Thursday, 21 October 2021

Jadran Split Secures Champions League Spot with Win against Mladost

October 21, 2021 - The Jadran Split water polo club has managed to qualify for the LEN Champions League this season! 

In the return match of the last round of Champions League qualifications, Jadran Split defeated Zagreb's Mladost (7:3).

Already after the first game in Split and winning 14:7 in the first match, everything was clear for Jadran.

In the return match, Mladost took a 1:0 lead in the fifth minute and did not find their way to the net for the next 25 minutes. During that time, Jadran scored seven goals and took the 7:1 lead. Finally, in the last two minutes, Mladost mitigated the defeat with two goals.

The Zvončac Split club will play in the Champions League Group A, which also includes Novi Belgrade, Olympiacos, Ferencvaros, Barceloneta, Radnički Kragujevac, Dinamo Tbilisi, and Brescia. Novi Belgrade is the host of the final Final Eight tournament and will surely lock the top spot in this group, while the rest of the group will fight for the remaining three places.

In the second group is Dubrovnik's Jug Adriatic Osiguranje, and with them are Pro Recco, Waspo 98 Hannover, Marseille, Spandau 04, Steaua, OSC Budapest and Crvena Zvezda.

Against Zagreb on Wednesday, Jadran rested captains Anđelo Šetka and Nikša Dobud. The two routines didn't have to go to Zagreb at all, and they rested for new challenges, which will certainly progress in the season. Jadran, led by coach Mile Smodlaka, achieved the set plan as far as Europe is concerned, placing Jadran among the 16 best clubs in Europe. Now it remains to be seen how the new, strong team from Zvončac will handle the best of the best.

The first game in the Champions League is scheduled for Tuesday, October 26, against Barceloneta.

Source: Dalmatinski Portal

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad: Boranka Plants Virtual Trees in Real Life

October 21, 2021 -  The Boranka reforestation campaign encourages children to color trees and volunteers to plant them, it’s part of an ongoing effort to bring the green back to the burnt area of Dalmatia.

Ever since my Girl Scout days, the Scouts hold a special place in my heart. Americans love the cookies (I sold plenty of ‘em), but I’m talking about the program. I filled my sash with badges earned for all sorts of activities, including a badge my mother made for our troop when we came up with a new sewing project. When I heard about the Boranka campaign, led by the Scout Association of Croatia, I was keen to volunteer for the reforestation effort on the mountain. Plus, it’s a great day outside in nature.

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(Scout leaders making tight neckerchiefs. This part of the scout uniform represents a scout’s promise to uphold Scout beliefs and it also has practical functions, such as protecting the wearer’s neck and being made into a slink or bandage for first aid.)

So many volunteers

This was my second year as a volunteer, planting seedlings on Mosor Mountain. Unlike my first experience with other digital nomads and expats, I was side by side with Croatians from a long list of organizations that support the campaign, including Croatian Forests, Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, Scouts of Brodosplit, Croatia Red Cross, Croatia Navy, Croatia Civil Protection, and of course, the Scout Association of Croatia which leads the physical effort as well as the marketing campaign. It was an impressive bunch up there!

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(The Croatian Navy is the first group to head up Mosor, where they will disperse into different sections on the mountain.)

It’s amazing how much interest there is—Croatian schools, mountaineers, armed services units, veterans, and the president, along with NGOs, ambassadors, and expats from around the world, have been on the mountain doing the same job as me and getting their hands dirty.

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(Darko Gavrić, head of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) in Split told reporters, “We’re all working together on this.”)

Split scouts

A free bus took us volunteers from Split and when I arrived in the area known as Korešnica, I was given a pair of gloves, water, a sandwich, fruit, and a cool goody bag. Nearby, I watched some scout leaders roll up a neckerchief with precision; this is part of the scout uniform. Three women held the corners of a scarf and pulled tight as a fourth began rolling one edge. The leader rolled and pulled, rolled and pulled, and finally handed the finished piece to her colleague who placed it around her neck. I noticed how skilled the women were at this and when I mentioned that it was funny to watch them work so seriously and still keep up their casual chatting, they laughed and were like, “yeah, no big deal.”

