Thursday, 19 January 2023

Obesity in Croatia in Alarming Second Place in Europe

January 19, 2023 - If there is anything as diverse as Croatia's landscape, it's the cuisine. From meats and paprika dishes in the east to olive oil, truffles, and cheese on the coast, the country eats well. Maybe a little too well. Apparently, obesity in Croatia has reached an alarming level. The country ranks second in Europe in terms of the number of overweight people, with a part of the population still unaware of their obesity.

As stated in their press release, the new WHO European Regional Obesity Report 2022, published on 3 May by the WHO Regional Office for Europe, revealed that overweight and obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions across the Region and are still escalating, with none of the 53 Member States of the Region currently on track to meet the WHO Global Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) target of halting the rise of obesity by 2025.

They further emphasize that “Obesity knows no borders. In Europe and Central Asia, no single country is going to meet the WHO Global NCD target of halting the rise of obesity,” said Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “The countries in our Region are incredibly diverse, but every one is challenged to some degree. By creating environments that are more enabling, promoting investment and innovation in health, and developing strong and resilient health systems, we can change the trajectory of obesity in the Region.”

In Croatia, as HRT / Poslovni report, a part of the population is unaware of their obesity. Therefore, until the end of the year, various activities will be implemented to promote a healthy lifestyle. Their mission will primarily be to encourage Croatian citizens to start changing their eating habits and exercise levels.

Varaždin County will draw attention to this major social problem with the project "Recipe for Health - Promoting Obesity Awareness," which is 85% financed by the European Social Fund. Until the end of the year, various activities will promote a healthy lifestyle, primarily by encouraging citizens to change their eating habits and exercise.

"The project will be implemented through several levels and studies. A round table is scheduled for our general hospital doctors, as well as healthy eating and regular exercise workshops for the general population. The involvement of our students of the University of North, that is, of young health workers in this story of encouraging awareness about obesity, is great," stressed Assoc. Ph.D. Alen Pajtak, Head of the Department of Abdominal Surgery of Varaždin General Hospital.

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

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Indian Unicorn Amagi Opens First Foreign Development Centre in Zagreb

January the 19th, 2023 - The Indian unicorn Amagi has chosen the Republic of Croatia, more specifically Zagreb, for the opening up of its very first development centre outside of Indian borders. This is excellent news for the country and job opportunities are set to open up.

As Josipa Ban/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, while a fairly decent number of Croatian technology companies are moving their headquarters outside of this country's borders, we're also seeing the opposite, which is very important news for all of Croatia. The Indian unicorn Amagi has decided to open its very first research and development centre outside of India right here in Zagreb.

The office has only just opened, and hiring should begin soon, according to the media technology company founded back in 2008, which provides "cloud" content broadcasting services and targeted advertising solutions for broadcasting on TV and streaming platforms.

The Indian unicorn Amagi is, therefore, a global SaaS leader that provides video solutions "in the cloud". It isn't yet exactly known how many people will be employed by this company here in Croatia and just how much will be invested. However, the company has stated that they decided on Croatia because they had already cooperated with local experts, so they decided to use that cooperation for further development.

"The high level of productivity of Croatian experts, along with a good balance between private and business life, makes Croatia an excellent location for a successful high-tech company like Amagi. We plan to expand and we will do so both in and outside of Croatia," said Sanjay Kirimanjeshwar, the vice president of the Indian unicorn Amagi, who is also in charge of marketing.

As for the development centre here in Zagreb, he says that it is difficult to go into details about product development. "But what we can confirm is that their work will be instrumental in accelerating the growth of streaming TV and FAST, especially in technologies that include big data, UHD Graphics, Dolby Vision, JPEG-XS, machine learning and personalisation," revealed Kirimanjeshwar.

The brand new centre here in Zagreb will be led by Igor Marinic, Marko Horvat and Danijel Peric, and it should enable this successful Indian company to expand more into the European market.

