19.09.11. 08:34:01 NEWS-H9191097



JEZERA, Sept 18 (Hina) - Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic would not comment on Sunday on Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor's statement yesterday that she would not give up until the clampdown on corruption came to the doors of the opposition parties SDP, HNS and IDS.

"That's an interesting statement," Milanovic told the press after meeting with fishermen in Jezera.

Kosor made the statement during a convention of her Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, saying that many were bothered by the fact that the HDZ had opened wide the door to the clampdown on corruption.

"Our party has paid the highest price in the clampdown on corruption, but we won't stop until this fight comes to the doors of the SDP, the HNS and the IDS and we see what they did in the past," she said.

Croatian People's Party (HNS) president Radimir Cacic said today that "anyone in their right mind knows the HDZ has done everything to knock on others' doors," although it was evidently "gushing forth from behind theirs."

"Everything is clear in that story," he added.


MURTER, Sept 18 (Hina) - There are many problems in Croatia's fisheries but they are not the same everywhere, Zoran Milanovic of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) told reporters on Sunday after meeting with fishermen on the island of Murter.

Rules that were known 100 years ago are being ignored, the catch is excessive and fish stocks are in danger, Italy's fleet is too big for the Adriatic Sea but upon Croatia's accession to the European Union, it will be possible to impose rigorous regulations that will have to be respected, especially with regard to the Ecology and Fisheries Protection Zone (EFPZ), said Milanovic.

He said Croatia had not been able to impose order and must take responsibility for that, but added that the EU had strict maritime rules that would refer to the EFPZ and prevent the Italians from further abuse.

The EFPZ should be a zone of order in which the catch will be controlled, otherwise the stocks will not recover, said Milanovic.

Asked by the press how the opposition coalition intended to deal with the big problems of Croatian fisheries, People's Party (HNS) president Radimir Cacic said that, apart from imposing order, one should start applying some new technologies.

He pointed to the need of selective fish breeding and a stable supply of blue-dyed diesel, saying that before 2010, about HRK 360 million used to be turned over in blue-dyed diesel smuggling.

The two opposition leaders were unable to say if experts and fishermen had been sufficiently consulted in negotiations on fisheries as part of Croatia's EU entry talks.

Croatia's negotiating positions were known but the content of the accession treaty was not, said Milanovic.


MARIJA BISTRICA, Sept 18 (Hina) - Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) president Josip Friscic said in Marija Bistrica on Sunday its ruling coalition partner, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), had not informed it about the sale of a stake in the Janaf oil pipeline operator in order to settle the state's debt to pensioners.

"We didn't meet to discuss that and didn't know that a stake in Janaf was going on sale. But we agree that the debt to the pensioners should be paid," Friscic told reporters ahead of the HSS' sixth pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Marija Bistrica.

He said this matter would not shake the HSS-HDZ coalition.

Asked about the HDZ's alleged slush funds, Friscic said slush funds constituted personal responsibility and not the responsibility of a whole party. "But let the judicial institutions do their job," he added.

Friscic was explicit that the HSS would not form a coalition with the HDZ before the parliamentary election in December and that his party would run in the polls independently.

About 15,000 HSS members arrived in Marija Bistrica.


ZADAR, Sept 18 (Hina) - The Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) held a press conference in the coastal city of Zadar on Sunday to present the head of its slate in Constituency No. 9, Drazen Budisa.

The honorary president of the HSLS, Budisa said that Croatia needed plans to get the country out of the crisis and not plans for attracting votes, adding that the HSLS was ready for a policy of right and unpopular moves.

Speaking of the work of the two leading parties, the strongest opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Budisa criticised the SDP for "social demagogy" and described the HDZ's running of the state as "nothing but a struggle for their own personal gain, using all means available."

When asked to comment on the 21-point platform of the SDP-led coalition, HSLS president Darinko Kosor said that the SDP's platform was "a nice programme, almost verging on a fairy tale, but unfeasible."

"Croatian citizens have had enough of being lied to before elections, only to see another policy being conducted after elections. That programme is unfeasible, because it doesn't provide for cuts in public spending. And even school children know that there will be no recovery of the national economy without cuts," Kosor said.

"We expect all those who at the last two elections voted for the HDZ to vote for the HSLS this time around. We're not counting on leftist votes, but are expecting votes from decent people who used to vote for the HDZ. We have a man who gave everything for Croatia and never took a penny in return," Kosor said.

