Friday, 10 February 2023

Large Croatian Textile Factories are No More - Can Green Transition Help?

February the 10th, 2023 - The European Union wants to put an end to practices such as destroying unsold clothes and misleading consumers about the ways and place of their production, and with no large Croatian textile factories to speak of anymore, could help lie in the much talked about green transition? Maybe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, a part of the aforementioned wider EU process, Croatian member of the European Parliament Biljana Borzan was appointed rapporteur of the Socialists (S&D) for the opinion on the strategy of sustainable and circular textile products in the committee for consumer protection and the common market of the Parliament. The EU strategy aims to make the textile industry more sustainable, socially just and healthier for people and the environment by 2030.

As Borzan explained, the textile industry employs 60 million people across the world, the vast majority of whom are women. The wages earned by women workers in the garment industry are often significantly lower than living wages, and the working conditions can be terrible.

A former pillar of the economy

Where is the Croatian textile industry in all this? Just one decade ago, Croatian textile factories were one of the pillars of the domestic economy and employed more than 100,000 people. In short, Croatian textile factories fell short and are now history.

According to the official statistics of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), 346 companies from the textile and/or clothing industry segment operate in Croatia with a total of 3,615 employees. However, although there has been a visible growth in the number of companies over the last decade or so, there has also been a visible change in the structure of it all, meaning that now - small and micro companies predominate, and the number of employees is also falling.

Of the listed 346 companies, there is not a single one that the statistics, either in terms of revenue or the number of employees, would record as large. The country has thirteen medium-sized companies, 48 small and 285 micro companies. There are several reasons for this decline. The textile, clothing and leather-processing industry, both locally and in the EU as a whole, is extremely vulnerable, it is labour-intensive, low accumulative and employs a predominantly female workforce.

As Jagoda Divic from the Sector for Industry and Sustainable Development of HGK explained, generally low wages and poor standard for work are naturally not attractive for the young workforce, and the lack of workers on the labour market as a whole is also very much in evidence.

"The high age of employees in these sectors directs companies to simply import labour from abroad. In addition to that, high labour costs prevent companies from increasing the net salary of their workers, which is particularly important for retaining workers and preserving export-oriented production sectors. In addition, funds for the acquisition of new technologies and the implementation of organisational changes for the purpose of optimising production processes, as well as the education of the company's professional workforce, are almost exclusively financed by their own funds," stated Divic, adding that Croatian textile factories and other such companies need engineers, seamstresses, tailors, constructors, upholsterers and machine maintenance specialists who aren't in sufficient numbers on the domestic labour market, primarily due to the abolition of such courses in secondary schools or insufficient interest on the part of students to enroll in these courses.

The result is an insufficient number of necessary qualified personnel, which is why many companies from the industry are forced to import labour. HGK also explained that a large number of companies in labour-intensive activities have more than 250 employees, most of them in finishing jobs and, although they don't have projects for research and development, they recognise the great need for investments in new technologies and marketing activities in foreign markets. However, the size of such as company acts as a limiting factor when applying for tenders financed from EU funds, because in most cases large companies are simply not eligible beneficiaries.

The application of automation

On top of all of the above, at least according to HGK, the goals of the textile and clothing industry in the coming period are linked to the EU Strategy for Textiles and Clothing. In the next ten years, companies will have to invest resources in the application of new technologies with an emphasis on digitalisation, innovative textiles, and solving the problems of microplastics and recycling, thus contributing to the digital and green transition.

The clothing industry is labour-intensive and it is impossible to replace some of their operations with machines, while in the textile industry there is a greater possibility of applying automation and new technologies that determine profitability and a higher rate of exporting one's own product.

"The National Development Strategy of Croatia 2030 defines that Croatia will base its sustainable growth and development on a better utilisation of its own resources, an export-oriented, greener and smarter economy and on the innovation of people, clean industries and new technologies that have great potential for opening new and better paid jobs,'' said Divic.

