Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Croatia and Denmark to Meet in U21 EURO Playoffs

June 22, 2022 - Croatia and Denmark will meet in the U21 EURO playoffs in September this year. 

The national team of Denmark will be the last obstacle for Croatia on the way to the U21 European Championships next year. According to the value of all possible rivals Croatia could draw in the playoffs, Denmark ranks up there as one of the highest quality national teams.

"From the teams we were able to draw, they are the best, and their results show that. However, due to the goal differential, they remained below the line, similar to us. A difficult match for us, but also for them," said coach Igor Bišćan for

Does he believe Croatia will qualify?

"Certainly, we believe in us, in the team. The guys have shown in these qualifiers, which ended the way they did, that they have the right mentality, character, and quality to hope for the best."

The games do not directly overlap with the Nations League. Did he talk to Zlatko Dalić about sharing players?

"We didn't because we only found out the draw on Tuesday, and the game is still very far away. Dalić has priority, he will be the first to choose, and we are happy when one of ours finishes in the first team. That is the purpose of our work. Dalić has shown a lot of understanding so far, we have cooperated very well, and I believe we will continue."

Croatia led the qualifiers until the end - what happened?

"Well, it's hard to expect such a decline; we were almost perfect in qualifying. We didn't expect to stumble so much in those moments. We'll learn. Our players haven't matured in football yet, and let's not say mentally. We paid dearly for that by not going directly to the Euro. We can't change that; I would attribute that to some growing up. If it had to happen, it's good that it happened now that we can still correct it."

How is he dealing with criticisms?

"They are an integral part of our work. Those who cannot understand that should not engage in this profession," Bišćan concluded. 

The additional qualifier matches will be played between September 19 and 27 this year. The Croatia U21s will play the first game at home. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section


Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Gariful on Hvar, Connecting Celebs with Fish, Big Game, Sushi & Peskafondo

June 22, 2022 - Where do the rich and famous go for their dose of Adriatic seafood? Gariful on Hvar, dedicated to connecting fish with celebrities.

When I moved to Hvar back in 2002, I had no idea that it was a hot spot for celebrities. Living in my idyllic sleepy bubble in gorgeous Jelsa, I rarely ventured further than Stari Grad, and I could count on one hand the number of times I visited Hvar Town over the next 9 years. Indeed, when Prince Harry famously fell into a nightclub swimming pool in 2011, I only heard about it after reading the story in the UK media - despite me writing for Google News at the time. 

All this changed in 2011 with my decision to write a guidebook about the island, and subsequently to launch the Total Hvar blog. Hvar Town was a fascinating place on so many levels, and the celebrity story was just one aspect of the town's very rich offer. A few days after Prince Harry made Hvar globally famous, Beyonce also did her bit, showing off her baby bump for the first time while holidaying on Hvar. She then named her baby Blue Ivy, after a tree she fell in love with on Hvar. From Orson Welles filming on Hvar in the 1960s to the visit of Magic Johnson last year, it seemed that my adopted island was truly a celeb destination. And one where celebs could walk freely around without being harassed, as Tom Cruise showed in 2012 when he went for a stroll along the riva and then stopped for a coffee on the main square. 

And my guidebook research quickly showed me that if I wanted to include the celebrity angle, I just needed to focus on one place - Restaurant Gariful on Hvar.


(Jon Bon Jovi left the ultimate tip on Hvar - a signed guitar) 

A local restaurateur who took over the family business almost 20 years ago, Gariful on Hvar today is possibly the best-known exclusive fish restaurant on the Adriatic islands, with the most extensive wine list (including a breathtaking list of Champagnes), and it was almost a mandatory stop for celebs visiting Hvar.  And with owner Ivan Gospodnetic keen for the world to know the famous names sampling the freshest Adriatic seafood, the restaurant's celebrity reputation has grown considerably. I remember from those early days that the likes of Bill Gates, Roman Abramovich and Giorgio Armani made it into my first edition guidebook, with Armani listing Gariful on Hvar in his top 7 restaurants in the world. 

