Jadranka Kosor: Reading the Newspaper

Total Croatia News

Since the anniversary of the suffering of Vukovar and commemorations of all those horrible days and brave people, ten days have passed. Vukovar heroes no mentions in public anymore, just like the fact they fought for a nation described in the Croatian Constitution since 1990. Freedom, equality, rule of law, social equality are some of the highest values of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia and the basis for interpreting the Constitution, as is cited in Article 3. The Croatian Constitution describes the flag and emblem “whose basis are 25 alternating red and white (silver) fields.” Hence any promotion or popularisation of flags that do not have a status of official features of the Republic of Croatia is a clear downplay of the values of the Constitution and violation of this basic state document. As was seen in the week behind us, several days after remembering all who dies or were heavily injured for a free and democratic Croatia, a land with rule of law.

On the Knin fortress, after Operation Storm, the flag described in the Constitution was raised, victories celebrated under it, the same flag raised in front of the United Nations building. We did discuss the flag (briefly, very briefly as is the case with all gaffes by prominent politicians) in 2016, in an EU member nation and NATO Alliance member. Some (only some) would say: incredible. As it is incredible that after all tough negotiations in the ascension to the EU on management of public companies, we now have announcements of a return to the party cadre model (with potential later tenders, silently said between lines). Although the minister (who in the last moment of the formation of government became minister so they found him a ministry) G: Marić honestly admitted this will remain so even after “temporary” appointments. Although even the (has it been forgotten?) government of Zoran Milanović has to back down under pressure from Brussels and return a tender model promoted by the government I headed. All this going on at the moment when the affair with the best man of B. Petrov broke out, for whom the statute of Croatian Waters was changed. And who was to be a chief, although his main qualification is being best man to the Parliament Speaker. All this was (including the statute information) provided to the public in detail by the friend of Petrov and important member of MOST N. Grmoja.

In the meantime the Parliament is reading laws part of the tax reform, without any hint of a clear articulation on the announced law which would limit the salaries of officially, as was shyly announced by MOST. On November 15 of this year (not five years ago), in an interview for Nova TV, Petrov said: “We have already said that at this moment due to the social situation we find it hardly acceptable for salaries of officials to rise. On the other hand I understand arguments by partners who say this is hardly acceptable to them as officials are underrated at this moment.” And complained they don’t have 76 hands so they cannot decide anything by themselves. In stating so, Petrov forgot that it was him who insisted on the Parliament Speaker position, mainly so he can control the agenda of parliament sessions. Every MP can submit a law proposal, for urgent procedure 15 are needed (they could have found enough already) and the Parliament Speaker has to include such a law, on freezing the salaries of officials on the agenda together with the package of tax reform laws. As he, presumably, fought for the Parliament Speaker position so that just and logical laws may be on the agenda without depending on the grace of partners.
But, Petrov “understands arguments of partners” and does not offer counter arguments. As he did not answer disqualifications on the demagogy of MOST’s proposals, provided by their partner as well.

And here we return to constitutional values since they define the Republic of Croatia as a state of social justice and equality. This means I can dare and write the officials are not underrated as long as: 94.750 retired people have pensions of 500 kuna, 88.996 retired people with a pension 1000 kuna, 136.592 retired people with a pension between 1000 i 1500 kuna, and between 1500 and 2000 kuna for 227.016 retired people.

So large salaries will rise including those of officials, as well as privileged pensions. VAT for caterers will also rise so respected tax expert Hrvoje Zgombić in Jutarnji List states: “The VAT increase for caterers will lead to a decline of investment and employment.” Tax reform will also make part-time workers unhappy so artists and culture workers sent a letter to the government, Parliament and public. They warn of low income and new duties that will impoverish them further. Their “level is at this time underrated” too as the gentleman from the Parliament said (with a lot of understanding for the perseverance of those who want to raise salaries of officials). But, to be honest, no one from the opposition is complaining over the increase of income for ministers, MPs, President etc. They smile and when asked if they would support a freezing of their own salaries, they answer this is demagogy, but yes.

Otherwise, the government I headed reduced officials’ salaries and pensions, although in the times of economic decline. But, today we must be careful with the rise of the GDP and many commitments due in 2017, with state budget expenditures planned to be increased beyond them by several billion kuna. Besides, the tax reform was created by the former government which makes it easier to give up on some measures which will broaden the rift between those who live hard and those who live quite well in a state defined by the Constitution as a social state with social justice.

For the original and more from Jadranka Kosor’s blog, click here.


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