Thursday, 14 October 2021

Croatian Agency and Sparkling Wine Idea Win Prestigious Cresta Award

October the 14th, 2021 - The Croatian agency, Bruketa&Zinic&Grey, and the Untouched by Light sparkling wine from Slovenia's Radgonske gorice won the prestigious Cresta award recently.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, Cresta is an international award for creativity in marketing communications, which has been awarded since back in 1993 and for which many of the most respected international creative companies compete. It is considered to be a real global benchmark for and of creative standards.

The award-winning project of Croatian creators Untouched by Light, is the first sparkling wine in the world to be produced, sold and tasted in full, and was created in response to scientific research that confirms the negative impact of light on wine aromas, especially when it comes to sparkling wine.

With it, the Bruketa&Zinic&Grey agency and the Slovenian winery Radgonske gorice created a completely new product instead of the traditional advertising, with the aim of positioning this winery on the global market. Winning the Cresta Award, this creative idea found itself side by side with major global brands such as Adidas, Pepsi or Xbox. Unlike similar competitions, here the winners are chosen by the sum of the points of the 120 members of the jury, without their mutual discussions which may influence the scoring.

Some of the jury members were Marco Cremona from Google, Oriel Davis-Lyons from Spotify, James Hirst from Pinterest and various other representatives of some of the world's strongest creative agencies. Since back in 2018, the Cresta platform has been led by Lewis Blackwell, who was previously the creative director of Getty Images and the publisher of Creative Review magazine, and Alan Page, an award-winning creative director and songwriter.

"Despite the fact that more than a year has passed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, or perhaps because of it, we have seen a good cross-section of fresh innovation and deep feelings in a lot of works that have really impressed the jury," said Alan Page at the awards ceremony.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Croatian Manufacturer RASCO Unveils its Electric Street Sweeper

ZAGREB, 14 October, 2021 - The RASCO manufacturer of devices and multi-purpose vehicles for the maintenance of traffic infrastructure and municipal maintenance of urban areas, on Wednesday presented its new product, the electric street sweeper called LYNX Charge.

This first Croatian electric vacuum road sweeper was developed by the Kalinovac-based company in cooperation with the Zagreb-based Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER).

The device is a part of the project launched by the company in 2017. In 2019, RASCO launched the diesel-powered LYNX.

The whole project is estimated at about 30 million kuna, and HRK 15 million has been provided from European Union's funds.

The company says on its website that "with its strong suction fan, LYNX easily cleans dust, gravel, leaves and bottles full of liquid." Its maximum speed is 50 kilometres per hour.

The price of the electric street sweeper is about €200,000 for end-users, twice as much as the price of the diesel-powered LYNX.

RASCO's management board chairman Ivan Franičević said today during the presentation in Zagreb, that Lynx Charge can be charged like other all-electric vehicles.

The plan of this company is to sell about 100 sweepers of this kind annually for the next four years.

RASCO currently exports its products in more than 40 countries and employs nearly 450 people: 370 in Kalinovac plus about 60 workers in its plant in Senta, Serbia.

RASCO started doing business in 1990 as a service workshop for agricultural machinery on leased premises.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Colas and Geotehnika Win Bid to Build Motorway to Sisak

ZAGREB, 14 October, 2021 - The Hrvatske Autoceste (HAC) road management company on Wednesday selected a consortium of Colas Hrvatska and Geotehnika for the construction of the Lekenik-Sisak section of the A11 motorway between Zagreb and Sisak, as the most economically advantageous bid of HRK 281.33 million without VAT.

Once the contractors enter the construction site they will have 24 months to complete the work, HAC said in a press release.

HAC has secured the entire amount to complete the Zagreb-Sisak motorway without any additional borrowing, the company said.

Colas Hrvatska was established in 1962 under the name Cesta Varaždin. Since 2007 it has been part of the Colas SA global group based in France.

The government adopted a conclusion in February for the completion of the A11 Zagreb-Sisak motorway. The Lekenik-Sisak leg is 10.9 kilometres long. The completion of the motorway is considered a priority project for the long-term revitalisation of Sisak-Moslavina County.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Božinović: EU Unprepared for New Migrant Wave, Croatia Not Doing Dirty Work

ZAGREB, 14 October, 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Wednesday that Europe was not prepared for a new migrant wave, rejecting allegations that Croatian police were doing dirty work for the European Union.

"Many studies by Croatian and international institutions warn of the possible arrival of a large number of migrants as a result of the situation in Afghanistan. Europe must prepare itself for that. However, frankly speaking, the European Union is not fully prepared," Božinović said at a meeting of the Croatian Parliament Committee on Human Rights and Rights of Ethnic Minorities.

