Friday, 21 January 2022

Zagreb Mayor Hosts New Year Reception for Foreign Diplomats

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević has hosted the traditional New Year reception for foreign diplomats accredited in Croatia, acquainting them with the policies of his administration, the city administration said in a statement on Thursday evening. 

Thanking them for their constructive cooperation, the mayor acquainted members of the diplomatic corps with "the implementation of policies of change for a better Zagreb, for which he received support from the citizens" at the local election in May 2021, the statement said.

"One of the most important priorities is to stabilize the city's finances, as we have shown in the new budget for 2022. Reducing the debt, increasing the liquidity and efficiency of the city administration, while making sure that social rights, education, and health services remain intact, were the main guidelines in the preparation of the budget," Tomašević said.

He stressed the importance of the green transition and strengthening the capacity of the city-owned multi-utility conglomerate Zagrebački Holding, notably the waste disposal services.

He also noted a considerable increase in the number of applications for the reconstruction of public buildings damaged in the March 2020 earthquake, adding that he expected the government to support the city's efforts in that regard more effectively.

"Thank you everyone for supporting us in the process of rebuilding our city. In this respect, we are more than open to cooperation and the exchange of good experiences of your countries so that we can make Zagreb a better place for everyone," Tomašević said.

Speaking on behalf of the diplomatic corps, consular missions, and international organizations with offices in Zagreb, Apostolic Nuncio Giorgio Lingua wished the city administration success in their work for the benefit of Zagreb and all the people who live and work in it or visit it. "It would be our pleasure to expand our cooperation to help in the development of the city for the prosperity and wealth of all its citizens."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Mayor Says Zagreb Holding Group Has Around 700 Surplus Workers

ZAGREB, 4 Jan 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Tuesday that Zagreb Holding has around 500 surplus workers and that the Zagreb Holding Group has around 700 surplus workers, noting that consultations are underway between the management of this city-owned multi-utility conglomerate and trade unions.

Of the 700 surplus workers at the level of the Zagreb Holding Group, around 100 hold managerial positions as coordinators and advisors while the labor surplus is highest among the administration staff, Tomašević said at a regular press conference.

The Zagreb Holding management has formally started consultations with trade unions on the surplus labor even though talks have been underway since November, and the analysis on surplus workers and their positions was made internally, within Zagreb Holding, by comparing the number of employees with that in other comparable municipal companies, he said.

"Now the formal process of consultations with the trade unions has been launched to define more precisely the number of surplus workers and the criteria for determining surplus labor," Tomašević said, adding that those found to be surplus workers would be offered other positions, within Zagreb Holding, that was in short supply.

He explained that those were operational jobs such as street sanitation, waste collection, water supply fieldwork, and maintenance of green areas. These jobs will be offered equally to everyone - both to surplus administration staff and to surplus managerial staff, he said.

Tomašević explained that those who do not accept the new job offers will leave with severance pay, but he declined to specify the amounts they will be offered.

Commenting on the harsh reactions of some of the trade unions to the plans for lay-offs, Tomašević said that he was not involved in negotiations with the trade unions but would like the process to "be conducted as much as possible between the (Zagreb Holding) management and the unions, as has been the case so far."

He added that lay-offs and reassignments were part of the consolidation plan for Zagreb Holding, which after a long period ended the year 2020 with a loss, a negative result that continued in 2021 as well.

"In addition to the losses, Zagreb Holding owes around five billion kunas, and a large share of those obligations... mature in 2023. The Zagreb Holding management has a duty to stabilize the conglomerate's business operations in 2023so that it stops making losses and can service and refinance its debt," said the mayor.

Bulk waste collection normalizing

Tomašević confirmed that on Monday all the necessary permits were issued to use the Jakuševec waste collection and recycling center for bulk waste. The center has a warehouse and smaller waste separation units, he said, noting that bulk waste collection was being normalized and that recycling yards were being emptied.

"The facility in question was built before but it has not been used for as long as 15 years. Now it has finally been put into operation," Tomašević said.

Commenting again on the bursting of water supply pipes in the city, the mayor said the matter was entirely within the remit of the city, which was working on solutions to renew the city water supply grid in which no investments had been made for years.

