Friday, 14 January 2022

Associations of Persons with Disabilities Satisfied with Set of Bills, Says MP

ZAGREB, 14 Jan 2022 - The federation of associations of disabled persons in Croatia is satisfied with the final bills on social welfare whereby the monthly disability allowance has been raised from HRK 1,500 (€200) to HRK 1,750 (€233), and the means test has been abolished for eligibility to this entitlement.

Presenting the changes, lawmaker Ljubica Lukačić on Friday explained that the abolishment of the means tests to be eligible for the disability allowance would enable all disabled people, regardless of whether they are employed or receive pensions, to be entitled to the monthly disability allowance.

Currently, 40,000 people are eligible for the disability allowance, and the new law will encompass all people with disabilities, Lukačić said at a news conference held by the federation of associations of disabled persons in Zagreb.

She said that this and some other legislative amendments would improve the quality of life of the disabled.

The head of the Blind Persons' Association, Vojin Perić, told the news conference that a civilisation headway was made with the recognition of the potential, values and skills of persons with disabilities.

It is impossible to annul the effects of disabilities but one can try to minimise them, said Perić, thanking the prime minister and the government for their support in this regard.

The federation's vice president, Marica Mirić, also expressed satisfaction with the set of final bills that would help the disabled to be more included in society.

Presenting the social welfare bill and another six bills in the set that will overhaul the sectors of foster care, psychotherapy services, psychological services and other rehabilitation services and introduce some new services, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Josip Aladrović said on Thursday that housing allowances for people in need and people with disabilities would be increased.

Furthermore, a list of persons who can be awarded the status of carers will be extended.

The scope of persons who can be granted the status of carers will be expanded under the new laws, which will make it possible for more and more children with disabilities and disabled adults to remain in their own homes and thus make institutionalisation rates lower, he added.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Intensive Works on Split's Integrated Emergency Services Complex Underway

ZAGREB, 14 Jan 2022 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak and the director of the Split University Hospital Centre (KBC Split), Julije Meštrović, on Friday visited the construction site of the future Integrated Emergency Services (IES), where building works are being carried out intensively.

The minister said that the works are going on according to the plan and the first stage is expected to be completed by the middle of this year.

Tramišak revealed that KBC Split has plans and is preparing documents for other strategic projects, including the construction of a new hospital building and that EU funds have been secured for this.

Apart from the IES complex, the officials today also discussed the plans for a Regional Transfusion Centre, which is another  large-scale project being co-financed with the European Union's funds.

Dr Meštrović highlighted good cooperation that makes it possible for these projects to develop well.

The IES project is valued at HRK 70 million (€9.3 million) with more than HRK 30 million (€4 million) having been secured from EU funds. The project is being financed through the 2014-2020 Competitiveness and Cohesion operational programme, and the project is due to be completed  until the end of 2023. The project involves investments in infrastructure at the existing premises as well as medical and other equipment.

The second large-scale project, the Regional Transfusion Centre, which too, is being financed from the same operational programme, is estimated at HRK 54 million (€7.4 million) with HRK 31 million being provided by the EU and will be implemented until August 2023. The centre will include a blood bank that can collect 30,000 doses of blood and blood products with 12,000 doses taken at the centre itself and 18,000 taken in the field.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Croatia's Population has Shrunk by Close to 19% in Last 30 Years

ZAGREB, 14 Jan 2022 - Over the past 30 years, since it gained independence, Croatia has lost 895,736 residents or close to 19% of its population, show data from the national statistical office (DZS).

The size of the population has been shrinking since 1991 when the country had a population of 4,784,265, and in 2021, according to data of the census conducted that year, it had a population of 3,888,529.

This means that in the 30 years of its independence, Croatia has lost 18.7% of its population.

In 2001 the country had a population of 4,437,460 and in 2011 4,284,889.

In the decades before 1991, the number of residents grew, and in 1981 a total of 4,601,469 people lived in Croatia while in 1971 Croatia had a population of 4,426,221.

