Sunday, 12 March 2023

Sold Out Poljud Expected for Croatia - Wales EURO 2024 Qualifier

March 12, 2023 - We are less than two weeks away from the upcoming Croatia - Wales EURO 2024 qualifier at Poljud stadium. And if you haven't snagged a ticket yet, you may be out of luck. 

On Friday, March 3, ticket sales began for the upcoming Croatia - Wales match as part of the qualification cycle for the 2024 European Championship in Germany.

Namely, Croatia and Wales meet on March 25 at 20:45 at Poljud Stadium in Split.

Advance tickets are on sale until March 24, with the following prices: 
Central West: 30 euros
West: 25 euros
East (middle): 20 euros
East: 15 euros
North: 12 euros

While match day tickets on March 25 are as follows: 
Central West: 33 euros
West: 27 euros
East (middle): 23 euros
East: 20 euros
North: 13 euros

The deadline for buying tickets online lasts until the start of the match or until all tickets are sold out, which may already be the case. 

Just 13 days before the match at Poljud, the HNS ticket portal is showing no tickets available, according to This is not surprising, however, as Croatia fans are still feeling the euphoria of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where the Vatreni took bronze, the third medal in their young history.

There was incredible interest among Croats for this match against Wales, and Poljud was nearly sold out two weeks before the important Euro qualifier. Poljud did not even experience this frenzy for the Nations League match against France and the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Russia.

Croatia will thus be welcomed by 30,000 fans in the electric Poljud atmosphere. Fans will come to Split from all parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, including many Croats living in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

Anyone who did not manage to buy a ticket can watch the match live on TV. Should more tickets become available, don't forget to check the HNS ticket portal, where you can find detailed information on ticket sales and payment methods.

Croatia will play their second EURO 2024 qualifier on March 28 against Turkey in Bursa. 

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

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Izlet hr: First Croatian School Field Trip App Launched in Split

March the 12th, 2023 - Izlet hr ( is the very first Croatian field trip app designed for schools and their children. Launched by the Split-based Eklata agency, this new tool will likely be a hit with schools.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the global coronavirus pandemic contributed to the creation of the very first Croatian application for designing school trips, with which the Split agency Eklata alleviated the problem of a lack of staff and accelerated the process of selecting one-day trips for schoolchildren.

The real breakthrough of the Izlet hr application, which has been on the market since the beginning of this school year, will show itself in just a few days, because the beginning of spring is the traditional time for arranging one-day trips for schoolchildren, and by the beginning of the next school year, a version for multi-day trips, including high school graduates, will be ready.

"We've had this idea for a long time now, because we wanted to speed up and simplify the procedures for designing school trips and offers that will meet demand. As we always strive to be innovative and follow trends in our work, and we've digitised our business to a great extent, a mobile application was a natural sequence. The coronavirus pandemic gave us time to develop our product, which took us about one year, and the app has been available since last autumn.

There was also a trial period in which Izlet hr proved to be very useful and easy to use, but now schools are starting to plan school trips and as such we expect full implementation,'' said Jurica Glavina, the owner of Eklata. The web and mobile application Izlet hr is free and available to everyone, and through it, teachers, parents, and students can independently create an offer for a school trip somewhere in Croatia.

This skips the need for any lengthy communication between the agency and the user as the application is fully automated and the agency's employees are involved only at the last step.

Until then, users can specifically enter all the necessary information about their desired excursion into the app, from the number of passengers and the desired destination to the topic of the trip and the specific content they're interested in, with an overview of service prices.

"After deciding which county you want to go to, you can choose whether the excursion will be out in nature or whether the students want to see cultural and historical sights, visit galleries and museums... You can decide on one or a combination of different content, for example, you can add lunch to the offer. You simply click or "drag&drop" your selections, enter the number of students and you'll immediately find out the price and terms of payment,'' explained Glavina.

With the very next click, an offer is requested, which the app generates independently and which arrives by email in an instant, and by clicking ''accept'', a team of tourism workers, pedagogues and educators start preparing an educational and fun school trop, so it's actually a fully tailor-made service.

