The draft law on strategic investments, proposed by the Croatian Ministry of Economy is aimed at encouraging investments, ensuring economic growth and employment. The proposed Law is in contradiction with the provisions of the Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Croatia, already aligned with the EU acquis communautaire, which is particularly worrying nature conservationists in Croatia.
The Act refers to the constitutional provision "the Croatian Parliament and the people decide independently on the regulation of economic, legal and political relations in the Republic of Croatia, and about the protection of natural and cultural resources and its utilization". However, all decisions about the use of overall natural and cultural resources of Croatia, according to the proposed law, is left to the small group of people - the Committee appointed and controlled entirely by the Government, over which neither the Parliament nor the Croatian citizens have no control.
WWF's Mediterranean Programme, in coalition with other interested civil society organizations, pointed out the biggest objections on the proposed law: criteria of "the strategic project", which can cover almost all projects, regardless of the area of operations, quality and scale of investment; shortened deadline of 10 days to obtain all permits and expert opinions, which is in contradiction with the Law on Urban Planning and Construction, the Environmental Protection Act and the EU IPPC Directive for the Environmental permit and numerous EU and national regulations. There is no obligation to prepare and implement the spatial planning documents (urban development master plan and detailed urban plan) in order to obtain location permits for the strategic projects. This provision is also in contradiction with the Constitution since it interferes with self-administration of local and regional governments.
In addition, the proposed Law of the strategic investment has been in a public hearing from January 15th to 24th this year, only 8 working days, which is against the Environmental Protection Act that stipulates minimum of 30 days for public participation.
According to WWF Mediterranean, the proposed Law is potentially fertile ground for corruption, as investors are in a privileged position. This will greatly threaten natural resources, such as coast, agricultural land and forests, as well as the environment in general.