Monday, 16 May 2022

Izetbegović: Electoral Reform to Be Discussed Only After October Election

ZAGREB, 16 May 2022 - No agreement on the reform of electoral legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible at this moment, and talks should continue only after the general election in October, the leader of the ruling Bosniak SDA party, Bakir Izetbegović, said on Sunday.

"There is no legal space to amend the electoral law because the Central Electoral Commission called the election ten days ago. And also, we are too far off from an agreement," Izetbegović said in an interview with the Bosnian Faktor news website.

He said that negotiations on the electoral reform had fallen through because the leadership of the Bosnian Croat HDZ BiH party had "too ambitious plans" about amendments that should be adopted. He added that the HDZ BiH's strategy was wrong because it was based on the blockade of the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity, cooperation with Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and pressure on the SDA and Bosniaks.

Commenting on the announcement that a senior EU official would come to Sarajevo this month when the question of the electoral reform could be raised again, Izetbegović said that nothing would come of it and that he was certain that there would be no pressure to reach an agreement before the 2 October election.

"We have had some preparatory meetings with their advisers which clearly showed this approach and priorities," the SDA leader said. He pointed out that talks with EU officials would focus solely on the implementation of reforms and obstacles on the path to EU membership candidate status.

Izetbegović said that the electoral reform would be discussed "as soon as a new post-election coalition is formed."

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Hotel Valkane Construction in Pula Causes Issues for Local Government

May the 16th, 2022 - The announced construction of the five-star Hotel Valkane, with the investor being a Serbian media mogul, has caused quite the reaction among locals in Pula, with the local self-government unit there now torn between giving it the green light and saying a resounding no.

As Morski writes, the construction of a 5-star, 7-storey hotel on a popular promenade by the sea has raised a real storm in Pula and shaken up the city government. Does the city need another huge hotel or not, and is the lungomare (the city's promenade) really the right location for that? The reactions are as strong as they are mixed.

Hotel Valkane's investor, otherwise a Serbian billionaire and media mogul, wants to build the aforementioned hotel which would be worth half a billion kuna. The mayor has given the idea a thumbs up, but Pula locals are allegedly less than thrilled about the idea.

''We sincerely hope that Hotel Valkane will be completed within the next three to four years. There's no talk of deforestation, causing damage to the promenade or anything of high value. On the contrary, the ''hole'' that was once used should be returned to function,'' said Zoran Kostic, the project manager of "Hotel Valkane".

Pula's city councilors are generally not opposed to the idea of the construction of Hotel Valkane, except for those from the political party Mozemo (We Can!)

''Mozemo! has already initiated the third changes to the urban development plan of the promande, which can remove the hotel or reduce its size,'' the president of the Pula City Council Dusica Radojcic told HRT.

Most of Pula's local residents are allegedly not happy at all about the construction of this massive hotel

''It's not that it shouldn't be built, but maybe not in this place, maybe we'd rather build a sports centre or something like that here, use it a little better, build a better stadium, than build another hotel here. It's just a little too big, that hotel, in my opinion the two floors above should not protrude over everything as they would do,'' are just some of the comments of Pula's residents.

Despite the apparent dissatisfaction of the local residents he represents, Pula's mayor sees no issue...

''This is an excellent development project, the first five-star hotel that will be environmentally sustainable, one that won't touch any of the trees in the forest and has all the predispositions to be a new development point in the City of Pula and preserve the space we're in,'' said Mayor Filip Zoricic.

Mozemo is currently insisting on a referendum on building Hotel Valkane. They've warned that the entire part of the Pula coast has been privatised in a murky way and are as such calling on state institutions to do their jobs and investigate this matter more deeply.

With Pula's residents and Mozemo apparently vehemently against the hotel's construction, but with the mayor and the city government willing to give it a green light, will a referendum be held in which Pula's citizens might say no to the hotel, or will the investor get a location and construction permit and start building it? Time will tell for Hotel Valkane's fate.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Croatian Labour Force 15,000 Employees Short for 2022 Season

May the 16th, 2022 - The height of 2022's summer tourist season is rapidly approaching, and the Croatian labour force is still missing around 15,000 employees. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the director of the Directorate for Development, Investments and Competitiveness of the Tourism Economy at the Ministry of Tourism, Robert Pende, said recently on the radio that the Croatian labour force, when it comes to the all important tourism sector, currently lacks as many as 15,000 workers, although he expects the deficit to decrease as time goes on.

