- Published: 15.01.2020.
Inspections of nursing homes to be stricter
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday an analysis of the state of affairs in privately-run nursing homes would be conducted and the legislative framework would be amended to enable better and stricter control of those facilities so as to prevent tragedies such as the one in the Adrasevac home where six died in a fire.
During Question Hour in the parliament, the premier said that the authorities should establish if there were similar cases such as the Green Oasis nursing home in Andrasevac.
This past Saturday, six residents died in flames that engulfed a part of that privately-run home in which 45 old people were accommodated, although the home was issued with a permit in 2012 for eight residents and for another five in 2013.
Immediately after the disaster, PM Plenkovic and other officials visited the site and extended their condolences to the families of the victims.
In response to a question from an independent lawmaker about the care for senior citizens in the wake of the Andrasevac tragedy, Plenkovic said that the amended law on social welfare and more efficient inspections should help the authorities to check the actual state of affairs in private nursing homes.
There are over 700 nursing homes in Croatia and after analysing the situation we will be able to enhance the legislative framework and control of those homes, Plenkovic said.
He again extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the Andrasevac fire.
The minister of demography and social policy, Vesna Bedekovic, who also expressed her condolences over the death of of the six elderly people, recalled that the Andrasevac facility was a privately-run home and had no contract with the ministry regarding funding.
Bedekovic said that after the tragedy, other residents were brought back to their families or transferred to other nursing homes. Criminal charges were pressed on Monday against the owner of the Andrasevac home and the authorities decided to shut it.
She said that her ministry had requested thorough reports from all counties about the state of affairs in nursing facilities.
A new law on social welfare is being prepared and it will improve the criteria for the establishment of private nursing homes, according to the minister's explanation.
PM says won't allow Croatia to be labelled country of anarchy
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday he would not allow Croatia to be labelled as a country of anarchy, disorder and distrust in the system.
"That simply isn't correct," he said in parliament during Question Time after Social Democratic Party president Davor Bernardic said a recent triple murder in Split pointed to a lack of trust in institutions, which he said was Croatia's huge problem.
Citizens are bitter with good reason and side with those who take justice into their hands, which is not good. People have lost trust in the police, the State Prosecutor's Office, the judiciary and the government, Bernardic said, asking Plenkovic what was being done to stop the chaos, disorder and lawlessness.
"Such a generalisation doesn't hold water," Plenkovic said, adding that statistics showed Croatia to be one of the safer EU member states.
He said Bernardic was taking the Split case out of context. "It's as though you are showing understanding for an anarchy attempt, for taking justice into one's own hands."
"The government and state institutions won't allow that. There will be no anarchy in Croatia," Plenkovic said, adding that the police had undertaken many operations which resulted in arrests and indictments against many criminal groups.
In Split-Dalmatia County alone, there have been 1,823 narcotics seizures, he said, adding that the police solved last weekend's triple murder in a matter of hours. He agreed that the work of institutions must be stepped up, including prevention.
Bernardic agreed it was not good that people were taking justice into their hands but insisted that Plenkovic did not say what was being done and that, therefore, "nothing is being done."
He told the prime minister to look at what the people was thinking instead of hiding in Brussels and Strasbourg. People have lost trust in institutions, they can't look at the chaos, that's why whole families are emigrating, mainly from regions where the HDZ is in power such as Slavonia, he said.
"People feel unsafe with good reason. Your four-year term can be summed up with two words, chaos and corruption," Bernardic said.
Culture minister talks five-pointed star monument, says won't censor artists
Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek said on Wednesday she would not be the one to decide what an artist would think or do, thus responding to a query about a five-pointed star sculpture to be displayed as part of the Rijeka 2020 - European Capital of Culture project.
"In 1990, we decided to live in a state which would be democratic and which would not censor artists," she told MP Zlatko Hasanbegovic during Question Time in parliament, adding that "artists will decide what an artist in Croatia will think, do, how they will act, not a minister or a commissary."
Hasanbegovic complained about plans to place a concrete five-pointed star sculpture by Nemanja Cvijanovic on a high-rise in Rijeka.
The minister said that under the rules of the European Capital of Culture project, the city chose its artistic director and project team and they conceived the programme.
"As to whether something will or won't be done to a protected culture monument, if we receive a request, we will consider it, of course, taking into account whether it endangers the monument, and make a decision," she said.
Hasanbegovic said he was sure the minister would eventually exert her authority and prevent the five-pointed star installation, firstly because of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who he said would not disregard numerous European resolutions on dealing with the consequences of communist totalitarianism, and secondly because of Italian minority MP Furio Radin.
Plenkovic says Beljak's tweet dangerous, very bad
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said during Question Time on Wednesday that Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) leader Kreso Beljak's tweet on the murders of dissidents by former Yugoslav secret police UDBA was "dangerous and very bad."
After a question from Beljak, Plenkovic commented on his post on Twitter that "UDBA evidently didn't kill enough Croatian dissidents."
"You were the apologist of murders of Croatian emigrants committed at the time of the former (Yugoslavia) and alluded that not enough were killed. People in the HDZ and the whole electorate who support us are horrified. That's why I suggest that you take it back a little more firmly," Plenkovic told Beljak.
"What you did contributes to divisions, that's politically bad. People were agitated by that statement, they couldn't believe it. You are doing things which leave big traces and consequences," he added.
Beljak said Plenkovic's response was hypocritical. "I know you will grab on to anything. You have lost two elections, you'll lose the third one too," he said.
Pedja Grbin of the opposition Social Democrats (SDP) talked about organised crime in the country, the failure of the police to react and citizens' insecurity. "You talk about anarchy, yet you are to blame for it," he told Plenkovic, urging him to "do something to deal with citizens' real problems. Or is that problem you, the HDZ and the government?"
Plenkovic said everyone who committed a crime must be held to account and that no one was above the law. "The system works and there's no anarchy."
Domagoj Hajdukovic asked Plenkovic if he would resign and be the first member of the HDZ party to have done something to prevent emigration, alluding to Plenkovic's statement that the HDZ had lost recent elections in regions where it was in power and from which people had been emigrating.
Plenkovic said that with that statement he was conveying facts he was told by the leaders of the HDZ's county branches in Slavonia and that his government had done more for Slavonia than any previous government.
Citing European Commission reports on corruption in Croatia, Zeljko Jovanovic (SDP) asked Plenkovic how he explained to his European colleagues that his government had failed in combating corruption and that one of his partners was a mayor (of Zagreb) indicted for corruption.
Plenkovic said Jovanovic was insinuating that "there was a special report on corruption in Croatia," adding that corruption had not been a topic in his talks with Commission representatives and members of the European Parliament.
Ines Strenja of the opposition Bridge asked if doctors would start being paid for overtime work, warning that the costs were higher and higher as time went on. Plenkovic said he expected the Health Ministry to propose how to deal with that problem.