Saturday, 28 January 2023

Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts to Help Sector With Fine Appeals

January the 28th, 2023 - The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK) has stated that it intends to help those in the trade sector hit with fines by the State Inspectorate for raising their prices with their appeals. The hunt for those taking advantage of the switch to the euro by upping their prices is continuing, with many fines already issued.

As Index writes, every fourth inspection by the State Inspectorate has alarmingly showed unjustified price increases after December the 31st last year, the last day before the Eurozone accession. In some sad cases, the prices of services rose by up to 30 percent, and bakery products rose in price by an average of 15 percent in retail trade. The state doesn't intend to stop hunting down enterprises who have hiked their prices up, while on the other hand, traders feel victimised and intend to take legal steps to contest those fines, according to HRT.

Cases of high fines being issued throughout the trade sector due to unjustified price rounding are being published daily. The state has so far undertaken almost 1,500 inspections, and in about 300 cases price increases have been found, while another 200 are still being analysed - which means that this percentage could very easily (and drastically) increase.

"I believe that we'll meet the goals we've set for ourselves. It's difficult for me to comment on my colleagues from the State Inspectorate, but the percentage of 25 percent is not small. I believe that due to the supervision, a good number of companies decided on their own initiative to return to their previous prices [from December 2022]. I think the State Inspectorate is doing a good job," said Jurica Lovrincevic, an advisor to the Minister of Economy.

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK): We'll help traders in preparing appeals

The list of price increases since the New Year is led by various services, which on average have increased in price by almost 30 percent. But some hairdressers, restaurateurs and other enterprises believe that they're being targeted and unfairly punished.

"We started this story in order to engage law firms, and I hereby call on all fellow craft owners who have received misdemeanor orders to contact their associations, to contact our advisory service at the Croatian Chamber of Crafts, and we'll certainly help them in preparing appeals for the misdemeanor courts,'' said Dalibor Kratohvil from the Croatian Chamber of Crafts.

"We believe that all these fines and penalties are unfounded, we believe that this shouldn't have happened because it's always the small companies who suffer in these stories, and those are the last in the chain, micro-enterprises," he added.

Lawyer Doroteja Jurcic also pointed out that there are a number of problems with these misdemeanor orders.

"Every misdemeanor order from any part of Croatia is absolutely the same, it has an identical explanation, which speaks in favour of the fact that these are previously written explanations that aren't actually related to whatever the specific case at hand is at all. I think that there's already a problem. What the State Inspectorate refers to in its reasons are the Consumer Protection Act and the application of aggressive business practices by traders or enterprises," explained Doroteja Jurcic from the Voice of Entrepreneurs (UGP) Association.

"The prescribed fines for craft owners are from 5 to 15 thousand kuna, for legal entities they're slightly higher, for natural persons as owners they are the same - from 5 to 15 thousand kuna. So, a legal entity that has a d.o.o. or j.d.o.o. finds themselves in a situation of receiving two penalties, one as a legal entity, and another as a natural person, the owner," she added.

The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP): There have been no unjustified price increases

Mirko Budimir, vice president of HUP and representative of small retailers, emphasised that there have been no unjustified price increases and that retailers haven't increased their margins. An increase occurs if the retailer has increased their own margins, he pointed out.

"I'd say that there have been no unjustified increase in prices. What we did at the beginning was the conversion from the kuna to the euro. The state inspectorate showed that we did not have any violations, if we have, then these are minimal offenses simply because someone got the conversion wrong. As for raising prices from the position of a small trader, I can say that there was no price raising either, but we have to keep in mind that trade is a process that we can't just say ceases on December the 31st, 2022, and then nothing else ever happens," said Budimir.

"If a trader was purchasing goods sometime on December the 20th, 2022, and their prices went up until December the 31st, that means that they already had a new input. When they receive a new input, then they have to do a new calculation. Traders form their prices so that they have an input price from the manufacturer, that is, the supplier, increased by their own margin and then by VAT. In this entire process which is carried out, it can be seen that the trader didn't increase their margin even though they had an increase in costs," he concluded.

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

Saturday, 28 January 2023

HDZ Claims That Russian Media is Praising President Zoran Milanovic

January the 28th, 2023 - We all know that President Zoran Milanovic (SDP) is one to make sometimes rather strange remarks, and he isn't at all shy when it comes to saying precisely what he thinks of everything and... well, everyone. Unfortunately, some of his statements have made him popular with the Russian press, and HDZ isn't having it.

As Index writes, HDZ recently took to Facebook in order to publish some of the titles and images of articles published in the Russian media space that convey the statements of President Zoran Milanovic about sending Western tanks into Ukraine.

