Saturday, 27 May 2023

Croatian U-17 Team Bids Goodbye to the European Championship

May 27, 2023 - Budapest: The Croatian U-17 national team played 1:1 with the Netherlands in the last match of Group D of the U-17 European Championship, which is taking place in Hungary.


Photo: Slobodan Kadić

Robert Jarni's team finished the competition in third place, behind England and Switzerland, and missed the quarterfinals. Before the draw with the Dutch, the young Croatian national team lost to England (0:1) and Switzerland (1:2).


Photo: Slobodan Kadić

"Like in the first two games, we had more chances. We knew how the Netherlands played, and we had great counterattacks, but unfortunately, we weren't as precise as the others. We had to rotate, but everything went very well. These guys must be seen, attitude, and thinking; I hope everyone will find their way.


Photo: Slobodan Kadić

Now a new generation follows, which also has a lot of potential, but time will tell. After that, it is up to the boys to work; without desire and will to work, there is nothing - Jarni concluded.

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

Saturday, 27 May 2023

Citizens Rate Life in Croatia With a Three, People Under 30 Happy

May 27, 2023 - The second part of the Crobarometer monthly survey for May 2023 explored how happy the residents were with life in Croatia.

According to research published by Nova TV's Dnevnik, as writes Index, the biggest problems that plague citizens in May have been the high prices and inflation. This is followed by the standard of living, i.e. low wages, corruption and crime, the economic situation and poverty.

Croats rate the quality of life in Croatia with a three

The relative majority of respondents generally rated the quality of life in Croatia as a three, and this is the rating they used to show what life in our country looks like from their point of view. The average rating is 2.73, which is slightly lower than in April.

The average rating of personal quality of life is 3.17, which is also a slight decrease compared to the previous month. More than a third of respondents, 36.4 percent of them, rated the quality of their own life with more than three.

According to region, the residents of Zagreb have been the most satisfied with their lives. The deviations have not been that significant, though.

Young people under 30 are the most satisfied with life in Croatia

According to the survey, young people under 30 and highly educated are the most satisfied with their life in Croatia. Both groups rated it with a four. People under the age of 30 rated their satisfaction with 3.6, and educated citizens with 3.52.

Citizens feel safe in Croatia, which is the aspect they rated the highest. They rated the quality of education with a three, and they think the same when it comes to the independence and freedom of the media.

Low rating for salary

Respondents believe that Croatia's position in the world is good. The quality of health care is on the border between two and three, and citizens gave the same rating to respect for human rights.

Job opportunities and the purchasing power of citizens did not reach a three. The work of state and public institutions has not been doing well. Neither has waste management. The salary levels in Croatia only received a score of 1.97.

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

Saturday, 27 May 2023

Best Value for Money Destinations: Zagreb Ranks High Among European Cities

May 27, 2023 - For 16 years now, the British Post Office has been compiling a list of European cities that are the best value for money destinations. This year, the Croatian capital made it onto the list.

A new list for the year 2023 has been released, comparing 35 European cities and revealing the most profitable European destinations. This year it is the Portuguese metropolis Lisbon, writes Klix.

The Post Office team calculates and compares the average price of a weekend stay in the city for two nights in three-star hotels. Add to that the price of some top tourist attractions, sightseeing by tourist bus, the price of public transport, and food and drinks.

Lisbon is the right place this summer if you want to have an amazing mini vacation or an extended weekend in the city without spending a lot of money.

This holiday destination has topped the list of the cheapest city breaks in Europe, which is an incentive for tourists, who are already flocking to Lisbon for its world-famous nightlife, beautiful beaches and delicious food.

From the perspective of tourists, prices in the Portuguese capital are largely unaffected by inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, rising only 2 percent compared to last summer.

Two nights in a three-star hotel average around 140 euros, which is only 5 percent more than in 2022, compared to a price increase of over 20 percent in every other city surveyed. In fact, prices in Lisbon were less than a third of those in the most expensive European cities such as Venice and Amsterdam.

Lisbon is a great place to visit for a number of reasons. The city is somewhat randomly located on the rugged landscape on the west coast of the country, providing many varied and excellent views. It is said to be one of the oldest cities in the world, and according to legend, it was founded by Ulysses on his return from the Trojan War.

