Sunday, 12 June 2022

Mayor: Zagreb Ready to Help State Institutions but Not Responsible for Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 12 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Sunday, in a comment on the process of post-earthquake reconstruction in Zagreb, that the city administration was willing to help state institutions but that under the law, reconstruction was not the city's responsibility. 

"I have been in office for a year and I have already cooperated with two different construction ministers and two different directors of the Reconstruction Fund, and those are the two institutions responsible for the reconstruction of private buildings. It is unbelievable the process is taking so long," Tomašević said at the Projekt Ilica: Q’ART event.

Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets Minister Ivan Paladina has announced the opening of construction sites and concrete deadlines but it remains to be seen whether they will be realised, he said.

"If prices are the problem, they should be raised, both in public procurement and in the envisaged programmes," he added.

The mayor said that everything was in the government's hands and that it was unacceptable that the reconstruction process was taking so long to start. Maybe all political camps and the government have failed the most in the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb, while in Banija the construction of at least some replacement homes has begun, he stressed.

Asked about the proposal by public transport operators providing regular services for the country-wide introduction of an unlimited HRK 70 monthly pass for public transport, Tomašević said that such proposals had been made also for Zagreb and neighbouring counties but years had passed and they had not been implemented.

"The proposal is good in principle, but problems arise when local authorities, city companies and transport operators have to agree concrete tariffs and who will be in charge," he said, adding that Zagreb would accept the proposal, depending on the details of the agreement.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Festival of Equal Opportunities Opens

ZAGREB, 7 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević on Tuesday opened the Festival of Equal Opportunities, an international event in which persons with disabilities perform in a musical, theatre and art programme together with artists as well as in recreation and sport games.

The festival celebrates diversity and equal opportunities, which must be ensured for all persons with disabilities in Zagreb, he said, adding that all barriers to feeling equal must be removed.

The festival is taking place in Zagreb's central square until 9 June and has been organised by the Zagreb Association of Physically Disabled for the 20th year in a row. It features more than 900 performers from Croatia and abroad, including 600 persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities make up 13% of Croatia's population and due to countless physical, institutional and social barriers, they are excluded from everyday life and condemned to invisibility, which is a reflection of structural discrimination, so the public does not perceive it as a problem, said Viktorija Lisec, the Association's president.

The prime minister's envoy, Culture Ministry state secretary Ivica Poljičak, said the government was doing everything to make everyday life easier for persons with disabilities. Their participation in cultural events stimulates their creativity and contributes to society's diversity and to raising public awareness, he added.

Science and Education Ministry state secretary Tomislav Paljak said the festival was special because it enabled persons with disabilities to show the talents that equated them with others.

The deputy ombudsman for person with disabilities, Dario Jurišić, said they should have equal rights and obligations, and that the festival's purpose was a social approach to the inclusion of isolated groups.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Opposition Criticise Mayor for Ineptitude in Leading Zagreb in 1st Year of his Term

ZAGREB, 5 June 2022 - Commenting on the first year of Mayor Tomislav Tomašević's term, Opposition representatives in the city assembly agree that the new mayor and his administration have not showed aptitude in running the capital city and solving the crucial issues.

Gordana Rusak of the Labour and Solidarity Party says in a statement for Hina that she has nothing to assess as the new mayor and administration have not launched any of their projects.

"The city has never been so filthy and neglected. Grass is everywhere, holes are on roads, projects are left on the shelf," she said.

Rusak also criticises the new administration for keeping silent about its plans for the Zagreb waste management centre.

Mislav Herman of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) says that the residents of the city are "exposed to the biggest ever ideological divisions."

He criticises the administration for potentially illegal moves such as lay-offs in the Zagreb Holding utility company and the revocation of the scheme for the stay-at-home parents, while members of managements of city companies are given compensation for using their cars.

Herman says that the City of Zagreb is alive finance-wise only owing to the HDZ government and the grants of interest-free loans, and postponement of the loans' repayment.