But the relationship between Gariful and the sea goes far beyond merely serving seafood to exclusive guests. Indeed, my first encounter with the restaurant soon after I started Total Hvar was far less glamourous. In late October, 2011, in an effort to extend the season and celebrate the local traditions of the sea, Gariful launched a new event called Peskafondo, a squid-fishing tournament, run from the restaurant and with food, wine and music to accompany the event.


(Charlize Theron at Gariful on Hvar)

While I agreed to promote the event, privately I wondered if anyone would turn up to such a thing, and I was very doubtful that it would become a thing. There were just 7 teams in the first year, and about 40 people in the restaurant for the after-party. 

Fast forward a decade, and Peskafondo by Gariful on Hvar 2021 had grown into a 3-day event, including big fishing, with an incredible 72 teams taking part, and over 1,500 people turning out in the rain in November, a time when the island is usually very quiet. Not only that but the teams came from all over Croatia, as well as Poland, Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Serbia.  I chose Peskafondo as our first CROMADS experience and sent 3 dubious Kiwi remote workers to go and experience the event in the rain. They were blown away by how good it was (see the video above). 


Big Game fishing is another connection to the sea that Gariful on Hvar brings for its guests. The restaurant prides itself on the best catch of the day on the island and works with 7 local fishermen to select top-quality fish each morning. But for some guests, merely enjoying a luxury fish dinner is not enough, and the option to take to the high seas and fish for your dinner now exists. It is an exciting and high adrenaline day out, ending of course with a fish extravaganza at the restaurant. 

The core business of Gariful on Hvar is serving its guests at the restaurant, however, and this is where it excels. From its underfloor aquarium and waterfront location, Gariful has had a style of its own for years, quietly expanding its footprint from its prime location at the end of Hvar's elite waterfront. Villa Gariful was added a few years ago, which has become a favourite for celebrities who can move effortlessly from villa to restaurant away from the glare of the paparazzi. A terrace was also added to expand the restaurant capacity. 

And earlier this month, the opening on the latest Gariful seafood offer - the G Spot sushi bar, which is introduced by the restaurant as follows:

By combining carefully selected and fresh ingredients, we bring the flavors of distant lands to your plates. Positioned in the center of beautiful Hvar, within the luxury restaurant Gariful, the new sushi place Gariful G spot will delight you with its diverse offer and high-quality service.  What makes us distinctive from the others is the always fresh fish in sufficient quantities. We offer a diverse sushi offer as well as refreshing summer cocktails. Follow our social networks because once a week we offer live events and the best dance show in town.


Our mission is to provide you with the best dining experience, by offering the best catch of the day and delicious sushi, outstanding wines – both local and international, a stunning view from our upper terrace and a level of service which will amaze you. Enjoy your meal with the sea view from the terrace and find your G spot.


The Gariful G Spot sushi bar has been open a few days and is already proving to be a hit for those looking for the very best sushi, combined with refreshing summer cocktails, unbeatable views and live entertainment, including dancing with a star every Tuesday and Friday. 


Gariful is not cheap, and nor does it claim to be, and stories of Russian guests getting excited over the exotic menu and wine list which contains extremely rare French Bordeaux classics and Champagnes are legendary, but as an all-encompassing introduction to the very best that Adriatic seafood has to offer, it is hard to beat. And if summer sushi is out of your budget, why not return for the squid fishing celebrations in October, which are very affordable and great fun - just one more Gariful insight into the wonderful world of Adriatic seafood. 

You can learn more about Restaurant Gariful on Hvar on the official website

For more about magical Hvar Town, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide





Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Prosecutors Say Matej Periš's Death Not Due to Violence, Toxicology Report Published

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - The death of Croatian national Matej Periš was not due to violence or a crime but toxicology analyses have revealed the presence of toxic concentrations of amphetamine, ethyl alcohol and cocaine, Belgrade media quoted local prosecutors as saying on Tuesday.

The prosecutorial authorities said they issued the statement on the cause of death of the 27-year-old native of Split considering the circumstances of his disappearance in Belgrade in the night between 30 and 31 December 2021 until the discovery of his body in the Danube River in Belgrade on 18 May 2022.

