Friday, 28 April 2023

Croatian Nurses and Medical Staff to Start Protests Next Week

April 29, 2023 -  Croatian nurses and other medical staff have announced protests starting next week, demanding better regard for their rights, including pay. They emphasize the importance of all medical staff who aren't doctors. Croatian doctors have recently negotiated improved conditions for themselves as well.

After the Croatian Professional Union of Nurses and Medical Technicians announced protests for next week, the same was confirmed today by the Independent Union of Health and Social Care. "Together with the sister union, we will start protest activities. We demand equality and dignity for all workers in the system, and we ask that the minister and the prime minister finally recognize that there are other workers in the health system besides doctors. These are health and non-health workers who are needed by the system and patients," said Stjepan Topolnjak, president of the Independent Union of Health and Social Care, report HRT/Index.

Commenting on the government's recent decision to increase the coefficients in health care, Topolnjak said that it is an increase only for doctors and "the return of the coefficients that were reduced by 3 percent for bachelor's degrees and intermediate professional training in primary and secondary health care in 2013".

"We are asking for at least 10 percent for all workers in the healthcare system," he emphasized.

He announced that "peaceful protests will now be organized during the break that everyone has the right to." They will start with protests on Wednesday in front of hospitals in Split, KB Dubrava, and OB Dubrovnik and will go on every day until May 10.

Croatian nurses and medical technicians will then organize a larger protest rally on Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb on May 12, on International Nurses Day. First, however, they need to agree on this with other unions and the Chamber.

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

Friday, 28 April 2023

Less Fortunate Croatia: Meet Their Guardian Angel, Jagoda Laco

April 29, 2023 - A woman from Split started the Facebook group "Empatija" nine years ago to help her fellow citizens in need. She knows what it's like very well because she has experienced many unfortunate situations. Meet Jagoda Laco.

"Good afternoon; I'm embarrassed to ask. Do you have any food, like pate or cold cuts, to last me for the next 15 days until I receive my sick pay?" This was the question of a 62-year-old man from Split. This disabled man messaged the longtime leader and administrator of the Facebook group "Empatija," Jagoda Laco. In record time, writes 24Sata, big-hearted people supplied him with food for three months and paid off the loan that caused his account to be banned.

"I don't want to expose him more than necessary. It is just one in a series of stories that ended well. He has been a group member on social media for a long time but never asked for anything. He didn't expect people to come together and help him so quickly. He was shocked, surprised, and full of emotions. He only asked for food, but the people insisted on paying off his debt. I'm not sure he could pay it off on his own. However, he got so much food that he immediately shared some. He also insisted that if someone else brought supplies for him, we should distribute them to others in need - Jagoda tells 24Sata. She started doing humanitarian work nine years ago by forming a group on Facebook, and a year ago, "Empatija" became an association.

She learned about so many unfortunate human destinies and is proud because all her actions were successful. She was asked what motivated her for the past nine years, and it was difficult to remain indifferent to her answer.

"I'm not in politics; I'm not interested. This isn't a career either... You know, I am one of those people. I'm in the soup kitchen now. I have my number. I've been through all of this myself, I'm a single mother of three children, and I know all the fates I write about and all the situations I help; I've been in them all. From childhood... a children's home, growing up without parents, proving to society that I am a human being, that I am worth something, and that I am not trash. In the struggle to feed my children, I also collected bottles and metals. I remained composed, though, I never drank or did drugs, or stole anything. And so many times, I encountered misunderstanding about my situation. I went through both injustice and institutions, and I know how people breathe. There were attempts to deceive me, but that won't work", says Jagoda, highlighting the late Zoran Erceg and his humanitarian work as a role model. She notes that she doesn't mind talking openly about her life path but still tries to protect her children. Two of her daughters are teenagers.

"If I have done something right, it is raising my children. 'Empatija' is my fourth child; we are now a young association. After so many years of activity on social networks, which my older daughter recently joined, it was natural to finally become official so that we could withdraw funds from institutions to help others. At the moment, we have neither space nor the conditions. I am using a small personal car from a friend to transfer things. We would like to do so many things in the future, and we have a lot of good will. I'm just an initiator of kindness in people", claims Jagoda, who is currently focused on solving the problem of a Homeland War veteran who was found malnourished on the street.

"The gentleman is originally from Slavonia, but he is in the Split area; he worked in construction. A month ago, he was located in Križine. He is homeless, and when we got a tip about his whereabouts and got to him, he couldn't stand on his feet. His identity card had expired, and he didn't even have health insurance. People have prejudice against the homeless. This man is a wonderful, warm soul. He has 290 days of military service, 20 years of service. He had problems in his family; people manipulated him, he lost his fiancee. He is too good a man but has given up on himself. Since he did not have an address, a member of the association registered him at his own address so that we could start sorting out the papers, and these days he should go to the Veterans Center in Sinj for rehabilitation. We just need to find him a place to stay, get him back on his feet ", says Jagoda, for whom nothing is impossible.

