Vukovar Mayor: Government Is Not Doing Anything for Vukovar Economy

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Harsh words from HDZ mayor for the HDZ government.

In more than three years since he was elected mayor of Vukovar, Ivan Penava (HDZ) has often blamed the previous governments on various grounds. However, he does not mince his words when talking about the current, HDZ-led government as well, reports Večernji List on 7 July 2017.

He is known for his criticism of leaders of the Vukovar-Srijem County, and on several occasions, he also criticised the national government. He latest salvo happened earlier this week when Penava said that there were no specific measures adopted by the government for Vukovar.

What was the reason for such a statement?

There was no particular reason, but I just responded to the question what had been done since the government’s session held in Vukovar on 17 November last year. I explained the real situation on the ground, without any embellishment. I believe that I am not the person who needs to make things sound better than they really are. The town is dying, and the people are leaving. There are no new jobs from the government and the ministries.

What is it that the government and Prime Minister Plenković should have done?

At that session, in my presentation, I warned them that the number of inhabitants has been halved, that the GDP has been halved, and that the number of employed persons from the pre-war 29,000 has dropped to just 9,000. I said that the biggest problem was the new jobs and there has been no improvement in this regard. As a mayor, together with my associates, I am doing all I can, but sooner or later we cannot do anything more. When further steps need to be taken in Zagreb, nothing happens. No one recognises that new jobs are our only solution and we do not have a lot of time.

For example, we have investors in the wood industry whom we presented a few months ago. They ask for wood resources and say they will open hundreds of jobs, but nothing is happening. I recently had a meeting with another such investor from Sweden who also wants more wood resources. At the same time, while they cannot get enough oak, the country exports these same oaks. The procedure for adoption of the Law on Investment Promotion has been at a standstill for eight months. The largest biodiesel plant in Croatia has been closed due to non-compliance with legal regulations here in Vukovar.

What is your opinion about the government and Prime Minister Plenković?

I think that Prime Minister Plenković is the best prime minister Croatia has had in recent times, and he is doing a lot for Vukovar. However, this has nothing to do with the results achieved by Vukovar. I hope real results will come quickly because we do not have time to wait.

As an HDZ member, do you fear the reaction from Zagreb and the party leadership?

No, I am not afraid of reactions. Ivan Penava is the smallest problem in all of this. I feel like the first one among equals, and in this case, Vukovar’s interests are above everything else. I do not run away from my responsibility. This is not about any kind of political destruction, but just the need for the survival of the town and its citizens. I am sorry if someone does not understand it. When I go to Zagreb, and I go there often, I will repeat everything I have said.


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