Monday, 7 June 2021

Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic Walks to Work Citing City's Poor Financial Status

June the 7th, 2021 - New Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic has been making quite the healthy habit of walking to work, citing the Croatian capital's dire financial status and three years of irresponsibility. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, upon arriving to work on foot once again on Monday, new Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic said that he and his associates also came to work over the weekend to try to sort thing out as quickly as possible. He made sure to note that "the financial situation is not good" in the City of Zagreb.

"This is just the result of three years of financial irresponsibility. 2019 ended with a loss of 1.3 billion kuna, without any external reasons, it's just pure financial irresponsibility. 2020 ended with a loss of ''only'' 90 million kuna, but when you look at the Covid loans handed out by the Government and the deferred claims of ZET, Zagreb Holding and (Croatian) Waters, then that loss is much higher and that is, once again, more financial responsibility, because there was no rebalance when it was needed,'' stated the capital's brand new mayor.

He also said that from what he has seen so far of the spending of the city in 2021, it's quite safe to say that this year has been a financially irresponsible one as well, not unlike the previous three - to say the least.

"The main goal is to stabilise the city's finances and analyse the cash flows on a weekly and then on a monthly basis, to revise the procurement plan so that what is not crucial is postponed. Zagreb Holding's report shows a loss of around 305 million kuna,'' he said, adding that there is no worst-case scenario to speak of just yet, and that the new city government will do its best to stabilise these finances and this truly dire financial situation so that this situation doesn't have too many consequences.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated Croatian politics section.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from May 31- June 6, 2021

 June 6, 2021 - TCN's highlights of the week. A look at the events in Croatia from May 31 through the selection of TCN's reporter Ivor Kruljac. 

From significant political changes after the local elections to the losses and preparations in sport, the week was hyped by a strive for hope in Croatia. But, the tragic murder of Nino Čengić in Varaždin was a painful kick to the stomach. Here is another weekly selection of the news depicting the bittersweet life in Croatia. 

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© Patrik Macek / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Tomislav Tomašević officially. becomes the new mayor of Zagreb

Zagreb local elections winner Tomislav Tomašević met with Jelena Pavičić Vukičević for an official ceremony of transferring power on Friday, which makes Tomašević officially the new mayor of Zagreb.

Media attention was also caught for the fact that Tomašević was four minutes late to the ceremony because he was waiting for the ambulance on Cibona because a woman fell ill in the middle of the street. But, for the bigger public interest, it's important to note today was the first time for Tomašević to have a detailed view on the financial situation of the City of Zagreb, giving him a clear picture of the debt problem Zagreb has. 

As TCN reported earlier, Tomašević told the press after the ceremony that the situation is not good, but there are solutions. Still, so far, no more details were given on the two-thousand-odd-page reports on the 2020 budget execution and preliminary figures. Additionally, the new city assembly would hold the founding meeting on 17 June.  

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© Slavko Midzor / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Zlatko Dalić on Croatian National Football Team

The Croatian National Football Team is preparing for the friendly clash with Belgium. As reported by TCN, Zlatko Dalić faced the press on Friday ahead of the match. 

„I am satisfied with everything except the result. We had minor injury problems. We did the rest as expected, but the draw with Armenia left a bitter taste. In that game, we had to win 4-0 or 5-0, not draw 1-1. I am dissatisfied with this result. Plus, we created 5-6 percent chances, and we didn't do that in three games in a row at the beginning of the World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia, Cyprus, and Malta. We were nonchalant and irresponsible and did not realize them. We were not specific, and that is a minus“, said Dalić to the press. 

Dalić also pointed out that the national team is aware of its obligation to the Croatian people. He spoke about the problems in the national team, the pros and cons of the draw against Armenia, and the expectations from players who are dissatisfied with their status. One of them is Andrej Kramarić, who, after 20 goals scored in the Bundesliga this season, is not safe among Dalić's starters. A few days ago, he advised the media to ask Davor Šuker what he would say after such a season. 

Expectionsare big ahead of the EURO championship, and no doubt fans will pay attention with close interest. 

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© Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Anđelko Stričak, new prefect

The power transfer ceremony on Friday also took place in Varaždin where Anđelko Stričak defeated current Varaždin prefect Radimir Čačić. 