The Committee met to discuss pushbacks of migrants by Croatian police on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Božinović said that in the event of a new migrant wave a huge burden would fall on Croatia's shoulders. He said that Croatia could then be asked what it had done to ensure that migrants did not pass through its territory in large numbers, which would call into question its ability to guard the EU's external border.

Speaking of the situation at the border, Božinović said that despite the efforts by the Croatian police, migrants were able to get across the Croatian border, which is more than a thousand kilometres long, as shown by citizens' reports of their holiday cottages and farm buildings being broken into by migrants. These illegal border crossings are not accidental or without risk to migrants, local population and border police, he noted. 

Božinović said that this was a security challenge against organised crime that should not be underestimated, stressing that 4,000 people smugglers had been arrested so far. He said that the Interior Ministry was seeing an increased number of asylum applications, while at the same time it also frequently faced accusations that it was denying migrants access to asylum.

"The fact is that none of these people come to official border crossings to apply for international protection because they know that they do not meet the criteria for such assistance or they do not want to enter the asylum procedure because they risk being returned from EU countries which are their final destination," Božinović explained, adding that 80 percent of asylum seekers do not wait for the outcome of this process but "they simply disappear."

Migrants go to other countries, but they cannot do this legally, without the assistance of smuggling rings who make money on other people's misfortunes, Božinović said.

He dismissed allegations made in the media that Croatia was doing dirty work for the EU, noting that migrants trying to reach Austria or Germany would have to pass through Croatia anyway, whether it was a member of the EU or not.

National chief of police Nikola Milina said that preventing illegal migration was a strategic priority as part of which the police were increasing their legal and technical resources.

Committee member Dragana Jeckov of the Independent Democratic Serb Party asked if there was cooperation with security services in neighbouring countries, to which Milina said that the Croatian police maintained close cooperation with those services, but added that joint patrols had been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Confirming the cooperation, Božinović said that the neighbouring countries did not have the same interests as Croatia. "Bosnia and Herzegovina wants migrants to get across the border and enter Croatia as quickly as possible, while our interest is to prevent illegal border crossings," he said.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Opposition Satisfied with Supreme Court Ruling, HDZ Says isn't Corrupt

ZAGREB, 14 October, 2021 - The opposition in parliament expressed its satisfaction on Wednesday with the Supreme Court's verdict in the retrial of the Fimi Media corruption under which the Croatian Democratic Union was fined HRK 3.5 million.

Urša Raukar (ZLB) claimed that the verdict clearly identified the HDZ as the most responsible for corruption in Croatia.

That is a great news, added Katarina Peović (RF), at the end of a parliamentary debate on the President's recommendation for Judge Radovan Dobronić to be appointed Supreme Court President.

"The Supreme Court did not rule that the HDZ is a corrupt party, nor criminal enterprise," underscored HDZ party whip Branko Bačić, after opposition MPs continued to debate the Supreme Court's ruling in the retrial of the Fimi Media case. The HDZ was fined HRK 3.5 million while the former PM and HDZ chief Ivo Sanader had his prison sentence cut from eight to seven years.

"The Supreme Court ruled that the HDZ is guilty of being responsible for those responsible in the party and not because of the HDZ, its members and officials," said Bačić.

Bauk tells HDZ MPs not to worry 

Arsen Bauk (SDP) ironically told lawmakers from the HDZ ranks that despite the final verdict they need not worry.

"The Constitutional Court has never let you down and it won't do so now. If it could say that the Courts Act was in line with the Constitution then it can quash your verdict, as if that would not be the first time and then a statute of limitations will expire" and that'll be the end of that, claimed Bauk.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

PM: I will Not Accept Being Labelled as Ivo Sanader or Criminal Organisation

ZAGREB, 14 October, 2021 - Prime Minister and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenković, commenting on the ruling in the Fimi Media case, rejected the responsibility of the party's present leadership "for the actions of some other people between 2004 and 2009."

"When it comes to what went on then, as far as the incumbent leadership and policies we are leading are concerned, and I in particular, as the president of the party since 2016, have nothing to do with that nor will we take any responsibility for the actions of individuals," Plenković said commenting on the Supreme Court ruling in the retrial of the Fimi Media case.

He added that he would not accept being labelled as Ivo Sanader or any criminal organisation.

"I have been a member since 2011 and more than half of this time I have been the leader of the party and have been leading it transparently. We are meeting all our obligations and we do not have any loans or anything that would bring our financial situation into question," he said.

He rejected accusations from the opposition that the judiciary is the HDZ's and underscored that today's Supreme Court ruling "is proof that no HDZ judiciary exists."

"Numerous populist, false claims we have heard recently about the HDZ's influence on the judiciary were more than explicitly disputed today in this way and have been shown to be empty phrases and the lowest level of political opposition to the HDZ," he added.

