Thursday, 18 August 2022

Number of Permits Issued for Croatian Flat Building Leaps by 25 Percent

August the 18th, 2022 - The issuing of Croatian flat building permits has increased by a significant 25 percent recently, with more and more blocks of flats springing up all over the place, all across the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian flat and other forms of housing construction is accelerating further and further of late and is mainly responsible for the growth of issued building permits. As stated in a recent press release, 906 construction permits were issued during the month of June this year in Croatia, which is 17.5 percent more when compared to the same month back in 2021, the Central Bureau of Statistics (DZS/CBS) announced on Tuesday.

According to the types of buildings the permits were issued for, 87.5 percent or 793 permits were issued in June for the construction of actual buildings, and 12.5 percent or 113 for other forms of constriction (including roads, railways, pipelines, bridges, dams, sports fields, etc.).

According to the structure of the building permits issued during the month of June 2022, the construction of 1,390 Croatian flats/apartments, spanning an average area of ​​97.8 square metres, has been planned, the CBS announced.

Statistics also show that on an annual level, the number of construction permits issued during June 2022 for buildings increased by 24.7 percent, for other constructions it decreased by 16.3 percent, while for Croatian flats/apartments it increased by 19.8 percent.

The amount of building permits issued in June this year estimated the value of the works to stand at 2.65 billion kuna. During the first six months of this year, however, a total of 5,612 building permits were issued, which is 8.7 percent more than back during the same period last year. The value of the works was estimated to stand at a massive 18.93 billion kuna, according to data from the CBS.

For more on building permits and construction in Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Rain in Neretva Valley Provides Relief for Fields, Local Produce Growers

August the 18th, 2022 - Rain has finally graced the Neretva Valley down in southern Dalmatia, providing farmers, produce growers and of course the many fields some much needed relief. The area's fields had been without a drop of rain for too long, and there was a real threat to their yield.

As Morski writes, after several months of drought, heavy rain fell on Tuesday in the south of the country and in the Neretva Valley. This particularly pleased the farmers in the area, where this year only about 15 percent of the annual average precipitation has fallen, an event the oldest residents can't remember having happened before. These more abundant rains will now significantly improve the situation in the production of all agricultural crops, especially tangerines, whose harvest is expected to begin in a month.

After a dry period, rainy refreshment in the Neretva Valley saw local producers breathe a sigh of relief. For the mandarins growing there, and for which the Neretvs Valley is famous, this is a last-minute salvation.

''The situation has never been like this, as far as I can tell, and I've been doing this my whole life. In these six, seven months, not much rain fell, only about 140 litres in total, and the annual average is somewhere around 1,200 litres,'' said Branko Popic, an observer of the Opuzen agrometeorological station.

The farmers of the Neretva Valley watered the mandarins during the severe drought, and in this way they managed to successfully prevent more serious consequences from occurring. But due to the salinity of the water in this area, today's sudden rain is still a better option than anything artificial could ever be.

''This is precious rain for all of the mandarins here, for the vineyards, and for the olives in the marginal areas of the Neretva Valley,'' explained agronomist Robert Doko.

During these days, plots were being prepared in the Neretva Valley for the planting of strawberries and cabbage, and the land had been without rain for too long. ''It was so dry that it was the same as if we were working in the Sahara, not in the Neretva Valley. This rain will mean a lot to us for the next planting that we have scheduled for next week,'' announced Jurica Kapovic from Opuzen.

Local olives also felt the negative consequences of the harsh drought, especially those that grow in the hilly part of the Neretva Valley. Farmer Zivko Mustapic grows about 650 of them on an area spanning ​​about three and a half hectares.

''We'd reached a critical situation, the fruit has already started to fall down. Although I do add a bit of water, it's only like an infusion for them, just to keep them going,'' pointed out Mustapic.

Although only ten litres of rain fell per square metre in the Slivno area, it is expected to improve the development of the olive trees, at least for a while, because the fruit isn't yet what it should be. Neretva Valley locals are still wishing for more precipitation to fall, because the mandarin harvest is expected in one month.

''During that period, even if this amount of rain fell again, it would be ideal for the mandarins and usually would be for cabbages too, they'd need to be watered less,'' said Kapovic.

It was exactly this kind of rain which suited everyone, because they fear the hail that usually comes after a drought. So far, as Neretva Valley producers say, they are happy that at least that threat has bypassed them, as reported by HRT.

