Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Split-Dalmatia County IT Entrepreneurship Encouraged with Cash Sums

January the 10th, 2023 - A generous non-refundable cash sum has been provided to boost Split-Dalmatia County IT entrepreneurship. Hefty individual amounts of that cash will be being awarded in the form of grants to encourage such entrepreneurship in the country's largest county.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, despite not remotely encompassing the capital city of Zagreb, Split-Dalmatia County is the largest county in all of Croatia, and it is set to award handsome grants to encourage Split-Dalmatia County IT entrepreneurship in the wider area. As a boost to those who work in this blossoming field, fifteen prizes in the amount of 50,000 kuna to 200,000 kuna (over 6,500 euros and over 26,500 euros respectively) will be awarded to the best projects.

The highest amount, 200,000 kuna, will be awarded for the first prize, 100,000 kuna for the second, 90,000 kuna for the third, and 50,000 kuna for the remaining twelve prizes, which comes to a total of 990,000 kuna.

The applicants must be business entities which are currently in the process of developing an IT product or service with their headquarters registered somewhere within the scope of Split-Dalmatia County, and they must have been registered for a maximum of sixty months.

The applicants must be registered as trades, simple limited liability companies (j.d.o.o.) or limited liability companies (d.o.o.), i.e. small business entities established by the law which establishes the encouragement of small business development that are entirely privately owned, operate and have a registered headquarters in Split-Dalmatia County.

The county will award grants based on a public tender that will remain open until the end of January 2023. More detailed information on these Split-Dalmatia County IT entreprenership grants is available on the county's official website.

For more on Croatian companies, innovation and entrepreneurs, make sure to check out our dedicated business section

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Croatian Unicorns Blossom Despite Poor Business Climate, Corruption

January the 10th, 2023 - Croatian unicorns have been rightfully praised for continuing to not only grow but to truly blossom in an environment which can hardly be called encouraging. Despite an unfavourable business climate and with corruption still causing significant issues, Croatia deserves praise.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, some of the most highly regarded countries in the world have become aware over the last few decades that the well-being of every nation, as well as their security, depend on STEM achievements,'' explains Boris Podobnik, professor of economics and vice dean for research at ZŠEM, a researcher at the Center for Polymer Studies at the University of Boston, and professor of mathematics at the University of Rijeka.

That's all well and good being said, but precisely how do STEM disciplines affect equality or inequality? Podobnik was further motivated to ask this question by economist Joseph Stiglitz, who stated in his book "The Price of Profit" that a rather small portion of companies actually control entire economic sectors and contribute to the dizzying growth of inequality.

"Although it's clear that today it's STEM fields that drive innovation in the economy and in social relations, we aren't yet fully aware of the extent to which STEM education quantitatively contributes to economic inequality and how STEM and non-STEM companies behave during an economic crisis or in a pandemic,'' points out Podobnik, who together with his colleagues - Marina Dabic, Dorian Wild and Tiziana Di Matteo - investigated the impact of STEM on the growth of wealth at the level of individuals and companies.

They also analysed the operations of STEM companies during the global coronavirus pandemic in a scientific paper entitled: "The impact of STEM on the growth of wealth at different levels, from individuals to companies and countries: The operations of STEM companies during the pandemic in different markets".

"At the company level, we've shown that inequality in STEM companies is greater than it is in non-STEM companies, and this is also true for individuals," Podobnik revealed when discussing the results of the research.

What does the Forbes list say?

They came to their results by analysing companies included in the American S&P 500 and the German and French DAX and CAC40. As for individuals, they analysed the Forbes list of the richest people in the world.

That list, Podobnik says, that is, those included in it, reveals yet another rather interesting fact. It turns out that in Data Science, formal education no longer plays an important role, as evidenced by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, who went to STEM college, but didn't finish it. Despite this, researchers still treated them as STEM graduates.

"Today, if you solve a big problem in data science, and you don't have a formal education, you'll be accepted not only in every American company, but you'll also be easily appointed as a lecturer at elite faculties. This is valid only in Data Science, not in physics or economics, and it's still a warning and a threat to the education system," points out Podobnik.

The analysis of STEM companies' operations during the coronavirus pandemic also showcases some very interesting results. It proves that American companies from the STEM field, which are included in the S&P 500, have shown better results than non-STEM companies both in times of expansion and during the pandemic.