The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) has warned of identical challenges, where Ana Falak, the director of the HUP Leather and Textile Association, stated that the situation in the domestic leather sector is much better than it is in the textile sector.

"Trends of returning production to Europe are already being felt in Croatia, and the demand for textile industry services has increased, as has employment. However, the collapse of a large number of large Croatian textile factories, the impossibility of financing projects from EU funds, the lack of labour, especially when it comes to skilled workers, are the reasons why this sector is recovering only very slowly,'' believes Falak. However, she is convinced that the textile industry in Croatia definitely has a future.

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

Friday, 10 February 2023

Croatia Among 3 EU Countries to Improve Budget Balance Compared to 2019

February the 10th, 2023 - Croatia is among only three European Union (EU) member states to have actually improved its budget balance when compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the energy crisis and ongoing high inflation has forced the national governments of the majority of EU member states to implement various generous packages of fiscal incentives, from various subsidies and one-off benefits to reductions in VAT rates. As rising inflation followed the coronavirus pandemic, some enacted as temporary measures until coronavirus no longer pised an economic threat were prolonged, and some new ones were also introduced, primarily related to energy and food.

For many of these measures, which were conceived as temporary as mentioned above, the deadlines finally expire in the next few months, and among them are the shock absorbers that the Croatian Government introduced for gas and electricity prices in the spring and autumn package of measures last year. As things stand, it's realistic to expect new prolongations throughout the EU as a bloc, in the same form or with some modifications. The global overviews regularly published by the VATcalc portal, specialised in VAT, are also on that same track.

Belgium, for example, has already converted last year's temporary VAT reduction from 21% to 6% into a permanent one for electricity, natural gas and other supplies in heating systems, and excise tax reforms have also been announced. Under the influence of double-digit inflation, Greece extended their reduced VAT rates on certain goods from 24% down to 13%, which is already the fourth extension of the temporary rate reduction introduced during the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, the duration of this measure is planned until the middle of this year.

At the same time, already this fall, the German Government, along with the introduction of temporarily reduced VAT rates on gas (from 19% down to 7%) until the end of March 2024, also extended the application of the lower VAT rate for catering and hospitality establishments for the second time. From the end of 2022, it was extended until the end of this year.

Although statistics suggest a slowdown over the last two or three months, inflation is simply still very high. Last year, 16 out of a total of 27 EU member states ended the year with double-digit rates (in Hungary, Lithuania and Latvia, they were above 20%), and almost as a rule - wage growth trotted quite far behind the rising prices. Very soon, the Croatian Government will also announce a new framework or a possible extension of the measures regarding electricity and gas prices.

At the end of next month, the deadline for applying the lowest VAT rate of 5% to natural gas deliveries, for which as part of last year's April package of measures for Croatia, the rate was permanently reduced from 25% to down 13%, and exceptionally temporarily - down to a mere 5%.

As part of Croatia's autumn package, a scheme was designed to limit or mitigate the rise in electricity prices for households, the public and non-profit sector, and enterprises, also with the now looming date of March the 31st, 2023 as the expected deadline. It remains to be seen what the solutions will look like from April on, i.e. whether the 5% rate for gas and the existing price limit model for electricity will only be left as it is until a new deadline is drawn up.

However, given the drop in standards (despite nominal growth, the average salary in Croatia has fallen by 5% in real terms over the past year), as well as the fact that an election year is coming, it is easy to assume that issues related to peoples' living standards will gain additional importance. This also facilitates a better state of public finances compared to recent expectations. According to the latest consensus forecast by FocusEconomics, until recently, analysts expected a deficit of around 2% of GDP in 2022. However, it seems that the beneficial effect of inflation (especially with a good summer tourist season) on filling the budget was significantly stronger.

More specifically, in a weekly overview of selected economic and financial topics, the chief economist of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP), Hrvoje Stojic, stated that Croatia "had returned to the budget surplus zone, namely 1.1% of GDP in the consolidated general government budget". This ranks Croatia among only three EU member states that have improved their budget balance compared to the pre-crisis year of 2019.

