Saturday, 22 January 2022

Filip Hrgović Awaits Yet Another Opponent as Tony Yoka Withdraws from IBF Final Eliminator

January 22, 2022 - It has been a whirlwind of unfortunate events for Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović, who now waits for yet another new opponent in the IBF Final Eliminator. 

It's been quite the last few weeks for Croatian boxer Filip Hrgović. After Tony Yoka accepted Hrgović's offer for a big rematch, on Friday morning it was confirmed that there will be no fight, reports Boxing Scene and

The IBF ruled in favor of an appeal filed by Martin Bakole who rebelled because he felt Tony Yoka owed him a fight. He and Yoka were due in the ring in December in France, but that fight was postponed due to the pandemic. Since the French fighter owes him a fight, Yoka cannot make a deal with any other fighter.

Martin Bakole's lawyers provided evidence confirming that the fight was only postponed to April this year and not completely canceled as claimed by the Yoko team.

This means that the IBF is searching for a new opponent for Filip Hrgović, who was previously rejected by Luis Ortiz and Joseph Parker.

Joe Joyce is expected to be next on the list, but he is still recovering from his injury. If he refuses the invitation, the IBF could contact Agit Kabayel, and next on the list is Chinese boxer Zhilei Zhang, who has already spoken publicly about the fight with the Croatian boxer and who again seems to be the most realistic opponent.

For now, Hrgović and his team will wait for one of the mentioned boxers to accept the IBF invitation. The boxers have three days to respond to the offer, followed by negotiations.

The winner of that fight will wait for the outcome of the upcoming rematch between Oleksandr Usik and Anthony Joshua, which should take place in the spring.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 22 January 2022

UEFA Futsal Euro 2022: Croatia Opens with Victory against Poland

January 22, 2022 - The Croatia national futsal team defeated Poland 3:1 (3:1) in the first round of the UEFA Futsal Euro 2022 Group C in Amsterdam and made a big step towards the quarterfinals.

Matej Horvat (8), Antonio Sekulić (14), and Franco Jelovčić (18) scored the goals for Croatia, and Patrick Holy (14) scored for Poland. 

The Croatia futsal team, led by coach Marinko Mavrović, thus opened the Euros with a victory, beating Poland, a direct competitor for second place in the group and a place in the quarterfinals.

The first goal for Croatia was scored spectacularly by Olmissum player Horvat in the eighth minute, during Poland's attack and aggressive pressing. Horvat tricked the goalkeeper and another player and attractively hit the back of the net for 1:0. 

In the 14th minute, Horvat lost the ball as the last player, leaving Holy alone in front of Croatia's goalkeeper Luketin to equalize.

Only 15 seconds later, Croatia retook the lead after another player from Omiš, Olmissum's Sekulić, cleared the rebound after Suton's shot. Then, two minutes before the end of the half, captain Jelovčić scored from a solo action, almost from a dead angle.

Mavrović's team started the second half worse and was saved by goalkeeper Žarko Luketin after two dangerous Poland attacks. However, Croatia's defense withstood all challenges and reached an important victory in the first big competition in six years.

In the second match of the group, Russia defeated Slovakia 7:1.

Croatia will meet Russia next in Amsterdam on January 25 and Slovakia in Groningen on January 29 in the group stage.

POLAND - CROATIA 1:3 (1:3)
Futsal European Championship, Group C.
Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam.

Judges: E. F. Coelho, M. Castilho (Portugal)

Scorers: 0:1 - Horvat (8'), 1:1 - Holy (14'), 1:2 - Sekulić (14'), 1:3 - Jelovčić (18')

Yellow cards: Sekulić (25')

Poland: Kaluza, Grubalski, Zastawnik, Lutecki, Kriezel; Nawrat, Kubik, Madziag, Holy, Smialkowski, Solecki, Leszczak, Marek, Wojciechowski. Coach: B. Korczynski.

Croatia: Luketin, Matosevic, Jelovcic, Marinovic, Novak; Primic, Kanjuh, Djuras, Suton, Jurlina, Postruzin, Cekol, Horvat, Sekulic. Menu: M. Mavrović.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Prof Bruno Barsic of KB Dubrava: Only Two Measures Make Any Sense

January the 22nd, 2022 - The director of the covid ward of KB Dubrava in Zagreb, Prof Bruno Barsic has stated that with the emergence of the highly infectious but far milder variant of the novel coronavirus, Omicron, only two measures make any sense. The rest are quite pointless.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Prof Bruno Barsic of Dubrava Hospital's covid ward pointed out to Index that because of the Omicron variant, we have a large number of infected people, but the pressure on hospitals isn't what it was. He stressed that Omicron patients aren't putting any pressure on the hospital and hoped that it would remain like that.