We can explain this, Podobnik points out, by the fact that STEM companies have better chances in the long run because it is precisely innovations that push the economy forward. "And we naturally associate innovation more with STEM," he adds. However, such results haven't been shown by the analysed European companies. For example, the analysis shows that STEM companies included in the German DAX index in the period of economic expansion don't show better results than non-STEM companies.

"This is probably because America is an attractor for real STEM high-tech companies, while Europe isn't. Can you think of any large European company that is at the level of Google, Tesla, Microsoft, Intel, Netflix, or Amazon?'' asks Podobnik. Indeed, Europe today doesn't have a single technology company that can compete with any one of those from the USA, or even with those based in China. This is the case, explains the professor, because America has about twenty times more venture capital per capita than there is in the whole of the EU. In addition, the USA has stronger universities, so it shouldn't really be surprising that all great innovations come from there.

"Europe prefers mediocrity a little bit too much, and here the average is looked at too much, there's therefore no room for rare events that give way to great technological innovations in the same way that has been done in companies that we've all heard of by now. There are very few highly innovative companies based in the EU, and that's why there is little difference between STEM and non-STEM companies here," points out Podobnik.

Croatian unicorns are therefore quite miraculous indeed...

In such an environment, Croatian unicorns and some of what has been happening over more recent years with numerous domestic companies is actually a real miracle, Podobnik notes, because despite the bad business environment, high levels of corruption and a generall poor attitude towards entrepreneurship, there are two wildly successful Croatian unicorns. "For comparison, Denmark and Italy don't have a single one," he notes.

So, even though research shows that STEM contributes to the growth of inequality, the fact remains that technological development, which is mostly based on STEM disciplines, is unstoppable anyway. The pursuit of equality will not stop this development, and the fruits will be reaped by those who do decide to invest in STEM innovations.

"Society must be the one to deal with equality, it just needs to have the right measure to do so. Too much equality leaves no room for the innovation of those who actually are geniuses. However, what is ideal or optimal inequality remains a big unknown," says Podobnik, noting that complete equality of everything is characteristic of communism, a model that proved to be astonishingly economically ineffective. On the completely different side is absolute libertarianism, which does not need the state at all - two wings on the same bird.

"Both extremes are bad ideas, meaning that the optimum lies somewhere in between the two. But the question of all questions is where that optimum is. Society, therefore, takes from the more successful and gives to the less successful, but the question is how much is optimal, that is, how much can you take from the more successful, without destroying the space for innovation of the most successful and most ingenious?'' Professor Podobnik warns.

Here in Europe, on the other hand, he believes, we definitely haven't been able to find that optimum. "Europe has gone too far in the direction of socialism, where the emphasis is placed only on equality and on trying to achieve a good life for everyone. European societies are too standardised, and the more restrictions there are, the less space there is for the degrees of freedom that are essential for new technological innovations to come about.

Europe has clearly not found the right balance between taking care of the majority of people and taking care of those who are indeed the most inventive, whose inventions would keep Europe in the world as a place of wealth and technological progress. Today, we all know that due to the policy of excessive taxes and regulations, the EU is rapidly falling behind America and China. So, did we need the war in Ukraine to decide to produce our own chips? Taiwan can do it, but the EU can't!? That's pretty poor," he warns.

Europe, and therefore Croatia, remains the guardian of old, outdated industries

And while Europe, the custodian of old and heavy industry, is lagging behind thanks to its policies, China, much like America, has long understood what will be the key to economic growth and development. China, points out Podobnik, has targeted students in STEM fields more and more over recent decades.

"Back in 2013, 40 percent of students in China graduated with a STEM degree, twice as many as in the US. This is probably one of the main reasons why China was able to surpass the US in terms of GDP measured by purchasing power parity some five years ago,'' Podobnik explained.

For more, make sure to check out our business section.

Monday, 9 January 2023

Work Croatia: Four Day Work Week Unlikely to Become Common Any Time Soon

January 9, 2023 - Work Croatia: a four-day work week is the desire of a growing number of young people in Croatia who strive to balance work and private life, while employers say that there are no legal obstacles to its introduction. Trade unions warn to be careful and avoid the ten-hour workday.

As Index writes, in the four-day organisation of the working week, employees work eight hours on four days while receiving wages for five days. The number of working hours per week is therefore reduced from 40 to 32.

The idea of shortening the working week is not so new, and the pioneer, as in many other industrial solutions, was Henry Ford.