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

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Croatian Architect Branko Siladjin Unimpressed by Peljesac Bridge

August the 18th, 2022 - Well known Croatian architect Branko Siladjin (86) isn't particularly impressed with the structure we've all been raving about since long before its opening late last month - Peljesac bridge.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, throughout his long and prosperous career, famous urban planner and Croatian architect Branko Siladjin (86) was at the helm of a series of projects that realised the synthesis of both historical layers and new urban design. However, when it comes to the newly opened Peljesac bridge, he has several remarks.

"I've got no objection to the bridge whatsoever, and unfortunately there are a large number of people who read things I've written as if I've got a problem and react like I'm against it. All I'm doing is simply trying to bring down the ball of artificially politically created and nurtured national euphoria to the ground. To point out the, unfortunately, almost inevitable, permanent and certainly unfavourable consequences for this God-given piece of land, the almost unbelievable potential of the continuity of the quality of life here, in a possible and appropriate relationship between Man and Space", Croatian architect Branko Siladjin told Novi list.

He commented that an English journalist working for The Sunday Times saw and felt the beauty of the untouched nature of the Peljesac peninsula "which can only be reached by macadam roads, and which offers pleasures from long-forgotten times", while "we don't see an unnecessarily and permanently destroyed landscape, destroyed by the needs of redundant roads".

"These are roads which have been interestingly and carefully nurtured into a crucial national political issue and a problem of national unity, placing the issue of borders and the unity of the Croatian territory in the foreground has been persistently nurtured for years and has become a basic national goal, and if something is fictitious and changeable, then that's borders. In my lifetime, they've been changed here four times, and if I live to see January the 1st, 2023, I will experience a fifth change of the borders. If something is changeable on this planet, then borders are what that is," the famous Croatian urban planner emphasised.

"The new road down to Dubrovnik is now longer than it was, and even today, if someone is in a particular rush to get there, they'll make it there more quickly by going through Bosnia and Herzegovina's only piece of coastline, Neum. It's all about people, and unfortunately for individuals and interest groups. It should be remembered that the Germans found an interest and a solution to access Berlin in the most intense phase of the Cold War by creating a road corridor, which I also used to reach Berlin in 1961 without running into any problems," said Siladjin.

He also commented on the real estate boom that happened in the area of the ​​Peljesac peninsula and how everything was directed by interests and capital alone.

"Everyone knows that as soon as the construction of the bridge was ever mentioned, millions of square metres of land on the Peljesac peninsula were purchased for less than 1 DM, and today those prices have increased 40 times. We know and expect a real estate boom and mindless concreting and construction, not of or for living spaces, but for the creation of dead material investment value, of houses, buildings, apartments... Everyone knows it.'' concluded Croatian architect Branko Siladjin.

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

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Man Smashes Cyrillic Sign in Omis: "Cyrillic Belongs on Other Side of Drina River"

August the 18th, 2022 - A man in Omis has smashed a plaque which bore written text in both the Latin script and in the Cyrillic script, stating that the Cyrillic script belongs on the other side of the Drina River, and not in Croatia.

As Morski writes, "Keep Cyrillic on the other side of the Drina River!" exclaimed an irritated young man in the Central Dalmatian town of Omis while breaking the plaque displayed on the "Pillar of Shame" in Poljicki Square. He committed the act a mere few minutes after the plaque was displayed there, and he then calmly threw the pieces into a nearby bin.

As stated in the Facebook post, Anand Stambuk is an art lover and collector who got the opportunity to present his original work at a renowned art festival.

He wanted to install a bilingual plaque on the Omis' city administration building with an inscription attesting to a positive relationship between Serbs and Croats in both the Cyrillic and Latin scripts.

His work is the only work from this year's festival that didn't receive a municipal permit, for which the festival administration apologised to Mr. Stambuk and returned the plaque to him, with the explanation that he can still manifest and display the work in his own arrangement, in the way he deems appropriate, but he'd have to do so without the support of the organisers, except in terms of documentation.

After this explanation, the author decided to display the plaque on the "Pillar of Shame" on Poljicki Square in Omis.

A few minutes after it had been placed in the aforementioned location in the town, a young man who happened to be there reacted by smashing the artwork and throwing the remains in the bin, shouting in a commanding tone to those present: "Keep Cyrillic on the other side of the Drina River!"

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

Thursday, 18 August 2022

Borna Ćorić Takes Out Rafael Nadal to Advance in Cincinnati!

August 18, 2022 - Borna Ćorić proves he's fit again after knocking out World No. 3 tennis player Rafael Nadal of the Cincinnati Masters. 

Borna Ćorić beats Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal 7:6(9), 4:6, 6:3 and advanced to the 3rd round of the Masters Series ATP tournament in Cincinnati. Ćorić thus spoils Nadal's return to tennis in his comeback match, the first after Wimbledon, when he surrendered to Nick Kyrgios in the semi-final. 