„The victory is well deserved. In the past nine years as the president of Varaždin county organization of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and in six years as a member of the parliament, I've been to every corner of Varaždin county and talked to everybody. I heard the needs of our citizens, and I tried to solve them by cooperating with coalition partners on every level. Of course, I'm not the best, most capable or most perfect, but I will try with my team to give my best that everybody in the county feel changes for the better“, said the new Varaždin County prefect Stričak, as reported by Varaždin county's official website

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© Sanjin Strukic / PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Croatia Loses to Spain in the Under-21 European Championship

Spain was better than Croatia after extra time in the Under-21 European Championship quarter-final in Maribor on Monday. The match ended 2:1. As reported by TCN, Croatia was solid in the first half and threatened the Spain goal on a few occasions. Despite Spain's high pressure, Ivanušec had a chance from 20 meters in the 7th minute, and in the 23rd, Bradarić's shot was blocked by the Spain defense. Spain retaliated with a Diaz shot from 20 meters, but Croatia's defense made it difficult for them to do much more. 

The young Croatia national team fought against Spain for a spot in the semifinals. 

Igor Bišćan's side met Spain at Ljudski Vrt stadium in Maribor. 

"The guys are aware that we have a great chance, they are motivated to do something, and we are all around them to give them that chance and be supportive. They have quality," Bišćan announced before the match.  

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© Vjeran Zganec Rogulja/ PIXSELL

Highlights of the week: Nino Čengić funeral in Varaždin

The Funeral of the English professor Nino Čengić who passed away last Sunday, was held on Wednesday. Nino Gengić, a substitute English professor in one Varaždin school, was brutally beaten with bats and chains in front of the local club in Varaždin called Kulturana. He was 35 years old.

As Jutarnji List reports, four suspects aged 24-29 are currently in custody while the investigation is ongoing as to what lead to this attack. Suspect's apartments were searched, and one suspect illegally possessed a considerable amount of ammo and fire weapons to match. All suspects were previously known to the police for troubling behavior, and the most tragic was the fact that 15 people witnessed the beating, but nobody stopped it.

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

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

Friday, 4 June 2021

Several Cities and Counties Get New Heads After Predecessors' Long Terms

ZAGREB, 4 June 2021 - Following Croatia's local election runoffs on 30 May, several long-standing county prefects and mayors were unseated while some decided not to rerun, and on Friday transfers of powers were held in those units of local government and some other cities and county seats.

Apart from the focus on the change of power in Zagreb, where the new mayor Tomislav Tomašević of the Green-Left bloc took over office from the acting mayor Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, who temporarily stepped into office after the death of Mayor Milan Bandić on 28 February, the transfer of powers in Pula, Osijek, Sibenik-Knin and Varaždin counties also grabbed media attention.

Pula

In the biggest Istrian city of Pula, the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) lost the mayoral elections for the first time. The former mayor, IDS leader Boris Miletić, decided not to rerun for this position after his 15-year-long mayorship. However, he vied in the race for County Prefect which he won by a slim margin.

The IDS mayoral candidate was defeated by Filip Zoričić, an independent candidate, who took over the post on Friday morning. Concerning the city council, the IDS was a relative winner, with 32% of the vote, and Zoričić's slate won 16.87%, and was followed by the We Can slate (16.84%) and the Social Democratic Party (15%). Currently Zoričić and the two latter groups are conducting negotiations on the future majority in the city's legislature. The deadline for the founding session of the Pula city council is 19 June.

Čakovec

The new mayor of Čakovec, Ljerka Cividini, took over the powers from the SDP mayor Stjepan Kovač, who was at the helm of the city since 2013. Cividini said today that concrete projects would be on the agenda after the new authorities got full insight into the finances of this biggest city in Međimurje County, which re-elected Matija Posavec as its county prefect.

Cividini, supported by Posavec's slate, as well as by several parties including the HNS, Democrats, HSLS and HDSS, said today that as far as the future majority in the 19-seat city council was concerned, the topic was being negotiated by her slate, that won 8 seats, with the Fokus party, that had three seats.

Varaždin County

The change of powers in the office of the Varaždin Prefect was highlighted by media as a development that could impact the relations in the ruling majority in the national parliament. Former county prefect Radimir Čačić of the Reformists party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, was unseated by Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) official Anđelko Stričak.

Upon the transfer of powers, Stričak today announced negotiations on forming the majority in the county assembly in which the HDZ will have the largest number of seats, and is followed by the Reformists.

Šibenik-Knin County

The new prefect in Šibenik-Knin County, Marko Jelić, who was the mayor of Knin in the previous term, stepped into office at today's formal ceremony. Jelić, who ran as an independent candidate, unseated the former county prefect, Goran Pauk of the HDZ, who had run the county for 15 years.

However, the county assembly will have the largest number of HDZ councillors, as this party won 35% of the vote, the independent list of Stipe Petrina followed with 16.6% of the vote, and Jelić's slate was third with 15.6%.