In 1926, he shortened the working week in his factories from six to five days. Ford realized that if a worker has a weekend, i.e., two days off, they would want to buy a car to go somewhere. He realized that people need more time to spend the money they earn, and he wanted to sell as many cars as possible to his workers.

The eight-hour workday became a practice in the 1940s

Although many thought such a move would reduce productivity, the opposite happened. Workers have shown greater productivity and loyalty than before.

Ford's move reverberated across America and sparked many strikes in which workers demanded a five-day work week.

Since the early 1940s, the eight-hour workday and 40-hour work week have become standard practice in various industries worldwide.

This will take decades, but due to the progress of technology, and recently the pandemic and working from home, as well as the abandonment of overtime by millennials and generation Z, the idea of further shortening the work week is starting to gain momentum. In some countries and industries, the lack of workers also forces employers to shorten the working week.

Croatian trade unionists: Strive for a balance between private life and work

The four-day work week is also being discussed in Croatia. A lot of companies have introduced working from home, and most of them are in the IT sector, which allows more work flexibility compared to other industries.

The president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Krešimir Sever, warns that the four-day work week should not be organized into four days of ten working hours.

"After a ten-hour working day, the worker does not have time for anything else in that working day," says Sever for Hina and points out that the implementation of the four-day working week would only be good if the working hours were shortened from 40 to 32 hours, but he claims that this would be difficult to do in Croatia.

"Employers would not react well because even now they complain when we advocate reducing working hours," he says.

One should strive for a balance between private life and work because a well-rested man who has time for himself in addition to his work will probably refuse other people's job offers or if they offer a raise, according to Sever.

Employers: There is no formal obstacle

The Croatian Employers'  Association (HUP) says that the introduction of a four-day work week has long been allowed, but the Labor Act defines a full working week as 40 hours, and the employer can divide it into four, five, or six days.

If the employer wants to introduce a four-day work week, they say there are no obstacles to that.

"If there is an agreement between the employee and the employer to work 35 hours a week, or four days a week, there is no reason to prevent such work organization by legal provisions; however, the same should apply to the agreement if there is an interest of both parties, to work even more working hours than 'prescribed'", they say from HUP.

They note that the pandemic accelerated digitalization and brought significant changes in work organization, such as remote work, and a greater understanding of the balance between private life and work.

The development of technology has brought platform work, job or employee sharing, casual work, or voucher work. All these forms of work are a reality, and should not be administratively restricted, says the HUP.

"At the same time, we face a significant labor shortage, primarily due to demographic processes. In such a situation, it is necessary to enable significantly greater flexibility for workers and employers," they said.

HUP: Croats actually work 37.5 hours a week

That is why HUP insists on adopting new legal solutions that will reflect the actual situation in the labor market.

Since Croatia is oriented towards tourism, employers say it is difficult to shorten the working week due to the smaller workforce.

"All this, of course, should not prevent companies that realize a shift in productivity and can offer more flexible working conditions to reduce the number of working days and thus invest in the satisfaction of their employees," they say in HUP.

They note that in Croatia, the daily break is included in the working hours, which is not the case in most other EU countries, so Croats actually currently formally work 37.5 hours a week.

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

Monday, 9 January 2023

Euro Croatia: Reasons Why Same Products are Cheaper in Slovenia

January 9, 2023 - Euro Croatia: although their wages are twice or three times higher than the Croatian average, the Germans, the French, and even the neighbour Slovenians spend 30, and for some products, up to 40 percent less money than Croatians for a variety of grocery items.

Slobodan Školnik, an expert on retail prices, comments on the reasons why: "Because our weak economy has to bear the heavy burden of an inefficient public sector and the state, which is too expensive for an economy at this stage of development, and all of this must be incorporated into prices and the lower standard of citizens."

If we take 450 grams of coffee as an example, we will pay 2 euros and 30 cents more in the same retail chain in Croatia. Croatia will be more expensive with cheese, where the difference is one euro and 72 cents. Eggs are 90 cents cheaper for our neigbours, ajvar 86 cents, and pasta is 56 cents cheaper. We would pay 11 euros and 75 cents for these five items in Slovenia and more than 18 euros in Croatia. This is a difference of almost six and a half euros for only five products, write Danas.hr / Poslovni.

Lower tax burdens

"It depends on supply chains, it depends on importers, distributors, who do their calculations; I don't think it's a problem with traders," says Ivica Katavić, president of the HGK Trade Association.