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(Two members of the Croatia Civil Protection from Zagreb with Sanja Matešić, President of Sea Scouts Brodosplit, and Dan Špicer, Business Director of the Scout Association of Croatia and Boranka campaign coordinator—all on active duty for a great day of volunteering.)

Sea Scouts Brodosplit

The Scouts of Brodosplit—aka Sea Scouts Brodosplit—were heading up the weekend’s volunteer effort, a job that rotates between six different local Split units each weekend. Scout Mihi, the “Chief of Staff,” and his wife Sanja, “the boss” (the president), were there with nearly 40 of their members, including a big group of teens and others they call Friends of Scouts. For the latter, this is “a way of life and a way of helping,” Sanja said. She loves running camps with the members, especially the Cubs, all over Croatia.

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(Even with a pickaxe, digging holes in Mosor’s rugged mountain terrain can be tough with all the stone.)

Planting seedlings

When it was time to get to work, we formed into little teams—one person dug holes and another placed seedlings in the ground. Others went back and forth from the supply truck to pick up more trees. Weather can be harsh in this landscape with intense summer heat and year-round Bura wind. To help these little guys succeed, you have to pat down the dirt firmly around them and surround each one with small rocks to hold the dirt in place and keep the moisture in the ground.

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(Volunteers from all over the world and different backgrounds meet on the mountain for a productive and fun day.)

Roughly 90,000 trees have been replanted in four years, a mix of local pine and oak varieties. These native species somehow grow in rock, not like our trees in the U.S. that grow in dirt. Apparently, there’s enough water below the surface of this karst landscape to keep them alive.

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(Everybody works together, digging and planting, with lots of friendly banter included.)

Boranka campaign

My burning question was, what does the word Boranka mean? Dan Špicer, business director of the Scout Association of Croatia and the Boranka campaign coordinator, filled me in. Bor translates as pine and bojanka as coloring book. “It’s a word game,” he said, a clever marketing concept based on bringing the program to the people and “coloring your tree.” 

Dan’s team came up with an idea to make crayons from the burnt pine trees. When you use one to draw and see the color on your fingers and the paper, a connection is created—to the fire, to nature, to the campaign. Over 150,000 ash crayons have been made so far and over 10,000 have been distributed to schools.

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(Tips for helping the small seedlings grow successfully include pushing down the dirt firmly then surrounding them with stones, which are protective measures against harsh growing conditions.)

Kits instruct kids to color their own forest and name their tree. For every tree drawn and uploaded to a database, a tree is planted by Boranka volunteers. At one point the system overloaded due to the overwhelming response. 

There was another hurdle early on to get the crayons made. “Where do you burn two trucks full of burnt trees?” Dan found a factory willing to help and they devised a special formula. The machines jammed at first, they weren’t used to ash, but the team figured it out.

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(Seedlings ready to be picked up by volunteers and planted.)

Future campaign

With millions of trees lost in the devastating 2017 fire around Split, the Boranka effort isn’t going away any time soon. In November, a new campaign will start — Co2mpensating by Planting. This CO2 program appeals to organizations’ desire to offset their carbon footprint. Companies will buy trees and scouts and volunteers will plant them, it’s a direct one-to-one transaction. The European parliament and the American embassy are already onboard with support. 

When asked about coordinating such a big undertaking, with so many moving parts and pieces and different organizations, Dan told me, “the campaign came easy, it came out of a need, to save something, not just to plant trees.” That’s what he cares about and that’s what I love about Scouts, their heart and passion.

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(Campaign kits called “Draw Your Tree” include an ash crayon, drawing paper, and instructions on how to draw your tree and plant it in the virtual forest (in the database) where it will be turned into real tree planted by Boranka volunteers.)

Digital nomads and others can still volunteer for this upcoming weekend, October 23 and 24. Find more information on the Boranka Facebook page.