"The main investment cycle, worth as much as two billion kuna, should be launched this year," the mayor said, noting that the city had been working with the Hrvatske Vode state-owned water management company and the competent ministry on defining water supply projects.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Tomasevic Reveals When Sljeme Cable Car Will be Put into Function

December the 29th, 2021 - The saga surrounding the would-be-could-be Sljeme cable car has been going on since before former Mayor Milan Bandic prematurely passed away. With permits and complaints galore, will the money-gobbling Sljeme cable car which would take Zagreb's citizens and visitors alike up the mountain which towers over the capital ever see the light of day? Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic has revealed more.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomasevic of Mozemo! (We can!) has stated that given the new legal framework, a change in the construction permit and a new noise measurement at points to be defined by the State Inspectorate are set to come.

''The Sanitary Inspection, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of the Interior are starting with all of that and I think it is realistic to expect that the Sljeme cable car will receive all of the necessary permits it needs to be put into function and be open by the end of January or the beginning of February,'' announced the Mayor of Zagreb, and to some that will sound like a very ambitious plan indeed, given the story around the future cable car which has been overwhelmingly negative so far.

He added that this is one of the big problems faced by the City of Zagreb at this moment in time, and that it could not get a permit because cable cars are not defined as transport infrastructure.

"It simply came to our notice then. It could have been done earlier, but I'm glad that it has been resolved and that we can move on from it all now. We will not stop at making sure we're reducing the noise, we've also talked to the equipment manufacturer about how we might reduce noise at the starting station, but also in relation to other parts of the structure,'' concluded the mayor.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Zagreb Mayor: Amendment to City Budget To Increase Kindergarten Capacity

ZAGREB, 7 Dec, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Tuesday that an amendment put forward by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the city budget proposal for 2022 would be accepted to increase kindergarten capacity in the capital city amid plans to phase out allowances for stay-at-home parents.

The SDP is a junior partner in the city assembly to Tomašević's We Can! party.

"We plan an amount of HRK 52 million, which is twice as much money as the average in the past five years. An additional HRK 15 million will be set aside to rent facilities to serve as temporary kindergartens," he said.

The mayor said that an amendment regarding the stay-at-home parent scheme, put forward by the opposition HDZ party, would not be accepted.

"They asked that we take around HRK 200 million in subsidies from the ZET (city public transport company) to compensate for the decrease in allowances for stay-at-home parents. That would make ZET a lossmaker and prevent it from applying for EU funds," he explained.

Tomašević said that the opposition Bridge party was late with submitting an amendment regarding teaching assistants, which was why it could not be accepted but added that an even higher increase in the hourly wage for those assistants would be accepted, to make it amount to HRK 30. The mayor said he hoped next year money for that purpose would be obtained from EU funds.

The city administration will propose the City Assembly a budget in the amount of HRK 15.12 billion, which is 1.1 billion more than the revised budget for 2021.

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Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Zagreb: Mayor Tomašević To Attend Commemoration for Zec Family

ZAGREB, 7 Dec, 2021 - The Serb National Council (SNV) said on Tuesday that Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević would pay his respects to Aleksandra Zec and her family as the first representative of the City of Zagreb to do so in the past 30 years.

The commemoration is being organised by the Antifascist League of Croatia and the SNV on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the murder of members of an ethnic Serb minority family, Aleksandra, Marija and Mihajlo Zec. 

Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milošević, and SNV president Milorad Pupovac will also attend the commemoration.

"This crime is one of the most shameful chapters in recent Croatian history. The perpetrators were all members of special police forces who were acquitted due to procedural errors. Croatian institutions protected them and sent an intimidating message to Croatian citizens and shamed Croatia and the City of Zagreb," a press release said.

Two surviving family members Dušan and Gordana Zec were paid one-off compensation in 2004 and that is the only support they received from the state.

