Government Reducing Subsidies For Islands – April Fool’s Day Law Forgotten

Total Croatia News

Population of Croatian islands has diminished by 30 % in last century, and in last 25 years, since Croatian independence, the trend is getting even worse, as there is little help from the authorities in Zagreb

If one looks the official statistical reports, island population is growing, but this is a result of using loops in the laws, as many people actually living elsewhere have registered their place of residence on islands because that way they can claim certain benefits. Those tax deductions were introduced back in the time of late president Tuđman who signed this particular law on April 1. 1999, but many items from the Islands Act haven’t been implemented for years, and on MArch 28, 2016, we take a look at how further budget cuts will make the life on Croatian islands even more expensive and complicated.

According to the Islands Act, a ferry ticket should cost as much as the equivalent road tax on mainland highways, so in case the law was properly implemented, the ticket to Brač should cost less than 10 HRK, and it should be free for passengers. In reality, ticket costs 130 HRK in low season and 160 HRK in the summertime. One way, and car only. It is 33 HRK more per passenger. Brač is one island that is close to the mainland, so it does not look too bad, but if one decides to travel to Lastovo, it is 530 HRK for a car and 68 HRK per passenger. One way.

Tourism has an 18 percent direct share in the Croatian GDB, and in the new Budget, funding for it has diminished. Croatian islands live from tourism, as the industry on islands collapsed years ago with little help from the government. As if this was not enough, the new budget has introduced 40% cut for island industry development. What else is to do on islands, but to rely on tourists coming there and spending some of their hard-earned money?

This is a catch-22 for islanders; they were counting on the government helping them attract tourists to the islands at least by lowering the price of sea transport, but in the new budget subsidies for transport have been reduced by 12,8 %. In other words, expect the prices to go up and some lines to be discontinued as a result of budget cuts.

For anybody who has ever been on any island, it is known that water supply there is not to the highest standard, so water subsidies are a must, but again, we see a 12,7 % cut on that item too.

Islanders are known as stubborn and hard working people, as it was always hard to live there, but when one looks deep into this matter, it feels like the date when the Islands Act was signed back in 1999 was more than appropriate, since it’s April fool’s for them all over again.


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