The medical report was made by three forensic pathologists.

Periš went missing after leaving the Gotik night club in the Serbian capital in the night between 30 and 31 December 2021.

He had arrived in Belgrade with his friends for New Year's Eve and was last seen on footage from surveillance cameras, running in the streets of Belgrade.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

PM: Unfair to Set Conditions for Finland's NATO Membership

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - It is unfair and incorrect to set conditions for Sweden and Finland's NATO membership, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday after a meeting with his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin, expressing the government's support for Finland and Sweden's NATO membership bid.

"The position of the Croatian government and parliamentary majority has been continually clear and firm - we support Finland's ambition and believe that, if that is what our EU partner wants, its choice should be respected and supported," Plenković said at a news conference he held with the visiting Finnish PM.

"We believe that at this moment NATO membership is the security umbrella both Finland and Sweden want," he added.

The prime minister underscored that his government would advocate for the protection of the rights of BiH Croats and Bosnia and Herzegovina's European path, but without unfairly making Sweden and Finland's NATO membership conditional on those efforts.

Our task is to explain the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Finland's and Sweden's prime ministers and win their support for correcting the injustices, and not to call their choice into question, Plenković added.

Without naming President Zoran Milanović, the prime minister thus criticised his insistence to make Finland and Sweden's NATO entry conditional on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's election law. Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started on 24 February.

Earlier on Tuesday, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin met with President Milanović, who told her that in principle, he was not against Finland's NATO entry but at the same time pointed out the difficult status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the security problems Croatia is faced with due to lack of stability in BiH.

Marin said that she had a good meeting with Milanović, that his position was very clear and that he did not have any problem with Finland and Sweden joining NATO, adding that she appreciated Croatia's support for Finland's NATO membership.

There is no closer relationship than membership in the same defence alliance and readiness to defend one another unconditionally, Marin said.

Finland and Sweden's NATO membership bid has been met with opposition from Turkey, which says that Helsinki and Stockholm support Kurdish militants and have imposed an arms embargo on Turkey.

Marin expressed optimism at the press conference in Zagreb.

She said that she believed that NATO would send a strong message of unity at a summit in Madrid next week, stressing that Finland and Sweden would make NATO stronger.

The Finnish prime minister also said that Helsinki supported Croatia's membership in the Schengen Area and the euro area.

Finnish PM does not express position on BiH's candidate status

Croatia is not alone in warning about the unjust neglect of Western Balkan countries' EU accession, with Slovenia and Austria especially pointing it out.

Slovenian foreign minister Tanja Fajon said Slovenia would request at the next EU summit that Bosnia and Herzegovina be awarded candidate status, after the Commission last week proposed that Ukraine and Moldova be given EU candidate status.

Plenković said that regardless of the latest initiatives from Austria and Slovenia, if there was one country that supported Bosnia and Herzegovina's candidate status and European path, it was Croatia.

He recalled that Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for EU membership when HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović was BiH Presidency Chairman.

Plenković underscored the importance of amendment of the country's election law for democracy and for the equality of its constituent peoples.

Asked about Finland's attitude towards conferring candidate status on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marin said Finland had not adopted a position yet but that it had a long history of supporting EU enlargement.

It is important to seriously consider all issues that are important to member states, she said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

2022 FINA World Championships: Croatia and Greece Draw 8:8 in Game 1

June 21, 2022 - Croatia and Greece finished 8:8 in the first match of the 2022 FINA World Championships in Hungary. 

The Croatia water polo team opened their performance at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Hungary tonight against Greece. Croatia kicked off the competition with seven new names on the team.

The 2022 World Championship is Croatia's 13th appearance since Croatian independence. Croatia has won 7 medals from the last 12 World Championships, sharing second place with Italy and Spain, which are significantly older countries. Hungary is the best with 11 medals won. 

Ivica Tucaks' team first faced the current Olympic silver medalist, Greece. Croatia also plays against Germany and Japan in Debrecen.

The winner of each group will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the second and third-placed national teams play the round of 16.

