Tuesday, 28 February 2023

HAC: Croatian Snowploughs Covered 2X the Length of Earth's Circumference

February 28, 2023 - Removing snow from the road, Croatian snowploughs covered 75,000 kilometers this weekend, almost two full circles around the Earth, the circumference of which is 40,075 kilometers, Croatian Highways (HAC) reported on Monday.

As Poslovni writes, over 181 trucks with plows and spreaders cleared the snow on a thousand kilometers of highways in two days, and more than 3,300 tons of melts was sprinkled on highways, rest areas, junctions, toll points, and border crossings, according to the HAC statement.

On snowy sections, the plows worked for up to 30 hours without stopping.

HAC commented on drivers' complaints that they did not see the plows on the road during snowfall, pointing out that if the ploughs were visible to every driver, then traffic on the highway would be impossible - "that would be a collapse and an absurdity."

As soon as the plough passes a section during snowfall, a new snow cover is created, which is cleared immediately in the next cycle, emphasizes HAC, adding that there are enough working machines for all highway maintenance tasks.

Stormy and snowy weather

Only the carriageway with the approaches to rest areas is cleared in heavy snowfall. It is possible to make the highway passable only after it stops snowing.

HAC reminds of the legal obligation for winter equipment, with which most problems and delays would be significantly less, and urges drivers that if they find themselves behind ploughs, they should not overtake them but drive behind them.

They also warned against yesterday's disregard of the traffic ban for all vehicles by some drivers who took the closed section of the highway from Sveti Rok to Posedarje, which was closed from the early morning hours due to the hurricane storm.

"We can compare this to going through a red light at an intersection. In the conditions of a hurricane, the closed section cannot even be cleared because dangerous snowdrifts are created due to the wind", says HAC.

They added that because of such irresponsible drivers who ignored all prohibitions and instructions, their workers and members of the HGSS service endangered their own lives, saving people from the road until the early morning hours.

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

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

BiH Starting Action Against Croatian Nuclear Waste Disposal Near the Border

February 28, 2023 - Residents of Dvor in Bosnia and Herzegovina fear that Croatian nuclear waste could be dumped in Trgovska Gora this year. The town is located near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and while Croatia is preparing to start dumping the disputed waste at the border, legal teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina are still investigating procedural options against Croatia.

As Index / N1 Bosnia and Herzegovina write, since 1999, Croatia has designated the Cerkezovac barracks as a warehouse in its documents. It confirmed that location in 2013 as a solution for the disposal of Croatian nuclear waste from the Krsko nuclear power plant. N1 BiH questions whether BiH's reaction to Croatia's plans regarding nuclear waste is coming a little late.

"The legal team is preparing, one could say, a letter to the Aarhus Convention, so these are the directions of our action," Bojan Vipotnik, Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction, and Ecology of the Republic of Srpska, told N1 BiH.

"We are late, but we are lucky that Croatia is also late"

"Today, we are defining our joint movement; we will provide additional funds for the work of the competent institutions. How and in what way - we will analyze and initiate certain procedural possibilities of BiH in the legal protection of the interests of the RS and the Federation of BiH, considering that Croatia is clearly not giving up. And we want to seek legal protection", said the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, Staaa Kosarac.

The Expert Team admits that it is quite late. "We are late, but we are lucky that Croatia is also late. If we start now with all the planned activities, I don't think we will be late regarding the professional part. To have our results when the environmental impact study is finished, so that we can compare and adequately prepare for the response to what they offer," said Emir Dizdarevic, chairman of the BiH Expert Team for Trgovska Gora, for N1 BiH.

The health of 250,000 people potentially at risk

Croatia will not change the location of nuclear waste disposal from Krsko because it has completed geological, geophysical, and geohydrological research and is waiting for an environmental permit.

In the meantime, Slovenia received an environmental permit for the Krsko nuclear power plant for the next 20 years. N1 BiH states that all this implies that half of that waste will end up in Dvor, on the border with BiH, and that the health of about 250,000 people living along the Una river basin could be endangered.

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

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Croatia Snow Saga Continues: Roads Still Closed, Winter Equipment a Must

February 28, 2023 - The Croatia snow saga continues. A1 highway is open between the junctions Sveti Rok and Posedarje for all groups of vehicles, and due to winter conditions between the junctions Gospic and Maslenica (Rovanjska) traffic is prohibited for trucks with trailers and semi-trailers, while winter equipment is mandatory for other vehicles.

For trucks with trailers and semi-trailers, there is currently no passable road from the interior to Dalmatia, Rijeka or Istria and vice versa, the Croatian Auto Club (HAK) reported at 7 am, writes 24Sata.

