Friday, 27 January 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Holocaust Remembrance and Popularity Contests

January the 27th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had continued hunts for those who have wrongly increased their prices following Croatia's accession to the Eurozone earlier this month, the first Crobarometer survey of 2023, and a look back into a dark past as Croatia prepares to preside over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

2023's first Crobarometer reveals that majority don't believe that the government is competent when it comes to solving the issues we're facing, yet HDZ remains the most popular political party...

Quite the paradox, isn't it? Such is Croatia. The first Crobarometer of 2023 has revealed that not much has altered with the beginning of another new year when it comes to the political contradictions. Index published the results which were made public knowledge by Dnevnik Nova TV in cooperation with the well known IPSOS agency. Major changes have taken place since the last survey - Croatia entered the Eurozone and Schengen, and the government was reshuffled in which we got two new ministers. Despite that, things have stayed the same in many ways. The results reflect the period from the end of last month and the first half of this month.

How does President Zoran Milanovic stand?

The majority of respondents, more specifically 66 percent of them, are still convinced that the country is heading in the wrong direction. 23 percent of the respondents say that the course Croatia is taking is actually good, while 11 percent don't know what to think. It's interesting to note that this is the fourth month in a row now in which the number of pessimists and skeptics has decreased, while the number of optimists has increased.

Data on support for the work of the government isn't quite as clear: 63 percent of the respondents don't support its work, 28 percent support it, and nine percent either don't know or don't really care either way. But here, apart from the percentages, there is a more interesting trend to be noted: the government has still failed to achieve an increase in support for the fourth month in a row.

The curve has turned and the number of respondents dissatisfied with the government's work this month is four percentage points higher than it was back in December. The reasons should probably be sought no further than the rise in prices due to the introduction of the euro and the government's actions that it has or has not taken against all those whi have unjustifiably rainsed their prices following the currency switch.

It is similar with the expectations of the government to solve the problems of the respondents. After three relatively good months for the government, there was a reversal. Now 73 percent of the respondents don't believe that the government is capable of solving their problems, 24 percent think it is, and three percent don't know.

The perception of the ruling coalition's monolithic nature is unscathed. A still very high 83 percent of respondents believe that they will last until the end of their mandate.

Support for the work of Zoran Milanovic is greater than support for the work of the government, but he is still seen as a deeply negative figure in Croatian politics. With his often rather strange statements and his apparent lack of fear when it comes to firing off insults, that shouldn't come as much of a shock. 52 percent of those surveyed disapprove of his actions, 40 percent approve, and eight percent don't know what to think of him at all.

Support for political parties

Among the respondents, there is a high percentage of those who would probably or will certainly go to the polls, amounting to around 71 percent. 25 percent certainly or probably wouldn't, and four percent don't know what they'll do. Among safe and likely voters, HDZ is still undisputed and has the support of 30 percent of the respondents, which is still very high regardless of the drop of less than one percentage point compared to last month.

Undecided voters have come in second place for the third month in a row now. Those who would go to the elections, but don't know who to vote for, stand at 16.5 percent, which is also slightly less than it was back in December. In third place came SDP, which has also fallen slightly and now stands at 11.6 percent. They are followed by Most (Bridge) with 8.7 percent and the Mozemo! (We can!) platform with eight percent. Both have seen a slight increase. That threshold has also been crossed by the Domovinski pokret (Homeland Movement) with 6.3 percent of support.

HSS remains below the threshold with 2.3 percent of support, HSU with 2.2, IDS with two percent of support, and the Social Democrats with 1.5, which is the first time they have passed one percent at all. They're followed by HNS with 1.4, Suverenisti (Sovereigns) with 1.3, HSLS with 1.2, Stranka umirovljenika (the Pensioners' Party) and Centar (Centre with 1.1 percent.

Public impressions of politicians and the biggest problems we're currently facing

Zoran Milanovic came in the first place with 46 percent of politicians towards whom respondents have a positive impression, second is Ivan Penava with 44, third is Tomislav Tomasevic with 39, fourth is Bozo Petrov with 38 and fifth is Andrej Plenkovic with a mere 36 percent of support.