He accuses the new city administration of increasing the city's debt by HRK 1.1 billion.

Trpimir Goluža of the Bridge party says that it is concerning how much inapt Tomašević is at his task of managing the city.

He criticises Tomašević over his lack of trust in employees who are not part of his We Can platform.

Goluža comments that the public transportation company provides fewer and fewer services and also it is make impossible for new users to get connected to the water supply network.

Igor Peternel of the Homeland Movement also agrees that the new administration has not showed good managerial skills over the last year. 

He bears a grudge against them over the proposal of the SDP party, a partner in the city's ruling coalition, for renaming the Trg Republike  square (Republic Square) after Josip Broz Tito.

He elaborates that the platform that claims that advocates human rights should not allow the renaming of a square after a dictator.

Peternel commended the new administration for being rather cooperative in addressing the issues concerning the local utility services. 

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

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Zagreb Mayor Announces Talks on LGBT Associations' Demand for Own Center

ZAGREB, 4 June 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Saturday he would talk with LGBT associations about their demands for getting their own center, stated at today's 21st Pride parade.

"There are various models to realize that. We'll see the details, what they are proposing," he said while taking part in the march.

Tomašević said the 21st Pride was a parade for the 21st century Zagreb, a city "which is open to every diversity, tolerant of all differences and open to all."

He also commented on a lawsuit filed against him by the organizers of the Walk for Life march because the city refused to hoist their flags on its masts. "I'm not afraid of that. It is in the mayor's remit to decide on putting flags on city masts."

He said that although Walk for Life organizers had not been allowed to hoist their flags, freedom of speech and assembly had been not jeopardized and they had stood in public spaces.

"However, hoisting flags on city masts means the city administration's support. Walk for Life's goals are completely opposite to our program, in which we promised to ensure the availability of abortion, which is legally allowed, and allowing that would have been hypocritical," the mayor said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 29 May 2022

Zagreb Mayor Speaks to Hina About First Year in Office

ZAGREB, 29 May 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević has given an interview for Hina on the occasion of his one year in office, talking about what has been done and future projects.

Asked about his biggest success, he mentioned the new model of running the city in every aspect, from public procurement to hiring in dozens of city companies and over 300 institutions, saying that people are no longer appointed based on party affiliation but their qualifications.

Another success is the financial stabilisation of the city, Tomašević said, adding that the budget deficit is the lowest in the last five years at HRK 30 million, which he said was almost negligible considering that the budget was almost HRK 14 billion.

The mayor noted that the city now has 16 instead of 27 departments.

He also mentioned big changes in waste management, including the construction of a composting plant

As for failures, Tomašević said that although it was the legal responsibility of the state, he was very unhappy with the reconstruction of private buildings after the 2020 earthquake.

Asked which changes the people of Zagreb had felt over the past year, he said everything the new administration was doing was the basis for changes they would feel much more by the end of the term.

Speaking of future projects, Tomašević mentioned the procurement of 20 new trams and 65 buses, the construction of at least 12 kindergartens in the next two years, more bike paths and pedestrian zones.

He said the unused Paromlin industrial facility in the city centre would become a multifunctional social-cultural-educational centre financed mainly with EU funds.

Other unused properties such as Zagrepčanka, Gredelj, and Badel Block, which have been the city's "dead capital" for decades, will be revitalised to build affordable housing as well as put to social and commercial use, he added.

The city's housing fund policy is to build new flats for rent to socially vulnerable groups and young families at affordable prices, the mayor said. Our population policy is to invest in kindergartens so that they are affordable to everyone as well as affordable housing, he added.

Asked if the decision to abolish the state-at-home-parent scheme had been hasty, given that a court put it on hold, Tomašević said the scheme did not have a demographic effect and that, according to polls, most citizens considered it unjust.

