Sunday, 4 September 2022

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from Posao.hr (September 4, 2022)

September 4, 2022 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency, Posao.hr, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site Posao.hr, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Ines has kindly agreed to work with us on a new weekly feature on TCN - a weekly selection of 10 job listings, as chosen by Posao.hr.  Details and links to the job opportunities below in the latest edition of this feature.

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WEEKLY SELECTION OF JOB LISTINGS

Aston Consulting Partners d.o.o. is hiring a SMM – Manager / Online blogging specialist (m/f) in Rijeka! If your English is great, you know how to multi-task, and have some videography/photography skills, this is a great position for you! Apply by clicking here by Sep 29th.

Gi Group Staffing Solutions is looking for a Sales Representative (m/f) in Slovenia for their client, Mecalux! If you would like to work in an international group; with plenty of opportunities for new skill development and career advancement; a company car, mobile phone, and laptop, apply via this link by Sep 15th!

PLIVA Hrvatska d.o.o. zapošljava Istraživača – analitičara (m/ž) za rad u Zagrebu. PLIVA Vam nudi suradnju s vrhunskim stručnjacima iz brojnih područja, rad u inovativnoj i poticajnoj sredini te rad na najsuvremenojoj opremi i tehnologijama – zato se prijavite do 6.9.2022. na linku ovdje!

STRABAG BRVZ d.o.o. sucht einen Senior Backend- / ERP-Entwickler:in (m/w/d) in Spittal/Drau, Villach, Linz, Wien, Köln und Zagreb! Bewerben Sie sich bis zum 9. September über diesen Link.

The Embassy of the United States of America is looking for a Consular Assistant (m/f) in Zagreb. All the details about the position can be seen by clicking this link, and you have until Sep 6th to apply!

Tus i Gržić odvjetničko društvo d.o.o. zapošljava Odvjetničkog vježbenika (m/ž) u Zagrebu! Ako imate završen pravni studij i natprosječno poznavanje engleskog jezika u govoru i pismu, prava ste osoba za ovu ulogu. Prijaviti se možete na linku do 10.9.2022.

Workforce Ljudski Potencijali d.o.o. is hiring a Group Parts Analyst (m/f) for their client Teknoxgroup in Zagreb. They are offering simulative compensation, constant training and career development, and dynamic work in a well organized, positive, and creative international environment. You can apply by Sep 16th via this link.

Središnja agencija za financiranje i ugovaranje programa i projekata EU – SAFU na području Zagreba zapošljava na više pozicija – Viši stručni savjetnik (m/ž), Viši stručni savjetnik – specijalist (m/ž) i Stručni savjetnik (m/ž) za kontrolu provedbe građevinskih projekata, kontrolu javne nabave te javnu nabavu / nepravilnosti. Više detalja provjerite klikom na link, a natječaji su otvoeni do 14.9.2022.

Falkensteiner Hotelmanagement d.o.o. is looking for a Head of Marketing / Commercial Lead Camping Division (m/f) in Zadar. They are offering a competitive salary, an all-inclusive onboarding process with a buddy program, cross-exposure to other Falkensteiner hotels, and much more! Click here to see more detail, applications can be submitted by Sep 26th.

Oglasnik d.o.o. is looking for a Senior JavaScript Developer (m/f) in Zagreb (remote work). If you would like to work in a challenging and dynamic workplace, a positive working environment, with a possibility of additional training and education apply by Sep 6th via this link.

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For more career options and job listings, visit posao.hr.

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These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.

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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.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Saturday, 3 September 2022

EuroBasket: Croatia Convinces Against Greece and Great Britain

September 3rd, 2022

The Croatian national basketball team is able to convince so far during the EuroBasket 2022 group stage in Milano. Yesterday coach Mulaomerović's team was able to come close to a sensation (85:89) against the highly favored team from Greece and today they made sure to put Great Britain in its place (86:65) to maintain all chances to reach the next round from group C.

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After the missed qualification for the World Cup next year, the Croatian Basketball Association decided to naturalize American Guard Jaleen Smith and so far that decision seems to bring the desired results for the team. The checkered team beat Poland and Switzerland during the pre-qualifier for WorldCup 2025 and now remains on track in Milano.

