Saturday, 4 March 2023

Sisak Fit Project to Closely Monitor Kids' Physical Health and Development

March 4, 2023 - Sisak is the first city in Croatia to launch a long-term project to monitor the development of children from kindergarten to adolescence called Sisak Fit, the city administration reported on Friday.

As 24Sata writes, thirty anthropological assessments per child, carried out by an expert team of kinesiologists, doctors, educators, and teachers, will enable recognition of the child's physical tendencies for sports, health indicators, orientation values, and monitoring of their physical development. The excellent response from parents is quite encouraging, with 58 percent having readily accepted participation in the project.

As announced by the Sisak city administration, the first assessments began in Sisak kindergartens. These data will enable kinesiologists and parents to easily direct children to sports for which they have physical predispositions.

In addition, children who are found to have minor health problems, such as obesity, flat feet, or wrong posture, will be provided training through special programs to correct these conditions so that they do not cause more severe problems in the long term. The data collected in these assessments will also provide orientation values of the anthropological characteristics of the youngest Sisak residents and their physical constitution.

The Sisak Fit project is a continuation of the City of Sisak's investments in sports, as part of which the city was declared the European City of Sports in 2019. In the same year, it received the new Zibel Ice Hall; before that, the Caprag swimming pools were renovated, and in 2021 the City Sports Hall Zeleni Brijeg was built, which enables the work of clubs in indoor and ice sports.

Kindergarten and school children in Sisak have a skating school, a swimming school at the city pool, and an athletics school; the international Healthy Meal Standard for the highest quality nutritional meal for children has been introduced in the schools. In addition, kinesiologists are employed in kindergartens to guide children's physical development as professionally as possible.

The total support for sports in the city budget amounts to 2.7 million euros. The City of Sisak allocates more than 600,000 euros of support to clubs annually through the Association of Sports Associations.

This year, 33 thousand euros will be allocated from the city budget for the Sisak Fit project. It is implemented by the city's Association of Sports Associations in partnership with the Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb, kindergartens and elementary schools in Sisak, the Association of Kinesiologists and the Sisak Sports and Recreation Center, and in cooperation with the Croatian Association of Sports Psychologists.

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

Friday, 3 March 2023

Marko Fakin Successfully Presents Exquisite Wines in New York

March the 3rd, 2023 - For Croatian winemakers, entering the American market represents a significant step forward in their business and gaining global recognition for wine. The Fakin Winery, one of the leading and multiple award-winning Croatian wineries from the village of Bataji at the foot of Motovun, gains a place on the wine map of the world.

The Fakin winery nurtures the typical Istrian grape varieties Malvazija, Teran and Muscat, currently has nine active wine labels, some of which it presented to the American market in February, at several organized tastings and wine presentations in New York.

Members of the Istria Sports Club in New York enjoyed tasting selected Fakin wines. They learned more about the production and family tradition of winemaking through a short presentation and gathering in Astoria, Queens.

“Members of the Istrian Club and guests are extremely honored and grateful that the Fakin family joined our community by presenting and tasting their wines and that they brought the love of Istria to New York. It was a pleasure meeting this family, which produces excellent autochthonous wines with such a great passion and dedication," said Susan Karlic, Head of the Istria Sports Club.

As part of the special Food and Wine Stories of Croatia event on February 21 in the Villa Berulia restaurant, Marko Fakin presented his Malvazija Istarska and Teran to experts, journalists and sommeliers, and all interested wine lovers, who had the opportunity to meet the Fakin family and taste Istrian wines with a dinner of four courses of carefully selected dishes that went perfectly with the selected wines. The evening was also attended by the Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in New York, Mr. Nikica Kopačević: "The Croatian Consulate is proud of the arrival of Croatian winemakers on the American market."

Photo 8 Fakin vina NYC 2023 1

Mrs. Leila Krešić-Jurić, Director for North America of the Croatian Tourist Board, also supported the Fakin family with her attendance, pointing out: "This is the first presentation called Food and Wines of Croatia that we are organizing with the Croatian Premium Wine Imports company in order to present Croatia as a destination with authentic food and autochthonous wine varieties. Namely, apart from the visual presentation, this is what we can best use to evoke the destination and attract American guests. This is because they highly appreciate the quality of food and drinks. The response of journalists and educators about Croatia as a wine destination was excellent, with more than 20 representatives of the profession and media from New York enjoying Fakin wines."

