By Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams
In an unprecedented move many hope will jump-start an economy plagued by years of recession, Croatia on Monday wiped out the personal debt for roughly 60,000 of its poorest citizens.
The government program, named “fresh start,” aims to help some of the 317,000 of Croatians whose bank accounts have been blocked because of unpaid bills.
Under the terms of the plan, an individual’s debt must be lower than 35,000 kuna ($5,100), and his or her monthly income should not be higher than 1,250 kuna ($138). Those applying for debt cancellation are not allowed to own any property or have any savings.
Deputy Prime Minister Milanka Opacic told a cabinet meeting last month that they expect roughly 60,000 citizens will be applicable, saying, “Thus they will be given a chance for a new start without a burden of debt.”
According to the Washington Post, the Croatian government has convinced multiple cities, public and private companies, the country’s major telecommunications providers, as well as nine banks to support the plan and absorb the debt. The government will not refund the companies for their losses.