From Thursday the 27th of January, wearing masks in the United Kingdom will no longer be mandatory, working from home will no longer be officially recommended, and covid certificates (NHS covid passes) will no longer be required to enter nightclubs and partake in certain larger gatherings, according British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was recently busted for having parties during the harsh UK lockdown and is being pressured to step down.

The abolition of covid certificates is also being seriously considered in Israel, where Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman has risen up against their continued use. He said that they have no health purposes and that they contribute to creating even more issues and panic.

Cyrille Cohen, one of the Israeli government's vaccination advisers and head of the immunology department at Bar Ilan University, told UnHerd yesterday that covid certificates had become "irrelevant" now Omicron is dominant, and that he expected them to be abolished soon.

“When it comes to the Omicron variant, we don’t see virtually any difference between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, and both can become infected by it more or less equally,” he said.

"That's logical. It's going in that direction. If you have 50 percent of those tested returning a positive result, then what's the use of testing? It seems logical to me that we are going in that direction in this country as well,'' said Prof Bruno Barsic.

He also commented on other epidemiological measures that are in force in this country and pointed out which ones he would drop if he was in charge. "Of all the measures, I would keep those that limit mass gatherings and wearing masks. So far, masks are very important because we can see how rapidly and easily Omicron spreads and infects people,'' he said.

Prof Bruno Barsic also stated that the elderly population still needs to be vaccinated.

"And that's it. It seems to me that the need for less measures is slowly emerging. But I'm not an expert in epidemiology, so I'd leave it to those who are to make those decisions,'' concluded Prof Bruno Barsic.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Sljeme Adrenaline Parks, Bike Paths and More Above Zagreb?

January the 22nd, 2022 - Could Sljeme adrenaline parks and bike paths, as well as much more, ever come to be? This idea for year-round fun on the mountain which towers of the City of Zagreb has certainly attracted public attention.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec wrires, Sljeme adrenaline parks at two locations at the bottom of Crveni spust in the area of ​​the ski Complex within the Medvednica Nature Park, bike paths and a permanent bobsled track were ideas which were all brought to the public's keen attention by a current debate on the ski complex on Medvednica.

Known for the famous ski competition "Snow Queen", this gorgeous mountainous area above the Croatian capital opens up new opportunities for recreation enthusiasts because it creates spatial and planning prerequisites for the spatial, purposeful and technological expansion of the ski area into a unique ski-wire system with other accompanying facilities.

The Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property, which is responsible for drafting the entire plan, says that the improvement of the excursion and recreational function as the primary function of the Medvednica Nature Park is the goal of drafting these amendments. They say that it is about enabling the improvement and development of recreational and sports facilities throughout the year.

The timing of this public debate, as well as all of the preparations for new projects and interventions, is difficult to currently assess, because the process of drafting spatial plans doesn't actually determine the financial aspect or the procedure of the further implementation of the intervention, which the department responsible duly noted.

Therefore, in the public speaking phase, proposals and opinions are being collected until February the 8th, 2022, followed by the preparation of a report, part of the timetable envisaged by the Croatian Government's decision from back in 2020.

The study and summary of the spatial plan can be found and read on the competent ministry's website, the Institute for Physical Planning of the City of Zagreb is the expert author of the UPU amendment, and a public presentation was held yesterday at the competent ministry.

The current UPU planned for a route for summer tobogganing on the Red, Green, Blue and White downhill trails on Sljeme which would have be around 1824 metres long, designed as a single-pipe assembly-disassembly structure that could have been installed or dismantled with the changing of the summer and winter seasons.

That idea sadly didn't come to life as it was assessed as technically non-functional and burdensome for the space. The new solution defines a new route and the area of ​​the toboggan run route which would be called "Sljemeski bob", with new technical and performance solutions (building of the upper and lower station in the function of bobsleigh), without additional environmental impact.

Areas for the arranging and building/reconstruction of buildings in the function of ski resorts include the upper stations of Crveni and Zeleni spust: a four-seater cable car is planned at the location of today's Zeleni spust lift, with the extension of the route to the bottom of Plavi spust. Sljeme adrenaline parks and bike paths, as well as an overall improvement in the ski offer above Zagreb would certainly allow for the boosting of year round tourism as more and more international visitors discover the bustling Croatian capital.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Boris Vujcic Reveals All Locations for Kuna-Euro Cash Exhange

January the 22nd, 2022 - Boris Vujcic has revealed all of the locations at which the Croatian kuna can be exchanged for the euro as the country edges closer to Eurozone entry.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and CNB Governor Boris Vujcic addressed the public at a recent session of the Council for the Introduction of the Euro as the Official Currency, held at the National and University Library.