The owner of the restaurant Villa Berulia, Alexandra Ivanac, also expressed her satisfaction after the successful dinner: "It was a true pleasure for us to host Marko and his wonderful family and present their fantastic wines to our guests. We are always proud and grateful when we can support Croatians and their families. We really want many more successes like this."

Marko presented his fresh Malvazia, fresh Teran, aged Teran Il Primo and Muscat yellow, along with selected gastronomic specialties, at the konoba Vinoteka 46 in Huntington, Long Island, on February 25. Their host and owner of Vinoteka 46, Danijel Pedišić, emphasized on that occasion: "It was such an honor for us to host the Fakin family in our restaurant. Croatian wines are increasingly accepted in the USA, and always especially by the Croatian American community. I believe that the sale of Croatian wines will grow year by year in the USA and that we will have many more events like this with Croatian winemakers."

Vonoteka 46 f

Marko Fakin concluded his trip to New York as a live guest at Croatian Radio New York on February 25. During the broadcast of the Voice of Free Croatia hosted by Petra Pesa, he talked about his winery, top wines and autochthonous varieties he grows, and shared history, stories and traditions of his family.

Marko i Petra

"We are very happy that we had the opportunity to present our wines in New York, to media representatives, sommeliers, our Croats in the USA, and all the wine lovers who came to support us and enjoy socializing, a tasty bite and a delicious drop with us. For organizing wonderful evenings and gatherings, we would like to thank the Istrian Sports Club, the restaurant Villa Berulia, and the konoba Vinoteka 46 for the hospitality they provided. A special and very sincere thanks to the company Croatian Premium Wine Imports headed by Mrs. Mirena Bagur for the exceptional help and cooperation during our trip. "Thank you TZ Istra and Vinistri for your constant support," Marko Fakin commented after his very successful visit to New York.

"In order to be able to create a category of Croatian wines in shops and restaurants, we as importers, winemakers and all wine and tourist institutions, such as HTZ in New York, TZ Istria and Vinistra, with whom we cooperate, need to strategically educate the market about Croatian autochthonous varieties. For this, it is necessary not only top wines such as the different varieties of Malvasia and Terano of the Fakin Winery, but also the knowledge, will and hard work of how to present them, and this is where Marko and Bety Fakin excel with their professionalism and approach," said Mirena Bagur, co-founder of Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc., a company that imports and distributes Croatian autochthonous wines in the USA.

The culture of producing top quality Fakin wines is the result of specific Motovun soil, a favorable climate with lots of sun and lots of wind, along with a great knowledge of our own grapes, but also experience, dedication and long-standing family traditions that ensure the top quality of carefully cultivated varieties.

As a winery from Croatia that has won a gold medal at Decanter, the largest and most important world wine competition, for six years in a row, and in addition to being an unmissable place for complete eno-gastro enjoyment, the Fakin winery is surely and resolutely building its way to the top of the domestic and international wine scene.

Vonoteka 46 d

Photo 8 Fakin vina NYC 2023 12

Vonoteka 46 e

Vonoteka 46 c


For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Sunflower Award: Slavonia and Baranja for Your Ultimate, Authentic Croatian Holiday

March 3, 2023 - The Adriatic is undeniably beautiful; Istria is a fragrant, colourful heaven on Earth, but trust us, and head on east to Slavonia and Baranja for the Croatian holiday you didn't know you needed. The food, the wine, the rivers and forests, the cycling and adventuring, the tradition and culture - it's got it all. And that is recognised in various ways, most recently in the form of the Sunflower Award of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development of the "Selo" Members Club.

As SiB writes, the awards ceremony was dominated by winners from the Osijek-Baranja county. For example, the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi won the Grand Golden Sunflower championship title as the best Croatian wine destination.

"This truly honorable award is the result of many years of joint work of winemakers and winegrowers from our area, associations that organise events, and the support provided by the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi. This is an incentive for us to continue working on the quality of our wine destination, which is recognised not only by the profession but also by an increasing number of visitors," said the head of the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi, Vedran Kramarić.


Steve Tsentserensky

In addition to the championship title of the Great Golden Sunflower of the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi, there were five other winners from Osijek-Baranja County. The Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County received the gold award in the category of rural tourism projects for the wine tourism development project Land of Wine. The gold award in the category of traditional (rural) gastronomy was awarded to the restaurant Čingi Lingi Čarda in Bilje. With good reason, the gold award in the category of rural tourism projects was awarded to the Presentation and Education Centre Tikveš in Kopački Rit. The gold award in the category of projects/holders of protected and marketing trademarks was awarded to the House of the Baranja Kulen in Beli Manastir, while the bronze award in the category of traditional (modern) households went to Villa Edl Elegant in Aljmaš.