On the same poll, only with a negative sign instead of a positive one, Milorad Pupovac came in first place with 77 percent of negative impressions, and Andrej Plenkovic is second with 57 percent. Third place is shared by Gordan Jandrokovic and Hrvoje Zekanovic with 56 percent. Zlatko Hasanbegovic had closed the top five with a very unimpressive 55 percent.

If we look at the net ratio of positive and negative impressions, Ivan Penava is the best, second is Ivica Puljak, and third is Zoran Milanovic.

When it comes to the biggest problems in the country at this moment in time, it should come as no surprise that high prices and inflation are in first place, and low wages and poor living standards are in second place. In the five most important topics for respondents during January, almost all of them are related to living standards, high prices and low incomes, and only one is related to corruption.

The survey was conducted by the IPSOS agency from January the 1st to the 22nd on 996 Croatian respondents using a typical personal interview method. The maximum sample error is +/- 3.3 percent, and for party ratings +/- 3.6 percent.

We look back at the horrors of the Holocaust and set out the country's aims as Croatia prepares to preside over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in March

Andrej Plenkovic said this week that this year's theme of commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is "Home and Belonging/Dom i pripadanje", terms which should remind us of the responsibility of ensuring a sense of home and belonging for everyone and opposing hate speech.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is being marked today, was proclaimed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly back in 2005, and this year the United Nations chose "Home and Belonging" as the guiding theme in Holocaust education and remembrance.

"This topic emphasises the humanity of the Holocaust victims, whose identity was taken away in the name of an ideology that left a deep wound on the soil of Europe," Plenkovic said during the government session.

"We have a moral responsibility to oppose anti-Semitism and hate speech"

He added that it reminds us that "we have a responsibility to ensure a sense of home and belonging for all people, both in Croatia and globally, to oppose hate speech, anti-Semitism, denial and distortion of the truth about the Holocaust and to do everything to make sure that similar aggressions, wars and bloodshed are never, ever repeated".

''From March the 1st, 2023, Croatia will preside over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a non-governmental body that consists of 35 member states and 10 observer states. This year, we'll present the topic of strengthening education, research and the culture of remembrance of the Holocaust,'' announced the Prime Minister.

He noted that this week in Osijek, recognition was given to Dr. Kamil Firinger, the 130th Croatian Righteous Among the Nations, who risked his own life to save his fellow citizens of the Jewish faith, Margita Fischer and her children, from having their lives taken from them by the Fascist regime.

"It's important to mention the Righteous, they were ordinary people who recognised the moment and decided to act and became an example of human kindness and of those who do not turn a blind eye to the suffering of their neighbours," Plenkovic pointed out. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is the day when the largest concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland), was liberated back in 1945.

"Tomorrow we remember the systematic humiliation, deportation and extermination of six million European Jews from 1933 to 1945, one and a half million of whom were only children," said the prime minister, adding that Deputy Prime Minister Anja Simpraga and Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Korzinek will head to Zagreb's Mirogoj.

Plenkovic appears on Euronews to discuss Croatian Eurozone accession, noting the biggest issue we've faced - unjustified price hikes

''Croatia's transition to the euro technically went very well and without many problems, and the only incidents were price increases from some economic entities,'' Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said this week in an interview with Euronews. The Prime Minister spoke to the European media in Davos, Switzerland, where he participated in the World Economic Forum.

"Our ATMs were working and there were plenty of euro coins and banknotes supplied," Plenkovic said, adding that the entire payment system worked perfectly and that the first two weeks when it was possible to pay in kuna and euros also passed without difficulty.

"The only incident is that some entities unjustifiably raised prices in the context of price rounding, which wasn't fair," the prime minister continued, saying the government was now "trying to convince them to return their prices" to the levels they were at back at the end of December 2022.

When asked about peoples' concerns about rising prices after joining the Eurozone, Plenkovic said that the end of Croatia's six-year long path to Eurozone membership coincided with the changed global context and the consequences of Russian aggression against Ukraine, which affected prices in Croatia and inflation across the continent and the world.

Last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Croatia had inflation of 10.8 percent, which is only 1 percent above the Eurozone average, but lower than in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe which don't use the euro, he said.

"Therefore, we believe that this situation will calm down and that things will return to normal," the prime minister emphasised, before talking about the 3.6 billion euro package of state financial aid set to be poured into the economy from 2022.