Plenkovic: There are many advantages for citizens

"Why is the introduction of the euro good? There are benefits for our citizens. Currency risks will disappear. The euro will bring with it a great impetus to the international exchange of goods and services,'' explained Plenkovic.

“Euro deposits account for more than 76 percent of total time and savings deposits with banks, and 50.3 percent of total bank placements are euro placements. We intend to highlight several fundamental principles of this process which are included in the bill. The first and most important thing is consumer protection, we must prevent any situations that would take advantage of the introduction of the euro to the detriment of consumers,'' added the Prime Minister.

"The intention is that in the beginning the prices will be expressed twice, both in kuna and in euros. Throughout the whole of 2023, after the introduction of the euro, prices will also remain highlighted in kuna. So, first we'll pay in kuna and see the prices in euros, and then we'll pay in euros, but we will also have the prices visible in kuna,'' he said.

After Plenkovic, CNB Governor Boris Vujcic spoke, HRT writes:

"The most important thing in the law is that it contains the principle according to which the existing contracts stating the reference to the kuna are still valid. We're removing any possibility of legal uncertainty during Croatia's changeover to the euro,'' he said.

"When it comes to the process of exchanging the kuna for the euro, consumer protection is important. Converting kuna into euros will be done by and in banks automatically and without any incurred costs,'' assured Boris Vujcic.

"As for deposits and loans, people don't need to worry, the conversion into euros will be done automatically on the day of the introduction of the euro in Croatia at a fixed conversion rate and without any cost. Agreements on all loans and deposits will continue to be valid,'' he added.

"As for interest rates, the rule is that fixed interest rates will remain fixed, and when it comes variable interest rates, if the variable parameter needs to be adjusted when introducing the euro due to rounding, this law stipulates how this adjustment will be made," Boris Vujcic said.

"The consumer must not be put in a worse position than they were in before"

"Again, the important principle is that the consumer cannot be in a worse position than they were in before. If there are any differences in the second decimal, it will be at the expense of the bank, not at the expense of people. When exchanging kuna cash, about 36 billion kuna is in circulation at the moment, it would be good to deposit as much of that money in banks as possible this year in order to logistically facilitate the conversion itself,'' noted the governor.

"Those who fail to do so will have a chance after that, for one year at Fina, in banks and at Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta) offices, and banknotes will be able to be exchanged forever at the CNB, and the same will be made possible for kuna coins for the next three years," concluded Boris Vujcic.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle and politics sections.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Serbia Keeps Insisting on Dual Heritage of Dubrovnik Literature

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - Serbian media outlets on Friday cited excerpts from a statement by Serbia's ministry of culture and information which insists on the dual heritage of Dubrovnik's literature, with Belgrade interpreting it as something that does not negate the fact that it also belongs to the Croatian heritage.

Serbia recently passed a law on cultural heritage which lays claim to the literature created in the 1358 -1808 Republic of Dubrovnik.

The adoption of the law was met with condemnation in Croatia. Today, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said that Serbia would suffer in its EU accession negotiations the consequences of appropriating the Croatian cultural heritage.

"Appropriating the Croatian cultural heritage is not in line with European values and the prospect Serbia has opted for, and there will certainly be consequences when certain chapters that are key to that, such as education, are opened," Grlić Radman told the press.

However, the Serbian Ministry of Culture issued a press release in which it insists on Dubrovnik's literature as an example of dual heritage and "the joint linguistic past and attitude towards the literary heritage," adding that such an example "recognizes the European values and prospects of good neighborly relations."

The adoption of the controversial law prompted the Croatian Embassy in Belgrade to send a protest note to the Serbian government due to its unacceptable attempt to usurp the Croatian cultural heritage and demanded a meeting with Serbian Minister Maja Gojković.

"We expect a response from the ministry and a meeting to be arranged," a source from the embassy told Hina.

Serbia's attempt to usurp Croatia's literary heritage is seen as mythomania and a perfidious act

Croatia's Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek has stated that the recent adoption of the Cultural Heritage Act by Serbia, which lays claim to old literature from Dubrovnik, was scandalous, calling on Belgrade to refrain from usurping Croatia's territory and cultural heritage.

"This is mythomania, this need to usurp Croatian cultural heritage, notably literature from Dubrovnik. That is unacceptable and professionally unfounded. They included in their law provisions according to which the Dubrovnik literature predating 1867 has some sort of dual affiliation, both Croatian and Serbian, which of course is complete nonsense," Obuljen Koržinek said last Sunday.