Members of a special police unit under Tomislav Merčep came to the home of the Zec family in Zagreb's Tresnjevka district shortly after 11 pm on 7 December 1991 and shot dead 38-year-old Mihajlo Zec as he tried to escape. Marija and Aleksandra (12), who witnessed the murder, were then taken in a van to the Adolfovac mountain lodge on Mount Medvednica, overlooking Zagreb, where they were killed and the mountain lodge was burned down. The perpetrators were Munib Suljić, Siniša Rimac, Igor Mikola, Nebojša Hodak and Snježana Živanović, according to the press release.

One of the murderers, Siniša Rimac, later become the then Defence Minister Gojko Šušak's bodyguard and was even decorated by President Franjo Tuđman.

Aleksandra, Marija i Mihajlo Zec are buried in Gornja Dragotinja (near Prijedor, northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina), Mihajlo's native town.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Zagreb Mayor Condemns Racist Attack on Rimac Automobili Employees

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - The Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, has strongly condemned a racist attack on employees of the Rimac Automobili company, which occurred in central Zagreb on Friday night, saying that there should be no place for violence in the city.

"I strongly condemn the racist attack on employees of Rimac Automobili. There must be no place for violence in our city, especially not for violence motivated by hatred of those who are different on any grounds," Tomašević wrote on his Facebook on Sunday evening.

"An attack on people of different color is an attack on all of us. That's why I expect the police to identify the attackers and punish them for this hate crime. Despite the hateful individuals, Zagreb will remain an open and hospitable city," the mayor said.

The owner of Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac, said on Saturday that a group of young men had assaulted his colleagues near the Croatian National Theatre on Friday night. He said that the attackers first verbally abused his employees and then physically attacked them, as a result of which one of them suffered a broken nose and another a mild concussion.

The police are investigating the incident.

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

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Advent in Zagreb Begins, Mayor Lights Candle of Hope

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Saturday lit the first Advent candle on the Advent wreath around Manduševac Fountain in the city's main square, symbolically marking the beginning of the Advent in Zagreb event, which lasts until 7 January.

Tomašević said he was glad to light the first candle, the candle of hope, claiming that people needed hope now, especially for the pandemic to end and for the city to be reconstructed after last year's earthquake.

Speaking to the press, he said it was difficult to organise this year's Advent in Zagreb due to the pandemic, but added that in cooperation with the Zagreb Tourist Board and other partners, "we came up with a rich programme with over 120 concerts at some 15 locations."

He said the eventual realisation would depend on the pandemic and that all concerts and programmes would be held in compliance with COVID rules. He added that COVID certificates would not be required for outdoor programmes.

"We are confident that despite these difficult circumstances, Advent will be good and that people will be satisfied, that they will socialise and finally feel some joy amidst all these hardships and problems," the mayor said.

Zagreb Tourist Board director Martina Bienenfeld said that this year "the pandemic dictates all Advent events as well as all others around the New Year," adding that if COVID rules were to be tightened, organisers would adapt their programmes.

She said there were many foreign tourists in the city already and that more had announced their arrival. She recalled that The New York Times recently ran a "beautiful" piece on Zagreb, saying it was great for promotion.

The motives of this year's Advent in Zagreb are traditional Croatian toys as well as music, culture and light.

There are a little under 70 booths at this year's event, as against 220 in 2019, selling food, drinks and souvenirs as well as 50 specially decorated terraces of hospitality establishments offering special food and drinks.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Zagreb Mayor: Plan is to Absorb HRK 1.35 bn from EU Funds Next Year

ZAGREB, 23 Nov 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević announced on Tuesday that next year the city authorities plan to absorb HRK 13.5 billion from EU funds which is 40% more compared to 2020, and added that with the introduction of new locations the number of vaccinated Zagreb citizens has doubled.

"Our policy is to absorb as much money from funds to alleviate the city budget," Tomašević told a regular press conference, adding that thanks to that money huge changes would be visible next year already.

He announced that projects by the Croatian Natural History and Ethnographic museums would be financed from EU funds.

Tomašević said that thanks to eight new vaccination locations, in less than two weeks the number of Zagreb citizens who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 has doubled, particularly those receiving the first dose. The number of daily vaccinations has increased to 3,800.

More than 20,000 citizens have been vaccinated at these locations, 13,000 have received the first dose while 19,500 citizens have been vaccinated at the location at the Zagreb Fair grounds, 13,000 of whom have received the first dose.