Mirko Vukusic from the Split-based company Banica Trade is responsible for the creation of the application, and he took special care to create a maximally simple interface which will be attractive and easy for all generations who decide on school trips. The next step is an expanded application for excursions, which is expected this September, with the beginning of the next school year, but Glavina added that it is a product that can be modified for all other group trips. Eklata doesn't intend to offer this product to other agencies, but will instead use the application for its own services.

Izleti hr has begun work in the first year since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in which the old dynamics of organising school trips are expected to return, although this year will also be challenging due to rising prices and a lack of workers in the sector.

"During the pandemic, many agencies changed things, there are fewer bus operators, and prices have risen, and all of this will affect traffic," concluded Glavina.

For more, check out our news section.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Adults Only Croatia: New Veladrion Resort to Open in Zrnovica Bay

March the 12th, 2023 - An adults only Croatia is very much possible, and a brand new resort in gorgeous Zrnovica bay will definitely delight all of us who would prefer a relaxing break without the chorus of screaming kids in the background.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the upcoming Veladrion Resort, a five-star facility within the wider Zubak Group, will soon be opened in Zrnovica bay. It will officially start operating on April the 27th this year and represents an investment worth seven million euros, all of which was invested in the complete renovation of the Veladrion Resort.

The new resort will otherwise be the second luxurious five-star hotel from within the Zubak Group on the Croatian Adriatic coast, which will open its doors to guests exactly four years after the opening of the Ikador hotel, which is still renowned as one of the most luxurious hotels in all of the Republic of Croatia.

The Veladrion Resort will be located between the Velebit Channel and the nearby Kvarner islands, at the mouth of the Gacka River, where the river flows down into the Adriatic Sea.

This will once again be a win for the adults only Croatia tourism segment, as this previously adults-only resort was closed for years. Next month it will open to the public with five rooms and thirteen suites within a total of three villas and one special house within the pine forest, which will boast a total capacity for 41 people.

Wellness and spa rituals inspired by nature and enriched with indigenous Mediterranean herbs will also be available, and future guests will be able to enjoy the benefits of both indoor and outdoor swimming pools or on the beach in the immediate vicinity of the new adults only Croatia resort.

Activities include tennis and basketball courts, outdoor and indoor gyms, the possibility of hiking and biking in the Northern Velebit Nature Park, all the way to rafting and kayaking. The highest point of Veladrion is a private lookout point with a view of the neaeby Kvarner archipelago, not to mention the offer of boat rental. Namely, Marina Zrnovnica is located in a deep bay and offers guests a fleet of private boats, one of which is an authentic wooden boat 24 metres long. The resort will also have a restaurant whose menu is based on seasonal organic ingredients and local traditions.

The Zubak Group has already announced that more than 30 employees will work for the new Veladrion Resort.

For more, check out our news section.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

All Croatian Fuel Prices to Increase Slightly Again This Tuesday

March the 12th, 2023 - Croatian fuel prices are set to increase once again this Tuesday, continuing their very up and down trajectory that we've unfortunately become used to over the past few months.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as of Tuesday this week, all forms of Croatian fuel are set to go up in price, be it petrol, diesel, or blue diesel. All Croatian ful prices will go up by two cents, as RTL Danas/Today reports.

The price for petrol will therefore increase from the current price of 1.30 euros to 1.40 euros, with diesel going up to that exact same price, and blue diesel reaching 90 cents per litre as of Tuesday.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Omis: Cetina Bridge Connected, When Can Traffic Finally Commence?

March the 11th, 2023 - When it comes to Croatian bridges, it isn't just Peljesac bridge that is getting the glory. The Cetina bridge, which will finally relieve seriously irritating traffic issues in and around the Omis area, is now finally connected. 

As Mladen Miletic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the much talked about Cetina bridge over the Cetina river canyon in Omis in Central Dalmatia was finally connected on Thursday, and it is expected that cars will be allowed to drive along it this autumn.

The brand new Cetina bridge spans 224.45 metres and is part of the wider Omis bypass construction project which seeks to help this area, known for its traffic jams and congestion issues, to relieve itself of those burdens.