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Yesterday, newly added Smith had to take on the big favorites from Greece around former NBA champion and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The US-American eventually ended up being both the most effective player for Croatia and also top scorer with 23 points. Greek coach Dimitrios Itoudis on the other side was able to count on the "Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo not only to deliver 27 points during the entire game, but also to have two sensational blocks in the last 37 seconds of the game to stop two of Croatia's last three offenses and with that any hope for a big sensation. The game that seemed already lost at half- time 30:46 went to Greece 85:89 despite a strong second half by Croatia (55:43).

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Today against Great Britain the Croatian team playing in red showed slight fatigue during the first half but kept the upper hand (37:31) against highly motivated opponents who had lost their opener against Ukraine 90:61. However the third quarter was a display of what the Croats around their leader and NBA player Bogdanović are capable of. A very convincing defense led to easy baskets up front and then eventually broke the Britons spirit when back-to-back alley-oops, fast-break dunks and three-pointers started. Dominic Mavra ended the 35-9 run with a triple point shot to beat the buzzer at the end of the quarter.

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The game ended 86:85 with plenty of time for the Croatian bench players to soak in the large tournament atmosphere on the court. Unfortunately Karlo Matković had to leave the game injured at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Sarić, Žubac, Bogdanović all shared the top scores with 15 points each. Miles Hesson scored 18 points for Great Britain. 

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Next games (all in Milan) for Croatia will be:

Estonia on Monday Sep. 5 at 14:15 

Italy on Tuesday Sep. 6  at  21:00

Ukraine on Thursday Sep. 8 at 14:15 

All games will be televised live on HRT 2 and FIBA's YouTube channel

 

Results by quarters: 

Croatia vs Greece 16:24, 14:22, 32:24, 23:19 

Croatia vs Great Britain 20:17, 17:14, 35:9, 14:25

 

Box Score:

Croatia vs Greece  

Croatia vs Great Britain

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Swimming For All, Now Surfing: A Wild Boar Spotted on the Danube

September 3, 2022 - You’ve seen tourists of all nationalities, you have even seen a deer swimming in the Adriatic. Move over everyone, wild boars have got places to be. The summer might be on its way out, and the humans and animals visiting the Adriatic coast are enjoying the final weeks of sunny beach days. The Adriatic is not the only body of water where you can have some fun, though. It has never occurred to us before, but is looks like the Danube might be good for surfing. At least this wild boar thinks so.

And it is not only the Croatian Danube that hides many gems. This time in Serbia, in Belgrade, a wild boar went surfing on what looked like a wooden board. As reported by Espreso, the pictures were taken by random passers-by and shared on Facebook in the group Beograd bez maske (Belgrade without a mask). It was then shared on Reddit, in r/AnimalsBeingGeniuses, by u/djukanovics27. Head on there for some random Saturday entertainment.

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Facebook Group Beograd bez maske

So boars are turning out to be fairly interesting with a diverse range of interests. With the ability to swim for up to 12 hours straight, this beneficial physical activity seems to be quite high on the scale of their preferences. One even made a lengthy journey from Brač to Split.

Last, but not least, as previously written on TCN, a deer was spotted going for a dip in the Adriatic, at the Pokonji Dol beach on Hvar. It ran down the beach, tested the water, and jumped in for a plunge! It was a hot day, after all. 

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Nada Kordic Bezic

Who knows, maybe this is the dawn of a brand new series on TCN? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, for more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Total Croatia News: Reduced Service Ahead of October Relaunch

September 3, 2022 - TCN is in a period of transition. An update from CEO Paul Bradbury, and a reduced service ahead of a very new-look TCN in October.

One of the things that has been very true since I started the Total Project with a laptop and a cold one sitting at Caffe Splendid on the main square in Jelsa back in October 2011 was that I have always tried to live up to the name of the project. 

Total.

For years, I was writing six articles a day just about the island on our pilot project, Total Hvar. So much did I write, in fact, that the 9,000+ articles make me the most prolific writer in the history of that marvellous island. 

Total Croatia Wine covered the whole country in a way never done before, with wine roads for all the regions, as well as the first online database and map of over 800 Croatian winemakers, from Istria to Baranja. 