Story and photographs ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt. https://photo-diaries.com

Learn more at TCN’s Digital Nomads channel.

 

 

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Gourmet Croatia: 35% Off Popcorn the Only Offer in Kingdom of Accidental Tourism

October 31, 2021 - We are 3 weeks into Croatian Tourism Month, a shiny promotion to extend the season in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism. Anyone hungry? We have 35% off popcorn at the cinema in Central Dalmatia, Slavonia, Zadar County. And nothing else.

There was a typically upbeat press release from the Croatian National Tourist Board on September 30, announcing something called Croatian Tourism Month. This is how it began:

The “Croatian Tourism Month” campaign starts tomorrow, a project of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian National Tourist Board, within which numerous tourist services and experiences will be available at 35 percent more favorable prices. Thus, all Croatian citizens, as well as foreign guests who will be staying in Croatia during October, will be able to tourist services in all parts of Croatia at attractive prices, and everything will be available on the “Croatian Tourism Month” portal.

And this is how it ended:

The project "Croatian Tourism Month" is a continuation of last year's extremely successful project “Vacation-Worthy Week” which was implemented in the period from October 16th to 25th, and which this year, due to the great interest of tourism entities and the public, will run throughout October. Let us add that the main goal of the project is to extend the tourist season by encouraging domestic and foreign tourist traffic in the post-season.

It sounded like a great idea, especially if it was building on the apparent success of last year.

It is a great idea.

But ideas and execution are two very different things, especially in this kingdom. As we explored in 'Croatian Tourism Month' Campaign: Hype and the Sad Reality' recently, it was something of a surprise that the press release claiming to be targeting foreign tourists, as well as domestic, was only in the Croatian language. But that was only the start of the story - a quite extraordinary journey ensued.

Croatian Tourism Month hosted the excellent Taste the Mediterranean festival in Split from October 6-9, just one of many gourmet events going on in the Dalmatian capital. I was curious what culinary beauties might be on offer in Central Dalmatia by way of comparison in this official promotion to extend the season. 

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The answer? In the whole of Central Dalmatia, a region famed for its outstanding authentic cuisine, the only thing on offer in Central Dalmatia was popcorn at Cinestar in Split. With a 35% discount. 

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Zadar County had the same story, just the popcorn option in the city of Zadar. 

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Mighty Slavonia (at least that is what the regions of eastern Croatia are referred to on the official website) fared somewhat better, with no less than 3 popcorn options. 

Is is a decade since Anthony Bourdain told the world about Croatia's world-class food, world-class wine, and world-class cheese. It is just a few weeks since Gordon Ramsay's enthusiasm for Croatia cuisine was seen by millions around the globe. 

And yet, what do we have to offer - konkeretno - for those tourists who love the idea of October travel and a Croatian gourmet exprience?

Here is a translation of the entire offer for Central Dalmatia:

CineStar Split

In the period from 14 to 30 October 2021, as part of the Croatian Tourism Month campaign, Blitz-CineStar will offer all visitors a discount on salty popcorn TO GO, 35% discount, in all branches throughout Croatia in the food and beverage segment.

The regular price of KOKICA TO GO is 32,00kn, the price with a 35% discount is 20,50kn.

The discount will be valid for the entire duration of the promotion and will be valid for all dates and cinema days.

A reminder again of the last paragraph of the official press release - due to the great interest of tourism entities.

There are a total of 27 entries in the food and drink offer on the Croatian-language only Croatian Tourism Month website for the whole of Croatia, a country famed for its gastronomy. Of these, 11 are CineStar offering popcorn discounts, leaving just 16 establishments offering food or drink. This in the second year of an initiative, which has been expanded due to last year's success, according to the official press release.

If this is success, how do we define failure?