"If America and Russia don't come to an agreement, and that currently isn't something that is in sight, this war will not stop. Somehow I hope that some kind of talks do continue, or we will slowly move towards WW3, which some people think has already started, but I'm a little more reserved on that front. As for the tanks, both Russian and American will burn," President Zoran Milanovic said recently, among other rather alarming things.

HDZ called him out in its social media publication with the taunting title "From Russia with love/Iz Rusije s ljubavlju".

"The caries (an insult comparing the president to a persistent form of tooth decay) from Pantovcak is once again being showcased as a hero by the Russian regime's media. How could they not praise and celebrate Zoran ''Lex Perkovic'' Milanovic when he, much like the Kremlin, insults Germany and condemns it for the delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine? When he fervently spreads ideas which have already been being expressed Vladimir Putin's own spokesman Peskov, claiming that these tanks will 'burn' and threaten humanity - in order to stop aid from being sent to Ukraine - with 'a new world (nuclear) war?'' wrote HDZ.

"He wants Croatia to be in the ''Russian world'' they wrote, using the word ''svet'' instead of the Croatian word ''svijet'' for ''world'', in an apparent jab by using Serbian spelling.

''At the same time, President Zoran Milanovic has been saying things about the Germans, claiming that "that they've already tried to go to war with Russia", alluding to Adolf Hitler - similar to when he accused Ukrainians of "Nazism" because they don't agree with being enslaved. He also claims that the delivery of German and American tanks will ''only prolong the conflict'' (hm, conflict, not aggression or invasion). In translation - He demands that Kyiv capitulate!

Milanovic is now quite openly working in the interest of Russian aggression and Vladimir Putin's undemocratic regime, and against Ukraine, Europe (which he once again showered with insults) and the West. He wants Croatia in the "Russian world". But don't worry: Grbin & Grmoja will continue to support him, and will continue to claim that they ''see nothing objectionable'' in his statements," HDZ's Facebook post reads.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Croatian Love Island Galešnjak Put up for Sale for 13 Million Euros

January 27, 2023 - An interesting ad appeared online, selling a part of the heart-shaped island Galešnjak, also known as the Croatian love island. The price is 13 million euros, or, to use the former Croatian currency, about 98 million kunas.

Morski cites the ad, originally published on Index. "A heart-shaped island with approximately 142,000 m2, of which slightly more than 30,000 m2 are for sale which is, of course in one piece and spread on more than 500m of sea shore. Now one more parcel added and joint together in one piece bigger then 40 000 m2! You can do something really unique with this real estate, especially when you have guests with yachts like Beyonce and Jay Z (Beyonce even celebrated birthday there), Jeff Bezos, Michael Jordan, etc. parked all the time".

As one of the options, the ad suggests starting an agricultural trade.

"One of the options is opening OPG! An agricultural farm that can be worked on an area of ​​three hectares. In addition, 400 square meters of above-ground buildings and 1,000 square meters of underground buildings can be built. What is an excellent opportunity for agricultural elite tourism with a villa and/or restaurant and a large warehouse for olives, wine, and other herbs..."

"That's right, three hectares of the island have been advertised for sale. The interest is relatively high for now, and some investment funds have shown the most serious interest, Silvestro Kardum, the seller's representative, confirmed for Zadarski.

"I don't have a real estate agency; I am just helping the owners with the sale. These are four connected plots owned by several people, with a total area of about 32-33 thousand square meters. There are maquis trees on that land, and there used to be olive trees. All ownership documents are in order, and the owners are registered. The owners are from Mrljan on the island of Pašman. The owners of the rest of the island were not interested in selling", adds Silvestar, who believes that he will succeed in selling part of the most famous Croatian island.

"According to the existing law, it is possible to build a villa or a restaurant with an area of 400 square meters and another 1,000 square meters of basement space in such an area with OPG for growing olives or vines. The investment could certainly pay off", he emphasizes.

The ad states that the plots for sale are located about 500 meters from the coast.

The island of Galešnjak in the Pašman channel is one of the most recognizable Croatian islets, and Brightside once included it in its list of 20 wonders of the world. In 2019, scientists from the Department of Archeology of the University of Zadar discovered that people lived there more than 7,000 years ago.

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

Friday, 27 January 2023

SuperSport HNL Transfer News: Latest with Dinamo, Hajduk, and Osijek

January 27, 2023 - A look at the latest SuperSport HNL transfer news from the top three teams in the league this season - Dinamo, Hajduk, and Osijek. 

The winter transfer period continues in the Croatian league, and while we have seen many stars leave Croatia already, we haven't seen many new players coming in... yet. We bring you the latest SuperSport HNL transfer news. 

Dinamo

Dinamo has been in the spotlight lately, and not for its success. Fierce conflicts within the club have affected the atmosphere at Maksimir. 

