Friday, 20 May 2022

Croatia's Area Under Vineyards Increases by 7% Since 2019

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - The Ministry of Agriculture on Friday reported that according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, in 2021 the area covered with vineyards increased by 7% compared with 2019 and now amounts to 21,213 hectares.

This has resulted to a large extent from the Ministry's contribution of HRK 416 million (€55.5 million) from national aid schemes from the 2019 - 2023 wine envelope.

The ARKOD register in the Agriculture Payment Agency has 18,126 hectares registered with vineyards which relate to areas receiving subsidies and professional wine producers.

The difference can be attributed to vineyards kept as a hobby and others which also strongly contribute to Croatia's wine production, the ministry said.

The ministry notes that the measures within the wine envelope also encompass the Restructuring and Conversion measure with HRK 90 million in support, HRK 56 million of which has been paid so far.

At the same time, HRK 298 million has been made available under the Investments in enterprises measure.

In reference to the hardship experienced during the corona crisis, in addition to increasing the intensity of subsidies in the wine envelope, two crisis measures were introduced in 2020 and 2021 which the European Commission approved during Croatia's presidency of the EU.

About HRK 76 million was invested in 2020 alone to help stabilize the market against the backdrop of a drastic fall in wine sales during the COVID crisis, the ministry said.

(€1 = HRK 7.529183)

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Friday, 20 May 2022

Slovenia's Geoplin Without Additional Capacities at Krk LNG Terminal

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - Slovenia's Geoplin gas operator has failed to get the remaining free capacity at the LNG terminal on the island of Krk, so it will probably have to turn to other sources to end its dependence on the Russian natural gas, Slovenian media outlets reported on Friday.

The second-largest Slovenian wholesale natural gas supplier Geoplin was left "empty-handed" in the tender for the remaining free capacity in Omišalj, which despite different expectations, went to the natural gas company Prvo Plinarsko Društvo (PPD), a Croatian partner of the Russian Gazprom, the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) said, quoting local media outlets.

The fact that Geoplin did not get capacities at the LNG terminal on Krk is a big blow to Slovenia's plans to overcome the energy crisis that could occur in the autumn if the war in Ukraine continues and the EU does not lift the sanctions against Russia, Slovenian media outlets say.

The managing director of the Krk LNG terminal, Hrvoje Krhen, told Hina that he wasn't allowed to comment on business relations but also that Geoplin wasn't a user of the LNG terminal.

"Geoplin isn't a user of the terminal, but it can, like everyone else, be supplied with gas through any of our users," the managing director said.

Today, Slovenia gets most of its gas from Russia, based on Geoplin's long-term contract with Gazprom.

In early April, after a meeting with Slovenian Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec, former Croatian Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that Slovenia was "very interested" in gas from the LNG terminal on Krk. Ćorić then said that the terminal ensured 300 million m3 in additional capacity, for which a tender was advertised.

Vrtovec said Slovenia was considering diversifying gas supply so as not to be dependent on supply from one country, that is, Russia. He underscored that the LNG terminal would increase its capacity and advertise a tender for 300 million m3 of gas and that Slovenia was very interested to be part of that agreement.

The infrastructure for the additional 300 million cubic meters of natural gas already exists, Vrtovec then said, adding that Slovenia would be able to procure nearly one-third of its gas needs via the LNG terminal off Krk island in the northern Adriatic.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

FinMin: Measures to Buffer Inflation, Must Not Neglect Economic Growth

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Friday that in addition to all the measures to buffer the impact of inflation, we must not neglect and need to maintain economic growth and do everything for that growth to be 3% this year and higher if possible.

Addressing the 25th Financial Market conference in Pula, Marić said that he cannot comment on the question of possibly freezing prices, recalling the package of measures to ease inflationary pressure on citizens' standards, saying that it would be adapted.

The minister added that there is a lot of uncertainty and it is difficult to forecast price trends, adding that the most vulnerable groups were the most threatened because the price of food and energy is the most prevalent in their shopping basket.

Asked what the monetary policy can do in the fight against inflation, Marić said that the measures until now were exclusively fiscal policy.

Asked if kuna currency appreciation would be worthwhile, Marić said there was room to maneuver in that regard but that is up to the Croatian National Bank (HNB).

The HNB's main task is to maintain price stability and it should have something to say in these circumstances.

It is more than likely that this year will we have a higher inflation rate than the increase in wages, he said, adding that in the past few years wages increased faster than inflation.

Inflationary alarm already sounding

Asked about the inflation threshold that would signal a "red alert" to the government, Marić said the alarm has already sounded. We have the highest inflation rate and we have already reacted. The measures will be adapted but it isn't possible to completely remove the pressure.

He added that an additional HRK 3.5 billion has been allocated to repay the debt to drug wholesalers, however, that is not the solution because new debts are occurring. The healthcare system needs an overall overhaul.