The title of the most expensive city in Europe was taken by Amsterdam, where 835 euros should be allocated for the weekend, and Paris, Venice, Geneva, Belfast and London are among the most expensive. Dubrovnik in neighboring Croatia took first place on the list of cities with the most expensive tickets for cultural and historical sights.

And Croatia's capital ranked quite high on this list of the most cost-effective European cities in 2023, starting with the cheapest: Lisbon (Portugal), Vilnius (Lithuania), Krakow (Poland), Athens (Greece), Riga (Latvia), Porto (Portugal), Zagreb (Croatia), Budapest (Hungary) ), Warsaw (Poland) and Lille (France).

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

Saturday, 27 May 2023

Croatia On Top Spot in Europe According to Number of Organ Transplants

May 27, 2023 - In the first six months of this year, a total of 54 solid organs were transplanted at KBC Zagreb, including 20 kidneys, 17 livers, 15 hearts and two lung transplants, it was pointed out today at a press conference on the National Day of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplants. Their patients included two children, said the head of the Urology Clinic of KBC Zagreb, Željko Kaštelan.

He pointed out that they are particularly proud of the success of the transplant teams that were present at the beginning of the year during a lung transplant in a child, as well as a simultaneous heart and liver transplant, writes Index.

"With ten transplants per million inhabitants, Croatia is the leader in Europe"

Assistant director of KBC Zagreb Milivoj Novak said that the number of transplants in KBC Zagreb is moving forward. Four years ago, in 2019, 99 transplants were performed, in 2021 there were 88, and last year 106.

The head of the Clinic for Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels, Davor Miličić, reminded that this year is the 35th anniversary since the first heart transplant in Croatia, and since then the program has been running continuously. This year, 15 heart transplants were performed, and a kind of record, he says, was December last year and January this year with 12 heart transplants.

"Croatia, with ten transplants per million inhabitants, is the first in Europe," Miličić emphasized, comparing it to Great Britain, where there are 2.4 transplants per million inhabitants, and Spain and France with five to six per million inhabitants.

About a hundred people were involved in heart and liver transplantation at the same time

At the conference, it was pointed out that simultaneous liver and heart surgery on the same patient is a rare undertaking on a global scale, which was very demanding because immediately after the heart transplant, the liver transplant was performed. This can lead to problems even with a healthy heart, and the risk is even greater with a newly implanted heart, but it all went well without major complications.

Head of the Department for Coordination of Transplantation and Explantation, Jasna Brezak, said that the operation was organizationally demanding because the organs were obtained from two different donors from Eurotransplant.

"Everything had to be coordinated, and about a hundred people were involved in the entire process," she stated. Brezak emphasized that the transplantation system is well organized, it is a system of high knowledge and empathy, enthusiasm of all who participate in it.

"The fact that Croatia is at the top in the world in the donor and transplantation program shows that our medicine is completely at an enviable level," concluded the Head of the Department for Coordination of Transplantation and Explantation.

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

Friday, 26 May 2023

Croatia and Hajduk Legend Danijel Subašić to End Football Career at Poljud

May 26, 2023 - Hajduk will meet Šibenik in the last round of SuperSport HNL on Sunday, and apart from this being the last match of the season, it carries even more significance as Hajduk goalkeeper and the 2018 World Cup silver medalist Danijel Subašić will say goodbye to his football career.

This is the second time that Subašić played for Hajduk. He first arrived on loan from Zadar in the summer of 2008, and later Hajduk bought out his contract. After that, Subašić moved to Monaco in January 2012 and won the French championship in 2017. He was also named the best goalkeeper of the French championship that same year, reports

He returned to Hajduk in September 2021 as a 36-year-old. In total, he made 132 appearances for the Split club. He has not played in goal this season, and it is unknown whether he will defend against Šibenik in his farewell. With the Croatia national team, he won the silver medal at the World Cup in 2018 and was one of their key players.

Hajduk invited all fans to come dressed in white to Poljud on Sunday.

"We invite all fans, members and season ticket holders, sponsors and friends of the Club and all those who have Hajduk in their hearts to fill the Poljud stands to the last seat. Let's all dress in white shirts and come see off the old season and wish the team and the Club good luck in the new one. Because Hajduk makes us happy, regardless of everything else we are doing and where we are."

To celebrate winning the SuperSport Croatian Football Cup, Hajduk is also organizing an exciting entertainment program that will start on Sunday at 10 am.

