Thursday, 15 September 2022

Croatia Airlines Winter Routes for 2022/2023 Schedule Announced

September the 15th, 2022 - The Croatian national carrier is set to attempt to fight the competition with some new Croatia Airlines winter routes for the 2022/2023 schedule.

As Morski writes, the national carrier recently announced that it would introduce several new Croatia Airlines winter routes this season. These are international which will run from October the 30th, 2022 to March the 25th, 2023 and offer a total of 28 percent more flights and seats compared to last year's winter flight schedule. Croatia Airlines will as such be directly connected with thirteen international destinations owing to nineteen international routes in the upcoming winter period.

The company plans to carry out more than 8,500 regular flights and offer about 869,000 seats on them, which is 28 percent more flights and seats compared to the 2021/2022 winter flight schedule. These Croatia Airlines winter route flights are direct ones between Split-Zurich and Pula-Zurich, which will run twice a week from the end of October to mid-January 2023, and flights on the regular route between Rijeka-Munich will run three times a week owing to increased demand for them.

By the end of January 2023, flying on the regular Zagreb-Dublin route will be carried out twice a week, and the Osijek-Munich route which also flies twice a week, will continue.

During the winter period, Croatia Airlines aircraft will directly connect Zagreb International Airport with a total of thirteen European destinations - Amsterdam, Vienna, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, London Heathrow, Munich, Paris, Rome (Via Split), Sarajevo, Skopje and Zurich, While from the Split Airport, there are currently planned flights to four international destinations: Munich, Frankfurt, Rome and Zurich.

When it comes to domestic flights, Croatia Airlines has announced their plan for the continuation of the air connection of the following Croatian cities this winter: Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar and Pula.

The network of international and domestic flights during the upcoming winter season has been adapted to current demand, which is continuously monitored from within the company, and the planned flying order is subject to changes depending on the development of both epidemiological and security situations in Croatia and across the world.

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

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

AC Milan Takes 3 Points Against Dinamo Zagreb at San Siro Stadium

September 14, 2022 - AC Milan beat Dinamo in the second round of the Champions League Group E. The Italian champion defeated the Croatian champion 3:1 at San Siro Stadium. 

The Italian champion led 2:0 with goals from Olivier Giroud in the 45th minute and Alexis Saelemaekers in the 47th minute. After a great action with Petković, Mislav Oršić reduced the score to 1:2 in the 56th minute, but Tommaso Pobega brought Milan back in the 77th for 3:1. 

At the beginning of the game, Milan quickly tried to gain an early advantage, closing the Croatian champion into their penalty area. However, apart from Olivier Giroud's shot in the ninth minute, there were no dangerous shots for Livaković.

The game was pretty equal, though Milan had better chances. In the 28th minute, Moharrami tried to score, and Mislav Oršić came even closer to the goal in the 36th minute. 

Milan could have taken the lead in the 21st minute, but Moharrami reacted well before Rafael Leao and prevented a goal. Milan also tried a long-range shot without success. 

Milan took the lead before halftime, and in the last moments of the first half, the referee called a foul on Josip Šutalo for a Milan penalty. Giroud scored for 1:0 Milan.

At the start of the second half, Rafael Leao broke through the left side with ease, crossed, and found Alexis Saelemaekers, who headed under the crossbar for 2:0.

Dinamo came back into the game in the 56th minute after a great action by Oršić and Petković. Petković deceived Milan's defense, and Oršić scored for 2:1. 

Milan scored again in the 77th minute when Pobega fiercely scored from ten meters for 3:1.

With this victory, Milan takes first place in the group with four points. Dinamo has three points, while RB Salzburg is third with one point and a game in hand, and Chelsea is last with zero. 

Dinamo will visit RB Salzburg next on October 5 when Milan visits Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. 

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

 

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

HvarBanesco - Crafty Slavonian Grows Chili Peppers on Hvar

September 14, 2022 – Croatia is full of interesting people. You can find them anywhere, from your local pub to remote islands. Somewhere between the two, we reached Branko Presečan. Originally from Virovitica in Slavonia, where he still lives in the winter, Branko likes to move to the sunny island of Hvar in the summer, where he runs an unusual little business, and quite successfully so. Branko grows chili peppers and produces hot sauce, chili marmalade, chili olive oil, and more. Spice things up and meet HvarBanesco.

