Thursday, 25 November 2021

Croatia, France Sign New Strategic Partnership Agreement

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and French President Emmanuel Macron signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement in Government House on Thursday, which will further strengthen relations between Zagreb and Paris.

The agreement was signed after their bilateral meeting.

France and Croatia already agreed on a strategic partnership in 2010, but the new agreement will expand and deepen it to a number of new areas. It will be a framework for the further strengthening of relations with that country, it was announced.

With the new strategic partnership, France is supporting Croatia in several areas, political, economic, and cultural, including those that are Zagreb's strategic goals - entry into the Schengen Area and the eurozone, and Croatia's membership in the OECD, Croatian sources said earlier.

After meeting with President Zoran Milanović earlier today, Macron hinted that France would support's Croatia's Schengen Area entry.

He said France and Croatia would continue to cooperate in security and migration, and "there's also Schengen."

Croatia expects that the legal process of making a formal decision to join Schengen could begin in December this year during Slovenia's EU presidency, and the final decision made during the French presidency in the first half of next year.

France's support is also important in light of the fact that France is one of the core members of the EU, but also one of the most influential countries in the world. It is the only permanent member of the Security Council from the EU, the number one military and nuclear power of the bloc, and the seventh-largest world economy.

The new strategic partnership also includes chapters on defence issues, economic relations, cultural, scientific, academic, and administrative cooperation.

The idea of ​​the new strategic partnership is also for "Croatia to become a privileged partner of France in this part of Europe," sources said earlier.

Macron's visit to Croatia is taking place ahead of the French takeover of the six-month presidency of the EU Council from January 1 next year, and in 2022, the current head of state will run again in France's presidential elections.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Croatia, France Sign Deal on Purchase of Rafale Squadron

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - Croatia and France signed an agreement in Zagreb on Thursday on the purchase of French Rafale fighter jets, which will raise the defense capability of the Croatian Army to a much higher level.

The agreement was signed by the two countries' defence ministers, Mario Banožić and Florence Parly, in the presence of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and French President Emmanuel Macron, who arrived on Wednesday for the first official bilateral visit of a French president to Croatia.

Croatia is buying from France 12 Dassault Rafale F3R used multipurpose fighter jets - ten single-seats and two two-seaters - for €999 million to be paid in five installments from 2022 to 2026.

"Those agreements open a new dimension and page in strengthening the defence capabilities of the Croatian Army, the Croatian Air Force. Strategic partnership," Plenković said at a government session on Wednesday.

He had previously stressed that "the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets is strategically changing Croatia's position in the military and defence context, in terms of strength towards international partners, security alliances and coalitions".

On the occasion of signing the agreement, two Rafales flew over Zagreb, exactly the same kind that Croatia is procuring from France.

The first planes are expected to arrive in Croatia in late 2023 or early 2024.

In 2007, Rafale jets proved themselves in Afghanistan, then in Libya, the Sahel, and the Middle East, and in 2015, the first sales of those planes started in Egypt, Qatar, and India a year later.

Croatia is the second country in the European Union after Greece to buy Rafale, and the French bid was chosen in competition with the American (new F-16 Block 70), Swedish (new JAS 39 Gripen), and Israeli (used F-16 Barak) planes.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Macron Hints at French Support for Croatia's Admission to Schengen Area

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - President Emmanuel Macron said in Zagreb on Thursday that France and Croatia would continue cooperating in the sectors of security and migrations, and hinted at French support for Croatia's plan to join the Schengen Area.

Marcon was received by Croatian President Zoran Milanović in his office on Thursday morning with the highest state honors.

Addressing the press after their talks, Milanović said that it was a special honor for him to receive the French head of state.

Macron said that he was proud of being the first French president to visit Croatia since the country gained independence. He said that it was unfair that no French president had visited Croatia before.

Announcing the continuation of cooperation between the two countries in the sectors of security and migrations, Macron added, "Schengen is also here."

Croatia expects the legal procedure for a formal decision on its accession to the Schengen Area to be launched this December when Slovenia is still the chair of the Council of the European Union, and the final decision to be made in the first half of 2022 when France presides over the EU.

Milanović and Macron also discussed the procurement of 12 Rafale fighter jets from France for the Croatian Air Forces.

"This is a big deal in Croatia, both strategically and financially. I am happy about that," Milanović said, adding that the strengthening of Croatia's defence cooperation with France did not mean a halt in cooperation with the United States.

"We have cooperated and we will cooperate with the USA," he said.

During the reception at the Pantovčak presidential office, Macron also held a brief meeting with Croatian pilots who will be trained to fly 12 Dassault Rafale F3R used multipurpose fighter jets.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Croatian President Milanović Welcomes France's Macron

ZAGREB, 25 Nov 2021 - The French national anthem played outside Croatian President Zoran Milanović's office to welcome French President Emmanuel Macron, the first French president visiting Croatia since it gained independence.

