Friday, 24 June 2022

EU Leaders Endorse Croatia's Entry into Euro Area

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - The European Council on Friday endorsed Croatia's entry into the euro area on 1 January next year.

"Today, at the European Council, Croatia received support from the highest political level for membership in the euro area. On 1 January we will achieve the Croatian government's strategic goal of joining the euro area. The benefits of membership will be felt by Croatian citizens and the economy, which will be even more resilient to crises," Prime Minister Andrej Plenović said on his Twitter account.

"The euro is the monetary expression of our shared destiny and has been part of our European dream. Now the dream comes true for Croatia," European Council President Charles Michel tweeted.

EU leaders supported the recommendation on Croatia's entry into the euro area on Friday. This is the second-last step in the decision-making process. The last step will be the adoption of three legislative proposals on Croatia's entry, which will take place at a meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council on 12 July, and from 1 January next year the euro will be the official currency in Croatia.

Croatia will be the 20th member of the euro area. It will be the first enlargement of the euro area since 2015 when Lithuania joined.

Together with Slovenia, Croatia is the country that spent the least time in the euro waiting room, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, the minimum two years, while Lithuania, for example, spent 11 years and Latvia nine years in the ERM II.

When first introduced in 1999, the euro was the so-called book currency, and the euro area consisted of 11 of the then 15 EU member states. Greece joined in 2001, just a year before the euro was physically introduced, followed by Slovenia in 2007, Cyprus and Malta in 2008, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011, Latvia in 2014 and Lithuania in 2015.

By adopting the euro as its legal tender, Croatia joins the Eurosystem, which consists of the European Central Bank and the central banks of the euro area member states, and the Governor of the Croatian National Bank joins the Governing Council of the European Central Bank. The Minister of Finance participates in Eurogroup meetings and the Prime Minister in eurozone summits.

Croatia also automatically becomes a member of the banking union, the banking supervision and resolution system.

Friday, 24 June 2022

ECHR: Croatia has Violated Rights of Flat Owners with Protected Lessees

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) published two verdicts in which it found that Croatia had violated the right of owners to use their flats that were occupied by protected lessees, and in one of the verdicts, compensation of over more than €100,000 was awarded.

The applicants brought a civil action before the Croatian courts seeking the eviction of the protected lessees from their flats in Split and Zagreb. The Croatian courts dismissed their claims, a Croatian government agent before the Strasbourg court reported.

The ECHR reiterated that the violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms stems from Croatian legislation itself, as has already been established in several judgments in relation to Croatia.

The applicants therefore could not effectively collect the amount of the protected rent or regain possession of their flat.

The Strasbourg court noted that Croatian courts have developed the practice that flat owners can claim payment of the difference between the amount of market and protected rent in civil proceedings before Croatian courts. However, the new case law became established only after the applicants had lodged a claim with the European Court and did not benefit them.

Therefore, ECHR jointly awarded the owners of the apartment in Split, who sought compensation for pecuniary damage with an amount of €106,200 in respect of the difference between the protected and the corresponding rent, as well as €13,340 in respect of non-pecuniary damages and costs.

The owner of the Zagreb flat was awarded compensation for non-pecuniary damage in the amount of €5,000. Both verdicts are final.

Friday, 24 June 2022

New Omicron Subvariants Increasingly Present in Croatia

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - New, more contagious subvariants of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus have been detected in Croatia, causing a considerable increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases this week, the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) said on Friday.

In a situation where all epidemiological measures have been lifted, the virus is spreading faster, and the new subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are more successful in avoiding the immunity acquired by vaccination or recovery, the HZJZ said.

On Friday, Croatia registered 612 new COVID-19 cases and four related deaths, compared to 206 new cases recorded on 1 June.

The subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have been found in 15 per cent of the samples that Croatia has sent to a European laboratory for sequencing.

The HZJZ noted that despite the greater virulence of the new subvariants, vaccinated people are still pretty well protected against more serious forms of the disease and hospitalisation.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 are recommended to get vaccinated at least three months after the recovery because the protection acquired by recovery subsides over time.

The director of Zagreb's Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić, said that the situation was being closely monitored and that she could not rule out the possibility that the current increase in case numbers would be called a new wave of the epidemic.