Admittedly, the surplus in the budget is primarily highlighted by HUP within the wider context of the question of the expediency of introducing an additional income tax and the generally high tax burden compared to the rest of the EU.

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

Friday, 10 February 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Inheritance, Ukrainian Solders and Corruption

February the 10th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, the fallout among certain individuals surrounding the topic of training Ukrainian soldiers in Croatia and elsewhere in the EU has remained heated, Plenkovic's asset card has been up for scrutiny, and SDP's president has accused HDZ of not wanting to solve the pressing issue of corruption at all.

Plenkovic's latest asset card shows he inherited 80,000 euros

The topic of asset cards which showcase what politicians own in terms of property (be it residential or otherwise) and other such items is often a hot topic in the often complex world of Croatian politics. PM Andrej Plenkovic's latest one shows that he has inherited a very nice sum of money indeed. 

Plenkovic recently submitted a new asset card to the Commission for deciding on conflicts of interest, having reported increased savings from 170,000 euros to 250,000 euros. He achieved these increased savings through inheritance, HDZ's main man and the prime minister of the country stated in the newly submitted asset card. It wasn't only Andrej Plenkovic's savings which have increased, his wife Ana Maslac Plenkovic has also seen her cash go up.

Plenkovic also reported over 11,000 euros for his wife, an employee of the Croatian Parliament. The card says that Plenkovic's wife also achieved increased savings through inheritance. The asset card states that the amount of tax paid on inheritance and gifted money stands at 461.90 euros. Plenkovic now has more real estate, but it refers solely to a smaller part of a garden on the island of Hvar, the area of which spans just 25 square metres.

SDP President Pedja Grbin appeared on N1 Television and discussed some of the latest political topics, including corruption

SDP President Pedja Grbin was a guest on recently on N1 Television where he commented on the report of the chief state attorney Zlata Hrvoj Sipek. He recalled his statement from two years ago when he said that Hrvoj Sipek would fail to bring the (very) necessary changes to the system, and added that during her recent questioning in parliament, she didn't mention the fight against corruption even once.

"When it comes to some minor thefts and the like, I think DORH (State Attorney's Office) is doing well, but the problem arises when Plenkovic calls them, because when he does - investigations stop. People within DORH need to work in impossible conditions, they have nowhere to put their files, nor material resources, and who is in charge of all of that? The government, but they don't even want the DORH to function properly and well, while the state attorney barely mentioned it in her own presentation," added SDP's president.

We need to teach children about the harmfulness of corruption, and mechanisms and tools should be incorporated into the state administration system that will reduce corruption to the smallest possible extent. We recently received European Union funds for this, but these funds aren't being used. In a situation where every person can follow their own situation, corruption is almost impossible," continued Grbin:

"HDZ doesn't want to use that EU money because they don't want to fight corruption, instead everything is left to DORH, where when they receive a case in which the letters ''AP'' are mentioned, the file just gets shoved in a drawer. That is just not enough, the fight against corruption also means the reform of public self-government to a better organisation of the healthcare system."

Plenkovic goes to Brussels and claims that those who voted against the training of Ukrainians in Croatia and the rest of the EU in their fight against Russian aggression did so out of ''pure hatred''

The enormous levels of support of the European Union and the European public for Ukraine and its horrific suffering at Russia's hands shows that the vast majority of Europeans clearly see what is evil, and that is Russian aggression.

''It would be good if everyone saw it so clearly in Croatia as well,'' Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday in Brussels, perhaps using the opportunity to take a swipe at Zoran Milanovic for his increasingly odd comments when referring to the Russia-Ukraine war.

"The support of the European Union is still strong and unified, this unity is unprecedented,'' Plenkovic said, and then alluded to certain members of the Croatian Parliament who were against Croatia participating in the training of Ukrainian soldiers. He said those who voted against the idea did so out of hatred.

