Croatia wipes debts of the poor in “Fresh Start” scheme

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ZAGREB (AFP) – Tens of thousands of Croatians are to be freed from the tyranny of debt under a new government scheme entitled “Fresh Start” which gives the hard-up a clean credit slate.

Around 60,000 people with debts of under 35,000 kunas (4,500 euros, $5,300), whose bank accounts have been blocked for more than a year, are expected to benefit from the one-off scheme, which came into effect Monday.

The beneficiaries of the amnesty will have debts with telecoms operators, big banks, several public utilities, four municipalgovernments and the tax office all torn up.

“This is a social measure of which we are proud,” Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said, while stressing that the scheme, which is expected to cost up to 46 million euros, was an “emergency” step that Croatia could not afford to repeat.

The Adriatic country of 4.2 million is mired in a cycle of low growth and high unemployment.

“We are doing everything possible to facilitate the lives of people affected by this long and exhausting crisis,” Milanovic said.

 

–  A bright note  –

2015-02-03

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