Many factors influence the differences in price, and cheaper shopping in Slovenia is primarily due to lower VAT.

"Slovenia has a lower tax burden on most products of daily consumption, the basic VAT rate is lower than in Croatia, especially food products rates, they are 9.5 percent, so significantly lower than in Croatia.", says Damir Novotny, an economic analyst.

An aggravating factor is that Croatia has almost completely neglected the processing industry and is dependent on imports, which further increases the price of food and high logistics costs.

"This means it is easier to supply the Slovenian market than the Croatian market. There are significant differences in prices between, say, Osijek and Dubrovnik - in some places, it will be three times more expensive due to logistics costs," adds Novotny.

So, going to the grocery store for basic groceries seems more and more like a luxury game.

"Some follow, some don't. Some make a mistake and set a price that is too high and then have to correct it, but sooner or later, the market solves everything where there is competition, and in Croatia, there is fierce competition", adds Školnik.

The problem could be that, at least for now, none of the retailers are announcing lower prices, but quite the opposite – a new wave of price increases.

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

Monday, 9 January 2023

Ryanair Leaves Passengers of Zagreb Flight Stranded in Airport Corridor

January 9, 2023 - The famous Irish low-budget flight operator, Ryanair leaves passengers stranded. Several Ryanair passengers missed their flight last week after being locked in a windowless airport corridor. The flight from London's Stansted to Zagreb took off, leaving 23 passengers behind after both sides of the aisle were locked, trapping the passengers inside.

"The children were crying; it became claustrophobic."

As Index / The Evening Standard / Business Insider write, a Ryanair spokesperson commented that there was a "human error," which meant passengers could not "exit the pre-boarding door" and unfortunately missed their flight. Devina Raval, one of the passengers who said she was trapped in the corridor, told MyLondon she felt like she was being "held hostage." Insider could not immediately reach Raval for comment.

People were banging on the walls calling for help, Raval told MyLondon. "Kids were crying, and the whole place became really claustrophobic. It scares me to think what would happen if someone had a heart attack or something."

After about half an hour, one of the passengers set off the fire alarm, alerting a member of staff who asked them what they were doing in the corridor. "At that moment, I was just shocked that they didn't realise we were there. We were told the plane took off without us," added Raval.

Ryanair claims human error

The passengers were sent to a nearby hotel for the night and boarded a flight to Croatia on the following day at 6 a.m.

"Due to human error by staff at London Stansted Airport, a small number of passengers were unable to exit through the pre-boarding gate and unfortunately missed their flight to Zagreb (January 2). The error was caught when the flight had already taken off," a Ryanair spokesperson told Business Insider.

"Ryanair has provided overnight accommodation for the affected passengers and moved them on the next available flights," the airline said in a statement.

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

Monday, 9 January 2023

Crni Macak, a Zagreb Cafe That Got Cheaper with Euro Entry

January 9, 2023 - As countless stories of increased prices in Croatia circulate with the adoption of the euro, meet a lucky black cat cafe in Zagreb, where things just got a little cheaper - Crni Macak. 

Along with many other people who had a longer association with Culture Club Mesnicka, I was very saddened when the owner announced suddenly that the iconic cafe and alternative music venue, which also happened to be my local for the previous year, announced that it was closing, as previously reported on TCN

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Wonderful people, great events, perfect vibe. And I had only been in the neighborhood for a year, so I can only imagine what true locals felt about the closure. Thankfully, I hear that they have reopened elsewhere (if someone wants to let me know where, I will add to this article and pay a visit). And of course, in addition to being sad to see them go, it left me without a local. After years of driving all over the country to meetings - many of them in Zagreb - for a blissful year, I could organise coffee meetings just a couple of minutes from my front door. 

Weeks went by until suddenly, just before New Year, the premises reopened, with a new name - Crni Macak (Black Cat). It had a different vibe, and a younger feel, but it still had lots of the charm, as well as the board games that had been there previously. There is something civilised about popping out for a pint and a game of chess. 

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I popped in for a pint on New Year's Eve to meet a friend and was pleasantly surprised to find that the price of my staple at that pub - a cool Niksicko bottle - was 2 kuna cheaper than before at 19 kuna, a fine start. I took a photo of the bill, for I was curious to see and document how much the price would go up the next day, as Croatia entered the Euro. There were certainly plenty of price hikes elsewhere. 