Thus, Dinamo captain Arijan Ademi asked to leave the club a few days ago and came to Maksimir with two offers. However, it seems that Dinamo leaders and coach Ante Čačić did not agree with his demands. 

Gol.hr reports that it is speculated that he will be offered a new Dinamo contract, but it is not excluded that there will be a transfer if the compensation is satisfactory.

Dinamo already sold a hugely important player in this winter transfer window when Mislav Oršić went to Southampton. With Bruno Petković injured and out of action for some time, Ademi's departure would be a big blow for Dinamo, especially after a surprising draw against Gorica to start the spring season.

Croatian media revealed on Friday that Dinamo is interested in bringing Swiss center back Bećir Omeragić, who would like to join the Zagreb club this winter transfer window.

Hajduk

Hajduk and French club Nimes Olympique agreed on the transfer of 24-year-old offensive midfielder Yassine Benrahouwho signed a contract with the Split club until the summer of 2026, with the option of extending it for another year. 

The new Hajduk player took his first football steps at the football academy AS Bondy and continued to develop through the academies of Bordeaux and the elite football academy "Clairefontaine."

He made his first senior appearances for Bordeaux's second team, and in the 2019/2020 season, he joined the first team and played ten official matches. He then moved to Nimes, playing in the first and second divisions. He played 91 games for Bordeaux and Nimes and scored 14 goals with 14 assists. For Bordeaux's second team, he played another 23 games and scored five goals with three assists. In addition, he played for France's U-16 and U-17 national teams. 

"Yassine is a player who, at the age of 24, has experience playing in the two highest leagues of French football. At the same time, he is a player who, during the negotiations, showed a strong desire to come to Hajduk. He has a versatile offensive player profile as an offensive midfielder who can also play well as a central midfielder and on the right wing. He uses his left foot dominantly and has excellent technical characteristics. In the attack, he perceives space very well, with a good overview, anticipation, and idea of the game," said sports director Nikoličius. 

Osijek

Croatia national team goalkeeper Ivica Ivušić will no longer defend for NK Osijek but will continue his career in Cyprus at the first league club Phafos. Ivušić received permission from the club to go for medical examinations, missed the team training, and flew to Cyprus earlier this week, where he signed. 

Osijek will reportedly earn around two million euros in addition to bonuses and a percentage of future sales.

If the bonuses are realized, Ivušić can become one of the club's most significant transfers. On the other hand, Ivušić became the most expensive player in the history of Pharos. 

Osijek already sold Dion Drena Beljo to Augsburg and Laszlo Kleinheisler to Panathinaikos during this transfer window. Ivušić is the third key player who has left Osijek so far. Marko Malenica, Osijek's second goalkeeper, will now be the starting goalkeeper. 

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

Friday, 27 January 2023

Price Increase Data: Here is How Croatia Compares to Rest of EU

January 27, 2023 - Eurostat has published data on the food price increase in the EU, broken down by member state. Croatia can be compared with the average and other countries, which reveals how much and why/who caused food prices to rise in previous years and in quite a bit of detail.

As Index writes, food prices can be monitored in several ways. For simplicity of presentation, they compared Croatia with the EU average, neighbouring countries Slovenia, Hungary, and Italy, and Germany as the largest EU economy. Slovakia was also added as the EU country most similar to Croatia in terms of population and standards.

In addition to the overall price increase, data are also given by the type of food products. Readers can select the categories by clicking on the menu in their interactive tables. Tables with data on the increase in the prices of bread, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, oil, fat, fruit, vegetables, beer, and wine have been published. 

How much have food prices increased in stores?

The most important category of food price increase for citizens is the harmonized index of consumer prices, which is actually a measure of inflation and shows how the prices in stores paid by end customers, i.e. citizens, have changed. In December 2022, the food price in Croatia, according to the harmonized index of consumer prices, was higher by 19.7 percent compared to December 2021.

This is a higher price increase than in Italy, a little higher than the average of the EU and Slovenia, and at the level of Germany. In Slovakia, food became more expensive, but the absolute record holder is Hungary, where the price of food in stores was higher by 49.6 percent during December 2022 compared to December 2021.

Bread

Understandably, not all categories saw an equal price increase. The price of bread in Croatia increased much more than in Italy, Slovenia, and the EU average. Approximately the same increase was recorded in Slovakia, while Hungary, with an increase of 82.1 percent, is the absolute EU record holder. Interestingly, in October the price increase of imported bread in Croatia was 30.9 percent, far less than in Germany, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia, where the import prices of bread increased by about 50 percent.

