Thursday, 22 September 2022

Croatian Koncar Tram Immediately Sold to Latvia's Liepajas Tramvajs

September the 22nd, 2022 - A new Croatian Koncar tram made its way from the well-known Berlin-based InnoTrans Fair directly to Latvia after being sold to the Latvian company Liepajas Tramvajs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the Republic of Croatia is one of only five countries in Europe to have independently developed a low-floor tram system, and it was precisely this model of public transport, the TMK 2300 LT, that was presented as the flagship of the Koncar Group recently at this year's edition of the world's largest transport technology and industry fair - InnoTrans in the German capital of Berlin.

The tram won't return from Germany to the City of Zagreb, but will instead be delivered to a customer in Latvia, Liepajas Tramvajs. To be more precise, 13 out of a total of 14 low-floor Croatian Koncar trams will be delivered by Koncar to the City of Liepaja according to the signed contracts.

As explained by Gordan Kolak, the president of the Koncar Management Board, being part of the world's largest transport industry and technology fair is an additional confirmation of their efforts to create globally recognised high quality products and thus strengthen Croatian industry in this segment.

"We're proud to be able to present our low-floor electric tram, intended for an important European customer, on the InnoTrans stage. We've already confirmed in our long-term high-quality and successful cooperation with Zagreb's ZET that we have the necessary vision, expertise and tools to implement the green and sustainable mobility initiative. Therefore, we expect the further development of the electrification of public transport and opportunities for new cooperation on the European market. We believe that these opportunities and our quality products will be recognised by new potential customers and partners at this year's InnoTrans,'' said Kolak, whose company is struggling on the European market with the competition of tram manufacturers consisting of giants such as Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier and Skoda.

In addition to Croatian Koncar trams, this well-known company has had a lot to say in the segment of city and suburban trains, as well as the modernisation of old diesel-electric locomotives. Koncar's trains are already running along the Croatian Railways system, and they also have plans for technological advances in the future.

''I'm talking about the battery train project, for which HZ Putnicki promet recently announced a tender. As Josip Ninic of Konar explained in Berlin, the battery train project started last year, and the work will continue regardless of the results of HZ's tender.

"Of course, we're being competitive in the tender for the battery train prototype, but even if we don't get the job, we'll finish the project because we have the knowledge and technology for it. I expect that we'll be able to present this new product of ours to the public at InnoTrans in 2024," Ninic said.

He explained that it is a train that will be used for non-electrified railways, and the battery is charged while the train is travelling along the electrified part of the railway or at certain points along the way with fixed chargers. It is also expected that the battery could have a capacity for about 100 kilometres, which would be enough for suburban traffic in cities that don't have electric-energy infrastructure on their railway lines.

In the same way, at least in theory, Zagreb and Split could also be connected in this way, where the railway along that route is mostly not electrified, so that the timetable would provide for shorter stops, 10-15 minutes, at transit stations where the battery would be recharged.

This year's InnoTrans has otherwise been held on 200,000 square metres, it hosted 145,000 visitors and 2,830 exhibitors from more than 60 countries. One of the most interesting premiere products was certainly the first commercial hydrogen train produced by Stadler.

Hydrogen and e-mobility are also the focus of almost all other exhibitors in Berlin. In addition to Croatian Koncar trams, several other Croatian players came to Berlin to present their technology, such as Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Djuro Djakovic, Altpro, and Gredelj, which now operates as part of the Slovakian Tatravagonka Poprad Group.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Istrian Seawater of Excellent Quality Except in Certain Areas

September the 22nd, 2022 - The Istrian seawater is of excellent quality, except for close to the beaches in popular destinations such as Umag, Porec, Rovinj and Fazana.

As Morski writes, the Istrian seawater quality was recently tested at beaches around Istria County. Istria County's Teaching Institute for Public Health conducted the ninth survey in a row from September the 5th to the 13th, 2022, where the Istrian seawater was sampled at 217 measuring points on the beaches from Savudrija to Brestova.

Air and sea temperatures are also normally recorded during this sort of sampling, and this time the sea temperature ranged from 23.0 ºC to 25.8 ºC, while the air temperature ranged from 17 ºC to 28 ºC.