I popped down last night for the first time for a cold one after a long day of vlogging and blogging (maybe a combined term could be flogging, as I was exhausted) and ordered the same. How much more was this going to cost me than a week ago?

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To my VERY pleasant surprise, the price of my pint had got cheaper, down from 19 kuna to 18.84. A small reduction, perhaps, but a nice gesture from the Crni Macak team to round kuna prices down rather than up to match the new euro price. 2.50 euro for a pint in my local - I can certainly live with that. 

I thanked the waitress for the pricing and asked if I could publish the two bills. She explained that they had wanted to keep the prices down and explained what Crni Macak was - the reason why the clientele was a little younger, as explained on their Facebook page:

A welcoming bar dedicated to SF, fantasy, gaming, board-gaming culture and all gaming-related things.

The first in Zagreb apparently. The cafe is a real warren of rooms, and that made it excellent for previous niche concerts. Those rooms are now given over to Dungeons and Dragons (is that still a thing, asks this Boomer?) and a host of other games - both online and off. 

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There is a lively list of events through the month of January. I can't say that it is particularly my scene, but I do wish these guys the very best. 

And to have a local bar for my meetings and general unwinding - and at a reasonable price (a beer is 5 euro just 50 metres away) in such a good location, well - 2023 started well. 

You can follow the lively programme of events on the Crni Macak Facebook page.  

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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Monday, 9 January 2023

Croatia Cup 2023: Croatia Wins Poreč Tournament as Last Test before Handball World Champs

January 9, 2023 - The Croatia men's handball team beat Israel 37:23 on Sunday in Poreč to win the Croatia Cup 2023, their final preparation before the Handball World Championships begin this week!

The Croatia men's handball team defeated Israel in the 3rd round of the Croatia Cup 2023 (37:23) to win the tournament! It was Croatia's last test before the Handball World Championships, which starts this week in Sweden and Poland. Croatia plays in Group G against Egypt, the USA, and Morocco.

Compared to Croatia's first match against North Macedonia at the start of the tournament, coach Hrvoje Horvat left Mate Šunjić and Nikola Grahovac in the stands, and Dino Slavić and Leon Šušnja were in the lineup. Recall Croatia beat North Macedonia 40:34 at the opening of the Croatia Cup, and North Macedonia defeated Israel 38:37 in the 2nd round. 

Croatia's starting lineup against Israel featured Dino Slavić in goal, Lovro Mihić and Paolo Kraljević on the wings, and Željko Musa, Domagoj Duvnjak, Igor Karačić, and Ivan Martinović. 

Croatia took 10 minutes to find their rhythm, after which they took a 7:3 lead. At halftime, they were up by 10 points (20:10). Six minutes before the end of the game, Croatia was up by 13 points (34:21), and in the end, the game finished 37:23.

Croatia was led by Ivan Martinović with eight goals, while Luka Cindrić scored six and Igor Karačić scored five. For Israel, Adir Cohen was the top scorer with eight goals.

The Croatian Handball Federation and Sportske Novosti also presented the best players of 2022 during halftime. Ana Debelić was named the best female handball player for the second year, while Luka Cindrić was again named the best male handball player. 

Croatia will play its first match at the World Championships on Friday, January 13 (8:30 pm) against the national team of Egypt. You can find Croatia's schedule below.

Group G (Jönköping)

1st round, January 13
18:00 Morocco - United States of America
20:30 Egypt - CROATIA

2nd round, January 15
18:00 Egypt - Morocco
20:30 CROATIA - United States of America

3rd round, January 17
18:00 United States of America - Egypt
20:30 CROATIA - Morocco

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

Monday, 9 January 2023

Exploring the Languages of Croatia: Bosnian/Bosniak/Bošnjački

January the 9th, 2023 - The Bosnian language, or Bošnjački jezik, if you want to say it in the local way, is a tongue belonging to the western subgroup of the wider south Slavic language family. It's worth mentioning straight away that it is rather ambiguous for many people here in Croatia, and has attracted many a dispute from linguists and other experts.

We've explored many of the dialects, subdialects and indeed languages in their own right as some linguists consider them to be which are spoken across modern Croatia. From the Dubrovnik subdialect (Ragusan) in the extreme south of Dalmatia to Northwestern Kajkavian in areas like Zagorje, the ways in which people speak in this country deviate from what we know as standard Croatian language enormously. That goes without even mentioning much about old DalmatianZaratin, once widely spoken in and around Zadar, Istriot, or Istro-Venetian

Standard Croatian is far from the only language or dialect spoken in this small country, and some have more rights than others based on their level of dispute and controversy. While some, such as Istrian-Albanian, are now extinct as a result of a lack of preservation and/or a rapidly dwindling number of speakers, others are widely spoken but attract significant debate. The so-called Bosnian language is one of them.