Aljmaš - Steve Tsentserensky

The Sunflower Awards for rural tourism in Croatia is a project that once a year evaluates and presents traditional content, preserves authenticity, and connects participants in rural tourism. It is awarded in eight categories.

"I am proud that from the very beginnings and creation of rural tourism in our country, I have been supporting and advising people who are just starting in this segment of tourism," said the president of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development of the "Selo" Members Club, Dijana Katica, who has been organising the largest and most significant event in rural tourism for the last ten years.

In recent years, Osijek-Baranja county has seen continuous growth in the number of visitors and overnight stays, thus becoming one of the most attractive continental destinations. Through the HeadOnEast project, which brands the County as a tourist destination, and the event of the same name, which last year became the most significant event in Osijek-Baranja County due to the number of visitors, additional preconditions have been created for an even stronger development of the tourist offer. This is supported by this year's prestigious title of the global travel platform, which declared Osijek-Baranja County the most welcoming region.

"The friendliness and hospitality of the Osijek-Baranja County will also be shown at the next Sunflower rural tourism award ceremony, which we will host in our county at the end of this year. It will be an opportunity to show all our tourist potential, natural beauties, rivers, the Kopački Rit nature park, castles, endless vineyards, and a rich local wine and gastronomic offer," said prefect Ivan Anušić.


Kopački Rit Nature Park

The Vukovar-Srijem County received several awards as well. 

Adrenaline park Bosut Rokovci-Andrijaševc won the gold award in the category of active tourist facilities in rural areas. It is a precious reward for dedicated work and development of outdoor activities, but also teamwork to solidify Andrijaševci and the Vukovar-Srijem County as a top destination of Croatian continental tourism, writes

The silver award in the category of traditional (rural) households went to the Šokačka Lady Holiday House in Županja, while another silver award in the category rural tourism projects went to Županja for the event Šokačko Sijelo. The bronze award in the category of rural tourism projects was awarded to Stanarski Susreti event of the Association "Šokadija Babina Greda".


Steve Tsentserensky

"We are also extremely proud of the winners from the area of Vukovar-Srijem County and send our most sincere congratulations to all winners in all categories. Special thanks to Mrs. Dijana Katica for years of work in recognising, motivating, educating, and promoting all stakeholders in the development of rural tourism in Croatia. Let's continue to be loyal to all the tourist values of Croatia and persistent in their development for the permanent benefit of our valuable citizens and our irresistibly beautiful and immeasurably rich homeland", said Majda Jakša, director of the Tourist Board of Vukovar-Srijem County.

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

Friday, 3 March 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - GDPR Violations and Confidence Votes

March the 3rd, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had government failings and alleged GDPR violations, the plight faced by doctors and other healthcare professionals being ignored by the powers that be, and Plenkovic was put to the competency test.

The government's proposed "white list" of stores fails spectacularly, here's how

The state has proven once again that it likes to interfere in things it doesn't actually remotely understand, according to Branimir Perkovic. When it comes to thinks in which it should not be involved at all, it ultimately does badly. The most recent blunder of all is the famous so-called "white list" of stores and others operating within the trade sector, hastily drawn up to protect the government from having to deal too much with politically unpleasant price comparisons of stores in Croatia and other Eurozone countries.

This "application" (which it actually isn't) had been being announced for weeks by many at the helm of Croatian politics, primarily by Minister Davor Filipovic. On the eve of its presentation by Filipovic's ministry, a media conference was held where the project, which they persistently and wrongly referred to as an app, was presented.

"We think that this way of informing the public is very good and that white lists will help people make decisions when purchasing things and will be able to give confidence to retail chains that have decided to be transparent," Filipovic said the day before the price movement ''app'' was released to the public. In the weeks leading up to the site's launch, he repeatedly spoke about this, praising the project and emphasising its importance.

After no more than a few days, according to Filipovic's announcements, it became clear that practically nobody anywhere was making any purchase decisions based on the government app that isn't an app. For starters, although it's persistently presented as an "app", it's actually just a regular website. Someone in the Ministry of Economy should know that the apps are intended for use via mobile phones and tablets, and currently the so-called white list of Croatian traders exists only as a website.

