Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Young Medical Interns Protested in Zagreb

Adelina Marini, September 28, 2012

Tens of graduated healthcare workers protested on Thursday before the government building in Zagreb, Croatia, against the lack of a public tender for financing their internship, which is obligatory in order for graduates in radiology, physiotherapy, nursery, various therapies, laboratory diagnostics, etc., to be granted legal right to work.

The protest started around 11 a.m. with slogans and whistling. The main slogans were "Give us the internship, we will find a job ourselves", "We want a chance for work", "Unemployed employees", etc. According to local media, the protest was suspended around 1 p.m. after a meeting was called in the Ministry of Healthcare.

So far, the payment of internship programmes in the medical sector was done by the Croatian healthcare insurance fund but at the meeting of the managing board of the institute recently a decision for a competition this year was not taken. Besides, the healthcare workers have received a significant reduction of payment for internship from between 4 and 6 thousand kunas (500-800 euros) down to 1600 kunas.

At the moment, the government of Croatia is facing a tough task to make additional spending cuts of 2 bn kunas by the end of the year in order to stick to its goals, which are in line with the legislation for fiscal discipline that envisages the budget deficit to be reduced by 1% every year until the budget is balanced or in surplus. Several ministries have already announced that their budgets are over for the year and that they might not be able to pay wages for the last months of 2012.

All this against the backdrop of a fifth in a row year of recession and lack of foreign investments in the economy.

Croatia will join the EU on the 1st of July 2013.

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