Meat

Meat price increase in Croatia is at the level of the EU average (17 percent), more than in Italy, and less than in Germany and Slovenia. Slovakia and Hungary stand out with a particularly high price increase, of 30 and 40 percent. Along with the increase index of consumer prices, i.e. prices in stores, the increase of import prices of a product and the growth of producer prices can be monitored.

In November, producer prices of meat in Croatia increased the least of the observed countries and less than the EU average. But data for October show that import prices in Croatia increased the most of all countries except Hungary.

Looking at the types of meat, chicken stands out, whose price increase in Croatia (18.1 percent) is the lowest among the observed countries and below the EU average (23.5 percent).

Milk, cheese and eggs

The prices of milk, cheese and eggs in stores (consumer prices) in Croatia were higher than the EU average, but lower than in Germany and Slovakia. The price increase of 73.2 percent in Hungary compared to December 2021 is by far the highest in the EU (the second highest is in Lithuania and amounts to 47.4 percent).

Looking at categories, the price of fresh whole milk in Croatia has increased the least compared to the EU, although until August Croatia was the record holder for the increase in the price of this food. However, between August and December, the price dropped sharply, so Croatia ended the year with the lowest increase in the price of these foodstuffs among the observed countries. It is interesting that data from October for import prices of that product show the highest increase in Croatia, even though consumer prices have been falling sharply since August.

The increase of the price of eggs in Croatia is extremely high, by as much as 64.5 percent. This is less than in Slovakia and Hungary, but far above the EU average (30.2 percent). The increase in the prices of yogurt and cheese does not deviate that much from the EU average, although it is higher in Croatia.

Oils and fats

The prices of oils and fats grew the least in Croatia of the observed countries. Until June 2022, it was even higher than the EU average, but since then it has been sharply decreasing. Import prices recorded a significant growth during the year (33.6 percent), although they have been decreasing since June. Producer prices in Croatia increased much less than import prices, and in December they were only 5.5 percent higher than in the same month of 2021.

Fruit

The increase of fruit prices was on average weaker than the increase of other food products. In Croatia (9 percent) it is slightly higher than the EU average (8.1 percent). Interestingly, overall, since 2015, the price of fruit has increased by 17.2 percent in Croatia, 29.9 percent in the EU, and even 94.5 percent in Hungary. For Croatia, this is the lowest price increase since that year for all food categories.

Vegetables

The increase of vegetable prices in Croatia (8.8 percent) is the lowest among the observed countries and below the EU average (15 percent). Compared to 2015, these prices are 23.2 percent higher, and the record holder is Hungary with 117.9 percent higher prices in December 2022 compared to the average price of vegetables in 2015.

Fish and seafood

The prices of fish and seafood in Croatia grew more than the EU average, 17.7 percent versus 13.3 percent. Of the observed countries, the growth was higher only in Germany, and in Hungary it was so high (39.4 percent) that it belongs in its own class. The increase in import prices was higher than the increase in producer prices.

Beer

Considering other food products, the price of beer did not increase significantly. In Croatia, a growth of 10.7 percent was recorded, which mostly occurred in December. If it had not been for that sudden jump, the price increase would have been only 5.1 percent, the smallest of the observed countries. The record holder is Hungary again.

Wine

The increase in the price of wine in Croatia in 2022 was atypical, for most of the year it was higher than in Hungary. In December, price increase compared to the same month last year was 18.6 percent, which is a slowdown compared to November. Hungary did not slow down, so it overtook Croatia with a growth of 19.5 percent. The EU average is 7.6 percent.

Producer and import prices

In Croatia, the price increase of imported food was at 25.3 percent, less than the producer price, which grew by 17.1 percent. This means that the increase in prices results more from the increase in import prices than from the increase in the prices of domestic producers. The same applies to Italy and Slovenia.

Hungary has the opposite situation - the increase of producer prices in the country is higher than the increase of import prices. Although producer prices refer to the prices of domestic and foreign producers, import prices refer only to foreign countries. From this, it can be concluded which had a greater impact on the growth of consumer prices in stores.

In December, there was a noticeable slowdown in the price increase of most categories of food products. At the EU level, the food price index (HICP) fell from 18.3 to 18.2 percent, which may be a hint of the beginning of a new trend. In Croatia, the increase has been slowing down since the end of October, when increase compared to the same month last year was 20.5 percent, and in December 19.7 percent. This does not mean that prices are falling, but it is a signal of slowing increase.

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

Friday, 27 January 2023

Winter is Finally Here: Four Croatian Ski Resorts Opening This Weekend

January 27, 2023 - The cold and snow have finally arrived, and fans of winter sports will be delighted by the news that four Croatian ski resorts are opening this weekend: Sljeme, Platak, Čelimbaša near Mrkoplje and the ski resort in Ogulin.

