ZAGREB – Controversial city plan riles up protesters against mayor

Loud protests against the change of Zagreb’s urban planning (GUP) took place in front of the City Assembly during the session where the controversial plan was discussed.

The protesters shouted against the mayor, Milan Bandić, calling him a ”thief”. Once again, the opposition accused the ruling party Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of collaborating with Bandić. 

President of the Social democrats (SDP) in the City of Zagreb, Gordan Maras, said on Thursday the ruling HDZ and PM Andrej Plenković are once again trying to postpone the decision about the GUP with amendments proposed yesterday, saying Plenković was “the king of prolongation and non-decision”. Plenković didn’t participate in the city assembly session because of his visit to Pope Francis in Rome, but this prompted more comments against HDZ. 

“It is ridiculous that in Croatia today we are hostages of the relationship between Bandić and Plenković, whether Bandić will support Plenković in Parliament and whether Plenković will support Bandić in the City Assembly,” Maras said. Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) chief Dario Hrebak said that today saw the end of ‘the myth of a super-capable Zagreb mayor whose desire was to become the mayor of Croatia stops”

Bandić said the HDZ, which handled amendments of the city plan and thereby delayed the process of its adoption, did not fool him. ”We will accept any amendment that is consistent with the proposed procedure and with positive legal regulations”, he said. He also added that his collaboration with HDZ in Zagreb and at the national level was never put in the question. 

In the meantime, the mayor was dealt another blow, this time from the anti-establishment party Živi zid. Its chief and current MEP, Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, and his ally Damjan Vucelić announced they will report Milan Bandić to the Conflict of Interest Commission, the State Attorney’s Office and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), regarding the project of building a new Zagreb roundabout.

Sinčić added that the Zagreb rotor project is worth HRK320 million, of which 222 million are from European funds, which is why the documentation of the projects needs to be checked by the authorities for possible frauds.  (Karla Junicic | EURACTIV.hr)

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