Bosnian, Bosniak, Bošnjački - the basics

Let's start with the basics and say that in Croatia, the Bosnian language is usually called the Bosniak language. As I touched on above, this language attracts debate very often, and as such, you'll likely face corrections no matter what you call it. The issue with this has little to do with the formation of spelling of the word, but instead with historical ties to the country (Bosnia), and the terminology used when referring to it. 

Bosnian (as it is called in Bosnian), or Bosniak (as it is called in Croatian), as you might have guessed, is one of the three official languages spoken in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other two being Croatian and Serbian. The use of Bosnian, despite being a language which has no difficulty in attracting linguistic arguments, especially here in Croatia, is widespread, with over two million individuals spanning the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia speaking it.

Members of the diaspora, along with their descendents, across Western Europe, North America and even much closer to home in Turkey, also speak Bosnian, although their precise numbers have never been confidently determined. 

Bosnian is very similar to Croatian and Serbian, but developed down its own path as a result of Ottoman Turkish influence, which reigned strong in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a very long time. There are also Arabic and modern Turkish influences thrown in there, as well. Despite having an array of influences thrown into the mix, Bosnian is primarily based on four main subgroups of the Shtokavian dialects, with Shtokavian also being one of the pillars of standard Croatian, alongside Cakavian and Kajkavian.

A brief history and a (past) Croatian connection

On a small scale only, Bosnian leans on the Ijekavian pronunciation of modern Serbian but there are an abundant use of Turkish words to be found, and anyone with an interest in language and knowledge of Croatian will be able to instantly point them out. The language evolved and changed throughout the centuries, with the first Bosnian-Turkish glossary being published in 1631. Fast forward a few years to the post-Ottoman occupation period, more specifically to the nineteenth century, the much more extensive cultural activity of Bosniaks appeared in a language that was constantly referred to as something different: Serbo-Croatian, Croatian, Serbian, and then Bosnian. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy's long rule also led to the predominance of the Latin script across its former territories (which included modern Croatia in a very large part), giving birth to a (by then) much more visible Bosniak language, which was much, much more like Croatian than Serbian back during those times.

Where can the largest number of Bosnian speakers be found in the modern day?

In this day and age, the largest number of Bosnian speakers live in Bosnia and Herzegovina - more precisely in the cities of Sarajevo, Bihac, Tuzla and Zenica, with some other locations also having a significant number of people who claim it as their mother tongue. Just over 1.5 million people who claim their mother tongue to be Bosnian live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Disputes about the name, and where Croatia stands when it comes to Bosnian

There are a considerable number of people (just under 10,000 of them) who live in the Republic of Croatia who consider their mother tongue to be Bosnian, and the name ''Bosniak'' as Croatia typically refers to it, has and continues to be the subject of argument and debate from not only those in the world of linguistics, but also from politicians. Bosnian politicians believe Croatia should refer to it as Bosnian, and not Bosniak, and there are several Croatian linguists who very staunchly agree with the sentiment. Most Croatian language experts believe that nothing other than ''Bosnian language'' will do, and that such a title is the only appropriate one. Some linguists and experts who make up that very same group believe that Bosnian and Bosniak are actually two different things entirely.

Just to add to the confusion, in Croatia's 2001 census, this language is referred to as ''bošnjački'', while in the one which was carried out in 2011, the term ''bosanski'' is used, only furthering the ''Bosniak or Bosnian'' debate. Croatian state institutions, it seems, can't seem to make their mind up on this issue either.

For more on languages spoken in Croatia, as well as standard Croatian, dialects, subdialects and extinct languages, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Sunday Times Features Hvar as 1 of 3 Digital Nomad WFA European Destinations

January 8, 2023 - More good news for Croatia's attempts to attract the remote work sector, as the Sunday Times promotes Hvar in its top three WFA (Work from Anywhere) destinations. 

It seems so long ago, May 2019.

That was when I met a Russian and Ukrainian couple wanting to rent our apartment for 3 months the following year, from April 1 - June 30. They were doing something called remote work 10 months a year, with two in the office in Munich. Three months each year in Jelsa, then to Italy, then to Spain, then to Portugal at home. 