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

Friday, 19 November 2021

Price Hike for ZET Tickets? Tomislav Tomasevic Hints at Increase

November the 19th, 2021 - ZET tickets could be a target for an increase as things in Zagreb's city administration shift considerably under a mayor who is very different indeed to the late Milan Bandic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the budget of the City of Zagreb next year should end with a surplus of 300 million kuna. This is perhaps the biggest sensation for the capital's budget, which was presented recently by Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic.

The budget will total 15 billion and 120 million kuna, which is an increase of one billion and one hundred million kuna when compared to last year. The reason is the costs of loans, interest and loans to banks and the state, which are 700 million kuna higher than last year, and the city government intends to cover those 700 million kuna with savings. The largest of them is the abolition of the parent-educator measure, and the plan there is to save as much as 283 million kuna. Other savings will be spent on salaries, fees, IT equipment, and material costs.

Total revenues will be higher by as much as one billion and 500 million kuna, and the biggest item in the increase in revenue is the sale of city property in the amount of 680 million kuna. Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic spoke about everything recently as a guest on RTL Direkt.

"In four years, the previous government has accumulated a deficit of 1 billion and 300 million kuna and now we have to accumulate a surplus of 300 to 300 over the next four years to reduce any late payments because the accumulated deficit turned into overdue liabilities that we inherited. To reduce delays we need to go into a surplus. This is the first time the city budget has even planned a surplus,'' he said, adding that Zagreb needs to find room for a surplus to offset the accumulated deficit.

When asked about potential ZET ticket price increases, he said that his new administration would get to that and that huge subsidies were planned for ZET, the city's public transport system.

“We finance almost 80 percent of ZET's costs from the city budget. There will still be free tickets for socially vulnerable groups of pensioners and students,'' he said.

That said, it looks like ZET tickets are due to be more expensive.

"As for ZET tickets, we'll wait for the new management of ZET to come into the story. The budget includes investments, we're going to purchase 20 low-floor trams that we plan to finance from the NPOO, which is a value of 300 million kuna in the next four years,'' Tomasevic stated.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Zagreb Cat Shelter Promised by Mayor Tomislav Tomašević

October 9, 2021 - The Zagreb cat shelter project is among the necessary strategic documents of the City and is included in the list of initial projects from 2021 - 2027.

The Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, announced the construction of a shelter for cats during a tour of the Zagreb Shelter for neglected animals. There, the City of Zagreb, in cooperation with the Zagreb Zoo and the Animal Friends Association, organized the 19th International Animal Protection Day celebration,  reports Jutarnji List.

"We plan to increase the capacity for accommodating cats in Dumovec. In order to prevent dogs from leaving, we continue to control microchipping, "said Tomasevic.

The cat shelter project is among the necessary strategic documents of the City of Zagreb and is included in the list of initial projects for the financial perspective from 2021 - 2027.

With this project, the City of Zagreb would get an appropriate shelter for the accommodation of injured and sick and other neglected cats.

"At the Zagreb Shelter for neglected animals, we currently have a hundred animals - 70 dogs and 30 cats. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we have received a smaller number of dogs in the Shelter, but we still find abandoned pets on the streets of Zagreb. Most of them do not have a microchip," said Damir Skok, director of the Zagreb Zoo, which includes the Shelter in Dumovec.

The employees of the Shelter are happy that some participants left with a new pet during the International Animal Protection Day celebration. The mayor also invited the people of Zagreb to adopt dogs and cats.

"Buying dogs is not necessary. There are many dogs that need to be adopted. Trust me, every dog you adopt will be loyal to you for the rest of your life. That dog becomes a member of the family," said Tomasevic.

During the International Animal Protection Day celebration, citizens were able to visit the Shelter, see how work is done on the education and socialization of dogs, and meet associations that work with animal protection. An educational and entertaining program was also prepared for children. Animal Friends organized a Vega picnic. Citizens were also encouraged to adopt by dm, who gives a gift voucher worth 50 kuna to anyone who adopts a dog or cat by the end of the year to buy food and other products from the pet range.

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