She said she expected Serbia to do away with such legal provisions and to "stop once and for all laying claim to our territory and our cultural heritage."

Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler (HDZ/EPP) on Wednesday called for the European Commission to react to Serbia's Cultural Heritage Act.

Ressler said that was an obvious attempt to appropriate Croatia's cultural heritage and he has informed Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi and Culture Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. Ressler called for Croatia's heritage, as a member of the EU, to be protected and for a review of Serbia's compliance with obligations under Chapter 26 - Education and Culture - in its EU accession negotiations.

Serbia's authorities have been "perfidiously implementing a hybrid version of Serbia's policy towards its neighbors from the 1990s". If Serbia does not free itself and its people of "such poisonous reflexes," it will distance itself more and more from the European Union and European civilization," Ressler underscored in the press release.

The Croatian Language Institute condemned in the strongest terms the passing of Serbia's Cultural Heritage Act on 23 December, specifically the part on "old and rare library material" which consists of "Dubrovnik's literary editions which belong to both the Serbian and the Croatian culture up to the year 1867."

"Although the Serbian cultural and political public has often expressed the wish and need to lay claim to Croatian cultural assets," the institute said, making this stand official by law is "an additional aggressive step in laying claim to the Croatian cultural heritage."

It is a continuation of administrative, legal, and political procedures aimed at diminishing and laying claim to the Croatian linguistic and cultural heritage as part of common cultural assets, the institute said.

Other associations and cultural institutions, such as Croatia's PEN International Centre, also protested against the Serbian law.

"Croatia's International PEN Centre protests against Serbia's Cultural Heritage Act which lays claim to all of Dubrovnik's literature until 1867. The provisions under which literature from Dubrovnik belongs equally to both Serbian and Croatian culture are unfounded and unacceptable, as is the constant laying claim to Croatia's cultural heritage and space," the center said in a statement.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 21 January 2022

ZSE Indices Fall Sharply

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices fell sharply on Friday, weakening for the second consecutive day.

The Crobex on Friday declined by 1.86% to 2,164 points, weakening for the second day in a row, and it ended the week in the red, decreasing by 0.31% on the week and ending its eight-week winning streak.

The Crobex10 fell by 1.3% to 1,323 points, but it went up by 0.23% on the week.

All sector indices slumped on Friday, with the construction index dropping the most, by 4.12%.

Regular turnover surpassed HRK 16 million, which is about HRK 3.2 million than on Thursday.

The highest turnover was generated by the stock of the HT telecommunications company, HRK 2.85 million. Its price remained the same at HRK 185 per share.

Hrvatski Telekom (HT) and Zagrebačka Banka said that on Friday they had concluded a transaction to sell 54.31% of Optima Telekom shares to Telemach Hrvatska, owned by United Group.

The stock of Valamar Riviera turned over HRK 1.96 million, closing at HRK 34.3, down 1.71%.

The Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) stock generated a turnover of HRK 1.6 million. Its price dropped by 5.45% to HRK 780, and it was the biggest loser among the more liquid stocks.

The stock of the Podravka food company also crossed the million kuna mark, turning over HRK 1.43 million, while its price remained the same at HRK 696.

Forty-six stocks were traded today, with only five gaining in price, 28 decreasing in price, and 13 remaining stables.

(€1 = HRK 7.522614)

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

Friday, 21 January 2022

Unvaccinated Healthcare Workers Three Times More Positive for COVID

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - A survey of COVID-19 testing in hospitals shows that tests came back positive almost three times more among the unvaccinated staff and that booster shots provide special protection, the Croatian Institute of Public Health said on Friday.

The survey was aimed at establishing the difference in positive PCR and rapid antigen tests between fully vaccinated healthcare workers and those not vaccinated.

The survey covered 1,371 workers in 12 hospitals, of whom 831 were vaccinated (60.61%) and 540  were unvaccinated, and 3.95 tests were done per worker on average.

Among those vaccinated, 57 were positive (6.86%), while among those not vaccinated, 101 were positive (18.7%).

Out of 475 workers who received a booster shot at least two weeks before being tested, 24 were positive (5.77%), while out of 265 who did not receive it, 30 were positive (11.32%).

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Friday, 21 January 2022

Croatia Among EU Countries with Biggest Fall in Public Debt to GDP Ratio

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - At the end of the third quarter of 2021 the public debt to GDP ratio in the EU and euro area decreased, reflecting an accelerated economic recovery from the corona crisis, and Croatia was among the most successful in lowering the debt-to-GDP ratio, according to the data provided by Eurostat on Friday.