When asked by a journalist whether Croatian support for Ukraine deflated after the lack of a two-thirds majority in the Parliament that would have bypassed President Zoran Milanovic's veto on the training of Ukrainian soldiers in Croatia, Plenkovic said that it "deflated only among those who keep on trying to please Russian points of view" as well as "individual members of the Croatian Parliament who, out of pure hatred for the government, HDZ or me personally, didn't participate or voted against it".

Plenkovic pointed out that he is convinced that the vast majority of the Croatian people don't share the views of those who are against the training of Ukrainian soldiers.

"As far as the Croatian people are concerned, I'm convinced that the vast majority of the Croatian people, considering our own experience, are very much in solidarity with Ukraine and want to help. It's the government that makes decisions about military aid being sent to Ukraine. We've been doing it continuously, and we'll continue to do it,'' he assured, adding that Croatia will help Ukraine in demining when the conflict finally does end as well.

On Thursday, Zelenski addressed the representatives of the European Parliament, then he came to the European Council for the summit of the leaders of the member states. After that, he held a series of bilateral meetings with various European leaders. The European leaders were divided into four groups for the meetings with the Ukrainian president, and Plenkovic was in a group with the leaders of Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary and Slovenia.

The former Defence Minister within Milanovic's old government has openly stated that he disagrees with the president's somewhat controversial views about the Ukraine issue

Ante Kotromanovic, the former Minister of Defense from Zoran Milanovic's old SDP government, spoke in Dnevnik N1 about the development of the war in Ukraine. Among other things, he stated that he does not consider the training of Ukrainians in Croati to be a prolongation of the war, which is the opposite of the thesis advocated by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic.

Referring to the current mass rocket attacks, Kotromanovic isn't ruling out the option that it could be the offensive that the Russians were talking about in the recent past, but also the option that it is a kind of "greeting" to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who recently returned from Brussels.

"This does seem to me that this could be a prelude to the start of some serious operation. We see these massive rocket attacks and drones that have been terrorising the whole of Ukraine for months now, but we don't see the movements of larger formations on the ground. In my opinion, the Russians definitely need something, something of a more significant victory. This is their last chance. What they've shown so far has been extremely bad. If they don't do something now, the question is whether they will ever have the chance to launch such major offensives again, considering that they're all now exhausted. About 200,000 soldiers have died so far on both sides,'' he stated.

He believes that fighter planes would significantly strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces, but he points out that the tanks that are already arriving from the Western allies will also give them strength. "Both European and American support will remain constant, there will be no oscillations. Especially when it comes to the Americans, they will go all the way and deliver everything the Ukrainians need," Kotromanovic believes.

Speaking about the successes on the Ukrainian battlefield, he emphasised the importance of Ukrainian military skills and military commanders.

"We saw that the Ukrainians are the true masters of improvisation. In a number of cases, they improvised in planning, they had the courage to take over new resources and send them quickly out to the battlefield," said Kotromanovic and added:

"Under the patronage of the US and all the advisers who spent several years there, the Ukrainians changed their narrative and that's why they're more successful than the Russian Army which is direct, as nothing can happen there until the commander-in-chief approves it.''

He believes that there are two reasons for the delay in sending certain weapons over to Ukraine - one reason is that people are now waiting to see how Russia will react, but also sometimes complicated internal politics in certain countries. Now, he says, leaders who support sending their necessary weapons have prevailed.

"I'm only sorry that this didn't happen sooner. I don't agree with the idea that arming Ukraine is prolonging the war. We need to be patient now and leave it to the Ukrainians to decide whether they want to continue the war," said Kotromanovic. Referring clearly to the remark that this is the opposite of the opinion of Zoran Milanovic, in whose government he was a member, Kotromanovic added that Milanovic has his opinion, and that he has his own.


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to check out our dedicated section and keep an eye out for our Week in Croatian Politics which are published each Friday.

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Foreigner Opening Business Bank Account in Croatia: Ajme!

February 9, 2023 - Which bank would you choose? The one that told you that you had to drive 200 kilometres and wait 3 weeks to open a bank account, or the one that did it with a smile and a joke in just 46 minutes?