At 210 measuring points, more specifically in 96.8% of the samples, and based on the individual results of microbiological indicators, the excellent quality of the Istrian seawater for swimming was recorded at 6 measuring points. In 2.8% of the samples taken, good seawater quality was recorded for swimming, and at 1 measuring point, so in a mere 0.5% of the samples taken, only satisfactory quality of the seawater for swimming was recorded.

Pursuant to Article 5 of the appropriate regulation, intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli are determined in sea samples as microbiological indicators of seawater pollution, and during the sampling procedures, meteorological conditions, sea temperature and salinity, and visible pollution are all also recorded.

Based on the results of testing the microbiological indicators for individual sampling, seawater quality for swimming is classified as excellent and marked with a circular symbol on the map in blue, good quality seawater is marked on the map in green, satisfactory is marked in yellow and unsatisfactory is marked in red.

As part of this regular ninth examination of the quality of the Istrian sewater for swimming, the results of the sampling of microbiological indicators on September the 6th, 2022 showed that at the Porec, Molindrio, Hotel Molindrio (below the hotel) measuring point, the indicators exceeded the limit values, that is, that microbiological pollution was indeed present there.

However, the results of re-sampling done on September the 7th, 2022 showed that the elevated values ​​of microbiological indicators were steadily decreasing, and the microbiological pollution for the aforementioned locations was characterised only in the short-term and therefore not officially included in the report.

Re-sampling carried out on September the 8th, 2022 showed the end of short-term pollution at the specified measuring point, and in the final report, the specified location was rated as good quality.

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

UEFA Meets on Hvar, as Former Global Stars Play Local Schoolkids

September 21, 2022 - A nice promotion for Hvar as a sporting destination and elite conference centre, as UEFA chiefs and some rather famous faces from yesteryear meet on Croatia's premier island.

Did you know that the football tradition on the island of Hvar dates back more than a century, back to 1913 and the formation of the first club on the island. That is just 2 years later than the oldest club in Croatia, Hajduk Split, which was formed in Prague in 1911. 

Or that Hvar is thought to be the only island in Europe with a fully-functioning island league of 10 teams from 10 different towns and villages, who play each other home and away in the Forska Liga each season. No mean feat when you consider that the permanent population of the island is around 11,000 people. 

Another piece of island football history was written yesterday, as Hvar welcomed the UEFA Executive Committee for their latest meeting, headed by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin. On the agenda were the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying draw procedure, as well as the appointment of hosts for the UEFA European Under-19 Futsal Championships. 

Much more interesting to the local schoolkids was a grassroots event staged at NK Hvar's football pitch in the Krizna Luka suburb of the town, where some rather familiar faces took part in the UEFA Pootball in Schools programme, with local kids pitted against former global superstars such as Zvonimir Boban, Dario Srna, Davor Šuker, Luis Figo, Robbie Keane and Dejan Savićević. Children from schools in Hvar, Jelsa, Stari Grad and Sucuraj took part, as well as kids from the Down Syndrome 21 Association in Split. 

The event was the latest example of Hvar's elite tourism offer, catering to such a high-profile meeting point, and the location gave a tantalising taster of this sunniest of islands, which has more UNESCO heritage than any island in the world. 

The meeting took place in the historic Arsenal building, which has guarded the entrance to Hvar's central square for centuries, and above which is the oldest public theatre in Europe. Across the square, and where many of the delegation were hosted in addition to Hotel Adriana, was the place where organised tourism began in 1868, with the founding of the Hvar Health Society, which welcomed convalescing aristocrats from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, thanks to the generosity of Empress Elisabeta. Today Elisabeta is remembered in the recently upgraded luxury hotel on the same spot which hosted the dignitaries. The Palace Elisabeth hvar heritage hotel was the first 5-star hotel on Hvar when it opened in 2019. It is part of the Suncani Hvar Hotel group, which offers the main conferencing and event management services on the island. 

Where to stay in Hvar Town? Check out the Total Croatia guide.

 

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Klaudija Bozic, from Tampa Bay FL to Dubrovnik

September 22, 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 Klaudija Bozic, who moved from Tampa Bay, FL, to Dubrovnik.