Nobody uses the government website, it allegedly violates the law and it's impractical

The real problem is that it isn't useful at all, as evidenced by the low to no use of it. The ministry boasted that it was visited a total of 34,789 times from February the 17th to March the 2nd, but most of these visits (a massive 60 percent of them) were made in the first two days alone.

After the first seven days of the site being live, the daily number of visits dropped to less than 1000, and in the past seven days it is less than 700. It's obvious that the users have assessed that it isn't a useful tool, and most of don't return after visiting once. There was such a rush to create the "app" that the Electronic Communications Act and the General Data Protection Regulation, i.e. GDPR, were entirely forgotten. The state has therefore managed to do something new that allegedly violates the laws of that same state. Not only that, but the state would severely punish both private companies and individuals for the same omission.

In this way, the Personal Data Protection Agency (AZOP) will only inform the competent institutions, in this case the Ministry of Economy, that they should comply with the GDPR as soon as possible. Because as things currently stand, according to Croatian and European Union law, this app, site, or whatever it is, violates the privacy of its users.

"The analysis of the website found that the site does not have a cookie banner for consent to the processing of personal data, and stores two cookies on the equipment of the user/visitor of the site, which requires the prior consent of the user,'' replied the Agency for personal data protection upon receiving Telegram's inquiry about the GDPR issue.

It's hard to believe that all of the listed prices are the same in all branches of certain stores across the whole country

The truth of the data on it is also not being checked by anyone. Maybe the prices in the three retail chains (Konzum plus, KTC and Tommy) really are as they are stated on it, although it's quite hard to believe that the same price is valid for so many products throughout Croatia. Every regular store visitor has noticed that the price of a certain product is often not the same even in the same city/municipality in different stores of the same retail chain.

"That site was created only so that politicians would give the impression that they're doing something"

"The goal is to influence possible price increases and the trend of inflation, because when people see who is correct, they will know how to appreciate it," said Minister Filipovic when launching the "app". But the people ignored his little project. Money was spent, no effect was had.

"I don't see how a movement-price page can be relevant for anyone on any topic," IT expert and analyst Marko Rakar commented for Index. "That page was created only so that politicians would give the impression that they're doing something," he concluded.

An app that isn't app, that no one uses, that doesn't protect the privacy of its users and the accuracy of which is questionable. For "only" 26,000 euros. It could have been worse. In fact, there were worse projects, if we only take a trip back in time to the infamous CRO card saga, a more or less forgotten failure of the Tourism Ministry.

A vote of confidence (or no confidence, as the case could have been) in PM Andrej Plenkovic took place recently

The world of Croatian politics is a turbulent one, and Plenkovic is usually somewhere in the limelight. The vote of confidence in Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic confirmed recently that the majority of MPs remain behind him, and it also revealed that as many as seventeen MPs from the opposition that rather loudly initiated the proceedings in the first place didn't bother to show up for the vote at all.

Who among the opposition didn't even bother to come cast a vote?

Davor Bernardic (Social Democrats)
Erik Fabijanic (Social Democrats)
Katica Glamuzina (Social Democrats)
Rajko Ostojic (Social Democrats)
Sanja Udovic (Social Democrats)
Emil Daus (IDS)
Marin Lerotic (IDS)
Sinisa Hajdas Doncic (SDP)
Ante Kujundzic (Most/Bridge)
Zeljko Lenart (HSS)
Natalija Martincevic (Reformisti/Reformists)
Marijana Puljak (Centar/Centre)
Zeljko Sacic (Hrvatski suverenisti/Croatian sovereignists)
Dario Zurovec (Focus)
Vinko Grcic (Independent)
Stjepan Kovac (Independent)
Miroslav Skoro (Za pravednu hrvatsku/For a just Croatia)

Who abstained?

Milan Vrkljan (Za pravednu hrvatsku/For a just Croatia)

There were 74 opposition MPs in the parliament, and 56 of them raised their hands as a vote of no confidence in Plenkovic and his leadership as Prime Minister.

"Those who didn't even bother to turn up and aren't sick or have no other valid reason not to come will have to explain this within their own parties," said Pedja Grbin (SDP). "The ruling majority is still at 77, and that says we still have those who don't see, don't want to see, pretend not to see, or are completely aware of everything and don't really care what's happening to this country at all," he asserted.

Nikola Grmoja (Bridge/Most): We didn't even think it was possible to gather enough hands anyway

Regarding the fact that the opposition didn't come out in full force, Nikola Grmoja from Most pointed out that they didn't even think it was possible to gather enough hands to topple the prime minister anyway.

