Debate on New Law on Settlements Marked by Ideological, Political Differences

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Image: HDZ/Facebook screenshot
Image: HDZ/Facebook screenshot

“There is no better proof that we are back to normal than the fact that Marshal Tito has been mentioned five times in replies,” Bauk said during the debate on the new law that is expected to improve the process of determining the borders of settlements, naming settlements, streets and squares, and house numbering.

Ivan Kirin of the ruling HDZ warned about the Zagreb city administration’s plans to restore the name of Marshal Tito Square, wondering why Zagreb needs a square dedicated to Tito and why a debate would not be held on whether Croatia needs so many squares and streets named after Tito.

“Local administration is responsible for street names”, Construction Ministry State Secretary Željko Uhlir replied.

MP Davor Dretar boasted that the Homeland Movement had initiated the renaming of Marshal Tito Square in Velika Gorica, which was renamed City of Vukovar Square.

MP: Will someone come up with crazy idea of renaming Yuri Gagarin Walk? 

MP Vesna Nađ of the Social Democrats said that the purpose of renaming Marshal Tito Square in Zagreb had been to “erase from the collective memory a military commander, statesman and politician who in the World War II antifascist struggle made Croatia a member of the victorious side.”

She wondered if someone “in a fit of anger at everything that comes from Russia” would come up with the idea to rename Yuri Gagarin Walk in Zagreb.

MP Bauk insisted that the naming of streets and squares should be the right of cities and municipalities and that the government commission for the standardisation of geographic names, envisaged by the new law, could not act as a censor.

“Standardisation can only be possible to determine if a square will be named Josip Broz Square or Marshal Tito Square,” Bauk was resolute.

Not denying the right for municipalities and cities to name streets and squares, Anja Šimpraga of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) asked how one could prevent the naming of streets and squares after officials of the Nazi-styled WWII Independent State of Croatia, suggesting that a regulation be defined under which the names would have to be in line with the Historical Foundations of the Croatian Constitution.

Roma MP: No street or square named after a Roma 

Veljko Kajtazi, a Roma member of parliament, said it was sad that even though Roma had lived in Croatia for 700 years, there was almost no street or square bearing the name of a Roma person.

Uhlir said that under the new law, all business premises would be numbered and not just those where a business was headquartered.

“Who will pay for that, will farms also have to be numbered?” asked independent MP Marijana Petir, while Nikola Mažar of the HDZ wanted to know if the new law would bring new obligations for citizens, specifically regarding the change of house numbers.

Uhlir also added that the law did not contain a provision that would force a local government unit to change the existing street names.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.


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