Monday, 5 July 2021

Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis: Issues Still Exist, Pride Celebrates History and Present Equality

July 5, 2021 - Gay rights in Croatia still have challenges ahead, but even if all problems are resolved, Pride should remain a commemorative event. A look at the history of gay culture in Croatia and the current climate in this Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis by TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac.

Zagreb Pride is the oldest pride in Croatia. First held in 2002, it attracts more and more people every year, from LGBTQ members, straight people that support gay rights to NGOs, human rights activists, and even politicians from the left and liberal specter. Over the years, the event grew from a one-day pride to Pride month, full of educational and entertaining events regarding LGBTQ issues and a chance for people with the same preferences to meet and celebrate who they are.

Pride month is marked in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.

„The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets, and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world“, reminds History.com.

When it comes to LGBTQ in Croatia, as you can expect with the ideological divide Croatians generally experience, there are mixed feelings on the issue.

From street violence to a family event  

Participating in the first Pride in 2002 required that if you are a man loving a man ready to openly admit it, you had to have balls.

The attacks by skinheads and other „morally concerned citizens were fierce and violent. Participants truly needed police protection which was provided but also needed to be careful to not get hit by the incoming rocks that were thrown among the participants.

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Police arresting violent skinhead at the first Zagreb Pride in 2002, screenshot / Zagreb pride

But, at least for Zagreb, the situation got better and more open. Today, pride is the forthcoming celebration of love and freedom, and entire families can be seen to join the picnic at Ribnjak park to teach their children tolerance and that people are not sick or different from others because of their sexual preference. Other larger cities in Croatia, such as Split, slowly but surely, do follow that path too, and Rijeka, the pinnacle of liberal Croatia, is also a very gay-friendly city.

Of course, a political counterstrike is expected and quite strong. The first most notable one was the 2013 referendum, where it was voted that the Croatian constitution declares marriage as a „community between a man and woman“. The goal was to deny LGBTQ couples the same rights as enjoyed by straight people.

However, the bill on life partnership outplayed that attempt.

In the meantime, LGBTQ couples can also adopt children in Croatia, as Constitutional Court concluded that gay couples fostering children is not against the Croatian Constitution.

That decision and along with the general openness of Croatia towards LGBTQ was followed by a controversial carnival in Imotski where an effigy of a gay couple was burned. President Zoran Milanović demanded an apology from the organizers, and SDP's MP Arsen Bauk filed charges against the organizers.

Counting pluses and minuses, the report on Croatia being the 39th best country for LGBTQ visitors still seems to uphold. No changes for the better, but at least Croatia is still in the top third for this category of tourists.

 Haters strike back

2020 and 2021 sadly saw the uprise of violence towards LGBTQ in the Croatian capital. Apart from the occasional tearing down or burning of the rainbow flag, Croatia was shocked with an attempt of burning a man in Maksimir Forest Park as well, with his sexual preference being the sole motive for the attack.

 On the other side, this year's pride felt to start stronger than ever. The newly elected mayor Tomislav Tomašević joined the parade, along with stating that Zagreb is a city that is open to everyone. This year arranged a bit differently to adhere to corona measures; around 2500 participated in the event.  

„Twenty of our prides made our city and our republic a better, more democratic, and joyous place for the life of all citizens“, was the main message of the 20th edition of Zagreb Pride.

As reported by Index.hr, the Zagreb Pride association representatives stated that the Croatian LGBTIQ community „became a powerful, responsible and self-aware part of the country, but that the fight isn't over“.

„Our constitution and our laws still do not include in a complete and fair way. Our streets and squares are still not free of hate. We didn't forget nor we will forget victims of homophobic and fascist rampage in this year and all previous years“, stated Zagreb Pride.  

Sadly, while Pride itself went without issues, participants of the pride who walked the streets of Zagreb after pride with rainbow flags faced a series of physical attacks on several locations in Zagreb.  

A week ahead of Pride, conservative MOST Party parliament member Nikola Grmoja complained that commercials displayed during EURO 2020 commercials were LGBTQ propaganda and that kids need to be protected from it and announced that he might include it in his anti-pedophile package. Grmoja's statement caused strong disagreements among the Croatian public, with several people (including celebrities) teasing him that if he wants to start battling pedophilia, he should start from church (as Grmoja is quite clerical). Božo Petrov, president of the MOST party, added more fuel to the fire when he supported Grmoja, stating that „minorities can't dictate what my children can learn in school“. He added that minorities need to be aware that they are minorities and that „we tolerate that," sparking more enrage from the public, with many comparing MOST to the controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Zagreb Pride linked the post-Pride physical attacks with Petrov and Grmoja's public statements, and Petrov and Grmoja announced they would sue Zagreb Pride for slender.