From 10 am to 4 pm, all fans can take photos with the Cup trophy, the same one that Hajduk lifted again in Rijeka against Šibenik. The trophy will be set up under the eastern stand. 

A DJ will be in charge of warming up the atmosphere from noon. Prize games are also organized in the amusement park for children and mascot Rico will join the Fan Zone from 2 pm. Then, from 4:15 pm, singer Jasna Zlokić and other surprise guests will raise the atmosphere for all generations of fans at Poljud. Hajduk and Šibenik kick off at 5 pm. 

Source: Hajduk

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 26 May 2023

Croatian Telecom Companies Raise Their Prices in Line With Inflation

May the 26th, 2023 - As predicted, numerous Croatian telecom companies have begun raising their service prices to be in line with ongoing inflation. They're free to do this one every twelve months going forward.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tanja Ivancic writes, given that the telecom companies operating in the Republic of Croatia: Hrvatski Telekom, A1 Hrvatska, Telemach Hrvatska and Iskon, have introduced an index clause in their general terms and conditions of business, they're all going to raise their prices, or should we say ''adjust them to inflation''.

Namely, the change in the way of doing business, for which they also received a positive opinion from the regulator - HAKOM, gave Croatian telecom companies the clear opportunity to adjust their prices once a year to the average annual inflation published by the State Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The CBS also announced that last year the average inflation rate in Croatia stood at 10.8 percent.

As such, Croatian telecom companies now have the possibility to make their users comply with their new rules up to that percentage, although some have set 10 percent as the upper limit. The bad news for telecom subscribers is that after the harmonisation of the general terms and conditions has been done, no one has the option, due to the new prices based on inflation, to terminate their contracts without facing a penalty of some sort. The good news is that Croatian telecom companies can only raise their prices like this once a year, based on whatever the inflation rate is at that time.

So far, as confirmed by HAKOM, based on inflation, only A1 Hrvatska has decided to apply the so-called ''inflation clause'' and as such increase their prices. As announced by A1, as of July the 1st, their prices will be increasing by 8.5 percent for tariffs, packages and options, meaning that their users will receive their first, increased bills in August. Given that Croatian telecom companies all have the obligation to notify their users of new prices thirty days before they come into effect, A1 is starting the process of notifying their users now.

As they have stated, they decided to take this step "Due to several years of unstable market conditions, major challenges in business and a high inflation rate" and further point out that "they will apply an adjustment that is less than the official inflation rate and amounts to 8.5 percent".

The price increase refers to tariffs, packages and options from the official offer, and as they claim from A1, "even after this adjustment, A1's offer remains the most competitive on the market" adding that "the index clause doesn't actually apply to other billed items other than the monthly fee for tariffs, packages and options, such as the consumption of minutes, messages or internet, ICT services, one-off charges and installments for devices and the stated charges remain unchanged. In addition, our users will continue to receive the discounts to which they're entitled in accordance with the previously agreed conditions".

So, let's repeat all of that, users had the right to terminate their contracts without paying a penalty until mid-March 2023, because Croatian telecom companies then changed their terms of business and introduced an index clause. Once that clause has been introduced, users no longer have the right to terminate contracts ''for free'' as it were.

Croatian telecom companies can now, with a built-in index clause, adjust to inflation in the country every year, automatically, once. A1 broke the ice and was the first to do so, so it is to be expected that by the end of the year others will follow their example.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 26 May 2023

Cost of Croatian Electric Car Charger Use on Roads to Greatly Increase

May the 26th, 2023 - Bad news for those attempting to be more ''green'' as the cost of Croatian electric car charger use on the country's roads is set to significantly increase as of the first day of June 2023.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as of this summer, more specifically from June the 1st until the last day of September, tourists visiting Croatia by road, as well as local drivers of electric cars, will need to pay significantly more for Croatian electric car charger use. As has been announced by ELEN, their prices per kilowatt of energy, with which electric car batteries are charged, are now more than 25 percent more expensive, the Rijeka portal Novi list announced.

At charging stations located along the side of the country's motorways (and it's worth bearing in mind that ELEN owns more than a third of all charging stations for electric cars in the Republic of Croatia) at connections with a nominal power of up to 22.1 kW, which are the slowest of all at the moment, the price is 0.45EUR/kWh. Until now it stood at 0.36EUR/kWh.

