More efficient management of state-owned commercial properties

Photo /Vijesti/2018/07 srpanj/5 srpnja/Sjednica/DSC_9931.JPG

The government on Thursday endorsed a bill on a Central State Assets Register, which assigns a different state body to manage the register, as well as amendments to the Law on the Lease and Sale of Commercial Properties to enable more efficient management of state-owned properties.

State Assets Minister Goran Maric explained that until now the register was managed pursuant to the 2013 Law on Management of State-Owned Properties which expired in June this year with the entry into force of the Law on State Property Management. Since that law does not regulate the management of the register, a separate law was required, said Maric.

"The most important amendment is that the body authorised to manage the central register is being changed and in future the register will be managed by the Central Office for the Development of a Digital Society as it is responsible for the development, standardisation, security and recommendations on the use of state IT infrastructure," Maric said.

The State Assets Ministry will be responsible for keeping a record only of the property it manages and has at its disposal and it will be required to submit data to the central register just like any other body that manages state assets.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic described this as an exceptionally important law that will make order and create a quality register of property owned by the state, adding that the law was expected to have positive effects.

More efficient management of state-owned commercial properties

The proposed amendments to the Law on the Lease and Sale of Commercial Properties will enable more efficient and more economical management of state-owned commercial properties and enhance their legal security and protection.

The amendments refer exclusively to property owned by the state while provisions regarding premises owned by local government units remain unchanged.

Maric explained that for leases that expire, the government can offer a new lease agreement under the same conditions only if this is economically justified.

Properties owned by the state cannot be sub-leased or franchised.

The law also sets the criteria under which state-owned properties can be sold to current lessees if those properties are at all saleable. The law also specifies that it will not be possible to purchase state-owned apartments and commercial premises in installments but exclusively based on a one-off payment.

The government on Thursday sent to the parliament for consideration a draft bill on legal traineeship and the bar exam and draft amendments to the Misdemeanors Act, their purpose being to make the judiciary better, faster, more efficient and more modern.

"The main purpose of the bill on legal traineeship is to train personnel that one day will take over the posts of judges, public attorneys and advisors and build a faster, better and more modern judiciary to which we aspire," said Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic.

The bill provides for legal traineeship at administrative courts and introduces an obligation for trainees undergoing training at other courts and public attorney's offices to spend a portion of their internship at administrative courts that were established after the entry into force of the current law.

In order to make sure that as many people in the judiciary as possible meet conditions to take the bar exam and thus improve their chances of finding employment, the bill introduces 18-month on-the-job training, earlier known as volunteering.

The bill also defines in greater detail the work of the bar exam commission and introduces, among other things, the obligation to take an exam in European law.

The bill also introduces the possibility to take a makeup exam for one part of the bar exam.

Under the current regulations, if a candidate fails only one segment of their oral exam, they must sit again for the whole bar exam, Bosnjakovic said, adding that the draft bill was relaxing those conditions.

The amendments to the Misdemeanors Act are owing to the reform of the judiciary that is being implemented by reorganising the network of courts of first instance and also have to do with amendments to the Courts Act, the adoption of a new law on court remits and headquarters and amendments to the Judicial Council Act. The amendments will go into force in early 2019.

The judicial reform envisages the merging of misdemeanor courts with municipal courts, and the current Misdemeanors Act has to be adjusted accordingly. The merger of courts is expected to enable a more rational use of judges and court personnel and make up for shortages of judges in judicial branches where the backlog of unresolved cases is bigger than in other branches.

The government on Thursday proclaimed activities related to Croatia's EU chairmanship in the first half of 2020 to be of special significance for the newest EU member-state.

"Considering that there is less than two years to prepare for this demanding and extensive project, it is necessary to urgently decide on several strategic and operational and logistic issues," a press release from Government House said.

The Foreign and European Affairs Ministry is the coordinator of all activities related to the preparation and implementation of the chairmanship and it has been decided that anything to do with those preparations takes priority in state administration.

"This is the biggest task for the state administration in the modern Croatian state," Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric said.

A special council will be set up as the umbrella body for all the preparations and will be responsible for strategic decisions and guidelines in the process of preparing and implementing the chairmanship. The prime minister will head that council.

NSK to be the chairmanship headquarters

It is expected that during Croatia's chairmanship there will be about 1,400 various meetings at all levels in Brussels and Croatia will hold at least one summit of heads of states and governments of EU member states, about 20 meetings and conferences at the ministerial level and 200 to 250 meetings at the technical level.

"That is on average 12 to 13 meetings every day that Croatia will preside. So much about the complexity of that job," Pejcinovic Buric said.

Experience has shown that during the chairmanship of the Council of the EU there has been one central congress centre where most high-level meetings are conducted and several other premises for expert meetings.

As Croatia currently doesn't have a congress centre of that nature, the once planned congress centre within the National University Library will be equipped for that purpose, the government decided.

Text: Hina