48 of 183 amendments to post-earthquake reconstruction bill adopted

The Croatian parliament on Thursday discussed 183 amendments to the bill on the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs after the March 22 earthquake, and the government adopted 48 of them, 42 in their entirety and six partially.

The main criticisms from the opposition concerned lack of transparency and oversight of spending.

Among the amendments adopted was one put forward by Ljubica Lukacic of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), that alongside disabled war veterans, persons with disabilities and owners or co-owners who lived in the same household with a disabled person at the time of the earthquake also be exempt from financially participating in the reconstruction. "That will put all persons with disabilities on an equal footing with disabled Homeland War veterans," Lukasic said.

Also adopted was an amendment tabled by Darko Klasic of the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, under which owners or co-owners who sell their property within five years of the reconstruction will have to fully repay the amount invested by the central or regional government.

Following amendments put forward by Social Democrat Domagoj Hajdukovic and the green-left bloc, the Council of Reconstruction Experts will include a representative of the Croatian Chamber of Crafts and a representative of the Geophysical Department at the Faculty of Science of the University of Zagreb.

The bill will be put to a vote on Friday. Voting will be conducted in three chambers, while MPs currently in self-isolation over the coronavirus will vote via video link.

Minister of Construction and Physical Planning Darko Horvat said that by adopting the amendments the government showed a breath of vision. He expressed confidence that the reconstruction would start relatively soon.

Text: Hina