Croatia has not had such a low number of residents as the latest census shows, since the population census of 1948, when it had a population of 3,779,858.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Homeland Movement Says Census Shows Croatia Perishing

ZAGREB, 14 Jan 2022 - Opposition Homeland Movement party deputy leader Mario Radić said on Friday that the results of the latest census showed that Croatia was perishing, with the largest population drops having been registered in peripheral counties due to lack of any state policy for those areas.

"Everything that has been happening to us, all the scandals - JANAF, Krš-Pađene, HNB - are resulting in Croatia's going to ruin and the only thing we are doing is trying to prove who is less responsible for it," Radić told a news conference, stressing that two parties (HDZ and SDP) had ruled Croatia and should therefore be held to account.

The first results of the 2021 census show that Croatia has a population of 3,888,529.

Radić recalled that in the 2011 census Croatia had 4.281 million people, noting that the current number of 3.88 million was a drop of around half a million.

Figures almost identical with those from the 1948 census 

Radić noted that in 1991 Croatia had a population of 4.78 million, and that compared to that, the latest figure was a drop of almost 900,000. He said that the 1948 census showed an almost identical number of residents, 3.75 million.

As for the drop in the size of the population in individual counties, Radić said that the City of Zagreb did not have a decrease owing to internal migrations. He said that peripheral counties were the ones with the largest declines in the number of residents because there was no state policy to keep the population in those areas.

Homeland Movement MP Stipo Mlinarić of Vukovar said that the large population decreases in Slavonia were due to the HDZ's Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem project as there was no strategy for rural areas or improvement of life in those areas. 

Friday, 14 January 2022

Croatian Census 2021: Only 3 Cities Now with 100,000+ Inhabitants

January 14, 2022 - More on the Croatian census 2021, as the pace of emigration in Osijek means that there are now only three Croatian cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

As previously reported on TCN, the Central Bureau of Statistics published the first results of the 2021 census in the morning. has some further information from the Croatian census 2021 regarding the cities in Croatia.

The results contain data on the total number of enumerated persons and on the total number of inhabitants, households and housing units at the level of the Republic of Croatia, level 2 statistical regions, counties, cities, municipalities and settlements. Croatia lost 396,360 people in 10 years. Only three cities have more than 100,000 inhabitants - Zagreb, Split and Rijeka.

Osijek fell below 100,000 inhabitants

The fourth largest city in Croatia is still Osijek, but it has fallen below 100,000 inhabitants - now there are 96,848. In 2011, Osijek had 108,048 inhabitants. Rijeka lost 14.6 percent of its population, and Split 13.7 percent.

The ten largest cities in Croatia are: Zagreb (769,944 inhabitants), Split (161,312 inhabitants), Rijeka (108,622 inhabitants), Osijek (96,848 inhabitants), Zadar (70,829 inhabitants), Velika Gorica (61,198 inhabitants), Pula (52,411 inhabitants), Slavonski Brod (50,039 inhabitants), Karlovac (49,594 inhabitants) and Varaždin (43,999 inhabitants).

A historical demographic catastrophe

The population of Croatia has been declining since 1991, when it had a population of 4,784,265. In the decades before that year, the population grew: in 1981 there were 4,601,469 inhabitants in Croatia, in 1961 4,159,696, in 1953 3,936,022, in 1948 3,779,858, and in 1931 3,430,270 inhabitants.

Since the 1948 census, Croatia has not recorded such a low number. Since 1991, it has lost 895,736 inhabitants, almost all of Zagreb. In the last ten years, ie since the last census, which was held in 2011, 396,360 inhabitants have been lost, almost 10%.

The real population is probably smaller

In reality, this number is even lower because many were counted, although they work abroad most of the year, and some may have moved away altogether, but their families are still counted in Croatia. All parts of Croatia have lost inhabitants, mostly Slavonia.

There is no county in Croatia that has recorded population growth. Vukovar-Srijem lost almost every fifth inhabitant (more than 19%), Sisak-Moslavina and Brod-Posavina 17.53%, and the smallest decline was in Zagreb, Dubrovnik-Neretva and Zadar counties.