"A vote of no confidence is an instrument used by the opposition to warn people about the state of society, about all the scandals, the fact that Plenkovic's associates are trading in influence and that he himself is mentioned as the one in whose office Gabriela Zalac's controversial software was presented... So the opposition did everything it could could, we can't do more than this. If we could, then we would be the government," Grmoja pointed out, adding that this is the largest number of votes the opposition has collected in a vote for an initiative.

Bencic: They voted with their absenteeism

When asked what about those who didn't bother to come to vote, Sandra Bencic (We Can!/Mozemo!) said that not coming is justified for some who have a medical reason for not being present or were prevented by legitimate obligations. But those who don't have it, she added, voted by not attending anyway.

Bencic clarified to a journalist's question that Milan Vrkljan will no longer be invited to opposition meetings and agreements because he cannot participate as a member of the majority in opposition agreements.

The European Union provided the funds to help Croatia in its post-earthquake mess one year ago, but the government is only now ordering prefab housing for those affected by December 2020's Petrinja earthquake

The Ministry of Spatial Development, Construction and State Property has published the Draft Procurement Documentation in EOJN - Prior consultation with interested economic entities for the subject of procurement: The procurement of mobile and modular prefabricated/dismantled houses, including technical specifications.

What kind of housing has been ordered?

The plan is to acquire 500 wooden houses with a size of 25 m2 for one to two people and the same housing spanning 35 m2 for two to four people. The total estimated value of the procurement is 14 million euros (without VAT), and the open high-value public procurement procedure is divided into six groups that refer to the area of Sisak-Moslavina County.

As prescribed, the housing unit must have one space that serves as a kitchen and living room, then a bathroom and one or two bedrooms. It will be equipped with basic equipment - sanitary facilities, kitchen elements, basic appliances, such as a stove and refrigerator, a dining table, beds, and so on.

"Aside from the primary use for the purpose of temporarily taking care of the users whose houses were damaged during the Petrinja earthquake, the houses in question are planned to be moved and used for other purposes later. Accordingly, they must be made in such a way that they can be quickly dismantled and transported to another location without damage,'' reads the competent ministry's documentation preceding the public tender.

EU money has been available for this for more than a year now

Minister Branko Bacic also spoke about the initiation of the preliminary consultation procedure for the procurement of the aforementioned wooden mobile homes for the temporary accommodation of users at a recent government session. He invited Croatian manufacturers and builders of wooden prefabricated houses to participate in this consultation and assist in the procurement of such wooden houses.

The ministry also plans to finance the wooden houses with money from the European Union Solidarity Fund. The problem with the whole story is that this money has been available to Croatia for more than a year now, i.e. since December the 30th, 2021. Things move painfully slowly in Croatian politics, and it should be noted that volunteers had been erecting similar wooden houses in Banovina for several months after the earthquake, and the government is only now starting this process, years after the terrible Petrinja earthquake struck Central Croatia.

A temporary solution once again, and at the last minute before the chance to use EU money expires - again

Instead of wooden houses, which typically make for much more comfortable accommodation, many victims of the Petrinja earthquake are still living in small, cramped tin containers. The government is only now planning the acquisition of more comfortable accommodation, but again it's temporary. There isn't much talk about proper, permanent replacement houses yet.

In addition, the government found itself in a race against time, because the opportunity to spend European Union money from the Solidarity Fund expires in just four months, which means that the work must be completed by the end of June. If nothing else, the government at least, after more than two years, finally realised that tin containers and container settlements are an ugly picture that says everything about the non-existent state of the reconstruction ''process''.

The plight of doctors is still being ignored by the government, and the Croatian Medical Chamber is growing frustrated

The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) recently announced that a government decision on amendments to the Regulation on job titles and job complexity coefficients in public services is a clear message of them simply continuing to ignore requests from doctors and other healthcare professionals.

The aforementioned government decision on amendments to the Regulation on job titles and job complexity coefficients in public services, which again doesn't contain changes to the coefficients for the three groups of doctors that were agreed with the Ministry of Health last year in August, is a clear message of continuing to ignore doctors' requests, it is stated in the Chamber's press release.

HLK assesses that it is obvious that, for the time being, there's absolutely no political will to meet the demands of grossly underpaid and overworked doctors, and thus neither to make key decisions for the sustainability of the public health system and the remaining doctors in Croatia. The Chamber referred to the meeting back in August last year at the Ministry of Health, when doctors were promised concrete deadlines for correcting these coefficients.