Did you know that before the Kings of Accidental Tourism took over the running of tourism in Croatia, that winter tourism was a big thing? Fascinating interview with a UK tour rep who was based in former Yugoslavia from 1986 - 1991. Croatian Winter Tourism in 1990: Full of Life! Tour Rep Interview

 

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Building Community, Offering Content at European Freelancer Week in Split

October 21, 2021 - Small events all over the country are building community, as digital nomads discover the magic of Croatia while connecting with new contacts from a similar mindset. 

One of the things I have never understood about living in Croatia is why everything shuts down over winter on the coast. As we learned in this very revealing interview with a UK tour rep based in former Yugoslavia in 1990, Croatia was very much Full of Life before the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism took over. 

And it can be again. 

These are very early days in the digital nomad story for Croatia, but the early signs are very encouraging indeed. Each week seems to bring a new event or announcement, and the community is slowly building. Events are being organised all over the country, and they are proving popular. Having lived full-time through 13 Dalmatian winters, I have some experiece of what life is like with little happening. But with just a bit of effort, communities can come to life in these quieter months - with benefits for tourists and locals alike.

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The recent announcement of the Zadar Digital Nomad Valley project brought over 200 applications in the first 10 days. Meetups in other cities are also attracting interest, and the more of these events that are available, the more attractive it is to come and work and stay through the winter months. 

One great example of this was a lunchtime event in Split yesterday, as Charlie Brown, one of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence earlier this year, together with husband Sam hosted a talk on life on the road and the digital nomad lifestyle with lunch and winetasting at Zinfandel in the centre. 

Lunchtime on Wednesday in mid-October is hardly peak season, but the event was a sellout, with diners from a number of countries: New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, UK, USA, Cananda and Croatia. 

The event, part of European Freelancer Week, was streamed live by Nick Hathaway from Hashtag Content Agency, and you watch thee Browns in action, above. 

As an ice-breaker, guests were asked what was the highest mountain peak they had scaled in their lives. With the highest number somewhere around 3,000 metres, up stepped Croatian legend, Stipe Bozic, with 8,848.46 metres - Bozic was only the second European to scale Mount Everest twice. 

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The Browns are great examples of the type of spending digital nomads who are falling in love with Croatia, spending more time here than they originally envisaged, and telling their own family and friends all about it. 

As as more events are planned, and as the community grows, more will come. 

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The Zinfandel event was organised by Saltwater Nomads, who will be restarting its popular Nomad Table next Friday, a weekly gathering of nomads at Zinfandel.

Meanwhile, in an alternate reality - Gourmet Croatia: 35% Off Popcorn the Only Offer in Kingdom of Accidental Tourism.

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

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Mljet Birthday Photo Contest: National Park Awards the Best Photos

October 21, 2021 - In celebration of its 61st anniversary, a Mljet birthday photo contest has been announced and everyone is invited to submit their photographs in the categories of natural heritage, cultural and traditional heritage, and recreational activities in the National Park.

On the occasion of the celebration of the 61st birthday, the Mljet National Park announced a photo competition, reports Turističke Priče. The categories by which the best photographs will be judged are natural heritage, such as photographs of forests, sea, lakes, animal and plant species, landscapes, then the category of cultural and traditional heritage where photographs of monuments, buildings, folklore, and other intangible traditional heritage are applied, and recreational activities in the area of ​​the Mljet National Park such as cycling, hiking, kayaking, diving, or some other outdoor activities.

The Mljet birthday photo contest is open from October 19 to 29, and the authors can submit more photos to the competition, which must be taken exclusively in the area of ​​the Mljet National Park. Residents of the island of Mljet and its friends, visitors, lovers of nature and photography are all invited to participate in the competition. You can download the rules of the competition and the application form via the LINK.

All photos will be used for the purpose of promoting the park, and it will be interesting to look at the shots of Mljet from the perspective of visitors, but also the local population. If you have pictures of the Mljet National Park, here is an opportunity for your photo to help in branding and attracting new visitors to the green island, which according to legend was chosen as the home by the mistress of the Greek hero Odysseus, the nymph Calypso.