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It all started when his young son developed allergies in 1997. That event took Branko to Hvar, where he decided to buy a house so that the boy could spend more time under the sun, in the fresh Adriatic air which tends to help. Things progressed little by little, Branko and his wife ran a few different businesses, such as a brewery, restaurants, and real estate. In 2015, as Branko says, he finally found his passion.

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A lover of spicy flavours, he kept looking for sauces and products that would be spicy and tasty at the same time, and failing to find them. Naturally, he decided to buy some chili pepper seeds and try his hand at it. He started by planting a few plants and experimenting in the summer kitchen. Recipe by recipe, through trial and error, Branko managed to produce sauces, marmalades, and oils which range from spicy, to very spicy, to extremely hot, but all are fragrant and flavourful. He added that his favourite piece of feedback came from an American customer. Brian discovered Branko’s products by accident but stayed an unplanned three days in Hvar just for HvarBanesco, which he found to be the only hot sauce that packed actual flavour, not just acidity and spiciness.

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In 2016 Branko started planting more of the little hot peppers, and in 2018 he opened HvarBanesco. He only plants five varieties of peppers – Jalapeno, Habanero, Bhut Jolokia, Jamaican Red, and of course, the world’s hottest Carolina Reaper. He sells his products to local restaurants and shops, and he runs a webshop, where you can buy some delicious spicy stuff from anywhere in the world. The only slightly problematic country, he says, is the United States, where the postage and customs reach dreadful highs.

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As for the organisation of work, Branko never tires and does it all on his own, from planting hundreds of plants, to picking them, to cooking. His family usually stays in Virovitica, though they do keep him company from time to time. Regarding future plans, Branko says he is quite happy with where he is at and doesn’t want to go commercial. He will keep experimenting in the kitchen though, perfecting the flavours, so stay tuned! If you’re feeling brave, try experimenting yourself, and get one of Branko’s Carolina Reaper products.

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Chili pepper eating competition in Jelsa, Hvar.

All photos are courtesy of Branko Presečan and the HvarBanesco webshop.

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

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Minister Piletić Talks Government Measures, Amendments to Labour Act

September 14, 2022 - The Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Marin Piletić, was a guest on Croatian Radio's show "A Sada Vlada”, where he discussed the government measures of help for the upcoming winter, as well as the changes to the Labour Act.

As Poslovni writes, he commented on the Government's package of measures to help businesses and citizens.

“Part of the package encompasses measures from our department, but the largest part is concerned with HEP, where the government has enabled many to pay a price that is not market but artificially created. A good number of entrepreneurs pay the price for electricity that households do. Also, all social care institutions from the category of entrepreneurship will pay for electricity like households, Minister Piletić said.

He pointed out that there is no category that they did not include, from farmers, fishermen, students, beneficiaries of child benefits, pensioners...

“When it comes to pensioners, the Government has intervened for the third time in just a year and a half with a one-time cash supplement for those with lower monthly incomes. Not only did we raise the grade level, but we also increased the pension threshold that can receive a one-time supplement. Also, one of our goals was to raise the lowest pensions by three percent from January 1, 2025. By intervening in the final bill, we made it so that the percentage increase of the lowest pensions does not wait for 2025, but starts on January 1, 2023, he said.

Measures for the unemployed

He added that they included the unemployed for the first time.

“Those who were on the labour exchange before September 1 will receive a quarterly cash supplement of HRK 250 in the next three months. It has been shown that the government intervenes at the right time, that the package is strong and comprehensive, and most of all fair. We must protect all categories of citizens, especially those with lower incomes”, he emphasized.

When asked if he expects an increase in the number of unemployed since the tourist season is coming to an end, Minister Piletić said that the number of unemployed increases slightly after each tourist season, but that they do not expect the number to grow alarmingly.

“We are at record low unemployment rates. The number is around 110,000 registered. This is significantly less than at the beginning of this government's mandate”, he said.

He also referred to the amendments to the Labour Act.

“The percentage of workers who work on a fixed-term contract is decreasing from year to year, which we are satisfied with, we have reached a kind of European average, but we still have a large number of short-term contracts. That is why we are introducing the novelty of limiting fixed-term contracts to a maximum of three years and a maximum of three contracts”.