Lika-Senj County

The transfer of powers was also held in Gospić, with Ernest Petry of the HDZ party succeeding Darko Milinović, who founded a new regional party after his conflict with the HDZ leadership a few years ago.

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

Friday, 4 June 2021

Former Acting Mayor: Zagreb Ended 2020 HRK 90m in Red

ZAGREB, 4 June 2021 - Former acting Zagreb mayor Jelena Pavičić Vukičević said on Friday the city ended last year HRK 90 million in the red.

Speaking on N1 television, she said annual borrowing was always done with the consent of the Finance Ministry, that it never exceeded 20% of the city budget, and that borrowing until 2035 totalled HRK 2 billion.

She also said that everyone working in the city administration had passed a public call for applications. "It's a procedure that lasts six months in which diplomas and other documents are verified, and it's a procedure the new mayor will have to respect, too."

Earlier today, Pavičić Vukičević transferred executive powers to the new mayor, Tomislav Tomašević, handing over extensive reports, including on the execution of the 2020 budget.

She said today's talk with Tomašević was "friendly" and that the new mayor would be acquainted with all of the city's operations.

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

Friday, 4 June 2021

New Mayor of Zagreb Says City Finances Not Good, but There Are Solutions

ZAGREB, 4 June 2021 - Addressing the press after the ceremony of the transfer of powers in Zagreb's city administration on Friday morning, the new mayor Tomislav Tomašević, said that a state of affairs in the city's finances was not good, however, there were solutions that would be discussed in greater detail.

Tomašević, who was presented with two-thousand-odd-page reports on the 2020 budget execution and preliminary figures on this year's budget by the former acting mayor Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, said that the overall financial picture was not good.

He, however, stopped short of giving more information about the debt of the City of Zagreb, explaining that it would not provide a comprehensive picture.

He admitted that the managing the finances would be one of the biggest challenges of the new authorities, however, they were optimistic as they could find solutions to that situation.

Tomašević, who was accompanied by the new deputy mayors, Danijela Dolenec and Luka Korleat, during the ceremony of the transfer of powers, described their meeting with Pavičić Vukičević and her associates as open and constructive.

Tomašević said that the new city assembly would hold the founding meeting on 17 June.

Tomašević's Green-Left bloc won the 40% of the vote for the 47-seat assembly, and will have 23 seats, which means that it is short of one seat for the majority.

The Croatian Democratic Union  (HDZ) won 11.3% of the vote in the 16 May local elections, and is thus entitled to six seats. The other three parties: the Homeland Movement (DP) led by Miroslav Škoro, the Labour and Solidarity Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) won five seats each.

Green-Left, SDP negotiating programme cooperation and political functions in Assembly

Tomašević today confirmed that his Left-Green bloc was conducting the negotiations with the SDP on the cooperation through programmes as well as on political functions in the assembly.

"When we reach agreement, we will present it to the public," he said.

Tomašević said he expected that a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the post-quake reconstruction fund's head, Damir Vanđelić, would soon be appointed.

Deputy Mayor Luka Korlaet, an architect, told the news conference that he perceived his role "as a facilitator of the post-quake reconstruction of Zagreb", and announced his first meeting with Vanđelić and the head of the city's office for construction.

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

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

New Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević: Sandra Benčić (Mozemo!) On First Moves

June 1, 2021 - With the new Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević soon coming to the office, Sandra Benčić of the green-left platform Mozemo! (We Can!) spoke to Index.hr about the first moves of the new administration.

Following intense post-first round campaigns in Zagreb for the second round of local elections, Tomislav Tomašević is the new mayor of Zagreb. Additionally, Tomašević's green-left coalition Mozemo! earned 23 seats in the City's assembly, and if the previously announced support of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) that has five, Mozemo! will have the majority in the assembly. 

The new mayor is expected to take his seat by the end of this week, and as Index.hr reports, Sandra Benčić, the Mozemo! MP says that ZG Holding chief and directors can be removed from their position immediately.

However, first and foremost, the earthquake damages seem to be taking the lead.

„The most urgent thing is to prepare documentation for the reconstructions of kindergartens, schools, and institutions in the city ownership that were damaged in the earthquake. We have to do that as fast as possible because the deadline to pull money from the EU Solidarity Fund is June 2022. I'm afraid there will be a fiasco regarding how much will the State pull from the fund, but we can only take the money for estates in the city property, and the damaged kindergartens and schools are our priority“, told Benčić for Index.hr

She added that they plan to start an Office for Zagreb Reconstruction and establish mobile teams which will help citizens to fill in documentation and requests for the reconstruction of damaged homes.