Drivers are urged to respect the restrictions on specific state roads, which are closed to all traffic, that is, to certain groups of vehicles, and not to get on the road without proper winter equipment. Winter road maintenance is in progress, so there are frequent delays behind winter service vehicles, which move slowly. Drivers are urged to be patient.

Closed for all traffic (due to wind and snow): DC1 Udbina-Klapavice and Gracac-Knin; DC27 Gracac-Obrovac; DC42 in Poljanak; DC25 Gospic-Karlobag; DC218 Bjelopolje-Donji Lapac; ZC5217 Dobroselo-Mazin; ZC4030 in Petrov Vrh (Kutjevo); ZC5062 Lic-Lukovo; ZC5032 Mrzle Vodice-Gornje Jelenje; LC59122 Ledenik-Susanj and LC59123 Susanj-Konjsko. *DC = state road, ZC = county road, LC = local road.

The following roads are open for passenger vehicles only: the A6 Rijeka-Zagreb highway between the Kikovica and Delnice junctions (due to winter conditions on the DC3, freight vehicles with trailers are rerouted at the Vukova Gorica rest stop in the direction of Rijeka and the Kikovica junction in the direction of Zagreb); Jadranska magistrala (DC8) between Novi Vinodolski and Senj and Karlobag and Sveta Maria Magdalena; DC54 Maslenica-Zaton Obrovacki; The Pag bridge.

Traffic for double-decker buses, vehicles with trailers and motorcycles (I group of vehicles) is prohibited on the A7 Draga (Rijeka Istok)-Smrika highway, the Adriatic highway (DC8) between Bakar and Novi Vinodolski, and Senj and Karlobag, the state road between the junction and town of Krizisce and the local road Kraljevica-Krizisce (LC58107).

In Gorski Kotar, it is raining in places and freezing in contact with the ground. Roads are wet, damp and slippery in most of the country, and due to low temperatures, the creation of ice is possible, especially on bridges, overpasses and viaducts.

Due to the winter conditions, traffic is prohibited for trucks with trailers and semi-trailers, and winter equipment is mandatory for other vehicles on the roads in Lika and Gorski kotar.

Sljemenska road is closed on the Zagreb side from Bliznec to the top.

There are no difficulties in maritime transport.

At the Tovarnik border crossing, freight traffic waits are four hours at the entrance to the country.

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

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Croatian AD Plastik Earns 826 Million Kuna Revenue in 2022

February the 28th, 2023 - The Croatian AD Plastik company hasn't been immune to ongoing geopolitical issues causing havoc for the economy, and while figures of 826 million kuna for 2022 sound encouraging, it's a big step down when compared to 2021.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to all announcements, the crisis with the shortage of semiconductors is gradually coming to an end and it is expected that it should end by the end of this year, at least according to Marinko Dosen, the CEO of the Croatian AD Plastik company. Issues following sanctions against Russia owing to their horrific invasion of neighbouring Ukraine have caused issues for just about every company, and AD Plastik hasn't been immune.

The group's operating income fell by 26.6% compared to 2021, to 826 million kuna. Normalised EBITDA amounted to 0.94 million kuna and was also lower by a staggering 99.3%, and with the adjustment values included, the net loss at the group level amounts to almost 80 million kuna in total.

The Croatian AD Plastik company's problems go hand in hand with current geopolitical ones and war in Europe. It has two factories in Russia, which stopped production after their main customers left Russia after the beginning of the aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. In the meantime, production did manage to be established in one of them, but with very significantly reduced capacities.

Back in pandemic-dominated 2021, which wasn't either for most business either, 27% of a grand total of 1.23 billion kuna in revenue was generated in Russia, while in 2022, that share fell to around 14%, with revenue on the EU and Serbian markets falling to 14%, and in Russia - by 61%. The Croatian AD Plastik company therefore focused almost entirely on the European market, and 205 million euros worth of work was contracted in 2022, mostly for Stellantis, with the start of serial production for most of the contracts set for 2024.

The positive thing for the Croatian AD Plastik company's report is the associated company EAPS from nearby Romania, in which it holds 50 percent ownership, and which, thanks to the business it contracted with Dacia Duster, achieved an increase in revenue of 35% (standing at 725 million kuna) and profits of 150% (76 million kuna).

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Why are Large International Funds Focused on Croatian ICT Companies?

February the 28th, 2023 - Not everything is as bleak as it might seem at first glance. Did you know that Croatian ICT companies are attracting more and more attention from large international funds?