"The spread of the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 makes it possible for people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered to be infected, but these are mostly mild clinical forms that pass in a day or two. It is important that chronic patients continue to practise epidemiological measures and protection, so we invite them again to get vaccinated," Markotić told Hina.

She noted that the two new subvariants were likely to soon become dominant in Europe, and added that new Omicron-specific vaccines were still not registered either in Europe or in the United States.

Friday, 24 June 2022

CA: Cause of Damage to Plane Still Unknown, but Certainly Not Shot At

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - The cause of the damage to a Croatia Airlines (CA) aircraft that landed in Sarajevo late on Wednesday is still unknown, but it certainly wasn't from a firearm, the national flag carrier told a news briefing on Friday.

The Dash 8-Q400 aircraft was on a regular flight from Zagreb to Sarajevo when it suffered mechanical damage. A ballistic examination found no traces of gunpowder on the plane, disproving the speculation that the damage was caused by a gunshot.

The investigation and inspection conducted in Sarajevo has confirmed for now that it is mechanical damage to the aircraft's skin, said Tomislav Štimac, Deputy Director of Technology at Croatia Airlines.

Robert Kruljac, Earth Services Manager and Crisis and Emergency Management Manager at CA, said that it was not yet known how the damage occurred, but it could have been caused by a sharp object, possibly a stone on the runway. Both Sarajevo and Zagreb airports have been asked to clean their runways.

Kruljac is of the opinion that the damage was caused either during take-off or landing rather than when the plane was airborne.

He explained that planes are inspected after each take-off and landing, and since the mechanic in Sarajevo saw the damage after landing, ballistic expertise was requested in order to remove any doubts about the cause, in particular the possibility that the plane had been shot at.

The plane will return to Zagreb on Friday where a detailed inspection will be conducted. Once the damage has been entirely repaired, the aircraft will be put back into commercial use, possibly next week, the national flag carrier said.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Zelenskyy Thanks Croatia for Helping with Its Experience in Defense of Country

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy individually thanked each leader of the EU member states for granting his country candidate status, including Croatia's Prime Minister for "helping with the experience of defending freedom," Ukrainian media reported on Friday.

"Croatia is with us. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your help with the experience we are using to protect our freedom,” Zelenskyy said on Thursday after Ukraine was granted EU candidate status, according to the Ukrainian Kyiv Post.

Addressing EU leaders on Thursday, Zelenskyy said they had made one of the most important decisions for Ukraine in its 30 years of independence.

"However, I believe that this decision is not only for Ukraine. "This is the biggest step towards strengthening Europe that could be taken right now, in our time and in such difficult conditions, when the Russian war is testing our ability to preserve freedom and unity," Zelensky said.

The leaders of the EU member states made a historic decision in Brussels on Thursday and granted candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and promised a European perspective to Georgia.

Ukraine and Moldova received candidate status in the shortest possible time until now.

Ukraine submitted a request on 28 February this year, four days after the Russian invasion, and a few days later the same was done by Georgia and Moldova.

As early as 7 March, the European Council asked the European Commission to draw up an opinion on these requests. The EC did so on 17 June.

Croatia, for example, applied for membership on 21 February 2003, and two months later the Council asked the Commission to issue an opinion.

One year later, in April 2004, the Commission issued its opinion for Croatia, and its candidate status was granted in June 2004. Croatia joined the EU in mid-2013.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Belonging to Euro Area Boosts Croatia's Resilience to Crises, says PM

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - Support for Croatia's eurozone membership bid is an excellent sign for its highly euroized economy and will also boost its resilience to crises, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday ahead of the start of the second day of the EU summit meeting.

One of the topics on the agenda of the two-day summit meeting is Croatia's entry into the euro area, and the leaders of the EU members states will support Croatia's accession, which is the penultimate step in the decision-making on receiving an aspirant in the euro area.

The last step is the adoption of three legislative proposals concerning Croatia's introduction of the euro, which will be made by the Council for Economy and Finance (EU Ecofin Council) on 12 July.

Thus, Croatia's changeover to the euro can start on 1 January 2023.

Today's summit meeting is very important for Croatia, which will become the 20th member of the euro area. This is a strategic goal of my cabinet, said Plenković while arriving at the summit meeting.

