Friday, 24 March 2023

American Company Jabil Building Osijek Centre, Set to Employ 1500

March the 24th, 2023 - The American company Jabil is constructing a large centre in Eastern Croatia, more specifically in Osijek, where it will employ 1500 people.

As 24sata/Martina Vidaic writes, one of the world's largest providers of production solutions, the American company Jabil Inc., recently announced the construction of a new large center of excellence for production in the Croatian city of Osijek.

The completion of the construction of the production facility is scheduled for the beginning of 2024, and the brand new centre is expected to quickly become a key driver of the local economy, creating more than 1,500 new jobs for skilled workers. When the new centre of excellence for production starts operating, the American company Jabil will become one of the largest employers in all of Slavonia, and provide the local community with opportunities for both growth and development - the company's press release states.

The American company Jabil was founded back in 1966 across the pond over in the USA, and currently has more than 250,000 employees working a hundred different locations in 30 countries, and they've now actively started looking for workers in and around Osijek. On their website Osijek Hiring - Jabil explains in detail who they are looking for and what they can offer them.

''Business expansion is a strategic decision that is in line with Jabil's focus on long-term trends and growth in the areas of renewable energy, electric vehicles, healthcare, the 5G network and the Cloud. The new facility will be the very heart of Jabil's ongoing commitment to innovation, sustainability and providing comprehensive manufacturing solutions to its customers,'' said Gerald "JJ" Creadon, Jabil's Executive Vice President of Operations.

They are also planning to open a factory for the production of medical prosthetic parts, microchips and motherboards for the automotive industry, which means a strong business momentum for that entire region.

''Recruitment of the workforce for the new centre of excellence for production in Osijek has already begun and will continue throughout 2023. Management and engineering positions are currently open, as well as a number of positions in operations, supply chain, finance and human resources. Our company is focused on the future and boasts a diverse portfolio of industrial operations. We'd like everyone interested to contact us, regardless of whether they have recently graduated or have years of work experience behind them,'' stated Robin Forster, the senior director of regional human resources at Jabil.

For more, check out our news and business sections.

Friday, 24 March 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - EU Funds, Earthquake Woes and Mythical Bridges

March the 24th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had ongoing issues with post-earthquake reconstruction, more arguing between Plenkovic and Milanovic, and former President Ivo Josipovic thinks its time for the Constitutional Court to get involved.

Zagreb mayor Tomislav Tomasevic has openly discussed his relationship with Andrej Plenkovic, saying that "of course there is some tension..."

Tomislav Tomasevic recently appeared as a guest on Dnevnik N1, where he discussed, among other things such as the post-earthquake reconstruction process, his relationship with the prime minister. In his words, there are tensions, but the pair still need to work together.

"We have to work together, and we need to cooperate because of EU funds, I guess it is in everyone's interest that this money is spent. I think that so far, we've managed to cooperate in a good way, and yes, of course there are conflicts, one concrete example is the increase in water prices. Several dozen cities raised their water prices without any hype about it,'' Tomasevic said.

When it comes to Zagreb, he says they don't have a single affair to discuss.

"A new tram line is being built for the first time after 20 years, new buses and trams are here, some order has been introduced on the street terraces... Before that, not a single new tram had been bought for 17 years, we have trams running in this city that are even older than me,'' remarked the Zagreb mayor.

The European Commission is set to get a much more detailed insight into what's going on with Croatia's post-earthquake reconstruction process

I don't know about you, but I personally didn't think anyone would still be saying the words ''post-earthquake reconstruction process'' three entire years after the Zagreb earthquake of March 2020, and well over two years since the Petrinja earthquake struck in December of that same year. Alas, things move slowly in the world of Croatian politics, and we are still uttering those words. The European Commission is going to be getting a detailed look into precisely what's going on. 

Today, the European Commission will be informed of the review of the state of Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction, which is being financed from the EU Solidarity Fund, as well as Croatia's view of costs across all of its ministries.

This meeting was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Branko Bacic, who, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Zagreb earthquake (March the 22nd), assessed that the aforementioned segment of Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction is being implemented in full as planned, so this gives some hope that the money will be spent within the prescribed deadline.

You can read more by clicking here.

Has the much talked about Jarun bridge project been kicked into the long grass?