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the analysis published in Delo, neighbouring Slovenia is quite considerably lagging behind others in development, especially in the ICT sector, while Croatia has achieved great results and Ljubljana could learn a lot from it.

Last year, venture capital investments in Slovenia amounted to ''just'' 160 million, the lowest of all EU member states. From 2012 to 2021, all of them except Slovenia experienced growth in venture capital investment, and in that period Estonia, Finland and Denmark experienced the greatest boom of all at the EU level. In terms of the value of the share of venture capital investment in GDP, Slovenia is in a very unimpressive last place, according to an analysis of the ICT sector conducted for the Ljubljana Technology Forum by Grant Thornton.

The importance of this form of investment is extremely important for encouraging the rapid development of companies that have an innovative and promising product or technology, and that have difficulty getting capital to pass that most uncertain phase. Among all the newer EU member states, Estonia has become the most interesting country for venture capital investments in technology projects, and it ranks first in the entire EU in terms of the share of these investments in its GDP.

Last year, there were 1.3 billion euros of venture capital investments in start-up companies based in Estonia, and a total of 3.1 billion euros in the last five years. In the Czech Republic, the value of these investments in the five-year period stood at an impressive 1.5 billion, and when it comes to Croatian ICT companies and those from Lithuania, investments came to more than one billion euros, the same amount as in nearby Greece.

The Slovenians single out the Estonian example as the most successful of all, because immediately after the fall of communism, that country reached for the simplification and digitisation of its often complex administrative procedures, as well as a much more simple tax system with one rate, and they were the first to open the door to digital nomads, who can request a digital identity card and access e-services, and they've already attracted more than 50 thousand of them.

Croatian ICT companies and this country's business ecosystem has been on the radar of international venture capital funds and other financial giants for some time now, even if the headlines might make one easily believe otherwisw. The latest case of Damir Sabol's incredible Photomath being taken over by Google is just one fantastic example of how much the Croatian venture capital market has grown in the past decade.

At the same time, the neighbouring Slovenians state that a considerable number of Croatian ICT companies moved their headquarters abroad after receiving money from venture capital funds, but many, such as Rimac Automobil and Infobip, have remained firmly in Croatia. Among the advantages in the development of the startup system here in Croatia, there is, for example, the exemption from paying capital gains tax when selling shares in a startup and tax relief for angel investors, and a positive effect is also expected from a fund of 50 million euros to support innovations and startups announced by the Croatian Government.

Another significant thorn in the side of Slovenia is the fact that the share of expenditure on research and development has fallen sharply from 2012 to 2021, from 2.6 to 2.1 percent, while across the rest of the EU it has increased from 2.1 to 2. 3 percent. Slovenia also lags behind in patenting and the share of high-tech industries in its GDP. Part of the blame for this lies with privatisation, because in most former socialist countries, private foreign companies entered into industrial companies and brought new energy with them.

On the other hand, the justification that high salary taxes are the reason for avoiding venture capital investments is refuted by statistics, because for example France and Belgium, which have very high wage taxation rates, are more attractive for venture capital investments than the new EU member states from across Central and Eastern Europe, with the exception of Estonia.

Slovenia, on the other hand, looks at the Estonian example as a confirmation that the country's potential for innovation and its commercialisation can definitely be developed, but with the condition that all governments adhere to that same approach and consistently implement digitalisation, and they see Croatia and Greece as countries that are successfully following the Estonian model.

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

Monday, 27 February 2023

Luka Modrić Named in FIFA World XI for Sixth Time

February 27, 2023 - Luka Modrić has been named in the FIFA World XI, an honor he received for the 6th time in his career. 

Luka Modrić has been selected as one of the best 11 players in the world this year by FIFPRO, an international association of professional football players. This is a traditional choice in which thousands of football players vote on 27 nominees - three goalkeepers and eight defenders, midfielders, and attackers.

This time there were two Croatian footballers to choose from - 21-year-old Joško Gvardiol and, of course, Luka Modrić. This is the sixth time the Croatia national team captain has been elected to the world's best 11 and the first time since 2019. Luka was named in the best 11 five times in a row from 2015 to 2019. Modrić was not at the ceremony in Paris tonight. 

The FIFA World XI includes Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid in goal, Achraf Hakimi of PSG, Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool, and Joao Cancelo of Manchester City in defense. In addition to Modrić, the midfielders include Casemiro of Manchester United and Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City. In the attack is PSG duo Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland of Man City, and Modrić's teammate Karim Benzema.

For the first time since 2006, there is no Cristiano Ronaldo in this selection. The Portuguese footballer left Manchester United last year and went to Saudi Arabia. His biggest rival Lionel Messi was selected for the 16th time in a row.