And our flagship project, Total Croatia News, which has been consistently putting out 25 articles a day, covering politics, sport, business, travel, lifestyle, digital nomads, diaspora, gourmet, and entrepreneurship. 

Total indeed.

It has been an extremely fun ride, and I am very proud of what we have achieved since TCN launched in July, 2015. The core team has been beyond magnificent, and I am very grateful for so many excellent contributions from so many other writers as well. 

But TCN is evolving, and perspectives change. The obsession with being Total and trying to cover everything has been exhausting for all of us, and I think it is fair to say that the quality has not always been what it could be on occasion. Yes, we covered politics, for example, but many of the articles were extremely short and not particularly well-written. 

Is it worth compromising on quality to remain Total?

After a lot of thought, I decided that perhaps it was time for some changes. Soon after that decision, COO Daniela Rogulj, who has been beyond incredible since joining TCN in May 2016, decided to step down from her role to focus on sports journalism and building her solo career. Something I fully support, and I am delighted that Dani will continue as sports editor, as well as help us as TCN enters the video age, of which more below. 

With so many other things going on, I have decided that I want to focus less on being Total moving forward, and more on quality and niche areas that we find interesting, useful, and which are under-represented. 

So I have decided to turn TCN away from being a 'Total' news portal which publishes 25 stories a day into TCN, the online magazine with 2-3 news stories a day and around 50 quality articles a week. 

We are currently working with our web developer and I expect the new site will be live sometime in October. My aim is to make it free of advertising apart from the occasional sponsored banner. 

I can tell you a few things that the new site will and won't have.

There will be a much-reduced politics section, as we have decided to pause our partnership with HINA, which for many years has been the main source of political information for TCN. A Croatian friend once told me that you can immerse yourself in the daily snakepit of Croatian politics and get consumed by it. Or you can check in to see what is happening every six months, and find that nothing has changed in that time. 

There will also be a reduced sports section. Dani wrote an incredible 708 sports stories last year, including about sports I had not heard of - a truly comprehensive job. She will continue her levels of excellence, but with less frequency and focusing on the main sports, as well as the occasional interesting feature story.

There will also be a much-reduced travel section, and what remains will focus on lesser-known regions such as eastern Croatia, where Katarina Andjelkovic in Vukovar is doing such a good job with her Croatian Danube series. Although I am known primarily for writing about Croatian tourism, I strongly disagree with the direction it is taking, and there is only so much you can write about the one-dimensional approach of our official tourism gurus. We will still maintain a travel section, but it will be more focused articles. We will also be bringing Total Croatia, our tourist information site, within the new TCN structure, so there will be plenty of excellent tourist information. And there will also be a focus on medical tourism.

Now that you are aware of what there will NOT be in the new TCN, what's left, and what is coming? I plan the following:

Croatian news - 2-3 daily, covering the important events.

A weekly editorial.

An expanded business and entrepreneur section, including a new feature, Croatian Entrepreneur of the Week.

A real estate section, both listings as well as news and hot topics. If you are a real estate agency and would like to work with TCN (we already have partners in Split, Zagreb and Istria), please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Real Estate TCN.

A reduced travel section, but the addition of the Total Croatia portal.

A weekly interview.

A new section - How to Croatia? How to get an OIB, find a dentist, open a bank account, meet people etc. 

A quirky blog with around 10 articles a week - free reign to the creative minds of Iva, Lauren, Katarina, myself, and anyone else who wants to contribute (if you do, please contact me on the email above, Subject Contribute).

A weekly feature from our CROMADS platform.

Integration and expansion of our Total Croatia Wine portal, with a focus on wine moving forward. 

We will also be trialling TCN audio, to offer you select articles in audio format. If the trial works, we will make this standard with each article. 

And there will be a TCN shop, offering products we believe in and endorse. 

And video.

I have been many things in life and done many jobs, but being a 53-year-old YouTuber is not something I expected. But it is a direction that we must head in order to stay relevant in the new world order. 