In a match lasting 2 hours and 51 minutes, Ćorić achieved the greatest success of the season, proving that he is fit again after a long break due to injury. After a dramatic first set in which both players saved two set-points each, Ćorić reached an important break in the middle of the third set, which was enough for him to win.

"This is special. I haven't been here for the past two years; I haven't played in big tournaments in front of a lot of spectators. Honestly, I was just looking forward to playing this match, and the fact that I won is crazy," said Ćorić, who now faces Robert Bautista Agut.

"It will be an interesting match. I will have to be aggressive, especially because I played against Nadal for a long time and finished late," said Ćorić, who leads 5:4 against Bautista Agut in head-to-head matches.

This was the fifth match between Ćorić and who many consider the best tennis player of all time. Borna Ćorić has a 3:2 advantage in head-to-head matches against the Spaniard. The Croatian tennis player, who fell to 152nd place in the ATP ranking due to injuries, and was once the 12th tennis player in the world, defeated Nadal in the Basel quarterfinals in 2014 (6:2, 7:6(4) and then two years later in Cincinnati he won 6:1, 6:3. He lost to Nadal at the US Open in 2015 and the Masters in Canada in 2017.

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


Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Ministry: New Law to Better Define Concession Procedures, Obligations

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - Responding to the recent criticism by the Island Movement NGO, the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure on Wednesday said the new law wouldn't facilitate fencing off beaches and charging access but that it would more clearly define concession procedures and obligations.

The draft bill on the maritime domain and seaports is still in preparation, but we can confirm that it cannot be said the bill will facilitate fencing off beaches and charging access to them, the Ministry said in a press release.

It pointed out the situation was actually the opposite because the new bill should regulate more clearly and in detail the procedures and obligations of concessions providers and concession holders, as well as the consequences of violating obligations.

Also, all local government units in coastal areas will be obliged to protect and improve the maritime domain within their jurisdiction, take care of beaches in accordance with their needs, and manage the areas concerned transparently.

The working group engaged in drafting the new law includes experts in the field of maritime affairs and maritime domain, the Ministry said.

Also, the Ministry's expert services, namely State Secretary Josip Bilaver, have been in contact with a representative of the Island Movement, and their opinion has been sought and received, which will surely be of use when drafting the bill, it was added.

Once the wording of the draft law is completed, it will be published online and put to public consultation, so all interested will have the opportunity to make a comment and thus contribute to the creation of the law.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Two Climate Camps to be Held in September

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The Climatopia regional activist camp and the Adriatic Climate Camp will be held in September, and participants can find out what climate justice is and how to become an active part of the climate movement, the website said on Wednesday.

Climatopia will be held in Vojnić, Karlovac County on 10-16 September, organised by the Green Action NGO. It will bring together about 30 young people from Croatia, the Western Balkans, and Norway.

Green Action has invited everyone aged 18-35, fluent in English and very interested in environmental and climate issues, to join them.

The camp's theme is to link the climate movement and innovative climate activism.

The programme includes a day-long visit to Krk Island in the northern Adriatic, where the town of Njivice will host the Adriatic Climate Camp on 14-18 September, Croatia's first climate camp dedicated to building a strong climate movement in Croatia and Europe.

This camp follows two climate marches organised in Croatia by Extinction Rebellion Zagreb.

The two climate camps have been organised because activists want an urgent switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and to appeal for the use of Croatia's sun and wind for clean energy and energy independence.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Draft Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy until 2030 Presented

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The new Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy until 2030 plans to set sustainable tourism as an imperative and goal of the entire tourism sector, Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Wednesday at the first presentation of the draft strategy.

The public consultation on the document is open until 20 August. The submitted comments and suggestions will then be processed, and the strategy proposal will again be presented at Croatian Tourism Days in early October, after which it is to be adopted by the end of the year and enter into force as of 1 January next year, the minister said.

The vision of sustainable tourism development, she added, implies the well-being of the local population, respect for cultural, historical, and natural heritage, as well as addressing the shortage of quality tourism workers and reducing the impact of climate change on tourism and its negative impact on living conditions (with regard to waste, traffic jams etc.).

Tourist habits and demands are constantly changing, and tourists are increasingly looking for destinations that care about the sustainability of space and offer, but also about authentic experiences and safety, said Brnjac.

According to Zvonimira Šverko Grlić of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Opatija, which took part in the drafting, the document was harmonised with the National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030 and with the basic EU documents and policies, including the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).

Representatives of key stakeholders of the Croatian tourist sector, ministries and other relevant institutions also took part in the creation of the document, as did representatives of local communities and numerous citizens through surveys, with a total of 2,850 persons taking part.