Not all heroes wear capes...

Over the years, I have learned that in Croatia, there is good bureaucracy and there is bad bureaucracy, and that while there are many in comfortable jobs who see customers as an irritation to their paid daily chill, there are others who go beyond the call of duty.

Legends like Nenad from Raiffeisen Bank in Varazdin.

Bureaucracy in the public sector is one thing, bureaucracy in the private sector quite another. A tale of two banks, one which required a 200 km round trip and 3-week waiting list to open a simple bank account, the other which could perform the task with a smile and a joke in just 46 minutes. Let's hear it for Nenad in the latest video episode from the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel.

Read the original article here, which appeared on Total Croatia News, here


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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Thursday, 9 February 2023

Battle of Vukovar: Rain of Steel Early Game Access Available on Steam

February 9, 2023 - A game called Battle of Vukovar: Rain of Steel has been released on the popular computer video game platform Steam. This is early access to the game; that is, the complete and final version is not yet available and needs to be refined, but it can already be purchased for 9.75 euros.

As Index writes, Battle of Vukovar: Rain of Steel is a first-person strategic war game on a realistic map of Vukovar and its surroundings in the 90s. "Join the historic battle for Vukovar at the end of the 20th century through multiplayer combat. Play in teams choosing one of the five modes or outside the team in a free for all mode. Accomplish your goals using real weapons from the war while moving through an accurate simulation of the city map", reads the game's description on Steam.

The Battle of Vukovar game was developed and released by Cro Game Developers, and they announced it in 2021. Two years ago, they stated the game would be played in the first person, and they claimed that it would be possible to take on the role of real people from the Homeland War and the first mission would feature nineteen-year-old Luka Andijanić and the legendary story of him shooting two planes down.


Battle of Vukovar: Rain of Steel, Steam screenshot

Good and constructive reviews 

The game has collected its first reviews on Steam and some go so far as to give it the potential to reach the strongest shooter of today, Call of Duty, while others point out the shortfalls and provide constructive criticism. All in all, there is a lot of support for the team and the game itself. Here are some of the impressions:

"This game has good potential, hopefully it can be a new call of duty 2 successor. For early access, some things are okay, but there needs to be a lot of changes already. UI is totally bad, looks like it was made in the early 2000, auto sniper is 2 shot kill no matter where you aim as far as I saw, so aiming for the head does the same exact thing as shooting the body, you will need 2 bullets anyway, pistol range needs to be optimized and recoil added, you should be able to shoot through windows (why can't you, it's a normal thing?), you should add a dynamic spawn, for example, if enemies are already in your spawn point, you will continue spawning and getting spawn killed, that needs to be changed, jump height needs to be increased in my opinion, there are boxes that look like they're smaller than the height of your legs, but you can't jump on them, no matter how hard you try", Reflexbull points out.

"The current state of the game is not really pre alpha access more like something even earlier than that. It is not necessarily bad or anything it just needs a lot of work from this point onward. I don't think it's worth 10 euros currently but if it does help the developers and you want to support them sure go ahead, just don't expect something special in the current state", reports the user Bojovnik. 

"This game has big potential. I support new developers in his game and in the first hour and looks interesting. Just keep working and this gonna be my favorite game", wrties Dul3.

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


Thursday, 9 February 2023

Croatian Land Register: Changes to the Registration Process

February 9, 2023 - From tomorrow, February 10, Croatian citizens will no longer be able to submit proposals for registration in the Croatian land register but will have to hire a lawyer or a notary to do it for them electronically.

As Novi List writes, whether you want to register real estate ownership, a mortgage, or a proposal to delete the mortgage, you must hire a lawyer or a notary public. This will be valid from this Friday, as mandated by the amendments to the Land Registration Act which came into force in November, but the application of the provisions that proposals be submitted exclusively electronically and through a lawyer or notary has been postponed until February 10.