Regarding the statement about the fiasco with the State pulling money from Solidarity Fund, the conflict with the government was sparked yesterday when PM Andrej Plenković talked to the press regarding Tomašević's victory. He said he didn't congratulate Tomašević yet, but he will and that he expects good cooperation.

„I see that Mozemo! is paraphrasing my message from 2016 when I said that we are changing Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) so we can change Croatia. They say they are changing Zagreb to change Croatia. Clearly, they have something against this Croatia“, said Plenković, sparking controversy.

And Benčić is not the one to remain silent on such statements.

„Yes, we do have something against this kind of HDZ and evening HDZ with the State. They are not the State but an interest group that trapped our country. We want to see the country returns to all its citizens and that, of course, hurts them to the level that the prime minister allows himself these kinds of statements which, if they weren't malice, would be at minimal, unsmart“, said Benčić.

With the biggest number of votes in the history of mayoral elections in Zagreb, Benčić continues they are ready to justify this trust, and they start with work immediately.

„We are going with the financial revision of City's administration, restructuring City offices. We will do it step by step and connect offices while ensuring that functions and services need to deliver to the citizens. It should be noted that Zagreb used to have fewer offices, 17 until 2000 and then offices start to grow exponentially, only to put politically suited people to positions and raise their payments“, explained Benčić.

 And the new Mayor Tomislav Tomašević also gave an interview on Monday. As Jutarnji List reported, Tomašević also talked about his plans to improve Zagreb and fulfill his promises, particularly with so many earned votes.

„This big trust is also a big responsibility. Citizens can expect that we will lead by example from the start. The city administration and authority will be based on three things: decency, modesty, and being at the citizen's service.

He also added that Mozemo! is considering filing a lawsuit against Miroslav Škoro for the filthy instigating campaign, as Tomašević and many other public figures described it.

„I wouldn't like this to happen to anyone anymore on any other elections in Croatia, regardless are we talking about a candidate from the right, left or center," commented Tomašević.

Although no direct link can be proved at the moment, Škoro's rhetoric could've been the fuel for the attacker that set fire to the Mozemo! election headquarters at Zagreb Contemporary Museum on the election night saying to the gathered that „they are communists“ and how he will „kill them all“, on which T-portal reported

The elections are over, but will Zagreb continue to celebrate in such a majority as it did on election night? This is something only Tomašević on his new function can answer in the following months and years.

Learn more about Zagreb on our TC page.

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

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

PM Andrej Plenkovic Comments on Mozemo! Win in Croatian Capital

June the 1st, 2021 - Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic has claimed that despite the clear Tomasevic and Mozemo! (We Can!) win in the City of Zagreb, making him the new mayor and marking a significant political shift, that Mozemo! have something against ''this Croatia''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, upon answering journalists' questions about the election results, PM Andrej Plenkovic (HDZ) said that he hadn't yet called Tomislav Tomasevic in person and congratulated him on his win and new title as the Mayor of Zagreb, but that he does intend to and will.

When he was asked how it is that everyone says they are winning, he simply said: "Count!"

“The numbers are always the best indicators. HDZ has 45 percent of cities and municipalities, 75 percent of the counties. HDZ has never won 15 counties before. I see that people Mozemo! paraphrased my message from back in 2016 when I said: "We're changing the HDZ to change Croatia." They're changing Zagreb to change Croatia. Obviously, they have something against the Croatia in which we managed to prevent social fragmentation, preserve 700,000 jobs, save 120,000 employers, pay 2.9 billion kuna within Zagreb alone for the salaries of 215,000 workers in the capital… I guess that's a message for change that needs to be done at the level of Croatia. I still have to listen carefully to precisely what changes they're calling for,'' said PM Andrej Plenkovic.

When asked what kind of cooperation he expects with Zagreb's new mayor Tomislav Tomasevic, he said that he has good cooperation with all leaders of local government units.

In a recent speech, he emphasised that the HDZ failed to win in only three out of six big cities. When asked by journalists whether or not the four largest Croatian cities are always the measure, Plenkovic pointed out the example of Velika Gorica near Zagreb, which, as he says, is growing, is now very large and that there is no big difference in population when compared to the likes of Osijek and Zadar as well.

"I'm delighted with the HDZ victory in Bjelovar-Bilogora County in the form of a young man of 36 years of age, who is one of those people of the new generation of HDZ. There, HDZ has returned to power after 20 years. It's the same situation in Varazdin County. For the first time in 20 years, Komadina had to go to the second round with Cappelli, where he won, although itsn't the sort of victory like he had before.

