Monday, 27 June 2022

Contracts Awarded for Co-Financing School Meals for Children at Risk of Poverty

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - Minister of Labour and Social Policy Marin Piletić awarded 17 contracts on Monday to county and city authorities, worth more than HRK 14.6 million, which will provide a daily school meal for children at risk of poverty in more than 200 primary schools next school year.

"This is the ministry's annual regular activity since 2015, and we have allocated HRK 30 million for the next 2022/2023 school year for this very purpose," said Piletić.

Contracts were signed with 17 beneficiaries today which will provide school meals for 14,500 children at risk of poverty, and more contracts will be signed with other elementary school founders. The minister believes that the allocated HRK 30 million will all be spent during the next school year.

The funds allocated so far through the European Aid Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD) will be allocated next year through the European Social Fund Plus. An allocation of just over €35 million is planned to continue funding this activity until 2027.

Piletić underscored that local government units will also additionally finance these activities, which will include about 30,000 children at risk of poverty in the next school year.

Speaking about children at risk of poverty, Piletić pointed out that only data from 2020 is currently available and the percentage of these children dropped to 16.8%, which is slightly lower than the European average of 21%.

"The poverty rate is highest in Slavonian counties for well-known reasons, but because there are children at risk of poverty in the whole of Croatia, including developed areas, our goal is for school founders in all of Croatia to be potential beneficiaries in the next programme period," Piletić said.

The contracts today were signed by seven counties: Krapina-Zagorje, Sisak-Moslavina, Varaždin, Bjelovar-Bilogora, Međimurje, Koprivnica-Križevci, Brod-Posavina; and 10 cities: Slavonski Brod, Vukovar, Bjelovar, Križevci, Zadar, Čakovec, Vinkovci, Šibenik, Makarska, and Virovitica.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Prime Minister Receives Representatives of Five National Sports Federations

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković received representatives of five national sports federations in Government House on Monday, and among other things they discussed the importance of investing in the development of sports and sports facilities, the government said in a press release.

Attending the meeting along with Plenković were Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac.

"Prime Minister Plenković underscored the numerous top results of Croatian athletes, who have for years been one of the most important promoters of Croatia in the world, and their successes also contribute to strengthening national identity and pride," the press release said.

The sports representatives expressed their satisfaction with all that has been done so far in the field of sports and commended the government's initiative to draft a new Sports Act, which was last amended in 2006.

Plenković said that the government would continue to provide financial support to sports. He underscored that the popularisation of sports is important for Croatian society, especially among children and young people, because it has a positive effect on the adoption of values of a healthy lifestyle and encourages discipline and socialization.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Milanović Expected to Meet Finnish Counterpart, Swedish PM During NATO Summit

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović will attend the NATO summit in Madrid from 28 to 30 June and is expected to meet bilaterally with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, his office said on Monday.

The summit is being held in the midst of a major security crisis in the Euro-Atlantic area caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and therefore a discussion on strengthening aid to Ukraine is also expected.

A topic of the NATO summit will also be Finland's and Sweden's accession to the military alliance.

Earlier, the Croatian president said that the entry of the Nordic countries into NATO should be made conditional on amendments to the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin paid an official visit to Croatia last week, and Milanović told her that in principle he was not opposed to Finland's accession to NATO, but at the same time, he underscored the difficult position of Croats in BiH and the security problems facing Croatia due to the unstable situation in that country.

Also, in a recent telephone conversation with his Finnish counterpart, Milanović said that he was not opposed to Finland's entry into NATO, but that he expected to understand from that country for the protection of the rights of BiH Croats.

Invited non-member heads of state and government - Australia, Georgia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Finland, and Sweden - and European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will also attend the summit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address the summit via a video call.

On the first day of the NATO summit on Tuesday, Milanović and his wife Sanja Musić Milanović will attend a gala dinner along with other heads of state, hosted by King Philip VI of Spain and Queen Letizia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 27 June 2022

8,951 Drug Seizures Recorded in Croatia in 2021

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - Last year there were 8,951 drug seizures in Croatia and a stable trend of addicts in treatment, 80% of whom were opiate addicts, the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) said on Monday on the occasion of International Day against Drug Abuse.

The number of new opiate addicts in treatment keeps declining and cannabis prevails among non-opiate addicts, HZJZ assistant director Željko Petković said.