A large project which would have connected the western part of the capital city to Novi Zagreb appears to have stalled completely, with Tomasevic saying that he'd much rather strengthen the city's already existing bridges in case of another earthquake than build another. That all sounds alright, but there are people stuck in limbo because of this decision. People with properties situated along the route that would lead to the would-be bridge can't do anything to repair or reconstruct their houses which were damaged during 2020's earthquake. This issue affects 150 houses situated along this route which are awaiting demolition, but owing to only some things having been formally agreed upon and legalised by the state and other items having been simply disregarded, the situation sits stagnant. Experts say that the Jarun bridge is a classic example of the violation of various laws that ultimately put the City of Zagreb into a deeply unfavourable situation.

You can read more on that by clicking here.

Plenkovic claims that foreign leaders are set to come to Zagreb but none of them want to meet with President Zoran Milanovic

The trolling, mud slinging and arguments between Plenkovic and Milanovic have become somewhat iconic at this point. The pair were even depicted as part of the Rijeka carnival process this year. Endlessly taking swipes at each other, these two powerful figures in the world of Croatian politics can never resist a chance to throw each other under the bus.

In this case, however, Plenkovic has a point in the eyes of most when he says that Milanovic's often rather strange comments about the Russia-Ukraine war are simply not in line with Croatia's official position and that he is sending a very wrong message out to the rest of Europe and indeed the world with many of the statements he makes.

His politically damaging statements in regard to Russia and Ukraine have seen political figures from abroad question Croatia's official position, ask how he is ''being allowed to say such things'', and even had Russian media claiming Milanovic supports their country's disgraceful actions. A poor image for Croatia indeed, especially after the absolutely praiseworthy approach it has towards Ukrainian refugees and Ukraine's unfortunately all too familiar struggles.

Plenkovic went more deeply into the above during a recent official visit to Istria, where after initially emphasising everything the government has done so far, he once again referred to the strained relationship his government (HDZ) has with Zoran Milanovic (SDP), and why they refuse to cooperate with him. He enumerated the cases of him blocking the government's proposals for the appointment of various officials and representatives and said:

"This is just to make the general public aware of where the problem is and where the issues stand. Milanovic's views are completely opposite to the natural position of Croatia,'' he said bluntly, before touching on the beginning of Russian aggression against Ukraine back in February 2022, when Milanovic refused a meeting of the National Security Council.

"If there was a moment when we should have met because of serious security threats, that was the moment. After that came his distancing from Croatia's position and his repeating of pro-Russian positions that are completely contrary to what the stance of Croatia is as a European country, a country that is neither neutral nor non-aligned. We have diametrically different views," he said, as N1 reported.

He pointed out that foreign officials don't want to meet with or cooperate with Milanovic, who has isolated himself with his strange statements and views.

"To make you aware, the Spanish Prime Minister was here recently, he didn't meet with him, the Danish Prime Minister was also here as well, she didn't meet with him either, the President of the Canadian Senate came and he didn't meet with him, the Deputy Prime Minister of Italy was here and he did not meet with him. Do you understand what messages our allies and partners are sending him? They're saying; we hear what you've been saying for a year and we don't want anything to do with it,'' Plenkovic said.

Former president Ivo Josipovic says that Plenkovic and Milanovic are the only ones responsible for their poor relationship

Former Croatian president Ivo Josipovic was a recent guest of N1 Studio live, and during that appearance he commented on the constant conflict between President Milanovic and Prime Minister Plenkovic, as well as the elections that are coming next year.

"Both of them are responsible for their poor relationship and I'm sorry that it's happening," Josipovic said in regard to the constant arguing and insults being thrown around between the president and the prime minister. He says that he used to talk to Milanovic from time to time, but not about things going on in the sphere of Croatian politics.

"It's dangerous in a way even if there was a completely regular situation, and this isn't a normal situation [referencing the war in Ukraine]. This conflict creates a bad political climate and damages Croatia's international reputation, as well as the view of Croatian politics here at home,'' he added.

The war in Ukraine has implications for Croatia's immediate neighbourhood and our security, and it isn't a good situation when the two leading statesmen don't talk,'' warned the former president, reminding that both have responsibility for the functioning of the entire political system.

"I have the experience of being in a mandate with a government of the opposite political orientation as well. Did you ever hear such conversations between me and Jadranka Kosor? There was no idyll between me and Milanovic either, but it's important that everyone sticks to their political competence," said Josipovic, who believes that the Constitutional Court could declare this entire situation unconstitutional and force the president and prime minister to sit down and talk properly.