Messi won the FIFA Men's Best Player award, receiving this recognition for a record seven times. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski won the award in 2020 and 2021. Messi celebrated in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2022, while Cristiano Ronaldo has five laurels, and Brazilian Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane three each. Luka Modrić won this award in 2018, the same year he won the Ballon d'Or. 

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

Monday, 27 February 2023

Exploring Croatian Language - The Southwestern Kajkavian Dialect

February the 27th, 2023 - The Southwestern Kajkavian dialect, sometimes referred to as the Turopolje-Posavina dialect, is one of the main dialects which makes up Kajkavian.

We've explored many of the dialects, subdialects and indeed languages in their own right as some linguists consider them to be which are spoken across modern Croatia. From the Dubrovnik subdialect (Ragusan) in the extreme south of Dalmatia to Northwestern Kajkavian in areas like Zagorje, the ways in which people speak in this country deviate from what we know as standard Croatian language enormously. That goes without even mentioning much about old DalmatianZaratin, once widely spoken in and around Zadar, Istriot, or Istro-Venetian

With so much variation of what standard Croatian is, you won't be surprised to learn that there are dialects in dialects, and then subdialects thrown in the mix as well. While Kajkavian is a dialect, one of the main ones making up standard Croatian, it has numerous dialects of its own, including the Northwestern dialect, and the Eastern one. In this article, I'll talk about the Southwestern Kajkavian dialect, which was, like many others, once much more widely spoken than it is today.

Where can the Southwestern Kajkavian dialect be heard?

Delving back into the not so distant past, the Southwestern Kajkavian dialect could be heard being spoken across the old area of the wider Zagreb County, with the exception of its very outskirts where Prigorski was primarily spoken. It has several subdialects of its own which certain linguists consider to instead be dialects in their own right.

Fast-forward to the modern day, it is still spoken in the area of Posavina from Zagreb and to the area in which Jekavian (the southern dialect) is primarily spoken in the areas of western Slavonia and along the modern-day Croatian border with neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. Heading further up north, the spoken Southwestern Kajkavian dialect extends to the area of Moslavina, where it borders the Eastern Kajkavian dialect.

Outside of Croatian borders

While of course not the same, the dialects spoken in Austria's Gradisce (Burgenland) and Romania's Karasevo are believed to originate from Southwestern Kajkavian. Karasevo in particular is known for its Croatian residents (the Krashovani).


For more on the Croatian language, including history, dialects, subdialects and even extinct languages, make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle section. An article on language (even on how to swear in Croatian) is published every Monday.

Monday, 27 February 2023

Croatian Luxury Hotels Seek Staff, Students and School Kids Welcome

February the 27th, 2023 - Croatian luxury hotels are on the lookout for would-be staff for this summer, and school kids and students are even welcome as part of a wider Stories Group project.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, so far, a total of 60 candidates from all over the Republic of Croatia, including elementary school students, have participated in the "Get to know our stories" project run by the association of Croatian luxury hotels Stories.

It's a project that Stories is implementing with the co-financing of the Ministry of Tourism in the amount of 23 thousand kuna, and the support of associated partners, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), the Faculty of Economics of the University of Split, the Faculty of Management in Tourism and Hospitality, the School of Tourism and Hospitality Split and Zagreb School of Economics and Management.

After applying and submitting their cover letters, sixteen students in the final grades of primary school, 37 students of secondary tourism and hospitality schools, and seven students of business schools and colleges with a specialisation in tourism were selected. Over more recent days, they've been busy visiting various different facilities and looking for opportunities for their future careers in the Croatian luxury hotels.

"Individual tours of different Stories hotels are currently underway, as part of which elementary and high school students have the opportunity to get better acquainted with different hotel departments and professions and get advice for starting a career in tourism directly from the employees themselves. Selected high school students have already participated in the open door class organised as part of the Personalised service and upselling in small luxury hotels course at the Lone hotel in Rovinj, and the same course is being held at the Briig Boutique Hotel in Split," explained Antonia Urlic, the director of the Stories Group, who hopes that the project will continue over the coming years.

The Stories Group was founded back in 2017 at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce with the aim of positioning Croatian luxury hotels as strongly as possible on the global luxury tourism market. There are currently seventeen hotels in it, and most of these establishments are the winners of international awards, several of them are members of renowned international hotel associations, with two restaurants having one Michelin star, and several of them are highly recommended.

