Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Croatian Public Procurement Disputes to be Resolved in Euros in 2023

September the 6th, 2022 - Croatian public procurement issues and disputes will be settled solely in euros when we enter 2023, even if they were initially concluded and contracted in Croatian kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, on the first day when officially all prices must be expressed in euros in addition to Croatian kuna, many were surprised that in the very recently announced tenders of state and public bodies and institutions, as well as companies, the highest prices willing to be paid for a particular job were not stated in the new currency (euros) at all.

In all contracts on the Electronic Croatian Public Procurement Bulletin, absolutely all the latest offers are displayed exclusively in kuna.

Evaluations carried out in euros

For the private sector, a large fine of up to 100,000 kuna is foreseen for non-compliance with the obligation to properly display prices in both kuna and euros until the end of 2022. What we're seeing with the failure to display prices in both euros and kuna in this sense is (rather surprisingly) nothing to do with the classic sluggishness of Croatian state bureaucracy, but about the use of an opportunity provided by legislation.

The so-called guideline for adjusting Croatian public procurement procedures to the process of replacing the Croatian kuna with the euro, which was prepared in July by the Directorate for Trade and Public Procurement Policy of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, discussed this in depth. That official document provides details on how the introduction of the euro will be treated in Croatian public procurement procedures, and the starting point is that in public procurement, there is actually no obligation to display prices in both kuna and euros.

This also applies to the preparatory period, which began on July the 15th 2022, as well as the dual pricing circulation period, which began on September the 5th.

Over the past month or two, some legal experts have pointed out to their clients the situation in which they may find themselves when engaged in these procedures, especially in cases where bids are submitted this year and evaluations are due to be performed only in 2023. They advised them to be guided by the official kuna-euro ratio immediately when forming their offers, regardless of whether the tender for a specific job provides for it or not.

As stipulated in the guidelines, in cases where the bids are submitted by December the 31st of this year, and the evaluation is carried out the following year, companies should display their prices in kuna amounts, and the evaluation will be performed in euros. This takes into account the fact that the conversion will take place automatically, at a fixed conversion rate, and in the full amount, not rounded to two decimal places, i.e. in the amount of 7.53450 kuna for one euro.

The guidelines specifically emphasise that the conversion of currencies must not under any circumstances result in an increase in the price or value of goods and services.

Concluded contracts in kuna

In all Croatian public procurement procedures started this year, for which the appeal procedures within the State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures are set to be resolved after the New Year, and the selected bidder is rejected, the most economically advantageous offer will have to be made solely in euros.

In Croatian public procurement cases initiated this year, but with their bid submission deadlines marked out in 2023, the value of the work will be assessed only in kuna, and the currency will be the euro during the selection process which follows. As far as already concluded contracts are concerned, for all issued purchase orders until the end of this year, invoices will need to be issued in kuna, and after that in euros.

For the executed parts of contracts this year, for which invoices were issued this year, but the company is set to pay it in 2023, they will be carried out in euros. For framework agreements of a longer duration, invoices will be issued in kuna until the end of the year, and thereafter in euros. After the New Year, the only currency for Croatian public procurement procedures of any type will be the euro.

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

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Nano Energies Croatia Has Innovative Method for Lowering Energy Costs

September the 6th, 2022 - Nano Energies Croatia (Hrvatska) has some innovative methods for lowering spiralling electricity costs, which are posing more and more of a threat to everyone in society as the situation continues to be dire.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the energy sector is going through an extremely turbulent period that is deeply affecting both companies and regular households. Rising energy prices, the war in Ukraine, the need for decarbonisation and the need to digitise everything have made the need to find more innovative and sustainable solutions much, much more urgent. System optimisation, flexible consumption, the general reduction of the human carbon footprint and the reduction of business costs for companies and households are all pressing issues.

An innovative solution has been put forward by Nano Energies Croatia, a daughter company of the group of the same name from the Czech Republic, which is otherwise the first Croatian company to which HERA issued a license to carry out energy aggregation activities. It is a business model of a kind of "energy consulting", i.e. energy management that can save companies 10-20 percent of their electricity costs, and is financed according to the well-known ESCO model.

Ultimately, Nano Energies Croatia plans to offer Croatian users an electricity storage service in the foreseeable future. The service they're bringing to the Croatian market focuses on smart management and the overall flexibility of energy use. In practice, this means that it offers companies and electricity producers the possibility of managing their own consumption and production of electricity in order to reduce their business costs and profit from the movement of electricity prices on short-term markets. At the same time, the flexible management of production and/or consumption benefits the entire power grid and helps prevent interruptions in the supply of individual parts of the grid.