"Thanks to the research and development centre in Croatia, we'll be closer to our users and will be able to offer them the technological support they need in real time," said Baskar Subramanian, the CEO and co-founder of the Indian unicorn Amagi, a company that sells its solutions across more than 40 countries of the world, whose client list includes the likes of ABS-CBN, AccuWeather, A+E Networks UK, Cinedigm, Cox Media Group, Crackle Plus, Fremantle and numerous other impressive names.

The arrival of Amagi here in Croatia was actually not publicly known, but preparations had been underway for some time now, according to an inspection of the Court Register, which shows that the company in Zagreb (Amagi Eastern Europe d.o.o.) was founded in April last year.

Besides the fact that the Indian unicorn Amagi certainly has its own calculations when it comes to the opening their first foreign development centre in Zagreb, it's clear that this is a great thing economically for Croatia and its experts who will now get the opportunity to work on the development of some of the most advanced video and communication technologies. This was also confirmed by a statement from Igor Marinic, the general director of Amagi Eastern Europe.

"Croatia has successfully established itself on the global technological map as a country which creates the best talent, therefore we're confident that the newly opened Amagi development centre will be one of the key drivers of further growth and success," he pointed out. The company also received an investment of slightly more than 100 million US dollars just two months ago (in November 2022) from the American investment company General Atlantic.

With the capital raised, the value of the company increased from 1 billion dollars, which was what they were worth back in March 2022, when they received an investment of 95 million dollars, to a whopping 1.4 billion dollars. They achieve 100% annual revenue growth and employ more than 800 people worldwide. Part of the investment will obviously also be invested in the newly opened development centre here in Croatia, but the exact amount is currently unknown.

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

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Much Loved Croatian Company Pipi Aiming for Foreign Markets in 2023

January the 19th, 2023 - The much loved Croatian company Pipi is set to spread its wings this year, with aims at conquering foreign markets and having them love the recognisable brand as much as the domestic market does.

As Mladen Miletic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian company Pipi, known for its funny marketing campaigns for its famous drinks, has entered 2023 with reinforcements in the team, Marketing, sales and project manager Zoran Kosanovic was hired as an advisor to the company's Management Board, and will be in charge of co-creating strategic and development decisions of the iconic Pipi brand.

With this appointment, Kosanovic has officially joined the Pipi team, whose main focus for this year is to expand its share here on the domestic market even more, and to enter and conquer new foreign markets.

"By bringing in Zoran Kosanovic, we made an additional step forward in terms of our company's overall development. We've been joined by an investor from our niche who will help us to further capitalise on the potential of our brand. We did a great job with the rebranding of the Croatian company Pipi, we recently sent our first container of our products off to the USA, we made numerous contacts with other markets, and the goal now is to achieve growth abroad," said Pipi CEO Luka Diel-Zadro.

Zoran Kosanovic has otherwise worked in the FMCG industry for the past twenty years, holding the position of Marketing Director of Red Bull Croatia, and therefore bringing a wealth of priceless experience to the domestic brand.

He also worked in managerial positions at the Procter&Gamble company, he is one of the global pioneers of Shopper Marketing.

"Pipi represents a challenge for me, primarily because of the potential of the brand. It has been going on for more than fifty years now, it's always been innovative, different, and because of all of that, the challenge is greater. A special strength is the community which is all for the classic #bolimepipi philosophy, and the launch of the Pipi boutique was a small revolution within the niche of beverages," stated Kosanovic of his new appointment within the Croatian company Pipi.

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Croatian Roaming Charges in Serbia, BiH, Macedonia to be Abolished?

January the 18th, 2023 - Expensive Croatian roaming charges for those with Croatian phone packages visiting Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are set to be abolished through a new agreement, much to the delight of many.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this year, a new and very welcome agreement on roaming should come into force, thanks to which those using Croatian roaming services could pay for telecommunication services abroad at the same prices as we pay here at home, and this would span a considerably wider area than before.