"Currently, according to the information we've received from the sector itself, there are about 10,000 people who should come or be employed for this tourist year," said Pende, referring to the lack of workers in the tourism sector, which is ironically Croatia's most important economic branch.

However, he pointed out that many permits for foreign workers (meaning those from non EU-EEA countries such as neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, who require special permission in order to work here) are still in the process of being requested, so he expects those numbers to be somewhat lower eventually.

MUP is notoriously slow in processing employer requests for work permits for third country nationals such as the citizens of the aforementioned non EU countries, with cases of those would-be employees throwing in the towel and going elsewhere or only being approved for their work permit when the tourist season is already well and truly underway.

"In any case, we will have a deficit, I would say, throughout the main tourist season," Pende told HRT.

The president of the Dubrovnik County Chamber, Nikolina Trojic, said that the need at the Croatian national level is certainly between 15 and 20 thousand workers that must be introduced from somewhere.

"At the level of Dubrovnik-Neretva County alone, there are certainly at least two or three thousand people who are needed to come and work this season, so it's that many would-be employees who are missing. It's very difficult to fill that number from the Croatian labour force, and we will undoubtedly have to continue to import labour from abroad,'' added Trojic.

Dubrovnik already has a significant number of employees each summer season from nearby Trebinje, which is just over the border in the Republika Srpska governed part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that alone often causes rifts among locals who remember people from Trebinje attacking Dubrovnik thirty years ago. The issue with filling the Croatian labour force isn't only an issue economically, but on a much more personal level, with many feeling that the Dalmatian coast's many restaurants should be filled with Croatian, preferably local staff, and not those from Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

American Interest in Croatian Customs and Tourism Increasing Each Year

May the 16th, 2022 - It appears that the interest of American citizens for Croatian customs and tourism is growing year on year, with the number of people lining up outside the Massachusetts Avenue Croatian Embassy increasing.

As Morski writes, after a two year break caused by the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic, which saw international travel, at least for tourism and leisure purposes, almost grind to a halt, embassies in Washington are now open to the public on Saturdays in an attempt to arouse US citizen interest in visiting various different countries across the globe.

This popular event is called "Passport DC'' and sees the many countries that have diplomatic missions located in the capital of the United States present themselves to people there in order to attract and interest them further when it comes to travel and tourism throughout 2022.

There are more than 175 foreign embassies and consulates in Washington alone, and European Union (EU) countries opened their doors to American visitors this Saturday.

Judging by the long line in front of the Croatian Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue, the interest of Americans in Croatia and as such Croatian customs and paying a visit to this country is growing every year, as reported by HRT.

In the first part of Saturday alone, the Croatian diplomatic mission was visited by more than a thousand US citizens who wanted to learn more about Croatian customs, cities, food, history and the country's very rich tourist offer.

For many people, a visit to the Croatian Embassy in Washington as part of the ''Passport DC" event is a prelude to going to the Republic of Croatia on holiday, so for a lot of those visiting, a decision has likely already been made to cross the ''pond'' and arrive in Croatia in the coming weeks and months.

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

Monday, 16 May 2022

Four New Faces on Latest Croatia Nations League Player List

May 16, 2022 - Coach Zlatko Dalić announced the Croatia Nations League player list at a press conference today ahead of the national team gathering at the end of the month. 

Croatia national football team coach Zlatko Dalić announced the list of players for the upcoming UEFA Nations League matches today. The Croatia A national team will play four games at the beginning of June in this competition. 

It all begins in Osijek on June 3 against Austria, followed by another home game against France in Split on June 6.

Croatia then travels to two away games, first to Copenhagen on June 10 against Denmark and then to France for a replay of the World Cup final on June 13.

Dalić invited four debutants to the upcoming gathering: Nediljko Labrovic, Josip Šutalo, Martin Erlić, and Petar Musa, and two call ups - Filip Krovinović and Mario Vušković.