As explained by Dominik Maricevic, the manager of Nano Energies Croatia, given the accelerated decentralisation of the Croatian power system, the activity of aggregation has become an extremely important part of it.

"The unstable production of renewable energy sources has brought a challenge to the management of power systems. Frequency fluctuations within the power grid must be minimised to keep the grid stable. An independent aggregator with its distributed assets can play a key role in smoothing out such fluctuations. Therefore, our task is to create a network of small producers, consumers, as well as electricity storage tanks, so that they can react at any time and "offer" stability to the power system, but at the same time ensure access to profitable balancing energy markets. In this way, we'll manage to both speed up and reduce the costs of the energy transition for Croatian users, and at the same time create the proper preconditions for the connection of new renewable energy sources to the electric power system," explained Maricevic.

Stanislav Chvala, CEO of the Czech technology company Nano Energies, also emphasised that their license to operate on the Croatian market opens up numerous completely new opportunities for them.

"With flexible management, we can increase our customers' income by up to several tens of percent. Experiences from Western markets shows us that flexibility aggregators replace fossil fuel and nuclear power plants and enable the transition to sustainable energy. We can use the potential of the electricity that would otherwise remain unused. We can adjust consumption and production so that the customer produces electricity when it is the most expensive, and consumes it when it's the cheapest. The customer themselves doesn't notice this during operation, because everything takes place automatically, and at the same time contributes to the stabilisation of the network without the need to include coal-fired power plants in balancing the system," said Chvala.

Reconstruction of the network

He added that Europe has already started to rethink and rebuild its overall energy network and it is clear that in the coming years there will be a huge increase in the use of RES.

"Historically, the time when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine was compensated for by gas and coal power plants, but this is an increasingly unsustainable situation for geopolitical reasons, as well as the need to preserve the environment. We have to look elsewhere for flexibility," he concluded.

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

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Battery Electric Trains to Run Along Croatian Railway Lines

September the 6th, 2022 - Croatian railway lines aren't exactly the subject of many words of praise. In fact, the entire train network and system requires an overhaul of epic proportions and pales horribly in comparison to the rest of the country's public transport offer, which in most respects is very good. Battery electric trains are apparently set to take to Croatian railway lines in the future.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, although the Republic of Croatia actually does have an extensive network of railways, 635 kilometres per million inhabitants to be more precise, the network is outdated with non-standardised parameters, that is, it only has a small number of kilometres of double-track and electrified railways, and according to many indicators, Croatian railway lines are at the very back of the EU in terms of service efficiency.

With that being said, large investments in Croatian railway lines, trains and overall infrastructure should soon change that, and on that track, the HZ Passenger transport (Putnicki prijevoz) tender has just been announced for the procurement of two battery electric train prototypes and six connections for charging those drive batteries along the country's railway network.

As explained from HZ Passenger transport, the company currently organises Croatia's train network with 60 diesel engine trains that are older than 40 years and whose service life is rapidly running out.

When taking into account this obsolescence and generally large financial investments in an additional electrification system, a logical way thinking and a solution to the current situation is offered by introducing battery electric trains. In this case, this would mean the acquisition of two new train prototypes and the delivery and commissioning of six stable energy connections for charging the drive batteries at locations in Varazdin, Bjelovar, Virovitica, Osijek, Split and Pula.

The battery electric train (BEMV) has a battery that is charged at the terminals, but also along the electrified part of the track as it runs along it, and they would be used on mixed tracks for the destinations Zagreb - Varazdin, Bjelovar, Virovitica and Osijek.

On the other hand, the battery motor train (BMV) is charged only at stable energy connections and would be used along mostly non-electrified tracks on the routes from Zagreb to Split and Pula. The deadline for the delivery of these battery trains to HZ Passenger transport is 20 months from the signing of the contract.

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

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Opatija Tourism Figures at 92% of Pre-Pandemic 2019

September the 6th, 2022 - Opatija tourism figures are looking more than promising so far, having achieved an impressive 92 percent of the overnight stays realised back during the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the first eight months of this year, 863,000 overnight stays were realised in the gorgeous Kvarner town of Opatija, which is 46 percent more than the same period last year and 92 percent of the turnover realised back during the record year od 2019, the Tourist Board of the City of Opatija reported on Monday.

The director of the Opatija Tourist Board, Suzi Petricic, pointed out that the most requested and filled were high-class accommodation facilities, hotels or private accommodation units such as villas with swimming pools in the Opatija hinterland.