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 lived in the United States, and I decided to make a switch to Croatia due to my family being there. I thought I was going to have better care for my autistic kiddo. I got on the plane as soon as possible; it didn't take long for me to make the switch. 

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

My family did not agree with me switching because they thought I have bigger and better opportunities in the US.  They were painfully aware of the downsides of Croatia, so they thought that it wasn't a good idea. 

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

I used to live in Croatia back in the day, so I haven't really researched much about it, I based my decision on my previous experiences with Croatia. 

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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?

My biggest concern was if the things are the same as I left them back then. The Health System was worrying me, and I was wondering if my son is going to have adequate care in that sort of system. I was fearing him just being a number and not an actual person with difficulties, and unfortunately, my fears were justified. 

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 think I was seeing Croatia through rose-tinted sunglasses. Everything was perfect, and I thought we were gonna figure out things as we go. Unfortunately, we encountered many roadblocks, healthcare-wise, on our path. 

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.

What I love about Croatia is the people. Laid back, relaxed way of life. No one is in a major hurry; people are super polite and willing to help in any way they can. 

What I don't like is the tough economic climate, cost of living ( if you have a Croatian paycheck anyway), and the bureaucracy (everything takes weeks, if not months, to get done). Finding a job is tough, and even if you manage to find one, the paycheck is relatively low compared to other European countries.  

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

My advice to others is to think long and hard about making the switch. Weigh the pros and cons heavily before making the big move. Especially pay attention to the financial costs of everything in Croatia, and if you're going to be able to make it. Check job opportunities as well because you might find yourself in a position where there are no openings at all for your specific profession. 

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

Croatia can better assist those looking to return by fixing bureaucracy, reducing the wait on visas, opening more jobs, and providing more opportunities, especially for younger people looking to move. 

In the end, I decided to move back to the United States. Unfortunately, as mentioned, I have an autistic son. The Healthcare system in Croatia is mostly free, yes, but waiting lists for everything are so long that you are forced to seek private clinics and doctors, even if your case requires urgent attention.

Therefore, healthcare cost in the end (for me) is more expensive than in the US. Including all the therapies and everything, the monthly cost of taking care of my son's needs is around 1000 euros, which is impossible to cover with a Croatian paycheck. People with special needs are not integrated into society as they should be, and that is something Croatia needs to work on majorly. Also worth mentioning, there are not a lot of kindergartens that are working with kids with special needs, and even if there are, prepare to wait for a really long time before you actually get a spot in one. Also worth mentioning, as a healthcare worker, paychecks are much higher in the US, which ultimately forced me to make my final decision to move back. Croatian health care workers are criminally underpaid, work crazy hours, and mostly there is not much space to get promoted or get forward in their field (they often do not offer any classes or schooling like in the US to actually help you forward with your career). I would also like to point out that I'm not talking in an ill matter or bashing Croatia in any shape or form. I love Croatia with all of my heart, and it's my home country, after all. I'm just pointing out ways in which Croatia could improve for its existing and future citizens.

Unfortunately, my son and I are not going to be a part of them, at least not in the near future. If things improve one day, we would be more than happy to go back home. 

 

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Thanks, Klaudija!

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Poduzetnik Editorial: Jobs, the New Attraction for Foreigners in Croatia

September 21, 2022 - I am very grateful to the business magazine Poduzetnik, for inviting me to write the editorial for their September edition. The English translation.

My life has always been random, and if someone had told me a few years ago that I would be a 53-year-old YouTuber (how sad does that sound) on the cover of a successful business magazine, in a custom made suit as part of my role of the first international male model in the 100-year history of Varteks writing an editorial about why I am no longer interested in Croatian tourism, but something much more interesting and inspiring, the only surprise would have been that I made it to 53.

Jobs, the New Attraction for Foreigners in Croatia

I have had the most incredible summer in Croatia and, for the first time in 20 years, apart from 2 nights for the opening of the Peljesac Bridge, I haven't seen the sea at all.

And it has been fantastic.

I am trying an experiment, to live in an imaginary Croatia where there is no coast or tourism, just focusing on what remains. And what remains is quite exceptional. And full of foreign languages.