As 24Sata writes, after an unusually warm December and beginning of January, real winter finally appeared in the last two weeks and snow fell all over Croatia.

After enough snow finally fell, four Croatian ski resorts decided to open their slopes for the public.

On Saturday, January 28, 2023, the skiing season will begin at the Sljeme Ski Resort, with the slopes open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Owners of axess ski tickets from last year and the year before can refill them on the website. Daily ticket prices on weekdays are 9.29 euros for adults, 5.31 euros for children up to 15 years old, and 6.64 euros for skiers over 65 years old. On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, prices are 13.27 euros for adults, 6.64 euros for children up to 15 years old, and 9.29 euros for skiers over 65 years old.

On Platak near Rijeka, the Radeševo 1, Tourist and Baby trails are open, while all remaining trails should also be open for the weekend: Radeševo 1, Radeševo 2, Zavoj 19, Tourist, Pribeniš, Tešnje and Baby trail as well as the sledding grounds.

As in previous years, night skiing will be possible on Tuesdays and Fridays from 19:00 to 22:00, and day-night skiing on Thursdays from 12:00 to 20:00, whenever the weather conditions permit. Daily skiing and the working hours of the cable cars, cable cars and ropeways are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. The ticket office opens at 8 a.m., and for night skiing on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m. See ticket prices HERE.

Furthermore, the Čelimbaša ski resort near Mrkopalj will open this Saturday. Opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and ticket prices are as follows: half-day €10, full-day €15.

Finally the Ogulin ski resort in Ogulin will also be ready for the weekend, with free entry as well.

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

Friday, 27 January 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Holocaust Remembrance and Popularity Contests

January the 27th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had continued hunts for those who have wrongly increased their prices following Croatia's accession to the Eurozone earlier this month, the first Crobarometer survey of 2023, and a look back into a dark past as Croatia prepares to preside over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

2023's first Crobarometer reveals that majority don't believe that the government is competent when it comes to solving the issues we're facing, yet HDZ remains the most popular political party...

Quite the paradox, isn't it? Such is Croatia. The first Crobarometer of 2023 has revealed that not much has altered with the beginning of another new year when it comes to the political contradictions. Index published the results which were made public knowledge by Dnevnik Nova TV in cooperation with the well known IPSOS agency. Major changes have taken place since the last survey - Croatia entered the Eurozone and Schengen, and the government was reshuffled in which we got two new ministers. Despite that, things have stayed the same in many ways. The results reflect the period from the end of last month and the first half of this month.

How does President Zoran Milanovic stand?

The majority of respondents, more specifically 66 percent of them, are still convinced that the country is heading in the wrong direction. 23 percent of the respondents say that the course Croatia is taking is actually good, while 11 percent don't know what to think. It's interesting to note that this is the fourth month in a row now in which the number of pessimists and skeptics has decreased, while the number of optimists has increased.

Data on support for the work of the government isn't quite as clear: 63 percent of the respondents don't support its work, 28 percent support it, and nine percent either don't know or don't really care either way. But here, apart from the percentages, there is a more interesting trend to be noted: the government has still failed to achieve an increase in support for the fourth month in a row.

The curve has turned and the number of respondents dissatisfied with the government's work this month is four percentage points higher than it was back in December. The reasons should probably be sought no further than the rise in prices due to the introduction of the euro and the government's actions that it has or has not taken against all those whi have unjustifiably rainsed their prices following the currency switch.

It is similar with the expectations of the government to solve the problems of the respondents. After three relatively good months for the government, there was a reversal. Now 73 percent of the respondents don't believe that the government is capable of solving their problems, 24 percent think it is, and three percent don't know.

The perception of the ruling coalition's monolithic nature is unscathed. A still very high 83 percent of respondents believe that they will last until the end of their mandate.

Support for the work of Zoran Milanovic is greater than support for the work of the government, but he is still seen as a deeply negative figure in Croatian politics. With his often rather strange statements and his apparent lack of fear when it comes to firing off insults, that shouldn't come as much of a shock. 52 percent of those surveyed disapprove of his actions, 40 percent approve, and eight percent don't know what to think of him at all.

Support for political parties

Among the respondents, there is a high percentage of those who would probably or will certainly go to the polls, amounting to around 71 percent. 25 percent certainly or probably wouldn't, and four percent don't know what they'll do. Among safe and likely voters, HDZ is still undisputed and has the support of 30 percent of the respondents, which is still very high regardless of the drop of less than one percentage point compared to last month.

Undecided voters have come in second place for the third month in a row now. Those who would go to the elections, but don't know who to vote for, stand at 16.5 percent, which is also slightly less than it was back in December. In third place came SDP, which has also fallen slightly and now stands at 11.6 percent. They are followed by Most (Bridge) with 8.7 percent and the Mozemo! (We can!) platform with eight percent. Both have seen a slight increase. That threshold has also been crossed by the Domovinski pokret (Homeland Movement) with 6.3 percent of support.

