Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Kristina Svalina, from Melbourne to Sinj

September 21, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Kristina Svalina, who moved from Melbourne to Zagreb.

I feel like I can't sum up my life in Croatia in 1 paragraph, so I won't lie and say I'll make it one, rather I'll try to keep it as short as possible. I feel like I should be in a Nicholas Sparks novel at times, that's how it's all been. 

I moved to Zagreb when I was 21 from Melbourne, Australia. I came in July, and I was soon to find out that is the worst time to come to do paperwork and uni/school enrolments. I wanted to enroll in university, but one of the papers I needed to go to the enrolment test was Crotistika. This is a Croatian language test. On the door of the office, it said holidays until the 20th of August. From that day, we would go every single day to the office and call, and there was no one. We finally got them the day before the test, and we said where have you been? They said we decided to extend our holidays for 2 weeks. My partner said, but the uni test is tomorrow, and we need the Crotistika test. They said sorry bad luck! Then to get my high school diploma verified, I spent 8000 kuna on nothing. No one knew what I need to bring them or what I was bringing them they all told me something different. 

In the end, we were so mad, and after 2 months of being here of going door to door for paperwork, my boyfriend said you know what let's get married. I said what? He said what's the difference now or in a year's time I love you, and I think you love me, so let's get married. So, I said, "ajmo ća"! And after 2 and a half months after being here, we married, and I got my papers.

We got married and don't worry; we are still together 16 years later.

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The biggest thing in Croatia is word of mouth, even to find an apartment if it's in a smaller town, but in Zagreb, it's ok you have the oglasnik (trading post).

I came here I must say Croatia is very much who you know and how much you are willing to push to get something done. It was a lot harder back then as not so many tourists and people coming to Croatia as they are now, so I am sure they are more switched on and in tune with what papers you need. I came here with no fear I decided 2 months before I came that I would go try uni here, I didn't do any research. Maybe a bad decision, so you recommend searching all the places you are in need of where you are here. 

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The cons of living here are how long it takes to make any document. Going to the police station is a nightmare. You can never do anything in one trip, so be prepared, but as I said, don't give up because, in the end, I would never trade this life for a life back in Australia. Also, everything is old when someone sends me photos from Australia or Australian parks, I'm like, WOW! Also, everything takes time here, even building a house. One thing I will never get used to is swearing and littering. I still tell strangers off for this as I think it's beyond a joke and quite sad. 

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I have 5 kids (Kaja 14, Eva 12, Nikola 10, Sofija 6, Vida 3). And you can't put a price on the fact that they walk to and from school on nice days. They go play basketball at the school on weekends; they hang out until midnight in the village with the neighbors over the summer holidays, they go with friends out for pizza and to the movies, and their freedom is the main factor I love Croatia. Australia never gave me that freedom, and I see how much my kids enjoy it.

Kids here are more serious about school and education, and kids are very hands-on here. 

My husband is a winemaker and a professor at the uni in Knin, and my kids know all the mushrooms that are edible they go out a pick wild asparagus, or they help with the planting in the garden. Right now, there are outside helping pick the plums and walnuts last weekend; it was the apples.

I never knew where a potato grew, but my kids are very independent and have such a broad knowledge of life skills. I never got that living in the suburbs.

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I recently opened up an orbit (business), and I got funding from the government to pay for my super and taxes for the next 2 years and to buy all new equipment.

Croatia right now has so many opportunities to get funding for someone opening up a business, so use it! The best thing here is to make sure you have a kickass account that is switched on and knows what she is talking about mine is a start, and she has not missed a beat. So if you don't have a kickass account in Croatia and you thinking of opening a business,  get one!

My parents even sold everything after me being here for 5 years, put it all in a container, and made the move; my mum loves it here. She goes to mass every day she has no rush, no worries like what she did in Australia. But my dad, so so. He is finding it hard to adjust to the unorganized system, and I think he misses his long-time friends. 

For anyone thinking of moving here, don't be scared to rely on family here if you have them. It takes a village to raise a child, as they say, but it also takes a village to help you make a move.