Milanović welcomed Macron with the highest state honors.

The Croatian Armed Forces orchestra played the two countries' national anthems. Also present was the Honorary and Protection Battalion.

After the welcoming ceremony, the two presidents went to a tête-à-tête meeting.

Macron will then lay a wreath at the Homeland Monument in Stjepan Radić Square. He expressed the wish to pay his respects to those killed in the 1991-95 Homeland War and will be the first high guest to do so at the new Zagreb memorial.

After that, Macron is going to the government.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Covid Certificate Related Dismissals in Croatian Education System to Come

November the 25th, 2021 - With stories now becoming more and more common in which people are dismissed or suspended without payment due to not presenting a valid covid certificate or refusing to regularly test, are covid certificate related dismissals set to come to the Croatian education system as well? It seems so.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the beginning of December this year, the first extraordinary dismissals can be expected in the Croatian education system for those employees who haven't been vaccinated and are refusing coronavirus testing, announced the president of the union Zeljko Stipic, emphasising that this week, the first warnings were handed out to teachers without covid certificates.

"The first warnings have been issued. There haven't been too many of them, and we'll know how many exactly there have been when we collect all the data. What we currently know is that there are about fifty of our members who didn't want to be vaccinated or get tested, but this doesn't represent the number of those people who received warnings, because in the meantime there were those who changed their minds. Either they got vaccinated, or they agreed to be tested,'' Stipic said.

There are also those, he added, who asked for unpaid leave due to their decision not to be tested or vaccinated, and the school principals approved it, there are also those who decided to use their sick leave.

"According to the proposal of the competent Ministry, an employee who doesn't present the a covid certificate is issued with a warning first, and then comes the second warning. The second warning comes after an employee fails to present a covid certificate or test result within a period of seven days, and if they've failed to justify their absence from the classroom in another acceptable way. In that same second warning, the school principal issues a warning before initiating the procedure of extraordinary termination of that person's employment contract,'' explained Stipic.

The fact that the first warnings began to be handed out to those working within the Croatian education system has also been confirmed by the president of the Association of High School Principals, Suzana Hitrec, as Novi list reported.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Zagreb Lighting to be Modernised in 318 Million Kuna Investment

November the 25th, 2021 - Zagreb lighting is about to get a ''do up'' in a large investment. Although in the previous period several EU projects of the modernisation of city lighting were realised in Croatia, the most extensive of which was Newlight from the Elena program in which 57 cities and municipalities from Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County renovated 54,830 lamps in an investment of 22 million euros, the new Zagreb lighting project will be a step or two above that in terms of its scope.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, thanks to the European Union programme ''Elena'' and the ''RePubLEEc project,'' the City of Zagreb is launching an investment in public infrastructure worth more than 318 million kuna, and it regards the reconstruction of about 40 percent of the existing public Zagreb lighting across the capital.

The main goal of the RePubLEEc project is to increase the energy efficiency of public lighting systems, reduce the impact on the climate, increase standards and safety for citizens and prepare for the so-called Smart City transition. All this also directly implies the achievement of savings in electricity and maintenance and the operating cost of public infrastructure.

As pointed out by the Regional Energy Agency of Northwest Croatia, which both prepared and operationally managed projects for Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje counties, and now does the same for the City of Zagreb, the RePubLEEc project is innovative primarily because its implementation doesn't involve any new borrowing.

“The implementation of the modernisation of the public lighting system is envisaged according to the model of the Energy Performance Contracting (EPC). This contracting model is implemented in such a way that the private partner independently designs, finances and performs works on the reconstruction of public Zagreb lighting and guarantees the realisation of the contracted standards (functionality, lighting and minimum energy savings). The energy performance contract is concluded for a period of seventeen years, two of which are intended for the design and the execution of the works, and fifteen years are intended for the provision of the lighting services. Based on the savings in electricity costs, the entire investment will be paid, ie the City of Zagreb won't have to plan to increase the expenditure side of the budget for its implementation, but instead to reduce it,'' they pointed out from the City of Zagreb.

They added that such contracts not only guarantee implementation but also protect public money, because in the case of non-compliance with contracted standards by ESCO partners, failure to achieve energy savings, insufficient lighting, faulty lamps, etc, and the contracted EPC fee is automatically reduced on a monthly basis (in a pay per performance scheme) which isn't in the interest of the private contractor and is a guarantee of a job well done.

As part of the EPC Agreement, the Management and Control Centre of the public lighting system is being implemented, which will communicate in real time with all luminaires in the scope for the purpose of the monitoring and regulation of luminaires - records of failures, energy consumption and so on. Thus, Zagreb will have the ability to manage and monitor all of its new lamps in real time.