It sits over the Cetina river and is held up with a steel arch, the ends of which are secured in tunnels on both sides of the bridge, meaning that its actual length is greater than the visible structure.

The value of the works on the Cetina bridge stood at around 23.16 million (without the inclusion of VAT), and this much needed project will contribute to the traffic relief of the town centre of Omis, the immediate surrounding areas and reduce overall congestion issues. The works on the new Cetina bridge were carried out by Strabag, and the designer was Veljko Prpic from the Engineering Project Institute.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the merger ceremony that the merger of the Cetina bridge "is a good thing for Omis, Dalmatia and Split-Dalmatia County as a whole".

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

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Croatian Summer Holidays Becoming More Expensive Than Ever Before

March the 11th, 2023 - The days of relatively cheap Croatian summer holidays are now gone. The introduction of the euro as the country's official currency this year and spiralling inflation have driven prices upwards, and it seems as if this trend isn't likely to alter much as we go forward.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian summer holidays down on the Adriatic coast could be more expensive than ever before this year, and it's already being announced that private accommodation prices will be 30 percent higher on average than before.

That means that an apartment that came at a cost of 60 euros per night last year in the peak of the summer season will be around 80 euros this year, reports For a ten-day stay on the Adriatic, you will now need to allocate around two hundred euros more for accommodation expenses alone. Private renters have even higher expectations for cash flowing in from the booking of Croatian summer holidays this year than they did last year.

Some property owners who rent to tourists are still waiting to set their prices until they see what will happen after March with the government's aid package related above all to the price of electricity and energy.

"For the past few years, we've been spending our Croatian summer holidays in the Istrian town of Rovinj for a minimum of three weeks. Each night during the peak season in 2022 cost us 60 euros. I asked for offers from renters for this year and the prices are abnormal, even with a longer stay. From 90 euros in a more remote location to 140 euros. We'll probably change our destination, but Dalmatia is not much better either. I looked at nearby Greece, where an entire house during the peak summer season is 150 euros," one interviewee told

"Given the overall situation, economic and socioeconomic, it would be realistic to increase accommodation prices by 15 to 20 percent, but if we take all the levies that have been increased for private renters into account; from sojourn tax to tourist membership fees and communal services in numerous destinations, the real price increase in the family/private accommodation sector stands at about 30 percent,'' explained Mirko Bulic from the Croatian Community of Family Accommodation Association for

This particular trend, he says, is for prices to rise in this type of accommodation at the global level by 15 to 25 percent.

"It won't really cause any turbulence for us, I hope that we'll even end up being overbooked and that we'll need to send some guests down to Albania and into some other neighbouring countries,'' added Bulic.

These higher prices don't really seem to have affected the bookings for Croatian summer holidays for this year so far. Moreover, bookings for this season are 10 to 15 percent better than they were last year at this time, and the two coronavirus-dominated years have also contributed to all this, because people want to travel and are willing to pay more to do so.

How might one get by cheaper when it comes to Croatian summer holidays this year? Experts advise local tourists to avoid using the main platforms and negotiate prices directly with the renters.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 11 March 2023

Anger as President Zoran Milanovic's Son is Granted Scholarship

March the 11th, 2023 - Anger has erupted on social media and across the board as President Zoran Milanovic's son is granted a scholarship. With the wages both he and his wife bring home every month being what most people could only dream of, many people are asking why on Earth their son needs a scholarship.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the younger son of President Zoran Milanovic has received a scholarship from the City of Zagreb for ''excellence''.

He is currently a graduate of the Classical High School and is 75th on the ranking list for the City of Zagreb Excellence Scholarship for the 2022/2023 school year. The list was established back on January the 20th of this year, and 180 students received the same scholarship. The monthly stipend stands at 2,700 kuna net, which is equal to 358 euros per month.