On those with a nominal power of 22.2 kW to 50 kW, the amount will shoot up from the current 0.46EUR/kWh to 0.62EUR/kWh. At the end very end of the scale, Croatian electric car charger users at connections with a rated power above 50 kWh will pay 0.86EUR/kWh, as opposed to the off-season 0.66EUR/kWh. The gentlest driving per 100 kilometres consumes about 20 kWh. In other words, if Croatian electric car charger users choose to use the fastest charging stations in the country, 100 kilometres will come at s cost of 17.2 euros as of June 2023.

For comparison, with the consumption of six litres of diesel, which in terms of the dimensions of the vehicle and the driving style, the electric consumption is 20 kWh, for the same amount, it will cover twice as much, about 200 kilometres. In the case of petrol-powered vehicles, it is about 20 percent less, 160 kilometres.

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

Friday, 26 May 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Americans, Reforms, Wages and Taxes

May the 26th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had visits from American generals and military exercises carried out in Udbina, drama surrounding the amendments to the Law on Constituencies, Plenkovic's reforms have been dragged by those in economic circles and the infamous topic of property tax has once again reared its ugly head.

Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banozic meets with American Armed Forces General Christopher Gerard Cavoli 

Banozic and Cavoli have met before the upcoming NATO summit in July, coming together to discuss Europe's overall security situation and emphasise how joint exercises are an indication of the importance of NATO. Cavoli is not only a United States Army General, but has also served as the commander of United States European Command since the 1st of July 2022 and as Supreme Allied Commander Europe since the 4th of July 2022. Cavoli has been on a two-day working visit to the country as part of some international military exercises in Udbina which are being carried out under the organisation of US commands.

The NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius in July was a hot topic for the pair, and Banozic made sure to thank the US General for all that has been done in terms of support, training and more for the Croatian Army recently. US efforts extended towards the Croatian Armed Forces also include modernisation and joint exercises. He also touched on the friendship and partnership of the USA and Croatia, emphasising the need to continue as we go forward with strong bilateral relations, especially in terms of defense.

"The joint training of allied forces like what is currently taking place here in Croatia is one of the best indicators of NATO's significance, as it simultaneously improves capabilities, develops the interoperability of allied forces and sends out a firm a message of togetherness, cohesion and unity," said Banozic according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense.

That same statement noted that the Republic of Croatia has made many steps forward and put in a lot of effort in terms of continuing to modernise its army, from the procurement of military aircraft to the implementation of all kinds of joint decisions, which is something he assured would continue in the future as well.

"Croatia is currently participating in thirteen different missions, operations and activities. For us, the security and stability of Southeast Europe is extremely important, which is why Croatia will continue to participate in KFOR. It will also continue to support the processes of Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries of Southeastern Europe," Banozic explained.

New Croatian constituencies/electoral units have been presented, and drama has ensued

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has officially presented the amendments to the Law on Constituencies, and people are unhappy about it for more than a few reasons, as is always the case in Croatian politics. There are now 10 constituencies that will elect 14 representatives each, and about 80 percent of voters have remained in their same/original constituencies. The City of Zagreb will now consist of three constituencies instead of four, and this is the most important change, at least according to Plenkovic.

"A minor modification"

Presenting the amendments to the Law on Constituencies, Plenkovic emphasised that this is only a minor modification of the existing map of Croatian constituencies, whereby only 22 percent of voters will see a change to the constituencies they've been until now.

The new law should enter into force on October the 1st, 2023

Amendments to the law in the first parliamentary reading will be sent before the summer break, so that the second reading would take place after the summer break is over, i.e. in the first two weeks of September, and the law would enter into force on October the 1st, since at the end of September, based on the decision of the Constitutional court, the current Law will cease to be valid.

Referring to the decision of the Constitutional Court of February the 7th, 2023, Plenkovic said that changes in the law should ensure the ''equal weighting'' of the vote, that electoral units follow administrative boundaries as much as possible (counties, municipalities, cities) and that there should be no deviations in the number of voters per individual electoral unit to be greater than plus or minus five percent.

"We did want to keep the existing model"

"In the political sense, as a government, we wanted to achieve a situation in which we'd keep the existing model of 10 constituencies in which 14 representatives are elected. So, the Constitutional Court gave us the opportunity to, based on what they said, practically modify the existing system and to achieve equality, the equal treatment of both voters and representatives who are elected to the Croatian Parliament," he said.