Four main goals

Šverko Grlić said the strategy had four main goals, with the first being the development of year-round tourism and its regional balance, which means reducing its seasonality (the biggest in the Mediterranean), so that it takes place outside the summer and also on the continent.

The second goal is tourism with a preserved environment, space and climates, while the third goal is more competitive and innovative tourism with better solutions for human resources and accommodation, not like now, when private accommodation facilities account for 60% of the capacity.

The fourth goal is resilient tourism with a more effective legislative and management framework.

The adoption of the first law on tourism in Croatia is also planned, as well as a number of solutions for better data management, which will also be available to entrepreneurs.

Assistant Minister Robert Pende commented on the challenge of improving the quality of accommodation because due to the fact that 60% of capacities are family-run private facilities, tourism has lower revenue and lower quality, so the aim is to have more hotels and tourist resorts, which generate higher revenue and employ more people.

If the structure of accommodation is adapted to the offer and destination, we can become more successful in tourism than now, said Pende, adding that investments in higher quality accommodation and new tourist products would additionally be encouraged.

According to him, brownfield investments will be especially encouraged, which also leads to sustainability, but also greenfield investments, because those lead to higher quality, and HRK 1.25 billion from the NRRP will be provided to support such projects.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Post-Quake Reconstruction of Embankments in Sisak-Moslavina County Underway

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The Hrvatske Vode water management company is systematically repairing the embankments damaged in the devastating earthquakes in Sisak-Moslavina County, and works worth HRK 200 million (€27 million) are underway in 15 locations.

The reconstruction works are progressing well, the Hrvatske Vode general director Zoran Đuroković said on Wednesday while touring the construction site for the embankment on the right bank of the Kupa River near Krnjica in the Petrinja area.

The construction site was also visited by Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivan Celjak and Elizabeta Kos of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

The works in the Petrinja area are worth HRK 60 million, we are reconstructing eight kilometres of the embankment, and there are a total of 15 such construction sites worth HRK 200 million, said the director of Hrvatske Vode.

All works are planned to be completed until 15 May next year since funding from the Solidarity Fund is being used.

Kos said that the earthquake damaged not only residential buildings but also infrastructure, and damage was also caused by erosion and landslides.

The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development has reported all that damage to the Solidarity Fund, and we have HRK 555 million at our disposal, with all funds contracted. We believe we will spend them by 15 May 2023, said Kos.

In Petrinja alone, the damage to water supply and drainage amounts to HRK 160 million, and works have been contracted with public water service providers, she added.

Asked by the press how the drought affected the water supply, Đuroković said that drought was always a threat to the water supply but that the situation in Croatia was under control.

Although the water level of the River Sava is also very low, this does not cause problems for pumping stations in the Zagreb area, he added.

Therefore, we have available capacities for further development of water supply, so there will be no problems, he said.

As for the water supply in other parts of the country, he noted the situation was also under control.

Even in the Adriatic area, there are no special reductions despite a large number of tourists. The recent rain in Istria further alleviated the situation. Unlike other countries in Europe, we have been successfully resisting drought, Đuroković said.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

SMEs' Association Urges Govt Response to Gas Prices, Slams Zagreb Provider

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The nongovernmental organisation "The Voice of Entrepreneurs" (UGP) on Wednesday urged the government to immediately respond to the volatile situation on the gas market and to price hikes, or it would stage a protest in Zagreb's main square.

The NGO issued a press release in which it warned that the unstable developments on the gas market resulted in multiple price rises, which is why micro, small and medium-sized businesses need the government's assistance and intervention.

It also criticised new gas supply contracts which are being sent recently by the Gradska Plinara Zagreb distributor of gas supplies in a wider area of Zagreb.

The association warns that these new contracts include a new means of payment through debentures in the amount of 1,000 or 2,000 euros. Furthermore, the Gradska Plinara Zagreb distributor stops offering fixed prices per kilowatt hour. Instead, the new draft contracts provide for fluctuating prices which will depend on the average prices on the natural gas market in Austria or Hungary, and the NGO warns that these prices could be between record high €150 and €200 per kilowatt hour.

The UGP highlights the fact that the distributor also shortened the time frame for signing the contracts until 1 September. Otherwise, the Gradska Plinara Zagreb supplier will kick off the process of cessation of the provision of gas supplies.

This short period of less than a month is not enough for businesses to search for more favourable gas supply distributors, says the association.

The association's leader Hrvoje Bujas said that in the event of the authorities' failure to take strong action, about 20,000 members of the association, who are mainly micro businesses and SMEs, will stage a protest rally in the centre of Zagreb.

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