In particular, with the exceptions of countries of the European Union/European Economic Area (including the UK) which are mutually covered by an agreement, Croatian roaming users should soon pay the same prices as we do at home when paying visits to the non-EEA countries of the Western Balkans, and the same would apply to their citizens when they're here in the EU.

"The point that was discussed at the Committee for European Affairs, and now will be discussed at a plenary session. Those are the Prime Minister's reports from the meetings of the European Council last year. In that report, among other things, it has been written that an agreement was reached with the teleoperators at the level of the European Council that the matter should be initiated this year," MP Bojan Glavasevic confirmed for N1.

"Perhaps by the end of this year, a new form of roaming will come to life in which residents of the EU and those living in the non-EEA countries of the Western Balkans would pay the same prices as they would with their own national tariffs," added Glavasevic.

This agreement would therefore cover all the countries of the Western Balkans that are currently in accession negotiations with the European Union, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia.

"This is a very good message to send out to those countries, it's an incentive for further reforms, which will be followed by further benefits", Glavasevic assessed when discussing the welcome new move.

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Despite Croatian Euro Price Hikes, Prices Actually Fell in December 2022

January the 18th, 2023 - Despite all of the panic and in many cases confusion surrounding Croatian euro introduction, ongoing inflation and price hikes, prices for an array of products actually fell back in December last year.

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, quite on the contrary to public perception and the current clamor and naming and shaming of the culprits for price increases in the context of Croatian euro introduction, December 2022 ended with a monthly drop in consumer prices.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of the 2022, prices were on average 0.3% lower compared to what they were in November, which brought the annual inflation rate down from 13.5% in November to 13.1% at the end of December. Looking at the annual average, consumer prices last year were 10.8% higher than they were just one year before.

Last month's decline is, admittedly, primarily the result of lower transportation costs, i.e. the price reduction of petroleum products during December. In addition, seasonal reductions in clothing and footwear, as well as somewhat lower housing and utility costs (in the part influenced by fuel prices) also contributed to the monthly decline to a slightly lesser extent.

In short, as the transportation category accounts for about 15 percent of expenses within the consumer basket, their drop by 4% "overpowered" the price increases in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group. The share of this group in the expenses of the average household budget is significantly higher (26%), but the prices of food and beverages on a monthly level, according to the CBS, increased by a significantly smaller 1.2%. That's what the average more or less looks like, but some food products went up in terms of cost significantly more in December.

For example, when compared to November, the price of butter in Croatia rose by as much as 11% (22.8% on an annual basis), eggs by 9.2% (compared to December the year before, they were 64.5% more expensive), and more than the average monthly increase in food prices also increased the prices of bread, pork, fish, milk and dairy products, fish, olive oil, and so on.

Overall, the annual inflation rate for food and non-alcoholic beverages stood at 19% at the end of the year. If only food is considered here, then annual growth has only been slightly moderated, from 19.7 to a barelt different 19.6%.

However, in addition to the aforementioned prices of eggs and butter, a number of foodstuffs on an annual level record price increases of more than 20 percent; from bread, cheese and sugar, which at the end of 2022 compared to the end of 2021, increased in price by more than 30% (bread by almost 33%, cheeses by 34%), to, for example, frozen vegetables which carried almost 45% higher prices on average.

Although last month's prices of oil derivatives indicated that it would be a significant inflation shock absorber, some analysts will say that they still expected inflation to remain at around 13.5% at the end of December.

For the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), the latest data from the CBS isn't remotely unexpected. They also pointed out that the annual rate could culminate in January, after which it should fall once again over the coming months. The rise in service prices basically reflects the incomplete recovery of aggregate demand after the coronavirus pandemic finally subsided, as well as the labour shortage and the delayed adjustment to last year's input price increases - these are just some of the main points of the comments of HUP and their chief economist Hrvoje Stojic.