78 percent of voters will remain in the same constituencies they've always been in

In order to argue the claim that only minor modifications are being made, Plenkovic stated that as many as 78 percent of voters, or four fifths of the total number, will remain in the constituencies where they are currently and always have been in. He also stated that based on the proposed changes to the layout of the country's constituencies, the largest deviation from the average number of voters per constituency (364,664) will amount to only 2.2 percent in the Xth constituency, and everything else will simply fall within 2.20 percent.

"These are extremely small deviations, which completely put the new ''architecture of constituencies'' into the legal context of what is currently prescribed, which is plus or minus five percent. So, this is the closest to having practically an equal number of voters per constituency, which, of course, is impossible," he said.

Journalists were naturally waiting to pounce with their lists of valid questions, and one of the most pressing of all is just how it could ever be possible that there are so many voters, because apparently there seems to be more voters than Croatian citizens who can vote.

''The register of voters is formed based on the records of residence and registries located in the ministries. It's a register that changes daily. Elections are conducted based on the list of voters,'' was the simple and quite frankly vague answer, especially given the fact that there have been endless attempts to solve the issue of ''fake residences'' being registered across the country.

One might ask if this sort of voter list is at all credible, and HDZ believes it is:

''We believe that the information in it is credible. I don't want to get into the debate about the population census. We took the voter register here, not the population census. The voter register is the basis for the electoral law,'' stated Plenkovic.

The drama surrounding this topic is ongoing, with individuals from Croatian politics in Istria, Petrinja and even the island of Pag complaining about where they've found themselves after this constituency shakeup of sorts. We're sure that this is a debate that will keep on being revisited and picked apart, as is the norm in the world of Croatian politics.

Croatian economist Damir Novotny says that recent reforms aren't actually reforms at all, and that this sort of wage growth will only encourage inflation

Economist Damir Novotny appeared on N1 television where he commented on the tax reform that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Finance Minister Marko Primorac presented to the public recently. According to what the government presented on Wednesday, the lowest wages could increase by 40 euros on average. And what about everyone else?

"It's not about reform, and this was also acknowledged by Primorac, who said that it's about changing tax rates," explained Damir Novotny, before adding the following:

"The tax on labour and capital is an inherited model from social democratic countries or the governments of Scandinavian countries. The Republic of Croatia has an average burden of income from labour and capital, lower than, for example, Scandinavian countries. These changes are small and don't deserve so much public uproar, nor do they deserve the amount of bile being spewed up in discussions. This is making it all enter the sphere of political populism. Wages can't increase as a result of changes in the tax system. This would be possible if we were in Ireland and lowered the burden all the way down to five percent, so everyone pays their own contributions if they want. This is more political marketing folklore without any actual economic substance to it."

"The more wages rise, the more inflation will rise"

Novotny added that with this sort of increase in wages, inflation will also increase, and he also mentioned large sums of money "in the grey zone".

"The more wages rise, the more inflation will rise. The Croatian National Bank (CNB) still sees around 18 billion kuna in circulation, which will be exchanged gradually during the year so as not to be declared as income in the grey zone. That would be a characteristic of left-wing governments, but certainly not of HDZ. This all speaks in favour of the fact that Croatia took over the Scandinavian model from back in the 1970s, but this is no longer done. They said that wages are rising to encourage households to spend more. I see a big problem here. The more households have spare money, the higher inflation will be. The recommendations of the European Commission (EC) were published recently, which tells the Croatian Government - don't subsidise energy anymore, that's the wrong direction to go in," he added.

"This may all just be an attack on Zagreb"

When asked if this is an attack on the biggest cities, Novotny answered:

"Perhaps to the City of Zagreb, yes. They'll end up lacking 200 million or so, that's not a little amount, it will create problems for the city. We'll see if they raise income tax rates. I think Zagreb will suffer the most from this. Split is a region without many high incomes, and it's precsiely in that region that we can see the effects of the grey economy."

Minister Marko Primorac says that it would be good if Croatia did have the (previously) much talked about property tax, but that this government won't be the one to introduce it

Minister Marko Primorac was a recent guest on RTL where he spoke about tax changes, salaries and pensions - all of which are extremely hot topics at this moment in time.

Journalist: You yourself said that this enables local politicians to attract voters and influence people more. What if they decide to make a populist move next year, reduce the income tax, but increase the prices of kindergartens? Who will be responsible for this?