Mato Palic, a Professor of Constitutional Law from the University of Osijek, took to social media to comment on this bizarre situation and wrote the following on his Facebook page:

"Dad has a salary of 3,555.00 euros, and mum has one of 2,169.95 euros (plus another monthly fee of 1,292.53 euros), they also own two apartments. One is worth 252,836.95 euros, and the other is worth 159,267.37 euros (that one is under co-ownership with third parties). However, they also have a cottage worth 79,633.69 euros (which is also under co-ownership with third parties). However, despite everything, that's not all. They also have savings of around 132,722.81 euros. And on top of that, you go on to apply for a scholarship and receive another 360 euros per month. Well give me five, smart ass.''

With many talented children and other young people who come from far, far less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds up and down the country who require the help this scholarship offers them and who have parents who simply cannot afford to get them the best possible education, many people are seeing a class issue with Zoran Milanovic's son being granted something he clearly does not need.

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

Friday, 10 March 2023

Superb Education at Harfa International School Attracts More Foreigners to Split


There are many reasons why people fall in love with Split and are attracted to it. Most of those reasons involve great climate and a laid-back life style compared to the western world. But lately we hear more and more people move to Split permanently because of superb education offered at Harfa International School. It’s not a rarity that we hear:

-      We came on holidays, fell in love with Split, and when we learned about a great education offered to our children, we decided to call this city our home. Split is every parent's dream come true!

We are aware of the perks Dalmatian life style offers, but the growing number of these stories got us more interested and we wanted to hear the parents' experiences first hand.  We talk to Sarah and Don Miller from Canada who came to Split during the pandemic.  

-      During the first lock-down, we extended what should have been a one-week vacation. Our friends recommended Split and we arrived "unexpectedly". We fell in love with the climate and culture at first sight, but as the fall approached and our children were about to start school, the biggest unknown for us was the quality of education in Croatia. We were delighted to discover that the Harfa International School was opening that year and the rest is history! Now we can't imagine life outside of Croatia because we love the combination of the life style and the excellent education our children receive!


The Miller family from Canada in front of the Harfa International School, the reason they stayed in Split  

They are not the only one with such story. The Vellis family from California, USA share a similar experience.

-  - In the summer of 2020, we came to Split for the first time on vacation and never left! We were delighted by the people, the food and the relaxed mentality, which is completely different from that in the West. The fact that life is not just about how many hours you work, but also about the time you spend with your loved ones really made a wonderful impact on us as a family and we decided to raise our children that way too. Of course, life by the sea is what attracted us, but when friends told us about the Harfa International School and after learning more about Harfa's approach to education, we realized this is exactly what we were looking for our child.


The Vellis family from California, USA.

Returnees from Australia; Dubravka and John Šušnjara give us their share of experience.

-      Our roots are Croatian, but we lived in Australia for many years. We were thinking about returning for some time now because we wanted to provide our children, who were born in Sidney, with a safer and better life style. The pandemic was the trigger to think about the idea of return more seriously, but our children did not speak Croatian and we knew that their education would be a challenge. When we heard about Harfa International School in Split and what kind of education that school offers, we didn't hesitate for long. The decision was made. The whole family moved to Split. Through school, we met other parents and became friends. Our children grow up in an international environment, speak English but also learn Croatian very quickly. We all enjoy a completely different dimension of life compared to Australia. I especially emphasize the family dimension because now we have much more time to enjoy spending time with family and friends, which is an important issue for us.


The Šušnjara family: An important parto f our decision to return to Split played the existence of Harfa International School.

We are interested to learn the reasons Split is a better choice for families, compared to some other world cities.

- For our family, the climate, people, food and family lifestyle are what won our hearts. We love various outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming in the sea, boating and cycling. In winter, the Christmas fair and ice rinks are fantastic! Our children really love the Christmas lights around the city and of course the fireworks on the waterfront for New Year's Eve. We also enjoy traveling in Europe because the destinations are much closer compared to Canada. – the Millers tell us.


The quality of family life that we found in Split is priceless.

- Driving in Split is easy compared to California! Also, when we lived near the Pacific Ocean it was always too cold to swim. There is something to do in Croatia all year round, and we also like the availability of so many nearby countries and national parks. – the Vellis explain.