Until now, it was possible to do all that through notaries and lawyers electronically, which made it easier for citizens to submit proposals in cities where they do not live as for this, they would often avoid having to travel hundreds of kilometers.

The new rules mean that everyone will have to do it from Friday. However, when that proposal was in public discussion, the Ministry of Justice and Administration emphasized that it would speed up the process and that hiring a notary or a lawyer would not mean an increase in the price of the service.

Court fee

They pointed out that the court fee for electronic registration is 50 percent cheaper. For example, a land registration proposal will now be 125 kunas (EUR 16.6) instead of 250 kunas (33.2 euros) when citizens go to court themselves.

They added one hundred kunas (13.32 euros) of notary fees to that calculation. In the end, they pointed out that the whole deal of the land registration proposal becomes cheaper by HRK 25 or EUR 3.32.

However, not all court fees are HRK 250; in the end, submitting a proposal and hiring a notary might not become cheaper.

The court fee for most submissions, for example, for registration, for pre-registration, for deletion of registration, for deletion of pre-registration, for entry of execution decision, is HRK 50, i.e., 6.64 euros, and this was the only cost the citizens would pay.

Now the court fee is 3.32 euros, but to carry out the work of, for example, erasing the bank's mortgage after the loan has been repaid, citizens must hire a notary or a lawyer, and this costs them an additional 13.32 euros, i.e., the proposal to register all submissions now will be ten euros more expensive.

In this particular example, the state waived court fees, and its income will surely decrease on that item, but in the 13.32 euros of the notary cost, there is a quarter of the money that the notary will pass on to the state.

So, for every job done by lawyers or public notaries, the state will collect 2.70 euros and will thus compensate a good part of the money it lost on court fees.

When proposing these changes, the Ministry pointed out that citizens themselves will be able to submit proposals electronically, but only when the conditions are met.

To begin with, the state does not even have reliable registers of its citizens to embark on such a project. Novi List inquired when they are planning the next step, that is, the possibility for citizens to submit a proposal for registration in the land register electronically without an intermediary, and the Ministry of Justice and Administration did not respond.

The question of how much services will become cheaper, according to their calculation, or how much more expensive they will be after the new rules come into force on Friday also remained unanswered.

More work

There will be more work, the Ministry itself admitted in the explanation of the legal changes, for notaries public. They are counting on the fact that citizens will hire them, rather than lawyers, in greater numbers for work on land records.

They stated that with the decision that proposals can exclusively be submitted electronically, citizens' access to the court would not be limited or hindered because notary public offices are spatially distributed throughout the territory of Croatia.

Citizens will continue to be able to check the status directly at the land registry department, both in the main books and in the document collections.

This means that they will be able to go to the land registry department and get an overview if they cannot or do not want to do it electronically.

In addition, everyone in the e-građani system can still receive an extract from the land register, which serves as a credible and certified document.

However, this was not possible with the proposal submission because the document that is the basis for registration in the land register must be submitted to the court in the original or a certified copy, and the signature on the private document must be certified.

There is still no possibility of issuing electronic documents on which the signature would be certified, so the conditions for the parties to independently submit proposals electronically have not been met.

Electronic submission of proposals for registration in the Croatian land register by lawyers and notaries public began in 2017, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of submitted proposals electronically exceeded 50 percent of all submitted proposals.

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

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Fewer and Fewer Marriages in Croatia, Especially Church-Registered

February 9, 2023 - Eurostat data show that there are fewer and fewer marriages in Croatia, as well as divorces. On the other hand, the number of children born out of wedlock is increasing, as well as the average age at first marriage. The number of civil marriages is rising compared to the number of religious marriages.

These are trends at the level of the European Union that are reflected in Croatia as well, said Dubravka Rogić-Hadžalić, Head of Demographic and Social Statistics at the State Bureau of Statistics, reports Index.

10 percent fewer marriages in 10 years

In 2021, 18,203 marriages were concluded in Croatia, while five or ten years ago, their number was 10 percent higher. Statistics record that 20,323 marriages were concluded in 2012 and 20,310 in 2017. Observing a longer period, a downward trend of marriages is noticeable, with the fewest, 15,196, recorded during the covid pandemic in 2020.