Primorac: Every mayor or candidate for mayor or prefect will have slightly greater opportunities than they've had up to now. Until now, they had the possibility to determine the prices of kindergartens... If we're talking about the taxes of local government units, even so far, local units have had the possibility of determining the rates of individual taxes.

When it comes to taxes for holiday homes, they had the option of setting taxes between 5 and 15 kuna per square metre. In the case of consumption tax, they could introduce it from 0 to 3 percent. And what we've done in this way by merging the surtax with the income tax is make it possible for them to have limited autonomy with the income tax as well as for all other local taxes.

"I don't believe that cities will raise their taxes even though they technically could right now''

Journalist: My wallet can't tell one sort of tax from another. If we end up paying the same for everything - what's the point of it all?

Primorac: They could reduce all local taxes they had, abolish them and increase some other services if they wanted to now. They haven't done so, so I don't believe they'll do it in the future either. We've increased the autonomy of local self-government units, introduced more fiscal decentralisation and have provided yet another additional tool in the toolbox of local leaders who will know what to do with it. The central government retains autonomy in determining the range in order to ensure fiscal stability, but also to influence other policies - redistribution or stabilisation in a certain case if necessary.

"Pensions will grow at the pace they need to grow at"

Journalist: There was no mention of pensions. Why is there even tax on pensions if they're the way they are?

Primorac: If we're talking about the first pension pillar - it was the only way to help those who don't fall in the tax bracket. We could only do what we needed to do by relieving the system of contributions for pension insurance. We'll enable an increase in net wages for those who don't pay income tax. Pensions will then grow at the pace they need to grow at.

We have the indexation of pensions, which is carried out every couple of years according to an established formula related to the increase in consumer prices and average wages. In this way, it will be indexed and determined in the future as well. If there's an opportunity for additional increases, just as we did with the increase in the minimum pension, we'll continue to do so. This intervention that we're making in the pension insurance contribution system only concerns current transfers.

"It would be good if we did have property tax"

Journalist: In a study from back in 2020, you wrote that the abolition of taxes would be disastrous for local self-government units if no substitutions were devised. Is this merely a substitution?

Primorac: It's a substitution so that the autonomy of local self-government units is increased - yes. Therefore, they have the possibility to determine the same rate of tax burden as they had before the change through income tax. What goes to their burden in these changes is the increase in the basic personal deduction, which rises to 560 euros. The more it increases, the less income tax local government units have to collect.

Journalist: In the same study, you talked about property tax? Has the time come for that?

Primorac: Property tax is another tool in the toolbox of local leaders and it would be good if it existed. However, it isn't in the programme of this government. It will certainly not be introduced by the end of the mandate of the current government.


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section. A dedicated Week in Croatian Politics article is also published every Friday.

Friday, 26 May 2023

KBC Zagreb Becomes Centre for Treating Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy

May the 26th, 2023 - KBC Zagreb (Rebro hospital) is set to become the centre for the treatment of a rare but very severe heart condition which is caused by the accumulation of transthyretin fibrils in the myocardium - Transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy or ATTR-CM.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Clinic for Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels at KBC Zagreb has now become the central place for the treatment of the aforementioned rare heart disease which is a cause of very restrictive cardiomyopathy. It is an unfortunately insufficiently studied disease that is still rarely diagnosed, which is why it is crucial to familiarise the general public, as well as healthcare professionals, with a disease in which late detection is one of the most common causes of very poor outcomes and commonly - death.

"Most people don't even know that they're living with this progressive, life-threatening disease. The average survival rates for untreated, late-detected symptomatic patients is 2.5 to 5 years from the diagnosis of the disease. For this reason, it's extremely important to start on time with appropriate treatment that enables better outcomes for patients. This contributes to the reduction of mortality, stops the progression of the disease, reduces the number of hospitalisations and improves the quality of peoples lives,'' explained Dr. Ivo Planinc, a specialist in cardiology at the Clinic for Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels at KBC Zagreb.

Just as the case has been until now, this disease can be diagnosed in all clinical hospital centres in Croatia - in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek. It's estimated that more than 100 people in the Republic of Croatia live with this rare heart disease, and those with the hereditary, rarer type of the disease most often come from Imotski and its surroundings, which makes this geographical area endemic for this particular disease of the heart.