In addition to all of the above, they are reminiscent of signals related to core inflation. If volatile food and energy prices are excluded from all of this, the basic measure of inflation simultaneously shows its annual growth at 9.7%, from 8.9% back in November.

"This indicates that inflation will remain at high single-digit levels for the foreseeable future," they stated from HUP. In terms of the twelve-month average, after last year's 10.8 percent, according to their forecasts, this would mean a drop to the still relatively high 7.5 percent inflation this year. The expectation of lower monthly inflation dynamics is explained by the expected decline in aggregate demand, i.e. the technical recession over the first half of the year, as well as the stabilisation of energy prices, the normalisation of supply chains and a certain decline in the prices of food raw materials.

Energy prices, which are currently in decline thanks to an extremely mild winter across all of Europe, are still being calculated with a relatively high uncertainty factor.

"Despite government subsidies, electricity prices are still about four times higher than pre-2021 levels, which is symptomatic of a long-term energy crisis. This summer, a new race between EU member states to fill gas storage will begin, so the European Commission (EU) needs to provide new mechanisms for stabilising those energy prices,'' they pointed out from HUP. If the proposed price limit had been in effect last summer, the EU probably wouldn't have provided sufficient quantities of gas even to those who were perfectly able pay at the prices above the typical price limit.

The simultaneous fall in inflation across the Eurozone during the first half of the year could encourage speculation about the end of the cycle of growth of the ECB's reference interest rates. However, HUP is remaining strong in its belief that core inflation across the Eurozone, as well as right here in Croatia, will remain well above the ECB's inflation target of around 2% in the foreseeable future.

"Furthermore, fiscal expansion continues and wage growth accelerates, which may also affect price expectations. For this reason, a further increase in the deposit rate to 3.25-3.50 percent by the summer of 2023 is to be expected in the ongoing and seemingly tireless fight against inflation. The rise in interest rates along with the simultaneous planned reduction of the ECB's balance sheet at a rate of 15 billion euros per month from March onwards will also contribute to the deterioration of financing conditions in a situation where financing needs are growing strongly in many Eurozone countries, including in this country, where Croatian euro banknotes and coins are now the new currency.

If we stick to the latest figures from the CBS on inflation across the country in the month preceding Croatian euro introduction and the confusion surrounding conversion and ongoing inflation, it remains to be noted that in 2022, in addition to food and non-alcoholic beverages, above-average price growth was also recorded in the categories of restaurants and hotels (17.1%), furniture and household equipment (16.1%) and housing and related utilities (16%).

Due to the market movement of oil prices, and due to the Croatian Government's various economic measures, the transportation sector ended in 2022 with an annual growth of only 8.4 percent. If only fuels are considered within that category, where annual inflation stood at a whopping 21.5 percent in January last year, 2022 ended with a price increase of only 6.7 percent.

For more on Croatian euro introduction and inflation, make sure to check out our news section.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Slavonia Full of Heartbreak: Demographic Decline of Vukovar-Srijem County

January 18, 2023 - Slavonia is trying its hardest to remain full of life, but how is everything in and around it doing in reality? Not well. Vukovar-Srijem County is indeed still full of heartbreak. As much as things are starting to look up in some ways in the county's central point with the city of Vukovar looking better and better, some of its citizens deciding to stay, fight, and drive the economy themselves, tourists visiting more and staying longer; the area is still in significant social, moral, and demographic decline. 

As SiB / Danas.hr write, after the final results of the population census were finally released last year, there was a decrease in the number of inhabitants in the Vukovar-Srijem County compared to 2011. The county lost 35,083 inhabitants (a drop of 19.54 percent), with 13.6 percent fewer residents in Vukovar.

The Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) has published data on the places where the most significant depopulation occurred from 2015 to 2020 and the most significant increase in the number of inhabitants

The Vukovar Srijem County has had the highest rate of population emigration in the European Union, amounting to -2.5% per year. On the other hand, the Greek island of Ikaria recorded the highest increase of 2.8% per year.