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Nikola Grmoja, screenshot N1

The Law: "Gay is OK". Popular opinion: "Do it in your homes, not on the streets".

In this political escalation, what does the average Croatian think? Looking at the comments on social networks, it seems the majority of Croatians don't mind gays being gays and living how they like (even if they are not always happy with legal rights the LGBTQ community received). But, one sentiment in that „tolerance“ is particularly worrying.

„Live in your house however you want it. You don't have to wave around, like its a best thing ever“, said one of the online comments on Index.hr beneath the news on Petrov and Grmoja.

So it seems the public does not understand why Pride is important. First of all, as evident, the political climate is such that the battle for equality truly isn't over in Croatia, and Pride is the best way for the community to express what issues LGBTQ still face in Croatia. Additionally, pride month is also educational and supportive, and public presence show to other people who feel the same that they are not alone, as they might feel lonely and unable to find people who feel the same in everyday life.

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© Zagreb Pride

But, even if the law and constitution give the same rights and solves the problem of intolerance of LGBTQ people completely, does that mean that Pride should then be canceled? Well, Croatia won its independence and the war in the nineties. Does that mean we should stop commemorating the Homeland War? Or is it nice to honor and celebrate the victory and triumph over all obstacles Croatia had to face in its independence? Pride is a cultural, commemorative event honoring those who were or still are victims and oppressed for their sexual preference, either in Croatia or in the world. Croatia is a democratic country. Every group, national, ethnical, racial, religious, etc. should have the right to gather and honor its heroes. The right to gather and honor its tragedies and their dates and connect with other people who feel the same. If political elites are so concerned with keeping Croatians in Croatia, then they can't afford to discriminate or attack part of Croatian society solely based on their sexual preference. A preference that, unlike being violent or intolerable, can't be chosen.

Learn more about LGBT rights in Croatia and what LGBT tourists should know on our TC page.

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

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Mayor: Detained Zagreb Administration Employees Temporarily Sacked

ZAGREB, 3 July 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Saturday, after corruption-related arrests earlier this week, that the city administration employees placed in investigative detention would be temporarily terminated.

He told the press that he had warned about the way in which public spaces in Zagreb were leased back when he was a city councillor, announcing that the City Assembly would now change the necessary decisions and rules.

Tomašević said that one of the new city administration's moves had been to appoint an entirely new commission which decided on the lease of public spaces, adding that the old commission "was very problematic."

Asked if he thought there would be more arrests in the city administration, he said, "I think there will be and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg." He added that the trials should be as brief as possible to see if those arrested were guilty or not.

Zagreb is an open city

Tomašević was speaking to the press at the 20th Zagreb Pride Parade.

"We wish to say as the new administration that Zagreb is an open city celebrating all differences, and that no one can be discriminated against on any grounds, including sexual orientation."

He said this was the first time that a Zagreb mayor was attending Pride. "It took 20 years, too long if you ask me."

Tomašević recalled that he marched in the first Pride as a private citizen, later as a city councillor last year as an MP, and now as the mayor.

He labelled as dangerous some politicians' statements about the LGBT community this week, saying that scoring cheap political points on minorities in 21st century Croatia was pathetic.

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

Friday, 2 July 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from June 28-July 4

June 3, 2021 - TCN's highlights of the week. A look at the events in Croatia from June 28 through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac.

EURO 2020 elimination and Dario Šarić in the NBA finals. Zagreb witnessing a series of arrests related to corruption of Milan Bandić's reign and explosive device planted in Split. In the midst of it all, is COVID-19 vaccination on its way to becoming obligatory and not optional? You may prefer the good news or the bad news, but here is both, as another week in Croatia comes to an end.

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© Marin Tironi / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Uskok arresting Zagreb entrepreneurs and associates of former mayor Milan Bandić

The Office of Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Wednesday that a preliminary investigation by members of the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor and the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) started at the city administration offices at 6 am on Wednesday.

As TCN wrote, several people were arrested on suspicion of corruption, including the director-general of the HRT public broadcaster, Kazimir Bačić, Andrea Šulentić, and Ana Stavljenić-Rukavina. Both Šulentić and Rukavina were directors in Zagreb administration offices and close associates of former mayor Milan bandić. At the same time, details Bandić's heavy corruption (suspected and known publicly earlier) came to light.

