Nikola Grmoja Talks Football, Golf, MOST, Elections and More

Lauren Simmonds

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TCN meets MOST’s Nikola Grmoja on March 23, 2017, to discuss a range of topics currently in the public interest. 

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about events surrounding Croatian football. What is the future of the Croatian Football Federation and its current president, Davor Suker?

The Split Federation (Splitski savez) was already constituted after MOST warned that such a situation in sport is unacceptable, and now we are waiting on other county football federations to follow this example. If I was in the leadership of the Croatian Football Federation, especially Davor Suker, I would resign. If that doesn’t happen, then we’ll need to wait and see what happens and react appropriately. In any case, the Law on Sports needs to be respected, and those who do not respect it have no place in football, period.

On what key reforms is MOST focusing at the moment?

The focus is reforms in the police, ie: The reorganisation of the Ministry of the Interior, followed by justice reforms, with particular regard to the harmonisation of court practice and settling of the land registry and cadastre, and we are actively working on an analysis of the reform of public administration. The adoption of the Waste Management Plan, led by Minister Ante Dobrovic, was of particular importance, and I’m sure that other ministries will follow this good example.

Did MOST block the golf project on Srdj (Dubrovnik) via the Minister of Environmental Protection, Slaven Dobrovic and the Minister of Justice, Ante Sprlje?

The Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning issued a location permit for the project at a time when the head of that department was Anka Mrak Taritas, the initiative ”Srdj Je Nas” (Srdj Is Ours) who are against the permit, filed an administrative dispute. The Administrative Court in Split annulled the permit last year, because the the decision on the admissibility of the Environmental Impact Study for the project was abolished. The lawsuit was filed by the initiative “Srdj Je Nas”, Green Action (Zelena Akcija) and the Croatian Association of Architects. MOST would not have even influenced the judiciary.

At the forthcoming local elections MOST is coming forward to the general public with relatively unknown candidates, with the exception of you as a candidate for Prefect of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and Miroslav Simic in Osijek. Given that strong political personalities play a key role in the success at a local level, have you given up on local elections after success at the national level?

The fact that some names are not publicly exposed does not mean that our candidates are not very well known within the local community. MOST was created at a local level and we have always said that a big change starts with small actions and places. I think a candidate’s love for their city and their will to create something good for fellow citizens and themselves is more important than how many times their photo has appeared in the newspaper. Our candidates will certainly prove their skills, and in that sense it is not just myself and Miroslav Simic who are recognisable, but also Bulj, Sladoljev, Pauletic…

Will you be considered personally responsible if MOST loses power in local elections in Metkovic? Why did you not run for Mayor?

Katarina Ujdur is an excellent Mayor, a capable young woman and co-founder of MOST, so there was no need to go with another candidate in Metkovic. What should be, should not be changed, and Katarina Ujdur covered most of the debts of the previous government and has launched a number of projects in Metkovic, from the Land Registry, to the preparation of project documentation for agglomeration worth 274 million kunas, to the construction of the water supply system, restoring of the cinema and the introduction of the cheapest town internet in Croatia. As it stands now, citizens will reward her commitment with their votes and thus ensure the continued development of their city.

What can we expect in terms of the new law on foreclosures?

The new law on foreclosures will further protect the socially vulnerable. There won’t be any more foreclosures on real estate if the capital debt is less than 20,000hrk, and provided that the foreclosure was not performed on the owners bank account, the socially vulnerable will be entitled to postpone the foreclosure of their only home for eighteen months; however, if their only home is put on sale, they will be entitled to an adequate accommodation secured by or paid for by the state. Those are just a few of the changes and we are sure that they will provide better security for citizens.

What is your view on the problems in Agrokor and should the state aid the company and its employees?

What must be protected is the economic system, and not Ivica Todoric. In what form the protection of the economic system will take and whether it will happen will be decided by the Government. I would not speculate while the most important facts have not yet been determined.

Most of the seven “conditions” that MOST had for HDZ before the assembly of the government have not yet taken effect. By mid-April, it will be six months since this government took office. What will MOST do if things fail to meet your requirements by then?

95% of the announced moves have been initiated, and 50% have been achieved. There is still plenty of time for most of the ”conditions” to be at the stage they should be by mid-April. We won’t get ahead of ourselves.

What about the reduction of TV subscriptions? First it was said that the subscriptions must be reduced before the formation of the government. Then it was moved for a period of six months after the formation of the government, and during the recent negotiations on the vote of a new Director-General of HRT (Hrvatska Radio Televizija); it was agreed that subscriptions will be reduced by the end of the year. Will this promise once again be postponed?

In order to reduce subscriptions, HRT must be fully reconstructed. The law on HRT will soon go to a second reading. Of course we want to reduce the financial burden on citizens as soon as possible, but we don’t have the power to accelerate some processes.

What is the situation with INA shares from MOL? This theme is no longer mentioned, although up until a month ago it was on all the front pages. And what about the partial privatization of HEP?

The possibility of the sale of HEP for INA has been prevented, but for now details will not go public, not while the purchase model isn’t fully formed.



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