Match Report 

Croatia won the sprint but was unsuccessful in its first attack to get a goal. Greece went up 1:0 with 6:39 on the clock. 

Croatia's shot was blocked in the next attack and Zuvela shot over the post to keep Greece ahead. 

Russian-born Kharkov equalized for Croatia at 1:1 with 5:05 to go in the first quarter. Greece went ahead 2:1 in the next attack. Vukicevic missed in Croatia's next attack. 

Greece went up to 3:1 with 3:11 to go in the first quarter. Both of Croatia's shots were blocked in the next play. 

Greece made it 4:1 with 15 seconds to go, which is how the first quarter ended. 

Greece hit the post to open the second quarter which was lucky for Croatia, but Greece's defense was not kind to Croatia's next attack. 

Zuvela finally scored for 4:2 with 4:48 to go in the second quarter and Buric made it 4:3 with 4:02 to go! 

Kharkov made it 5:5 for Croatia with 1:47 to go, which is how the match went into halftime.  

Croatia was unable to score in their first attack of the third quarter, and Greece retook the lead at 6:5 with 5:59 to go. 

Kragic scored brilliantly for 6:6 with 3:45 on the clock and goalkeeper Bijac stopped Greece's next attack. 

Greece retook the lead at 7:6 with 1:43 left and Croatia was unable to score in the following attack, ending the third quarter 7:6 for Greece. 

Four minutes into the final quarter and neither team had scored. Zuvela finally equalized for 7:7 with 3:48 left in the match. 

Greece scored for 8:7 with 3:08 to go but Basic scored for 8:8 with 1:55 on the clock! 

Greece hit the post and Croatia missed the goal with less than a minute left.  Greece missed with 0:26 left, giving Croatia the attack and chance to win, but was unable to score. The match ended 8:8. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section


Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Education Minister Says Extremely Difficult School Year Successfully Completed

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs on Tuesday congratulated pupils, teachers, head teachers, Ministry and local government officials on the successful completion of the school year, the first two-thirds of which, he said, were extremely difficult due to the pandemic and earthquake.

The minister also expressed hope that the next year would pass without too much stress, the pandemic, and other difficulties.

Addressing the press after a government session, the minister added that according to World Health Organisation surveys, Croatia had the lowest number of days of online classes in the 2021/2022 school year.

Fuchs said that this year, national exams had been conducted for the first time in the eighth grade in 80 primary schools, providing insight into what should be done next.

Next year, all eighth grades in Croatia will sit for the national exam. The minister pointed out those exams would not be graded, since they are intended for the evaluation of the system and would be used to improve educational facilities and as guidelines for teacher training colleges.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

2021 Sees Highest Crime Resolution Rate

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - The crime resolution rate in Croatia in 2021 was the highest since the country declared independence, at 73.1%, shows a report on police work, adopted at a government session on Tuesday.

The report contains information on police results in fighting and preventing crime, and Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović said that the number of property-related crimes dropped by 4.1% in 2021, continuing on years of positive trends regarding crimes that have the biggest effect on citizens' subjective feeling of safety.

The number of cases of grand theft in 2021 was the lowest in the past 10 years, as was the number of burglaries, while the number of cases of grand theft auto and larceny was the lowest in the last 20 years, said the minister.

He added that there were 30 murder cases in 2021, a drop of 16.7% compared to 2020. The year 2021 was the fifth year to see a decrease in the number of murder cases.

Compared to 2020, the police reported 69.5% more corruption-related crimes and 46.1% more perpetrators.

The number of organised crime cases investigated was up by 11.6%.

A total of 100 war crimes were reported, twice as many as in 2020, and the quantity of drugs seized was 7.5% greater than in 2020.

The number of illegal border crossings dropped by 40.18%, while the number of reported cases of people smuggling grew by 37.1%, Božinović said.

Despite the increase in road traffic volume in comparison to 2020, 2021 was the second consecutive year with the lowest number of road fatalities, 292.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Gov't Rejects Motion for Discussion on Vote of No Confidence in Health Minister

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - The Croatian government on Tuesday sent an opinion to the parliament proposing that it should reject a motion by 32 opposition MPs to discuss giving Health Minister Vili Beroš a vote of no confidence.