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© Goran Stanzl / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Croatia eliminated from Euro 2020 after losing to Spain

Croatia and Spain met in Copenhagen on Monday for their EURO 2020 round of 16 match. It was a decent effort from Croatia, but not enough. Despite the Spain own goal in the 20th minute, the distraction as Rebić went to change his boots saw Spain even the score. The score towards the end of regular time went to 3:1 for Spain, but Croatia managed to lower to 3:2 and finally, in the added time, Pašalić scored for 3:3.

But, the euphoria was ruined for Croatia as in extra time, Morata earned Spain 4:3, and by 103rd minute, the total and final score was 5:3 for Spain. It was one of the more intense games on Euro so far as both teams show incredible spirit and persistence. 

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© Dusko Jaramaz / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Opposition parties against vaccination being required for job-keeping payments  

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday not to make vaccination a requirement for job-keeping payments, while the Most party said business owners were being blackmailed into vaccination.

As TCN reported, SDP leader Peđa Grbin elaborated his dissatisfaction via social networks.

"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 Grbin posted on Facebook.

"Most is against entrepreneurs, who are being forced into vaccination through blackmail, saving the government's mindless epidemic policy", stated the Most party on its official Twitter account. They added that Croatia was stuck with over 300,000 surplus vaccines because of poor government moves and communication omissions.

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© Hrvoje Jelavic / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Dario Šarić becomes 5th Croatian basketballer in the NBA finals

Šibenik's Dario Šarić is the 5th Croatian basketball player to reach the NBA finals! As TCN wrote, Šarić became only the fifth Croatian basketball player in the NBA league finals, joining the company of Dražen Petrović, Toni Kukoč, Žan Tabak, and Ante Žižić. Šarić plays for Phoenix Suns. They topped the Los Angeles Clippers 4-2 in the NBA Western Conference Finals. Apart from basketball, Šarić also likes to enjoy sipping coffee on Šibenik cafe terraces, as portrayed in the photo. 

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© Milan Sabic / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Bomb planted in Split. One person injured
In the night from Thursday to Friday, an unknown person placed an explosive device underneath a vehicle. The explosion damaged six cars, and one person required medical attention. The investigation is ongoing since Friday morning.  

To learn more about Croatia, have a look at our TC website.

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

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

USKOK Investigators Conducting Probe in Zagreb City Administration Offices

ZAGREB, 30 June, 2021 - The Office of Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Wednesday that a preliminary investigation by members of the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor and the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) started at the city administration offices at 6 am on Wednesday.

Tomašević said in a brief press release that the new city administration fully supported the independence of state institutions and would continue advocating the transparency of work of the city administration, all city departments, companies, institutions and the related businesses.

Media say HRT director arrested

Several people were arrested on Wednesday morning on the suspicion of corruption, including, according to media reports, the director-general of the HRT public broadcaster, Kazimir Bačić.

USKOK and police have not confirmed these reports, but media say that the suspicion of corruption refers mostly to transactions of the previous Zagreb city administration at the end of 2020 and in the first half of 2021.

Bačić was allegedly arrested over a suspicious contract he signed on behalf of HRT with the Tvornica Žarulja light bulb factory.

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.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Tomislav Tomašević: Decision on Zagreb Holding Appointments According to Law

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Wednesday that the decision on new management and supervisory boards in the Zagreb Holding utility company was legally valid and in accordance with the law on local and regional government and the Companies' Act.

The Conflict of Interest Commission has launched a case against Tomašević, the commission's president Nataša Novaković said on Tuesday, who underscored that the case was opened due to a possible breach of Article 15 of the Conflict of Interest Act, after staff were appointed in Zagreb Holding contrary to normal practice. 

Tomašević noted that the decision has already been registered in the Commercial Court register.

"With reference to launching the procedure before the Conflict of Interest Commission for an alleged breach of procedure, we assessed that the situation in Zagreb Holding warranted immediate action and so we decided to adopt decisions according to valid laws and the usual practice. We need to underline an additional circumstance, that until the representative body is constituted, it cannot propose new members to management and supervisory boards," Tomašević said in a press release.

The mayor's office recalled the Conflict of Interest Commission's opinion in 2013 in which it notes that "in cases where collision between the provisions of Article 15, Par. 2 of the Conflict of Interest Act and the provisions of Article 48 of the Local and Regional Self-Government Act occur, the provisions of the law that enter into force later are applied - lex posterior derogat legi priori - hence the provisions of Article 48 of the Local and Regional Self-Government Act."