Friday, 14 January 2022

Croatia's Coronavirus Update: 8,555 New Cases, 32 Deaths

ZAGREB, 14 Jan 2022 - In the last 24 hours, Croatia has performed 17,926 coronavirus tests, and 48% of them, or 8,555 have returned positive, while the infection has taken 32 more lives, raising the COVID-related death toll to 13,038, the country's COVID-19 crisis management team reproted on Friday.

There are currently 55,789 active cases of the infection in the country, including 1,710 hospitalised patients of whom 205 are on ventilators.

Since the first registered case of the infection with the novel virus in Croatia in late February 2020, 802,745 cases of the disease have been reported so far, and 733,918 people have recovered from it, including 8,234 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

As many as 3.96 million tests for SARS-CoV-2 have been conducted to date.

So far, 56.11% of the total population have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or 66.81% of adult Croatians.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Croatia's Population Shrinks by 9.25% in a Decade, East Regions with Biggest Drop

ZAGREB, 14 Jan 2022 - Croatia's population in 2021 is estimated at 3,888,529, downsizing by 396,360 (9.25%) since the previous census in 2011, according to the first results of the census, presented by the national statistical office on Friday.

Vukovar-Srijem County population contracted by a fifth

Broken down by region, the biggest drop in the population of 19.54% over the last 10 years was recorded in the eastern county of Vukovar-Srijem.

Sisak-Moslavina County saw a drop of 18.5%, and Slavonski Brod-Posavina County's population shrank by 17.53%. 

On the other hand, the slightest decline, -2.54%, was in the population of the capital city of Zagreb, to 769,944, and the population of Zagreb County shrank by 5.16% over the last decade to 301,206.

Two southern counties -- Zadar and Dubrovnik County -- also saw the smallest decreases, 5.47% and 5.69% respectively.

International Food in Zagreb: Fuego Fresh Latin Food

January 14, 2022 – Open less than two months, Fuego Fresh Latin Food is the Croatian capital's latest international food offer. TCN visited to check out their authentic South American and Caribbean Latin cuisine.

Slightly hidden at the foot of a residential building on the edge of Lower Town, immediately behind Zagreb Holding, the capital's latest international food offer is definitely worth finding. Fuego Fresh Latin Food serves rustic and affordable dishes of Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba. Think homemade tortilla chips, corn, salads, spices, lime juice, salsa and chilli sauce. Its authentic menu is the creation of American-Croatian Richard Gruica, a chef with 20 years experience making Latin cuisine. Total Croatia News went to meet him and get the story behind his Fuego Fresh Latin Food.

FuegoRichard.JPGFuego Fresh Latin Food's Richard Gruica-Plešivica © Marc Rowlands

My name is Richard Gruica. I was born in Jamaica and grew up in Miami. My parents are both from here, Zagreb. They lived in Jamaica because my dad had a fibreglass business there.

My parents split up when I was about 7 and my mom had a time where she was deciding where she wanted me to grow up. So, we came back to Croatia, we tried Scotland, England and Spain. Then we went to Haiti, but on one of the layovers, we stopped in Miami. My mom liked it there and we ended up staying.

I have fewer memories from my early days in Jamaica. But, we still have friends there, like my Godparents, and we go back to visit every few years.

My mom was just 15 when she left Croatia and she moved to Venezuela. So, long before I was born she was tied into the Latin community. Miami has a big Latin community. It is huge.

FuegoHand.jpgFuego Fresh Latin Food

When we first moved there we lived in downtown Miami. These days, it's all multi-million dollar properties. But, back then, it really wasn't the best place to live. Living there, I was always exposed to Latin life and culture. Those were our neighbours. My mom's best friends were Cuban, Venezuelan and Brazilian.

Even now, there are not so many Croatians there. More Serbians and Slovenes. I remember back in the day we all used to go to the same club – this ex-Yu place. But, when the war started, that all went to shit (laughs). We couldn't go there anymore.

Fuego1Ma.jpgFuego Fresh Latin Food

My dad was actually trained as a chef and an engineer. He just chose to do something else. But, my uncle had the top French restaurant in Miami. My first job was working weekends there as a teenager, peeling potatoes and chopping onions. Over time, I learned the techniques of classic French cooking, from the bottom up. Originally, I was supposed to go to university to study law. But, I ended up instead going to culinary school.