The situation with Croatia not moving quickly enough to absorb the EU cash given to it continues to be a burden

"Over the next 100 days, we must spend 403 million euros. A large number of projects are being implemented in the areas affected by the Zagreb and Petrinja earthquakes, and this gives us hope that we will be able to use this money. The works are now in full swing, the construction sites are filled with workers, and we keep receiving requests for reimbursement of funds daily", it was said by Spatial Planning Minister Branko Bacic.

As most people who have dealt with anything even remotely administrative here, Croatia tends to move at a snail's pace, and those of us who are better acquainted with this had our heads in our hands from the very day the earthquake struck. Of course, what Bacic is saying isn't good enough for most, and the University of Zagreb's rector claims that what Bacic has stated is simply not in line with previous forecasts. 

You can read more by clicking here.


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section and follow our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

Friday, 24 March 2023

EURO 2024 Qualifiers: Exciting Program at Poljud for Croatia - Wales

March 24, 2023 - The Croatia national team will open the EURO 2024 qualifiers at Poljud Stadium on Saturday against Wales.

The Croatian Football Federation made an effort to provide Croatia fans with a true football spectacle in their first appearance after the magnificent bronze medal result at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The great atmosphere at Poljud before the match will be ensured by Tomislav Bralić and Klapa Intrade, who will sing their biggest hits and announce the match at the beautiful Poljud Stadium in Split. In addition, all spectators will be greeted at their seats by a commemorative Croatia scarf displaying the motifs of the already widely known Vatreni jerseys in white or blue variants.

"For the magnificent choreography of the full stadium stands, we invite the fans to wave their scarves when the players exit the tunnel and raise them during the national anthem so that the view of the stadium is even more striking," said HNS

Immediately before the match, an official farewell ceremony will be organized for Dejan Lovren and Ivan Strinić, who left a deep mark on the Croatia national team. Dejan won the World Cup silver medal in Russia and the bronze medal in Qatar, and Ivan won the silver medal in Russia with Croatia. 

The Poljud Stadium doors open at 6:30 pm, and a quality offer of food and drinks will be organized around the stadium.

"There is always a fantastic atmosphere at Poljud, and we are all excited to play in Split. I am convinced that it will be the same this time. The match against Wales will be another opportunity to celebrate the bronze medal with our fans and step into a new qualification cycle with a victory. Our approach to the match against Wales will certainly be at its maximum; we are eager for new successes. We know how much these points mean to us, and we will be additionally motivated in front of our fans," said Ivan Perišić for HNS.

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

Friday, 24 March 2023

Sisters of Charity Hospital Zagreb: AI and Robots for Significant Progress

March 25, 2023 - Significant progress is happening at the Sisters of Charity Hospital in Zagreb. Artificial intelligence, with the assistance of the Micromate robotic arm placed on the CT device, enables a probe for the thermal destruction of a tumor to be precisely positioned in the body after the initial imaging.

As 24Sata writes, at the Clinical Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology of the Sisters of Charity Hospital, for the first time in Croatia, percutaneous ablation procedures and tumor biopsies were successfully performed on oncology patients using the latest robotic arm technology, it was announced at the Sisters of Charity Hospital.

Artificial intelligence, with the assistance of the Micromate robotic arm placed on the CT device, enables the probe for the thermal destruction of the tumor to be precisely positioned in the body after the initial imaging.

This represents significant help for precise navigation even to the most difficult to reach or difficult to see small tumors with a significantly lower amount of radiation for the patient, says the press release signed by the Director of Sisters of Charity Hospital, prof. Ph.D. Davor Vagić, MD. and the Clinical Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology Sisters of Charity Hospital, Ph.D. Luka Novosel, subspecialist of interventional radiology.

All of the above, at the same time, speeds up the procedure itself. The aforementioned robotic arm system has been used by oncology departments around the world for three years and recently by larger oncology centers in Europe.

Recognized as a center of excellence in the minimally invasive treatment of oncology patients in this part of Europe, the Department of Interventional Radiology of Sisters of Charity Hospital was provided with this technology to test all the possibilities and advantages of this system, which is planned to be used in the future for the majority of oncology patients.

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

Friday, 24 March 2023

Retirement in Croatia the Choice of More and More Foreigners

March 25, 2023 - Every Tuesday at noon, a dozen Germans and Austrians, mostly pensioners, jump into the pool of the Visnjik Sports Center in Zadar. Under the watchful eye of a physiotherapist, of course. All of them chose Zadar or its surroundings as their second home, and many are choosing to spend their retirement in Croatia.

