Croatia: Autumn Parliamentary sessions began with debate on the Zagreb Reconstruction bill

Croatia: Autumn Parliamentary sessions began with debate on the Zagreb Reconstruction bill

Croatian parliamentary opposition parties strongly criticized the Zagreb reconstruction bill and buildings’ environs damaged by the March 22 earthquake, during the parliamentary session on Wednesday.

“The Zagreb reconstruction bill lacks ambition and cements the existing situation. It restores the situation that existed before the earthquake and does not say what Zagreb should be like 10 or 20 years from now”, said Pedja Grbin of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

“The bill is impracticable. It contains a lot of disputable things”, said Anka Mrak Taritaš of the Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS), while Bridge’s Marija Selak Raspudić said that it “creates an atmosphere of legal uncertainty” and “bypasses the existing regulations.”

Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Škoro raised the question of funding, saying that neither the government nor the City of Zagreb had enough money for the reconstruction.

On the other hand, Ivan Domagoj Milošević of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said that the bill was based on three key pillars: political inclusion, the government adopted more than 25 opposition proposals, transparency, and solidarity.

Some of the MPs protested over the epidemiological measures that were unanimously decided by the Parliament Presidency on Tuesday, under which wearing face masks are mandatory and that not more than 41 MPs can be present in the chamber at the same time.

“I would like to thank the Presidency for decimating the MPs and shortening the duration of speeches”, Selak Raspudić said ironically.

Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic reiterated that the Presidency’s decision was unanimous and in line with the Rules of Procedure and was meant to ensure the normal functioning of Parliament and prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection.

According to the measures, any MP not wearing a face mask will first be cautioned by the chairperson and if they refuse to put it on, they will be asked to leave or face being escorted out by security. “We will not be aggressive, but we must protect the MPs’ health. We will not wear masks just for our own sake, but to protect others as well”, Jandroković said on Tuesday, after the Presidency session.

The new Parliament will return to the work regime that had been in place during the previous Parliament, that is only 41 of 151 MPs plus the chairperson will be allowed to attend per session.

This number has come up by dividing the number of members of each political group by four, as a result of which the ruling HDZ party will be entitled to have 16 MPs present, the Social Democrats nine, the Homeland Movement three, Bridge and the green-left bloc two each, and the other groups one each.

“In that way we will ensure a sufficient physical distance”, Jandroković said, adding that the option of electronic voting would also be used.

Parliament sessions began with an extraordinary sitting today, which will last until the end of next week, while it will sit regularly as of September 16./ibna