They can help with work, telling you where to go for what papers, and everyone always has some connections, so use them when you need to unless it's morally wrong, I'm sure you know where to draw the line. Also, find a good understanding doctor. I am so satisfied with Knin hospital, and we got there as soon as we need something, not to Split. 

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Also, it's hard to find work for someone who does not speak Croatian well, so I recommend Upwork. I was blessed to find work for an Irish company, and I have been there for 2 years, and I am the manager there now it's great. Would not swap it for any Croatian job. I work remotely; I am able to watch my kids, do school pick ups drop offs, and take them to train. It's amazing. I have always said to myself that rather regret something I have tried rather than regret something I didn't try at all. So just do it if you have nothing to lose, get on that plane, move here and try. We are all different, but when I see how relaxed life here is. The freedom my kids have an easy-going lifestyle, and there is always time for coffee. Then I'm staying right here.

You can't put a price tag on all of the above. Anyone who does not believe me, come see for yourself. I miss my family in Australia, but Sinj is where I call home. 

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Thanks, Kristina!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

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

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Huge Five Million Kuna Sisak Supernova Project Begins

September the 20th, 2022 - The Sisak Supernova project, worth five million kuna in total, is going full steam ahead and will last for a twelve month period.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, grants were awarded to the company Supernova projekti d.o.o. as the project holder for a project aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy sources in its shopping centres in Croatia, specifically in Sisak.

The Sisak Supernova project is otherwise being co-financed with funds from the financial mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA), which will contribute to the goals of the European Green Plan through the installation of solar power plants at the Supernova centres in Sisak.

The member companies of the Supernova group - Supernova projekti d.o.o. and Supernova Sisak West d.o.o., as well as partner company Sirius Sisak East d.o.o. are planning the implementation of three pilot projects for the construction of integrated photovoltaic power plants on the roofs of the Supernova Sisak East and Supernova Sisak West shopping centres. The realisation of the project will last for one year, and one of the main goals of is to promote the use of sustainable energy sources in the trade sector in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the security of supply and contribute to the goals of the wider European Green Plan.

The latest investment follows the green transition of the Supernova Group and its partners through the use of electricity from photovoltaic power plants and in other Supernova centres across the Republic of Croatia where this will be possible. The project down in Sibenik has recently started being implemented, while preparatory work is being carried out at the facilities in both Karlovac and Buzin.

The total value of the latest projects at the Supernova centres in Sisak will amount to more than 628 thousand euros, or almost five million kuna. European Union (EU) funds will co-finance 41.64 percent of the total value of the project, which is slightly less than 2 million kuna, more precisely 261,564.08 euros, while the rest of the costs will be covered by the applicant's and their partners' own funds.

The Sisak Supernova project proposal envisages the construction of three integrated photovoltaic power plants, SE Sisak East and SE-1 Sisak West and SE-2 Sisak West with a total installed capacity of 722.42 kWp, which will produce 751,224 kWh/year of renewable energy. In accordance with the achieved increase in energy production from RES, the project will contribute directly to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the amount of 119.14 tCO2 per year. Thanks to the installation of solar panels, the Supernova Sisak West shopping centre will provide 30 percent, and the Supernova Sisak East shopping centre will provide 40 percent of the total required energy from renewable energy sources.

"We started with the green transition project and the transition to our own energy sources a few years ago, and I'm particularly pleased by the fact that we'll be implementing it in Croatia, an extremely important market for our business. Currently, with the energy produced on the roofs of our shopping centres, we're covering more than 35% of the energy needed for their operation and supply. With this almost five million kuna investment in Sisak and the overall implementation of the green and sustainable programme of our group, together with our project partners, we'll directly help to reduce environmental pollution and improve the quality of life in all environments and countries where Supernova centres operate. We're also going to operate in accordance with high environmental standards," said Markus Pinggera, the CEO of Supernova Group.

Shopping centres are experiencing an increasing need for electricity, thus creating huge costs when it comes to the supply of energy, which negatively affects business and the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Guided by the principles of sustainable growth and responsible management, the Supernova Group and its project partners - Supernova Sisak West and Sirius Sisak East and the Norwegian company Apenhet, want to replace the use of conventional fuels used to operate the centres with more environmentally friendly and renewable energy sourced from the sun. The goal is to increase the share of the use of renewable energy sources in the total energy consumption.