Economic activity in the EU and the euro area picked up strongly last summer thanks to intensive vaccination rollout programs coupled with the relaxation of anti-epidemic measures.

Governments stepped up borrowing to finance support measures for enterprises and households and accelerated economic recovery resulted in a lower debt to GDP ratio.

In the end of the third quarter of 2021, the government debt to GDP ratio decreased to 90.1% from 90.9% in the preceding quarter and to 97.7% in the euro area from 98.3%.

Compared with the third quarter of 2020, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area by 1.1 percentage points and 0.9 percentage points in the whole EU.

Croatia alongside Austria and Hungary

The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the third quarter of 2021 were recorded in Greece (200.7%), Italy (155.3%), Portugal (130.5%), Spain (121.8%), France (116.0%), Belgium (111.4%) and Cyprus (109.6%).

The consolidated government debt in Croatia at the end of September 2021 amounted to HRK 344.7 billion, which was an 82.4% share of GDP. At the end of June, it was HRK 340.8 billion or 86.1% of GDP.

At the end of September 2020, Croatia's government debt to HRK 326 billion or 84.7% of GDP.

The closest results to Croatia were registered in Hungary and Austria with ratios of 80.3% and 84.1% of GDP respectively.

The lowest government debt to GDP ratios was registered in Estonia (19.6%), Bulgaria (24.2%), and Luxembourg (25.3%), Eurostat reported.

At the end of the third quarter of 2021, the largest decreases in government debt to GDP ratio compared to the previous quarter were recorded in Greece (-6.6 pp), Portugal (-4.9 pp), Croatia (-3.7 pp), Cyprus, and Belgium (both -2.3 pp), Czechia (-2.2 pp), and Austria (-2.1 pp).

The largest increases in the ratio were observed in Hungary (+2.9 percentage points – pp), France (+1.5 pp), and Romania (+1.1 pp).

Croatia was among those countries with the greatest decrease in government debt to GDP compared to September 2020 (-2.3 pp).

The largest decreases compared to September 2020  were observed in Cyprus (-6.4 pp), Ireland (-3.6 pp), the Netherlands (-2.5 pp), Denmark (-2.4 pp), Croatia (-2.3 pp), and Sweden (-2.2 pp).

The largest increases in the ratio were recorded in Spain (+7.8 pp), Hungary (+6.5 pp), Malta (+5.7 pp), Austria (+5.6 pp), and Romania (+5.5 pp), Eurostat reported.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.


Friday, 21 January 2022

Europe Has to Assume Greater Responsibility for Its Security, Croatian FM Says

ZAGREB, 21 Jan 2022 - European countries should assume greater responsibility for their own security through NATO and the EU given that the United States "is increasingly preoccupied with the Indo-Pacific and China," Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Friday.

"Because of all that as well as the fact that we no longer live in stable post-Cold War times, the EU can no longer rely only on soft security instruments, but must develop capabilities for independent crisis management, including military ones," he said in a Conference on the Future of Europe debate in Pula.

Still, he added, Croatia "clearly sees NATO as the main guarantor of Euro-Atlantic security and its NATO membership as the main protection from possible external aggression."

"We advocate further deepening the partnership with NATO, which remains the cornerstone of our collective defense, and strengthening cooperation with the most important partner, the United States, in a score of topics," said Grlić Radman.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also took part in the debate, saying that strengthening Europe's defense policy is complementary to NATO.

"Can we rely on NATO? For Greece, and we have a real security problem, there is no dilemma. The European defense initiative is of use for NATO and Euro-Atlantic cooperation," he said, adding that those are not two "antagonistic" concepts.

The most prominent advocate of strengthening European defense cooperation and creating a European army is French President Emmanuel Macron.

"We must be realistic. If we want the EU as a global actor, we must start at home and in our neighborhood. We need more unity and more solidarity. We must take others' security problems very seriously," Dendias said.

Grlić Radman reiterated Croatia's stand on the need to change Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral law before this year's vote in order to prevent the more numerous Bosniaks from electing Croat representatives in the House of Peoples and the Croat member of the Presidency.

"BiH is at a crossroads. An agreement on changes to the electoral law and restricted constitutional changes would improve the political atmosphere in the country and replace the existing mistrust between the key political parties, with a view to achieving a more stable and more prosperous BiH," he said.

"The absence of an agreement would push Bosnia deeper into a political crisis with fatal consequences," he said, reiterating that Croatia pushes for BiH as one state of three constituent peoples and two entities.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.