You may have seen some of my initial videos (they are embedded here), My 5 Favourite Words in Croatian, Croatian Really iS Logical But Why I Stopped Trying, and Dalmatia: Paradise Revealed in a Sentence. The first one has had almost 50,000 views and was featured in the media in four countries, an encouraging start. We will be launching a dedicated channel, Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert next month, where these videos will be published at the rate of 1-2 a week. If you want to subscribe, you can do so here.

We also have big plans for the TCN YouTube channel, which we have not really utiilised yet. We are still working on the final details and I will publish the plan as soon as we have agreements in place. You can subscribe here

We will also have a TCN video podcast once a month, meeting the unusual characters who make this land so amazing. One of the first ones will be with Steve Gaunt, the dour Yorkshireman in Vinkovci, with his own English pub in a field in the middle of nowhere. Steve will be reflecting on his 30 years in eastern Croatia, starting with his decision to volunteer to fight for Croatia against the Serbs back in 1991. It will be a fascinating chat. And as a little teaser, here is the great man enjoying life in his lovely pub, below.

And for anyone interested, I am also putting my book, Around the World in 80 Disasters, onto YouTube, where I will be releasing a video chapter a week, starting next week. The first two are Homeless in the Soviet Union: Hitchhiking from Manchester to Moscow (1991), and Getting Arrested in My Childhood Bathrobe at St Petersburg Train Station (1992). You can see the teaser and subscribe below. 

Before that book is written, however, Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners needs to be finalised. The book, which I am co-writing with TCN editor, Lauren Simmonds, will be published in October. If you would like to pre-order please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years TCN. It will be available in English and Croatian, an ideal Christmas gift.

In order to deliver on that, Lauren and I need to focus, so we have decided to operate a limited TCN service until the relaunch next month. We thank you for all your support and interest over the years, and we ask you for your understanding. 

TCN will be a much better product when we relaunch, of that I am convinced, and I am very excited about the book, the new YouTube direction, and TCN the Online Magazine. Hope to see you on the other side. 

Cheers!

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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.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn. or visit Paul Bradbury.com

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Crikvenica Riviera Among Most Popular Destinations for Croatian Tourists

September the 3rd, 2022 - The Crikvenica riviera is among the country's most popular destinations to visit for Croatian tourists keen on getting away from where they live and taking time to relax within the country's borders.

As Morski writes, the Crikvenica Riviera is one of the favourite tourist destinations for Croatian tourists, with the most numerous among them living in and coming from the wider Zagreb area and from Eastern Croatia.

Throughout the main summer tourist season, Croatian tourists tend to choose to spend their summer holidays off work in various destinations situated along the Crikvenica Riviera, where there are foreign visitors, but far less of them in comparison to Dubrovnik, Split, or parts of Central and Southern Dalmatia. The proximity of the continental part of the country, the Northern Adriatic, including the Istrian peninsula and Kvarner, is one of the reasons Croatian tourists love this part of the country so much.

Croatian tourists keen for a break by the coast have always loved Crikvenica, and they are second in terms of the amount of number of overnight stays and number of arrivals realised here,'' said Mariana Biondic, the director of the Crikvenica Tourist Board. While some come to this part of the Croatian coastline because it tends to boast more affordable accommodation facilities and slightly lower prices, Crikvenica also offers more luxurious accommodation for those with deeper pockets.

''In this way, we attract a large number of Croatian tourists easily, given the proximity to excellent transport connections. We have one hotel that works all year round, which is excellently recognised by local guests,'' said Lucija Jukic, the director of sales and marketing at Jadran Crikvenica hotels and camps.

As HRT writes, the global coronavirus pandemic has well and truly changed the habits of everyone, and Croatian tourists are no exception. Interest in tourist destinations within the borders of this country has grown throughout recent years, because unfortunately for many, coming to the Adriatic coast in the heart of the hot summer season is an unrealisable and extremely costly dream reserved solely for foreign visitors.

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

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Receipts Issued During August 2022 5.1 Billion Kuna Higher Than 2021

September the 3rd, 2022 - Fiscalised invoices, bills and receipts issued across Croatia during the month of August are very encouraging, exceeding August 2021's amount by a very impressive 5.1 billion kuna more.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, while various statistical indicators of Croatian economic activity typically arrive with a greater or lesser time lag depending on the sector we're talking about, the first figures on the movement of consumption measured by fiscalised traffic, which really means physical indicators of the tourist season, are publicly available practically immediately.