-      Location! Split is the perfect starting point for exploring this beautiful country, but also the perfect place from which to visit Europe and the world. Compared to Australia most destinations are very close with almost all European destinations within a 2-hour flight. Another big advantage is a relaxed lifestyle. Food preparation and socializing are an everyday thing here. Such a thing can hardly be experienced in many western countries. We also like how national sporting events take priority over everything else. We still can’t believe that everything stops in Split when Hajduk or Croatia play. - adds John Šušnjara, obviously a passionate fan himself.


The lifestyle that is commonplace here can hardly be experienced in many western countries.

All of these stories keep coming back to the importance of the quality of education they found for their children right here. We are interested in why the Harfa school attracted them and how that school is different from the many others they could have chosen.

-      Harfa was recommended by many parents we met in Split and right from the start we recognized the right opportunity and place for our child. We are constantly amazed at what this school offers. The diversity of students and programs gives our child many opportunities to learn and grow. We can't wait to see how the school will continue to expand and develop. We are sure that it will be a place of wonderful and exciting opportunities not only for students but also for parents and teachers in Split. - the Vellis tell us.

-      We chose Harfa because of its unique philosophy and approach to learning, but also due to the vast experience of the school's founder, Mrs. Irena Orlović, who delighted us at first. We believe in her vision of approaching students as a whole person and supporting them to reach their full emotional and intellectual potential. We are extremely satisfied with the quality of education at Harfa. Our children are making progress and are well adjusted! We are very familiar with many educational systems in the world and that is why we can safely say that Harfa is unique precisely because of the combination of the emotional and social aspects of the child's development with education based on research, project learning and encouraging internal motivation and taking responsibility. This is also in line with our values. – the Millers explain to us.

-      Dedicated teachers and the most modern teaching methods, with SEL (social-emotional learning) and IB (International Baccalaureate) approaches which are especially important to us. We immediately recognized the goals and methodology and this played a big role in our decision, as well as the wonderful location on where the school is located. Harfa provided us with security and played a key role in the adjustment of not only our children but also the whole family when we first moved to Croatia. The IB learning methods, the location, the employees and the combination of English and Croatian make this school a unique and very cool place to learn.


Dedicated teachers and the most modern teaching methods based on SEL (social-emotional learning) and the prestigious international IB (International Baccalaureate) approach make Harfa the most attractive place for schooling children. 

And how do the children feel going to Harfa International School?

-      Our children are so attached to the school environment and friends that they don't want to miss a single lesson! They achieve excellent results. We are happy that they can do this in a comfortable and safe environment for them, and most importantly, they have learned to love learning, which we would like to become a lifelong habit. – the Millers add.

-      Our little girl loves her school and teachers very much. She has never shown the slightest bit of hesitation about attending school, which is proof enough for us that this was the best decision we could have made. Her biggest educational improvement is in math and social skills, but most importantly, she shows constant progress in everything. Since she has been in Harfa, she has become a real thinker; she asks more questions, thinks about advice when we offer it and ultimately makes balanced decisions independently. We have always believed that trust in a child's abilities is the key to healthy growing up, and this is proven to us every day. - concludes John Šušnjara.

-      Every day our child goes to school excited about what is to come and returns home with a list of things he learned and did that day. We are impressed by his knowledge of math, but also his progress in the Croatian language, given that it is not his mother tongue. Now he is teaching us Croatian! – we hear from Bri and John Vellis.


The founder of the Harfa International School is Irena Orlović, MSc. psycho-social counseling, psychotherapist and social entrepreneur who represented Europe in the documentary film FIVE as one of the five women who change the world.

Through Harfa International School, Irena Orlović is a representative of the new generation of social entrepreneurs who are adding extremely important value for the city of Split. A value that serves as a basis of a better future, and that’s education. We are happy with the further progress of this story, which, let's face it, gives  optimism for a better future.

Friday, 10 March 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Corruption, Energy Prices and VAT

March the 10th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had a rather poor response to Plenkovic making it illegal to leak information from active investigations, Milanovic has claimed that people are drowning in corruption, and pensioners have had some relief from paying certain health insurance contributions. Oh, and there's been talk of price increases, again.