"The European Union has never shown such unity"

Speaking about Europe's response to Russian aggression, Plenkovic said that he felt that the European Union had never shown such unity and determination, with "clear and articulated condemnation of Russia" and immense solidarity with Ukraine. This conflict, like all others, will end at the "diplomatic table", Plenkovic believes, stressing that Europe must continue to support Ukraine no matter what. He repeated that Croatia can offer its experience of the peaceful reintegration of the Danube region, emphasising the word "peaceful" especially for the Russian media.

The issue of the Western Balkans

"There was a fantastic operation 25 years ago, and I think that model can be applied to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as well,'' the prime minister said, also touching on the topic of the Western Balkans, dismissing concerns that tensions in that area could lead to destabilisation once again.

"There has never been more involvement of the European Union at the highest level in the Western Balkans than there was in 2022," said the Prime Minister. "However, we must remain vigilant, engaged, and all leaders should take responsibility. Because the more stable and better these countries function, the faster their path to European Union membership will be," he pointed out.

The Croatian State Inspectorate has been carrying out many inspections on the hunt for unjustified price increases, and many fines have been issued

The powers that be have been active on their continued hunt for business entities and other goods and services providers which have wrongly raised their prices following the introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency back at the very beginning of this month. You can read more about their latest findings, including the percentage of the price hikes in different sectors and the amount of inspections carried out (not to mention the amount in fines issued) by clicking here.

 

For more on Croatian politics, make sure to check out our dedicated section and keep an eye out for our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

E-Tourism: New Set of Digital Public Services for Croatian Tourism Launched

January the 26th, 2023 - Meet E-tourism, a brand new set of digital public services for the ever-important field of Croatian tourism has been launched in time for this summer season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, E-tourism is a brand new set of digital public services for the field of Croatian tourism which has been made available from today via the e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) system. The new E-tourism service has otherwise been created as part of the three-year project involving Croatian digital tourism or e-tourism, the final activities of which were presented on Wednesday this week by the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sport (MINTS).

Presenting the brand new E-tourism project and its aims for the tourism sector at the press conference, its leader and director of the Directorate for Strategic Planning, Digitalisation and EU Funds, Natalija Havidic, explained that the project has actually been being implemented since back at the beginning of 2018, and will finally be completed at the beginning of February this year.

The goal of the project and all the resulting electronic services is to improve the efficiency of public services and communication between people and tourist entities within public administration.

Three new e-services for tourism were created as part of that project - TuStart, TuRiznica and TuRegistar, which are under the jurisdiction of MINTS. Two more were previously upgraded in the process - eVisitor as a system for the registration and de-registration of tourists and the portal Croatia.hr, which presents the entire Croatian tourist offer and various types of information, both of which are under the jurisdiction of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ/CNTB).

The TuStart service, according to Havidic, is intended for the online start-up and registration or change of tourist activities, TuRegistar is a tourist central register that will include all enterprises and individuals engaged in Croatian tourism, including the categorisation of facilities and more, and TuRiznica is a system in which one can see and submit requests for the allocation of all grants in tourism transparently online.

"The importance of this E-tourism project lies in the fact that now the paper-based issuing of various permits, solutions and so on can all be done online, and that all these solutions are digitally mapped. The accuracy of the data entered, for example, in the TuRegistar system should be verified by MINTS and the competent county, and then it will all be visible in that system," concluded Havidic.

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

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Croatian Pension and Wage Growth Now More Necessary Than Ever

January the 26th, 2023 - Alright, this title is slightly misleading because we've needed Croatian pension and wage growth for a very long time now, but after becoming a full Eurozone member state, it's high time that we saw the numbers in our bank accounts go up, even just a little bit.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, recently, there have been signs of inflation finally stabilising after a certain drop in electricity and gas prices was duly noted, but despite that, in general prices are still high, and Croatian living standards are falling, which is why Croatian pension and wage increases are now more necessary than ever.

These are just some of the conclusions reached as part of the recently held "Eurostands - Perspectives and challenges" in the City of Zagreb. The head of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Kresimir Sever, reiterated that subjective inflation is still being very much felt by most of the country's households and is significantly higher than official statistics. He said because of that, Croatian pension and wage growth is necessary. On the other hand, the chief economist of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP), Hrvoje Stojic, said that HUP members have seen their employee salaries rase above the national inflation level.