''After an excellent pre season and good results in the height of the summer season, we're now turning to the challenging post season,'' said the director of the Opatija Tourist Board, announcing the upcoming Chocolate Festival and Advent in Opatija.

63 percent of the overnight stays making up these Opatija tourism figures were realised in hotels, 34 percent in private accommodation, while 3 percent of overnight stays were in non-commercial accommodation. Over the course of eight months, the most numerous guests were from other parts of the Republic of Croatia, and the most overnight stays were realised by guests visiting from Germany (21 percent) and nearby Austria (19 percent).

In August 2022, 243,000 overnight stays were recorded, which is 93 percent of the Opatija tourism figures realised back during August 2019.

About 53 percent of overnight stays realised during the month of August in Opatija were in hotels, 44 percent in private accommodation, and the remaining 3 percent of overnight stays refer to non-commercial accommodation facilities.

The most numerous guests were from Germany, who accounted for 31 percent of all of the town's registered overnight stays, followed by Austrians with 15 percent.

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

Monday, 5 September 2022

Interreg Connecting Cruise 2022: Replica of Roman Ship Sails into Vukovar

September 5, 2022 – Even though the summer is not yet completely gone, and many tourists are still spending their days at the beautiful beaches of the Adriatic Sea, September is a special month all around Croatia. In Vukovar, a replica of a Roman ship sails in on Tuesday the 6th of September to tell stories of the Roman times.

With events popping up left and right, celebrating wine, movement, foodart, and a lot more, you will find something to do wherever you go. Among them, the coast of the Danube and Vukovar shine yet again to show that eastern Slavonia is, in fact, full of life 365 days a year.

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Interreg: The ship's route and programme

As part of the international Interreg project Living Danube Limes, on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, a replica of a Roman ship from the 4th century will sail into Vukovar. The ship started its journey on the Danube Limes on July 15, 2022, in Germany, and after having sailed through Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, it arrived in Croatia. The crew, made up of international volunteers, has sailed to Batina, Aljmaš, and Dalj in Croatia on the way to Vukovar, and after a two-day stay in Vukovar, the ship will continue its journey towards Ilok and further down the Danube to the Black Sea. The Croatian partner of the project is the Institute of Archaeology, which, together with the City Museum of Vukovar and the Vučedol Culture Museum, participated in the organisation of this event in Vukovar.

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Vukovar Municipal Museum: The programme in Vukovar - the arrival of the ship on Tuesday, educational workshops, lectures, and a pub quiz on Wednesday

On this occasion, the Vukovar Municipal Museum prepared various content for all ages, from workshops for children and adults, and lectures on the topic of making a ship replica to a museum pub quiz. It should be pointed out that the replica of the ship will be available for viewing by all interested visitors on both days. They invite all citizens to join in and experience the atmosphere of the Roman era in the 21st century.

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

Monday, 5 September 2022

Government Measures Rescued Hotels, Can They Rescue Croatian Farmers?

September the 5th, 2022 - Croatian Government measures rapidly introduced for those most negatively affected by the global coronavirus pandemic managed to see many hotels keep their heads above water throughout that unprecedented crisis. Croatian farmers are now seeking the same aid for the agriculture sector, battered by a severe drought.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, due to the unprecedented drought and owing to the impact of energy prices on production costs, including the problem of lack of fodder, Croatian farmers are rightly fearful of an extremely uncertain autumn. Several counties across the nation have declared a natural disaster, and the agricultural sector is increasingly relying on the government's autumn aid package.

The board of directors of the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) said after last week's session that it believes that the government will now help suffering Croatian farmers as it did with hotels and inns after the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic back in 2020.

''Without the powers that be stepping firmly in, long-term consequences are likely, not only for this part of the economy, but indirectly for others as well,'' warned Mladen Jakopovic, president of the HPK.

The Chamber had input calculations made in certain segments of production, and Jakopovic says that this will show the losses suffered by Croatian farmers and the rest of the domestic agriculture sector. Representatives of the Chamber recently presented some proposals to Minister Marija Vuckovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, from earlier advance payments of subsidies and cancellation of leases for agricultural land and the gradual abolition of blue diesel. On Friday, at the opening of Viroexpo in Virovitica, the Prime Minister said that the government will "take care that Croatian farmers and fishermen get a special place in the new package".

Croatian farmers say they've never experienced a drought like this one, and the same is true for other European farmers across the continent. Even in the United Kingdom, known for its relatively pleasant summers and plenty of rain, the situation has been bizarre. The very concerning data from the so-called dashboards of the European Drought Observatory also confirm that what we've experienced this year is unusual.