Only the beauty of Mljet surpassed hers and thus attracted the eternal traveler, Odysseus, to stay on this island for many years. Are there facts in the legend? Numerous experts do not doubt that the island of Ogigija from Homer's Odyssey is unquestionably Mljet.

"Magical island green forest...", "If four springs flow in a row through Bistrica water, side by side close to having increased, but each to their side..." - Odyssey V, 70-71

Others are skeptical of this claim. Romantics would say - only the sea knows the answer. But whatever the answer to this dilemma was one fact in the stone remained a cave bearing the name of the Greek adventurer, Odysseus.

And your photo may remain recorded on the 61st birthday of Odyssey Island National Park.

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

Thursday, 21 October 2021

3,053 New Coronavirus Cases in Croatia

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - In the last 24 hours, 3,053 new coronavirus cases have been registered in Croatia, which is an increase of 56 percent compared with last Wednesday, Health Minister Vili Beroš told a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

"The share of infections in the number of people tested is 28.24 percent. 938 persons are receiving hospital treatment and 131 of them are on ventilators," the health minister said.

"The rise in the number of new cases of 56 percent compared with last Wednesday is a call for much-needed caution. The too large a pool of unvaccinated people gives the coronavirus a considerable space to spread," he added.

Beroš noted that of the total number of COVID-infected people hospitalized in the past week, 70.8 percent were not vaccinated. During that time, 100 persons were placed on ventilators and as many as 86 percent of them were not vaccinated.

Beroš, however, said that the number of hospitalized people in the fourth wave of the pandemic was lower than in the second and third waves thanks to vaccination.

The largest number of new cases was reported among young people, aged 9-19, and those aged 40-49, while the median age was 36.

By Wednesday, 55.38 percent of the adult population had been vaccinated and 1,489 people had received the third dose.

Beroš said that 73 percent of health workers had been vaccinated, including nearly 80 percent of doctors. The percentage of vaccinated doctors is close to 90 percent if those immunized by the infection are included, he added

No new epidemiological measures were put in place in the past week, and the present ones are in force until 31 October.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

PM Warns of Growing Number of Coronavirus Cases in Croatia

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday warned of the growing number of coronavirus cases in Croatia, saying that the death toll would soon exceed 9,000 and stressing the importance of vaccination and compliance with epidemiological measures.

"We must comply with the basic protection measures - wearing a face mask, keeping a distance, airing the premises, and maintaining hand hygiene," Plenković said at the start of a cabinet meeting.

He stressed the importance and necessity of vaccination, especially for elderly people, noting that the elderly are at greater risk if they contract COVID-19. "One in four elderly persons aged 65 and over have not been vaccinated yet, and we are talking about 238,000 persons or about 25-27 percent."

Plenković warned that the COVID-19 death toll will soon exceed 9,000. "This is a high price we are paying as a nation and society. But now we have vaccines, and there is no reason for this number to be so high," the prime minister said, adding that the vaccines also effectively protect against serious forms of the disease.

He appealed to people who have still not been vaccinated to get vaccinated, citing the views of medical professionals and the government's Scientific Council as well as statistics.

74 percent of hospitalized COVID patients not vaccinated

Plenković said that 74 percent of infected people who have been hospitalized this month were not vaccinated, which is three in four patients, while 80 percent of patients who were or still are on ventilators were not vaccinated, which is four in five.

"These are very clear and convincing figures," Plenković said, noting that 93 percent of the people who died from coronavirus were above the age of 60 and 98 percent were above the age of 50.

He said that the Scientific Council, which met two days ago, stressed the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly.

"We all agree with the view of the Croatian Public Health Institute on a third dose, that it should be administered to immunocompromised persons and to health and welfare workers because it will help in the fight against the epidemic," the prime minister said.

He said that the situation in Croatia is similar to the rest of the world. "The unvaccinated people represent a pool where the virus spreads the most and where mutations occur the most. It's a fact that vaccinated people can also transmit the virus, but that is less likely than among the unvaccinated, and in the case of infection the disease is much milder."