Based on that article, mayors and county prefects appoint and relieve representatives of local government in local companies in which the local government holds a stake or ownership shares.

After the signing of a coalition agreement between Tomašević's We Can! party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), SDP leader Peđa Grbin said that the Conflict of Interest Commission had reacted to an article in the law that until yesterday it had called to be erased, considering that the 2012 law on local government regulated the issue of appointing members to management and supervisory boards in companies owned by local government in a different way.

"With due respect to the Commission and to the excellent work it does in numerous spheres, this isn't its duty but that of the legislator," said Grbin, who called on the government to send amendments to the laws to parliament as soon as possible.

"I expect the government to forward amendments to the law on local government or to the law on the conflict of interest as soon as possible so that this issue is absolutely clear and unambiguous and to define how management and supervisory boards in companies in local government are to be appointed," added Grbin.

He urged that the amendment be brought urgently as this same situation could occur in other cities around the country and that a broad consensus should be reached on this matter.

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

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

GONG: "Tomislav Tomašević Betrayed Pre-Election Promises"

 ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - The GONG NGO said on Wednesday that the newly-elected Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević had betrayed his pre-election promises by appointing members of the Management Board of the Zagreb Holding utility conglomerate without competitions for the posts.

Appointments made without a competition are not the path citizens chose in the elections, wanting a change in the way Zagreb is run, although it is indisputable that the City and Zagreb Holding (ZGH) have huge debts and that it is necessary to act as soon as possible, GONG said in a press release.

The NGO thinks that Tomašević should have kept the promises and standards announced in the election programme if he really wants to change the model of governing Zagreb and after 20 years of Milan Bandić's rule stop the practice of non-transparent employment.

The new model of governing Zagreb, announced by the Možemo! platform, explicitly stated that members of the management board of Zagreb Holding (and other city companies) would be selected in a public procedure, with the obligatory publication of their programme. This has not been done so far, and public calls will only serve to select additional members of the ZGH management and supervisory boards, GONG said.

For years, GONG has been advocating obligatory public calls for the selection of management staff in public and city companies, with adherence to the principle of competence.

We think that there is a high risk of corruption in public companies which have large budgets and a large number of employees, GONG said.

Explaining on Tuesday why he resorted to the direct appointment in ZGH although in the run-up to the elections he and his party (We Can!) promised the appointment of executives and management members of the city-owned companies only through public calls, Tomašević said that the situation inherited from the previous local government forced them to react quickly and the direct appointment was the most responsible solution.

Commenting on ZGH's loss of HRK 305 million, Tomašević said that the current city administration had two options: to keep the incumbent management that obviously failed to put the situation under control or to dismiss them and leave ZGH without management several months for the duration of the selection procedure.

The mayor elaborated that the minimum number of members of the management and supervisory boards of ZGH were directly appointed and promised the advertisement of public calls for the remaining three members in the management board and the remaining members of the supervisory board.

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

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević: We Didn't Break Our Promise on Advertised Vacancies For City Execs

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - The appointment of new members of the management and supervisory boards of the Zagreb Holding without a public call for the selection of applicants did not constitute a breach of the pre-election promise, the new Mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, said on Tuesday.

The multi-utility conglomerate Zagreb Holding's assembly on Monday relieved the supervisory and management boards of their duties, appointing Suzana Brenko Supervisory Board chair and Ratko Bajakić and Damir Topić its members. The provisional Zagreb Holding (ZGH) Management Board was appointed as well, with two new members, Nikola Vuković as Management Board chair and Ante Samodol as a member.

Tomašević said that the situation inherited from the previous local government forced them to react quickly and the direct appointment was the most responsible solution.

Commenting on ZGH's loss of HRK 305 million, Tomašević said that the current city administration had two options: to keep the incumbent management that obviously failed to put the situation under control or to dismiss them and leave the Holding without management several months for the duration of the public tender. 

Tomašević said that this was why he resorted to the direct appointment although in the run-up to the elections he and his party (We Can) promised the appointment of executives and management members of the city-owned companies only through public calls.

At a meeting held with Mayor Tomašević last Friday, the former ZGH management reported on the conglomerate's financial situation and losses incurred in 2020. An audited and consolidated report for 2020 shows that ZGH has for the first time in the last seven years incurred a loss of HRK 305 million, the mayor's office said on Monday.

Today, the mayor elaborated that the minimum number of members of the management and supervisory boards of ZGH were directly appointed and promised the advertisement of public calls for the remaining three members in the management board and the remaining members of the supervisory board.

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

 

 

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.

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