PM Says Reconstruction Should Start as Soon as Possible

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“To give a reconstruction calendar now would be irresponsible of me but we will do our best for reconstruction to start as soon as possible,” he said in response to a question by Social Democrat MP Boška Ban Vlahek during a debate on the government-sponsored amendments to the Act on the Post-Earthquake Reconstruction in the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb Counties, under which the law would be expanded to also apply to Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties, hit by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake on 29 December.

Plenković responded fiercely to GLAS MP and former construction minister Anka Mrak Taritaš’s remark that documentation for reconstruction in Zagreb was expensive and that if the reconstruction process there was to proceed as it had so far, “we will no longer speak of Banovina or Banija but about a containerland.”

“You are the champion of reconstruction in Gunja, where there were no loose ends to deal with,” he said ironically, resenting Mrak Taritaš’s comment about “containerland.”

“How can you say that,” he asked the MP who defended the model of post-flood reconstruction in Gunja during her term in office as construction minister, when, she said, 1,100 houses were reconstructed in 13 months.

Marija Selak Raspudić insisted that the government was introducing discrimination between Gornja Stubica and Petrinja, which are in the same category of underdeveloped communities, as it planned to fully finance the post-earthquake reconstruction of Petrinja while covering 80% of the reconstruction costs in Gornja Stubica, to which Plenković said that her remarks were populist platitudes.

He also had a strongly-worded response to MP Tomislav Tomašević’s (Green-Left Bloc) comment that one should refrain from arbitrariness and awarding funds for reconstruction according to political preferences. 

“Are you delusional, what kind of political preferences are you talking about, do you really think that someone is so crazy to use the criterion of political preference after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, what do you think the HDZ would gain with that?” he said.

The government has offered the parliament to define a fair model of reconstruction that would also take into account the extent of the damage and the number of houses affected in Sisak, but the law must be defendable and it must not discriminate against anyone, Plenković said, also dismissing the Opposition’s criticism that the competent state institutions were late in responding to the 29 December quake.


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