Friday, 5 May 2023

Turneo Equips Travel Brands to Deliver Unforgettable Experiences, Bookable Online and via ChatGPT

4th May 2023 - The new B2B travel experience platform Turneo drastically simplifies how hotels and other travel brands offer and manage in-destination experiences.

In-destination experiences remain the single most elusive opportunity in travel. For travellers, they represent the highlight of their holiday; the very reason they want to travel at all. Yet for travel brands, they pose an operational nightmare. Thanks to a lack of digital infrastructure, the $250B experience market remains overwhelmingly offline, complex, and expensive to offer. This is becoming an ever-growing problem, as more and more travel brands are looking to use experiences to differentiate their offering (so-called Experiential Hospitality).

Turneo’s B2B travel experience platform changes that. It enables any travel brand to seamlessly connect to, recommend, and manage the full range of travel experiences: from transfers to tours, from adventurous hikes to relaxing retreats. Previously this type of technology was only available to the largest global players, but Turneo now gives these tools to everyone. Hotels, campsites, and travel brands now have a means of sharing their truly unique recommendations with travellers via a simple booking tool.


The plug-and-play solution can be seamlessly integrated across all customer touchpoints, including the new travel planning chatbots that will soon become standard amongst hotels and OTAs.

By combining the incredible interactions of ChatGPT with the unique knowledge and insights of local travel brands, guests get what they value most: meaningful, immersive experiences, recommended by a local expert, without any hassle in booking” explains Matija Marijan, CEO and Co-founder of Turneo.

Historically, offering experiences created an operational headache for hotels and travel brands. Overstretched staff were left juggling in-house offers with third-party contracts, tracking availability in real-time, and staying on top of guest requests. Now, Turneo’s platform provides a one-stop shop that centralises the management of all third-party tour and activity providers, as well as in-house experiences. In this way, all experiences can be integrated into a single view for easier tracking of performance.

We want our partners to focus on what they do best, and we take care of everything else. The hotels, hostels, and campsites that we work with today have the most incredible stories to tell about their local area and the best insights into what their guests should do during their stay. Turneo is about providing the tools to help them deliver those experiences.

- Matija Marijan, CEO and Co-founder of Turneo

In addition to their API which can interact with OpenAI’s GPT models, Turneo also offers

no-code tools to build customer-facing experience stores in minutes.“Just as Shopify enables every entrepreneur to create an amazing e-commerce store, Turneo enables every travel

business to create a fully tailored experience store, without the need for tech investment and resources” explains Matija. This means hundreds of thousands of travel brands around the world can now access a wide range of local experience options, and sell them via an intuitive, digital platform.

With Turneo, we can flex to every stage of the journey. For smaller travel brands, just starting out, our set-up takes minutes and doesn’t require any complex or costly integrations. These partners often start selling within the week and are then in a position to innovate and scale. At the other extreme, major hotel chains have seen our solution drastically simplify their operations, whilst also offering a much more sophisticated and seamless guest experience.

- Fran Kauzlarić, Co-founder of Turneo

Turneo was founded in 2022 by Matija Marijan, previously Senior Director at Expedia’s B2B division, and Fran Kauzlarić, previously Innovation Lead at Brussels Airport. The platform is currently live with travel brands across the world, and the two founders closed their first funding round of £695,000 just earlier this year. The round was led by Ascension Ventures and Underline Ventures, with participation from Silicon Gardens and angel investors including Expedia and TripActions (Navan) executives.

To showcase the power of Turneo’s platform when combined with GPT, Turneo has created travel chatbot Marco, which acts as a virtual concierge giving hotel guests bookable recommendations of local experiences. You can sign up for a demo here

Friday, 5 May 2023

Preserving Tradition: the 'Olympics' of Traditional Dalmatian Games

May 5, 2023 - How to preserve the traditions of Dalmatia and beyond? Meet the concept of the 'Olympics' of Traditional Dalmatian Games.

Dalmatia is a fascinating region with SO much tradition and heritage, the majority of it very localised.

Many events and traditions are specific to an individual village. And many of these traditions are sadly dying out or being lost as young people prefer to be online if they have not emigrated.

Over the years, I have come across so many unique experiences in Dalmatia, (and other parts of Croatia), and I came up with an idea to help preserve some of these traditions, as well as make them more accessible to locals and tourists alike.

Meet the 'Olympics' of Traditional Dalmatian Games.

Do you know of a traditional game played in your village which we could include? We have about 35 already. Please leave info in the comments below.