HSS remains below the threshold with 2.3 percent of support, HSU with 2.2, IDS with two percent of support, and the Social Democrats with 1.5, which is the first time they have passed one percent at all. They're followed by HNS with 1.4, Suverenisti (Sovereigns) with 1.3, HSLS with 1.2, Stranka umirovljenika (the Pensioners' Party) and Centar (Centre with 1.1 percent.

Public impressions of politicians and the biggest problems we're currently facing

Zoran Milanovic came in the first place with 46 percent of politicians towards whom respondents have a positive impression, second is Ivan Penava with 44, third is Tomislav Tomasevic with 39, fourth is Bozo Petrov with 38 and fifth is Andrej Plenkovic with a mere 36 percent of support.

On the same poll, only with a negative sign instead of a positive one, Milorad Pupovac came in first place with 77 percent of negative impressions, and Andrej Plenkovic is second with 57 percent. Third place is shared by Gordan Jandrokovic and Hrvoje Zekanovic with 56 percent. Zlatko Hasanbegovic had closed the top five with a very unimpressive 55 percent.

If we look at the net ratio of positive and negative impressions, Ivan Penava is the best, second is Ivica Puljak, and third is Zoran Milanovic.

When it comes to the biggest problems in the country at this moment in time, it should come as no surprise that high prices and inflation are in first place, and low wages and poor living standards are in second place. In the five most important topics for respondents during January, almost all of them are related to living standards, high prices and low incomes, and only one is related to corruption.

The survey was conducted by the IPSOS agency from January the 1st to the 22nd on 996 Croatian respondents using a typical personal interview method. The maximum sample error is +/- 3.3 percent, and for party ratings +/- 3.6 percent.

We look back at the horrors of the Holocaust and set out the country's aims as Croatia prepares to preside over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in March

Andrej Plenkovic said this week that this year's theme of commemorating the victims of the Holocaust is "Home and Belonging/Dom i pripadanje", terms which should remind us of the responsibility of ensuring a sense of home and belonging for everyone and opposing hate speech.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is being marked today, was proclaimed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly back in 2005, and this year the United Nations chose "Home and Belonging" as the guiding theme in Holocaust education and remembrance.

"This topic emphasises the humanity of the Holocaust victims, whose identity was taken away in the name of an ideology that left a deep wound on the soil of Europe," Plenkovic said during the government session.

"We have a moral responsibility to oppose anti-Semitism and hate speech"

He added that it reminds us that "we have a responsibility to ensure a sense of home and belonging for all people, both in Croatia and globally, to oppose hate speech, anti-Semitism, denial and distortion of the truth about the Holocaust and to do everything to make sure that similar aggressions, wars and bloodshed are never, ever repeated".

''From March the 1st, 2023, Croatia will preside over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a non-governmental body that consists of 35 member states and 10 observer states. This year, we'll present the topic of strengthening education, research and the culture of remembrance of the Holocaust,'' announced the Prime Minister.

He noted that this week in Osijek, recognition was given to Dr. Kamil Firinger, the 130th Croatian Righteous Among the Nations, who risked his own life to save his fellow citizens of the Jewish faith, Margita Fischer and her children, from having their lives taken from them by the Fascist regime.

"It's important to mention the Righteous, they were ordinary people who recognised the moment and decided to act and became an example of human kindness and of those who do not turn a blind eye to the suffering of their neighbours," Plenkovic pointed out. International Holocaust Remembrance Day is the day when the largest concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau (Poland), was liberated back in 1945.

"Tomorrow we remember the systematic humiliation, deportation and extermination of six million European Jews from 1933 to 1945, one and a half million of whom were only children," said the prime minister, adding that Deputy Prime Minister Anja Simpraga and Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Korzinek will head to Zagreb's Mirogoj.

Plenkovic appears on Euronews to discuss Croatian Eurozone accession, noting the biggest issue we've faced - unjustified price hikes

''Croatia's transition to the euro technically went very well and without many problems, and the only incidents were price increases from some economic entities,'' Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said this week in an interview with Euronews. The Prime Minister spoke to the European media in Davos, Switzerland, where he participated in the World Economic Forum.

"Our ATMs were working and there were plenty of euro coins and banknotes supplied," Plenkovic said, adding that the entire payment system worked perfectly and that the first two weeks when it was possible to pay in kuna and euros also passed without difficulty.

"The only incident is that some entities unjustifiably raised prices in the context of price rounding, which wasn't fair," the prime minister continued, saying the government was now "trying to convince them to return their prices" to the levels they were at back at the end of December 2022.