It sounded like an idyllic lifestyle, and one which I was about to immerse myself in, as well as dealing with the imminent pandemic.

That coffee was one of the moments of realisation about the power and the reality of the digital nomad movement and remote work shift. I became a big promoter in the opportunity, helping Jan de Jong and his team to realise only the second digital nomad permit in Europe after Estonia. 

The rest is history, and Croatia is now firmly established on the digital nomad global map, with the latest evidence in the influential Nomad List 2023 survey, which has Croatia as the most-liked country for nomads, and Zagreb as the second most-liked city. You can read more about this in Croatia Tops Nomad List 2023 Survey as 'Most-Liked Country.' 

And it seems that some of that nomad attraction has been rubbing off on my adopted island of Hvar, where that initial coffee took place almost four years ago, for the Croatian sunshine island featured in an excellent article in today's Sunday Times about the new breed of nomads, and the new hotspots - Hvar, Valencia and Malta in 

WHY THE NEW BREED OF DIGITAL NOMADS HAVE FULL-TIME JOBS

Forget twentysomethings backpacking with a laptop. Now CEOs, architects and lawyers are doing their jobs from anywhere in the world. Plus: the new hotspots 

Here is what they said about Hvar.

The WFA hotspots

by Hannah Ralph

Hvar, Croatia

Since January 2021 Croatia has been offering temporary residence via its digital nomad visa, but while most flock to the cinematic cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb, many remote workers forget the islands can be equally welcoming to those in need of an internet connection, a community of friendly faces and little else. Try Hvar, one of the Dalmatian coast’s most popular haunts, which has co-working spaces by the sea, an emerging après-beach scene, and crystal-clean coves ideal for a post-work dip.

You can read the full article here.

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Sunday, 8 January 2023

Tax Office Comments on Prices in Croatia and Slovenia

January 8, 2023 - As anger at the price differences between Croatia and Slovenia continues with the introduction of the euro, a statement from the Croatian Tax Office, reports Index.hr.

IN THE LAST days, one of the main topics in the public eye is the prices in Croatia and Slovenia. After the introduction of the euro in Croatia, it is easy to compare prices with those in Slovenia, where the euro was introduced back in 2007.

The Tax Office actually reacted to the statement of economist Damir Novotny.

"For the purpose of truthfully and fully informing the public about the incorrect claims of Mr. Damir Novotny, Ph.D., made in the RTL Danas show on January 7, 2023, in which he says that "Slovenia has a lower tax burden on most products of daily consumption and the basic VAT rate is lower than in Croatia, and the VAT rates for food products are especially lower, which are 9.5 percent, i.e. significantly lower than in Croatia", we draw attention to the fact that in the Republic of Croatia, on a fairly wide range of basic food products, the VAT rate is and reduced to 5%, while in the Republic of Slovenia the VAT rate on these products is almost twice as high and amounts to 9.5%," writes the Tax Administration.

So they continue:

"In the Republic of Croatia, VAT is calculated and paid at a reduced rate of 5% on deliveries of the following goods:

* all types of bread,
* all types of milk (cow, sheep, goat) marketed under the same name in liquid form, fresh, pasteurized, homogenized, condensed (except sour milk, yogurt, kefir, chocolate milk and other dairy products), substitutes for mother's milk,
* baby food and processed cereal-based food for infants and young children,
* edible oils and fats, of plant and animal origin, butter and margarine,
* delivery of live animals: cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, domestic poultry, rabbits and hares,
* delivery of fresh or chilled meat and edible slaughter products from: cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, domestic poultry, rabbits and hares,
* delivery of fresh or chilled sausages and similar meat products, meat slaughterhouse products or blood,
* delivery of live fish,
* delivery of fresh or chilled fish, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates,
* delivery of fresh or chilled crabs
* delivery of fresh or chilled vegetables, roots and tubers, including leguminous dry vegetables,
* delivery of fresh and dry fruits and nuts,
* delivery of fresh poultry eggs, in shell,
* products that are mainly used as animal feed, except for pet food.

Despite this, although in the Republic of Slovenia the VAT rate on eggs, for example, is almost twice as high as in the Republic of Croatia, it is pointed out in the attachment that the price of eggs in Croatia is higher than in Slovenia. Namely, the prices of products in retail are affected by a number of factors, and tax is only one of them," they add at the end.

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