In 2021, 84% of those in treatment for psychoactive drug abuse were men, while the rest were women, he added.

The average age of persons treated for drug abuse is 40.4 years, experimenting with drugs begins at 17.2 years on average, and the average age of persons seeking treatment for the first time is 28.5 years.

The HZJZ estimates there are between 7,200 and 11,547 high-risk opiate addicts in Croatia.

Last year saw an increase in seizures of cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines.

An analysis of narcotics in wastewaters in 75 cities in 23 EU member states shows that in the last decade Zagreb has been recording an increase in urine cocaine metabolites (546.82 mg per day).

The highest cannabis metabolites in wastewaters have been discovered in Croatian, Spanish, Dutch and Slovenian cities.

Maja Valentić of the HZJZ said 5,378 persons in Croatia were being treated for drug abuse in 2020, including 518 for the first time.

Of all those in treatment, 83% were addicted primarily to opiates, 10% to cannabis and 2.6% to cocaine and other stimulants, she added.

Istria and Zadar counties had the highest number of persons in treatment last year, 561 and 546, respectively.

The number of new heroin addicts in treatment keeps falling.

The HZJZ said the pandemic incited the digitalisation of the drug market.

Dražen Rastović of the police office for the suppression of corruption and organised crime said there was no drug addiction epidemic in Croatia, although the number of consumers seems to be increasing.

There are no open drug scenes nor major drug production, apart from marijuana growing, he added.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Croatia's Part of Vc Corridor to be Completed in 2024, Minister Says

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - The Pan-European transport corridor Vc's section to Beli Manastir will be opened in late October and Croatia's 88-kilometer-long part of the corridor will be completed in 2024, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković said in Osijek on Monday.

After visiting the construction site, he said works were proceeding very well and that after the inauguration of the Osijek-Beli Manastir section, the HAC motorway operator would invite bids for the remaining five kilometers to the Hungarian border, a section estimated at HRK 300 million.

The total investment, including the bypass near Beli Manastir, is HRK 570 million, the minister said.

This transport corridor has big prospects as it will connect Budapest and the southernmost Croatian seaport of Ploče, he said, adding that works on the corridor in Bosnia and Herzegovina are expected to intensify.

HAC director Boris Huzjan said more than 90% of the Osijek-Beli Manastir section had been completed.

The 17.5-kilometer section is worth HRK 495 million, he said, adding that 59 kilometers of the Croatian part of Vc are currently in use and that 83 will be in use after the completion of the Osijek-Beli Manastir section.

Osijek-Baranja County head Ivan Anušić said Vc had a big impact on the City of Osijek and the county as well as on other Slavonia counties. This international route will facilitate the flow of people and goods between Budapest and Ploče, he added.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Monday, 27 June 2022

International Croatian Language Summer School Ends in Krk

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - The International Summer School of Croatian Language and Culture for Croatian Language Teachers and Students in the Diaspora, which began on 18 June has ended in Krk with participants receiving appropriate certificates.

The summer school is organized by the Croatian Studies Faculty at Zagreb University of Zagreb for participants from Hungary, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, with lessons and exercises in the Croatian language.

Participants had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and teaching competencies and gain new acquaintances. They were also acquainted with the heritage and culture of the islands of Krk and Cres and attended the launch of a book of poems by Vlasta Sindik Pobor.

This is the fifth edition of the Croaticum Summer School of the Croatian Language and Culture and is part of the project of cooperation with ethnic Croatian communities in the Diaspora. The school is supported by the Central State Office for Croats Abroad, the Ministry of Science and Education, and this year, the City of Krk.

For more news about the Croatian diaspora, visit our dedicated section.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Construction of EastMed Gas Pipeline Becomes Topical Again

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - The European Union is trying to slash its gas imports from Russia, and therefore the topic of building the 1,900-kilometre Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed) natural gas pipeline to connect the gas reserves off Israel and Cyprus via Greece and Italy to other EU members is again on the agenda.

Geologist Avraam Zelilidis, a professor at the University of Patras and one of the advocates of this project, has recently told Hina that this project could save the Greeks since the continuation of fuel price hikes might push many citizens into extreme poverty.

For the sake of comparison, Greek companies are the most exposed in the EU to losses and bankruptcy due to the energy crunch, shows an analysis of the European Investment Bank (EIB). In Greece, the EIB’s analysis sees a 27.6% projected increase in the share of firms reporting losses.