Stojic also noted that the wider Eurozone's economy will experience a certain strong slowdown throughout 2023, during which there will be a "cooling" of aggregate demand, but he added that inflation could be up to two percentage points lower compared to the estimates provided back at the end of 2022.

He believes that due to the unusually mild winter we've all been experiencing, the whole of Europe could avoid dipping into the expected recession in 2023, but also that there is an option to simply "postpone" it to the second half of this year, or even until next year. Professor Marijana Ivanov of the Faculty of Economics warned that inflation reduces the real value of everything we own, and that we need to keep paying attention to the trends.

However, it is positive that there are still no risks of unemployment growth in the Croatian economy, but the general standard of living in slipping.

''Croatian living standards are decreasing, but somehow we're managing despite all of the current challenges," she concluded.

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

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Croatian State Inspectorate Continues Hunt for Unjustified Price Hikes

January the 26th, 2023 - The Croatian State Inspectorate has been busy over the last couple of weeks after many stores and services/goods providers unjustifiably raised their prices following the introduction of the euro as the country's official currency. Their findings have been astonishing, and many fines have been issued.

Poslovni Dnevnik brings us the findings of the Croatian State Inspectorate without any changes, and we've translated it into English:

Following the conclusion of the government on the implementation of the principle of the prohibition of unjustified price increases, the Croatian State Inspectorate is continuing to carry out increased inspections aimed at protecting consumer rights.

From January the 5th, 2023, when the Croatian Government adopted the aforementioned conclusion, until yesterday (January the 25th, 2023), the market and tourism inspection of the Croatian State Inspectorate carried out a total of 1,458 inspections, in which, (more specifically in 305 such inspection so far) unjustified price increases after December the 31st, 2022 were determined. In an additional 211 inspections which have been carried out, the process of the determination of any unjustified price hikes is now being determined.

Excluding inspections in which fact-finding remains an ongoing process, unjustified price increases after December the 31st, 2022 were found in 24.5% of inspections. 70% of the supervised entities where a price increase was determined during the inspection, i.e. immediately before the end of the inspection, returned their retail prices to the amounts they were at back on December the 31st, 2022.

"These figures clearly show us that the inspections being carried out by the Croatian State Inspectorate and the measures adopted by the government in order to protect consumer rights have borne fruit," said Andrija Mikulic, Chief State Inspector, when commenting on the progress and preliminary results of the inspections so far.

Out of the total number of inspections performed (1,458), 382 inspections were performed on service providers, 328 inspections were carried out in retail trade, 108 inspections were carried out across the sector of retail bakery products, and 640 inspections were carried out in the catering and hospitality industry.

According to the preliminary data we have access to at this moment in time, the average price increase for supervised services has shot up to a staggering 30%, while the price increase in retail bakery products is, on average, a less but still wholly unwelcome 15%.

A comparative analysis of the "new", higher prices of certain catering and hospitality services and the "old", lower prices found an increase in the prices of certain catering services of up to 10%, and exceptionally in some inspections which have been concluded over this past week, an increase in the prices of certain catering services up to a disgusting 29%.

Regarding prices in retail trade, an average unjustified increase of up to 17% for certain controlled products after December the 31st, 2022, has been observed. For example, unjustified increases in the prices of milk, chicken meat, and beer, were all determined.

It's important to emphasise that a significant number of inspections carried out in retail trade in retail chains have also been completed. In nineteen retail chains, the market inspection carried out 93 inspections. The inspections were carried out ex officio, as planned inspections and on the basis of peoples' reports.

So far, at four retail chains, an unjustified increase in retail prices for ten products has been determined; cat food (29.18%), 800g cocoa drinks (18.91 %), cured meat product sirloins (20.52%), pickles (9%), dog food (38%), cooking chocolate ( 13%), liquid yogurt (24.47%), butter (19.87%) and biscuits (41.24 %). Please note that fact-finding is still underway in several retail chains.

Fines are being imposed on all business entities that unjustifiably increased their prices after December the 31st, 2022, that is, from January the 1st, 2023 until the day of the inspection. As of January the 25th, 2023, a total of 272 fines were issued as part of the completed inspections, in the total amount of 457,357.96 euros (3,445,963.55 kuna).