When asked about peoples' concerns about rising prices after joining the Eurozone, Plenkovic said that the end of Croatia's six-year long path to Eurozone membership coincided with the changed global context and the consequences of Russian aggression against Ukraine, which affected prices in Croatia and inflation across the continent and the world.

Last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Croatia had inflation of 10.8 percent, which is only 1 percent above the Eurozone average, but lower than in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe which don't use the euro, he said.

"Therefore, we believe that this situation will calm down and that things will return to normal," the prime minister emphasised, before talking about the 3.6 billion euro package of state financial aid set to be poured into the economy from 2022.

"The European Union has never shown such unity"

Speaking about Europe's response to Russian aggression, Plenkovic said that he felt that the European Union had never shown such unity and determination, with "clear and articulated condemnation of Russia" and immense solidarity with Ukraine. This conflict, like all others, will end at the "diplomatic table", Plenkovic believes, stressing that Europe must continue to support Ukraine no matter what. He repeated that Croatia can offer its experience of the peaceful reintegration of the Danube region, emphasising the word "peaceful" especially for the Russian media.

The issue of the Western Balkans

"There was a fantastic operation 25 years ago, and I think that model can be applied to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as well,'' the prime minister said, also touching on the topic of the Western Balkans, dismissing concerns that tensions in that area could lead to destabilisation once again.

"There has never been more involvement of the European Union at the highest level in the Western Balkans than there was in 2022," said the Prime Minister. "However, we must remain vigilant, engaged, and all leaders should take responsibility. Because the more stable and better these countries function, the faster their path to European Union membership will be," he pointed out.

The Croatian State Inspectorate has been carrying out many inspections on the hunt for unjustified price increases, and many fines have been issued

The powers that be have been active on their continued hunt for business entities and other goods and services providers which have wrongly raised their prices following the introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency back at the very beginning of this month. You can read more about their latest findings, including the percentage of the price hikes in different sectors and the amount of inspections carried out (not to mention the amount in fines issued) by clicking here.

 

For more on Croatian politics, make sure to check out our dedicated section and keep an eye out for our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

E-Tourism: New Set of Digital Public Services for Croatian Tourism Launched

January the 26th, 2023 - Meet E-tourism, a brand new set of digital public services for the ever-important field of Croatian tourism has been launched in time for this summer season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, E-tourism is a brand new set of digital public services for the field of Croatian tourism which has been made available from today via the e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) system. The new E-tourism service has otherwise been created as part of the three-year project involving Croatian digital tourism or e-tourism, the final activities of which were presented on Wednesday this week by the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sport (MINTS).

Presenting the brand new E-tourism project and its aims for the tourism sector at the press conference, its leader and director of the Directorate for Strategic Planning, Digitalisation and EU Funds, Natalija Havidic, explained that the project has actually been being implemented since back at the beginning of 2018, and will finally be completed at the beginning of February this year.

The goal of the project and all the resulting electronic services is to improve the efficiency of public services and communication between people and tourist entities within public administration.

Three new e-services for tourism were created as part of that project - TuStart, TuRiznica and TuRegistar, which are under the jurisdiction of MINTS. Two more were previously upgraded in the process - eVisitor as a system for the registration and de-registration of tourists and the portal Croatia.hr, which presents the entire Croatian tourist offer and various types of information, both of which are under the jurisdiction of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ/CNTB).

The TuStart service, according to Havidic, is intended for the online start-up and registration or change of tourist activities, TuRegistar is a tourist central register that will include all enterprises and individuals engaged in Croatian tourism, including the categorisation of facilities and more, and TuRiznica is a system in which one can see and submit requests for the allocation of all grants in tourism transparently online.

"The importance of this E-tourism project lies in the fact that now the paper-based issuing of various permits, solutions and so on can all be done online, and that all these solutions are digitally mapped. The accuracy of the data entered, for example, in the TuRegistar system should be verified by MINTS and the competent county, and then it will all be visible in that system," concluded Havidic.

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

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Croatian Pension and Wage Growth Now More Necessary Than Ever

January the 26th, 2023 - Alright, this title is slightly misleading because we've needed Croatian pension and wage growth for a very long time now, but after becoming a full Eurozone member state, it's high time that we saw the numbers in our bank accounts go up, even just a little bit.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, recently, there have been signs of inflation finally stabilising after a certain drop in electricity and gas prices was duly noted, but despite that, in general prices are still high, and Croatian living standards are falling, which is why Croatian pension and wage increases are now more necessary than ever.