“He pointed out that one of the key innovations is platform work”, i.e. work from home.

“The employer can come to the employee's home and see what kind of conditions he is working in, with prior notice and the worker's consent”.

“There was a proposal that there be no notice period or severance pay for workers over the age of 65 and 15 years of service unless the worker and the employer agree otherwise. Here we wanted to encourage employers that after reaching the age of 65 if the worker wants to stay working and meets all the conditions for a pension, that the employer is not obligated to pay severance pay. Someone who fulfils the conditions for a pension will not be neglected, but will receive a pension and then the employer is not obliged to pay severance pay. This way, we stimulate both the employer and the employee, so that if they wish, they can stay longer in the world of work, but we have left it up to the employer and the employee to agree”.

Increasing wages in the public sector

Minister Piletić said that the negotiations have not started yet, and that at the next government session, he will appoint negotiating committees on behalf of the government, for both state and public servants and employees.

“We want to react and increase the salary base in both state and public services, following the situation of economic growth and filling the budget. Considering the autumn package, there is a lot of pressure on the budget, but I believe that in negotiations and dialogue we will find the best solution that would show that we want to increase the base”, Piletić pointed out.

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

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Višnja Rapić, from Cologne to Trogir

September 15, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Višnja Rapić, who moved from Cologne to Trogir.

I was born and grew up near Cologne, Germany. As both my parents were from Croatia, they instilled the love of my homeland from birth. During the War of Independence, my love for Croatia grew bigger and bigger, and there was only one goal for me: After finishing school, I moved to Zagreb, where I studied Business. After graduating, I moved to Dalmatia, where I started work and, over the years, my own family. Today I am a proud mother of four and grateful to raise them together with my husband in my safe homeland.

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

At 19, I had no doubts about leaving my safe life in Germany and making the big move to Croatia. It was all I was living for back then. Together with my older brother, it took us only a few weeks to organize the move.

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

My parents were happy and proud, of course. I am not sure about the opinion of my community; I believe I have always made it clear how much I loved my homeland and how much I was suffering by leaving Croatia after each summer holiday. So, it probably was no big surprise to anybody in Germany. In Croatia, on the other hand, people kept asking why I had done such foolishness.

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

Well, I only had my relatives in Croatia whose lives would show me what it was like to live here. The reality I felt was the warmth of the people I got to know each year during my summer holidays, and I wanted to experience it 365 days a year, not only during these 2 or 3 weeks.

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

As I was very young, I had no fear of moving to ´poorer‘ Croatia. My stubborn wish to finally live here superseded any fear or insecurity. The reality hit me for the first time when I received my first salary. Over the summer, I worked for a few months as a representative for a tour operator from Munich, but the pay was the usual pay for a Croatian student. The second time reality hit me was after I had failed my first exam at University, where I studied in fact in a language I needed to learn much better to be able to pass an exam.

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5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

My perceptions were that people in Croatia are always welcoming and eager to help. It was a challenge each time for me to enter a post office or bank in the early 2000s because I was not used to the unkindness and annoyance from the ladies behind the counter. Thank God, this has changed a lot since then.

Also, my perception of the Croatian school system was quite different from reality. Croatian pupils need to work very hard for their grades, but at the same time, they leave school quite unprepared for life.

 

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6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

I would lie if I said that I did not miss a lot of things from my life in Germany. Such as the work ethic or good organization.

But what I love about Croatia is the natural dealing with problems of any kind. People are used to having to find a way. And there always will be a way because people really are eager to help each other.

It is wonderful how people accept family; nobody will look at you as dissatisfied when you appear in a restaurant with four children.

It is incredible how fast strangers can sit down together and start singing songs that are known by everyone.

I love it when people leave their motorcycles in front of a supermarket with the keys, helmets, and shopping bags visible and accessible to everyone. And nobody will touch a thing.

And unbeatable is the love of sports and music. I do not need to explain it any further.

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

Come and try it and make Croatia an even better place with your help and experience. We need more good people around :) 

Of course, it is not easy to leave a place where you probably have better financial and material circumstances. But here you will find a calmer and more relaxed life. Children grow up in (still) natural and safe surroundings. It is just necessary to accept many things as they are, or otherwise, you have lost your battle from the very beginning.