Plenkovic made leaking information an act punishable by law last month, and it's proved wholly unpopular

Index writes that the Promocija plus agency recently conducted some research for RTL regarding the announcement of changes to the Criminal Procedure Act and the Criminal Code. These alterations to the law would make the leaking of information a punishable act, and a survey was conducted from March the 1st to the 3rd on a sample of 1,300 respondents with a standard error of plus or minus 2.7 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent.

Most respondents have indicated that they don't support criminalising the leaking of information from investigations, which is the government's plan. The majority, i.e. 51.4 percent of respondents are against this idea, while 34.5 percent support it.

14.1 percent didn't know or didn't want to answer. Among those who are in favour of making the leaking of information a punishable act, as expected, are HDZ voters (55.6 percent of them support it), followed by those who vote for HNS (80.6 percent of them support it), those who would vote for the Suverenisti (64.5 percent) and Bandic's party (59.1 percent).

While the Prime Minister is making little to no effort to hide that he is bothered by the political damage that results from the disclosure of information from investigations, the respondents see this very reason as the main trigger for changing the law. 51.1 percent of respondents think this is the sole reason for the idea. At the same time, 13.1 percent of them think that the reason is the protection of the rights of all persons involved in investigations, and even the protection of the investigative procedure, which is what 10.1 percent of respondents think.

People believe that the biggest victims of such a change would be journalists

Only 4.9 percent of respondents believe that the main reason for changing the law is the independence of the judiciary. According to Prime Minister Plenkovic's announcement, leaking information from judicial investigations will become a criminal offense, and the goal, as stated, is to prevent information and details from investigations from being released to the media.

The prime minister claims that he isn't trying to stifle any media freedom, but the main victims of this kind of judicial maneuver are precisely journalists, and this is what almost 37.5 percent of respondents believe. 8.9 percent believe that judges and court officials will suffer, and 8.4 percent of the survey participants believe that the public itself is the main victim.

President Zoran Milanovic says that the Croatian public is ''drowning in corruption'' and that the current situation is worse than it was during Ivo Sanader's reign

Milanovic is no stranger to simply blurting out whatever he thinks, with little to no regard for anyone he might offend, and the arguments between him and PM Plenkovic have become somewhat iconic. He has taken another swipe at Croatian politics as run by Plenkovic and stated that the Croatian public is ''drowning in corruption'' and in a ''worse state than when Ivo Sanader was in charge''. 

"When someone comes and tells me that they're ending their cooperation with the president of the republic [in reference to Plenkovic allegedly saying that to him], who was elected democratically, then that's a clear violation of the Croatian Constitution, I'm surprised that that person is still the prime minister, and that someone in the parliament supports that. Let's take a good look at ourselves because Plenkovic is now violating the constitution,''

Milanovic then went on to quote a list of names and positions within either the government or within society that he believes Plenkovic arranged for his own benefit, and even dragged members of his family into it all.

''You people are absolutely drowning in corruption, this whole situation is worse than the one Ivo Sanader caused. At least he only stole for himself,'' Milanovic stated, before continuing with more quite jarring statements about Plenkovic being arrested in Brussels.

Government session closes with the abolition of health insurance contributions for pensioners and VAT amendments

The amendments to the VAT Act proposed by the government at the most recently held session have resulted in the retention of lowest VAT rate yet on gas and some other energy products, and the amendments to the Contributions Act have abolished additional health insurance contributions payable by pensioners.

Amendments to the Law on VAT

According to Plenkovic, the government is proposing changes to the VAT Act, which will see it retain the VAT rate of five percent on deliveries of natural gas and heating from thermal stations. This includes fees related to these deliveries, as well as for deliveries of firewood, pellets, briquettes and wood chips even after March the 31st of this year.

"We're continuing with the reduced rate of VAT on gas, pellets, briquettes, wood chips, and we're going to extend this measure for another year. In this way, we're successfully enabling everyone to be supplied with these types of energy sources on time and at the lowest possible rate," Plenkovic said.