At the end of the day, she is proof that even when life throws you a hard fight, it doesn't mean it will defeat you.

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

Friday, 28 April 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Ukraine, Wages and Popularity Contests

April the 28th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had talks about everything from reforms to petrol prices, inflation and wages, to popularity contests and a decreasing number of undecided voters.

Plenkovic talks reforms, Ukrainian soldiers being treated for injuries in Croatia, and more

As Index reports, the latest government session was held yesterday, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic addressed the public at the beginning.

In the introductory part of the session, the Prime Minister referred to current events, recalling the meeting with the Secretary General of the OECD Mathias Cormann, and its overall importance. He also singled out his recent visit to Osijek, where a large economic centre was opened, representing an investment of 10 million euros. 

"Yesterday, those from Ukraine who have been wounded arrived in Croatia, they've all been being taken care of, and I'd like to wish them a steady recovery," he said.

"A government meeting was held and as a result, petrol and diesel became cheaper. Without government measures, fuel would be twenty cents per litre more expensive," he added.

"We've now adoptedthe national reform programme. We have 56 permanent measures, and some more measures have been added in various areas for good measure. The adoption of the stability programme document is particularly important. The main backbone of economic policy in the coming period will be the responsible management of public finances. We've gained credibility. The goal is to increase the growth of the economy, to be on the trail of two major directions - climate policy and digital transformation," he said, and when discussing the country's fiscal policy, he added that he would concentrate on reducing the public debt.

"Our projections for the medium-term period are realistic. Last year we achieved growth of 6.3 percent and provided numerous aid packages to members of the public. We gave more than 6 billion euros in aid to the public and the economy. Due to excess income at the local community level, we achieved a budget surplus of 4 percent of GDP - and we reduced public debt last year as well," he added.

"Croatia is the only country that has had its credit rating raised by all three agencies since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The next period will be marked by uncertainty, but we can realistically expect the Croatian economy to grow by 2.2 percent this year. We can predict this based on the excellent results in tourism so far and this will be a record year. As for the stability pact, we've met all the criteria. As for inflation, we expect a slowdown to 6.6 percent, and in the coming years we expect a significant slowdown to previous levels."

Inflation and wage increases (or a lack of) were discussed on Otvoreno by politicians from across the spectrum, and the CNB's deputy governor, Sandra Svaljek

When will price growth in Croatia stop? Is inflation imported or is it the result of domestic issues? Why does the CNB governor claim that salaries in Croatia today are growing faster than inflation is rising? Whose wages are rising and by how much, and who is on the verge of poverty? How can protect the standards the public is used to? All of the above was discussed on a recent episode of HRT's Otvoreno (Open). The present guests were Sandra Bencic (Mozemo!/We Can!), Marko Pavic (HDZ), Branko Grcic (SDP) and the deputy governor of the Croatian National Bank (CNB) Sandra Svaljek.

Bencic: Salaries are now lower in real terms than they have been back during previous years

Sandra Bencic (Mozemo) said that recently in the Croatian Parliament, they criticised CNB Governor Boris Vujcic for the lack of timely information from the CNB last autumn.

"Recently, at an international gathering, the governor presented data that clearly proved that a significant part of the inflation we have here in Croatia is driven by the growth of margins, and that the growth of margins in that share of total inflation has 5.1 points, while wage growth stands at 1.5. This shows that the margins have grown a lot more quickly and contributed much more to overall inflation than wage growth has."

"On the contrary, we know that the growth of wages didn't follow inflation and that they fell in real terms back in 2022. This means that if the amount increased nominally, you could buy less than you could before. Even today, wages are lower in real terms than they were in previous years,'' she added.

"What we asked at the press conference is that if margins drive inflation the most in Croatia and if the fact is that more than 8% of the 12% inflation we had is domestic inflation, not imported inflation, then the measures to suppress inflation must be different. In such a case, the issue of tax on extra profits cannot be limited to the profits made in 2022, but now we have to make changes to the law on extra profit to signal to those who will make that extra profit that they will be taxed on it. But that can't be implemented across all sectors equally as it was back in 2022, but instead it should be implemented on those sectors that increased their margins the most, and thus contributed the most to inflation, and it seems that these are the trade and accommodation sectors," Bencic pointed out.

Pavic: Croatia has avoided a technical recession and we expect a clear economic momentum

Marko Pavic (HDZ) said that while appearing on Otvoreno, they had the opportunity, among other things, to discuss the governor's report in parliament, as well as the results of the government's policy in curbing inflation.

"What should definitely be pointed out is that the government has introduced four packages so far, the last of which is worth 1.7 billion euros. The goal was to reduce energy prices, I'd like to remind you that we have electricity and gas prices 2 to 3 times cheaper than the market price, to protect people from inflation and to prevent a social fracture for those who are the most vulnerable, primarily pensioners, unemployed people, young people and children, all of whom are vulnerable groups in our society," Pavic said.