The drought hit the spring crops the hardest of all, and although the drop in yields also depends on the area's micro location, both corn and potato crops suffered the most, but barley, sunflower, and wheat also had significantly lower yields. The combination of drought and intermittent heat waves also caused the forced ripening of various fruits and vegetables. At the same time, the movement of gas prices, announcements of an imminent increase in the price of electricity and more expensive artificial fertiliser make this autumn's harvest uncertain, although the weather conditions are currently encouraging for the sowing of rapeseed, for example. The situation is no less burdensome in animal husbandry, either. All production cycles that take place within closed spaces are more exposed to rapidly rising energy prices.

Along with the weak corn crop, there is also the problem of corn silage, which "almost doesn't exist", according to the head of HPK. Some herders from Lika complained that they had already started their animals on consuming "winter food" in the middle of August. In some neighbouring countries, cattle have also started to be sold for these reasons. This is precisely why the recent drop in meat prices on European stock markets, especially beef, is attributed to this, but they could go up again with the winter months.

''There are expectations of weakening demand due to expensive energy and fears of recession, as well as the pressure of quantities from the Black Sea on prices and difficult logistics. Then we've got the problem of droughts acrpss Europe and Asia, not to mention the constant risk of a new escalation of the conflict in Ukraine,'' pointed out Robert Jurisic from the company S-Grain BI, which specialises in agricultural commodities.

Due to the high price of gas as a result of spiralling inflationary pressures, a number of fertiliser producers across Europe have announced they'll soon stop being made. (the Norwegian Yara, the German SKW Piesteritz and BASF, the Polish Azoty). The problem of energy products is being constantly and intensively dealt with within the European Commission (EC), which is now strongly considering the possibility of freezing prices. The government's package is expected sooner than usual, and whether Croatian farmers will be satisfied with their share of these billions will be known soon.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business and politics sections.

Monday, 5 September 2022

Croatia Team Announced for Denmark and Austria Nations League Matches

September 5, 2022 - Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić has announced the list of players for the September Denmark and Austria Nations League matches.

After four rounds, Croatia holds second place in the group with seven points, and with two wins, they would secure first place and thus a place in the Nations League final tournament. Croatia can reach the "Final Four" in other ways, and it needs a point to avoid the last place that leads to League B, reports HNS

Croatia will host Denmark at Maksimir on September 22 at 8:45 pm and play against Austria three days later at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna (8:45 pm). Tickets for both matches can be found HERE.

The 2018 World Cup finalists will gather on September 19 in Zagreb, and coach Dalić has invited 25 players with seven potential call-ups. 

"We still have two weeks until we reunite, and during that period, we will intensively monitor the reserve players and see who else we could call up. Also, in agreement with the U-21 national team coach, Igor Bišćan, we will consider whether any of the players invited here join the young national team for the crucial match against Denmark," said coach Dalić.

"As is usual at the start of the season, we have certain challenges - some have injury problems, some players have changed clubs, and some have changed status within the team. Clearly, this list largely reflects our thoughts ahead of the World Cup, but we have more than two months until then and, of course, the fight for certain positions is still open," said the coach.

"We did a great job with victories in Denmark and France; these were performances that boost confidence and confirm the high potential and quality of our national team. With these results, we put ourselves in a position to secure the final tournament, which would be an outstanding result in such a competition, but we know that it will not be easy. We saw at home against Austria what it means if we are not at one hundred percent from the first minute - the only way is maximum togetherness and compactness. We're going step by step, we value both opponents, but we believe in ourselves, and of course, we're going for two victories," coach Dalić is optimistic.

"First of all, given the calendar this year, we must see these matches as preparation for the World Cup. Therefore, we want to see a compact, competitive, and ready Croatia, and at the same time gain knowledge about what we still need to improve before Qatar," concluded Dalić.

Croatia squad

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Lovre Kalinić, Ivica Ivušić

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barišić, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Martin Erlić, Josip Šutalo

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Lovro Majer, Luka Sučić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja

Reserves: Josip Brekalo, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Luka Ivanušec, Marin Pongračić, Kristijan Jakić, Antonio Mirko Čolak, Nediljko Labrović

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

Monday, 5 September 2022

Art Camp, Workshops for Ukrainian Teachers and Artists Held on Mali Brijun

September the 5th, 2022 - The gorgeous Mali Brijun has been playing host to Ukrainian artists and teachers who will use what they learned here in helping Ukrainian children cope with the terrible trauma of war upon return to their ravaged homeland.

