Ministers unanimously support ratification of Istanbul Convention

Photo /Vijesti/2018/03 ožujak/22 ožujka/86 VRH/sjednica 3.jpg

Government ministers on Thursday unanimously supported the adoption of a bill on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, with Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy Minister Nada Murganic saying the goal was to protect victims.

"It's important to strengthen prevention and preventive measures," she said at a cabinet meeting at which the bill was unanimously endorsed and sent to parliament, together with an interpretive statement.

Murganic underlined the importance of education in preventing violence against women and domestic violence, saying "the interpretive statement underlines what the Convention brings and what it does not bring."

"Gender is based on two sexes and the Convention explains that there are socially shaped roles of conduct, actions and characteristics which a certain society deems appropriate for women and men. Therefore it is based on two sexes, male and female," Murganic said.

Economy Minister Martina Dalic said the Convention was a step in the direction of strengthening social justice in society. Foreign Minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric said the Convention strengthened the fight against violence against women and domestic violence.

Education Minister Blazenka Divjak supported the ratification of the Convention, saying "the stereotypical roles of women and men should be fought also through the education system." Regional Development Minister Gabrijela Zalac said "the interpretive statement removed all the doubts that existed."

Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic fully supported the Convention, saying a society was as strong as its care for the weakest and the most vulnerable. Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic warned about the extent of domestic violence and violence against women.

The Croatian government on Thursday forwarded to the parliament a bill on the capital market which transposes into national legislation a European directive on markets in financial instruments with the aim of additionally increasing transparency and investor protection.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that it was an important law that would additionally improve the situation on the capital market, define roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, and adjust Croatian regulations to EU law.

"This bill is aimed at making our financial markets more efficient, more resilient and more transparent and at lessening the risk of market disruptions and eventually increasing investor confidence," said Plenkovic.

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that the bill incorporated and transposed into Croatian legislation a total of 15 European directives and 9 regulations.

The most important reason for drafting the bill is the introduction of the MiFID II directive, which brings numerous novelties for all capital market participants.

That directive regulates all instruments traded on the market. So far, non-stock instruments such as derivatives, bonds and similar instruments have been traded largely outside regulated markets, that is, on over-the-counter (OTC) markets, said Maric.

The MiFID II directive establishes a new type of platform, an organised trading platform (OTP), which is defined very broadly - as a multilateral trading platform that is not a stock exchange and is used exclusively for non-stock instruments, said Maric.

This means that most transactions that so far have been traded outside regulated markets will be transferred to regulated markets, said Maric.

A new platform is also being introduced for the growing market of small and medium entrepreneurs, and the purpose of that is to cut costs and simplify requirements for small and medium businesses when they raise capital on the market.

Maric said that the bill would improve investor protection, introduce stricter conditions for investment companies receiving incentives from third parties, regulate record-keeping concerning received incentives, improve the quality of information given to clients, etc.

The minister said the bill would also introduce the supervision of issuers whose securities are put on the securities market.

HANFA will be the body in charge of supervising issuers' financial information and impose appropriate measures of supervision.

The bill regulates in a more detailed manner ways of preventing market abuse by introducing measures to prevent trading based on privileged information, unlawful publication of privileged information, and market manipulation by legal and physical persons.

Maric said that all capital market stakeholders were expected to have certain costs due to the new law, but that the law was expected to have a positive impact on the capital market, primarily regarding investor protection, which, he said, was eventually expected to create conditions for greater market liquidity.

The Croatian government on Thursday put forward to the parliament a bill on audiovisual activities that more precisely defines the model of selection and the scope of jurisdiction of members of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), including the Croatian Audiovisual Council that decides on the distribution of funds for the implementation of national programmes for promoting audio-visual creative work.

The four-year programme, drafted by the HAVC Council, is to be adopted by the government following a proposal made by the Culture Ministry. The Council is supposed to inform the ministry once a year about the implementation of the said programme.

Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek said that the new legislation additionally reinforced the existing framework in the audiovisual industry that has great potential for attracting investments.

"Participating in a large number of festivals makes Croatia more recognisable," she said, adding that co-production projects helped Croatia to absorb 2.3 times more money than Croatia's payments into international funds.

This is an argument that proves the vitality of audiovisual industry, she said.

The draft law also defines in detail categories within the audiovisual industry and introduces video gaming as "a growing industry in Croatia".

The role of the Culture Ministry in supervising public money spending has been strengthened.

"The Croatian Audiovisual Centre is the Government-backed strategic agency for the audiovisual sector in Croatia. It aims to stimulate a successful, vibrant audiovisual industry as well as to promote the widest possible enjoyment and understanding of audiovisual works throughout Croatia," according to information on the HAVC web site.

"It was founded in 2008 as a result of the new Law on Audiovisual Activities unanimously passed by the Croatian Parliament in July 2007. It is funded by the grant-in-aid from the Government and through contributions of all those using audiovisual works, such as broadcasters, digital, cable and satellite operators, Internet providers, telecoms, etc."

The government on Thursday sent to parliament a bill on the cybersecurity of key service operators and digital service providers aimed at strengthening the security of key network and information system.

The passage of the bill is an obligation under the 2016 European Directive on security of network and information systems (the NIS Directive), whose fundamental goal is achieving a common level of security of network and information systems to prevent strong consequences on society or national economy in case of security incidents.

Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic said the NIS Directive obliges EU member states to introduce high cybersecurity measures in energy, transport, banking, the financial market infrastructure, healthcare, drinking water supply and the digital infrastructure.

The government on Thursday adopted a report on the implementation of a programme of activities in the implementation of firefighting measures in 2017 and a draft programme for activities in that field in 2018.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said that 2017 was one of the most challenging years in term of wildfires.

As many as 4,154 wildfires erupted during 2017, up by 67% compared to the average number in the previous five years. Those fires consumed 86,576 hectares, 370% more than the five-year average.

The number of fires breaking out from June to October last year jumped by 30%, and the three Dalmatian counties -- Zadar, Sibenik and Split -- were most affected, Bozinovic said.

Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic spoke about the engagement of the army in putting out fires last year and underscored the role of the fire-fighting squadron that conducted 17,606 flights during the firefighting season in 2017, as against 6,364 in 2016.

He announced the establishment of an operative firefighting command in Divulje outside Split in cooperation with the Croatian Protection and Rescue Directorate and the Defence and Interior Ministries and other elements from the Homeland Security system.

The government also discussed activities aimed at removing mines left over from the 1991-1995 Homeland War. Currently, Croatia has 411.5 square kilometres of mine-suspected areas stretching through eight counties.

The Croatian government on Thursday took note of and welcomed the UK government's decision to lift restrictions on the hiring of Croatian nationals as of July 1, reciprocally lifting restrictions on UK nationals.

Foreign Minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric said this was excellent news in the context of Brexit. Croatian nationals will have the same status as the nationals of other European Union member states as all rights agreed in negotiations with the UK will apply to them as well.

The government sent to parliament a final bill of amendments to the law on foreign affairs which regulates the activity of Croatian diplomatic and consular missions which provide consular assistance and protection to nationals of other EU member states.

Text: Hina