 

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

I believe that there need to be offered more networks for those who wish to connect with people who have gained similar experiences.

There could be a platform on the official website of the Government where people can get detailed information about anything that might be of interest to Returnees. FAQs links to kindergartens, schools, medical help centers, housing, etc.

 

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Thanks, Višnja!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Inflation Grinding Croatian Projects to a Halt, Prices Soaring

September the 14th, 2022 - Spiralling inflation is causing Croatian projects, some of them long-since planned, to grind to a halt. Originally agreed upon costs have risen, leaving some wanting to shelve their plans.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the increase in the prices of energy sources and construction materials is very much spilling over into current Croatian projects dealing with regional waste management centres (WMS). The aforementioned market trends create far more financially difficult conditions for such projects, which will obviously require more generous national funds than were originally planned for.

Otherwise, these centres and everything to do with their construction is defined by the Law on Waste Management and the Waste Management Plan of the Republic of Croatia 2017-2022, they're managed by special companies and owned by regional and local self-government units, i.e. the City of Zagreb.

That said, some of them are clearly stuck in the proverbial mud and their financial structure(s) cannot be closed properly without the intervention of the competent ministries. Such is the case of the Regional Centre for Waste Management (RCGO) in northwestern Croatia - Piskornica, this is a company of the same name whose business is run by director Mladen Ruzman, and it is facing the very real problem of a lack of money.

This is the unfortunate case in spite of the fact that after the first tender, significant interventions were made in the procurement documentation in the repeated public procurement procedure for the design and execution of the works on the construction of RCGO Piskornica.

Speaking more specifically, the estimated value of this project stands at an enormous 346.6 million kuna, and in both tenders announced in less than a year, the bids received were significantly higher than the estimated value of the project. The public opening of bids in the first public procurement procedure was held back in October 2021, and the bids received amounted to approximately 676 and 716 million kuna.

At the opening of bids in September, it can be seen that the bidder Helector S.A  Athens submitted a bid worth 820.5 million kuna, and the Association of Bidders Kostak komunalno in gradbeno podjetje d.d., Krsko i Kostak - graditeljstvo tehnologija sirovine, Zagreb, submitted a bid worth 669.8 million kuna in total.

"Although changes were made in the procurement documentation for the new procedure with an emphasis on those that reduce the conditions of technical and professional abilities in order to open up the market, and on those that reduce the risk for contractors, given the unpredictability of the market and sudden changes in material prices and energy products, the bids received in the repeated procedure are slightly lower than those received in the earlier procedure,'' they stated from the Piskornica Administration.

In addition to the available financial resources, according to the answer received from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the dynamics of the construction of these centres also very much depends on the readiness of the project of each individual centre for waste management, the realisation of which is the responsibility of the commercial company that manages each CGO.

So far, they claim, around 630 million kuna in grants have been spent from European Union (EU) funds for Croatian projects which deal with the preparation and construction of waste management centres, including CGO Mariscina and CGO Kastijun, which have been in operation since back in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Of the Croatian projects also currently under construction, CGO Bikarac has been constructed and all of the trial work has been completed, while CGO Biljane Donje is in the process of construction and will only be completed next year.

The planned deadline for the construction of the Lucino razdolje CGO, the Babina gora CGO and the Piskornica CGO is until the end of 2026, depending on when the contracts for the works will actually be concluded. The contract for works is expected to be signed soon for CGO Lucina razdolje, while public procurement procedures for the construction of CGO Babina gora and Piskornica are now underway.

Considering the state of the market, the competent ministry has also noted that the funds will be secured when the procurement procedure is successfully completed and the final value of the Croatian projects involved is determined through amendments to the grant award contract.

"Considering the current prices on the market, the fact of the matter is that for certain procurement procedures, offers are being received that now exceed the original estimated value of the procurement, therefore, for price increases on individual projects, which can be proven, growth will be being justified through an increase in the prices of materials and of other input parameters, consider the possibility of securing additional national funds,'' they stated from MINGOR.

For the Management of the Piskornica company, the following activities include holding a meeting with MINGOR and the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union Funds in order to agree and coordinate the next steps in the realisation of the project.