The average age at first marriage is increasing for both the groom and the bride. For example, in 1989, the average age of the bride was 23, and the groom was 27, while in 2021, the average age of newlyweds was 29 and 32.

Over time, the number of religious marriages decreased while the number of civil marriages increased, and almost a quarter of children were born out of wedlock.

52 percent of couples entered into a civil marriage

In 2021, 52 percent of couples entered into a civil marriage, and 48 percent entered a religious marriage, while in 2012, for example, there were 58 percent of religious and 42 percent of civil marriages.

8,598 children were born out of wedlock in Croatia, 24 percent of the total live births. Eurostat data show that, for example, in France, the number of children born out of wedlock is significantly higher and amounts to 62 percent, in Norway 59 percent, Portugal 58, and Slovenia 57 percent.

In 2021, there were 5,100 legally divorced marriages, which is significantly less than in previous years. Thus, in 2016, statistics recorded 7,036 legally divorced marriages.

Rogić-Hadžalić says that the number of divorced marriages is decreasing year by year. The average duration of divorced marriages is 15 years.

Some demographic studies by experts from the Department of Demography link the risk of divorce with the duration of the marriage, so the analysis of a 25-year period showed that the highest risk of divorce is recorded during the fourth and fifth years of marriage. The risk reduces over time for couples who pass the fifth anniversary of marriage.

Fewer births reduce the number of people of marriageable age

In his commentary for Hina, demographer Anđelko Akrap says that the age composition of the population is key to the issue of a lower number of marriages and divorces. He explained that due to the long-term decrease in the number of births, the number of people entering the marriageable age and getting married is decreasing, and a significant number of emigrants since 2008 is also connected with this, which has increased especially since 2013.

Also, young people delay or do not enter into marriage due to economic reasons, for example, the inability to find a place to live and the problem of temporary work contracts in Croatia. Due to the smaller number of marriages, there are also fewer divorces, and it has been shown that marriages are divorced less often in economically uncertain times.

With the number of children in a marriage, the possibility of divorce decreases. Unstable marriages with children are usually divorced after the children reach the age of 14.

Marriage often formalized after the birth of the first child

Akrap also says that the number of children born out of wedlock is increasing, and marriages often only happen after the birth of the first child. This is also the case with church marriages, which occur after the birth of the first child. Thus, the baptism of a child often results in the parents' marriage.

However, regardless of this, the number of church-registered marriages is decreasing, and Akrap says that in the church, marriages are concluded after the newlyweds attend a marriage course, so this can, apart from secularization, affect their lower number.

Croatian society still has, in a positive sense, a fairly traditional approach to marriage and family, but the situation is gradually changing, the demographer says.

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

Thursday, 9 February 2023 Declares Osijek-Baranja the Most Welcoming Croatian Region

February 9, 2023 - The world's leading online travel company,, declared Osijek-Baranja county the most welcoming tourist region in Croatia, the county administration reported on Wednesday.

As Poslovni writes, traditionally, hands out the "Traveller Review Awards" at the beginning of the year. Even though it found itself among the most prestigious destinations for the first time, the users of the online platform have declared Osijek-Baranja County the most welcoming region in Croatia, according to the office of Prefect Ivan Anušić.

They emphasize that this is a confirmation of the hospitality of Slavonia and Baranja and that the county contributes to the development of the continental tourist destination through a series of development grants and the organization of numerous events, which raise the level of the offer.

The director of the Osijek-Baranja county tourist board, Ivana Jurić, said that she sees the recognition of one of the largest platforms for booking tourist services,, as praise for the efforts made so far in the development of continental tourism.

The most important thing in tourism is people, and tourism is made up of those who create products and provide services and thus testify to the authenticity of the places they live in and their products, Jurić assessed.