After studies, I worked my way up - from line chef to sous chef to executive chef then restaurant owner. I had a 20-year career as a chef, almost exclusively within the top echelons of gourmet cooking – the total opposite end to the casual, approachable food we're doing here at Fuego!

AnyConv.com__FuegoFull.jpgFuego Fresh Latin Food © Marc Rowlands

Miami is the home of 'Nuevo Latino' – New Latin American cooking. Basically, you take traditional Latin food but execute and present it in an elevated way. Very fancy. During my career, there were five chefs in the USA best recognised for pioneering this style of food. I worked for three of them.

These days, I split my time between the US and Croatia. I have business in the US. In the earlier days of the internet, before Facebook got really popular, I founded some meet-up groups, based on the common interest of food. I started off in one city with a group of thirty people. That thirty became three hundred. Then, three thousand. Then, thirty thousand. Now I have active groups in seven different cities. We have one hundred and fifty thousand members.

I organised trips for group members around the US. We would go to food festivals. But, because of my heritage, I had this urge to better reconnect with Croatia. So, I decided to start doing tours to here. That was in 2016.

FuegoSnacks.JPGFuego Fresh Latin Food © Marc Rowlands

In a way, Fuego is a product of the pandemic. Travel and tourism were hugely affected by Covid. I had extra time on my hands and Fuego is the result. I also run 808, the bar next door, with my partner.

Coming from somewhere else, people like us can see that the food options in Zagreb are really quite limited. But, it's getting better! Certainly, it's a lot better now than it was when I first started to come here quite regularly.

We're going into our second month now. Right now we're only open for lunch (11am – 3.30pm), Monday – Friday. We're hoping to soon open for dinner too. People can eat the food next door in 808, or in any of the other cafe bars in our building.

Some of our dishes are genuine, authentic dishes of Mexico, Peru or Cuba. Others take inspiration from other Latin sources, like Venezuela or Chile.

Fuego2hg.jpgFuego Fresh Latin Food

Corn is a big staple in Mexico. And also in Croatia! In Croatia, you get corn in sandwiches. Or on pizza. That's really weird. But, OK. I can go with that. One of the dishes we have is Mexicorn. Basically, it's a cross between the crazy popular Mexican dish Elote and Croatian Francuska salata, with corn, sour cream, cream cheese, spices and some chilli.

Another dish is Bananas Latinas – bananas, black bean puree, sour cream, avocado, garlic sauce and pickled onions. It's sweet and salty, with citrus too. In Latin food there are a lot of overlaps.

FuegoSpices.jpgSpices and chilli sauces at Fuego Fresh Latin Food

People ask “Is your food spicy?” Well, it can be. If you want it spicy, we can make it like that for you. But, generally, our food is just very well seasoned. We do use a lot of spices, but that doesn't necessarily translate to food that's too spicy or too hot.

FuegoBowl.JPGIta's Aji de Gallina Bowl at Fuego Fresh Latin Food © Marc Rowlands

This dish is Ita's Aji de Gallina Bowl, named after my mother-in-law. It's based on a traditional Peruvian dish, with pulled chicken in a creamy chilli sauce. It's served next to Papa a la Huancaina - another Peruvian dish - boiled potatoes in a creamy sauce.

We make our own corn tortilla chips in-house. Yes, it's a lot of effort to go to, a long process. But, the ones you can buy here just aren't the same. We couldn't serve those. If you taste them, you'll immediately know the difference. I wanted ours to stand out from anybody else's. And, we've succeeded in doing that, we've perfected them. Right now, we're in the process of perfecting our own tacos. I anticipate they'll be on the menu in a month or so.

You can visit Fuego Fresh Latin Food at Zelinska 7 on the edge of Lower Town (it's immediately behind Zagreb Holding) and you can check out their menu here.

You can check out more of Zagreb's international food options on Total Croatia News Gourmet pages here.