"We support pensioners"

When it comes to changes to the Law on [Health Insurance] Contributions, the proposal is to abolish the payment of an additional contribution for health insurance, which includes about one million pensioners, to whom the said contribution will be paid at the expense of the state budget. This will refer to around 32,000 such individuals.

"We support Croatia's pensioners, and another 32,000 of them will keep what they have been paying so far as part of their regular pension," Plenkovic said.

Freedom House says corruption continues to represent a very serious problem for Croatia

Political rights and civil liberties are generally respected in Croatia, but corruption and discrimination against certain minorities remains a very serious and real concern, Freedom House stated in its 50th annual report on the level of freedoms across the world.

Compared to last year, Croatia lost a point and now has 84 - 35/40 for political rights and 49/60 for civil liberties. Civil and political rights are generally respected in Croatia, but corruption in the public sector remains a serious problem, according to the Freedom House report.

As key events last year, they cited the arrest of various big names from the world of Croatian politics, the staggering INA affair and the fulfillment of the conditions for Croatia's entry into the Eurozone and Schengen despite these issues. The American non-governmental organisation warned that Roma, Serbian nationals, ethnic Serbs and members of the LGBTIQ+ community continue to face discrimination. It also noted the presence of far-right groups and people who promote discriminatory values in public spaces as a legitimate concern.

Irena Weber, the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) president, talked about price increases and about Croatia's lack of competitiveness economically

Irena Weber from the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) commented on various economic topics for N1 television, from tax policy to government measures to unjustified price increases and the issue of non-working Sundays.

HUP's salary taxation model

HUP has proposed an increase of salaries through tax relief in such a way that the non-taxable part of an individual's salary rises from 533 euros to 663 euros and that the tax bracket of 20 percent is reduced to 15, and that 30 percent of the income tax is applied only to salaries greater than 50,000 kuna. The amount that local self-government units would lose would be compensated by the introduction of a 10 percent tax on apartment rent. Commenting on the HUP initiative, Finance Minister Marko Primorac said that it was not particularly well thought out.

"The idea was to draw attention to the fact that the income tax burden in Croatia is very much an issue, while, on the other hand, income from other sources is practically not subject to taxation. The intention was to point out that in this country, in which we continuously swear by education, work and similar, work is heavily taxed while we have a large number of people who don't participate in payng income tax whatsoever,'' said Weber.

"The idea is to start discussing all of that. We're arranging a meeting with the Minister of Finance and we need to open this topic properly because there is a large amount of unfairness in the distribution of the tax burden from labour in relation to property tax. With this kind of tax burden on labour, low productivity and the like, we're quite uncompetitive as a country,'' she added

She also pointed out that the government has relieved the tax burden on wages in several rounds already, but also that this increase coincided with strong GDP growth. "Croatian GDP grew by over 20 percent, which is an excellent result even in European Union terms, but that also coincides with the increase in income into the budget."

When asked how much employers raised prices, Weber says: "The domestic labour market continually lacks the staff, employers are fighting to get their hands on every possible worker, there's a real struggle. The problem of labour shortage is also being solved by importing labour from abroad, which isn't efficient either. The State Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced that wage growth stood at 9.3 percent. We have information from our survey that HUP members increased the wages they pay out by over 15 percent, and yesterday morning we had a meeting with the trade unions, the merchants had raised their wages by over 20 percent. We really must keep raising wages."

"There were no unjustified price increases''

Weber and other HUP members support the continuation of the government's measures to limit energy prices. However, she believes that the issuing of fines for retail chains and others in the trade sector that didn't send the government a list of their products and their prices for the so-called ''white lists'' will not come to pass: "I think all of that was nothing more than speculation.''

She added that inspections carried out showed that almost no irregularities were found even in several hundred checks. "In addition, the CBS published data on price growth in January and February - 1.3 percent in the beverage, food and tobacco sector, which confirms that there was no unjustified price increase there. Retail chains played perhaps the most significant role in the conversion of the euro as an important channel."

"It's not pleasant for me to see any kind of jump in prices either, but we need to look at the bigger picture, inflation is a global problem, we know how the prices of energy, the cost of labour, the price of packaging, and raw materials have risen. With such a price shock, it's logical that the price of the final product also rises. I think that prices will start to stabilise," added Weber.