From the very beginning, and especially over the last few years, the Supernova Group has been focused on a greener future, and the basis of their business lies in sustainable and environmentally friendly development, which is supported by the Supernova Green Dot sustainability programme. The goal of the programme is to optimise business practices and achieve complete carbon neutrality by the time we reach the year 2028. The Supernova Green Dot programme is otherwise based on LED technology, an energy efficiency programme and equipping photovoltaic power plants to produce their own electricity.

So far, 23 solar power plants have been implemented on the roofs of Supernova shopping centres in neighbouring Slovenia and in nearby Austria, and by the end of 2023, the Supernova Group plans to establish 56 new solar power plants within the group.

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

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Larger Croatian Christmas Bonuses and Other Benefits on Horizon?

September the 20th, 2022 - Could larger Croatian Christmas bonuses, gifts for children and other such benefits be on the horizon? The Ministry of Finance has a proposal which will interest many, especially during these difficult economic times fuelled by spiralling inflation and the fear of energy crises.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, last week, the Ministry of Finance submitted a proposal to amend the Income Tax Ordinance to increase the payment thresholds for six non-taxable items with which Croatian employers, in addition to paying out regular monthly wages, can further stimulate their staff, as tportal reports.

The limit for non-taxable occassional items, which include Croatian Christmas bonuses, holiday allowance and other such benefits, is being increased from 3,000 kuna to 5,000 kuna per year. The maximum amount of monetary rewards for work results and other forms of additional rewards for workers has also been increased from 5,000 kuna to 7,500 kuna per year.

For a gift to a child of an employee up to the age of fifteen, Croatian employers will be able to pay out 1,000 kuna per year tax free, whereas until now, the threshold stood at a considerably less 600 kuna.

The maximum non-taxable amount of monetary flat-rate compensation for meeting the costs of food for workers will rise from 5,000 kuna to 6,000 kuna per year, and the fee for using a private car for official purposes will rise from 2 kuna per kilometre to 3 kuna.

Future retirees can also expect higher net severance pay because the non-taxable portion of severance pay is now set to increase from 8,000 kuna to 10,000 kuna for each completed year of service.

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

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Zadar Company Turisthotel Begins New Investment Cycle

September the 20th, 2022 - The Zadar company Turisthotel is set to make some considerable investments, expand, and further develop the quality of what they already offer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Zadar company Turisthotel recently celebrated 40 years of the operation of the popular Zaton Holiday Resort, all while announcing new investments in the hotel business set to come.

Around 6,000 guests are currently staying at the aforementioned resort, and the largest percentage of them come from Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Austria, all of whom are responsible for this year's record tourism results after a horrendous two years dominated by a global public health crisis.

The next five years

"Turisthotel is now entering a new investment cycle, which is more oriented towards investing in the additional improvement of the quality of the existing infrastructure, as well as the expansion, upgrading and modernisation of our existing facilities. These investments, which will be realised in different phases over the next five years, have been made possible thanks to the stable and continuous growth of the business.

I believe that this is a key imperative for the company's further development, as well as in terms of additional positioning on the market, both for the resort itself, as well as for Nin, the City of Zadar and the entire wider Zadar region as an attractive and desirable tourist destination," said the president of Turisthotel's Management Board, Meri Matesic Sicic.

In the coming period, the reconstruction of 159 apartments ranging from 3 to 4 stars will begin in the Zaton Holiday Resort, the construction and the introduction of new hospitality and entertainment facilities, as well as the complete renovation of the main street of the resort is planned.

As Matesic Sicic revealed, the plan is to build a city hotel located within the centre of Zadar itself, in the building which once housed the former Pobjeda (Victory) cinema, and to convert Boutique Hostel Forum into a hotel.

In addition to all of the above, the plans also include the construction and arrangement of a multi-purpose office space that would include catering and hospitality facilities as part of the Visnjik Sports Centre.