Inspections being carried out by the Croatian State Inspectorate are set to continue, with each inspection being part of its jurisdiction. This state body will continue to carry out coordinated and continuous inspections with the aim of consumer protection firmly in mind.

For more, check out our news section.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

The British Times Lists Their Favourite Croatian Hidden Gems

January 26, 2023 - Foreign media loves Croatia indeed. And not only during or just before the tourist season, either. They're starting to discover it sooner and talking about it more than ever before. It's only the start of the year, and though it is mainly a summer destination, there are articles already popping up left and right about the beauties of one of Europe's most recent tourist hits. The British Times calls it Secret Croatia, and goes on to list their favourite Croatian hidden gems.

This time around, the Biritish Times dug deeper and decided to praise the hidden spots of our beloved land of wonder. They speak of paths undiscovered, waters unswam, and food uneaten. Granted, no mention of eastern Croatia, but we’ll be patient and they might just take us seriously when we say it’s a place like no other.

In the meantime, let us also give praise where praise is due. Deeming the country’s former currency, the kuna, as... obscure, the Times sees the introduction of the euro as one of the things that will further boost tourism in Croatia in 2023. And with most visitors concentrating in and around the hotspots such as Dubrovnik, Hvar and Rovinj, they set out to find alternative routes and hidden gems. And so they did.

First off, the fishing village of Vrsar in Istria is presented as a place with which even the legendary lover Casanova fell in love, going back twice and saving it for eternity in his memoirs. Vrsar is a typical little Istrian village of cobbled streets, old churches, and the most charming of chilling spots overlooking the nearby islands. Go there for dolphin spotting, seafood eating, kayaking and paddleboarding, or just life living.

Second on their list, Rastoke, inspires one of those mixed feelings in me, as a local. I almost selfishly wish they haven't listed it. Rastoke, in my humble opinion, is one of the most magical little places in Croatia. It is a small village nestled on the banks of the Korana River, whose source is at Rastoke’s big sister, the Plitvice Lakes. Though absolutely stunning and deserving of every praise, the popularity and therefore, crowdedness of the Plitvice Lakes national park is exactly what might inspire visitors to pivot towards Rastoke. The river creates over 30 waterfalls, making it perfect for adrenaline lovers, and the walking trails of its banks are ideal for a relaxed time in nature. And an abundance of places where you can enjoy trout directly from the river always comes in handy.

Eastern Mljet found itself on the list for its sandy beaches and the famous Odysseus cave. Though the part of the island with the national park receives plenty of visitors, its eastern side is unfairly neglected. If you’re looking for the full spectrum of blues and green to soothe your soul, though, this is the place to go. The pines provide the perfect shade to balance out the sunny moment in eastern Mljet’s beautiful bays.

As further spots to find perfect privacy, Times brings up Drvenik Veli and Drvenik Mali. The big brother, Drvenik Veli, for its Blue Lagoon, and Drvenik Mali for the Vela Rina sandy beach. Both live a wonderfully laid-back, perfectly relaxed lifestyle ideal for a getaway.

Lastly, the Times regards Korčula’s main town almost as the second Dubrovnik, which has no trouble attracting the same crowds of visitors as the southern capital of Croatian tourism. Lumbarda, however, is the antidote, and it’s right there. This lively little village offers beautiful beaches and an island lifestyle with long summer nights. Its main attraction, as the Times emphasizes, is the wine scene with the grk and plavac mali varieties.

Hats off to the Times; they found a few truly stunning Croatian hidden gems.

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

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Former Split Software Agency Typeqast's New Name is Valcon

January the 26th, 2023 - One year has passed since the former Split software agency Typeqast was taken over by the Dutch company Valcon, and it is now operating under that same name.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Split software agency Typeqast began operating in the largest Dalmatian city back in 2017 as a team consisting of 11 people, and in the first year alone they grew to 45 employees. They celebrated their fifth birthday with almost 450 employees and 70 active projects, engaging in work mainly for clients across Western Europe in countries like Great Britain, as well as across the pond over in the USA.

Last year at this time, they were acquired by the Dutch company Valcon, which sought to strengthen its technological and data business segment by taking over the Split software agency Typeqast, and one year after that acquisition, the Split-based agency became a full member of the wider Valcon Group. Accordingly, it now operates under a new name - Valcon - and boasts a new visual identity.

