry was a bottleneck in making decisions related to reconstruction, Horvat said that the problem was no longer the ministry but the Fund itself.

"(Vanđelić) received the first decision for demolition on 20 April and he managed to arrange the first works on 10 June. We are no longer talking about expediting the adoption of decisions but about the implementation of public procurement for bulldozers to appear in the field. That isn't a job for the ministry but for the fund's director," said Horvat.

He added that he would insist on the current reconstruction model and on decisions that were not political but based on expertise.

By the end of the month, the fund will have on the desk some 60 decisions for demolition of the 169 that were received by the ministry. As for the remaining applications, the relevant documentation is being collected and property-rights relations are being dealt with, he added.

He stressed that 3,800 applications for reconstruction that had been submitted in Zagreb had still not been resolved because they involved buildings that did not have legal building permits.

Tomašević stressed that city authorities would contribute to expediting the process of reconstruction by helping citizens complete application forms and conducting quick inspections for damage carried out on the remaining buildings that had not undergone such inspections.

For more about 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.

Monday, 22 March 2021

Tomašević Announces Reconstruction of Zagreb in Four Dimensions

ZAGREB, 22 March, 2021 - A Zagreb Mayor hopeful, Tomislav Tomašević, warned on Monday on the first anniversary of the Zagreb quake that nothing had been done in the post-quake reconstruction and promised the rebuilding of the city in four dimensions if he won the 16 May local election.

"We have come to know that we do not have not one decision forwarded to the Reconstruction Fund nor has any action been taken," Tomašević told a press conference in front of the City Hall, which was organised by his We Can party and its partners: "Zagreb is Ours " and OraH parties.

He warned that the fund and Ministry of Construction are passing the buck regarding to whether decisions have been written or not and the problems they had outlined during the debate on the Reconstruction Act have now occurred.

He pushed for bringing together experts under the one roof so that good decisions can be made faster.

Tomašević said the current situation could be seen as an opportunity for reconstruction and also for earthquake-resistant development of the city in four dimensions including physical reconstruction which is aimed at increasing earthquake resilience and developing earthquake-proof infrastructure.

The plan is also to reconstruct public places which will give a social dimension to the historical centre of town and suburbs on the rim of Sljeme mountain that will include local construction companies in rebuilding projects and will increase energy efficiency and improve the quality of living as part of the fourth "green" dimension. 

MP Sandra Benčić added that the Reconstruction Fund had received money however it was not being used because blueprints had not been approved through a tender that was advertised.

They believe that the key mechanism to fund reconstruction is in the European ITU mechanism of integrated territorial management whereby structural funds are are managed by city agglomerations.

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

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.

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