Bridge presents reform demands for agriculture, environment, energy

The reformist Bridge coalition has made public its reform demands related to energy, agriculture, environmental protection and nature, and on Friday its members held talks on said areas with representatives of the Croatia Is Growing coalition and the Patriotic Coalition.

In guidelines for a new agricultural policy, Bridge calls for establishing a domestic agricultural bank and expects its proposal to be elaborated within six months. It also wants a strategy to be drawn up within six months for the growth of agriculture based on family farms, and the adoption, within a period of nine months, of a law on family farms to assist the growth strategy, as well as the establishment of a fund for the development of family farms.

Bridge wants tax policies to be changed within six months to enable family farms to partly or wholly claim VAT from the sale of their products as well as to enable small business owners to pay VAT once they have collected their claims, regardless of their annual turnover.

Bridge wants the system of farming grants to be revised within the same period of time and it wants experts, to be nominated by farming associations, to be involved in discussions and decision-making on agriculture by commissions at the Agriculture Ministry and other state bodies.

As for the protection of the environment, Bridge wants the systems of environmental impact assessment and strategic environmental impact assessment to be redefined in the first half of next year. The changes must result in investors' not being allowed to choose the agency to make an environmental impact study but rather entrusting the job to a state body because no agency hired by an investor to make an environmental impact study will make a study that is unfavourabfle for the investor, Bridge says. It also insists that agencies specialising in such studies that have compromised themselves on a number of occasions should be stripped of their licence.

Bridge also wants the system of monitoring environmental pollution to be redefined in 2016 and underlines that the system of measuring stations is obsolete and that those stations are often put in inappropriate locations. The coalition believes that by using EU funds, Croatia should set up a sophisticated system of measuring environmental pollution. The system should be implemented by an independent body that would calibrate measuring stations, collect data from them and interpret them.

Bridge also wants a water management department to be set up at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nature in the first three months of next year, it wants the State Institute for Nature Protection to be restored by the middle of 2016 and it wants a law to be adopted by the end of 2016 to prevent the privatisation of and granting of concessions to use Croatia's water resources. It also wants issued building permits for national parks and already existing buildings in those parks to be revised by the end of the first half of next year.

As for reform demands in the sector of energy, Bridge wants a new energy strategy with implementing documents to be made in the first quarter of next year to make energy serve the economy.

Until the strategy is adopted, Bridge proposes introducing a ban on the construction of thermo-electric power plants with the ultimate goal of making Croatia independent of hydrocarbons by 2050.

Bridge also wants a ban on the current project for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation in the Adriatic and it believes that possible subsequent exploitation of the hydrocarbon potential can be considered after a detailed expert elaboration and definition of implementation methods that are acceptable for the environment, fisheries and tourism.

Last update: Fri, 20/11/2015 - 18:08

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