And if you are interested in helping to make this idea a reality and have something concrete to contribute, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Dalmatian Games.

With thanks to Hvar TV for the excellent footage. If you want to learn a LOT more about Hvar and Dalmatia at a more local level, I cannot recommend this channel highly enough -

Video produced by Igor Vuk of Wolf Media.


You can subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube channel here.

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Friday, 5 May 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Serbia, Albania, Wages and Protests

May the 5th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had a visit from the Serbian Prime Minister and from the Albanian President, a desire for a new Labour Law with more flexibility, protests from healthcare staff and non-healthcare staff employed in hospitals for more recognition (and more money) for their work, and more.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic visits Zagreb

As Index reports, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recently received Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic at Banski dvori, as HRT reported. At the aforementioned cabinet meeting, the Croatian Prime Minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Anja Simpraga, while the Serbian Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue Tomislav Zigmanov. The meeting was then followed by the fourth Great Assembly, organised by the Serbian National Council in Zagreb.

The SNV Grand Assembly gathered together numerous elected councilors and representatives of the Serbian national minority in Croatia from over 150 municipalities, cities and counties, over a thousand and a half of them to be more precise. In addition, the representatives of all relevant organisations of the Serbian community in Croatia and minority and human rights protection institutions were also present.

Brnabic spoke of the ''deep wounds'' left after the Homeland War and owing to historically tense Croatian-Serbian relations. She stated that relations between the two countries - one of which is an EU member state, a Eurozone country and part of the Schengen zone - and one which isn't any of the above, continue to be burdened by a multitude of difficult questions and a lack of trust. Despite that, significant progress is going to be made in that regard this year, according to her. 

Croatian Employers want Labour Law amendments and sit down to talk with Labour Minister Marin Piletic

The issues surrounding the increasing number of foreign (non-EU) workers arriving in Croatia coupled with Croatia's ongoing problems with a demographic crisis, an aging population and the mentality of not wanting to work has seen members of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) sit down with the labour minister.

Igor Skrgatic of HUP has clearly stated that previous amendments to the Labour Law have been unsatisfactory to employers and that much more flexibility is needed, as is a proper immigration strategy from MUP. Many deem the influx of foreign workers from non EU countries to be harmful to the Croatian workforce who have chosen to remain in the country, and that something needs to be done to prevent problems from spiralling out of control. More can be read about the meeting with Minister Marin Piletic here.

Croatian healthcare professionals protest once again, this time citing their dissatisfaction with Health Minister Vili Beros and their salaries

It hasn't been long since the last protest of healthcare professionals, primarily doctors, who stated their lack of satisfaction with current working conditions, salaries and expectations. Health Minister Vili Beros made a rather scandalous statement which totally missed the mark by claiming that ''most people protesting earn more than he does''. The fact that the Croatian healthcare system is in crisis is far from new information to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock, and most doctors protesting are just as concerned with the fact that patients are having to suffer these shortcomings just as much as they are.

Healthcare professionals and other employees from Dubrava Hospital (Zagreb) are the latest to protest, this time turning most of their attention on Beros himself, and looking more deeply at the state of wages.

The half-hour protest held on Wednesday demanded that the coefficients for medical workers in the public healthcare system who aren't doctors be increased by 10 percent.

"We'd like to express ourdissatisfaction with the behavioyr of Minister Vili Beros and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic towards those employees who aren't covered by the government decree. We're asking for a minimum 10 percent increase in the coefficients for all other healthcare workers who aren't doctors," said the president of the Independent Union of Health and Social Welfare of Croatia, Stjepan Topolnjak. He also stated that non-healthcare personnel in the system, from administrative workers to kitchen staff deserve "much higher wages than they currently take home for doing their jobs".

The protest in front of Dubrava Hospital on Wednesday was part of a wave of protests organised by the Croatian Professional Union of Nurses and Technicians (HSSMS-MT) and SSZSSH. The current level of dissatisfaction is caused by unequal increases in the coefficients in the healthcare system, Ivana Suton from the nurses' union pointed out, adding that last week the government increased the coefficient for doctors by 10 percent, while for others it was increased by just 3 to 5.4 percent.