He confirmed that a new international bond matures at the end of May and in July he plans to issue new domestic bonds.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Conflict of Interest Commission Finds Banožić Abused Entitlements

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - The Conflict of Interest Commission on Friday unanimously determined that Defence Minister Mario Banožić, who had served as the state assets minister, abused the entitlements when he adopted three decisions including one in which he granted himself an official apartment.

Banožić was fined HRK 7,000 for the breach.

Breaches were identified in three decisions he approved; the decision to grant himself a state-owned apartment of 30 square meters, then a decision on the right to accommodation in an apartment for state officials, and thirdly, granting himself an apartment in Gundulićeva Street in the center of Zagreb.

"When office-holders find themselves in situations when they should decide on matters concerning themselves, they cannot be included in the decision-making. Those situations need to be identified and office-holders need to be excluded from the decision-making and delegate that to another person," the said the commission. 

The commission examined the case after media reports in March this year which was followed by a complaint.

Banožić told the commission that he initially agreed to the smaller apartment because it was the only one available. Later he was informed by the State Real Estate Agency that the apartment in Gundulićeva Street would soon be available and based on the criteria of the 2013 regulation, he could occupy it.

The 2013 regulation notes that first category officials are eligible for a three-room apartment (60m2) and an additional 10m2 for every other family member. In his application for an apartment Banožić noted that his spouse and two children visited occasionally however, the commission said that his family was never registered in Zagreb.

The fact that they occasionally visited did not mean that he was eligible for a larger apartment, the commission's president Nataša Novaković explained.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Makarska Transforms into WTACity with Best Entertainment on Adriatic!

May 20, 2022 - The WTA Makarska Open will be held from May 30 to June 5, transforming the coastal town into WTACity! 

For the first time in Makarska, but in great style! The WTA Makarska Open tournament, in cooperation with the City of Makarska, opens WTACity with a concert by the Big Band and Zdenka Kovačiček on May 30. Makarska's main square is the most beautiful backdrop for the hot summer rhythm that awaits all tennis fans, locals, and tourists.

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Funky House Night with DJ Toni Juranović is reserved for May 31, Black Coffee performs on June 1, New Gondoliers on June 2, Noa & Tour de Funk on June 3, and on June 4, after the semifinals, the central Makarska central will feature KUD Jedinstvo, followed by a concert of the popular Mjesni Odbor and a surprise guest. After Sunday’s final, WTACity closes with a performance by Ischariotzcky. Finally, the youngest will enjoy their day on June 1 from 10:30 in the main square.

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It will also be hot at the Valamar Riviera Tennis Center. First, Rijad Gvozden will make the audience laugh on June 2 with the comedy Bosanac on Vacation, and on June 3, Klapa Šufit will sing. Before the semifinals on June 4, a warm-up concert by Neno Belan will be held, and before the final on June 5, Klapa Cambi will sing their hits.

Excellent workshops and panels for athletes and recreationists will also be held, as well as an attractive exhibition of portraits of the most famous Hollywood actors, a great friend of this tournament, photographer Jadran Lazić.

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"From the first day, our goal is to bring attractive and recognizable events such as the WTA tournament to our city below Biokovo. I am extremely proud that we managed to bring such a prestigious tournament to Makarska and the cooperation of the City, WTA, and Valamar, which proved to be an outstanding partner to the local community. The WTA tournament in Makarska is the first and crucial step in realizing our vision of Makarska as a desirable tourist and sports destination. I am sure that the tournament will contribute to a new direction of sustainable development and help us get on the map of destinations that offer tourists new experiences and interesting content. From this year, we have WTACity - ten days of fun and music events throughout the city of sports and entertainment during WTA Week," says Zoran Paunović, Mayor of Makarska, and adds that the locals are looking forward to promoting their city, the arrival of top tennis players, and exciting matches.

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Feliks Lukas, the tournament director, announced the best program so far. For the past six years, the WTA has been a great combination of sports and entertainment, so the event has been positioned as an attractive social event.

"In the 16 years that this event has been held in Croatia, the WTA tournament considers the local community, its wishes and needs, and tennis fans who come to the tournament and tourists who stay in the destination. We successfully organized a quality accompanying program last year in compliance with strict epidemiological measures. In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle, it is essential for us to promote the destination where the tournament is held, which will be beautiful Makarska for the next three years," says Lukas.

From May 30 to June 5, Makarska will be the most beautiful introduction to summer in Dalmatia. 

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

Friday, 20 May 2022

Croatia Logs 426 New Coronavirus Cases, 4 Deaths

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - Croatia has recorded 426 new coronavirus cases and four COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national COVID-19 response team reported on Friday.

The total number of active cases in the country currently stands at 3,556. Of them, 273 infected persons are being treated in hospital, including nine who are on ventilators, while 1,695 people are self-isolating.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first case was registered in the country, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been confirmed in 1,133, 565 persons, of whom 15,954 have died and 1,114,055 have recovered, including 763 in the last 24 hours. 

A total of 4,853,937 people have tested for the novel virus to date, including 2,684 in the last 24 hours.

By Thursday, 5,250,537 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered, and 59.51 percent of the total population, or 70.78 percent of adults, had been vaccinated.