Each lamp in the range will have a place to receive various sensors such as the measuring of noise, air temperature, humidity, vehicle flow, lighting, the monitoring of electric charging stations for vehicles and more. The reconstruction of about 40 percent of the Zagreb lighting fixtures according to the model of the Energy Performance Agreement will achieve savings in electricity consumption in the amount of about 75 percent or about 21 GWh per year.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Stronger Seasonal Tourism Results in Less Fast-Growing Croatian Companies

November the 25th, 2021 - Fast-growing Croatian companies are few and far between in areas of the country where seasonal trends are the strongest, which shouldn't come as much of a shock to most.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, demand for travel across Europe has shown a solid recovery this past summer, although according to the latest quarterly report on trends and prospects, a return to pre-pandemic levels is still not expected before 2024.

Judging by this year's achievements of the tourism sector here in Croatia, this seems likely that this recovery will occur much earlier on, especially in relation to competing countries with which we usually compare ourselves across the Mediterranean.

While announcing the continued recovery of the travel industry for next year, it is generally warned that the increase in international travel costs could adversely affect travel availability itself, the Zagreb Institute of Economics continues to analyse some of the broader effects and aspects of Croatia's high reliance on tourism as part of the TourCro project.

In a paper recently published in the Tourism Management journal, Maruska Vizek from EIZ and Nebojsa Stojcic from the University of Dubrovnik and Josip Mikulic from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb all analysed how tourism activity affects the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies in local government units across the country.

In short, the results of this analysis suggest that both the vulnerability of local government units to tourism activity and the increased seasonality of tourism has negatively affected the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies. This aspect is important because of the importance of fast-growing Croatian companies in terms of overall economic activity.

According to the OECD definition, fast-growing Croatian companies are those that achieve sales revenue growth of at least 20 percent within three years and had at least ten employees at the beginning of the observed three-year period, and according to some research are responsible for creating 50 percent of all new jobs and revenues in the service sector, recalls Vizek in a comment on the Institute's website regarding the results of the said analysis.

Fast-growing Croatian companies cause, he says, positive ups and downs of spillovers within the value-added chain to which they belong, and are often in sectors characterised by the high-intensity application of knowledge and technology.

He also explained how the empirical analysis in the paper has been conducted at the level of local self-government units from 2012 to 2019, where the subject of the analysis is the population of more than 100,000 companies (legal entities) registered in the country in that period. Tourist activities are presented in two ways: as an index of vulnerability to tourism of local self-government units and as the intensity of the seasonality of tourist activities in these same local units.

“The negative impact of increased seasonality of tourism in local units on the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies is reflected in the finding that increasing the seasonality of tourism by 10 index points leads to a decrease in the share of fast-growing Croatian companies in terms of total companies by 3 to 6 percentage points.

At the same time, an increase in the tourism vulnerability index of 10 index points reduces the share of fast-growing Croatian companies by 0.6 to 1.5 percentage points on average,'' said the assistant director of the Institute of Economics in her review. In other words, he says, both greater vulnerability to tourism and the more pronounced seasonality of tourism in local government units is associated with a decrease in the share of fast-growing Croatian companies in the total number of companies which exist within local units.

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

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Largest Croatian Tourist Company Purchasing Hotel in Austrian Ski Resort

November the 25th, 2021 - The largest Croatian tourist company, Valamar, has its eye on the purchase of another hotel in a very popular Austrian ski resort.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Supervisory Board of Valamar Riviera, the largest Croatian tourist company, has approved the recapitalisation of the Austrian subsidiary Valamar A GmbH with the aim of acquiring the Marietta 4 * hotel in Obertauern, which will thus become the second hotel in Austria managed by Valamar.

Over the next two years, further investments are planned in Austria, which include investments in raising the quality of the Marietta Hotel and the Valamar Obertauern Hotel, the company reports.

“Hotel Marietta 4 * with 120 keys is today one of the largest and best hotels in the famous Obertauern ski resort. It provides its guests with a fantastic location on the ski slope near all of the facilities in the destination. With the completion of this transaction, Valamar will operate two hotels in Austria, which will employ more than 130 Valamar employees from the Republic of Croatia during the winter.

For Valamar, this acquisition represents an important step forward in the further internationalisation of our business portfolio with the aim of expanding it and managing hotel and tourist facilities in the best winter holiday destinations across Austria and Italy. The recapitalisation of the Austrian subsidiary of Valamar A GmbH by Gustav Wurmboeck, one of Austria's largest shareholders in Valamar Riviera, aims to accelerate the further expansion of the Valamar Group's portfolio, with the acquisition of the Marietta Hotel being another significant step in that same direction,'' they stated from the very well known company.

Zeljko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera, pointed out that the further expansion of the largest Croatian tourist company's portfolio in the direction of winter holiday tourism is an important step forward in the internationalisation of business and the use of Valamar's management synergies.