As far as the political price of this case is concerned, Plenković said that the HDZ paid the price at the parliamentary election in 2011 when voters sent the government into the opposition after eight years in office. "That political price has been paid," he said.

Opposition trying to win a few points, but that won't last long

Asked to comment on the opposition's reaction that the verdict confirmed the HDZ as a criminal organisation, Plenković retorted that HDZ convincingly beat the incumbent opposition twice at parliamentary elections and that the opposition is falling apart of its own accord and has not been constructive on even one vital topic.

"Naturally, they will try and win some points and exploit this situation against HDZ ... but that won't last long," he said.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday partly upheld the verdict following the retrial in the Fimi Media corruption case, under which the HDZ party was fined HRK 3.5 million while the former PM and HDZ chief Ivo Sanader had his prison sentence reduced from eight to seven years.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Plenković: HDZ Respects Rule of Law, Will Comply with Supreme Court Ruling

ZAGREB, 14 October, 2021 - Prime Minister and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the HDZ respected the rule of law and would comply with the Supreme Court's ruling under which this ruling party was fined HRK 3.5 million in the Fimi Media corruption case.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Supreme Court partly upheld the verdict following the retrial in the Fimi Media corruption case, under which the HDZ was fined HRK 3.5 million, while the former PM and HDZ chief Ivo Sanader had his prison sentence cut from eight to seven years.

Sanader and his co-defendants were charged with siphoning around HRK 70 million (€9.3 million) from state-owned companies and institutions through the Fimi Media marketing agency into the HDZ's slush funds from 2004 to 2009. Sanader's prison sentence of eight years, delivered by Zagreb County Court on 13 November 2020, was reduced by one year due to his poor health. However, he was ordered to pay back HRK 14.9 million into the state budget, as an equivalent of his unlawful gain, while the HDZ was ordered to pay back HRK 14.6 million.

Commenting on the final ruling, Plenković said that "the HDZ complies with rulings delivered by Croatian courts and will act according to the Supreme Court ruling."

"The HDZ will pay the fine and the said amount into the state budget," he added.

"We respect the rule of law and accept today's verdict. We regret that during the appeal proceedings, not all the arguments presented by our legal team and lawyers were granted," Plenković said.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Supreme Court's Fimi Media Ruling: Sanader Gets 7 Years, HDZ Fined HRK 3.5m

ZAGREB, 14 October, 2021 - The Supreme Court on Wednesday partly upheld the verdict following the retrial in the Fimi Media corruption case, under which the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party was fined HRK 3.5 million while the former PM and HDZ chief Ivo Sanader had his prison sentence cut from eight to seven years.

Sanader and his co-defendants were charged with siphoning around HRK 70 million (€9.3 million) from state-owned companies and institutions through the Fimi Media marketing agency into the HDZ's slush funds from 2004 to 2009.

Sanader's prison sentence of eight years, delivered by Zagreb County Court on 13 November 2020, was reduced by one year due to his poor health.

However, he was ordered to pay back HRK 14.9 million into the state budget, as an equivalent of his unlawful gain, while the HDZ was ordered to pay back HRK 14.6 million.

Former HDZ treasurer Mladen Barišić was sentenced to two years and ten months for his role in this case, while former HDZ accountant Branka Pavošević was given 16 months, according to the Supreme Court's final ruling.

The court confirmed the acquittal of Ratko Maček, a former spokesman for the Sanader cabinet and for the HDZ . Maček, who was given a suspended sentence at the initial trial, was acquitted at the retrial.

Nevenka Jurak, who owned the Fini Media company and who was found guilty at the first trial, died during the retrial.

The retrial started in 2016, a year after the Supreme Court quashed a sentencing verdict handed down in 2013.

At the first trial, Sanader was sentenced to nine years and ordered to return over HRK 15 million in illegal gain, while the HDZ was ordered to pay back more than HRK 24 million and was fined HRK 5 million.

At the first trial, Barišić, Pavošević and Jurak were given lower prison sentences and ordered to return the money. Unlike then, at the retrial they pleaded not guilty. Maček and Sanader were the only ones denying the charges from the start.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Croatian Tourism Association Expects Even Better 2022 Summer in Croatia

October 13, 2021 - Preparations are underway for the 2022 summer in Croatia after the 2021 season exceeded all expectations. 

After the main tourist season and post-season results exceeded expectations, the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT) expects an even more successful tourist season next year, and preparations have already begun. The main goal is to provide enough workforce reports HRTurizam.