Professor Zelilidis told Hina that in his opinion great reserves of natural gas and petroleum are also offshore Greece.

However, so far Greek authorities have seemed reticent about the project. At the first stage of the EastMed project, the EU could cover 10% of its energy needs in this way.

The reasons for reticence seem to be the opposition of Greek shipping companies that currently make a profit on the transport of the imported oil supplies. In addition, there are some environmental fears.

However, the head of the Nicosia-headquartered Isotech Ltd. Research and Consultancy, Xenia Loizidou, has told Hina that every gas pipeline poses a risk to the marine environment but in this case, the issue is no longer environmental but political.

Profesor Zelilidis says that at the later stages this gas pipeline could meet 40% of the EU's needs for gas supplies.

The idea of the EastMed project was supported by the European Commission nine years ago as the Project of Common Interest (PCI).

In 2019, Greece, Cyprus and Israel signed a Tel Aviv agreement on the matter.

The project is being developed by IGI Poseidon, a 50:50 joint venture between the Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA) and Italy's Edison International Holding.

In 2020, Italy confirmed its interest in having a branch of the pipeline passing through its territory.

However, there has been some opposition from Turkey to the project as Ankara complains that the selected pipeline route bypasses the long Turkish coastline to deliver gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe. Turkey also alleges that the pipeline project ignores its equal rights over the natural resources in Cypriot territorial waters.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has made all routes that can reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels topical again.

New geopolitical and energy market reality

In light of the new geopolitical and energy market reality, on 15 June in Cairo, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, together with the competent Egyptian and Israeli ministers signed a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding between the EU, Egypt and Israel for the export of natural gas to Europe.

During her participation in the Three Seas Initiative summit meeting in Riga, Commissioner Simson noted that the initial project of the EastMed could be altered, and in this context she mentioned the Aphrodite gas field, the first gas field to be discovered and granted a production license in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, offshore Cyprus.

There is a possibility for the Aphrodite gas field, after it starts operating, to be connected to Egypt and that LNG supplies are then transported to Europe, said Simson in Riga, noting that the construction of the pipeline could take more time. 

Croatia and Cyprus can assist in Europe's energy independence

During his visit to Cyprus in mid-May, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovič met with said that President Nicos Anastasiades, who said that Cyprus can help the European Union achieve energy independence. Plenković underscored that the LNG terminal on Krk Island would have a big role in that.

The two officials discussed the energy crisis in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Anastasiades spoke about energy interconnection projects in the eastern Mediterranean, between north Africa and Europe, and about the EastMed gas pipeline which should connect Cyprus with Europe via Greece.

That island state has in recent years discovered significant offshore gas deposits, and the proposed project is still being analyzed to test its economic feasibility, said Anastasiades.

It can help Europe's energy diversification, he told a news conference.

Addressing the news conference in Nicosia, Plenković underlined that the LNG terminal on Krk Island would have a significant role in achieving Europe's energy security. Thought is being given currently to increasing its capacity and not just for Croatia but for the needs of countries in Central Europe, he said.

Croatia can become an energy hub in the north Adriatic for gas and oil, said Plenković. He underscored on that occasion that Europe has to find a new, long-term sustainable alternative to Russia's energy products at an affordable price.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 27 June 2022

31 New Cases of Coronavirus in Croatia, Two People Die

ZAGREB, 27 June 2022 - In the past 24 hours, there have been 31 new cases of coronavirus infection recorded in Croatia and two people have died as a consequence, the national COVID response team reported on Monday.

There are currently 3,452 active cases in the country and 228 patients are in hospital treatment, with 7 of them being attached to ventilators.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was identified in Croatia, there have been a total of 1,145,521 cases of contagion registered and 16,052 people have died as a consequence while 1,126,017 recoveries have been registered.

For everything you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Monday, 27 June 2022

FINA World Championships: Croatia Beats Georgia for Quarterfinal Spot

June 27, 2022 - Croatia beat Georgia 13:7 in the FINA World Championships round of 16 in Hungary on Monday. They will face Serbia next in the quarterfinals. 

The Croatia water polo team met Georgia in the round of 16 at the FINA World Championships in Hungary on Monday. Croatia had no right to make a mistake, as a defeat would leave them without a fight for a medal. Winning this match would also mean a quarterfinal match against Serbia later this week.