Valcon, which is otherwise a consulting, technology and data company, came into the Croatian sphere with the acquisition of the Split software agency Typeqast and further strengthened its ambitions for significant growth across the Southeastern European region. Through Typeqast, Valcon got its hands on a company with rich experience and knowledge in software development for both Western European and American clients and entered the challenging field of IT.

The former Typeqast, and the current Valcon, have offices in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek, the Netherlands, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Romania, and the aforementioned rebranding applies to all of those offices. Here in Croatia, Valcon continues to operate in the same way as it once did and through the same offices.

When it comes to this country, the agency has recently been increasingly involved in low-code development and have the largest team of all working on the Mendix platform. A Data team was formed within Valcon, which grew beyond all expectations in 2022, and significant growth is expected in the future as well.

A low turnover of employees, as well as increased employment, generated the need to expand the capacity of the agency's Croatian offices, so the Split, Osijek and Zagreb offices were all expanded.

Marko Baric, one of the co-founders of Typeqast and now the director of Croatian Valcon, believes that this partnership with Valcon has given the company additional strength and that it will speed up the next stages of development going forward.

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

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Brodotrogir Cruise Confident in Securing Jobs for Both 2023 and 2024

January the 26th, 2023 - The Croatian shipbuilding industry has been unstable for several years now, but Brodotrogir Cruise has confidently stated that the company hopes to fully secure contracted work for both this year and next year soon.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, state guarantees for shipbuilding are increasingly rare items on the table at government sessions, and the first one this year was approved for Danko Koncar's Trogir shipyard.

After restructuring with state support and then new settlement processes through pre-bankruptcy procedures, shipbuilding on the Trogir peninsula now takes place through the company Brodotrogir Cruise, but in a significantly reduced scope and within an even more significantly altered market niche.

The former trend of the construction of large chemical tankers, which dominated the entire Trogir area, has been replaced by the construction of small cruisers, yachts and workboats for fishing. This is how the new guarantee of the Ministry of Finance was issued for the second phase of the started construction, a fishing boat for Norwegian clients.

The state has already followed Brodotrogir's cooperation with the Norwegian Moen Marina with a guarantee issued back at the end of 2021, for one vessel (Nov. 369) and the construction of the hull for the other (Nov. 370), and these two contracted constructions have now been completed, and the equipment guarantee has been approved for the second ship (Nov. 370), for which the hull was built back during the first phase.

For the completion of construction, the Croatian Government approved a guarantee of four million euros, which is 80 percent of the entire value of the contracted work. The condition for the implementation of this state guarantee is, among other things, the return of the guarantee for the loan from HBOR, which was previously issued to Brodotrogir for the first phase of that project, more specifically for the construction of the hull, which amounted to 0.5 million euros.

Brodotrogir, unlike the much larger shipyards located in Split, Rijeka and Pula, is undergoing a new phase of recovery more quickly and quietly, and that, at least according to Brodotrogir Cruise Board member Mateo Tramontana, exclusively thanks to its own resources.

"Our companies went through a pre-bankruptcy settlement, and everything coincided with the coronavirus pandemic that hit our business hard. The main problem was that we lost jobs, but we had no loans and obligations, we sold a marina and two tankers, and made the decision to preserve the backbone of the shipyard and, in simple terms, to cover ourselves for as long as we could,'' explained Tramontana.

The lack of jobs is also visible in the financial results for the pandemic-dominated year of 2021, in which the shipyard experienced a large drop in revenue, which fell to a mere 17 million kuna, and a serious loss of 10.6 million kuna was also recorded.

However, Tramontana noted that at the end of that year alone, their business situation began to improve, and in the last year, according to him, twice as much income was achieved and the year ended with a profit of around two million kuna. Brodotrogir's manager is convinced that 2023 will be a much more successful business year.

In the order book, Brodotrogir Cruise already has five service ships scheduled for the Norwegians, one yacht for a Croatian company whose founder is from Switzerland, another yacht for a Croatian client and several more constructions in their more advanced stages of contracting.

"Over the next month or two, we'll have secured jobs for the whole of 2023 and 2024," Tramontana pointed out, for whom the big change in business is the fact that the company has been managing to secure financing for the majority of new jobs itself, without needing to rely on state guarantees.