"We're very glad that our project, recognised by the Ministry of Tourism as one of the projects that will contribute to the promotion of professions in tourism, has aroused such interest and that pupils and students from all over Croatia have contacted us because they see their future careers being in the hotel industry. The hotels which make up the Stories Group employ around 1,000 people, and the key to the highly personalised service they provide lies in each individual. It's a pleasure for us to be able to motivate and inspire young people to develop careers in tourism", said Nenad Nizic, the president of the Stories Group and theI owner of the Vestibul Palace Split hotel.

It's worth noting that the aforementioned ministry has allocated a total of 2.84 million kuna for nineteen projects for this competition, which encourages cooperation between vocational schools and employers and strengthens the attractiveness of tourism-oriented occupations.

"Through this cooperation, our students will further improve their practical knowledge and skills, while new hotels from the Stories association have entered our database of over 130 companies and institutions in which our students can get some professional practice. At the Faculty of Economics in Split, we offer university and professional studies in tourism, and we train high-quality staff who are often employed during their studies and can be found in responsible positions within tourism companies and institutions across the region, the country and further abroad. Our students studying Economics and Business Economics, which also has a respectable international EFMD accreditation, also often choose the tourism sector for their career path", stressed Smiljana Pivčevic, the vice dean for teaching.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Monday, 27 February 2023

From Chefs to Waiters - Hunt for Croatian Seasonal Employees Begins

February the 27th, 2023 - As is the case every year with this country's seasonal employment curse, the hunt for Croatian seasonal employees is now on as we approach Easter. Here are the professions would-be employers are seeking staff for.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, snow might have fallen (at least here in Zagreb), Easter is gradually approaching and there are more and more ads appearing as potential employers seek out Croatian seasonal employees for summer 2023. The Employment Office in Rijeka is looking for 670 cooks, but only 123 have applied, 1,000 waiters are needed, and 223 have applied, more than 600 maids are wanted, and there are only 50 of them registered as unemployed and seeking work. HRT has also investigated what the situation is like at this moment in time for Opatija's ever-popular hotels.

As a favourite year-round tourist destination for all sorts of guests, but particularly for the Germans and Austrians, Opatija has more and more hotels that are remaining open all year round. This alone increases the chance that quality Croatian seasonal employees will be accepted into permanent employment positions. Until they are employed, the students of the Opatija Hospitality School regularly compete, practice and study.

"As part of the Regional Centre of Competence, we have the opportunity to send children to competitions, so they like it even more, and hotels and restaurateurs can't wait to hire them," says Sibila Roth, director of the Opatija Hospitality School, for HRT.

After two pandemic-dominated years, students are increasingly interested in becoming employed as cooks, waiters, pastry chefs and receptionists. While Croatian seasonal employees are preferred, there remains a serious lack of qualified labour on the domestic labour market, and it is increasingly certain that Croatian restaurateurs and hoteliers will continue to look for workers from outside of Croatian borders for this season as well.

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

Monday, 27 February 2023

Croatian Digital Transformation Council Formed, Plenkovic at Helm

February the 27th, 2023 - The brand new Croatian Digital Transformation Council has been formed, as yet another new body to involve government ministers and be headed by PM Andrej Plenkovic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Digital Transformation Council, newly formed to oversee and push the country's digital transformation, will be chaired by the Prime Minister, and will have more than forty members. The implementation of the country's digital transformation will be monitored by all government ministers, representatives of the academic community, IT associations, as well as various representatives of local and regional communities.

All of the aforementioned individuals will have the task of ensuring the implementation of the goals of the Digital Croatia Strategy, so that, as the explanation says, Croatia will successfully become a country with a well-developed digital economy in the coming period. On top of that, and what might come as quite the surprise for a country so masochistically fixated on lines, papers and stamps, the aims is for an entirely digital public administration in which people with developed digital competences will work via broadband electronic communication networks.

The explanation also noted that the term "Digital transformation" refers to the processes taking place across the Republic of Croatia in the field of the digital development of the domestic economy, public administration, the development of broadband Internet, the development of digital skills, and the forming of a digital society in accordance with the development goals of Croatia as a member state of the European Union (EU).

"The task of the Croatian Digital Transformation Council is to monitor the implementation of the set strategic goals and the effect of the implementation of digital transformation measures on the overall development of our society, as well as monitoring the measures and activities of digital policies at the European Union level.

The Croatian Digital Transformation Council will also propose measures and activities to achieve the strategic goals of Croatia's digital transformation, make recommendations for the harmonisation of digital policies and departmental priorities in the field of digitalisation, encourage interdepartmental cooperation and cooperation with local and regional self-government units in the implementation of all of the measures and activities, but also give recommendations of legal solutions for the implementation of the digital transformation", reads the decision on the establishment of the Croatian Digital Transformation Council.

For more, check out our news section.

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