Due to the suspension, coach Ivica Tucak could not count on Rino Burić. Georgia was also no easy opponent with several foreigners on the national team. Among them is one Croatian, Marko Jelača.

Match Report

1st quarter

Croatia won the sprint and the first attack of the match, which Bukic scored for 1:0. Georgia equalized for 1:1 with 6:49 on the clock. Kharkov put Croatia ahead for 2:1 30 seconds later. Georgia equalized for 2:2 with 3:20 on the clock. Zuvela made it 3:2 for Croatia with 1:42 to go, which is how the first quarter ended. 

2nd quarter 

Croatia won the sprint again for the first attack, but Georgia equalized for 3:3 with 6:47 left. Kragic put Croatia ahead for 4:3 in the next attack. Kharkov scored a rocket for 5:3 with 5:46 to go. Basic made it 6:3 for Croatia's biggest lead of the game with 3:03 to go. Georgia reduced Croatia's lead to 6:4 with 1:45 on the clock. Krapic scored for 7:4 with 0:27 on the clock, which is how the match went into halftime.

3rd quarter

Georgia won the sprint to start the third quarter but was unlucky in their first attack. Kharkov scored his third goal of the match for +4 Croatia with 6:26 to go (8:4). Kharkov scored a penalty for 9:4 with 5:44 to go. Kragic scored for 10:4 Croatia with 1:45 left in the quarter. Croatia went into the final quarter leading by 6 goals. 

4th quarter 

Croatia won the sprint but was unsuccessful in their first attack. Georgia scored in the next attack for 10:5 with 6:47 left in the game. Georgia scored again for -4 (10:6) with 4:51 left. Zuvela scored for 11:6 with 4:20 to go. Fatovic scored for 12:6 with 3:29 on the clock. Kragic scored a penalty for 13:6 with 2:09 to go. Georgia scored for 13:7 with 41 seconds left. 

Croatia and Serbia will meet in the quarterfinals later this week. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Monday, 27 June 2022

Electric Boats Transporting Visitors at Krka National Park

June the 27th, 2022 - Krka National Park is now richer for electric boats which will work to transport passengers who are visiting this wildly popular national park along the Krka river.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/PD i VL native tim writes, a DNV GL study shows how changes in the use of different marine vessels can contribute to achieving CO2 reduction targets. This will require the use of zero-emission options, such as electricity and biofuels.

Croatia's much loved Krka National Park is heading in this direction and has been constantly working to reduce any pollution produced there. In addition to the Krka National Park administration presenting a new ordinance according to which swimming is prohibited in almost the entire area of ​​the park, at the beginning of last year, they also ordered two hybrid electric boats. This is another step towards sustainability. The capacity of the ships is 50 people, and the vessels are equipped with quality solar PV panels and batteries.

Everything actually works in a fairly simple way with these vessels, when the sun is shining, the solar cells power the drive, and when the sun disappears - the drive is powered by a battery. This means that working conditions will be met at any time of the year regardless of the amount of sunshine hours in the day. Krka National Park's new electric boats operate reliably without producing any emissions, and can withstand a cycle of 8 hours when using the battery and 12 hours when using the energy obtained through the solar panels. The service speed is 5 knots and the maximum is 9 knots.

The boats were ordered with Danfoss technology, whose employees listened carefully to all of the wishes expressed and solved the technical challenges they faced on the way throughout the process, from desire to final realisation. As explained by Danfoss, the technical challenge with these electric boats was to achieve proper functioning between the solar PV panels and the battery within the powertrain system. Nevertheless, they managed to design and deliver the ideal solution in the end.

In doing so, they took into account the understanding of the needs of the ordered ships and the ability to handle advanced technology.

They also cooperated with the system integrator Inmel, providing all the necessary hardware and software for the green hybrid solution, and the ships were built at the Dalmont shipyard in Kraljevica.

A kind of precedent was set with the vessels, ans as such, for the first time, the MPPT software upgrade was transferred to the DC / DC software with the support of the system integrator and successfully tested. They provided maximum power point detection (MPPT) software implemented in DC / DC software. Such cooperation between Danfoss and Inmel enabled higher voltage on the solar panels, using only the highest voltage point, resulting in more energy on a common DC bus.

Krka National Park has thus shown that choosing the right partners is one of the most important moments in achieving sustainability goals.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.