"This has led to good results, inflation has been slowing down over the last four months and according to the data of the National Bureau of Statistics, the average salary has exceeded to 1,106 euros. Over the last 6 years, accumulated inflation has stood at 16.4%, of which 10.1% was last year, but salaries have grown by 30%, pensions by 28%, and the minimum wage by almost 70%. Croatia has avoided a technical recession and we expect a clear economic momentum," Pavic pointed out.

"As for the law on extra profit, we passed it precisely because of price manipulations. It brought several hundred million euros back into the state budget," he added.

Grcic: Employees are being neglected in terms of the distribution of higher GDP

Branko Grcic (SDP) said that he would refer back to the data that Pavic is talking about, which is full of illogicality.

"Here in this study, six months ago I warned people, about a radical change in distribution in Croatia. This has now been shown by the data and analysts from other countries in our environment. You have a situation where your GDP grew by over 6% in real terms last year. At the same time, you have a real decline in terms of salaries, and we don't agree with that. The data clearly shows that the employees themselves were neglected in that distribution and that the higher GDP that was actually achieved went somewhere else.

That's what I said 6 months ago here, when not many people were talking about it. In fact, there's nowhere to go but to the two sources that make up the GDP structure. These are government revenues (taxes and contributions) and profit. It's clear that if the state has roughly followed the GDP, those who create profits have profited. "Profit is not the shameful thing, the shameful thing is that some people in Croatia simply cannot live on their incomes, whether they're salaries or pensions," said Grcic.

"The data for the six years that Pavic is talking about is very clear. From the government's presentation, which was released to the public a few weeks ago, it's clear that GDP has grown by 25% in real terms over the last six years, while wages have only increased by 15% and pensions by only 6.7%. I'm talking about reliable data from the government's presentation. So you're actually mixing nominal categories with real categories," Grcic emphasised.

"That's the key problem facing Croatia. It has so happened that many people have used inflation to pump their own profits. If that profit will go into investments tomorrow, that's good. If that profit will be repatriated, if it will leave Croatia, if it will be enjoyed some foreign owner who has a company in Croatia, and not by the Croatian people, then this is a problem.'' Grcic concluded.

The latest Crobarometer survey reveals that HDZ is still the favourite party, and that President Zoran Milanovic (SDP) is seen in the most positive light

As Index reports, the Crobarometer monthly survey for April by Dnevnik Nova TV has now been published. The research results reflect the period of the end of the previous month and the first half of the current month.

The Crobarometer results for April shows that inflation, i.e. the rise in the prices of certain products and services, remains an important topic in the public space and in the everyday life of the general public. In addition, healthcare remains in sharp focus. The justice sector was also partly in the public's focus with the announcement of changes in how it functions. With Easter and the first major arrival of tourists out of the way, topics related to tourism have now, in their seasonal pattern, become reborn. Optimism increased slightly in April and is at a similar level as it was back at the end of last year and in January this year.

HDZ still has over 30 percent of public support as a party

The survey shows that HDZ has firmly consolidated its support and it hasn't fallen below thirty percent. It remained very much the same throughout the month of April, and it currently enjoys 30.9 percent support. That said, seems that the SDP is also somewhat cautiously recovering. SDP's level public support stands at at 13.6 percent, 1.5 percentage points more than last month, and, what is even more important for that party, is that their rating has been slowly growing for the third month in a row now.

In third place is the Mozemo! (We Can!) party with 8.8 percent, with a similar growth and trend as SDP. The fourth is Most (Bridge) with 8.7 percent support, also recording a positive trend, while in fifth place sits Domovinski pokret (Homeland Movement) with a slightly negative trend and a mere 6 percent support.

The parties that haven't even crossed the electoral threshold and enjoy more than 1 percent of support are IDS, Centar, Blok imirovljeni zažene, HNS and HSU. All the others, including parliamentary parties such as the Social Democrats, HSLS or Sovereignists, have less than 1 percent of recorded public support.

There's been a visible decline in the number of undecided voters

The secret of the growth of the aforementioned parties, it seems, is the decline in the number of undecided voters. Although they're still the second political force in the country, that number is decreasing and now 17 percent of respondents who would certainly or probably go to the polls don't know who they'd choose to vote for. Just one month earlier, that number stood at a concerning 19.2 percent.

It also seems that the parties of the left and centre left, SDP and Mozemo, grabbed the most people from that pool over the last month, which indicates the only way in which one can try to counter HDZ is to consolidate their base and seek space among the undecided.

As for how many people would go to the polls if they were held today, judging by the respondents, the turnout would be decent: 68 percent of them would definitely or very likely go to the polls to vote. 27 percent of them would certainly or probably boycott the elections, while five percent of those surveyed had no opinion on it whatsoever.

