Opatija Adopts Progressive Natalist Policy: 10.000 Kuna for First Baby

Total Croatia News

Opatija is known as a Child Friendly City, but in recent years, fewer and fewer babies are born. Families have less members, young couples are leaving in search for cheaper apartments. The local authoritites wish for a baby boom, as a city can’t survive without youth.To try and persuade Opatija’s residents to stay in these parts, as well as to enable them to raise new generations as easily as they can, the City Council adopted a pro-natalist policy that can be an example for the rest of Croatia.

The City strayed from its former measures and decided to help parents not only immediately after their children are born, but also when they start kindergarten and school. The announcement grabbed the public’s attention instantly, and will probably be talked about for some time. Couples will be supported with a sum of 10.000 kuna for their first baby, 15.000 kuna for the second baby, 20.000 kuna for the third, and so on – for every following child, the sum grows for 5.000 kuna. When it comes to childcare, parents will pay for kindergarten only for the first child, while all the childcare expenses for the other kids born in the same family will be taken care of by the city budget. The measure is seen as an incentive to help families who are planning to have more children, but they already have a child in school.

All elementary school students will be provided with free textbooks. The City is also co-finance textbooks for high school students with 750 kuna per person.

“We were sent a clear message: feel free to make love, even without protection, as the City of Opatija will reward your decision to expand your family”, joked a citizen of Opatija.

The City didn’t forget its elders. Retired citizens with monthly pensions lower than 3000 kuna will be provided with financial help of 500 kuna twice a year; they will also get 840 kuna annually for supplementary health insurance.

Mayor of Opatija Ivo Dujmić, who has four grown sons and multiple grandchildren, knows what it means to raise a family. “I kept the promises I made during my pre-election campaign. I also accepted all proposed amendments, as I thought them to be good and reasonable. We included young people and retirees, made a decision that will work in favour of all citizens, and that’s the path we need to take if we want progress. If we want to be the best, we need to have satisfied citizens, and they completely deserve everything we’ll provide them with. We need to leave politics aside”, said Dujmić.

The new president of the City Council Robert Kurelić also expressed his satisfaction. “I’ve been following the birth rate issues and I’m aware we have a major demographic problem in Croatia. The local governing bodies usually provide a bonus for newborn babies and co-finance school books for elementary school children, but experts say it’s not enough to focus only on one age group of children. Opatija has a large budget and can afford a great standard in its pro-natalist policies. These incentives will let parents from Opatija know that their city will help them during the whole process of raising children, and I think many young citizens will be motivated to stay in Opatija and start a family here”, said Kurelić, adding this is the happiest moment since he became a politician.

Translation of excerpts from Novi list.


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