But these are not the voices solely of tourists on the streets of Zagreb, but of expats, new arrivals for our unicorns, Rimac and Infobip (and others), and a steady stream of digital nomads. In fact, take tourism away and look at what is left, and things get interesting.

Two years ago, nobody knew what a digital nomad was in Croatia. The pandemic, digital nomad visa, and award-winning Zagreb Digital Nomad Week changed all that.

The respected NomadList global survey placed Zagreb as the 5th most-liked city for nomads in the world, as well as the 5th fastest-growing remote work hub in the world. Co-working spaces are EVERYWHERE in the city, and arriving nomads are struck by the choice and diversity of workspaces.

They are struck too by the safety, the level of English, the parks, the nature, the authentic experiences, the lifestyle, the food, the wine, the people. The list goes on.

“The only thing missing in Zagreb for digital nomads,” said Israeli Dean Kuchel, “is more digital nomads. This place has everything.”

To mark my 20 years in Croatia, I recently wrote a series called 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years. It was intended to showcase the magic of Croatian with the right mindset, as well as a thank you to Croatia and its people. Doing business in Dalmatia, the olive harvest, bureaucracy and mindset, safety, raising children, getting sued, the Mighty State of Uhlljebistan.

The reaction was huge. SO many expats and diaspora. After part 7, safety, a Croat in Amsterdam messaged to say she was sending each article to the FORTY international colleagues at their new office in Zagreb. There was no book that explains Croatia to foreigners. We chatted a little – what if I turned this into a book?

“Then I will order 40 copies.”

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And so Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners was born. An affectionate but honest overview of the good, the bad, and the ugly through a foreign eye which has seen more of the country that most locals, failed at business, fought with bureaucracy, and revelled in the lifestyle. It took me 15 years to explain the secret of success in living and doing business in Dalmatia. Fifteen years and one sentence in the book.

Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you.

TCN editor Lauren Simmonds is co-writing the book, with a practical guide for new arrivals; getting an OIB, finding a dentist, residence permits, and opening a bank account. Pre-sales have been extraordinary, with one Croatian company ordering 1,000 copies for a branded edition.

And they are not alone. Working in Croatia is 'in', your safe, authentic lifestyle destination – and with mindset and wealth generation in the package. Tourism? What tourism?

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out in October. For pre-orders, including branded corporate copies, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

 

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners: Contents, Price, and How to Buy

September 21, 2022 - TCN CEO Paul Bradbury and Editor Lauren Simmonds will be publishing Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners next month. So what's in the book, how much does it cost, and where to buy it?

It started out as an attempt to experiment with content writing on LinkedIn and quickly developed into a 200-page book. And it is almost finished and ready for publication ahead of schedule. 

To celebrate my 20 years in Croatia last month, I decided to write a series called 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years on LinkedIn, a platform I had only ever used to post links on TCN. 

The reaction was quite incredible. More than 500 likes on LinkedIn (and over 700 on Facebook) for the first article, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years: 1. Business and Dalmatia

But the more incredible reaction was my red-hot inbox. SO many people contacted me - diaspora looking to return to the Homeland but struggling to find information; diaspora wanting help getting citizenship; people looking to buy real estate in Croatia or to invest; foreigners moving to Croatia in search of information; expats and locals appreciating the story and wanting to share theirs, and Croatian companies with international staff who were trying to find information tools to help their foreign employees acclimatize. 

It did not take long for me to realize that there was a niche in the market that could be filled with a book. And when, after the 7th article in the series - 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years: 7. Safety - a Croatian business executive in Amsterdam messaged me on LinkedIn to ask if there was a chance I could turn this into a book. She explained that her company had opened an office in Zagreb and she was desperately looking for a book that could explain the mystery of this flawed but beautiful land to incoming foreigners, as well as some practical advice for survival, in a language that they could understand.

"If I do it, how many copies will you buy?" I asked.

"At least 40, one for each foreign colleague," came the reply. 

And then I saw it. 