She reminds that last year the county achieved 2.6 percent more overnight stays compared to the record year 2019, which is an indicator of the tourist offer of the Croatian east becoming more recognizable.

She reported that at the recent tourist fair "Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show," which took place from February 2 to 5, 2023, in London, the offer of destinations from the tourist boards of five Slavonian counties was jointly presented.

We presented the offer of Slavonia to the British market. With culture and enogastronomy as the main motives of the trip, information was sought on the offer related to natural heritage, walking, cycling, and accommodation, said Jurić.

Deputy Mayor Mato Lukić said that it is known that tourists who come to Slavonia and Baranja often emphasize warmth and hospitality and that the recognition of the platform is another confirmation that local tourism workers are doing a good job.

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

Thursday, 9 February 2023

UEFA Youth League: Hajduk Juniors Among Top 16 Teams in Europe!

February 9, 2023 - The Hajduk juniors team qualified for the UEFA Youth League round of 16 (like the youth Champions League) after beating Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 in the playoff match at Poljud on Wednesday. 

Luka Vušković scored the only goal in the 81st minute. Hajduk captain Capan took a free kick from the right side. The wind carried the ball and found the head of the center-back Vušković, who was at the second post, about 10 meters from Shakhtar's goal. Vušković headed the ball high, over Tvardovski, and into the upper left corner for the only goal of the match. 

Vušković had the best chance for Hajduk even before that goal. In the 27th minute, he had another header which Tvardovski managed to get to in time. 

Unfortunately, Vušković did not see the end of the match because he was sent off in the 87th minute.

Apart from those two chances by Vušković in the second half, Hajduk threatened only at the beginning of the game when Kavelj tried to shoot. 

On the other hand, Shakhtar had the best chances from Rasputko in the 9th minute and Buleza in the 52nd minute. Rasputko tried from a free kick, and Buleza after entering the penalty area, but Hajduk's goalkeeper Buljan was in place on both occasions.

After the victory against Shakhtar, Hajduk juniors coach Marijan Budimir acknowledged all the players, as well as the fans who came to support them in negative temperatures. 

"We were calm, but also concentrated, and we reacted to various situations during the match. Luka Vušković is a phenomenon, but I have to highlight all the other players as well. Don't forget, we had six debutants in the team, so I congratulate everyone, and I hope that the draw will grant us the round of 16 at Poljud," Budimir concluded.

Hajduk will find out its opponent in the round of 16 on Monday. They could possibly face Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris SG, Real Madrid, and Sporting Lisbon, or clubs who won first place in the group stage of the competition back in autumn. The round of 16 will be played on February 28 and March 1. 

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

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Penalties for Croatian Doctors Working Unauthorised in Private Practices

February 8, 2023 - Inspection by the Croatian Ministry of Health in some public and private institutions in Zagreb and Split revealed that some Croatian doctors who worked in hospitals were caught outside their workplace and that they were working in private institutions even though they did not have a permit for this from the director of the hospital where they were employed.

Večernji List / Index report. "Doctors who were found to be performing health care activities in institutions other than their primary employer institutions, without the approval of the director, were reported to the competent misdemeanor courts. The directors were also informed about those events in order to take measures in accordance with the Labour Act. In connection with the issue mentioned above, the Ministry of Health will continue to conduct inspections and transparently inform all stakeholders about what has been established," Minister Vili Beroš said.

Some Croatian doctors worked in private practices after they would finish their duties at their primary hospitals or on their days off. The problem lies in the fact that they did not have a permit for that. The valid Ordinance on the additional work of doctors stipulates that doctors who properly fulfill their obligations from the employment relationship and have permission for additional work can conduct such additional work, while working on the side without a permit is considered a violation of the obligations from the employment relationship. When such a violation occurs, the doctor in question will not be allowed to work two jobs for two years.

Even a doctor who works with a permit can end up having it taken away if they do not regularly fulfill their obligations at their primary hospital. Some hospital directors have already acted according to the findings of the inspection and handed warnings to doctors.

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

Page 19 of 3763