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

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

138 Million Kuna for Permanent Housing for Croatian Earthquake Victims

September the 20th, 2022 - Despite the fact that the horrendous earthquakes of 2020 which rocked Zagreb in March and then Petrinja, Glina and the wider Sisak-Moslavina County area in December, things are still moving at a snail's pace. Many Croatian earthquake victims are still living in limbo.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, on Friday last week, Minister of Regional Development Natasa Tramisak signed the decision on the financing of a project entitled "The removal and construction of replacement housing units under the ownership of the Republic of Croatia in the areas affected by the earthquake", which provided grants in the amount of 138 million kuna in total.

These funds will be used to construct four apartment buildings with a total of 76 apartments in the area of ​​Glina and Dvor, which were heavily damaged by the December 2020 earthquake. As part of this wider project, the construction of 55 replacement family houses is also planned, the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union (EU) Funds announced.

The signed decision used all the funds provided by the relevant Ministry to the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing by amending the Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme for the period 2014-2020. The Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds provided 111 million euros, which is equal to more than 830 million kuna for intervention measures for Croatia's earthquake-affected areas.

With these funds, proper housing will be provided for a total of 889 families, and 581 family houses and 308 apartments will be built in a total of 20 typical multi-apartment buildings.

The aforementioned houses will be owned by Croatia as a state, and will be given to Croatian earthquake victims from the areas affected by the earthquake for permanent use.

"During the next year, these families will receive the keys to their new homes," Tramisak pointed out.

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

Monday, 19 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Šime Lisica, from Sydney to Bibinje

September 20, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Šime Lisica, who moved from Sydney to Bibinje.

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Let me introduce myself; I’m Šime Lisica, born and bred in Sydney, Australia. For those of you that already know me, there are a lot of you out there, then you already know what I’m about and what my character is as a human being, you will enjoy this. For the rest of you, I will attempt to give you an insight into that with the following interview.

I consider myself Australian-Croatian rather than Croatian-Australian. I was an entrepreneur from the second my beautiful mother gave birth to me. Both my parents are of Croatian descent from the Zadar region; they escaped communism to build a better life for themselves and their families both back home and in Australia.

I live by the sea in a beautiful village next to Zadar called Bibinje, although the Bibinjci will tell you that “Zadar je misto pokraj Bibinja… Ae” translated to “Zadar is a place next to Bibinje… True that!” funny sh*t right! if you are game, you should visit, or for that matter, stay the week.

I’ve been a fixture in the commercial Audio Visual & Lighting industries for 20+ years, working at an international level, I have covered the full spectrum of this profession; over the last 20 years, I’ve watched this industry change and grow while I have grown up alongside it.

I bought this wealth of knowledge and skill to Croatia, where I formed the company Audio Visual Group Ltd. While I was spending most of my time in Croatia from 2014 and before the pandemic, which ruined everything, I was working on-board cruise ships in Singapore during the dry-docking program; I have sailed several times in a consulting role while in the same period have also been lucky enough to work on-board superyachts in Greece with various other ship & yacht-based projects under my hat. Let’s just say, “I’ve been everywhere, man” I wouldn’t be able to cover everything in this short introduction, it's true that thus far, I have lived a full life, I came to Croatia because I needed to start settling down.

In Croatian, they have a word for my previous life, it’s one of my favorite words next to “uhljeb” “uhljebisam” & “uhjlebistan” (the latter best describing the country I live in) I was what they call a “skitnica” or the closest English translation from Meriam-Webster that I can find would be “vagabond” – and I’m proud of it mate!

Vagabond - adjective.

  1. moving from place to place without a fixed home.
  2. a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a wanderer.

b: leading an unsettled, irresponsible, or disreputable life. (geez, that’s a bit harsh)

 During and post-pandemic, over the last 20 months, my team and I, alongside our partners, have started a Music, Entertainment & Lifestyle channel called FitnessTV that is broadcast inside fitness venues, our pilot project started in July of this year where we completed our first installation at OrlandoFit in Zagreb, moving forward we are now starting to move onto additional venues, with the end goal of reaching 50 venues nationwide. I have fairly ambitious plans for this project, all while I have drained the life out of myself and my team to reach the stage that we are at today.