"We consider an increase in the coefficient of 3 to 5 percent to be degrading," Suton pointed out. She stated that nurses, of whom there are more than 30,000 in the Croatian healthcare system, make up 47 percent of the total number of healthcare staff. "The work and contribution of nurses and technicians continues to go unrecognised, and it's unacceptable for nurses and technicians when differences in the healthcare system like this are created," she said. Ana Cudina also addressed the crowd present and said that healthcare and non-healthcare personnel are both seeking dignity and equality.

"The unions have been warning about deficiencies in the healthcare system for years now, they've demanded an increase in wages for all employees, appropriate working conditions for all, and above all 0 respect for the collective agreement," she told the crowd, adding that one group cannot be in a more favourable position than the others.

Another protest of healthcare (not doctors) and non healthcare workers has been announced for May the 12th, 2023.

Plenkovic claims that his government's aim is to increase wages

PM Andrej Plenkovic recently reiterated that the goal of the announced tax reform is tax relief for the most vulnerable and an increase in peoples' net salaries. "The idea is to financially relieve the most vulnerable among us, those who have the lowest salaries, and in this way we'll also increase the net salaries people take home with them," Plenkovic said after the recent session of the wider HDZ Presidency.

Once the package is completed, the first reading in parliament will take place before the summer break, and the second reading will take place in autumn in order for it all to come into effect on January the 1st, 2024, he announced. He noted that the government relieved both the public and the economy in several rounds of tax reforms by more than 11 billion kuna, as well as that the revenues of counties, cities and municipalities have increased by a total of 11 billion kuna since 2017.

He also emphasised the drop in the inflation rate, the reduction of the share of public debt in GDP, the upward revision of growth projections for this year, the surplus in the state budget for 2022, the maintenance of the investment credit rating, the growth of average wages to 1,100 euros net, and so on.

In response to the claim from the opposition that it was all a mere a pre-election move, Plenkovic replied that their entire rhetoric has been reduced to this for a year. "That theory is deeply ridiculous, especially when you see the consistency of our policies in terms of tax relief and in strengthening the fiscal and functional decentralisation of local self-government units," he said, adding that this narrative simply does not hold water.

At the beginning of June, Plenkovic has announced a large meeting with Croatian county prefects and expressed his belief that in the end they will all support legal changes that will enable higher salaries.

"It's important for us that the net salary increases, that's our goal," Plenkovic said.

"We want to reduce the workload and raise average wages. They've grown by 48 percent since back in 2016, so we'll have a dialogue, we'll hold a meeting with the county prefects. It will take place at the beginning of June. Everything will be specified and I believe that in the end everyone will support the legal changes that will provide people with higher wages," Plenkovic said.

The Albanian president pays a visit to Croatia

President Zoran Milanovic and his wife Sanja Music Milanovic recently welcomed the President of Albania Bajram Begaj and his wife Armanda Begaj to Zagreb.

For this occasion, the first lady of Croatia chose a fashion combination in the colours of the Albanian flag - a red shirt and jacket and black trousers, while Armanda arrived in Zagreb in a dark blue suit.

After meeting at Pantovcak, Sanja and Armanda visited the Oton Ivekovic exhibition, a retrospective at the Klovicevi dvori gallery with the professional guidance of the author of the exhibition. There, the first ladies readily posed for photographers.

Otherwise, Zoran Milanovic emphasised that the friendship between Croatia and Albania is "now a deeply established fact", while Begaj said that the relations between Albanians and Croats are "traditionally of high quality and friendly" and at a "historical maximum".


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section. A dedicated Week in Croatian Politics article is also published every Friday.

Friday, 5 May 2023

Igor Skrgatic Says New Labour Law Ensuring More Flexibility Needed

May the 5th, 2023 - The Croatian Employers' Association's Igor Skrgatic has stated that a new Labour Law which would allow for greater flexibility is now more necessary than before.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, Croatia is a country lacking in people, warned Igor Skrgatic, the president of the Croatian Employers' Association's Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, at a working lunch with Minister of Labor Marin Piletic.

Igor Skrgatic stated that this problem, which has numerous consequences, the most important of which is the lack of manpower, should be properly addressed and work needs to be done properly and diligently on policies that will lead to a functional solution. Therefore, the Croatian Government must think and act in the direction of keeping those who have decided to remain in Croatia, as well as work harder on encouraging the return of those who have left.

Is an immigration strategy coming?

Irena Weber, the chief director of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), told Minister Piletic that the government must raise its general level of awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship because they are the ones who create jobs, fill the state budget and create much needed added value.

The best way to retain workers is by increasing their wages, and for higher wages, Weber repeated, tax relief is needed. As is already more than well known, this will be implemented next year, and while HUP welcomes it, they are also looking for a change in other policies.