That means that even though we've only just entered the month of September, we can see that all taxpayers (from all activities listed within that system) in August issued receipts worth 31.6 billion kuna, which, when compared to the same month last year, is a figure higher by almost a fifth (19.3%) that is, by 5.1 billion more kuna. During the summer months, there is an increased focus primarily on tourism, catering and hospitality activities, as well as those heavily influenced the tourist season, from trade to transportation.

Stronger growth in the hospitality industry

Enterprises working in the provision of accommodation, catering and hospitality reported 8.4 billion kuna in fiscalised turnover in August 2022. Compared to last August, this is 1.6 billion kuna or 16 percent more. Slightly more than half of last month's turnover refers to accommodation (4.3 billion), but year-on-year comparisons show that stronger growth was recorded in the hospitality sector.

Cafes, restaurants, bars and other companies operating within the segment of food and beverage preparation/service during the month of August of this year issued less than 4.1 billion kuna's worth of receipts, which is almost 30 percent or 930 million kuna more than last year, while the aforementioned turnover in accommodation represents an increase of 18 percent or about 660 million kuna.

To a large extent, the growth percentages, of course, reflect increased prices caused by ongoing inflation. This naturally means that companies have had to deal with unusually high operating costs of their own to remain above water, but that's another story for another time.

Be that as it may, the cumulative data shows significantly higher growth rates of fiscalised traffic in the tourism, hospitality and catering sector. In terms of accommodation, the 8-month turnover reached 12.1 billion kuna, thus exceeding last year's 8 billion kuna by a very significant 51 percent. At the same time, almost 16.1 billion kuna was reported in the hospitality industry since the beginning of the year, which is as much as 70 percent more than last year's 9.5 billion kuna, which can partly be attributed to the lower seasonality of that segment and the fact that in the first part of last year, the impact of epidemiological restrictions was still considerable.

Among the activities that rely quite heavily on tourism during the summer months is the transportation and storage category.

Croatian companies operating within that branch reported almost 540 million kuna in fiscalised turnover in August 2022, which is 36 percent more than last August. A significantly larger 80 percent of the increase in the value of issued bills and receipts was also recorded through the fiscalisation system in Administrative and auxiliary service activities (435 versus 242 million kuna).

In the retail trade (excluding that of motor vehicles), bills worth a total of 12.7 billion kuna were issued last month, which is about one hundred million more than in July and 1.55 billion kuna or almost 14 percent more than in August 2021. At the same time, more than half of that turnover refers to supermarkets and hypermarkets, i.e. non-specialised stores mainly selling food, drinks, tobacco and household products, where the increase in August's turnover stood at a slightly higher 17 percent (6.9 against 5.9 billion kuna recorded last August).

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

Saturday, 3 September 2022

CBS: Croatian Industrial Production Slowed Down in July 2022

September the 3rd, 2022 - Croatian industrial production slowed down during the scorching summer month of July this year according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Inflationary pressures, the Russia-Ukraine war and economic downturn all pose continuing threats.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, back during July this year, Croatian industrial production increased by 2.9 percent on an annual basis, while it fell by 1.9 percent on a monthly basis, data from the CBS shows. Growth experienced back during July was slower than it was one month earlier, when Croatian industrial production increased by 3.8 percent on an annual basis.

When referring to this CBS report, analysts from Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) have pointed out that the growth of industrial production, along with the growth of retail trade, is a continuation of the favourable trends for the third quarter. This, they say, indicates solid domestic economic growth in the period from July to September.

As for the sectors involved, production growth in July was recorded in four of them. The most, standing at 14.1 percent, lies in the production of capital goods. Following that with 10.5 percent is the production of energy, while the production of durable consumer goods increased by 4.3 percent, and non-durable consumer goods increased by 1.2 percent. Only the production of intermediate products fell - by 3.1 percent in total.

However, RBA analysts have also made sure to warn the public of negative risks alongside this seemingly completely positive news.