Croatian doctors are demanding the urgent regulation of the salary coefficient system

The Croatian Chamber of Physicians, the Croatian Physicians' Union, the Coordination of Croatian Family Medicine and the Croatian Association of Hospital Physicians demanded urgent regulation of the existing system of salary coefficients for certain categories of physicians.

Medical associations demanded that the government equalise the coefficients of focused specialists with narrow specialists who specialised according to earlier rules, equalise the coefficients of doctors working in primary healthcare with doctors working in hospitals, and to raise the coefficients of residents as well.

Back in August of last year, HLK reported that it had agreed with the Ministry of Health that the deadline for correcting coefficients for doctors was to be the end of 2022, i.e. that these costs must be planned in the budget proposal for 2023. That deadline expired more than two months ago.


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

Friday, 3 March 2023

Every 2nd Zagreb Property Purchased in Cash, Every 3rd by a Foreigner

March the 3rd, 2023 - As real estate prices rise considerably here in the city and even on the outskirts, every second Zagreb property has been purchased in cash, while every third has been bought by a foreign national.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the price of Zagreb property is continuing to skyrocket. Despite this, apartments across the city are selling very well, moreover, they're often bought in cash. With Croatia's accession to the Eurozone back in January this year, the City of Zagreb, like the whole of Croatia, became more interesting for foreign buyers who want to invest their money in real estate.

Every other Zagreb property was paid for in cash, and every third buyer has been a foreign citizen. Their interest in Croatian real estate is the among the first reasons for the high prices we've seen of late, with inflation also affecting the situation.

Second come Croats living outside of Croatia who aren't considered foreigners but domestic customers, third come the people who sold them that property and then again handle the cash and again that cash flows into Zagreb. Fourth are those people who have various sources of income, about which it's better not to ask much,'' said Sanjin Rastovac, a real estate agent for HRT.

Apartment prices across Zagreb have by risen by more than 15 percent in the last year. Residents of Germany, Austria and Slovenia buy the most Zagreb property of all, and these increased prices are also acceptable for them.

"Within Zagreb itself, finding a new build for three thousand euros has become a difficult task. The demand is still huge, but the supply is weak,'' emphasised Rastovac. This is why there are more and more young people who, even with APN subsidies, cannot buy their first property. This new situation forced them to turn more and more to the outskirts of the city, where prices are now also rising steadily.

"Smaller towns dotted around Zagreb, for example Dugo Selo, Sesvete, Velika Gorica, and Zapresic, have now become very interesting for young families who can still manage to afford property in these areas," said Jelena Kravoscanec Todorovic, a real estate agent.

In the City of Zagreb, they have a plan for so-called affordable housing where rent will be proportional to income, and quality apartments will be built and rented throughout the city. The first such apartment building will be built next year.

"It's a new building, the fifth multi-apartment building in Podbrezje with 288 apartments that costs 320 million kuna, and we're negotiating with development banks," explained Luka Korlaet, Zagreb's deputy mayor. This is exactly the model supported by the European Investment Bank at a recent meeting with the mayor, confirming that such a model is widely accepted across the rest of the European Union, where people across many member states are obviously struggling with the same problems.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Some Croatian Employees "Feel Poorer" Since Eurozone Accession

March the 3rd, 2023 - One thing I noticed when Croatia first joined the Eurozone, was that when my salary landed in my current account, it made me look twice. Gone are the days of kuna-dominated sums expressed in the thousands, and it's causing quite the psychological phenomenon. The illusion of money is affecting as many as two thirds of Croatian employees, who now feel ''poorer''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, challenges with getting used to the euro as this country's new currency are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the ''money illusion'', which isn't uncommon when changing currencies.

This year, at the moment when the clock struck midnight on the night of December the 31st, 2022, to January the 1st, 2023, Croatia officially got a new national currency. The kuna, which has served us more or less successfully for the past thirty years, gave way to the euro, and since then we've all been receiving our salaries, bonuses and other monetary items expressed in euros. Although essentially not much has changed - in most cases Croatian employees continued to receive the same amounts in terms of value as before, just expressed in a different currency - there was some dissatisfaction.

The above was confirmed by a survey conducted by the MojPosao/MyJob portal, in which almost 900 respondents shared their thoughts, according to which as many as two-thirds of Croatian employees feel poorer since receiving their salaries expressed in euros.