Rimac, Infobip, and many other Croatian companies are now importing quality skilled labor from abroad. There is a growing trend of foreign labor moving to Croatia. Suddenly I realized that here was an opportunity to do something more than a book on my musings over the last 20 years, but to create the (updatable) bible for foreigners coming to this land. A selection of well-written observations on many aspects of daily life here, but also a very practical guide on how to move to Croatia and cope with the daily grind. I could probably have done it on my own with a little effort, but why bother when you have...

TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds has dedicated much of the last 5 years to producing excellent guides on residency and citizenship on TCN, as well as helping countless people in the expat forums. Lauren is also one of the few people who can explain how to open a bank account and make it sound fun. I was delighted when she agreed to write the bulk of the second half of the book - even more delighted when I read the content. Beyond superb. 

So what is in the book,  how much will it cost, when will it be available, and where to buy it?

Let's start with the contents: 

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners

by Paul Bradbury and Lauren Simmonds

Croatia, perfect for a 2-week holiday, but a nightmare for a 12-month living? Or is it?

Meet Paul, who has survived 20 years in Croatia and is loving life more than ever, with an honest appraisal of the good, the bad, and the ugly of full-time living in Croatia. And Lauren, who is going to equip you with all the tools you need to beat the bureaucracy and get the best out of this flawed but magnificent country? As more and more people discover remote work and Croatia, your safe, authentic lifestyle destination, Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is a loving and practical insight into the realities of life here.

Part 1 – 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years

Introduction

1. 13 Years Full-Time Living on a Dalmatian Island

2. Dalmatia and Business

3. The Olive Harvest

4. Croatian Wine

5. Business Meetings and Café Culture

6. Raising Children

7. Safety

8. Bureaucracy and Mindset

9. Croatian Language and J*beni Dialects

10. Dalmatian Wikipedia, The Bench

11. Moving Vegetables

12. Three Stages of Learning for Foreigners in Croatia: Love, Hate & Nirvana

13. Running a News Portal

14. Dealing with Online Trolls

15. Slavonia

16. Vukovar

17. Getting Sued by a Croatian State Institution

18. The Mighty State of Uhljebistan

19. Croatian Food & Drink

20. Reflections on 20 Years and Embracing Croatia 2.0

 

Part 2 – A Practical Guide to Living in Croatia

1. Arrival in Croatia

2. Emergency Services

3. National Holidays

4. Getting around on the ground, at sea, and in the air

5. Driving in Croatia

6. Snakes, sharks, and Croatia’s big three

7. Pets - Laws, strays, dog beaches, and Dalmatians

8. LGBTIQ

9. How to obtain Croatian citizenship

10. Residence Procedures

11. How to get an OIB

12. Opening a Croatian bank account

13. Health insurance

14. Finding an apartment

15. Working - How do I do it legally?

16. Finding a job

17. Volunteering

18. International schools and kindergartens

19. Learning Croatian

20. Meeting people, expat groups, homesickness, and more

21. Buying property

22. Comparison is the thief of joy

 

So where will Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, be available?

It will be available online on Amazon, both as a paperback and also on Kindle.

We are in the process of finalizing agreements with several major bookstores and souvenir shops all over Croatia.

When will Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, be available?

The book will be available online on Amazon in both printed and Kindle form next month.

It is planned for the book to be in the shops in Croatia also next month, but there are things beyond our control on this, so we will keep you posted. But in plenty of time for Christmas for sure.

How much will the book cost?

We are still finalizing pricing, but as a guide, it will be in the region of:

Amazon paperback - US$18 and other currency equivalents.

Amazon Kindle - US$11 and other currency equivalents

In bookstores in Croatia - 119 kuna 

Or buy on the 7-city Book Signing Tour

We are really thrilled with both the level of interest and pre-sales, but also the willingness of Croatian bookstores to stock the book. Discussions are ongoing, but Paul plans to do a 7-city book signing tour (Lauren and Nik Titanik - who did the cover - will join on the Zagreb event) before Christmas to the following cities in partnership with local bookstores:

Varazdin, Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Rijeka, Osijek and Vukovar. 

We will create Facebook events for these, as well as announce them through TCN and social media channels. Paul will also present his Vukovar Card concept in Osijek and Vukovar. 