Namely, 4.1 million tourists visited Croatia in August, realizing 26.2 million overnight stays, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced after all the received data were collected and processed. Arrivals represent a growth of 65 percent compared to 2020, while according to the number of overnight stays, Croatia is up 57 percent compared to August 2020. Compared to the record 2019, we reached 86.3 percent of all arrivals and 94.3 percent of all overnight stays.

"This year we have shown that we are an extremely desirable and quality tourist destination and we expect that the next season will be even more successful. To achieve this, it is crucial to start preparations immediately. We expect continued investment and quality improvement throughout the sector," emphasized Veljko Ostojić, the Croatian Tourism Association director.

Most of the tourists who visited Croatia in August were foreigners (3.7 million) and accounted for 91 percent of all overnight stays and 84.5 percent of all arrivals. Among them, most guests came from Germany and accounted for 35.7 percent of all foreign overnight stays or 8.6 million, an increase of 72.2 percent compared to August 2020, and 88.7 percent more or 1.1 million. On the other hand, compared to August 2019, there were 43.4 percent more Germans in Croatia, with 39.5 percent more overnight stays. After the Germans, the Poles are in second place in terms of overnight stays, followed by the Austrians, Slovenes, Czechs, Dutch, and Italians.

In September, 1.9 million tourists visited Croatia and are responsible for 12 million overnight stays, which is a plus of 245, or 147 percent compared to last September, but also 81 percent of tourist arrivals and 94 percent of overnight stays from September 2019.

With superior numbers of arrivals in the peak season, tourists stayed in Croatia longer this year and spent more, even compared to the record year 2019, which was especially emphasized in August.

According to the analysis of the Tax Administration and data in 2019, 2020, and 2021, the fiscalization system shows an increase in consumption, i.e., an increase in the number and amount of invoices in the hospitality industry compared to last year. 

The results once again showed the importance of tourism in the overall Croatian economy, with a share of more than 20% of GDP, which generates a third of Croatian exports and employs about 100,000 people.

"Good management of human resources in tourism, primarily by investing in their knowledge and skills, we will raise the quality that has proven to be the key to success in the pandemic years. Continuously raising quality will enable greater competitiveness, which is the formula for success in the coming years. For this reason, we began to work on preparations for next summer actively and sent to the ministries our proposals for measures to preserve and improve the labor market in the tourism sector. It is necessary to start implementing the measures now, to keep quality people and attract new staff," concluded Ostojić.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Lošinj Open Becomes First ATP Tennis Tournament Held on 'Island of Vitality'

October 13, 2021 - On an island with a long tennis tradition, the Lošinj Open tennis tournament in the ATP Challenger 80 category is on the calendar this autumn, from October 18 to 24, which is another step forward in confirming Lošinj as a recognizable tennis destination.

As part of the Ljubičić Tennis Academy, which gathers professional tennis players and young competitors on Lošinj this year, all tennis enthusiasts will be able to enjoy this sports spectacle, as well as the natural beauties of the island of Lošinj, announced HRTurizam.

Along with Ivan Ljubičić, one of the best Croatian athletes who also hosts the tournament, the tournament will feature Italian Marco Cecchinato, former 16th player in the world and winner of the ATP tournament in Umag, and Russian tennis player Teymuraz Gabashvili, the former 43rd player in the world. After an excellent performance at the ATP Challenger in Naples, the young Duje Ajduković will also arrive on Lošinj, who will defend Croatian colors together with Nina Serdarušić.

"When I started the Ljubičić Tennis Academy, I wanted it to become one of the leading tennis centers in the world, and I recognized Lošinj as an ideal place where talent and sports skills will be developed. Therefore, I am proud to cooperate with partners who helped organize such an event which will not only set new standards of professional tennis, but also contribute to the popularity of sports, but also Lošinj as a destination," said Ivan Ljubicic, famous tennis player, top coach, and leader of Ljubičić tennis academies.

The cooperation of Ivan Ljubičić and Jadranka Group has additionally contributed to the branding of the island of Lošinj as an attractive destination, and Lošinj Open as the first tournament of this category held on Lošinj will strengthen efforts to make this island of vitality a gathering place for tennis fans from around the world. Furthermore, the tournament is also the only Challenger in Europe in that period, which is a good precondition for this sporting event to become a tradition and get a well-deserved place in the ATP calendar.

The organizer of the tournament from the ATP Challenger series, which will attract many visitors to the tennis courts within the Vitality Hotel Punta in Veli Lošinj, is Jadranka Turizam d.d. in cooperation with Ljubičić Tennis Academy and in partnership with the Tennis Club "Lošinj - Jadranka", Jadranka store, Kvarner Tourist Board, Mali Lošinj Tourist Board and manufacturer of top sports equipment HEAD, while the tournament director is Mario Višak from the Tennis Club "Lošinj - Jadranka".

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

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