The psychological phenomenon of money illusion

Challenges with getting used to the euro are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the money illusion, which is not uncommon when countries change their official currencies. As psychologists explain, this illusion occurs because numbers are more important to people than the value of money itself, and this results in a sense of dissatisfaction when nominally smaller amounts start arriving in our bank accounts than before. This is exactly what happened with the switch to the euro.

Challenges with getting used to the euro are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the money illusion, which is not uncommon when changing currencies.

Namely, almost two-thirds of Croatian employees (63% of them) state that they feel poorer since receiving their salary in euros instead of kuna. Now, they explain, they receive their salary in "hundreds of euros, while it used to be thousands of kuna, which has a negative effect on their satisfaction". Additionally, as a result of inflation, the cost of living has increased, so the salary itself, apart from the nominal amount, has also fallen in real terms compared to before, say the interviewees.

"At first it seems smaller, but it's the same"

On the other hand, a third of Croatian employees (32%) point out that they haven't felt the effects of the money illusion for themselves and feel the same as before the currency change. They state that they were afraid that they would be made to feel that they had suddenly become poorer, but that in the end it was a peaceful transition.

Although in the minority, some people (5%) feel richer since January the 1st than before. According to their thinking, the euro is a stronger currency than the kuna, and thus money expressed in euros has a greater value.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Istrian Train Offer to be Upgraded by Modern Diesel-Electric Train

March the 3rd, 2023 - The Istrian train offer is finally set to be modernised after decades of stagnancy in this regard with the introduction of a new modern diesel-electric train.

It's well known that for all the fields in which Croatia consistently and impressively outdoes itself (of which there are a great many), the one thing it seems to do poorly is trains. The Croatian train offer is astoundingly bad, but that could all be about to turn around. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a modern diesel-electric motor train will be put into service in the area of Istria on Monday, March the 6th, as reported by HZ Putnicki prijevoz/Passenger transport.

This new low-floor train, which until now operated much further away in the Varazdin area, will run as a regular train with the number 4704, and will depart from Pula train station at 09:02, according to local portal Glas Istre/The Voice of Istria.

"Putting this new diesel-electric motor train series 7023 into function will improve the quality of Istrian train/rail passenger transport services across the entire area. The train has 167 seats, is equipped with ramps for wheelchair users, has video surveillance, a modern audio and video system for announcing stops, and also boasts free internet access," said Mihaela Tomurad Susac, the director of the HZ Management Office.

It has also since been learned that the new Istrian train will cover the eight most frequent lines across the peninsula which have the largest number of passengers.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Significant Interest for Self-Renovation Following Petrinja Earthquake

March 2, 2023 - Hundreds of citizens whose houses were destroyed in the Petrinja earthquake gathered on Wednesday in Sisak at a public forum organized by the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property, where State Secretary Domagoj Orlic spoke about self-renovation with an advance payment.

As 24Sata writes, after informing the audience of the most important changes to the Reconstruction Act, State Secretary Orlic spoke in detail about self-renovation, and the changes that unify the conduct of the proceedings, reduce the number of participants in the proceedings and shorten the renovation procedures.

"The biggest advantage of self-renovation is that the applicant, that is, the people who have the right to self-renovation, can choose the architects and contractors themselves, which means that there will be no long-term public procurement, and the process is accelerated," he said.

The request must be submitted to the Ministry of Spatial Planning. Then, after the expert evaluation of the architect, it can be decided in which direction the renovation will go, that is, whether it is a structural or non-structural renovation, or the removal of the old damaged building and the construction of a replacement family house, said the state secretary.

As he explained, before, it was necessary first to make a decision, then an evaluation, and then a decision again, while now a decision is issued immediately after the evaluation. Moreover, when it comes to the payment of funds, there is a possibility of advance payment to the applicant's final account; it is possible to pay during or after the self-renovation process. Another new move was the cancellation of the removal project for detached houses.

Regarding replacement houses, three standard solutions will be applied, 55 square meters, 70 and 85 square meters, with the possibility of building a larger house if the owner wishes, but the state pays only the legal amount. As Orlic said, it is expected that the interest of the construction industry will follow the great interest of citizens in the self-renovation system.

In the end, he noted that all the eligible expenses incurred by citizens would be refunded. He invited citizens interested in self-renovation to contact the reconstruction centers in Petrinja or Sisak.

After the forum, all those interested could check the stage of their requests with the ministry's experts.