"Experience so far has shown us that guests who come to us in the summer want to spend their holidays in Valamar's facilities during the winter. In addition, by expanding to winter tourism, we're providing our employees with year-round permanent employment, increased income and the opportunity to gain international experience and develop their careers in the long term here with Valamar,'' concluded Kukurin.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Alka Knights Society Invited to Macron Meeting at in Zagreb!

November 25, 2021 - The Alka Knights Society will attend a gala lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Esplanade in Zagreb!

Hajduk is not the only association from Dalmatia that received an invitation to a gala lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron. Representatives of the Alka Knights Society received an invitation on Wednesday to join the French president at the Esplanade table in Zagreb! 

"We are extremely honored by the invitation, and we will gladly respond. As urgent obligations personally prevented me, I decided that Dr. Ivan Nasić, secretary of the Alka Knights Society, would go to the festive lunch. In the ceremonial uniform, President Macron would be greeted by Alkar Andrija Hrgović and Alkar boy Ivan Vučković. We hope to welcome President Macron's birthday in France as well," the president of the Alka Knights Society, Dr. Stipe Jukić, said for Slobodna Dalmacija

Jukić's hope of meeting with President Macron in France is about the expected presentation of the Sinj Alka in Versailles. The Alka's first visit to France was agreed in detail before the Croatian presidency of the EU, as part of Croatia's cultural and historical presentation to Europe. In addition to the ceremonial parade of the entire Alka procession in the area of the historic French castle, the Alkars were to demonstrate the course of their knightly game.

Unfortunately, this did not happen due to epidemiological measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, as the French hosts liked the idea, the invitation remained open as soon as the conditions were created. In Sinj, they reckon that if the pandemic subsides, the Alkars could parade through Versailles in the spring of next year, and then, they believe, they would undoubtedly be able to greet the main host, President Macron.

"The Alka Knights Society was founded in 1715, and today it acts as an association of citizens.

The main activity of the Society is to organize the Alka Tournament of Sinj. A great number of volunteers care about the work of the Society (Assembly, Governing Board, Supervisory Board, Court of Honour). The members of the Society are exclusively of local origin. The Alka Knights Society is the owner of two trading companies – Alka marketing d.o.o. and Alkarska ergela d.o.o.

In 1979 the Alka Knights Society collection of uniforms, equipment and weapons was declared a monument of the highest category. In 2007 the Alka of Sinj was entered in the Register of Croatian Cultural Monuments, and on 16th of November, 2010 it was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity," reads the Alka website.

For more on Inland Dalmatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Split Cornaro Advent: Holiday Festivities Begin this Weekend!

November 25, 2021 - The Split Cornaro Advent will take place for the first time, with eight holiday houses serving up festive fare, warm drinks, and live entertainment! 

Celebrating the holidays in Split is always festive, with entertainment and culinary treats to warm our bellies during the *slightly* colder months. This year, too, a vibrant Split Advent program has been announced. 

Visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Christmas market and enjoy the diverse offer of souvenirs, jewelry, decorations, and hopefully find unique gifts for their loved ones.

"Pamper your senses with gastronomic treats, offered by charming houses with the sounds of merry Christmas hits, and take the opportunity to gather your family at the rich children's program. Come to Split and experience the most fun Advent, with the remark not to forget your sunglasses," reads the new Split Advent website

The opening is scheduled for November 27 at 6 pm, and holiday houses will be displayed at several locations. Most interesting this year is that holiday houses will decorate the Cornaro ramparts for the first time! A total of 8 will be on offer for visitors to eat, drink, and imbibe. 

“Everyone will be allowed to enter during the day because only seating will be used, and there is not as much traffic during the day. Most of the traffic takes place in the evening when the location will be controlled with Covid certificates. From 7 pm on, Advent will not be possible without Covid certificates, and people will be checked. Those without Covid certificates will be asked to leave the area.

Work will be done every day from 9 am to midnight, and testing will be organized. Visitors will be able to be tested at an affordable price of 50 kuna, and everyone is invited to respect epidemiological measures," announced the organizers of Split Advent. 

The entertainment program at Cornaro begins on Monday, November 29, when visitors will be greeted with DJ Sully and DJ Flex. 

On Tuesday, November 30, DJ Brothers will take the stage, and on Wednesday, DJ Mathew Bee will throw a Snowman party. 

Next Thursday, December 2, Peco and Sivia Dvornik will delight with duets, and there will even be an after-work party!

On Friday, December 3, the legendary Dalmatino group lifts the holiday atmosphere, DJ Peco follows next Saturday, and XXS Band (Countdown show) closes out the opening week on Sunday.

You can find all the information about the 2021 Split Cornaro Advent program on the newly launched website

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

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