They have stated that they expect this meeting to take place as soon as possible, as well as that the beginning of the project implementation depends on this coordination with the ministries in terms of further implementation regarding the securing of funds above the estimated value, while the deadline for completion is 44 months from the date of signing the contract with the selected bidder.

For more on Croatian projects and ongoing inflationary pressures, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Badel 1862 Taking Over Well Known Dalmacijavino Umbrella Brand

September the 14th, 2022 - The very well known Dalmacijavino is one of the most recognisable brands from the area of ​​Dalmatia of all, and it has a very long and rich tradition that Badel 1862 wants to work to fully preserve.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Vinoplod director Kresimir Lokas stated that ''Dalmacijavino's range of wines, not to mention the rest of the strong alcoholic beverages we previously took over, will be produced in Vinoplod's facilities in Sibenik, and the yeasts will be produced in Badel's facilities in Sisak. 

With this agreement, Badel 1862 and Vinoplod are set to further strengthen their positions on the demanding wine market, especially when it comes to local Dalmatian varieties such as Debit and Drniski Merlot. By bottling Dalmacijavino's wine brands, we'll further increase the level of production in the Sibenik plants, and by using synergies and further investments in the development of an even greater number of wine brands, we'll get additional opportunities for quality portfolio expansion and sales growth,''

''Just as we've already proven to be a successful method with Badel 1862 and Vinoplod, we intend to continue to develop and modernise the Dalmacijavino brand in order to bring it closer to new generations of consumers," emphasised Lokas.

"Given the long-term cooperation with the company Badel 1862, which bought raw materials from us and then took over the brands of strong alcoholic beverages two years ago, the sale of the Dalmacijavino umbrella brand to Badel was a natural sequence of business events.

The Ostrc company will continue to do business with Badel, and now it will be carried out through the largest consolidated Dalmatian vineyard in Petrovo Polje, from which most of the raw material will be sold to Badel and Vinoplod, which means that Dalmacijavino's products will continue being made from the same grapes from which it has all been being done for the last seventy years.

The contract on the matter was signed to mutual satisfaction and I believe that Dalmacijavino's brands will continue to be very well positioned on the market in the future. In addition to a greater focus on the potential of our vineyard, in terms of even greater and higher quality yields, as well as the gastronomic and tourist story that we have been developing over more recent years, in the coming period, we intend to place our focus even more intensively on the business and development of one of the strongest regional beverage brands, Pipi, not to mention on its further expansion,'' concluded Luka Diel-Zadro of Pipi beverages.

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

 

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Rimac Campus Progressing Excellently, Interactive 3D Model Created

September the 14th, 2022 - Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac is by far Croatia's most successful entrepreneurial story of the modern day. Referred to as Europe's Elon Musk, Rimac has done what nobody else has - created some of the world's most incredible hypercars in a country that doesn't even have an automotive industry to speak of. His impressive plan, the Rimac Campus, is also progressing very well.

The upcoming Rimac Campus, which will not only shine the spotlight on Croatia even more strongly in regard to entrepreneurship, investment and of course - the automotive industry, will also provide enviable employment opportunities to many who would likely have headed off abroad in search of the jobs they were educated for.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the absolutely stunning Rimac Nevera hypercar, as well as key components for future Rimac and Bugatti models, will be produced at the Rimac Campus in Kerestinac, which is currently under construction. The much anticipated Rumac Campus spans a constructed area of 100,000 square metres, and a total area of 200,000 square metres. It is worth an enormous 200 million euros in total.

Mate Rimac is no stranger to social media and frequently publishes posts, videos and photos about what he is currently working on, engaging well with an always interested audience. He recently took to his personal Facebook profile on which he published an impressive interactive 3D model of the current state of the construction site of the future Rimac Campus, which clearly shows that the works are progressing quite well indeed.

The completion of the first phase of construction of the Rimac Campus is planned for 2023, and in the long term it should become a workplace for around 2,500 employees.

The Livno-born entrepreneur has taken the world of cars by storm from a country that hasn't provided the best footing for going it alone, and his dogged determination is something Nikola Tesla, his fellow countryman, would be very proud of.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business and Made in Croatia sections.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Croatian Banks Send Out Important Info Regarding Euro Introduction

September the 14th, 2022 - Croatian banks have sent out some important information to their customers and clients regarding Croatia's rapidly approaching accession to the Eurozone, which is set to take place on the very first day of 2023.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, PBZ sent its clients and customers a notice related to Croatia's upcoming introduction of the euro, in which they specify the essential elements for conversion that will be applied in the conversion of the Croatian kuna to the new single currency of the Eurozone.