Constituency No. 9 covers the counties of Lika-Senj, Zadar and Sibenik-Knin, and a northern part of Split-DalmatiaCounty.


MATULJI, Sept 18 (Hina) - The Primorje and Gorski Kotar Alliance (PGS) and its allies in constituencies nos. 7 and 8 met in Matulji near Rijeka on Sunday to present their election platform.

The PGS's allies in the two constituencies are the Croatian Economic Initiative (HEI) of Ljubo Jurcic, the Pensioners' Party and three independent slates, headed by Amir Muzur, Nikica Pazin and Tomo Sparozic.

They said they would formalise their coalition for the December 4 election next week.

PGS political secretary Nikola Ivanis said that their aim was to help organise a new, third bloc in Parliament that would work on improving the situation in the country. Citing the results of an opinion poll, he said that as many as 42 per cent of voters still did not know who they would vote for, adding that the PGS and its allies would focus on that segment of the electorate.

PGS president Darijo Vasilic said that his party had a clear plan for the reform of regional and local government, and that its platform was focused on decentralisation and regionalism.

Ljubo Jurcic said that he had launched the HEI because he was unhappy with the situation in the country, noting that he did not want to form a coalition with any of the parliamentary parties although he had been invited to. He said that the HEI was not an ideological movement and that it would focus on programmes to change the present economic situation.

Speaking of the main points of his platform, Jurcic cited protection of national interests, demographic development, stability and security, job creation, reducing the foreign debt, free health care and education, better organisation of state administration, and greater involvement of young people at all levels.

Constituency No. 7 covers western, southwestern and southern parts of the City of Zagreb, a southwestern part of ZagrebCounty, KarlovacCounty and an eastern part of Primorje-GorskiKotarCounty.

Constituency No. 8 covers IstriaCounty and a western part of Primorje-GorskiKotarCounty.


MARIJA BISTRICA, Sept 18 (Hina) - Regional Development, Forestry and Water Management Minister Bozidar Pankretic signed in Marija Bistrica on Sunday an agreement with municipal head Stjepan Muhek on the construction of a local water main.

The project is worth close to HRK 30 million and the ministry is financing 80 per cent of the costs.

Pankretic announced major investment in the municipal infrastructure over the next 12 years, as stated in the draft of Croatia's European Union accession treaty.

He said the Croatian Waters company and his ministry had invested during his term about HRK 3.5 billion in water supply systems around the country and that, under the accession treaty, HRK 10 billion should be invested by 2018 so that every household in Croatia could have potable water.

Every community with more than 2,000 inhabitants has to have a wastewater treatment plant by 2023, which is estimated to cost HRK 26 billion, said Pankretic.

He said the Marija Bistrica water supply system was one of the last projects to be financed from the EIB II programme, adding that funds from EIB III, in the amount of HRK 400 million, would be used for the building of new kindergartens and retirement homes. (EUR 1 = HRK 7.49)


ZAGREB, Sept 18 (Hina) - Over 5,000 people took part in this year's Terry Fox Run, a charity event aimed at raising public awareness and funds for cancer research, which took place at Zagreb's sports and recreation centre at LakeJarun on Sunday.

The money raised will be donated to the Clinic for Children's Diseases in Zagreb for the purchase of two non-invasive pain monitoring devices and to the Rudjer Boskovic Institute for the purchase of necessary chemicals and equipment for molecular cancer research.

The race was organised by the Canadian Embassy and the Croatian League Against Cancer.

Canadian Ambassador Edwin Loughlin thanked the sponsors, particularly Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, whose envoy, Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs, signalled the start of the race.

Our joint success will assist the Croatian health system to help children suffering from cancer more effectively. With our assistance, researchers may find new medicines and better medical treatments. All 100 per cent of the proceeds will remain in Croatia, Loughlin said.

Minister Fuchs said that "we can be proud that Croatia has been organising the race" for twelve years, adding that "we all need unity in fighting malignant diseases."

The race, also known as the Marathon of Hope, is named in honour of Canadian amputee runner Terry Fox who at 21 attempted to run across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. The race is currently organised in 67 countries round the world, including Croatia.