You can follow our progress on LinkedIn -  it’s the only social network I engage with.

 

 

1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

I had secretly started planning my escape as early as 2010; I had started to grow disillusioned with Australia as I didn’t feel that it was the place for me. This, of course, caused several mental health issues where I was unable to identify who I was, I knew I was different, and I knew my calling wasn’t the Australian life, but I stuck it out for a few more years. In 2014 I started to take the decision far more seriously and increased the frequency of my time in Croatia, back then I established a foothold and began to conduct due diligence on a number of matters. My frequency in Croatia increased exponentially to the point where I was here 3-4 times a year. It wasn’t until early 2018 that the decision was final, and I was here for good.

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2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

 My family always knew that I would be the one who was going to make the move, I never stopped talking about it, while I can’t say they were happy about my decision, in some matters, it was a necessity that I was present here on the ground whereas in others I know that they would have preferred I stayed in Australia.

I had a mixed reaction from my friends and associates, over 80% of the feedback back was negative. A lot of people called me crazy, stupid, or a lunatic, they told me I was throwing my life away, and they were highly discouraging while providing me with unfounded advice, or they laughed at me both to my face and behind my back, whereas the remainder was positive, encouraging, congratulative and respectable.

I recall back in 2019 when my good friends Adam (Sharky) and his now wife Ivana got married, I specifically made sure that I would be present at the wedding, I knew it would be the last time that I see everyone after living it up with the band and long hugs and kisses with my closest. I left quietly when I reached the top of the stairs, I looked out over the venue, and I knew in that very instant that I was turning my back on Australia for good. It immediately hit me pretty hard, knowing that this was the end of an era.

3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

As already discussed in the first question, I had completed a lot of my own due diligence through several different channels here on the ground, besides a lot of internet research, to be completely honest, no amount of prep work can make you ready for the hard-set realities this country can and will inflict on you. Like it or not, you physically have to be here and actively pursuing the goals you are setting yourself.

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

Fear is an interesting word, I only have fear for a few things in life, and one of them is God. I would prefer to replace fear with concern as that would be far more appropriate.

My biggest concern was how long things take to get done, I already had significant experience with the system, from one ridiculous piece of paper through to a whole project to build a house, everything just takes way too long! The reality of the matter is that it takes three to five times longer than what the initial estimate would entail.

Corruption is also rampant, until I learned the ropes, I was always concerned that people whom I met would be fu**ing me. Some of them did, some of them being my own flesh and blood, essentially causing me to have severe trust issues – you live, you learn. Not everyone is like that; there are good people here with open hearts and open minds, when you meet them then, you will know who they are. You just need to learn the ropes and ask members of the diaspora who have been here for a long period of time for advice; you can rest assured that they will be honest and upfront with you.

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5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

I would say that I was having a bromance with Croatia for a very long time, I indeed had high expectations of this country, in the beginning, it was a love affair, but the bromance soon faded, and I came to realize that this is simply the next chapter of my life. This was back in a time when help was limited, and trust issues were rampant, so once the love affair was over then, I was finding it extremely difficult to adjust as, over time, the initial perception did not match the reality I encountered.

I could comment on a vast number of items that do not match the perception; I’m a very positive human being with a lot of energy, so that essentially would be highly negative of me and further discouraging to you, the reader. My best advice moving forward is to have no expectations at all, when you have no expectations, then it is difficult to be disappointed.

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6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

If I didn’t think it was a good idea, then I wouldn’t be doing it. There are so many things that I love about the place, one of them is the peace and quiet. I absolutely love being next to the sea, especially now that the season is over and we come back to normality, if you removed me from the sea then I don’t know how I would function. I love the lifestyle as being here is a lifestyle choice, I love the good people here and the attitude they present, I love when I strike up a conversation with a random person, and I tell them I moved here from Australia, they are always in so much disbelief like I’m the only one, then when we talk it through, they understand and congratulate me for being so brave.