Which politicians are the most popular?

The public perceives President Zoran Milanovic in the most positive light, despite his bizarre ''politically damaging'' statements and somewhat odd behaviour at times. In second place this month is Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic, followed by Bozo Petrov, in fourth place is Ivan Penava and in fifth is Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

Unsurprisingly, the public has the most negative impression of Milorad Pupovac, followed by Gordan Jandrokovic and Zlatko Hasanbegovic in joint second place, and Prime Minister Plenkovic and Hrvoje Zekanovic tied for third place. If you look at the net ratio of negative to positive experiences, Tomislav Tomasevic is the best, second place is shared by Bozo Petrov and Ivica Puljak, fourth is Ivan Penava, and fifth is President Milanovic.

Support for both President Milanovic (SDP) and Plenkovic's government (HDZ) is growing

After his support fell for four months in a row, Milanovic has successfully managed to reverse that trend. Namely, 56 percent of respondents who don't support his work decreased to 53 percent, while the number of those who support him increased from 36 to 38 percent.

There has also been a change in the trend regarding support for the work of the government itself. After a slight but constant three-month increase in the number of respondents who claimed not to support the moves made by the government, there's also been a change. The number of such people decreased from 65 down to 61 percent, while the number of those who support the work of the government increased from 28 to 30 percent.

Labour Minister Marin Piletic was a guest of Romano Bolkovic's popular 1 on 1 (jedan na jedan) show, where he claimed that the Croatian labour market is becoming more and more interesting

Labour Minister Marin Piletic was a recent guest of Roman Bolkovic's show "1 on 1" on HRT, where he spike about the dynamics of unemployment and employment across the country. Minister Marin Piletic also presented the data he had on the number of residence and work permits issued to foreign workers.

"With regard to the legal changes from 2021, in 2022 we had a record number of foreign workers in Croatia, more than 124,000 of them received a permit to stay and work here legally," he said, adding that it's still the case that the most foreign workers in Croatia mostly come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia and Nepal.

According to Piletic, the fact that Croatia has reached the figure of 124,000 foreign workers in Croatia from the quota system is in favour of the fact that Croatia is becoming an interesting labour market.

''We're aware of all the challenges we're dealing with, with the number of people who have temporarily or permanently left the country following liberalisation and the opening of the EU's doors to Croatia, and based on the demands of employers, but also the real needs of the labour market, it was possible for 124,000 foreign workers to find happiness in Croatia. In 2023, we've had more than 40,000 requests for the issuance of permits for residence and work in Croatia,'' he stated when discussing the current data.

When asked how Croatia might work harder to try and retain the best quality people, in whom the most was invested through education, Piletic answered: "Only with an adequate price offered to them for their work. Since 2016, the average salary in Croatia has been growing rapidly," pointed out Piletic.

Negotiations with trade unions

''The average net salary in Croatia is now 1,106 euros, but the government is continuing to do everything it can to make the price of labour higher. Among other things, we reopened collective negotiations with representative unions,'' said the minister, noting that last year, the base increased twice and that on April the 1st of this year, in accordance with the agreement and the collective agreement, the base rate increased by two percent. He added that negotiations will continue after the summer tourist season is over, when the possibility will open again that the price of labour, through the increase of the base, will be higher.


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section. A dedicated Week in Croatian Politics article is also published every Friday.

Friday, 28 April 2023

Zagreb Job Fair at Velesajam to Attract More Than 150 Companies

April the 28th, 2023 - The Zagreb Job Fair, which will be being held at the Zagreb Fair (Velesajam) in the middle of next month, is set to attract more than 150 companies from Croatia and abroad.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, over the period from May the 17th to the 18th, the Zagreb Job Fair will be held under the organisation of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Zagreb, the FER Career Centre, the FER Student Association and the Electrical Engineering Students' Club (KSET). Due to the great interest of companies and visitors, this year's location of the Zagreb Job Fair will be at the city's Velesajam (more precisely at Pavilion 11D).

Just like every year, numerous companies will be presented at the Zagreb Job Fair, and this time as many as 152 of them from across fourteen different industries, mostly from the technology, information and communication sectors, will be present there.

Some of the companies that will be presented are dSPACE, Photomath, Devot, Span, Infobip, and visitors will be able to participate in a total of seventeen workshops, 24 talks, panel discussions and something called Hot Talks. At the end of the opening day of this year's Zagreb Job Fair, visitors will be able to enjoy the traditional Loosen up party. A detailed programme as well as details about applications can be found by clicking this link.