SPLIT, Sept 18 (Hina) - Police in the southern coastal city of Split have found that the phone number from which a male voice called the Croatian daily Slobodna Dalmacija to say that he had caused a fire in Padjani near Knin earlier this week, is located in Germany.

Police have to establish if the user of the phone number really has anything to do with the fire, Zeljka Radosevic of the Split-Dalmatia County Police Department told Hina on Sunday, adding that Interpol was now involved in the case.

Slobodna Dalmacija said yesterday that "an unidentified man called (us) from a hidden number on Friday and claimed responsibility, on behalf of the Serbian Revolutionary Movement, for the fire in the military barracks near Knin. He added that he would attack the police station, swore on ethnic grounds and hung up."

The fire broke out on Tuesday and was contained on Friday morning. It spread to the military barracks, causing the detonation of old explosives and the evacuation of the local population.


ZAGREB, Sept 18 (Hina) - Twenty-eight per cent of pensioners cannot cover their monthly costs, with single households and those with dependents being in the worst financial situation, Ivica Urban of the Institute of Public Finance (IJF) said at a panel last week, having analysed the income and spending of Croatia's pensioners.

The poverty line among pensioners depends on the income of other household members and pensioners' other incomes.

The Croatian Pensioners Union claims that about 80 per cent of pensioners are poor, the NHS union federation says that pensioners can cover about 60 per cent of their monthly costs, while official statistics show that 24.3 per cent of pensioners are considered poor.

In his analysis, Urban divided pensioners into four groups: singles, couples, households in which someone is employed, and households with dependents (housewives, the unemployed etc).

Urban said singles accounted for 27 per cent of pensioner households, married couples for 28 per cent, and pensioner households in which one household member is employed for 13 per cent. They all have in common that the monthly income per household member is about HRK 2,600.

Households with dependents account for about 32 per cent of pensioner households, of which about 70 per cent do not receive even HRK 2,000 per household member, Urban said, adding that the average pension was HRK 2,156 in July, and that about 28 per cent of pensioners receive monthly pensions ranging from HRK 2,000 to 3,000 and 23 per cent from HRK 1,500 to 2,000.

When it comes to future pensioners who pay contributions through the first and second pension pillars, they will have to save if they want higher pensions, said Maja Vehovec of the Public Finance Institute.

However, a survey of how willing the Croats are to actually save for their old age has shown that those with lower incomes, lower education and the unemployed, who plan to retire early, are much less aware of the need to save. (EUR 1 = HRK 7.49)


ZAGREB, Sept 18 (Hina) - The level of information about competition and state aid and the powers of the Croatian Competition Agency (AZTN) has improved over the past year, according to the results of a survey which the AZTN conducted as part of an IPA 2007 project called "CRO Compete – Implementing Croatian Competition and State Aid Policies".

The survey results, presented last week, show that 97 per cent of respondents from the business community are familiar with the AZTN.

Entrepreneurs, too, know more about the AZTN's field of activity.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents know that the AZTN, under the new Competition Act, can punish them directly if they act in contravention of competition regulations.

AZTN Council chairwoman Olgica Spevec said she had not expected such steps forward in familiarity with the agency's work.

Entrepreneurs realise that the market has no alternative, that the state should be a partner to the market, and that subsidies should be part of its economic policy but up to a point and with concrete goals, said Spevec.

Unlike 2010, when 81 per cent of respondents from the business community believed that Croatia's accession to the European Union would increase confidence in competition, this year the percentage dropped to 78 points.

This year, respondents in the business sector are less inclined to increase state aid to trade, the processing industry and tourism. Railways are the only sector they feel should receive more state subsidies.

Most respondents from local self-government feel that subsidies to the processing industry and tourism should be increased and that those to shipbuilding, and notably trade, should be reduced.

The third group polled, students, would reduce aid to all sectors bar shipbuilding.

Approximately three quarters of respondents from the business sector feel it is not justified for the state to bail out private companies, up 10 percentage points from last year's survey.

On the other hand, 31 per cent feel the state interferes in the economy too much, down from last year's 41 per cent.

The second national survey of the level of information of entrepreneurs and other groups about competition protection was conducted in cooperation with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, covering 220 business entities and 553 local self-government representatives and students.

The "CRO Compete – Implementing Croatian Competition and State Aid Policies" project was launched in 2009 and will be closed with the 2nd international conference on competition protection and state aid in Zagreb on September 28.