Brodotrogir Cruise otherwise currently employs 150 workers and cooperates with around 15 subcontractors.

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

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Croatia and the Netherlands to Meet in UEFA Nations League Semi-final

January 25, 2023 - Croatia found out its opponent in the UEFA Nations League semi-final after the draw was held in Nyon on Wednesday.  

Croatia will thus play against the Netherlands on June 14 in Rotterdam. Spain and Italy will meet in the second semi-final on June 15 in Enschede.

The winners of the semi-final matches will play in the final in Rotterdam on June 18, while the losers will play for third place also on June 18 in Enschede.

In the third season of the Nations League, Croatia reached the final tournament and was the only debutant in this mini-tournament. Croatia went to the final four after finishing first in a group against defending champions France, Denmark, and Austria.

Croatia was impressive in the third edition of the Nations League after poor results in the first two editions. After opening against Austria with a shock 3:0 defeat in Osijek, Croatia still had to face the national teams of France and Denmark. Dalić had to apologize to the fans, and there was little belief in this Croatia after the debacle against Austria.

The show at Poljud in front of 30,000 fans started Croatia'ss revival in the Nations League. A draw against the then-current World Champions, France, was a sign that Croatia could turn everything around. In the end, Croatia defeated Denmark twice, one of the best European teams then. For the first time in history, Croatia also beat France at Stade de France in front of more than 70,000 fans and confirmed their spot in the final tournament with a victory against Austria in Vienna.

Dalić commented on Croatia's semi-final opponent:

"We will play against the most difficult opponent, the hosts, who will play in front of a full stadium and led by a new coach. The Netherlands is a truly great team. However, whichever team we draw, we would be playing against a strong opponent, as all four teams are in the top ten in the world. We know what our goal is, a place in the final, and we will try to achieve it. The Netherlands has a new coach, and is very good, especially in defense. They have young, powerful players, and they will play in front of their audience, but I also expect great support from our fans in Rotterdam. A big match awaits us, it will be a big challenge for us, but we will be ready, and I expect our victory," said Zlatko Dalić.

The first semi-final match will be played on June 14 in Rotterdam at 20:45, and the second in Enschede on June 15 at 20:45. The game for third place will be played on June 18 in Enschede at 15:00, and the final is the same day in Rotterdam at 20:45. It was decided in advance that the Netherlands would play its semi-final match in Rotterdam.

The Croatian Football Federation delegation in Nyon included assistant coach of Croatia Vedran Ćorluka, team manager of the national team Iva Olivari, and official spokesperson Tomislav Pacak.

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

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Croatian Unicorn Infobip Organising Their First Conference in Miami

January 25, 2023 - The first Croatian unicorn is organising its first Infobip Shift conference outside Europe on May 23, 2023, in Miami, USA, which is the first such conference organised by a Croatian company on another continent.

As Index reports, announcing the first American edition of their developer conference, Infobip board member for developer experience Ivan Burazin and Infobip Shift Miami project manager Nikola Radisic say that they are expecting five hundred to a thousand visitors with prominent names from the developer world in Miami.

"We will present and share the Croatian conference in Miami with the local and regional scene and lay the foundation for future editions," says Radisic.

Miami is also said to be a growing tech hub in the US, with a growing community of developers and startups.

"More and more young people are interested in the developer profession"

Infobip board member Burazin says that the plan is for Infobip Shift USA to remain an annual developer event.

"Whether it will always take place in Miami is hard to say, but it is a city that has an active and growing tech scene and an attractive energy, so for now, we see it as a long-term host," says the board member of Infobip, the first Croatian unicorn.

Asked about the importance and growing popularity of developer conferences, he replied that these conferences are important because they connect developers from all over the world, bringing them to one place where they can meet and exchange ideas.

He believes this is a form of investment in the knowledge of developers, who, in addition to trends and experiences at conferences, can also find a new employer, client or partner, or a new solution.

As the popularity of this profession grows, so does the popularity of these conferences and the need for "networking" and learning, especially among young people who, according to Burazin, are increasingly interested in the developer profession.

Greater international visibility

"Infobip, like most global technology companies, invests increasing efforts in building relationships with developers and improving the developer experience," says Burazin.