"We're glad that this year we have the opportunity to organise the Zagreb Job Fair, which has proved to be a unique opportunity to connect and develop relations between our faculty and numerous well-known companies that come from the Republic of Croatia, as well as from abroad. Visitors will have the opportunity to listen to speakers from renowned companies, as well as follow an interesting panel discussion, we'll also have our Hot Talk, which this year will be attended by Hrvoje Cosic, the director of Aircash,'' said Nikolina Relic, career advisor of the FER Career Centre,

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

Friday, 28 April 2023

As French Strikes Continue, Ryanair Seeks Help From Croatian Travellers

April the 28th, 2023 - The popular Irish low budget carrier Ryanair, which has had a base at Zagreb Airport for some time now, bringing cheap flight from the Croatian capital to destinations all over Europe, is asking for the help of Croatian travellers in the face of ongoing, extremely disruptive French air traffic control strikes.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, ongoing strikes by employees at multiple European airports have caused great chaos in air traffic over more recent years, and chaos is expected again this summer during the very height of the tourist season, Croatia's most important time of the year in an economic sense.

As the largest European airline warned, in terms of the number of passengers transported during just 2023, for example, the French union of air traffic controllers ATC went on strike for 39 days, as a result of which Ryanair had to cancel 3,500 flights, mostly those flying over France. Ryanair, among other carriers, deems this utterly unacceptable and is urging Croatian travellers to sign its petition to take the matter higher, more precisely to the European Commission (EC), to put pressure on France to keep EU skies open.

Ryanair's petition, which takes only a second or two to sign and is available among its registered users, aims to force the European Commission to finally do something about constant French disruption which causes issues across Europe and protect the airlines, but also the passengers themselves.

''We have launched a petition calling on Ursula von der Leyen and the European Commission to protect air passengers, especially those on overflights during French air traffic control strikes, which you can support. By signing it, your email address and name will be submitted to our petition and we will send an urgent message to Ursula von der Leyen to protect passengers during these French air traffic control strikes," they stated from Ryanair.

Croatian travellers can sign the petition by clicking here.

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

Friday, 28 April 2023

Croatian Shared Services Centre to Change Public Admin Processes Forever

April the 28th, 2023 - The Croatian Shared Services Centre is set to put a very welcome end to standing in lines at various government offices in order to get various administrative tasks done. This change can't come soon enough for the vast majority of people who have wasted hours of their lives in pointless queues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, the project to establish the Croatian Shared Services Centre, which formally began back in 2017, is now beginning to develop much more seriously. The recent signing of the Agreement by the Central State Office for the Development of the Digital Society with four state institutions - APIS IT, FINA, CARnet and AKD - all of which will act as service providers, represents the biggest step forward in the process of the much needed digital transformation of Croatian society.

"This is the beginning of a new era of state information infrastructure," said Bernard Grsic, State Secretary of the Central State Office for the Development of the Digital Society at a press briefing recently. Speaking much more concretely, this means that everything that state institutions have been doing separately for decades, with their own servers, technologies and capacities, will now be united under one single umbrella.

Although a lot has already been done with the establishment of the Croatian Shared Services Centre itself, in which a massive 360 million kuna (EUR 47.8 million) was invested, the real work is actually only just getting started. As much as 20.4 percent of the funds, or three billion kuna (398.4 million euros) for the 21st investment, have been reserved for the digitisation of the state, namely, from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Croatian: NPOO).

The Central State Office is responsible for eight of them, and they include interoperability, connecting databases, establishing digital tools for data analysis, and upgrading the CDU. All this will mean that within two years, people will no longer have to waste their time going from counter to counter for various things because all of the state institutions will finally be connected. Why this hasn't happened sooner is as much of a mystery to me as it is to you, but it seems old habits die hard (and sometimes they even come back to life).

So, what's actually changing with the new Croatian Shares Services Centre?

Through the e-Citizens/e-Gradjani system, people can already receive 101 simple services. For example, they can take out a birth certificate or a marriage certificate. That's all well and good, but then they have to print that document out and take it to another institution where they'll then need to submit a request for the provision of a specific service.

They will no longer have to do that because all institutions will have all the data of every person, that is, they will be networked. "We want to develop services that solve people's various life situations,'' explained Grsic, adding that thanks to this project, the state will function better, it will be more efficient, and the services, which people often and rightly complain about, will be of much higher quality.

What's known as a data lake system will be established within the new Croatian Shared Services Centre, through which the state will collect all sorts of data that is currently scattered around among various institutions, and in the future, it will all be in one place.

''This means that the state body will be able to pull different information from various institutions, which is practically impossible today, because state bodies keep a lot of information in Excel tables," noted Grsic. It will also enable the creation of various registers, such as the announced Register of Residents, Families and Households, which is being created for the Tax Administration as part of the digitalisation project of this financial institution.

"Thanks to that, the state will be able to carry out better analyses, and based on them, better conclusions, and adopt better policies accordingly," said Grsic. This platform, as announced by the state secretary, will be established in a few months, after which the implementation should begin.