As HRT writes, Disciplined and punctual, as befits the Germans, they wait for everyone to gather in front of the pool. But the atmosphere is relaxed in the Mediterranean way. Some of these people have lived there for several years and have become used to the environment and lifestyle. They are full of praise for Croatia, and they are also starting to learn the language.

"Riba ribi grize rep," says Astrid from Austria, and Anja Schneider from Germany repeats.

Anja has been living in Zadar for almost two years. She can do that because she is a digital nomad. Since she worked as a waitress most of her life, she has problems with her knees, so she is happy swimming in the pool.

"I'm here on my own, but Croatia is so amazing. I don't know how long I will stay here, as long as I can", she pointed out.

Renate Nusser from Germany is now retired. She rented an apartment in Nin and doesn't want to return to Germany.

"I don't like Germany anymore. It's too crazy, too expensive, the weather is bad, and people are constantly under stress", said Renate Nusser.

A group of foreigners at the Zadar swimming pool every Tuesday. That was the idea of the pool receptionist Senka Marin.

"Our happy company at the pool is a group of foreigners who bought houses in Zadar or nearby and settled in our city. The pool has existed for 14 years, and our people have slowly created a pool culture; there are more and more of them, and the capacities are full. Of course, we also have our retirees who say they come to do something for themselves, and I love that, said Senka Marin.

"Well, I would say that they like to work. They have a dose of discipline. When I tell them, "we are working now," then there is no messing about; they will do it the German way. But they also like a dose of humor thrown in because, above all, the point of this is to hang out and have fun", said physiotherapist Jakov Žuga.

New members are expected to join them, and the number of hours spent in the pool will also increase.

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

Friday, 24 March 2023

Success of Pozega-Slavonia County Proof that Planned Tourism Works

March 25, 2023 - Last year, a record increase in the number of overnight stays was recorded in the Pozega-Slavonia county, and the growth trend continues this year as well. New tourist apartments are being opened, and hotels built.

As Poslovni writes, the Pozega-Slavonia County is a hit among domestic and foreign guests, as confirmed by the excellent tourism results for last year. The county recorded the largest increase in the number of overnight stays, by more than 40 percent compared to the reference, in all of Croatia record 2019.

Most importantly, tourist numbers in Pozega-Slavonia County have been continuously growing. The county has for the past six years recorded double-digit growth every year, and it was chosen to host the recently held coordination of the Croatian Tourist Board with county tourist boards.

Kutjevo, the most famous wine town in Croatia, was chosen for the largest meeting of the system of tourist boards - attended by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac, the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić, the prefect of the Pozega-Slavonia County Antonija Jozić, as well as the director of the Pozega-Slavonia County Tourist Board Maja Jakobović.

Hotels and villas are opening, the tourist offer is expanding

The great interest of tourists in the Golden Slavonia destination, which covers the entire area of Pozega-Slavonia County, has influenced investors, so some of the largest investments in tourism in the continental part of Croatia are taking place right here. For example, the construction of the Shhhuma hotel in Velika, the spa heart of Slavonia, is expected soon, and the first diffused hotel in this area, Zlatni Lug, will open in the picturesque suburbs of Pozega. Among the valuable investments are the tourist villas in Lipik, the luxurious mountain village Zvečevo na Papuk with a respectable number of villas of the highest category, the recently opened Bećarca Museum in Pleternica...

In parallel with the increase in the number of overnight stays, the number and quality of the accommodation offer is also increasing, having doubled in the last six years. Despite the fact that new accommodation facilities keep popping up, demand has continuously been higher than supply throughout Slavonia.

"Although tourism is not the primary economic goal of these regions, but an excellent addition to the quality offer, the expansion of tourist traffic will continue this year as well. In the strategic development of the destination based on the guidelines of the Sustainable Tourism Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030, which focuses on green transformation and quality, we are continuing with last year's successful projects, but also launching new ones," points out Maja Jakobović, director of Pozega-Slavonia County Tourist Board.

Last year, the County Tourist Board presented an original shift in eno-gastronomy through the direct improvement of the destination's quality with the Zlatna Slavonija Eno&Gastro project, which tourism experts described as an excellent example of how to strategically develop a destination.