When asked about the expectations and differences between Infobip Shift Miami and Infobip Shift in Zadar in autumn, he says that the Zadar edition has already been recognised as one of the largest and highest quality in Europe, which is also confirmed by the fact that in 2022 it attracted visitors from more than 50 countries around the world.

That's why there are high expectations for Infobip Shift Zadar 2023, and the company announced a top program and production for September 18 and 19.

"I believe that the conference in the US will confirm the strength of the Infobip Shift brand and that we will be able to transfer the energy of Zadar to Miami. I also expect that all the participants of Infobip Shift in Miami will leave the conference with new knowledge and contacts and excellent impressions quickly transmitted in developer circles," concluded Burazin.

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

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Croatian Regions Locals Love the Most and Where They go for Food

January 25, 2023 - A survey was carried out to gain insight into the extent to which specific Croatian regions spark curiosity and desire of the local population to visit, what images are associated with which region, and at what time of the year which region is the most attractive.

Dalmatia, Istria, Lika, and Gorski Kotar are the Croatian regions most attractive for domestic tourists, with Slavonia following in the fourth place, while Zagreb is the urban centre that offers the most opportunities for shopping, culture, and entertainment.

At the same time, writes Poslovni, Istria did the best when it came to gastronomy and a longer tourist season, which is where Dalmatia and other destinations have enormous room for improvement. This was found in a survey conducted at the end of last year by the Improve agency in cooperation with BlueRock Consulting.

In the recently adopted Croatian tourism strategy until 2030, year-round and more regionally balanced tourism is set as one of the strategic goals, and it is thought that the unique tourist identity of certain regions should be developed, that is, the umbrella brand that connects tourist destinations. Accordingly, target groups of guests should be clearly defined, explains BRC.

The leaders

"The results show that the key brands are the tourist regions themselves, and there is no dilemma about the name of a particular tourist region either. Short and clear names were adopted, and regions were recognized as such. This is great for these tourist destinations and their further communication and the development of tourist products. It is great that Lika and Gorski Kotar are already almost as attractive to domestic tourists as developed coastal regions. Preservation of natural beauty is essential, but how much the other reasons for coming are lagging shows how wide the room for improvement is," emphasizes Emanuel Tutek, a partner in BRC.

For Dalmatia, natural beauty is a far more important asset than cultural heritage and gastronomy. Admittedly, in comparison to Istria, entertainment facilities are somewhat more attractive in Dalmatia, while quality and attractive private accommodation is the slightly less attractive factor. In addition to peace and relaxation (79%), the most common associations of those who chose Dalmatia are fun and joy, more than other regions except Zagreb.

Istria is perfectly positioned as a gastronomic destination, rich in culture and natural beauty, and guests associate it with comfort and romance. The authors note that Istria most successfully promoted the breadth of its offer, as those who chose that region to cite relatively more different motivating factors.

The most common are natural beauties (80%), followed by gastronomy (62%) and culture (heritage or events, 56%). Quality and attractive private accommodation is the fourth most common factor. However, recreational or sports activities are rarely mentioned as the motivation for visiting Istria.

New discoveries

Among those who are attracted to this region, the top associations are peace and relaxation. More than other regions, it attracts people with higher household incomes and higher education as well. For Lika and Gorski Kotar, natural beauty and peace, and relaxation are the leading reasons for visiting, but the region stands out by associations with health and opportunities for recreational, sports, and adrenaline activities.

Associations that stand out more than in other regions are health, adventure, and adrenaline, but also peace and relaxation and "new discoveries." In Slavonia, besides natural beauty, there is a very strong motivation for choosing gastronomy (61%), and it is just as strong as in the most successful region of Istria. Cultural heritage holds the third place, while recreation and entertainment rank poorly, and quality accommodation is hardly mentioned. Slavonia attracts older people (over 55 years) more than average. Motivation for local guests to visit Zagreb includes shopping (32%), cultural heritage and events (27%), and entertainment (for adults, 24%, for children, 26%), and the top associations are entertainment and variety.

The longest season is guaranteed in Lika and Gorski Kotar, which attract guests almost all year round. The spring and less warm summer months are chosen the most for both Istria and Slavonia. For Dalmatia, the focus is on the summer months, from June to September, and very few consider the spring months to be the best time to visit Dalmatia.

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

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