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Nediljko Labrović

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Šime Vrsaljko, Borna Barišić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Marin Pongračić, Josip Stanišić, Erlić, Josip Šutalo

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakić, Luka Sučić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Josip Brekalo, Mislav Oršić, Marko Livaja, Ante Budimir, Petar Musa

Callups: Luka Ivanušec, Mario Vušković, Nikola Moro, Ivo Grbić, Mile Škorić, Filip Krovinović

"Congratulations first to Dinamo on becoming Croatian champion. We have four games ahead of us in which we need to achieve our goal in the Nations League. It’s inconvenient because it’s the end of the season, the guys will come after seven, eight days off and there are four games, which is a lot. That is why we have expanded the list and I will have to calculate that," Dalić began and added:

"As always, we will go for all the victories, that is our goal and desire. We need to focus on Austria and France at home, but difficult Denmark in Copenhagen and France in Paris await us. There won't be a lot of calculations. Modrić, Perišić, Gvardiol, or Brozović cannot play all four games; we will see how they will feel. It is inconvenient that the players are on vacation for seven days, so when we gather, there is a danger of injuries and all that.

We will not be able to put together the most ideal lineup, and already in the first game, we have to put in the strongest forces and try to win because it is the most important. Later we will see. Depending on the young team finishing qualifications, some of their players will join us." 

The national team gathers on May 30 in Zagreb and will stay in the capital until June 2 before traveling to Osijek.

Tickets for all matches go on sale today at noon! You can find more information here.

Source: HNS

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 16 May 2022

Hungarian Meszaros Investing 375 Million Kuna into Luxury Icici Hotel

May the 16th, 2022 - The Hungarian Lorinc Meszaros is investing an enormous 375 million kuna into a luxury Icici hotel which will transform this picturesque area and raise the overall tourism standard.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the construction of the luxury hotel Riva’s Hotels & Resorts in Icici has started, a project worth 375 million kuna in which the well known Hungarian investor Lorinc Meszaros is investing, together with the local developer the DDG Group.

This gorgeous new luxury Icici hotel will have a 5 star ranking and will boast 180 rooms and 12 villas. The laege project also includes the construction of an access road, a pedestrian bridge to the nearby sea, and a new rainwater drainage system from Ucka.

“I immediately recognised this location as a potential site for the construction of a hotel, so I called Meszaros for help. It's a 22,000 square metre gross developed project, with an underground garage with five above-ground floors, with an open space near the road arranged for all Icici locals as well as all of our future guests. We plan to arrange some surrounding greenery, and put in fountains and cafes. With this project, Icici will get a taste of luxury tourism and an urban square as a gathering place. We've been struggling with projects for three years, and we now have 24 months until the grand opening,'' said Denis Sikljan, the founder of the DDG Group.

Lorinc Meszaros pointed out that, after the football camp in Osijek, this is their biggest investment in the Republic of Croatia.

“I've always wanted to invest in building a hotel. Thanks to the designers for a beautiful building, but without the local authorities and the help of the mayor, none of this could have happened. Our cooperation with the local community is good, and we're trying to make it even better. With the purchase of Miramar and Riva’s Hotels & Resorts, our investments amount to 100 million euros and what I can promise you is that we won't just be stopping here,'' said the Hungarian entrepreneur and investor at the opening ceremony of the construction site of the up and coming luxury Icici hotel, which was also attended by Opatija Mayor Fernando Kirigin.

“When I ran for mayor of Opatija, my vision was Opatija which boasted elite tourism and value-added products. It was up to us as a local self-government unit to give our full support to this project. The tourist season is just around the corner, we've already reached about 200 thousand overnight stays and I hope that we will be better than we were back during the record year of 2019, which will undoubtedly give investors more confidence in it all,'' said Kirigin.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 16 May 2022

Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Back on Track After Defending Italian Open Doubles Title

May 16, 2022 - Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić Back are back on track after defending the Italian Open doubles title on Sunday in Rome. This is great news ahead of Roland Garros next week. 