Of the 15 prefects we have, eight of them are "old" and seven are new. Of those seven, two are women and that’s just as important. The only women prefects are from HDZ - Antonija Jozic and Martina Furek Hajdin. The third candidate for mayor, Irena Hrstic, achieved the best HDZ result ever in Istria County, above 18 percent,'' he pointed out, emphasising that they also returned to power in Lika-Senj County.

He also accused RTL and Nova TV of deliberately mispronouncing the name of HDZ's candidate for mayor of Zagreb, Davor Filipovic, saying: "You should make a poster about what ideological television is like," to an N1 television reporter.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated section on Croatian politics.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Man Who Caused Incident Outside Tomašević's Campaign Headquarters Detained

ZAGREB, 31 May 2021 - The man who started a smaller fire near an entrance to a museum where Zagreb mayor-elect Tomislav Tomašević's team gathered on Sunday evening was taken to a police station in Zagreb on Monday, the local police reported.

The police did not reveal the identity of the suspect and only reported that an investigation was being conducted.

As Zagreb's mayor-elect Tomašević was preparing to address his supporters and public at his campaign headquarters on Sunday evening, an older man arrived at the scene, hurling insults at those attending the event and starting a smaller fire, after which he left. The man arrived at one of the fire exits of Zagreb's Museum of Contemporary Art, close to the stage, where he was stopped by security guards.

Shouting insults at the security guards, he spilled a flammable liquid on the floor and on one of the guards. He then set the liquid on fire but the fire was soon extinguished as the man walked away. Police were called to the scene after the incident.

According to media reports, the man called those attending the event communists and threatened to kill them.

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

Monday, 31 May 2021

Transfer of Authority in Zagreb on Friday at Earliest, Says Acting Mayor

ZAGREB, 31 May 2021 - Acting Zagreb Mayor Jelena Pavičić Vukičević said on Monday all the documents necessary for transferring authority to newly-elected Mayor Tomislav Tomašević were ready at the city administration and that the transfer could occur on Friday at the earliest.

She congratulated Tomašević on his election and wished him and his team success in their work.

We followed the campaign and saw the election programs, and we expect their prompt and good realization, she told the press.

Pavičić Vukičević also congratulated the people of Zagreb on City Day, which is observed today.

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

Monday, 31 May 2021

Tomašević Calls on Zagreb Residents To Participate in Decision-Making

May 31st, 2021 - Zagreb's new mayor Tomislav Tomašević said in his first address as mayor-elect on Sunday that residents of Zagreb had put trust in his ability to run the city, calling on them to participate in decision-making on the city's development.

"Thank you, Zagreb! Thank you for your trust, hope, your belief that a true change is possible. Thank you for a clear mandate for a real change. Thank you for believing in me, in yourselves, and all of us," Tomašević said in the address at his campaign headquarters at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

"We will do our best to justify your trust," he said, also thanking voters who did not vote for him and stressing that in time he hoped to gain their approval as well with a better model of governance and better quality of life for all.

Tomašević said that he had been fighting all his life for the city and its interests and against harmful agreements and decisions by those who, he said, had captured the city, systematically neglecting it and using it as their own cash machine.

He recalled that his campaign for Zagreb started back in 1998 when he was 16 and fought against the illegal dumping of hazardous waste in gravel pits by the River Sava.

"Twenty-three years later, here we are, together with the best team with whom I have been fighting for years for a juster, more solidary, and more tolerant society. Those are the people with whom I share a vision for Zagreb as a greener, more just, and more transparent city," said Tomašević.

"I will proudly lead this city to a better future, and I will be the mayor of all its residents, both those who voted for me and those who did not," he said.

"I believe that all residents of Zagreb, regardless of how they voted and whether they voted at all, want better living conditions in their neighborhoods, more available child care, better health care, more retirement, and nursing homes, better public transportation, better cycle lanes, and more green areas and that they want this city to finally make it possible for young people to have a future here," he said.

"Our mission will not last only until the next election; we look much farther into the future because the city's long-term wellbeing is the most important to us. Zagreb, you have given me your trust, and I ask you to participate, together with us, in making decisions on the city's development," said Tomašević.

He also called for patience, adding that a lot of work lay ahead and that the changes the city was about to undergo were neither quick nor simple.

In Sunday's runoff election for Zagreb mayor, Tomašević won 199,630 votes, the most votes so far. Before him, the largest number of votes was won by the city's long-serving mayor, the late Milan Bandić, who in 2013 won 170,798 votes.

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

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