These book signings will be about an hour in the store, followed by 'Pints with Bradders' in a nearby hostelry, where you can also buy the book. There will be a 10% discount or free drink for purchases on the night. 

Are you a Croatian business interested in a bespoke and branded edition?

The pre-order of 40 copies from the Croatian lady in Amsterdam showed that there was perhaps a market for bespoke and branded editions of the book. After reaching out to some companies and getting a positive response, we have decided to offer this option. 

With a minimum order of 100 copies, but also available in 200, 500, and 1000 copies, the bespoke edition would include a chapter on the company (written by the company), as well as a welcome message from the CEO. The company brand will appear on the cover, and there is the additional option of Nik Titanik incorporating symbols of the company into the caricature. A great addition to the welcome back for new employees or a Christmas gift to friends, family, and business partners. 

Lauren and I are truly grateful for all the phenomenal interest in the book so far, and we are confident that we will deliver a product to match your trust. Thank you!

If you would like to pre-order Croatia a Survival Kit for Foreigners (we are trying to get an idea of how many to print), please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 years TCN

If you are interested in discussing a corporate branded edition, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Corporate. 

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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.

 

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

30,000+ Illegal Buildings in Istria, Labin Mayor Announces Measures

September the 21st, 2022 - There are a shocking 30,000+ illegally constructed buildings in Istria, and Labin Mayor Valter Glavicic has announced measures to combat such ''wild'' construction practices.

As Morski writes, the topic of the illegal felling of as many as six hectares of forest which stretches across the protected Labin-Rabac-Prtlog area by a private company called Mari Top from Zagreb has opened pandora's box when it comes to illegality in Istria. The subject was broached by not only the Labin Mayor, but also by the director of the Natura Histrica Public Institution, Silvia Buttignoni.

This led to discussions about illegal deforestation, subdivision, and of course, the topic that plagues Croatia - illegal construction. Unfortunately, the wider area of Istria County has been dealing with this for decades, but it was only a few years ago that the problem apparently came to the fore of the public's mind, as reported by Glas Istre/The Voice of Istria.

When the topic became much more of a burning one, local self-government unit leaders decided to tackle the problem more intensively, and now increasingly drastic measures are being announced. Local leaders are therefore asking the state to put the proper mechanisms in place in order to make it possible for them to finally start demolishing these illegal structures.

It is interesting to mention that the Labin Mayor, Valter Glavicic, also announced that they are keeping several suspicious locations in the wider area under surveillance and that the authorities will react by reporting any sign of illegal activities, all in order to start solving the problems from the very beginning. Unfortunately, all these plans are still no obstacle to private companies coming in to destroy forests and build illegal buildings everywhere.

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Guaranteed Croatian Gas Prices Until April 2023 for Some This October

September the 21st, 2022 - Croatian gas prices are set to be charged at a guaranteed price for some in the country, which will definitely result in a sigh of relief.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, all public service suppliers will have enough gas for households this winter season, emphasised Ivo Milatic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy after a meeting with gas suppliers that provide such public services.

About 100,000 people in the country who want to change their gas supplier and connect to the public service can wait for the cold weather to come in a more relaxed frame of mind, because gas from the new supplier should start arriving from October, and it will remain at the same price until April the 1st next year. There will be enough gas for all, but certain technical problems should be expected because a huge number of requests will need to be processed in a very short time.

This encouraging message was delivered by representatives of the Ministry of Economy on the sidelines of the recent Government session, which was chaired by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recently after he recovered from COVID-19 and came out of isolation, as reported by Novi list.

State intervention

The Zagreb gas plant (GPZO) is under the greatest pressure from people who more than understandably want cheaper Croatian gas prices, a service to which about 70,000 people want to switch. Its director Jeronim Tomas said that the connection of new consumers is expected by October the 1st, with a guaranteed price set in stone. This should not be a problem, but it is important, he warned, to solve the technical difficulties implied.

''People will have to read all of their gas meters by the end of this month,'' Milatic pointed out, adding that everyone who wants to switch from market service to public service must be allowed to do so by October the 1st, 2022. However, he noted, this transition could take longer due to the large number of requests that have come flooding in, so there is a possibility that some time will pass before people begin receiving their first bills with these set Croatian gas prices on them.