"The goal is for 65 state bodies and local and regional self-government bodies to be connected through the data lackey system by 2025," he said. In addition, the state secretary in the Central State Office for the Development of Digital Society assures that such a mass of private data, which the state will now have all in one place, will not lead to their threat or possible manipulation. He points out that peoples' privacy and data security will be protected through GDPR rules, and that the system will be arranged so that it will always be possible to check who accessed the exact data and from where.

The Croatian Shared Services Centre project also aims to establish a unique system for monitoring investments, costs and communication with the European Commission, which is now "scattered" between the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds and the Ministry of Labour and Finance. FINA will be in charge of that.

The plan is also to establish a virtual contact centre that will provide people with all of the information they might need through any form of communication (SMS, e-mail, WhatsApp, telephone...). This platform should be established by the end of the year, while its application should start in the first quarter of 2024. Grsic also announced the establishment of the e-Citizens/e-Gradjani mobile platform.

All these digital innovations conducted by the Central State Office for the Development of the Digital Society should bring a number of advantages, both for the general public and the state, but also for entrepreneurship because, as Grsic explained, all the services that were developed for the public were also developed for the business sector through e-Business.

Ultimately, all of these upcoming projects should also lead to savings. Exactly how much will be saved, the state secretary says, they don't know yet because they don't have an exact calculation. However, he added, it is certain that all sorts of costs will be reduced because the public procurement of IT equipment will also be unified. As for the state institutions that will provide services to other bodies, each will be designated for a specific segment. CARnet will be in charge of the E-learning system, AKD for the development of blockchain technology and digital signatures, APIS for the establishment of platforms, FINA for the financial system, while security will be taken care of by the Central State Office headed by Grsic himself.

The goal of establishing the Croatian Shares Services Centre, for which APIS IT is in charge, was to integrate 300 state institutions into it by the end of 2023. Grsic explained that there are already more than 500 institutions on the "state cloud", which is an introduction to the creation of the digital sovereignty of the state.

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

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Pink Day Zagreb Rose Wine Festival Celebrates its 10th Edition

April 27, 2022 - On Saturday, April 22, everything was pink in Zagreb's Lauba at the tenth edition of the unique festival dedicated to rosé wine - Pink Day Zagreb. As the initiator, Sanja Muzaferija, always says, the festival is also a celebration of spring, optimism, and gentle, feminine energy with light wines.

The Pink Day Zagreb Festival gathered a large number of connoisseurs, professionals, wine lovers, and visitors who were dressed in pink and were eager to socialize, celebrate spring, optimism, high aesthetics, excellent oils, or, above all, excellent rosé wines from Croatia and Slovenia, Italy, France, USA...


Pink Day Zagreb combines fun, fine wines, and educational content. It brings together wine connoisseurs, professionals, and "ordinary" lovers of these fine pinky wines, ideal for warmer days. In addition to being a rosé festival, Pink Day Zagreb is a kind of dedication to female energy and the beauty of life, a fluttering ceremony of a rosy worldview. Because rosé is precisely that: bright! During the last ten years, the Festival has established itself due to its educational contents, exchange of experiences, and cheerful and optimistic atmosphere and has consistently promoted moderate consumption of wine and, according to the winemakers themselves, significantly helped to change the attitude towards rosé, and thus the wine map of Croatia.

"I am proud that Pink Day Zagreb helped rosé gain a better reputation. Of course, there is also Green in Pink, which celebrates the top quality domestic extra virgin olive oils. Since last year, the festival has also celebrated pink gins, tonics, liqueurs, cocktails..." said Muzaferija.

This boutique festival, which is also the oldest major wine festival in Croatia after Vinistra and VinoCom, for its special edition, offered more than a hundred labels of wine, about thirty labels of premium extra virgin olive oil, and presented several premium brands of spirits and cocktails, all enjoyed by hundreds of visitors. It was the richest festival program so far. In fact, the entire month of April was covered in pink because at the press conference in Lauba at the beginning of the month, a workshop on the wines of hilly Croatia took place, under the baton of experienced sommelier Mario Meštrović. The story continued on April 18, in Zagreb's only restaurant with a Michelin star, Noel, where a Masterclass of Chateau d'Esclans rosé wine "Pinks That Made History" powered by PBZ Card Premium Visa was held in front of a packed auditorium. The wines were tasted from top Riedel glasses, all under the leadership of Ted Lelekas, Moet Hennessy brand ambassador.


Festival workshops

All accompanying programs of the Festival were extremely interesting this time as well. The "Pink American West," with wines from the American West Coast that are not on the Croatian market, moderated by Mirena Bagur and Croatian Premium Wine Import from Boston, was extremely popular. While Bagur presented the winery and their positioning in the vast American market, her husband and business partner Win Burke spoke about the characteristics and style of each of the five wines that came from the northern part of the American West, Oregon, all the way to Southern California and Napa Valley. Among them was Grgich Hills Rosé by Mike Grgich, a winemaker with Croatian roots and a pioneer of winemaking in the USA. The surprise guest was the top American chef, Johnny Sheehan, who also said a few words about pairing these wines with food.