As Morski writes, about thirty Ukrainians, mostly artists, teachers and pedagogues, arrived at Mali Brijun recently. By attending various music and movement workshops, they learned how to deal with war trauma of their own, and they will also apply their newly acquired skills when working with Ukrainian children when they return home to their country.

Everyday alarms were replaced by music, and art in general has become a refuge for Ukrainian children and their parents.

''This was an incredible experience for us, we had the opportunity to learn not only from a mentor but also from each other, to be here on Mali Brijun together, we'll take the energy from this place back home with us,'' said Svetlana Bazanova, a Ukrainian drama teacher.

''It's nice that we could come and be here, it's also important to me professionally as this experience will connect me with the whole community,'' emphasised Jana Zelenska, another drama pedagogue. Most of the Ukrainian families who have arrived in Istria are from war-torn Kharkiv. In a few days, they will return to their homeland and pass on the knowledge they have learned while spending time on beautiful Mali Brijun to their colleagues.

''Through art therapy, we learn how to deal with emotions, how to help ourselves to deal with fear and trauma, and how to help others, especially children,'' emphasised Veronika Skolarova, the project manager.

''It took us some time to build trust, a safe circle inside, but as the days progressed, people relaxed more and more and we all did more and more,'' said Irena Magas, a music therapist. This praiseworthy project was conceived by Lenka Udovicki and Nigel Osbourne from the Ulysses Theatre.

''We can do some simple things through art. Music and movement can regulate breathing, singing and emotions,'' pointed out Nigel Osbourne, who is a composer and a music therapist. After the workshops held on Mali Brijun, art therapy education is set to continue back home in Ukraine, HRT Magazin reports.

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

Monday, 5 September 2022

Croatian Red Cross - Beach Clean Ups and Blood Pressure Readings

September the 5th, 2022 - The Croatian Red Cross recently teamed up with the administration of Mljet National Park and the Mljet Volunteer Centre, where not only did they organise beach clean ups, but they also measured people's blood pressure.

As Morski writes, as part of the cooperation of the Croatian Red Cross Dubrovnik branch, the Mljet National Park, and the Mljet Volunteer Centre, on September the 3rd, volunteers of the Croatian Red Cross cleaned the stunning Grabovo cove of rubbish, including various pieces of floating debris of different origins, and prepared part of the track for the Mljet Trail race.

The aforementioned trail race will be held on October the 8th in this truly stunning Dalmatian national park which attracts visitors of all kinds from far and wide each and every year without fail.

As part of the same campaign held within Mljet National Park, more precisely in Babin Polje and Pomena, the measurement of blood pressure and blood sugar was organised for both residents and visitors alike.

The volunteers spent the weekend at the Mljet Volunteer Centre, where after their volunteer work was finished, in the company of employees of Mljet National Park, they will visit numerous places and take in some of the sights of the Republic of Croatia's heavily visited southernmost and greenest national park.

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

Monday, 5 September 2022

Despite Drought, Istrian Grape Harvest Promises Quality Crop

September the 5th, 2022 - The Istrian grape harvest is promising a high quality crop despite the long period of drought which has threatened Croatian fruit and vegetable production up and down the country so far this summer.

As Morski writes, the Istrian grape harvest has begun, and despite the damage caused by the prolonged drought, the grapes appear to be healthy and the yields, although slightly lower, are of good quality as the recent rains have replenished the berries and mitigated most of the losses.

''I think that the drought has shown its effects and left traces of about 10 percent, we've calculated that there will be less grapes,'' said Moreno Coronica, a winemaker from Umag.

The Markezic family will harvest the usual eight to nine tonnes of grapes per hectare from their vines spanning the rolling hills of Momjan. The first bunches for the production of sparkling wine were harvested about ten days ago, and now Malvasia is being harvested for still wines.

''It's not hard work. It's not really heavy going, it's even a kind of relaxation. There's enough sugar in the berries, the acids are low, which is ideal for Malvasia. Everything is right as far as the grapes are concerned, in terms of both freshness and the sugars. So, we will get a wine with around 13 percent alcohol, freshness around 5.5 and 6 percent acidity,'' explained Marino Markezeic from Momjan.

While the Istrian grape harvest is going on and appears to be quite successful, offering a very welcome breath of fresh air to growers, other plantations of various fruit and vegetables haven't been so lucky in other parts of the country, particularly in Dalmatia and as far as olives are concerned. Inflation is set to push prices up even more, with consumers likely needing to fork out more to purchase these top Croatian products.

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

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