I have been lucky enough to inherit a vineyard, olive groves, and other agricultural lands. I remember all the way back to 1995 when I was 12 years old when my grandfather sat me on the tractor and drove me around to these places, he told me that one day some of this would be mine. While I didn’t fully grasp the theory at that stage, it stuck in my head, and I understood him. Over the last few years, I’ve grown very fond of being in the vineyard, under the olive trees, or looking after the chickens and turkeys. Fresh eggs are amazing, plus they are so entertaining at 06:00, if you told me 10 years ago that is what I would be doing, then I would have laughed at you, but of course, loving wine is a huge benefit when you know you have your own.

I’ve established this thing called “me time” it starts at 05:30 and extends through to 09:00, this is where I spend the time doing the above, I have time to think. Also, I’ve found that as long as I have the time to do the things that I love on the side, then I am far more efficient and happier during the day. It’s a complete disconnection from the digital world that has infiltrated my brain daily for the previous 20 years of my life, and that’s what I need to function.

Let’s move on to the dislikes; I have to bite my tongue because I will and already have upset several individuals and institutions, so let’s tone this down a bit.

I wholeheartedly dislike the Croatian banking system; it is designed so that individuals and businesses are unable to function correctly, I know for a fact that if I presented my ideas to an Australian bank, they would throw the money at me and then ask if I needed more, when I view some of the advertisements these banks put on the market or for that matter when I come out of a meeting with the bank then I am so sick to my stomach that I need to knock off some rakija to come good again!

Public institutions make up ridiculous rules and regulations, passing unfounded policies and by-laws only in their interest and not in the interest of the public domain, which is essentially whom they serve.

Incompetent timeservers, dogsbodies, and troglodytes, Croatia is rampant with these types of individuals; once you have encountered one of the above, I suggest that you move rapidly in the opposite direction.

There’s clearly a lot more; now I’m just getting upset, let’s move on.

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7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making a move from the diaspora?

My advice is to follow your heart; if everything is telling you to move forward in this direction, if you have the itch, then you should scratch it, take the bull by the horns, and just do it. But not before you come up with some sort of solid plan which you are prepared to change and rearrange at the drop of a hat. I’m certain that you need to drop whatever emotion you have and be prepared to suffer disappointment. Nothing is easy; life is full of pain and suffering, if you lead into your future plans with a positive mindset, then you will attract what you want or need in your life.

Also, there is a huge community of diaspora and digital nomads who are already here on the ground in Croatia; there are various groups on WhatsApp and similar where you can connect with us and ask for help and advice but don’t ask for direction, that can only come from you internally. 

8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

Excellent question, I’m going to draw upon an example of poor government policy that is currently active here in Croatia.

Towards the end of last year, the government announced an incentive called “I choose Croatia” or “Mjera Biram Hrvatsku,” where the offer is to Croatian citizens located within the EEA who have spent at least 12 months outside of Croatia then find it within themselves to return to Croatia where they will be rewarded with up to 200,000kn all to revitalize the demographic problem of citizens leaving the country to live and work abroad.

Essentially what the policy has done is further segregate the diaspora from Croatia, it’s only available to citizens who are in the EEA. Ok, so what about the rest of the world? With this policy, the government is suggesting that there are only Croatian citizens in the EEA. The policy is so poorly structured that as of May 2022, publicly available information shows that a total of 16 people have applied, of those 16, only 5 have been awarded from this fund – this in itself shows exactly how much confidence Croatian citizens have in this policy.

Various guidelines need to be followed, but it only appeared to be a band-aid solution that has been announced to make it look like the government is doing something, whereas the numbers have proved this to be a complete flop!

The question is, why don’t you open up applications for this incentive worldwide?

If you read the constitution of Croatia (an amazing living document), you will soon recognize that this does not align with various sections, it does nothing but segregate us further.

What about those of us who have packed everything up and invested our hard-earned money back into Croatia? There is no help for us! All we have done is prop up the false GDP figures.

I choose Croatia, so why don’t you give me 200,000kn to help offset the amount of money I have invested back into this country then I will show you what I can do with it.

Unfortunately, the only people who listen to the diaspora are the diaspora; we have no voice, we are just expected to assimilate, shut up and be good citizens while our leaders make the wrong decisions for us without public consultation.