In his part of the presentation at a recently held HUP gathering, where this year the topic was the labour market, the Labour Minister was supposed to give an overview of the policies implemented by the state to improve the unenviable position in which entrepreneurs currently find themselves. From everything that the minister said during the 20-minute speech, it turns out that the ruling party doesn't actually have many concrete policies in this regard, apart from active employment policy measures.

For example, a large influx of foreign labour requires certain properly laid out immigration policies, and Croatia does not yet have such a thing. Piletic announced that the first immigration strategy, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP) is in charge of, will be adopted by the end of the year.

In the meantime, 124,000 foreign (non-EU) workers arrived in Croatia last year alone (we know this because that's how many work permits were issued), and this number is expected to reach 200,000 this year. In addition, there are more and more people arriving from more ''exotic'' countries among the foreign workers currently arriving, warned Igor Skrgatic, such as Nepalese, Pakistanis, Indians, Uzbeks... all of whom need to be properly integrated into society, and Croatia simply isn't ready for that process.

In addition, as Igor Skrgatic stated, employers would also like the new Labour Law to be looked into and amended. "Here in Croatia, there is a lot of unused man power, and according to statistics, this country is the record holder for having an inactive population. The lack of interest in taking up gainful work is part of the Croatian mentality and a consequence of rentierism, and on the other hand, a consequence of demographic trends and the general state of the labour market. In order to change that, we need to change the Labour Law and enable greater flexibility for both employers and workers,'' believes Igor Skrgatic, adding that the amendments to the Labour Law that came into force at the beginning of this year very much failed to meet employers' expectations.

Piletic stated that the plan and agreement is to start creating a new Labour Law, but that it isn't a realistic idea at least for the next year.

"Since the changes came into force at the beginning of the year and the drafting of by-laws and ordinances necessary for the implementation of a new Labour Law are yet to follow, it isn't realistic to start drafting a new law until we pass all of that,'' said Piletic.

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

Friday, 5 May 2023

Zagreb Economics Faculty Ranked Among Top 1% in the World

May the 5th, 2023 - The Zagreb Economics Faculty which functions as part of the wider University of Zagreb has been ranked among the best one percent in the world.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Sanja Sever Malis, the Dean of the Zagreb Economics Faculty, was a guest of Novi dan/New day on N1 television recently, where she commented on how that particular popular city faculty became one of the best in the entire world.

The Zagreb Economics Faculity has been listed as being among the top one percent in the world, and Sever Malis believes that the faculty strategically decided to go down a more international route, and as such caught the attention of a very international public.

"The confirmation of the faculty's overall high quality came in the form of ACSB and FMD accreditations. They say that all of the quality standards have been achieved, and the criteria are rigorous and very strict indeed. It's a collective ambition and we succeeded with the active engagement of our teachers, other members of staff and our students," she explained.

"The Zagreb Economics Faculty is extremely attractive for foreign students because we offer over 100 courses in the English language. We also offer a wide range of courses adapted to a more global market,'' explained Sever Malis for N1.

As for the Croatian economy itself, which is often the topic of more than one or two extremely bleak headlines and publications, she says that the country is absolutely not at the very bottom, and that we are slowly but surely making progress.

"We can compete on the global market and we need to move forward boldly," the Zagreb Economics Faculty Dean concluded.

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

Friday, 5 May 2023

Flydubai Croatia Flights on Cards, HTZ Participates in Arabian Travel Market

May the 5th, 2023 - Flydubai Croatia flights are firmly on the cards as the Croatian National Tourist Board partakes in a large tourism event and seeks better positioning on the Middle Eastern markets.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ) partakes in the very first edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) since the global coronavirus pandemic, which is one of the leading international tourism events in the Middle East.

"The presence and performance at the ATM fair is of strategic importance in the positioning and promotion of Croatia in distant markets, especially if we know that this fair is being held live and in full format for the first time after the pandemic-induced pause. Considering Croatia's potential, our goal is the country's better positioning on the markets of the MENA region, that is, the Middle East and North Africa, and indirectly also India.

Croatia is recognised in these countries as a destination of extremely preserved and rich natural heritage, and it is precisely this segment of the tourist offer on these particular markets that achieves the greatest demand and interest. As such, this year's edition of the fair is dedicated to sustainable development and Net Zero technology," said HTZ director Kristjan Stanicic, who also emphasised how airlines are key in achieving positive results and trends in regard to distant markets.

