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December 14th, 2011 WW Staff | NikeLeaks Cables: Europe
 

ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - JUNE 12, 2009

     
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Reference ID: 09ZAGREB349    
Created: 2009-06-12 13:16   
Released: 2011-08-30 01:44    
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED    
Origin: Embassy Zagreb
                

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INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/PPD, EUR/RPM AND EUR/ERA
OSD FOR POPOVICH
 
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB WEEKLY ACTIVITY REPORT - JUNE 12, 2009
 
¶1.  (SBU) OPPOSITION LEADERS SPAR OVER INFLUENCE IN ZAGREB
CITY GOVERNMENT:
 
Newly re-elected Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic seems to have
relented to pressure from his Social Democratic Party (SDP)
chief, Zoran Milanovic, to accept SDP MP and city councilman
Boris Sprem as the head of Zagreb City Council.  The decision
is part of an effort by the SDP HQ to gain more influence
over how the city of Zagreb, and its lucrative holding
company, are run.  Sprem, a former chief of staff to
President Mesic and close associate of Milanovic, is expected
to provide closer oversight of Bandic,s fourth term in
office, including transparency and project management
concerns, particularly at Zagreb Holding Company, whose
governing Board currently consists of just one member --
Bandic himself.  While SDP HQ appears to have succeeded in
getting its way this time, Bandic remains a popular, if
controversial, figure with a strong political base, and
rumored ambitions for higher office.  Denied a prominent role
in the negotiations between Bandic and Milanovic was the
SDP's leading partner, the liberal Croatian People,s Party
(HNS).  HNS had hoped to secure the city council chairman
position, and be able to lead the oversight of Bandic.
Milanovic,s insistence that one of his associates take the
spot makes it likely that relations between the SDP and HNS
will remain strained as we head toward presidential elections
at the end of 2009. (DMeges)
 
¶2. (U) EC WORKSHOP STUDIES COUNTERFEIT GOODS IN CROATIA:
The European Commission to the Republic of Croatia organized
a three-day workshop as part of its study on "Violations of
IPR and Transnational Organized Crime in Croatia."  The
study's aim is to establish whether counterfeit goods, which
are a danger to public health, are available in Croatia; to
establish whether organized crime is involved in intellectual
property infringements in Croatia; and to review how the
response to intellectual property crime can be improved in
Croatia.  Representatives from U.S. firms Lilly, Pfizer, Nike
and Microsoft spoke at the workshop, which was attended by
Croatian Government institutions, Croatian right holders,
European Commission representatives, European Governments and
other international right holders.  As an ongoing initiative
to increase IPR awareness and enforcement for U.S. firms in
Croatia, Embassy officials attended the workshop.  DOJ's
ICITAP representative in Croatia subsequently briefed
AmCham's Intellectual Property Right Committee on the
subject. (PWard)
 
¶3. (U)  FARMERS PROTEST TO DEMAND HIGHER PRICE FLOORS AND
TIMELY SUBSIDY PAYMENTS:
A number of farmers' associations demonstrated in front of
the Ministry of Agriculture on June 10-11 to present demands
on milk and grain prices, overdue subsidy payments and other
issues.  Farmers from across Croatia drove their tractors to
Zagreb, blocked the main road in front of the ministry, and
demanded a meeting with the government.  Although farmers
have staged similar demonstrations each spring or fall for
the past several years, this occasion drew more participants,
with about 260 tractors and a wider range of demands.
According to press reports, Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka
Kosor told the farmers on June 11 that an agreement on the
milk buy-off price was reached and overdue subsidies would be
paid soon.  In order to help dairy farmers, the government
announced it would also issue a ban on dairy imports for
three months.  (NOTE: Post is pursuing details of the
proposed import ban, and how it could be consistent with
Croatia's WTO and EU obligations.  END NOTE.)  Deputy Prime
Minister Damir Polancec claimed 80 percent of the farmers'
demands were met, adding that the government will also
negotiate with banks to introduce a moratorium on loan
repayments.  Crop farmers, however, were not pleased that
government actions dealt principally with dairy concerns, and
that no agreement was reached dealing with crop prices.  Some
media report that negotiations will continue next week
regarding the crop farmers' demands.  (DMatijas)

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