God Help Us!

And that’s a wrap, thank you so much for taking the time to read this until the end, I only hope it was as entertaining for you as it was for me, my parting words to you are, be a good human being, stay safe and live life to the fullest as time is not your friend, time is material to performance, time is definitely of the essence. 

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Thanks, Šime!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

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Monday, 19 September 2022

SuperSport HNL Round 10 Recap: Dinamo Takes Another 3 Points, Hajduk and Istra Draw at Poljud

September 19, 2022 - The 10th round of the SuperSport HNL was played from September 16 to 18, 2022. This round saw Dinamo take another 3 points, while Hajduk sits behind in 2nd with 11 points less and a game in hand. Here is our SuperSport HNL round 10 recap. 

Slaven Belupo v. Varazdin (1:0)

Belupo and Varazdin opened the 10th round on Friday, September 16, 2022, in Koprivnica in front of 913 fans. 

Crnac scored the only goal of the match in the 37th minute for 1:0. The match otherwise saw 4 yellow cards to the Varazdin team. 

 

Belupo is currently in 3rd place with 17 points, while Varazdin is in 5th with 15. 

Gorica v. Osijek (0:1)

Gorica and Osijek met on Saturday, September 17, 2022, in Velika Gorica in front of 492 fans. 

Grzan scored for the Osijek lead and win in the 19th minute for 0:1. The second half saw Raspopovic receive a straight red card in the 3rd minute of stoppage time. 

 

Gorica is currently in 10th place with 5 points and a match in hand, while Osijek is in 4th with 15 points. 

Hajduk v. Istra 1961 (2:2)

Hajduk and Istra met on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at Poljud Stadium. 

After a scoreless first half, Livaja put Hajduk ahead for 1:0 in the 47th minute. Just five minutes later, Erceg equalized for 1:1. Boultam put Istra ahead in the 64th minute, before Livaja scored his second goal of the match for 2:2 in the 88th minute. 

 

Hajduk is currently in 2nd place with 17 points and a game in hand, while Istra is in 6th with 12 points. 

*Hajduk and Rijeka also played their 2nd round makeup match on Wednesday last week, which Hajduk won 2:0. 

Rijeka v. Sibenik (0:0)

Rijeka and SIbenik met at Rujevica on Sunday, September 18, 2022. 

Rijeka's goal in the 43rd minute was disallowed after consulting VAR, keeping the game 0:0 at the half. Neither team was able to score in the second half. 

 

Rijeka is currently in 9th place with 6 points, while Sibenik is in 7th with 10 points, 

Lokomotiva v. Dinamo (1:2)

Lokomotiva and Dinamo closed out the 10th round on Sunday, September 19, 2022, in Zagreb. 

Ademi scored early for Dinamo to make it 0:1 in the 6th minute. Kulenovic equalized 7 minutes later for 1:1 in the 13th minute. Petkovic opened the second half with a goal for 1:2 in the 47th minute,e which was the final score. 

 

Lokomotiva is currently in 8th place with 9 points, while Dinamo is in first with 28. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

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

Monday, 19 September 2022

Lack of Istrian White Truffles This Year Proving Problematic

September the 19th, 2022 - The gorgeous Istrian peninsula is well known for its gastronomic scene and its delicacies, and Istrian white truffles are just one of those special items people flock to this area for. They are lacking this year, and causing issues for consumers.

As Morski writes, there is currently a shortage of one of the most expensive types of items of this sort in the world - Istrian white truffles. Truffle farmers across Istria are becoming somewhat desperate, they claim that they did everything according to the rules of the profession, but Istrian white truffles are chronically scarce this year.

Truffle lovers fear that this shortage is just the beginning of what could befall this highly sought-after, expensive culinary delicacy in the near future.

''I come from a family whose several generations have been involved in truffle hunting, and for as long as my memory serves me, I can't for the life of me remember a situation like this. Some of my colleagues compare it to 2012, when we also witnessed damaging droughts, but I, with a definite dose of anxiety, think that something much worse is at play,'' Robert Marusic, one of the founders of the Association of Truffle Growers of Istria from Motovun, told Rijeka portal Novi List.