That is why it is more than good news that this year, Flydubai-Croatia flights will connect Dubai with both Dubrovnik and Zagreb, which is also connected to Doha via a Qatar Airways flight.

At the fair, the CNTB delegation discussed the possibilities of further cooperation with representatives of VFS Tourism Services, an entity that already cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia when it comes to issuing visas, and which, as part of its services, offers the implementation of targeted marketing and PR activities. It also discussed further cooperation with the representatives of the Aviareps agency, which already successfully cooperates with the Croatian National Tourist Board through PR support and media rental support on various European markets.

Meetings were also held with representatives of other agencies and platforms, such as Wego MENA and Travelzoo.

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

Thursday, 4 May 2023

Dalmatia in Vukovar as Part of Svi ZaJedno Hrvatsko Naj Festival

May 4, 2023 - From May 5 to 7, life in Vukovar will be all about the fifth Festival of Heritage, tourist manifestations, attractions, and destinations 'Svi zaJedno Hrvatsko Naj' (All together Croatia's Best). During the three-day program, the festival in Vukovar will gather over 600 participants from all over Croatia. It will be a unique opportunity for all visitors to get to know Croatia in a nutshell, all in one place, with all the rich cultural heritage and traditions of the country.


As Dalmatinski Portal writes, Dalmatia will be especially represented at the festival this year. In addition to Gibonni being this year's ambassador of the festival, this famous singer will gift the people of Vukovar and all the festival guests a big free concert to round up the first day of the festival, on May 5. During the second and third music evenings, Dalmatian songs will be presented in Vukovar, so on May 6, Klapa Šufit will have their concert as part of the Croatian tour. On the last day, May 7, Giuliano will be the star of the evening. But that's not all either. The folklore ensemble Jedinstvo from Split will once again contribute to the affirmation and presentation of Dalmatia's traditional and folk culture at the festival 'Svi zaJedno Hrvatsko Naj'. One of the most important folklore ensembles from Split will take part in the special opening of the festival on May 5 and then present themselves to the audience once again during the second day of the festival. In addition to the Folklore Ensemble Jedinstvo from Split, this year, the female vocal group Kantalica from Zadar, City Music Dubrovnik, Milan Begović from Vrlika, and Knights' Society Kumpanji from Blato on Korčula are also joining the festival.


Other performers at the festival include the Šokadija Association from Babina Greda, KUD Ravnica from Stari Perkovci, KUD Gorjanac with Gorjanske Ljelje (queens), KUD Ivan Goran Kovačić from Zagreb and many other KUDs. Visitors can enjoy the richness and variety of vocal and dance performances of cultural and artistic societies from all over Croatia.

This year, the Sinj Alkari are joining the festival again. The previously mentioned military historical unit of the Knights' Association Kumpanjija from Blato and the Frankopan Guard of Grobnik will participate in the program. In addition, falconers will entertain visitors with a special program, as will the Đurđenovac horn players.

One of the main acts of this year's festival will be Lipizzan horses, with the equestrian stage show 'Dance of Baroque Horses of Eltz Manor.' Lipizzaner horses were the latest inclusion in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, so this year, festival visitors, big and small, will have the opportunity to learn more about the tradition of Lipizzaner breeding.

Among the famous tourist events from Croatia, as part of the festival, the oldest local gastronomic event from Vrbovac, 'What Our Ancestors Ate,' will be presented as part of the festival is being held this year for the 42nd year in a row.

In addition to numerous interesting educational workshops for children and adults, visitors can also expect an interesting Eco-Ethno Fair on the city promenade, as well as a Flower Fair.


The festival will be held in three locations: on Trg Republike Hrvatske, where the central stage and stands are located; on the promenade, where visitors will be able to enjoy food and wine from all over Croatia; and in the back garden of Eltz Manor, where the equestrian spectacle will also take place.

The presentation of intangible cultural heritage, tourist manifestations and attractions from all over Croatia, children's programs and creative workshops, and great concerts with performances by dance groups are a guarantee of good fun for the whole family at this truly unique festival that has become a Vukovar tradition. It should be emphasized that the festival is internationally recognized - it is the winner of the EFFE Label, the European quality mark for exceptional cultural and artistic festivals, and the winner of the Simply the Best Tourism award.