These are just some of the conclusions reached as part of the recently held "Eurostands - Perspectives and challenges" in the City of Zagreb. The head of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions, Kresimir Sever, reiterated that subjective inflation is still being very much felt by most of the country's households and is significantly higher than official statistics. He said because of that, Croatian pension and wage growth is necessary. On the other hand, the chief economist of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP), Hrvoje Stojic, said that HUP members have seen their employee salaries rase above the national inflation level.

Stojic also noted that the wider Eurozone's economy will experience a certain strong slowdown throughout 2023, during which there will be a "cooling" of aggregate demand, but he added that inflation could be up to two percentage points lower compared to the estimates provided back at the end of 2022.

He believes that due to the unusually mild winter we've all been experiencing, the whole of Europe could avoid dipping into the expected recession in 2023, but also that there is an option to simply "postpone" it to the second half of this year, or even until next year. Professor Marijana Ivanov of the Faculty of Economics warned that inflation reduces the real value of everything we own, and that we need to keep paying attention to the trends.

However, it is positive that there are still no risks of unemployment growth in the Croatian economy, but the general standard of living in slipping.

''Croatian living standards are decreasing, but somehow we're managing despite all of the current challenges," she concluded.

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

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Croatian State Inspectorate Continues Hunt for Unjustified Price Hikes

January the 26th, 2023 - The Croatian State Inspectorate has been busy over the last couple of weeks after many stores and services/goods providers unjustifiably raised their prices following the introduction of the euro as the country's official currency. Their findings have been astonishing, and many fines have been issued.

Poslovni Dnevnik brings us the findings of the Croatian State Inspectorate without any changes, and we've translated it into English:

Following the conclusion of the government on the implementation of the principle of the prohibition of unjustified price increases, the Croatian State Inspectorate is continuing to carry out increased inspections aimed at protecting consumer rights.

From January the 5th, 2023, when the Croatian Government adopted the aforementioned conclusion, until yesterday (January the 25th, 2023), the market and tourism inspection of the Croatian State Inspectorate carried out a total of 1,458 inspections, in which, (more specifically in 305 such inspection so far) unjustified price increases after December the 31st, 2022 were determined. In an additional 211 inspections which have been carried out, the process of the determination of any unjustified price hikes is now being determined.

Excluding inspections in which fact-finding remains an ongoing process, unjustified price increases after December the 31st, 2022 were found in 24.5% of inspections. 70% of the supervised entities where a price increase was determined during the inspection, i.e. immediately before the end of the inspection, returned their retail prices to the amounts they were at back on December the 31st, 2022.

"These figures clearly show us that the inspections being carried out by the Croatian State Inspectorate and the measures adopted by the government in order to protect consumer rights have borne fruit," said Andrija Mikulic, Chief State Inspector, when commenting on the progress and preliminary results of the inspections so far.

Out of the total number of inspections performed (1,458), 382 inspections were performed on service providers, 328 inspections were carried out in retail trade, 108 inspections were carried out across the sector of retail bakery products, and 640 inspections were carried out in the catering and hospitality industry.

According to the preliminary data we have access to at this moment in time, the average price increase for supervised services has shot up to a staggering 30%, while the price increase in retail bakery products is, on average, a less but still wholly unwelcome 15%.

A comparative analysis of the "new", higher prices of certain catering and hospitality services and the "old", lower prices found an increase in the prices of certain catering services of up to 10%, and exceptionally in some inspections which have been concluded over this past week, an increase in the prices of certain catering services up to a disgusting 29%.

Regarding prices in retail trade, an average unjustified increase of up to 17% for certain controlled products after December the 31st, 2022, has been observed. For example, unjustified increases in the prices of milk, chicken meat, and beer, were all determined.

It's important to emphasise that a significant number of inspections carried out in retail trade in retail chains have also been completed. In nineteen retail chains, the market inspection carried out 93 inspections. The inspections were carried out ex officio, as planned inspections and on the basis of peoples' reports.

So far, at four retail chains, an unjustified increase in retail prices for ten products has been determined; cat food (29.18%), 800g cocoa drinks (18.91 %), cured meat product sirloins (20.52%), pickles (9%), dog food (38%), cooking chocolate ( 13%), liquid yogurt (24.47%), butter (19.87%) and biscuits (41.24 %). Please note that fact-finding is still underway in several retail chains.

Fines are being imposed on all business entities that unjustifiably increased their prices after December the 31st, 2022, that is, from January the 1st, 2023 until the day of the inspection. As of January the 25th, 2023, a total of 272 fines were issued as part of the completed inspections, in the total amount of 457,357.96 euros (3,445,963.55 kuna).

Inspections being carried out by the Croatian State Inspectorate are set to continue, with each inspection being part of its jurisdiction. This state body will continue to carry out coordinated and continuous inspections with the aim of consumer protection firmly in mind.

For more, check out our news section.

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