"And in 2023, we will continue with new challenges in the eno-gastro offer and we will not stop only at the food and drink offer. Among our new projects is the Zlatna Slavonija Outdoor, which will highlight and promote all the activities that this "hilly" part of Slavonia offers. The destination brand Zlatna Slavonija will be present through all the activities this year, and we will tie our slogan to all the sub-brands in order to complete the story", says the director of Pozega-Slavonia County Tourist Board, inviting travel lovers to explore and experience the natural beauty, cultural sights and the ultimate wine and gourmet experience of Golden Slavonia.

This Slavonian county is confirmation that systematic, multi-year and quality-oriented work definitely produces results.

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

Friday, 24 March 2023

Museum of Becarac in Pleternica: All You Need to Know About Slavonia

March 24, 2023 - A new pearl of tradition has been formed right in the heart of Slavonia - the Museum of Becarac Interpretation centre offers an entirely new impression of this region.

Can Slavonia compete with Dalmatia and Istria, the generators of tourism in Croatia? The answer is simple - no. And it doesn't need to. Croatia, as a very colourful country, geographically, climatically, and in terms of food and gastronomy offer, cannot have competition between its regions but rather have them complement each other for the complete tourist offer of the country.


At the first mention of Slavonia and tourism, many people wave their hands because they see Slavonia as a region of agriculture, but those who know a little better, even those who have scratched the surface of what Slavonia has to offer, see how things are changing. And not spontaneously and in an unplanned manner, but strategically. Traditional manifestations are being strengthened, the regio's presence at tourism fairs is increasing, and awareness is being raised about its wine and gastro offer. However, one of the key things is the infrastructure, various centres offering all kinds of content, which are being built and renovated in Slavonia.


One of such centres, perhaps the pearl of Slavonia, is the recently opened Museum of Becarac in Pleternica. It is one of the few infrastructure projects specifically built to become a museum. The design was the vision of a famous Croatian architect Andrija Rusan, who also designed the arrangement of the central part of the city for Pleternica.


The strategic work we mentioned is best manifested in the interpretation of the centre, created by the Zagreb company Muze, in whose realisation over a thousand proud representatives of the Slavonian tradition from Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem participated. Also, in the attitude of the city leadership and the museum, the focus is on a broad view of tourism in the region. So if you ask the mayor of Pleternica, Marija Saric, how she sees the museum, she will say that it is the starting point of a tourist visit, part of the mosaic of the rich offer of the whole of Slavonia, Baranja, and Srijem.


Part of Croatian cultural heritage, becarac is known as a form of humorous folk song that originates from Slavonia. It usually involves male singers dropping lascivious lines in front of a tipsy audience that roars from laughter at every rhyme – it's clever, sassy, and always a bit inappropriate. In 2011, bećarac was officially inscribed in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.


But what does that starting point offer? Everything you need to know about Slavonia on your first visit told, or rather sung in the form of becarac. The first exhibition is the only one you can see when you peek through the museum doors. It is called Mala kuća graševine (The little house of Graševina wine). It presents the rich wine history of Pleternica, the town itself, basic information, and a few interesting songs that will surely delight you. Of course, the theme of this exhibition is wine. Going down the stairs, a completely new world opens up, the world of becarac, and upon arrival, it is impossible to hide the smile on your face and the radiance caused by the song, the joy, the beauty of the folk costumes.


The lower and main part of the Museum consists of several exhibitions, of course, "Introduction to the world of becarac," followed by "Becarac through life," "Becarac calendar," and finally, "The becarac rhapsody." It would take a while to describe each of these, but what is interesting and hidden in the Museum is that it is not just about the song, but rather the whole life of a region is presented through becarac, down to the last detail.


Multimedia exhibits guide you through the Museum, which you don't even realise since they are skillfully interpolated with the traditional museum setting, i.e., exhibits and artistic representations of specific segments. The Museum of Becarac in Pleternica is without a doubt a must-visit point not only for continental but also for national tourism. If we add to that the Terra Panonica Interpretation Centre, which also tells the ancient story of the Pannonian Sea, and is located right next to the Museum, maybe a train ride through the Pleternica vineyards, we can just conclude that you should leave time for Pleternica - everything else is waiting for you there.

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

Friday, 24 March 2023

Dalić & Modrić: We'll Give 100% against Wales, Want to Start EURO 2024 Qualifiers with Win

March 24, 2023 - Croatia and Wales open the EURO 2024 qualifiers at Poljud Stadium on Saturday at 20:45. Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić addressed the press ahead of the important match. 