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Croatia's Gross International Reserves Reach Record €24.4 bn

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - Croatia's gross international reserves reached €24.4 billion in September 2021, their highest level to date, increasing by €300 million or 1.3% from August, according to the data provided by the Croatian National Bank (HNB).

The increase was mostly the result of the government's foreign currency deposits with the HNB following the disbursement by the European Commission of €818.4 million as an advance payment for the purposes of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

Gross international reserves have increased by €5.4 billion or 28.6% since the start of the year.

All adequacy indicators of the country's gross international reserves suggest that they are sufficient to ensure the smooth running of the central bank's monetary policy.

Net reserves remained almost the same as in August, at €19.5 billion, the HNB said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

EU Borders Need to Be Protected, But Violence is Unacceptable, Commissioner Says

ZAGREB, 21 Oct 2021 - The external borders of the European Union need to be protected, but without violence and by respecting human rights, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

"Violence at our borders is never acceptable. Especially if it is structural and organized. We must protect our EU external borders while upholding fundamental rights. And it’s possible to do both," Johansson said during a plenary debate on violent pushbacks of migrants at the EU external borders.

The EU must protect its borders and must protect human rights, she stressed.

Earlier this month, several European media outlets published footage of violent pushbacks of migrants at the Croatian border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Similar footage of pushbacks of migrants from Romania and Greece was also shown at the time.

Shortly after the publication of the footage, Croatian Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said that the masked men shown in the footage were police officers, after which three policemen were suspended from duty.

Johansson said she had spoken with the Romanian, Greek, and Croatian ministers of the interior.

"The Croatian minister announced an investigation. Since then, Croatia’s national chief of police said that three policemen involved in violent pushbacks will face disciplinary proceedings. And I received assurances that any necessary follow-up action will be taken," she said and added: "It is the duty of national authorities to investigate allegations and follow-up any wrongdoing."

Anže Logar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, the current EU president, said that effective control of the external borders is key to preventing security risks, illegal border crossing, and possible migratory pressure.

All tools need to be used to monitor who enters the European Union, Logar said, adding that pushbacks must not be allowed on EU soil.

The Commission's views were criticized by Social Democrat, Green, and Liberal members of the European Parliament.

Children are freezing and dying at Europe's borders and your greatest concern is border protection and Schengen, Dutch Liberal MEP Sophia in 't Veld said.

German Social Democrat Birgit Sippel said that a systematic attack on human rights is taking place at the EU's external borders and that the footage from the Croatian, Romanian and Greek borders is a scandal for the EU.

On Wednesday, Sippel, together with the leader and deputy leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group, Iratxe Garcia Perez and Simona Bonafé, sent a letter to the Commission president expressing concern about "the highly alarming systematic nature of pushbacks of vulnerable people, often involving violence."

The letter says that such practices are especially alarming in the Aegean Sea, at the EU's border with Belarus, and on the Western Balkan route.

"It is also alarming that the latest investigations suggest that parts of the material used to carry out pushbacks are seemingly paid for with EU money. This includes approximately €177 million that have been granted to Croatia for 'migration management between 2014 and today," the letter says.

The three MEPs said that requesting member states to investigate pushbacks is not enough, calling on the Commission to launch infringement procedures against Poland, Greece, and Croatia.

On the other hand, right-wing MEPs criticized the Commission for taking a soft stance, calling for putting up a razor-wire fence at the external borders.

I haven't heard anyone complaining about security checks in the European Parliament. Why wouldn't we better protect Europe with razor wire and armed personnel to ensure security? said Danish MEP Petar Kofod, a member of the Identity and Democracy group.

Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler (EPP/HDZ) said that people trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal activities and "an instrument of perfidious pressure on Europe."

He said that the EU urgently needs a common response in which the policy of preventing illegal migration has no alternative. He, however, noted that there is no room for violence against migrants in Europe and that any individual violation of human rights, especially the human rights of the most vulnerable groups, is totally unacceptable.

