Minister: The new shoreline management bill will not allow any abuse

NEWS 23.08.202216:03 0 komentara

Minister for Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure, Oleg Butkovic, rejected on Tuesday speculations about the new bill regulating shoreline land use, saying the new legislation would "in no way privatize the coastline" or prevent Croatians from using public beaches, the state news agency Hina reported. Pročitaj više

“We have to pass a new coastline and seaports bill by the end of the year for several reasons,” said Butkovic, adding that the new law is a condition required for more EU funding to be drawn from the National Recovery and Resilience Program (NRRP), adding that this includes “reforming the maritime sector, and one of the measures to do that is passing the law.”

Hina did not say where did Butkovic make his statements.

NRRP is a EU-funded financing program meant to help EU economies deal with the fallout of the pandemic. Some €6.3bn in funding was earmarked for Croatia last year, to be used for projects in the 2021-26 period.

Butkovic added that the new bill “has been prepared for 20 years now,” and that the current law was last changed in 2003. He said that the bill has not yet been put to public consultation, and is currently just a draft prepared by the task force which includes maritime experts and government officials.

Earlier this month, an NGO which promotes the development of islands claimed that the bill would allow restrictions on shoreline properties, essentially allowing parts of the coast to be fenced off and closed for public. The association, called Pokret Otoka, sent an open letter to the government and media, slamming the proposal.

On Tuesday, Butkovic said that these provisions have been misinterpreted.

“The bill was released to the public before the public consultation stage… Misinterpretations were made by certain people, who criticized the draft bill claiming that access to some beaches would be restricted or that they would end up being fenced off or privatized… But there is no chance that this would happen. The goal of the new law is not to privatize the coastline, or to impose fences, or to prevent Croatians from freely accessing the shoreline… No normal person would do that,” he added.

“On the contrary, the bill will give more powers to local government units, so that they can designate purposes for beaches in their area through a coastline management plan.. In principle, the current law includes local government in deciding what happens with the coastaline and beaches, but the new bill means that local government will play a more active role in this,” Butkovic said.

The new law will also include harsher penalties for those who do not comply with the regulations. “It is out of the question that this law might allow any misuse of the coastline,” Butkovic said.

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