Minister No Question New Law Would Enable Misuse of Coastal Belt

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“We have to adopt a law on the coastal belt and seaports by the end of the year for several reasons,” said Butković, stating that it is a precondition to absorb money from the National Recovery and Resilience Program, adding that that includes reforming the maritime sector and one of the measures for that is the adoption of that law.

He added that the bill has been in preparation for 20 years and that it was last amended in 2003.

Butković also underscored that the bill has not yet been put to public consultation, and so far it is just a draft prepared by the task force comprising maritime experts, representatives of the ministry, and the State Attorney’s Office.

Butković said that the bill was released to the public even before public consultation and that “misinterpretations were made by certain people, who criticised the draft bill claiming that entry would be restricted to some beaches and beaches would be fenced off or privatised,” adding that “there is no chance of that occurring.”

According to Butković, the intention of the law is not to privatise the coastal belt nor to fence it off or to prevent citizens from using the seaside. “No normal person would do that,” he added.

“On the contrary, the bill will give greater powers to local government so they can determine the purpose of the beaches in their area through the coastal belt management plan.” He said that in principle, the incumbent law included local government in deciding what happens on the coastal belt and beaches in their remit.”

According to Butković, the local government will play an active role based on the new bill, and stricter measures will be taken with greater penalties for those who do not comply with the regulations on the coastal belt.

“There is no question that this law will allow any kind of abuse of the coastal belt,” he underscored, and that it was necessary to wait for the bill to be put up for public consultation.

He invited everyone – cities, municipalities, counties, and all interested parties to get involved with their comments and that the best solution will be found at the level of the ministry, including the task force and the State Attorney’s Office after which the bill will be presented to the government and Sabor.

In mid-August, the Island Movement association claimed that the bill would enable restrictions on the use of the coastal belt, allowing the seaside to be fenced off and even denying access to beaches. The association sent an open critical letter to the government.


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