There was great interest in the public forum in Petrinja last week, and forums were announced tomorrow in Velika Gorica and on Tuesday, March 7, in Glina.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Croatian Tourist Board: Traffic in First Two Months Exceeded Record 2019

March 2, 2023 - Tourist traffic in the first two months of this year exceeded the same months of 2019 by 5 percent with almost 514,000 tourist arrivals, and by 16 percent with 1.46 million overnight stays, according to data from the eVisitor system, which Hina was provided by the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ). Moreover, the number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in the first two months of this year was higher than in the same months last year, by 24 percent in arrivals and 17 percent in overnight stays.

As Index writes, more than half of the total tourist traffic was realized on the coast, that is, 283.7 thousand tourists stayed in the counties by the Adriatic, and they accounted for a little more than 961.3 thousand overnight stays, of which the most were in three regions - Istria, Kvarner and Split-Dalmatia County.

Most overnight stays in Zagreb

Zagreb is first among destinations, with almost 255 thousand overnight stays in the first two months, while Rovinj is second with nearly 86 thousand. Split is third with 85.1 thousand. They are followed by Opatija, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Porec, and Zadar. According to the types of accommodation, the most overnight stays in the first two months were in hotels, 780.6 thousand, which, according to HTZ, is 23 percent more than last year, and 9 percent more than in 2019.

Among the markets from which tourists came in terms of overnight stays in the first two months, Croatia is in the first place, i.e., domestic tourists, with 557.3 thousand overnight stays or 6 percent more than in 2022, and as much as 19 percent more than at the same time in 2019. These are also rare, if not the only, months of the year when there are more domestic overnight stays than foreign ones.

Slovenia is in second place, as tourists from that market spent 132.4 thousand overnight stays in Croatia, or 14 percent more than last year and 18 percent more than in 2019, followed by tourists from Bosnia and Herzegovina with slightly more than 105 thousand overnight stays, which is 18 percent more than in 2022 and about 9 percent less than in 2019.

From the market of Austria with 85.3 thousand overnight stays of their tourists, an increase of 27 percent was recorded compared to the first two months of 2022 and 29 percent compared to the same in 2019, while slightly more than 80 thousand overnight stays of tourists from Germany is 7 percent more than in 2022. . and even 44 percent more than in 2019.

Head of HTZ: We have a successful tourist year ahead

"The results of tourist traffic this year, as well as the trends in the tourist market, indicate that we will have a successful tourist year, during which we can further strengthen Croatia's position as one of the leading destinations in the Mediterranean," HTZ director Kristjan Stanicic commented for Hina.

He emphasized that optimistic announcements and feedback from key partners also come from numerous tourist fairs where HTZ represents Croatian tourism in this period, from New York, Madrid, Milan, through Munich, and Budapest. He also expects positive effects from performances at upcoming fairs, especially in March at ITB in Berlin and Ferien-Messe in Vienna, of which Croatia is a partner.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

PM Andrej Plenkovic: Croatia Will Continue Helping Ukraine

March 2, 2023 - The Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met with Ukraine's Minister of Energy German Galushchenko, and on that occasion he emphasized that Croatia shall continue helping Ukraine in the country's ongoing struggle. Croatia's help will continue to cover all the key aspects. 

"During the meeting, full support was given to the Ukrainian people in the fight for freedom, and it was pointed out that Croatia will continue with political, economic, financial, humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine," the official press release by the Croatian Government states, as reported by Index (HINA).

At the same time, readiness for cooperation in the fields of energy, restoration of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, as well as ensuring energy security of Ukraine in conditions of Russian aggression was expressed, to which Croatia has already contributed as part of international efforts to help Ukraine, the press release further concludes.

P-TECC covers 24 countries of Central and Eastern Europe

Incidentally, the Ukrainian Minister of Energy German Galushchenko is participating in the 4th ministerial meeting of the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation (P-TECC). P-TECC is a multilateral initiative led by the US Department of Energy.

P-TECC covers 24 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and is complementary to the Three Seas Initiative with an emphasis on energy infrastructure, interconnection and security. This year's meeting of P-TECC in Zagreb started yesterday with a business forum, while a ministerial meeting will be held today.

Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic will also participate in the opening of the meeting of the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation, today, on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 8:30 a.m., at The Westin Hotel in Zagreb, at Izidora Krsnjavoga 1.

For that occasion, the Croatian Prime Minister will be accompanied by Croatia's Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Davor Filipovic.

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

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