All connoisseurs and everyone who wanted to know more attended an attractive panel, i.e., a round table dedicated to the rosé wines of the Croatian East - "Rosé Wine East: 10 Years Later" powered by HGK, in honor of the progress of the rosé wines of this region. The moderator was the "chaser" Morana Zibar, and the participants were the representatives of HGK: Jelena Đugum; HAPIH: Darko Cenbauer; Kutjevo wineries: Dino Galić, and Vina Papak: veteran Mladen Papak.

A masterclass on extra virgin olive oils, "Champion Oils of Istria and Dalmatia," powered by JGL, was moderated by an assistant professor from the University of Split, Ph.D. Mirella Žanetić. All visitors there could learn all about the secrets of good oil.

At the very end, at the workshop designed by Vjenceslav Madić, "Master Kishoni": "Pink Cocktalization" powered by Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, lovers of pink cocktails, strange molecular "alchemy" of cocktails and mixology found themselves in awe - because this workshop produced miracles in a glass.

Cooltura i Dizajn: All visitors of the Festival could also buy a limited edition t-shirt with the character "Pink Girl" signed by Marina Dimić Kepeski, who was a member of the jury that chose the most beautifully decorated tables of exhibitors, along with Muzaferija and her partner for Pink Day Zagreb Zrinka Jelić Belinić. In addition to the wines a wonderful atmosphere that is always guaranteed, the Festival is also known for its fantastically decorated exhibition tables. All partners work extremely hard and receive valuable awards for nicely decorated exhibition tables.

This year, Kutjevo won the first prize - 12 Riedel glasses from the Restaurant Extreme Rosé line. Other awards included the pink SMEG toaster model TSF02PKEU by Gemma, which went to Astoria Wines. The Elie Saab fragrance from the Martimex perfumery portfolio, "Le parfum essentiel," was awarded to the Kvarner Wines Association. Bottega won a gift package from the Media Bar publishing house with three books - Stanley Tucci's "Taste," Anđa Marić's "My Revolution in 365 Days," and Arijana Čulina's "Twice in Five Minutes." MIVA Wine Gallery received a rich IKEA package (blanket, cushions, small items for the house...) as a reward for creativity and long-term loyal cooperation.

At the Festival, for the first time in Zagreb, the recently published Media Bar book published by Stanley Tucci, "Taste: My Life Through Food," translated by Nada Mirković. Anyone who wanted could visit Lauba: a house for people and art at the same time, the sales exhibition of the acclaimed and award-winning young Croatian painter Emanuela Lekić "Night Shift."


Romerquelle was once again the official water of the festival, and Ikea took care of a comfortable lounge where visitors could relax. Visitors also enjoyed the fine delicacies of one of the best bakeries in Zagreb, "Noel Bread & Deli." In a separate food corner, fine snacks from Catering Kvatrić awaited visitors and exhibitors, as well as Miscotti biscuits - which go well with rose wine and were baked especially for this occasion.

All in all, the festival was well worth visiting. For those who couldn't make it, they will get their chance next year at the 11th  edition of the Festival.

The founder of the whole thing is Sanja Muzaferija, who has been promoting wonderful spring wines through this Festival for an entire decade, thus starting the all-round rosé revolution. For the last two years, she has been accompanied by Zrinka Jelić-Belinić from the Z - Eventi & Promotion agency.

The partners of Pink Day Zagreb include PBZ Card Premium Visa, HTZ, HGK, JGL, MIVA Wine Gallery, Ikea, Romerquelle, Bregovita Hrvatska, Riedel, Martimex, Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, Smeg, publishing house Media Bar, Miscotti, Lauba...

And here's where you can find them at all times:

Pink Day website:

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

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Reptilomania+ Exotic Animals Exhibition Taking Place at Vet Faculty Zagreb

April 27, 2023 - The exhibition Reptilomania Plus is taking place at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb for the tenth year. The organization is run by veterinary students in cooperation with reptile breeders. Visitors will have the opportunity to see exotic animals from different parts of the world. The exhibition lasts until April 30 in the faculty building, and entrance is free.

"My Komodo dragon is very friendly and intelligent, like a dog. He plays with the ball just like a four-legged pet", says veterinary student Marko for 24Sata. He is participating in the "Reptilomania+" exhibition with his pet Komodo dragon.

"About 60 different types of reptiles are on display. There are also snakes, turtles, fish, pythons, various insects, and spiders", stated one of the exhibition organizers, Tvrtko Matušić, a fourth-year veterinary student. He pointed out that one of the more interesting animals is the mata mata turtle.