"The adverse impact of the current geopolitical conflicts (referencing the Russia-Ukraine war and the spiralling inflation we're all experiencing) has a negative impact on the recovery of foreign demand due to the dependence of some of the Republic of Croatia's most important trade partners on Russia. Likewise, strong inflationary pressures and problems in supply chains will act in a negative direction and reduce potential stronger achievements,'' they concluded.

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

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Ukrainian Capital Market Reformists Seek Croatian Experience

September the 3rd, 2022 - The war in Ukraine is still raging on following the horrendous Russian invasion which began back in February this year. Hope, however, is still being found in this tragedy, and some Ukrainian capital market reformists are keen to hear the post-war Croatian experience of the late 90s and early 2000's.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, now having an official status of a candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), Ukraine is slowly starting to align its legal acquis with the common European one, despite the ongoing war. The country is roughly where Croatia was back in 2004 in this sense, although it is impossible to predict the political will in the European Union to truly open negotiations with Kiev. Regardless of the circumstances, Ukraine isn't wasting any time, and representatives of the Ukrainian capital market regulator, the National Securities and Exchange Commission, paid a study visit to the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (Hanfa) this week.

A technical exchange of knowledge

The visit of the two commissioners, Maksym Libanov and Yurii Boik, is a continuation of the technical cooperation started back in 2019, and the first topics on the table were UCITS and alternative investment funds. As part of the visit, an Agreement on technical cooperation between the two regulators was signed.

"We've been in contact with Hanfa for three years now, and since Ukraine received its status as a candidate member state of the EU, we decided to deepen cooperation with European regulators," Maksym Libanov, whose area of expertise covers corporate management, securities, depository, investments and pension funds, explained. With special permits to leave the country, they arrived in the City of Zagreb. "We were guided by the logic that the Croatian experience, as the youngest EU member state, is very important to us. At the moment, our talks cover the technical exchange of knowledge and experience in the process," said Libanov, adding that they also met with representatives of ZB Invest and Maverick Wealth Management.

Ukraine has been in a state of emergency since the Russian invasion began back at the end of February, and the UNHCR estimates that nearly seven million people have fled the country. Economic activity is practically devastated, trading on the Ukrainian Stock Exchange was halted on February the 24th (being relaunched only one month with restrictions), and financing depends on injections from the West. Before the war broke out, the Ukrainian economy relied on metallurgy, mining and ore processing in the east and southeast, the territory now under Russian occupation, from where devastating images of Mariupol, the Azovstal iron and steel works being turned into a shelter for civilians and the area of the last stronghold of the Ukrainian Army horrified the world.

Around a third of Ukraine's GDP was created by agriculture, leading to Ukraine often being called the world's breadbasket. Back in 2021, Libanov says, about 95 million tonnes of grain, such as wheat and sunflowers, were produced in Ukraine, two-thirds of which went to export markets. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 16 percent of the world's corn production and more than 40 percent of sunflower oil come directly from Ukraine. Moldova alone, for example, gets more than 90 percent of its wheat from nearby Ukrainian fields. Russia's invasion, in addition to terrorising Ukrainian citizens and seeking to destroy the Ukrainian nationality, also disrupted the world's grain supply chains and sent food prices sky high.

Despite long-standing political tensions with Russia, the occupation of Crimea back in 2014 and the invasion of Ukraine in February, Ukraine struggled with accumulated economic and social problems. The grey economy, an extremely disordered market, a lot of corruption, the generally low living standards of workers which were even worse for pensioners - this series of events is very well known to other transition countries.

From about 42 to 44 million inhabitants, and this is an estimate because the last census was done in 2001, 20 million Ukrainians are of working age. Among them, only 13 million pay pension contributions, the rest are in the grey echelons of economic activity or outside the labour market, while there are also about 11 million pensioners. With these ratios of employees and dependents, the Ukrainian pension system and the labor market have always been very hot topics. This has especially been the case since the imagined pension system which would have had three pillars never came to fruition. The first pillar of generational solidarity is the only functional one, and the second should have been put into function 2023 if there had been no invasion and no war.