Recall, after the final results of the population census were finally released last year, there was a decrease in the number of inhabitants in the Vukovar-Srijem County compared to 2011. The county lost 35,083 inhabitants (a drop of 19.54 percent), and there are 13.6 percent fewer residents of Vukovar.

Požega Slavonia County ranks second in the EU in terms of emigration rate, with it being -2. From 2015 to 2020, Osijek-Baranja County recorded an emigration rate of -1.7%. Brod-Posavina recorded -2.1%, and Virovitica-Podravina -2.1%. The Sisak-Moslavina County is also ranking quite high (or low) with -2.1%, while all other Croatian counties recorded a much lower rate of emigration, around -1% or less. The City of Zagreb, on the other hand, has seen a positive change of 0.2%.

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Croatian Glovo Tipping Culture Tops List in 25 Countries

January the 18th, 2023 - Croatian Glovo tipping culture has well and truly topped the list when it comes to the 25 countries in which the wildly popular delivery service operates.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Glovo delivery service, recognisable for its bright yellow bags, is one of the world's leading applications for the delivery of several product categories. It recently presented its ordering trends for the year 2022 based on the activities of Croatian Glovo users spanning 29 cities.

When it comes to ordering food, users of the Glovo application here in Croatia prefer American, Italian and Middle Eastern food, and their favourite dishes are hamburgers, pizzas and of course - kebabs. However, Glovo data shows an encouraging and growing preference of Croatian residents for traditional food (+118% in orders when compared to 2021) and healthy food (+60%).

One of the most popular categories in the Q-commerce vertical of the Glovo application for year 2022 was the products "Flowers and gifts" with 65% more orders having been processed by the company.

That romance is still alive and kicking was shown by the data for Valentine's Day last year, when Croatian Glovo users ordered flowers most of all in 2022. Moreover, one Croatian Glovo user made as many as 65 flower orders throughout one single year!

Pet owners also made 162% more orders through this vey handy app last year. What is particularly interesting is that most orders intended for animals were made during the morning hours - between 10:00 and 11:00. When we hear Glovo delivers anything, we first think of food, but Glovo is much more than that and that will have become obvious to anyone who has ever used the service. One of the requests with the most comments registered in the "Anything" section of the app was for: moving boxes, curtains and bicycle tyres.

Croatian Glovo users utilise this application the most on Fridays, and the time of day with the highest consumption in 2022 was between 19:00 and 20:00, most likely for ordering dinner. During 2022, the day with the most orders on Glovo of all in Croatia was February the 4th.

The Croatian record holder for the number of orders in 2022 is a user with a total of 648 orders, while the highest order value in 2022 was achieved by a user from Split: 8,500 kuna for a smartphone.

How much Glovo means to those of us living in Croatia has also been showcased by the large number of tips given to Glovo delivery people, and Croatian residents have ranked first place out of the 25 markets on which Glovo operates. Last year, the cities where Croatian Glovo users tipped the most were Sibenik (with more than 23% customers tipping), Cakovec (22%) and Rijeka (21.5%). Zagreb is only 11th place in the list of tipping cities in Croatia (with 19.21% of users in Zagreb tipping Glovo delivery people).

In 2022, an increase in scheduled orders of as much as 174% was recorded by Croatian Glovo users. Although the people of Zagreb used the "Scheduled orders" option the most, Bjelovar and Cakovec are the cities where this trend recorded the highest growth of all, with it increasing +572% and +426% respectively when compared to 2021.

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

How To Deal With Online Trolls in Croatia (and Beyond)

January 18, 2023 - A look into the realities of running a news portal in the modern era, and dealing with an unavoidable reality - online trolls.

I don't think I have ever had as much abuse in my life as running a news portal in Croatia. At first, I was a little shocked and intimidated, but after a while, I came to appreciate my online trolls, and to celebrate them. So much so that I dedicated a whole chapter of my latest book to them.