To date, 2,314,201 people have received at least one dose and 2,243,283 of them have been fully vaccinated, which is 68.72 percent of the adult population.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Milanović: Special Forces Are the Elite and Must Have a Spotless Reputation

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - President and Supreme Commander of the Croatian Armed Forces Zoran Milanović said on Friday on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the establishment of the Special Forces that members of these units are the elite and their reputation has to be spotless.

"We need to remember that of the 75 of your friends, combatants, Croatian knights, who were killed, thirty of them were born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and half of the remaining 45 probably had their roots in BiH," Milanović said.

"That was a time when Croatia was defended by sons from small communities and towns and the least of them came from downtown Zagreb and other large cities," he claimed. "We must not forget them. We must not forget their children and descendants. They are a part of us in another country and we must not betray them." 

We are not in alliances for them but for us

Milanović said that excellent skills can best be gained in cooperation and interaction with others. "Small nations and small armies cannot advance if they aren't in constant contact with what is on the outside, with what is different and open. That is the fate and imperative of small nations because a small nation that is closed within itself degenerates," he added.

"We aren't in all those alliances for their sake but our own," the president stressed.

National policy and security are an important priority and they are defined by the democratically elected government, concluded Milanović.

The president laid a wreath and lit a candle at a cross in front of a memorial room in the barracks in Delnice in honour of the members of the Special Forces who were killed. Tribute to the fallen soldiers was also paid by Brigadier General Perica Turalija on behalf of the Defence Ministry and Hungary's military attache to Croatia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Croatian PM Meets with European Commissioner for Budget and Administration

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with European Commissioner for Budget and Administration Johannes Hahn in Zagreb on Friday, a government press release said.

The European Commission announced earlier in the day that it had granted Croatia an extension of the deadline for using money from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the repair of the earthquake damage until the end of June 2023, aligning the implementation deadlines for the earthquake that struck Zagreb in March 2020 and the earthquakes that hit Sisak-Moslavina County in late December 2020 and January 2021.

Thanking the Commission for accepting the arguments made by the Croatian government, the prime minister and competent ministers informed Commissioner Hahn of the steps being taken to accelerate the use of EUSF funding so that the allocation awarded to Croatia would be successfully used within the set deadline.

Also discussed were Croatia's plans to join the Schengen Area and the euro area. Commissioner Hahn and the European Commission strongly support Croatia's ambitions, assessing that the country meets all the membership criteria, according to the press release.

Plenković and Hahn also discussed further EU assistance to and solidarity with Ukraine, the energy crisis as well as the economic and financial situation in Croatia.

The prime minister said that after a strong recovery in 2021, Croatia continued down the path of growth, public debt reduction, and financial stability, as confirmed by international credit rating agencies.

Plenković also talked about the situation in southeastern Europe, notably in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He emphasized the need to change electoral legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure equality and legitimate political representation of the Croats as a constituent people, saying that that was the basis for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a functioning and stable country.

Also attending were Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek and Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets Ivan Paladina.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Croatia's Average Monthly Pay for March Down 0.7% in Real Terms

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - The average net monthly salary paid in Croatia for March was HRK 7,607 (€1,014), which is an increase of 6.6 percent in nominal terms and a decrease of 0.7 percent in real terms compared with March 2021, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

Compared with February 2022, the average pay increased by 2.1% in nominal terms and remained unchanged in real terms.

The median pay for March 2022 was HRK 6,352 (€847), meaning that half of the employees earned more than this amount and half earned less.

The highest average net monthly salary was paid out in the information and communication sector (HRK 15,360; €2,048) and the lowest in the security and investigation sector (HRK 4,867; €649).

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

EC Grants Croatia Extension of Deadline for Using EUSF Funds for Earthquake Relief

ZAGREB, 20 May 2022 - The European Commission has granted Croatia an extension of the deadline for using money from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) for the repair of the earthquake damage.

"Today, the Commission has decided to exceptionally grant Croatia the possibility to extend until 30 June 2023 the deadline for the use of the financial contribution from the EU Solidarity Fund to compensate for the damage of the earthquakes that severely hit the country in 2020 and 2021," the Commission announced on Friday.

Croatia has been allocated over €1 billion from the Solidarity Fund to remedy the damage caused by the earthquakes that struck Zagreb in March 2020 and Sisak-Moslavina County in late December 2020 and January 2021. The usual deadline for the use of funding is 18 months, and in this case, it expires in June this year.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in February this year, after which it was announced that the deadline would be exceptionally extended for a year. The Commission has never before extended the usual deadline.

"Croatia was hit twice by strong earthquakes, first in Zagreb and then in the city of Petrinja and the Sisak-Moslavina county. All of that happened during the first wave of the Covid pandemic, considerably hampering the recovery efforts. Ensuring that Croatia can fully benefit from the financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund for the reconstruction of the two regions is of utmost importance for the population and a sign of strong and concrete solidarity by the European Union," said Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira.

For more, check out our politics section.

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