Croatia and Wales meet on Saturday at Poljud to open the EURO 2024 qualifiers. Poljud has long been sold out for Croatia's first match after winning the bronze medal at the 2022 World Cup. Dalić and Modrić addressed the press on Friday to announce the game and what we can expect. 

Luka answered questions first. He learned he is the oldest Croatia player to appear in a qualification cycle. 

"Our focus is 100% on Wales. It is important to open the qualifications with a good result. We are opening at home in front of a full stadium, and we want a win," said Modrić to begin. "I don't know if it's good or bad that I'm the oldest player to appear for Croatia in a qualifying cycle, haha. I am happy to break this record, and I am happy to play with Croatia. I need to keep going this way," he added. 

How is the team looking at this first game together since the World Cup?

"We always want to qualify as early as possible but always encounter problems during the qualifiers. The group is small, with only five teams. Therefore, we need to be maximally concentrated and focused on tomorrow. Wales and Turkey are our biggest competitors in this group. First, we need to focus on this game, and then we will think about the match against Turkey. I don't want to talk about points right now. We are the favorites in this group, and we want 6 points in these two games, but football is unpredictable.

We won two medals at the World Cup in the last five years. We also played a good EURO in 2021. Everyone is playing against us with respect and proving themselves against us. Because of that, we need to be even better." 

Luka said he wouldn't be able to achieve the success he has without everyone around him.

"Without my teammates and coach, I wouldn't be who I am. I thank all players from the beginning of my professional career, as all of these results were achieved by the team." 

How will Croatia look tomorrow, and is this Luka's last game at Poljud?

"All we can say about tomorrow is that we will give 100%. We all know about the atmosphere in Split. I said I am with Croatia until Nations League, and we will see from there."

Dalić answered the press next. 

"We are starting a new cycle. We have done incredible things in the last five years but want to achieve more. We want to start the qualifications with a win. Apart from the fact that Petković is injured and Lovren retired, we mostly have the same team we had in Qatar and will play how we did in the last World Cup game against Morocco."

What can we expect from Croatia? 

"We had a great week of training. This is a dangerous game where we have a lot to lose. The first game together after the World Cup is crucial, so this game will be very tough. We can't allow ourselves to lose points at home. We have the quality, we need to be patient, and I expect us to win. But it will be a tough game."

What does Dalić expect from Wales?

"It's a different team than during the World Cup, and there is no Gareth Bale. However, they still have good players with quality and can be dangerous in the center attack. We are in for a tough game," Dalić concluded.

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

Friday, 24 March 2023

Jarun Bridge - Has Zagreb Mega Project Been Shelved?

March the 24th, 2023 - Has a the long-awaited (and much talked about) Zagreb mega project of the construction of a brand new Jarun bridge been kicked into the long grass?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the would-be Jarun bridge would solve some traffic issues here in the capital by connecting western Zagreb with Novi Zagreb, but it seems as if things are stalling beyond the point of no return.

"I think that the first point we need to start with is strengthening the city's existing bridges before building any sort of new bridge, and this is something that may not be seen as desirable politically as much as a totally new bridge might be, but I'll still sleep peacefully because I know that I've done absolutely everything necessary for this city to be safer if there's another earthquake,'' said Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic.

This is nothing more than a very small consolation for Milica Sparavalo, whose house was damaged back during the earthquake of March 2020, and she's not allowed to rebuild any of it because it is located on the future road route that would one day lead to this as yet somewhat mythical Jarun bridge. Because of all this, her life has been turned into total chaos, and she isn't even allowed to sell the land, as reported by HRT.

"For us, waiting no longer makes sense. Just let us be able to dispose of our property," pleaded Milica Sparavalo, whose house is just one of the 150 buildings situated along the route awaiting demolition. Experts say that the Jarun bridge is a classic example of the violation of various laws that ultimately put the City of Zagreb into a deeply unfavourable situation.

"Construction permits were issued for corridors that were defined by the GUP and some other documents, and there lies the problem. The problem is that the state has legalised some things, and some things only," said Marko Sevrovic from the Faculty of Transport Sciences in Zagreb.

The potential Jarun bridge would, as stated above, finally connect the western part of the city and Novi Zagreb, and 15,000 vehicles would travel along it daily, and a tram line is also planned. The continuation of the Jarun bridge project was also supported by part of the opposition, and they even proposed an amendment to break the deadlock.