"It is interesting because of its prehistoric appearance, which attracts the attention of surprised visitors. It lives exclusively in water, except for the female that comes out to lay eggs. Their physiognomy is very interesting; they have tiny eyes and use the hairs on their heads for orientation. They are quite hostile and like to stay alone in their own space. They have very long mouths and no teeth and suck their prey", explained Matušić.

Another interesting species that you can check out at the exhibition is the beta fish. According to Matušić, those are bred in Thailand for fish fights.

"If two fish find themselves in the same aquarium, they inflate their gills and fins and get ready to fight, which is a fascinating sight. We also have a panther chameleon on display. It comes from the tropical forests of Madagascar. It sparks great curiosity among visitors. Each chameleon has one or two colours that change when it's mating time when they're upset or angry. Their colour is fascinating and most often changes from yellow to green or from red to blue", Tvrtko Matušić revealed.

The organizers say the exhibited animals change every year, which makes this exhibition unique.

"We are delighted with the excellent turnout and pleasantly surprised by the reactions of the visitors, who have nothing but words of praise for such an unusual and rare project," they concluded.

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

Thursday, 27 April 2023

CNB Governor Vujcic: There Will be no Recession in Croatia

April 27, 2023 - The Governor of the Croatian National Bank (CNB), Boris Vujčić, stated in the parliament that there would be no recession in Croatia, pointing out that all indicators point to a slight recovery of the economy, while the data for the upcoming tourist season are also very good.

"There was a risk of recession in the autumn of last year, but I think we have come out of it. There will be no recession, and the growth rate will be lower than the 6.3 percent in 2022," said Vujčić in the parliament during the debate on the financial situation, the degree of achievement of price stability, and the implementation of monetary policy, writes Index.

This was his answer to Davor Bernardić (Social Democrats), who was interested in whether Croatia is rushing into recession. Stating that at the moment, the risk of recession has fallen below 30 percent, Vujčić also said that all indicators point to a slight recovery of the economy, while the data for the upcoming tourist season are also very good.

Vujčić: We expected an increase in real estate prices, but not this much

Anka Mrak Taritaš (Glas) was interested in the impact of the Law on subsidizing housing loans given by APN on the increase in real estate prices. Vujčić replied that anything subsidized leads to a rise in prices. Also, the increase in prices in the country was influenced by the increased share of foreigners buying real estate in Croatia.

"We expected an increase in prices, but we didn't expect this much. It was partly motivated by the entry into the eurozone," said the governor. He considers it encouraging signs for the real estate market that the number of transactions on that market fell and that the share of foreigners on the market fell last year compared to 2021. Also, he added that this is the last cycle of APN subsidized loans, and interest rates have risen to 3.5 percent.

"All the factors that contributed to the increase in real estate prices are now turning in the other direction," said Vujčić.

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

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Zagreb Company DOK-ING Presents Anti-terrorist Robotic Vehicle MV-3 Hystrix

April 27, 2023 - The Zagreb company DOK-ING presented an innovative, multipurpose anti-terrorist robotic vehicle MV-3 Hystrix, currently the only one of its kind in the world, developed over the course of three years, in a project worth HRK 18 million.

As Index reports, the founder and owner of DOK-ING, the innovator Vjekoslav Majetić, pointed out that the vehicle is unique and has already received users' support. "During development, we changed the characteristics of the machine and adapted it to the needs of future users," said Majetić.

He emphasized great interest in Hystrix on the world market and that the price of the robotic vehicle has not yet been established. To develop the entire project to the current level, he said, HRK 18 million was spent, of which EU funds were nine million.

The vehicle is intended for the police and the army. Its primary purpose is to operate in closed spaces, and it has strong ballistic protection on the front. It can work in daytime conditions and conditions of reduced visibility. It is equipped with a series of cameras - infrared and thermal, so it can operate even at night. When using the machine, the special forces have maximum security.

What kind of vehicle is it?

The use of Hystrix reduces intervention time because the perpetrators can be located and reached in a short period, and, among other things, it is also used to extract the wounded. The advantage of Hystrix is that it has complete special equipment intended for solving crises. It has built-in gas sensors, allowing it to detect propane and butane, so it can work even in conditions of attack by toxic agents.

Since it is an electric vehicle, it is important to note that its autonomy is around eight hours, but it can also be powered by electricity in the field.

Defense Minister Mario Banožić also pointed out that the Hystrix project is proof of how much the DOK-ING company participates in the research and development of machines for the needs of the military industry, but also how much it contributes to the safety of citizens, all those who live in the EU and outside it. According to him, the company DOK-ING is one of the flagships of the domestic defense industry, which, apart from the production itself, also participates in developing defense products.

"Their truly innovative solutions contribute to all the tasks we have, and they also contribute to other components of homeland security," said Banožić. He is certain vehicles like the Hystrix will find their place on the market, and the Ministry of Defense will support them.

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

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