"On the day of the introduction of the euro in Croatia, the bank will automatically and without charge carry out the conversion of funds held in Croatian kuna in bank accounts, deposits, loans and other financial statements of value at a fixed conversion rate of one euro = 7.53450 kuna,'' the bank stated.

''The conversion will be carried out by applying the rules for conversion and rounding in accordance with the Law on the Introduction of the Euro as the Official Currency in the Republic of Croatia. In addition to that, according to the principle of continuity of contracts and other legal instruments, the introduction of the euro will not affect the validity of existing contracts on loans, deposits and savings in kuna, etc., meaning that no new contracts need to be concluded. The goal is to carry out the process of introducing the euro and the activities resulting from it in such a way as to ensure the simplest possible treatment for everyone,'' it added.

The period of the obligation to display prices twice (in both Croatian kuna and euros) to consumers began on September the 5th, 2022 and ends twelve months after the introduction of the euro in Croatia.

Of the other Croatian banks which have sent out information on Croatian Eurozone accession to their clients, Zagrebacka banka made similar statements: "On the day of the introduction of the euro as the official currency of Croatia, monetary values ​​expressed in kuna on custodial and brokerage accounts will be converted into euros by applying the rules for conversion and rounding defined by the Law."

Erste Bank also informed its customers about the currency change, according to a report from N1.

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

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Maria Pokrivka, from Graz to Zagreb

September 14, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Maria Pokrivka, who moved from Graz to Zagreb.

My parents, both from Croatia (mum: Zagorje, dad: Slavonija), met in Graz-Austria and decided to stay there. I was born and raised in Graz. My connection to Croatia was huge, spent all my Holidays there, 1st language, Croatian, and was part of the Croatian community. I studied economics in Graz and did 1 year Erasmus in Zagreb. At the moment, I am working for an elevator company in Zagreb in Human Resources. That is my first job since I moved to Croatia.

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

After spending 1 year in Zagreb for Erasmus, I decided after I finish my studies in Graz, I will move there. Since then, all the smallest decisions I had to make were consciously chosen to help me come to Zagreb. As a “foreigner” in Austria, I just wanted to find my home, and that is what Zagreb gave me. About 5 years after Erasmus, I finally moved to Zagreb, and since then have never regretted it!

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

My family was definitely not happy about my decision and didn’t understand it. They thought Austria would give me a better life. My friends, on the other hand, felt I was doing the right thing, as they knew how long I desired to live there. 

 

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

Mostly from locals, as I had a lot of friends in Zagreb. All of them were really surprised about my decision, but again they confirmed to me that you could live very well in Zagreb.

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

My biggest fear was at the beginning, If I fail or it doesn’t turn out the way I thought. I just didn’t want to fail and move back. Well, it turned out great. I had luck working in a good environment, with good friends around me. The reality was better than the dream. 

 

5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

Not much has changed. My perception was if you find a solid job and have a solid income, you can have a very beautiful life. I honestly can’t think of anything that surprised me. 

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6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

People. I love the warm, Direct and spontaneous mentality. Life is easy. The beauty of the country, and how close everything is. Literally every weekend during summer I spend it on the coast. Children are still children, they can be with their friends in the park the whole day, and you as a parent feel it s safe on the street. Buying your breakfast in the pekara (bakery) and enjoying it at a coffee house. I know there are also many cons, one of the cons that come to my mind are hospitals that are in a very bad state or a lot of corruption that affects the whole country.

 maria-pokrivka_3.jpeg

 

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

Make sure that you learn the language abroad, knowing foreign languages in Croatia opens many doors. Buy your own apartment, don’t rent one. 

 

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

That is a hard one. But I think trying to connect them better in their hometown would make a big benefit. Whenever I'm telling someone in Croatia my story, they are very surprised and convinced that I am literally the only person who moved back, Because in the media, you only hear how people are leaving Croatia, but not that they are moving back. If the diaspora is better connected, they could help each other better. 

 maria-pokrivka_6.jpeg

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Thanks, Maria!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

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