Croatian doubles team Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić defended their title at the Masters 1000 ATP tournament in Rome. This was their 15th joint final and the 10th title in total, which they have been waiting for since the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

After the semi-final victory in the early morning hours of Sunday, defeating Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić did not have much time for rest. Already in the early afternoon, they had the final against American John Isner and Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

The Olympic gold medalists won 6:2, 7:6 (6), 12:10 against Isner and Schwarzman. Mektić and Pavić could have finished the match earlier after they had 5:2 in the tie-break of the second set. In the end, however, they managed to defend the title, saving one match point with Isner and Schwartzman leading 10:9 in the third set.

It was the third final for the Zagreb-Split duo in 2022 after losing in Dubai and Belgrade.

Mektić and Pavić rushed through the first set to come out on top. In the second set, both sides were strong until the 11th game, when the Croatian duo failed to break, though the American-Argentine side missed a set point in the next game.

In the tie-break, Mektić and Pavić took the lead with 5:2, but Isner and Schwartzman returned to 5:5. At 6:5, Mektić and Pavić had a match point, but the Argentine was impenetrable. At 6:6, he combined two more great points, returned on Mektić's serve, and led the match into a decisive, extended tie-break.

Mektić and Pavić were the first to reach the match point at 9:8. Isner responded with an ace, followed by another point for the American-Argentine side, and the match point. Schwartzman pulled a forehand return on Mektic's second serve but missed for 10:10.

Nikola served an ace for the third match point and welcomed John Isner's mistake to finally celebrate in Rome.

In the 15th joint final, Mektić and Pavić finally returned to the circle of winners, just before Roland Garros, where they could not compete last year due to a positive coronavirus test. 

Source: HRT

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 16 May 2022

5+ Years Living in Split: Expat Sandra Perkovic from Canada

May 16, 2022 - In our new TCN series, we uncover the lives of expats that have spent over 5 years living in Split. Next up, meet Sandra Perkovic from Canada. 

Two idyllic weeks on a Croatian beach is very different from the realities of full-time living. So what is it really like to live in Croatia as an expat? In a new series on TCN, we meet expats who have lived here for 5 years or more, to find out from them the good, the bad, and the ugly of 12-month living in Croatia. Next up, Sandra Perkovic from Montreal, Canada!

1. Tell us firstly how you came to Croatia? What motivated you to choose this slice of paradise and how long have you now been here?

I met my husband in Canada while he was on tour, we then got married and I moved to Croatia. For me, moving to Croatia was a childhood dream of mine. I have been living in Croatia for 20 years - 10 in Zagreb and 10 in Split.

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2. Looking back, what were your perceptions and expectations?

Croatia has exceeded all my expectations, even though my cousins used to tell me it's not the same vacationing here and living here.

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3. After 20 years here, how have those perceptions changed. Do you now view Croatia differently?

I think that Croatia is the best place to raise a family. It's so fun living here and I love nature and the fact that it is a small country with so many different climates. I love that you can be on the beach and in one hour you can be skiing.

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4. After your time year, the 3 things you love most about Croatia?

I love Croatia for its safety; children have freedom here because it is so safe. I love how there is always a festival going on, it's just so much fun living here and lastly, I love nature, the national parks, the sea, the mountains, such beautiful nature, and of course how everyone always has time for kava…. Kava in Croatia can last for hours.

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5. And the 3 things you would like to change.

I wish that people were more pet friendly, although this is getting better, I wish that people got jobs based on their qualifications rather than through connections and I wish that the school system was not so demanding.

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6. Given your experiences, what advice would you give to any would-be expat thinking of making the move?

I will never regret coming here, I just regret not coming sooner. If you are considering the move to Croatia don’t hesitate.

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7. The most beautiful place in Croatia, and why?

Oh, so many beautiful places. I love Zagreb because it’s a big city and has it all, but I also love the islands along the Dalmatian coast.

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8. Your favourite moment of your time in Croatia?

My favourite moment is waking up each day in Croatia and being aware that I am living my dream. Croatia is a dream come true.

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Are you an expat who would like to be featured in this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expat

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

Monday, 16 May 2022

United Airlines Dubrovnik Flight from New York Returns May 29

May 16, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as the highly anticipated seasonal United Airlines Dubrovnik flight from New York returns at the end of the month!