When I started Total Hvar almost 12 years ago, I was SO sensitive about comments, and I would consider changing articles on the basis of comments. I didn't want to offend people. It wasn't long before I learned that you can't please everyone in this beautiful land, and that being true to oneself was the best course. 

And, slowly, over time, I came to quite enjoy the abuse, and I decided to celebrate it. I even started to feel a little affectionate towards my online trolls. So much so in fact that I genuinely find it hard to get out of bed unless there is a ton of abuse in my inbox. 

And now, a vlog on my new YouTube channel, Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert. To the Keyboard Warriors of Croatia, I salute you.

As true patriots, may I suggest that for every negative comment you post on the trip, you pick up a piece of trash on a Croatian beach. What a clean country we would have then.

****

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.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2023

How to Croatia - New People, Expat Groups, Homesickness and More

January the 18th, 2023 - In this edition of How to Croatia, I'm going to take you through some of the sometimes rather surprising and unpleasant motions (and emotions) living abroad can stir up. From expat groups to dealing with homesickness and more, making it work means getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Remember when you were a kid and it was enough to tell another random kid you’d never met before that you liked his toy dinosaur and that was it, you ended up being friends with no questions asked. How simple life once was. As adults who obsess over our insecurities, what others might think of us, and worst case scenarios, we tend to overcomplicate making connections, especially genuine ones. Spoiled by being older and wiser, we add layers of complexity to things that should be simple, create barriers where there doesn’t need to be any, and sometimes even seek to protect ourselves from discomfort or embarrassment by not putting ourselves out there.

Did you know that we make our minds up about others within about ten seconds of meeting them? It’s subconscious and automatic. This is because back when we were living in caves and trying to avoid being killed by sabre toothed tigers, we didn’t have the time to spend getting to know others on a deeper level. I suppose when your life is all about churning out offspring and becoming old and decrepit at about 25, things like that aren’t quite as important. Times have changed dramatically, but we still tend to make up our minds to a certain degree about others based on the energy we feel from them when we first meet. First impressions are everything, as they say. Meeting people in Croatia might be a bit more complicated because of the language barriers, but deep down - we all speak the same language, and decency transcends everything else.

Many foreigners tend to think Croats are a bit standoffish because they tend not to walk around with beaming smiles plastered across their faces. While people in the UK have even been known to apologise to inanimate objects when bumping into them, you’ll likely not notice that here. Despite typically not being seen grinning from ear to ear, the truth of the matter is that Croatian people would usually give you the shirts off their backs if asked. 

Croats speak English to an extremely impressive standard, but even an attempt at speaking Croatian (which is notoriously difficult and most Croats are aware of that), will win you instant appreciation with most people. A friendly ‘dobar dan’ (good day), ‘dobro jutro’ (good morning) or ‘doviđenja’ (or just ‘đenja’ for short) will elicit a smile and help develop connections. I’ll jump more into language a bit later on.

Expats who like to live their lives in expat bubbles full of their own nationality or indeed different nationalities who have also come to live in Croatia do so understandably. Humans are social animals, we seek out what feels most comfortable, and the craving for something familiar can be extremely strong when spending extended periods of time abroad, and that doesn’t really fade no matter the length of time spent outside your home country. 

I still have cravings for Greggs sausage rolls and every time I go to England, which is every few months or so, I transport myself back in time with the taste of them, proper fish and chips and Irish bacon. My mum’s Sunday dinners are something irreplaceable, and even if they could somehow be made in Croatia, I honestly don’t think I’d want to eat them anywhere else but in my childhood home. I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here (the thought of sausage rolls does have that effect), but my point is that feeling homesick and longing for home comforts isn’t unusual, and what might be a hard pill to swallow is the fact that while it will fade in and out, this will likely never go away. It’s human, and while frustrating, it’s completely natural.