ATTR-CM is a progressive disease caused by the misfolding of a protein called transthyretin, which is synthesised in the liver, causing the formation of harmful amyloid fibers. They are then deposited in the heart muscle, leading to damage and eventual heart failure. The misfolded protein can accumulate in the heart in the form of amyloid fibers, which stiffen the heart muscle and ultimately causes the heart to fail. There are two types of disease - hereditary, that is, genetically caused, and non-hereditary, the so-called wild or senile type of the disease.

Hereditary ATTR-CM can occur in a person's 30s or 40s, and the non-hereditary form (wtATTR-CM), which is associated with aging, is much more common and mainly affects men over 60 years of age, and is manifested by symptoms of failure heart and heart rhythm disorders. Even years before the diagnosis of the disease, many sufferers will complain of numbness and weakness in the hands and arms, rapid fatigue, swelling of the legs and lack of air during exertion and lying down. The hereditary form (vATTR-CM) affects both sexes equally and is usually diagnosed when an individual is in their 40s, although symptoms of damage to the heart and nervous system may have begun many decades earlier. Close family members (parents, siblings, and children) of the person diagnosed sadly have a 50 percent chance of having the responsible gene mutation and going on to develop the disease themselves.

Life with this rare, progressive and life-threatening disease is characterised by numerous symptoms that overlap with the symptoms of various other diseases, such as rapid fatigue, an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, as well as symptoms of the involvement of numerous other organs and systems in the body, such as numbness of the hands and arms, pain or stiffness in the lower back and legs, gastrointestinal problems, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, and other symptoms which may seem vague, unrelated or nothing of concern at first. Symptoms such as dizziness or fainting when getting up from a lying or sitting position, the inability to hold urine or the spontaneous rupture of the tendon of the biceps muscle in the arms may also occur. If people aren't treated in a timely manner, these symptoms progress and significantly affect the quality of life, and patient outcomes are very, very poor.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Are Croatian Prices Going to Keep Rising? Cheap Food Could be History

May the 25th, 2023 - With inflation still very much a threat to our bank accounts and back pockets, are Croatian prices going to just keep on rising? It seems that the period of cheap food might well be one we don't end up ever returning to.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic and the current energy crisis, as well as numerous natural disasters caused by climate change, have led to a drastic increase in Croatian prices for food over more recent years, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has only pushed it further. The big question is whether food will ever become cheap again, and this topic was discussed at the Green Plan in Croatian Agriculture conference, which was recently held in Zagreb.

The European Union (EU) has provided an enormous 264 billion euros to European farmers, and with various other national funds, this amount will be increased to 307 billion euros in total. How will this all actually reflect on customers who are tired of paying constantly increasing Croatian prices, however?

Marija Vuckovic, Croatia's Minister of Agriculture, confirmed that this country has now almost completely implemented the EU Green Plan in its national regulations, and now their application in practice, among the farmers themselves, is underway. She added that in the wake of numerous ecological European requirements, several additional models of agricultural incentives were introduced through the so-called Environmental schemes that will be generous, but also stricter in terms of achieving any desired goals.

"This regards the sum of 468 million euros payable through the Environmental Schemes over a period of five years, and it's been made clear that these are large funds. So far, we have supported 300 projects for energy projects of renewable energy sources in the field of agriculture, and for the next period, we've foreseen 30 million euros for future projects in agriculture and nutrition,'' said Vuckovic, adding that all other green transition projects within the scope of agriculture are being considered, for which a total of 223 million euros is planned.

Ultimately, the strategic project is the generational renewal of domestic agriculture through the inclusion of young people in this sector because, as the minister pointed out, agriculture will not be sustainable in the long term without the engagement of that demographic. She warned that the policies related to the green transition are all connected because without investments there can be no profitable production, and without that, there can be no sustainable regional development with functional rural communities. In the end, all this will be maintained on biodiversity, but also on the Croatian prices for food themselves.

"Will Croatian prices rise? Many believe that they will. Are the days of cheap food behind us? Well, we can only look at this in the short term, and we can predict for the future to some extent. It's reasonable to expect that floods, or sometimes droughts, will affect the supply and thus the price of food. When we look at the longer term, will the EU Green Plan lead to an increase in prices? This must also be viewed much more broadly. It's a fact that enormous amounts of food are wasted across Europe, and I'm convinced that an economic calculation must be sought precisely in better food management," said Minister Vuckovic. According to European Union statistics, the average household in the EU throws away an astounding 600 euros worth of food per year, while in Croatia it's at the level of 200 to 300 euros.

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