United Airlines is renewing its regular seasonal route between New York (Newark Airport) and Dubrovnik in a few weeks. The line started operating last year and has proven to be very successful for the American airline, reports Croatian Aviation

United Airlines will soon return to Croatia when the first wide-body aircraft from New York will land at Dubrovnik Airport. United introduced this line last summer, shortly after Croatia announced clear criteria for entry from the United States into Croatia. The American Delta Air Lines did the same, so the two airlines offered 8 weekly flights between New York (John F. Kennedy and Newark Airports) and Dubrovnik.

Delta gave up the line to Dubrovnik this winter, leaving room to return to southern Croatia next summer, but United took the opportunity to be the only airline to offer a direct connection between the United States and Croatia.

United Airlines B767-300ER aircraft will operate four times a week on the route between New York and Dubrovnik, departing from Dubrovnik every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, from May 29 to September 29 this year.

Last summer, United Airlines operated on a regular route from the beginning of July to the end of September, while this year the operations start at the end of May and remain in operation until the end of September. Thanks to a longer flight availability period, the airline is offering 8,000 more seats this summer season compared to last year (29,960 compared to 21,928 seats from the 2021 summer season).

Croatia Airlines and United Airlines, two Star Alliance Group members, have signed a code-share agreement, so it is possible to buy tickets on the website of the American carrier departing from Zagreb to New York with a transfer in Dubrovnik.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

HNL Round 35: Dinamo Clinches Croatian Championship with One Round To Go

May 15, 2022 - The 35th round of the Croatian First League was played from May 13 to 15, 2022. Hajduk kept their title hopes alive after winning at home against Istra on Saturday until Dinamo beat Sibenik on Sunday to claim the 2021/2022 Croatian Championship title. Here is our HNL round 35 recap. 

Dragovoljac v. Gorica (0:2)

Dragovoljac and Gorica opened the 35th round on Friday, May 13, 2022, in Zagreb. 

Fruk scored for 0:1 in the 5th minute and Golubickas in the 78th for the final 0:2. 

 

Dragovoljac is in last place with 19 points and will be relegated from the First League next season, while Gorica is in 6th place with 44 points.

Slaven Belupo v. Rijeka (2:2)

Belupo and Rijeka met on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Koprivnica. 

The first goal of the match wasn't scored until the 49th minute when Obregon found the back of the net for the Rijeka lead. Krstanovic equalized from the penalty spot in the 56th minute and Bosec gave Belupo the lead for 2:1 in the 59th. Vukcevic equalized for Rijeka in the 79th minute for the final 2:2. 

 

Belupo is currently in 7th place with 36 points, while Rijeka is in 4th with 62. 

Hajduk v. Istra 1961 (3:1)

Hajduk and Istra met on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Poljud Stadium. 

Mahmoud gave Istra the lead in the 15th minute for 0:1 before Livaja equalized from the penalty spot or 1:1 just before halftime. Mahmoud was shown his second yellow moments later forcing Istra to play with a man down for the entire second half. Livaja scored another penalty in the 51st minute for 2:1 and Krovinovic made it 3:1 three minutes later for the final score. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 2nd place with 72 points, while Istra is in 9th with 28. 

Osijek v. Lokomotiva (1:0)

Osijek and Lokomotiva met on Sunday, May 15, 2022, at City Garden Stadium. 

The only goal of the match came in the 26th minute when Zaper scored for 1:0 and the Osijek win. 

Osijek is in 3rd place with 68 points, while Lokomotiva is in 5th with 46. 

Sibenik v. Dinamo (0:2)

Sibenik and Dinamo closed out the 35th round on Sunday, May 15, 2022, in Sibenik. 

A draw or a loss for Dinamo would mean the Croatian champion would be decided next weekend at Maksimir Stadium between Dinamo and Hajduk. Dinamo, however, came to Sibenik knowing what was at stake and celebrated the title one round early.

Tolic scored in the 39th minute and Bockaj in the 53rd for the final 0:2. 

With this win, Dinamo has secured the Croatian championship title with 76 points, while Sibenik is in 8th place with 32 points. This is Dinamo's 23rd Croatian championship title. 

More soon...

You can see the full HNL standings HERE.

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

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