Spending 15 times more on that scheme than on building kindergartens cannot be the city's development policy, he added.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Mayor Wants Collective Conscientious Objection at Sveti Duh Hospital to be Dealt With

ZAGREB, 8 May 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Sunday it was unacceptable that all doctors and nurses at the Gynaecology Department of the Sveti Duh Hospital were conscientious objectors and that he expected the hospital's new management to deal with this.

"It is unacceptable to me that absolutely all the doctors and nurses in Gynaecology have conscientious objection and I expect this to be dealt with," Tomašević told reporters ahead of a ceremony marking the Day of Victory over Fascism and the Day of Liberation of Zagreb.

Asked if he agreed with the claim that in the circumstances of collective conscientious objection pregnancy terminations were carried out in private institutions, the mayor said that this problem could be dealt with in different ways.

"But I also want that all legally permitted pregnancy terminations can be performed in Zagreb's largest city-owned healthcare institution and that is Sveti Duh," Tomašević said.

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

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Bonfires Lit by River Sava in Zagreb to Commemorate WWII Liberation

ZAGREB, 8 May 2022 - The Network of Antifascist Women and the Alliance of Antifascist Fighters and Antifascists lit bonfires on the bank of the River Sava in Zagreb on Saturday evening in tribute to the Partisan units that liberated the Croatian capital on 8 May 1945.

The event was attended by Mayor Tomislav Tomašević, who said that it was the seventh year now that the liberation of Zagreb from Ustasha and fascist occupation had been commemorated by building bonfires by the Sava.

"During the Second World War and the difficult times of occupation, Zagreb was never subdued. Numerous residents of the city, together with Partisans from throughout Croatia, joined the National Liberation Movement and the Women's Antifascist Front, engaging in subversive operations against the occupying army and quislings. They were also hiding people who faced deportation to certain death, and put up resistance," the mayor said.

He said he was paying tribute to the 30,000 residents of Zagreb who had sacrificed their lives or had been the victims of the Ustasha and fascist terror.

"The units that liberated Zagreb did so on the wings of social justice, faith in equality and internationalism, which are the values that we should promote today," Tomašević said, adding that society should be built on class and gender equality.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Zagreb Mayor: Aim is to Do Away With Work via Agencies and Closed-end Contracts

ZAGREB, 1 May 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Sunday, during a celebration of International Workers' Day, that the city as employer would endeavour to improve working conditions and that the aim is to eradicate work via agencies and closed-ended contracts. 

"There has been a lot of talk over the past few days of decreasing the number of workers in Zagreb Holding (utility conglomerate), however, there has not been any mention that since stepping into office we have employed 440 people in kindergartens, at the moment we are in the process of employing 80 ZET (public transport) drivers and 40 firefighters, and we will employ 40 municipal services monitoring officer," Tomašević said addressing the public at the celebration in Maksimir Park.

"It is essential that people are employed through real job advertisements after years of being employed due to party membership, but those times are over", he added.

"On 1 May we remember all those who fought for workers' rights which we take for granted today, he said and added that the "fight has to continue." The Zagreb city authorities firmly believes in unionising and collective bargaining because that is the only way workers' rights and better working conditions can be won, and that contributes to a better society and better quality of life for all", he said.

Crowds of citizens attended the celebration in Maksimir Park where they were first greeted by Social Democratic Party (SDP) officials, including the head of the SDP Zagreb branch, Viktor Gotovac, and president of the City Assembly, Joško Klisović.

"Workers' Day isn't just a ceremony. It is a great day. We remember the fight for fundamental human rights and that fight hasn't stopped, it is ongoing," Gotovac told reporters.

He said they were fighting for workers stripped of their rights, who are not paid for overtime work and who cannot get an open-ended employment contract.

Bridge councillor Trpimir Goluža underscored that this is a time when workers' rights are quite threatened, which is obvious in the situation in the Zagreb Holding.