The third pillar, based on voluntary payments, had about 50 funds before the war broke out, but the total assets amounted to only around 150 billion euros, they say. "

This Ukrainian pension system is young and still developing. The average pension is around 2,800 hryvnias, so about 100 euros. The problem is that the average pension is very close to the minimum because many people don't have documentation about their work before 2004, and there's no central register," explained Libanov. His parents' situation reflects these disparities; the father's pension is about 3500 hryvnias, while the mother's is five times higher thanks to her working life spent at the Ukrainian Academy of Science. However, they add that this problem has been present for 30 years now and that a lot has been achieved through digitisation, but the consensus is that the reform of the pension system is an absolute necessity. Croatian experience, as the newest EU member state and a country which was at war just 30 years ago, is invaluable in this regard.

According to a survey conducted among company directors, as many as 39 percent have stopped doing business entirely since the beginning of the Russian invasion, and just 11 percent continued to do business as they did before or increased their activities, stated Yurii Boiko, commissioner for the area of ​​investments, communications and project management. He pointed out that, judging by that survey, we should praise how businesses are coping with the war, illustrating that about two-thirds of people are voluntarily involved in the fighting in some way.

"Undoubtedly, the war affected Ukrainian businesses and the way the economy works. There was a wave of layoffs and 1.28 million people lost their jobs in small and medium-sized companies," says Boiko.

With a surprising number of parallels that can be drawn between Croatia and Ukraine, we need to look at what reforms are the most desperately needed. Both Ukrainians said that judicial reforms are needed right now. They explained that a number of steps must be taken in the long term for the country to be competitive, attract capital and investors, build infrastructure, but everything is secondary to the functional rule of law. We know very well how true this is in Croatia, which still suffers tremendous problems in this sense to this very day.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business and politics sections.

Friday, 2 September 2022

Nepalese Workers Come to Rescue Picking Apples in Croatia

September 2, 2022 - Croatian agriculture doesn’t choose hands to pick its fruits. The hourly wage is HRK 22, and local people find that to be too low. Nepalese workers to the rescue.

Glas Slavonije reports on the state of autumn pickings in Croatia. "If it weren’t for the Nepalese, we would have no apples. Yes, people whose home is 6,000 kilometers away are saving the day again. You remember that over the summer we regularly talked about restaurant owners struggling to find waiters and cooks. Because - for the money they offer, no one wants to work. Now the same problem has been reflected in orchards, vineyards, and soon also in olive groves. Hourly wages are too low, Croatian pickers are asking for more, and farmers can no longer offer that, so the solution arrives from Nepal. And pensioners also came to the rescue", Mojmira Pastorčić introduced the story in last night's RTL Direkt.

It's sweet, it’s crispy. In the past, Eva would not have to overthink, but nowadays - there is no one to pick apples.

In one of the largest Croatian orchards the tractors stand still. Baskets are empty. 6 thousand tons of fuji, breborn, jonagold, golden delicious, red cup, granny smith and gala are still waiting on the branches. The harvest was stopped by the weather, but in order for it to even begin, the director of this orchard had to start planning - on time, which means six months in advance. She has 30 workers, but she needs 300 for the harvest.

"We have about a hundred local people for whom we have provided transport to the orchard and 200 foreign workers who are partly from the region but mostly from Nepal, to whom we have provided all the adequate needs, including accommodation and food as well as bus transport to the orchard", said Ivona Tupek, director of Moslavina Fruit.

They are the ones who are rescuing the Croatian apple harvest second year in a row. They are in a former workers' hotel in Ivanić Grad. They have a day off because of the rain.

"We are from Nepal. We work here, in Moslavina. We pick apples. Everything is OK. We have been here for one month”, reports a Nepalese worker.

And they are staying until the end of the harvest. There is no other choice, no matter how complicated the procedure is for importing labor.

"These are complicated procedures as far as work permits and contracts are concerned, as well as entering Croatia and staying here, so unfortunately we are forced to rely on foreign labor, no matter how difficult it is to get them", said Tupek.

Each variety of apple has its own picking window, as fruit growers call it. It only lasts two weeks. If the apple is not picked at that time - it will end up in the waste.

The average seasonal worker in this orchard picks 800 kilograms of apples in eight hours, but there are also those who pick twice as much at the same time.