"With that amendment, we provided two million euros for the creation of the project documentation, it was flatly rejected, that is, not reduced, but totally and utterly rejected, and it could clearly already be seen that this project wasn't a focal point for them,'' said Kristijan Jelic, a city representative of HSLS.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 24 March 2023

EC to Get Look into State of Croatian Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

March the 24th, 2023 - Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction. Yes, we're still saying it over three years since the earthquake of March 2020. The European Commission (EC) is set to get a detailed look into the state of what's going on, and the government is in a race against time to use the EU cash allocated to it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, today, the European Commission will be informed of the review of the state of Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction, which is being financed from the EU Solidarity Fund, as well as Croatia's view of costs across all of its ministries.

This meeting was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Branko Bacic, who, on the occasion of the third anniversary of the Zagreb earthquake (March the 22nd), assessed that the aforementioned segment of Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction is being implemented in full as planned, so this gives some hope that the money will be spent within the prescribed deadline.

What has actually been done? The question on many lips...

"The value of all of the works currently being carried out in the area affected by the Zagreb earthquake, which are being financed from FSEU, the NPOO and the state budget, totals 2.2 billion euros. There are a total of 594 projects in question, and 1.1 billion euros is the amount being financed from the FSEU.

For the Zagreb earthquake, 683.3 million euros were contracted from the FSEU, and to date, 58% of the requests for reimbursement of funds for ongoing projects have been submitted. We're satisfied with the pace of renovation of public buildings, but we aren't feeling the same in regard to replacement houses - we failed the assignment there," said Bacic very honestly.

As for FSEU, 295 projects have been completed, i.e. 200 projects for the renovation of public sector buildings, 45 infrastructure projects, primarily regarding to transport but also communal ones, and another 50 projects in which it co-finances temporary housing. In the sector of public buildings for education, 143 projects have been completed and 32 projects are still in their construction phase(s).

The total value stands at a staggering 415 million euros, of which 224 million euros is being financed from the FSEU. When it comes to the healthcare sector, 26 projects have been completed and 19 remain ongoing, and out of 301 million euros, 146 million euros have come from FSEU financing. Regarding the renovation of public buildings of cultural heritage, 31 projects have been completed and 75 of them are in the implementation phase, with a total value of 717 million euros, of which 236 million euros have been sourced from the FSEU.

"When I took over this Ministry, I announced a plan that I believe is achievable: that is, by the end of June, we'll spend the money from the Solidarity Fund, that by the end of October, we'll have taken care of all our 6,258 fellow citizens who are still living in containers, and that, in addition, we'll start the entire Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction process,'' Bacic stated boldly.

"In cooperation with the Croatian Association of Banks, in about ten days, a new bank product will be announced, which involves the use of reconstruction funds, so that the people themselves can decide what needs to be done, and we simply pay the funds in full into the account that is suitable for use, including for the project, the execution of all of the works and supervision, before the work begins. I can say that there#s great interest in the self-renovation financing model in the area of Sisak-Moslavina County," said Bacic, adding that they are also implementing a project and procurement for 500 wooden prefabricated houses.

Fee amounts

The procurement for the execution of structural renovation works of nine multi-apartment buildings in Zagreb and 21 procurements for the construction of replacement houses under the abbreviated procedure of the new rulebook for public procurement is now underway. In addition to the removed 73 houses and six ongoing removals, 271 removals have been contracted. 184 contracts for the design of replacement houses have also been signed.

The plan for 2023 is to complete the design of replacement family houses, and those funds will be paid out for all received requests for non-structural renovation, as well as all financial compensation for structural renovation and construction of replacement family houses based on the self-renovation model, for which a request is received by October the 31st, 2023.

This refers to 100 replacement family houses under construction, 250 buildings and houses structurally renovated or under construction, and 350 buildings and houses non-structurally renovated or under construction.

Taking into account the time spent on the organisation of the self-renovation process as part of the entire Croatian post-earthquake reconstruction project, the state will provide compensation for the tasks of coordination of self-renovation to the owners in the following amounts: for structural renovation 2654.46 euros, for the construction of a replacement house 3318.07 euros, while monetary compensation for buildings up to 700 m² will be 5308.91 euros, for buildings from 700 m² to 1,500 m² - 7,963.37 euros, and for buildings over 1,500 m² - 10,617.82 euros.

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