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Tomašević: Zagreb Ready to Provide All Assistance to Ukrainian Refugees

February 26, 2022 - Today Interior Minister Davor Božinović announced the beginning of the arrival of Ukrainian refugees in Croatia, following the Russian invasion of their country. The mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević shared on his social networks that they will provide all the necessary assistance for them.

Being the third day since the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory began, neighboring countries begin to receive Ukrainian refugees at their borders. This is the case of Poland, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary, but also that of nearby countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic, all of whom, in addition to expressing their solidarity and condemning the Russian invasion, have confirmed their support in receiving and attending to the refugees. Although Ukraine does not belong to the European Union or the Schengen area, some of these countries maintain border agreements with Ukraine, and others have indicated that they will not require visas or permits to facilitate their entry.

The Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic stated today that several Ukrainian nationals have already arrived in Croatia and that the groundwork to make them comfortable and provide for their needs is now underway.

The news comes just after Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic took to Twitter to tweet that he has spoken with the government and with the Red Cross and that things were now fully underway to accept fleeing Ukrainian refugees.

The mayor of the Croatian capital of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, has been the most recent authority to speak out on the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, and through a post on Facebook, he has expressed his solidarity, and also guaranteed his support and assistance for them.

''The City of Zagreb is ready to provide all possible assistance to refugees from Ukraine. We will make more locations available for the eventual reception of refugees, depending on their needs. This is the least we can do in solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine and the human tragedy they are going through'', reads the post shared by Tomašević.

The mayor of Zagreb finished his post by condemning the Russian invasion in Ukraine: ''I strongly condemn the aggression against Ukraine, because of which many lives will be destroyed - the violence must stop so that the innocent do not continue to suffer''.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Zagreb Mayor Inaugurates Sljeme Cable Car

ZAGREB, 23 Feb 2022 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević inaugurated the Sljeme Cable Car on Wednesday, and citizens who have been waiting for the new cable car since 2007 can use it as of tomorrow.

"I am confident that the numerous citizens who will use this cable car will see that the ride is both safe and comfortable," Tomašević said, adding that the main task now is to enhance and increase the attractions and infrastructure on Mount Sljeme, overlooking the capital.

The old cable car was inaugurated in 1963 for the transport of athletes, recreationists and mountaineers, and its route was 4 km, 1 km shorter than the current one. It was one of the longest in Europe and the ride took some 20 minutes. It stopped operating in summer 2007 due to an engine fault, it was also decided that building a new cable car route was going to be more cost-efficient. A ticket cost HRK 11.

The construction of the new cable car was announced by the late mayor Milan Bandić in July 2016. HRK 30 million was earmarked in the city budget for the following year for the construction. A building permit was issued in summer 2018, and works began the following 25 January.

The new cable car was to have been inaugurated on 3 January 2021, but this was delayed until the final papers were ready and for some reconstruction works to be finished in April. However, there was a problem with noise and the final permit was obtained on Monday.

Tomašević said this was "an inherited, megalomaniacal project" worth HRK 537 million without VAT. The city would repay HRK 45 million annually over the next 12 years.

That amount refers to the cable car's capital expense, while an additional amount will be set aside from the city budget to cover 50% of its operating expenses.

"The investment in the cable car will never be returned and its big capacity to transport passengers to Sljeme will never be used to that extent," the mayor said.

The ride lasts 22 minutes. The cable car's maximum capacity is 1,500 passengers per hour, carried in 84 cabins with ten seats each.

The Sljeme Cable Car will operate from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays and from 8 am to 6 pm on weekends. The first month will be a promotional period and then the cable car will be closed for additional noise-reduction works, after which it will be put into regular operation.

During the promotional month, a one-way ticket will be HRK 30 for adults and HRK 20 for persons aged 15-24 and those over 60, while a return ticket will be HRK 50 for adults and HRK 30 for the other group. Children under 14 and persons will disabilities can use the cable car for free.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

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