In its opinion the government comments on allegations from the motion, describing them as unfounded and noting that there was no ground to vote no confidence in the health minister.

The government also sent the parliament a final bill on cultural councils and on the financing of public needs in culture, which envisages combining the laws on cultural councils, financing of public needs in culture and management of public institutions in culture in a single law to simplify and more efficiently regulate the area in question.

It also adopted four conclusions to help residents of earthquake-struck areas, extending a write-off of electricity bills for customers in earthquake-struck areas until the end of the year. The total cost of the measure is estimated at HRK 8 million.

The government also extended the toll-free use of A11 Zagreb-Sisak motorway as well as free train transport for residents of the earthquake-affected Sisak-Moslavina County and employees of services participating in the provision of assistance and removal of the consequences of the 2020 earthquakes in the county.

The amount of road tolls not to be collected in the next six months is estimated at HRK 16.5 million, including VAT, and the cost of free transport by train at some HRK 12 million.

The government also instructed the HRT public broadcaster to write off TV licence fees for residents of earthquake-struck areas.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Croatia's Living Standards Improve in 2021, Stil Lower than EU Average

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - Croatia's material welfare of households, measured by Actual individual consumption (AIC), increased in 2021, although it still lagged behind the EU average by 30%, the European Union's statistical office reported on Tuesday.

In 2021, AIC per capita expressed in purchasing power standards (PPS) varied from 63% to 146% of the EU average across the 27 Member States.

Croatia's material welfare of households was at about 70% of the EU average, and the country reduced the gap by six percentage points compared to 2020.

Nine members above EU average, five record AIC per capita 25% or more below EU

In 2021, nine Member States recorded AIC per capita above the EU average.

Luxembourg (46%) was the only Member State that recorded AIC per capita of 25% or more above the EU average.

In Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Finland, and France, the levels were 10% or more above the EU average.

AIC per capita between EU average and 25% below in 13 countries

In thirteen Member States, AIC per capita was between the EU average and 25% below.

In this category, there were significant differences across the Member States: in Italy, Lithuania, Cyprus and Ireland, the levels were 10% or less below the EU average, while Slovenia, Spain, Czechia, Poland, Portugal, Malta and Romania were between 11% and 20% below. Estonia and Greece were 21% and 23% below the EU average, respectively. 

Five Member States recorded AIC per capita of 25% or more below the EU average. Croatia, Latvia, Hungary and Slovakia were between 27% and 30% below, while Bulgaria recorded AIC per capita of 37% below the EU average.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Anti-Fascist Association: Croatia Founded on Anti-Fascist Struggle

ZAGREB, 21 June 2022 - Representatives of the Alliance of anti-Fascist Fighters and Anti-Fascists of Croatia (SABA RH) laid a wreath at the National Heroes' Monument at Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery on Tuesday, on the occasion of Anti-Fascist Struggle Day, which is observed in Croatia on 22 June as a bank holiday.

During the wreath-laying ceremony, the association's leader, Franjo Habulin, said that Croatia and Europe as a union of nations as well as the European Union were founded on the struggle of anti-Fascists and their victory over Nazis and Fascists in the Second World War.

Habulin highlighted 22 June 1941 as an extremely important day when the organized resistance was launched in the area of former Yugoslavia and when the first unit of Partisans was set up in Brezovica Forest near Sisak as the first armed anti-Fascist unit in the occupied European regions.

The first spark of resistance was ignited in Croatia, it is here where the organized armed resistance was offered to the Nazi-Fascist occupation, said Habulin, calling for better education of young generations about the armed resistance in Croatia during the WW2.

Zagreb's Deputy Mayor, Luka Korlaet, said that the legacy of anti-Fascism was intertwined in the foundation of the City of Zagreb.

In the Second World War, an estimated 50,000 Zagreb residents took part in the resistance, and about 8,000 were killed, he said.

For more, check out our politics section.

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