Don’t limit yourself to other expats only

Feeling like you don’t quite belong here (being home) or there (being Croatia) often leads expats in Croatia to associate and build relationships solely with those from their country of origin. While understandable, doing so will limit your understanding of Croatia and Croats enormously. Becoming friendly with the locals will see doors open up to you in a way you might not expect, despite how obvious and logical it might seem to read it. Understanding the country you’re in on any deeper level gives you the opportunity to see the wood from the trees, broaden your horizons and grasp another way of life, even if not entirely. 

While I’m a huge proponent of immersion, I am absolutely aware that saying ‘just speak to people’ is a daunting task and much more easily said than done. Feeling comfortable in a new place is a gradual process which happens over time and isn’t straightforward, so if you’re just interested in meeting others who will more than likely share the same struggles, have the same problems, and be feeling the same feelings as you for now while you get settled and find your feet, I’d recommend introducing yourself to some expat groups. There are several large and very active and helpful ones to be found on - you guessed it - Facebook.

Expat groups

There are expat groups for various locations all over the country, from Osijek to Dubrovnik and everywhere in between, and most of them are very active. Asking questions there will help get you realistic answers from people who have experienced things themselves, introducing yourself there will quickly gain you some friends, and observing what’s posted there will keep you up to date on events and the like which you might not have known about otherwise, especially if you’re still working on learning Croatian.

Expats in Zagreb [Official], Expats meet Split, Dubrovnik Foreign Circle, Expats of Dalmatia, Expats in Dubrovnik, Expats on Brač, Korčula, Hvar Comunita Degli Italiani Spalato, Croatian Australian NZ-ers and Friends in Split, Expats in Trogir, Americans in Croatia, Chilenos en Croacia, Indians in Croatia, Latinos en Croacia, Svenskar i Kroatien, South Africans in Croatia… I could go on, but you probably get my drift. These are just some of the expat groups on Facebook, so you’ll find something that suits you without any problem at all.

There are usually local Croats who are members of these groups, too.

For more on finding your feet in Croatia, be it regarding setting up your health insurance and finding a job and somewhere to live, to driving and learning to avoid snakes and bears, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section and our How to Croatia series, which is published every Wednesday.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Krsko Nuclear Power Plant Verified to Operate for Another 20 Years

January 17, 2023 - The Krsko nuclear power plant, co-owned by Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP) and Slovenia's GEN Energija, can keep operating for another 20 years until the end of 2043.

As Jutarnji List/Index write, the decision was made by the Slovenian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Spatial Planning, which issued an environmental permit for the extension of the Krsko nuclear plant's operation.

HEP points out that this decision "has strategic importance, both for the Croatian Electric Industry, as a 50 percent co-owner of NEK, and for the entire Croatian energy sector, from an economic, energy and environmental aspect, especially in the circumstances of the current energy crisis."

The Krsko nuclear power plant, which was put into operation in 1983, produces an average of 5.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, divided equally between Croatia and Slovenia. This means that the Krsko plant annually covers about 20 percent of Slovenia's needs and about 16 percent of Croatia's needs for electricity.

A long and complex procedure

HEP points out that in 2022, the Croatian share of production from the Krsko plant amounted to 2.65 TWh, which accounted for 14.42 percent of the total available electricity in Croatia. This year, the Krsko plant is expected to produce more than six billion kWh of electricity.

The process of obtaining environmental consent was long and highly complex. Several scientific institutions from Croatia and Slovenia participated in the preparation of documentation, analysis, and expert evaluations, as well as the preparation of the environmental impact assessment, and a cross-border environmental impact assessment was also carried out with the neighboring countries of Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Austria and, additionally, Germany.

According to the available information, in addition to the environmental consent, the condition for extending the operation of the Krsko nuclear power plant was the successful completion of the modernization and increase of the safety of the power plant, which was fulfilled by the conclusion of the Nuclear Safety Modernization Program.

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

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