Due to the shortage of Istrian white truffles, which are the more expensive type, the prices of black truffles could go wild and cost a pretty penny when they otherwise wouldn't.

''According to what we're now hearing, the black truffle, especially if it is bought by restaurant owners who don't have permanent suppliers and higher levels of consumption, is coming in at the amount of five thousand kuna per kilogram. This, of course, isn't the normal price, because the black truffle is neither something special nor that rare. The intensity of its flavour is immeasurably lower than that of white truffles, and it's also well distributed. On the other hand, white Istrian truffles are a great gastronomic mystery, and they're located in an extremely narrow area that borders the areas from Vrh, Livada, Motovun, all the way to Ponte Porton,'' noted Marusic, adding that it is a very small area that has specific mineral composition.

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

Monday, 19 September 2022

Croatian Postal Market Income Reaches 523 Million Kuna

September the 19th, 2022 - The Croatian postal market has managed to earn an income of 523 million kuna thanks to positive developments throughout this year's second quarter.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, positive developments on the Croatian postal market continued throughout the second quarter of 2022, and the total revenue amounted to 523 million kuna, the Croatian Regulatory Agency for Network Activities (HAKOM) announced recently. When compared to the previous quarter, revenues on the Croatian postal market increased by 6.3 percent, while compared to the same period of the previous year, they grew by 10.2 percent.

The result was primarily contributed to by services with greater, more added value, as the total number of postal services being carried out actually decreased. As such, in the second quarter, 8.2 million packages were transferred, which is 5.5 percent more than in the previous quarter and 12.6 percent more than last year.

In contrast to parcels and packages of a larger volume, a decline was recorded in letter shipments with one of the lowest recorded shares in the total number of services performed, which amounted to 79 percent in the middle of the year. With the reduction in the number of letters sent and delivered, the share of universal service fell below 50 percent for the first time. When it comes to the Croatian postal market and wider, more specifically international traffic, the number of services was higher by 11 percent.

The number of postal service providers across the Republic of Croatia didn't change, and in the middle of the year there were still 24 of them. The largest provider was of course Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta) with a share of 87 percent in the number of services performed and 58.3 percent in total revenues.

For more on the Croatian economy, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 19 September 2022

What Should a Croatian Survival Kit Contain? Recommendations Issued

September the 19th, 2022 - What should you put inside a Croatian survival kit? The Civil Protection Direcorate of the Republic of Croatia has issued a whole host of recommendations.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a Croatian survival kit is similar to that of Germany, as reported by Vecernji list, stating that due to a possible lack of electricity, food, water, medicine, medical and hygiene supplies, not to mention the proper documents, paper money, blankets, shoes, a flashlight, a whistle, matches... should all be prepared in a Croatian survival kit.

The German Association of Cities and Municipalities has warned of widespread power outages due to the energy crisis and has as such called on people to take the proper civil precautions and these recommendations very seriously. They published a list of supplies that every household should have in case of power, water and fuel outages. The possible risk of overloading the German electricity grid could be affected if the 650,000 electric heaters sold this year are connected to it, resulting in very valid fears of gas supply disruptions.

As such, the German authorities are advising that country's residents to stock up for ten days in order to be ready for possible crisis situations, however unlikely that might seem now.

The Republic of Croatia mostly produces its own electricity, meaning that a ten-day blackout for this country in particular would hardly occur. However, the Civil Protection Directorate of the Republic of Croatia has advised people that responsible preparation is the most important thing to keep in the forefront of our minds during all potentially emergency situations.

A whole package of recommendations has been issued on how to prepare a Croatian survival kit, how to deal with such a situation, how to behave and what you need to know in case of such a crisis unfolding. They're all available here.

"Among the very important recommendations are those for creating a family plan for emergency situations, which should be regularly tested out and constantly improved, as well as the preparation of the so-called Croatian survival kit that contains food and water, medicines, medical and first aid supplies, hygiene supplies, documents and paper money," they explained from the Ministry of the Interior (MUP), as reported by Vecernji list journalist Romana Kovacevic Barisic.

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

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