Friday, 14 January 2022

2021 Census Results: Population of Croatia Falls Below 4 Million

January 14, 2022 - Confirmation of what many suspected, as the population of Croatia officially falls below 4 million, reports

The Central Bureau of Statistics has published the first results of the 2021 Census. According to the 2011 Census, there were 4,284,889 inhabitants in Croatia. Demographer Andjelko Akrap, who has been warning about bad demographic trends for years, told Index last night that he was sure that the new census would show that it has less than four million inhabitants.

It should be reminded that Croatia was hit by a large wave of emigration after joining the EU, especially in 2014 and 2015, so it is to be expected that we will have a far smaller population. In the last wave of emigration, Croatian citizens mostly chose Ireland and Germany as places for a new life.

The head of the CBS, Lidija Brković, is the first to speak.

According to the first results published on the CBS website, Croatia has fallen to 3,888 million inhabitants.

"The census covers the area within the borders of the Republic of Croatia and does not refer to emigration. It was conducted as of August 31 this year," Brkovic said.

"According to the first results, the total number of inhabitants is 3,888,529. There are 1,480,423 households. There are 2,350,444 housing units," she added.

"When we compare that with 2011, the number of inhabitants decreased by 9.5%, ie by more than 360,000 inhabitants," said Brković, adding that the number of housing units increased by more than 4%.

"By counties, the smallest decline is in Zagreb, followed by Dubrovnik-Neretva and Zadar. The biggest decline is recorded in Vukovar-Srijem, the number decreased by more than 19%, followed by Sisak-Moslavina County and Brod-Posavina with a decline of 17.53%," she said.

"As for the number of households, it fell by more than 5% in the Republic of Croatia, mostly in Sisak-Moslavina, then Vukovar-Srijem, and then Lika-Senj," she added.

"The smallest decline is in Zagreb, then in Zadar County and Split-Dalmatia County," said Brkovic.

In 10 years, Croatia has lost almost 400,000 inhabitants

"The number of apartments has increased in almost all counties, it has grown the most in Dubrovnik-Neretva," she added.



"In the last 10 years, the number of inhabitants has decreased by 396,000," the head of the National Assembly summed up once again, adding: "The decrease in the number of inhabitants is a consequence of population movements and natural increase."

"These are the first results from the list that are still subject to change. The final results will be known when the data processing is completed. All results are available on the CBS website," Brkovic said.


Journalist questions are raised.

Are there any age data? Why is the number of apartments growing and the number of inhabitants falling?

"We cannot comment on the results, these are the first results that are still subject to minor changes. It is clear that we have to wait for the final results," it was said at the press conference.

"As for the age structure, this is the next phase of the work and we will publish it in the following table, age and gender structure. So we don't have that yet, these are just the first results on the total population," it was said.

"As for migration data, it will be available in late June this year."

When will the information on nationality be published?

"We can't say that now. First these basic numbers go, then the gender and age structure, and then the rest. It should go every couple of months."

"No one on the planet can guarantee that any census has ever included all housing units. We can guarantee that we have visited all addresses, knocked on all doors and based on whether the enumerator found someone, whether that person was elsewhere. "We can't say that for sure. Don't get it in the headline, it's clear to everyone that it's impossible to say 100%." 

Is it known what the total cost of the Census is and whether all enumerators are paid?

"They are planned in the budget in the amount of 170 million kuna. At the moment we do not have a detailed financial report. What I can say is that the fees have been paid to all participants in the census," said Brkovic.


Friday, 14 January 2022

State Fire School Departments Set Up in Four Major Cities across Croatia

ZAGREB, 14 Jan 2022 - This year, 206 future professional firefighters have enrolled in the Croatian State Fire School, and after the establishment of the school's departments in the capital city of Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, and as of this year in a fourth department established in Osijek.

Training for the future firefighters started this week.

In her address to firefighting students, acting principal, Matea Novosel, said that they have chosen an occupation in which they can perform a humanitarian and professional mission.

Addressing the students in Zagreb, Chief Fire Commander, Slavko Tucaković, said that Croatia could be proud of its 150-year-long firefighting tradition.

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