"We asked HERA, the gas supplier and distributor, to publicly and clearly explain all this to the public by the end of the week," emphasised Milatic, adding that the suppliers do happen to run out of gas, the state is more than ready to intervene and help them.

"If one of the suppliers does begin to experience a supply problem, HEP Plin (Gas) is a guaranteed supplier and it would once again assume the obligation to supply those same people with gas,'' Milatic assured. The onslaught on public gas suppliers in many Croatian cities occurred after many smaller suppliers on the market could no longer deliver gas to people at more favourable prices.

Recently, the government lowered the price of diesel fuel, which now costs 12.29 per litre, a considerable 59 kuna less than before. Petrol will be being sold for 10.58 kuna, one lipa more, while the price of blue diesel will remain the same, which is 8.49 kuna per litre.

"Since diesel prices on the Mediterranean market dropped significantly on Thursday and Friday, we decided to go with this new regulation, because this reduction in the market will be reflected in the reduction of retail prices here," explained Davor Filipovic, Minister of Economy.

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

5000 New People Employed in Croatian Public Sector in Just Two Years

September the 21st, 2022 - The over-inflated Croatian public sector has become richer for a massive 5000 new employees in a relatively short period of just two years.

Many people refer to the public sector in this country as being bloated, with others considering that the vast majority of the jobs people are employed for within the sector no longer necessary. Hopes were high that the digital era that Croatia has been more or less forced into by the coronavirus pandemic would see enormous changes to this, but it doesn't seem as if things have gone quite as digital with less people involved as we initially hoped.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, from the pandemic-dominated year of 2020 which changed the way the world worked as we knew it to the end of June 2022, judging by the data provided to Lider by the Ministry of Justice, the number of employees in the Croatian public sector increased by five thousand new employees.

As such, on the last day of June 2022, 175,913 people were employed in the Croatian public sector, and on June the 30th, 2020, 170,915 people were employed by the same state body.

In their second mandate, HDZ Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's government employed around 1,500 new people in state bodies alone, this includes the government, various different ministries, central state offices and the like.

At the beginning of the year 2020, 31,954 people worked there, and at the end of June of this year, 33,105 people were employed in those same state bodies.

However, it's worth noting that this number does not include employees of the Ministry of the Interior (MUP), given the fact that an enormous 25,431 people work within that system, and in the two pandemic-dominated years of 2020 and 2021, the number of employees there also grew - but only by six people, Lider writes.

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Croatian Cannons Used in Homeland War Now Defending Ukraine

September the 21st, 2022 - Croatian cannons and other weaponry which were used to defend the likes of Zadar, Sukosan and Sibenik from Serbian onslaught are now being used once again to help defend Ukraine from Russian aggression.

Croatia's more recent experience with war than any other European country puts it in a better position to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia than most other nations, and to know that the weapons used during the Homeland War which saw Croatia become an independent state and fend off Serbian aggression are now aiding Ukraine in its mission to send the Russians packing is one of those full circle stories.

As Morski/Jurica Gaspar writes, the recently delivered Croatian cannons (M-46, 130 mm caliber) are already being used on the front lines in Ukraine, and these weapons are precisely those cannons which once defended Sukosan, Zadar and Sibenik, and were also an important factor in the Maslenica liberation operation.

''The Ukrainian Army is already using them on the front lines in the Donetsk region. In addition to the M-46 cannons, the Ukrainian Army received a significant amount of ammunition,'' it was announced on the Ukraine Weapons Tracker Twitter page.

''Those Croatian cannons were also with us in Zadar. More precisely in Sukosan,'' explained Zadar Weekly journalist Sinisa Klarica, who himself participated in the Homeland War in the 112th brigade of the ZNG and the 159th brigade of the Croatian Army.

''I saw them when I went to intervene in Debeljak in the 159th brigade. They were right next to the cemetery in Sukosan. At that time, we camouflaged the cannons well, so I'm not sure how many of them there were.

The Croatian cannons that defended Sibenik and were also key in the Maslenica liberation operation, and they're now doing the same job over in Ukraine in some of the areas of the country where the fighting is most intense.

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

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