Ressler said that Croatia, with a modernized police force and without erecting razor wire fences, is performing its legal obligation and duty to protect its own border and the border of the European Union.

Sunčana Glavak (EPP/HDZ) said that the Croatian police are doing an excellent job in protecting the territory of Croatia and the EU.

She pointed out that Croatia has so far arrested over 3,000 people traffickers at the border and prevented 30,000 attempts at crossing its border illegally.

"Dear colleagues, the Republic of Croatia is guarding your border too, the border of the European Union, in a legal way," she concluded.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence 6 Months On: Kelsey Kay Love

October 21, 2021 - In April this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelancer Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months on - next up Kelsey Kay Love from Los Angeles. 

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik held the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia - Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads - as part of European Freelancer Week. The city has made great strides advancing its DN credentials and strategy, thanks in part to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 - May 23. 

 

The program was all the richer for the presence of Kelsey Kay Love from California. TCN caught up with KKL 6 months later to get her current perspective on the program, Dubrovnik and the Croatian digital nomad journey.

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1. It is 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Firstly, a brief look back at that month. How was it for you, and how did it change your perceptions of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination?

Dang 'ol dang, time flies. I can say, with zero hesitation, that the month spent in Croatia for the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was my best month of life for both 2020 and 2021, and we're not even through the rest of this year yet. 

It was an incredibly memorable experience, not only because of my glorious fellow nomads and our amazing organizers, but in terms of it being my first ever reference of Croatia itself. Before that experience, I had no real frame of reference for Dubrovnik at all, as I'd never met anyone who'd spent any real time there. This opportunity changed that in every way; spending four whole weeks there during a period where tourism was still incredibly scarce was a real eye-opener, and allowed us to see the city's potential in a way that we likely couldn't have during any other normal year.

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2.  Have you kept in touch with others from the project? Spent any more time in Croatia?

Yes! I have been on a couple of Facetime calls with the nomads, and speak regularly with them through Discord and social media.  

I have unfortunately not spent any more time in Croatia (yet), as I live just about half way across the globe at the moment, but dearly hope to return next year.

3. It seems that a lot has been happening in the DN scene in the last few months since the program. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Croatia performing strongly in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik back in April?

At least from where I'm sitting in the States, there's a very noticeable trend and preference for remote jobs and work opportunities, digital nomad visas and a growing realization that living in Europe is easier than it ever has been, and perhaps ever will be, for U.S. citizens and residents. 

Because I still have a Google alert for 'digital nomad visa Croatia' — the very reason I found out about the contest in the first place — I also see how often Croatia is being talked about in international and local media, which is exciting and very well deserved. If Croatia wasn't a consideration for digital nomads before, I'd say it very likely is by this stage. 

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4. Have you noticed any change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? In what way if yes?

After publishing a post about my experience on my own blog, Travelin' Fools, I received several emails and comments from complete strangers asking about coworking spaces and my opinions on the city itself as a long or short term liveable destination. To me, this clearly indicates an interest in Dubrovnik as an intriguing next option. 

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5. What would you say are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole

Start marketing the opening of a Dubrovnik coworking space, regardless of a set opening date. Additionally, start talking to well-known travel writers, photographers and videographers and creating long term partnerships for content related to Croatia's growing digital nomad opportunities. The more content you have to work with — both in terms of quality and quantity — the better it will be to those looking for information on moving to Croatia, and what areas they'd potentially like to settle in. 

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6. Your favourite memory/experience from DNIR, and when do expect that Dubrovnik will see you next?

I will never, ever forget eating lunch at Konoba Maha in Korcula. Watching giant Croats with tiny man buns fasten dainty leaves to my delicious cocktail before serving me a giant plate of peka? Into it.

Well, the nomads have already talked about a European reunion in time for Eurovision next year, so I fully expect to step foot in Croatia again in 2022. Until then, I'll have to enjoy my wine in an overpriced bar in Hollywood. Sigh.

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

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