The difference is often due to age. Unlike young Nepalese, the domestic labor force is mostly made up of retirees.

"As a rule, the current seasonal workforce in orchards is an older population, where we come to a new problem, which is the efficiency and quality of the workforce itself. Usually, you will be happy to get an employee at the expense of the quality and productivity they can provide during the harvest”, said Luka Cvitan from the Association of Apple Producers.

"And the neighbors come over when you need help. We can still do that a bit”, said Štefica, a market seller and farmer. She adds, "you don't have to pay your neighbors. When you need each other, it's always good to jump in and help each other”.

In some places, it’s the neighbours who step in and help for free, and in other places, it’s the Nepalese.

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

Friday, 2 September 2022

Croatia Tops Greece for Spot in European Championship Quarterfinals!

September 2, 2022 - Croatia and Greece draw 5:5 in Split on Friday, a result that brought Croatia first place in Group B and a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals! 

The Croatia men's water polo team played their last match in Group B at the European Championships in Split on Friday. Croatia and Greece met in the final group game, which was also the game for first place - the spot leading directly to the quarterfinals. 

The Croatia women's team already secured a historic quarterfinal on Tuesday, and after the men's side's opening win against Malta, they defeated France 13:7 on Wednesday. 

The Croatia men's side entered tonight's match with great optimism as a draw was enough for them to win the group. 

Losing, however, would give Croatia second place in Group B, which meant playing in the round of 16 on Sunday against the third-placed team from Group D.

Recall that Greece and France drew 12:12 on Monday. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match. Biljaka hit the post. Bijac saved Greece's first attack. Vrlic tried backhanding into the goal in the next attack, but the Greece keeper punched it out for Croatia's ball. Kharkov's attempt was saved in the same play. But Greece couldn't store either with Bijac in goal. The first four minutes of the match didn't see a goal. Greece was the first to score with 3:40 on the clock for 1:0. Fatovic hit over the post with just over 3 minutes to go. Bijac kept Greece from increasing their lead. With 32 seconds to go in the first quarter - Greece made it 2:0, which is how the first quarter ended.

2nd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off of the second quarter as well. Kragic hit the post in Croatia's first attack. Another chance for Croatia also just missed the goal. Bijac continued to be brilliant in goal with save after save, but Greece's keeper also denied Croatia from seeing the back of the net. Kragic hit the post again with 4 and a half minutes left. Bijac was unstoppable, but Greece's defense was the same to protect theirs. Another shot for Croatia - another miss. With 1:58 to go, Croatia had a corner without any luck. Another great defensive play with a minute to go kept Greece ahead by only two goals. The match was 2:0 for Greece going into halftime. 

3rd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off to start the third quarter but could not get a shot off. Croatia denied Greece's first attack, too. Zuvela finally scored Croatia's first goal with 6:28 on the clock - it was 2:1.  And Josip. Vrlic scored a screamer for the equalizer - it was 2:2 with 5:22 left! Bijac brilliantly defended before Greece found a way back ahead for 3:2 with 3:15 left. Kharkov equalized with 2:35 left for 3:3! Greece hit the post in the next play with just over a minute on the clock. Kragic tried shooting from far out, which was played for a corner. Greece called for a time-out with the attack and 15 seconds to go in the quarter. Croatia called for a time-out after a Greece goal was called back. It was 3:3 going into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter

Croatia won the final swim-off of the match, and Kragic nailed the back of the net for the Croatia lead! It was 3:4 or Croatia. Bijac, yet again, saved the day in Greece's first three attacks to keep Croatia ahead. Greece hit the post with 4:52 on the clock and Bijac defended again. Greece equalized at 4:4 with 4:29 to go. Greece score for 5:4 and the lead again with 3:36 left. Rino Buric answered back for 5:5 with 2:52 on the clock. Bijac saved Greece's attack and Croatia missed in their next attack. Greece had the ball with a minute to go. But Bijac, being Bijac, let nothing go past him. The match ended at 5:5 for Croatia! 

This result means that Croatia takes first place in Group B and secures a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals! Croatia plays the winner of the ranking game 4 on Tuesday at 16:30.  

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

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