At the end, she commented on the government decision on non-working Sundays: "We cannot support any ban. HUP is against any restriction of the right to work. This is not the time for that."


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to check out our dedicated section. For a weekly roundup of what's been going on, keep an eye out for our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

Friday, 10 March 2023

Croatian Campus Network - Research and Development Lab on Cards

March the 10th, 2023 - A brand new Croatian campus network is on the horizon, owing to cooperation between HT (Hrvatski telekom/Croatian telecom) and Zagreb's Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding (FSB).

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, HT and the Zagreb Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding (FSB) have now signed a Business Cooperation Agreement for the realisation of a private 5G Croatian campus network and the practical application of solutions for Smart Factories in the research and development laboratory of the FSB.

The private 5G campus network located on FSB's grounds will be used for laboratory and auditory exercises and for the creation of final, graduate, specialist and doctoral theses. One of the areas of application of the 5G network is also in Industry 4.0, and HT will set up a production management system (MES) within the same laboratory, applicable for the digitisation of machines of all technological generations, as well as the digitisation of the entire production process.

"5G technology is an indispensable part of every modern system and, due to its wide applicability, it has become a prerequisite for the development of smart industries and cities.

In its effort to modernise and digitise the production processes of Croatian companies, HT sees the potential of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding as a centre of knowledge and a key scientific participant in Industry 4.0. With the establishment of a private 5G Croatian campus network and the practical application of the Smart Factory solution as part of our Smart Factory labs, young engineers will be able to test out their ideas, take a deeper look into their work and new technological solutions using modern 5G technology. We believe that close cooperation between the academic and business communities is the key to further progress and raising the competitiveness of the entire Croatian industry," said Marijana Bacic, a member of the Management Board and chief operating officer for HT's business customers.

"The faculty has been working very intensively on strengthening partnerships with numerous innovative Croatian companies through the mutual transfer of technology and knowledge, all in order to ultimately prepare future engineers for the needs of the modern labour market, that is, work with modern technologies and modern employers. In this context, the role of FSB in the light of Industry 4.0 and smart factories is especially highlighted.

The partnership agreement with HT provides the Faculty with a private communication network using both 4G and 5G technologies that will be installed in the newly established Croatian Campus Network research and development laboratory, as well as an opportunity to further intensify both business and development cooperation. The transfer of equipment will enable researchers and students to work on the most modern communication technologies.

All of the above significantly strengthens the capacities of our laboratories in the field of research, development and innovation, and thus contributes to the improvement of teaching at all levels of the Faculty's studies. In the end, the results of these pieces of research are doctoral dissertations and scientific articles which go on to be published in renowned scientific and professional journals, and that's something that contributes to the international visibility of the Faculty,'' emphasised prof. Ph.D. Zdenko Tonkovic, Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding.

FSB, in cooperation with HT, will promote projects in the field of Industry 4.0, which rely on the use of mobile networks, and which will encourage more comprehensive work on scientific and research projects. In addition to all of the above, by implementing the production management system (MES) from the Smart Factories project on the educational production line of FSB, it will be possible to monitor the benefits of the digitisation of production.

"Back at the end of 2019, the Faculty kicked off a project to develop a modular expert system for establishing discrete production processes based on the application of Smart Factory principles. At the Department of Industrial Engineering, the best and most modern equipment from the field of Smart Factory has been installed, which, after connecting to a private communication network, will enable students, postgraduates, and those in business to develop their knowledge and experience. They'll later apply all of that in their own workplaces and thus modernise the industry in Croatia through digital transformation.

In this laboratory, we expect the development of new innovative solutions, start-up companies and international EU projects that will secure a high position for our faculty and the economy of Croatia, both in Europe and in the rest of the world," said prof. Ph.D. Nedeljko Stifanic, Smart Factory's project manager.

HT developed this project based on the model of campus networks that Deutsche Telekom launches and develops throughout Europe, all with the aim of developing and testing new communication technologies.

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