7 in 10 tourists in Croatia come from the euro area

Commenting on the highly euroized economy in Croatia, Plenković noted that 50-60% of loans and savings are tied to the euro, and 70% of travellers visiting Croatia are from the euro area, while two-thirds of the exchange is with the euro area.

The membership of the euro area will make Croatia better prepared to respond to crises such as energy and food crises or inflationary pressure, he said adding that the membership of the EU facilitated Croatia's efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Port of Rijeka: Requests for Ukraine Grain Transshipment Trice Higher than Capacity

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - The Port of Rijeka is receiving inquiries about its possibilities for the transshipment of Ukrainian grain, blocked currently in silos in Black Sea ports due to the war, however, the port's limited capacities make it impossible to grant all the requests, says the Rijeka port's management chair.

The management boar's chairman Duško Grabovac has recently told Hina that "the pressure is mounting".

A new harvest is to start, and their silos (in Ukraine) are full, Grabovac told the Croatian reporters during a recent business forum within the Three Seas Initiative summit meeting in the Latvian capital city of Riga.

In 2019, Ukraine exported 16% of the global reserves of maize and 42% of sunflower oil, according to the data provided by the United Nations.

Over the recent weeks, traders are seeking alternative routes for the transport of grain from Ukraine and the Port of Rijeka is therefore is receiving more and more requests.

Grabovac said that the capacity of the silo in this northern Croatian seaport is 55,000 tonnes.

Therefore it is difficult to meet all the requests, he explains.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 24 June 2022

INmusic Ends, Kasabian Headliner on Last Day of Festival

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - Kasabian, a British rock band, was the headliner of the last day of INmusic that ended at Jarun Lake, Zagreb, on late Thursday night.

They made their Croatian debut at the INmusic festival in 2017.

The festival's director, Zoran Marić, told Hina that an estimated 100,000 people passed through the four-day festival.

According to Marić, 45% of the audience were foreigners, most of them arrived from Great Britain, Slovenia, Italy, and Hungary.

Some of the stars at the 15th edition of the festival were Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Killers, and Deftones. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Croatia Coronavirus Update: 612 News Cases, Four Deaths, 468 Recoveries

ZAGREB, 24 June 2022 - In the last 24 hours, there have been 612 new cases of the infection with coronavirus, and four more COVID patients have died, while  468 have recovered from this infectious disease, Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team reported on Friday.

Currently, 229 patients are receiving hospital treatment for this disease, and five of them are on ventilators.

Until 23 June, 59.54% of the total population, or 70.81% of adults were vaccinated against this disease which has so far taken 16,047 lives in Croatia.

For everything you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Croatian Company AD Plastik Contracts Job Worth 86 Million Kuna

June the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian company AD Plastik has contracted a job which will last for nine years worth a massive 859 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the most important Croatian player in the production of auto parts, AD Plastik Group, has contracted new deals with the Stellantis Group for the European market, with expected revenues of 85.9 million euros over the projected duration of the project, which is nine years.

Stellantis NV is a multinational car manufacturing corporation founded only in 2021 based on a cross-border merger in a 50-50 ratio between the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the French PSA Group. The company is headquartered in Amsterdam, and last year they reported operating income of 15.3 billion euros.

Stellantis' core business is the design, development, production and sales of cars from its sixteen brands: Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroën, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Mopar, Opel, Peugeot, Ram and Vauxhall.

At the time of the merger, Stellantis had approximately 300,000 employees and a presence in more than 130 countries with production facilities in 30 countries. This is a significant step forward for the Croatian company AD Plastik, which has faced challenges due to the war in Ukraine and the consequent EU sanctions against Russia.

Namely, the company based in Solin, Russia, has two factories, where it generated as much as 27% of its total revenue. Back in 2021, the Group generated more than 305 million kuna in revenue in Russia. There is no forecast for 2022 owing to the ongoing dire situation in Ukraine following Russian invasion in February this year.

Their main customers on the Russian market were Renault and Volkswagen, which hold half of the market there. Both companies suspended operations in Russia, a move which was also reflected within the Croatian company AD Plastik.

Marinko Dosen, President of the Management Board of AD Plastik, recently pointed out that the shutdowns are temporary, but also that it's difficult to predict the final impact on their business in the Russian market, and that AD Plastik's Russian factories are ready to continue production.

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

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