For the fifth year in a row, the festival Svi zaJedno Hrvatsko Naj has been jointly organized by the Tourist Board of the City of Vukovar and the Agency Organizatori bez granica, led by Zadar producer Aleksandar Kovačević, in cooperation with the City of Vukovar.

All contents of the festival Svi zaJedno Hrvatsko Naj are free for visitors, and you can find a detailed program of the festival on the official website.

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

Thursday, 4 May 2023

Jasmin Stavros, Famous Croatian Singer Has Passed Away Aged 68

May 4, 2023 - Jasmin Stavros, one of the most famous Croatian singers, passed away last night at 9 pm at the age of 68. He fought a serious illness, bone cancer, and was treated at KBC Rebro.

Recall, at the end of March of this year, it was confirmed that Jasmin Stavros had bone cancer. The singer was immediately hospitalized, and doctors suspected that the cancer had spread to his stomach, writes Index.

"The disease started sometime in January. First, I had stomach pains and a duodenal ulcer, which they operated urgently in Karlovac. Then I got sepsis, and they transferred me to the ward in Karlovac. I was there for about 12 - 13 days, I went home, and the next day I had to go to Vinogradska because I couldn't stand the pain. They did not know what was wrong with me," said Stavros at the time.

Two weeks ago, he was transferred to the Jordanovac Clinic for Pulmonary Diseases after developing lung complications. "It is true that the patient was transferred to Jordanovac because of complications. I cannot say what kind of complications they were," said Fedor Šantek, a radiotherapy and oncology specialist from Zagreb's KBC Rebro.

Jasmin Stavros started his career at the age of 15 as a drummer

Born in Split on November 1, 1954, Milo was immersed in music from an early age. All members of his family were involved in music - grandfather, mother, father, and brother. It is therefore not particularly surprising that he took singing lessons as a child, that he had been playing the drums since the age of 12, and that at the age of 15, he turned his hobby and passion into a job, playing professionally with then-popular Split bands such as Delfini, More and Mladi Batali, which were later renamed to Magazin.

Although at one stage of his life, football was a huge passion, and he even played for Hajduk and, considering the excellent reactions of the coach, believed that he would become one of the best footballers in the world, his father could not come to terms with it. He claimed that all footballers were fools and forced Stavros to learn to play the piano, which he claimed he hated. At one stage, they had to decide between football and music, and his father made that decision for him.

Although most of his career he was known as an entertainer, in the early seventies, Jasmin Stavros began to discover jazz and soon became a studio player in Jugoton and one of the most sought-after drummers in the area of the former Yugoslavia. The list of his collaborators is long and impressive. From Arsen Dedić and Josipa Lisac, through Mišo Kovač and Ivica Šerfezi, all the way to Neda Ukraden and Ljupka Dimitrovska.

In addition, he played percussion for four years at the Croatian National Orchestra, where he was conducted by greats such as Vjekoslav Šutej, Nikša Bareza, Bardeli, and Papandopulo. During that period, he also played with Oliver Dragojević and Meri Cetinić.

Accidental solo career

During the eighties, Jasmin Stavros went to the USA for two years, where he graduated from the Stanley Spector private jazz academy. Although they wanted to keep him as the best European student and gave him a green card to continue his career in America, Stavros decided to return to his homeland and try his hand at being a solo artist.

One of the biggest reasons was that he had a wife and two children. In 1976 he married Žarka, a girl who, as he said, had him at first sight. But her parents were not enthusiastic about it, so immediately after the wedding, the couple went to Russia for six months, where Stavros had a long tour with Magazin and Delfini. They didn't say anything to their parents, but over time they forgave them. All the more so because Stavros bought an apartment in Split with the money from the tour and thus calmed the parents' fears that their daughter would end up with someone who does not have a bright future.

As for his solo career, some stories say that it happened accidentally after he recorded the duet "U tebe se neću zaljubiti" with Doris Dragović, and that only because the singer who was supposed to sing the duet did not show up. He concluded that he had "that something" and decided to record a solo album. He recorded his first album with Rajko Dujmić and Stevo Cvikić in 1987, and it was immediately apparent that a star was born. The album sold over 50,000 copies, followed by numerous hits that often reached gold circulation.

How Milo became Jasmin

His friends in Split called him Pluto because of the cartoon character of the same name he loved, and Rajko Dujmić nicknamed him Jasmin Stavros. Milo accepted the name and immediately changed it officially, much to the displeasure of his parents—especially his mother, who never called him by his new name.

And while his parents weren't crazy about his new name, critics weren't thrilled with his career turn because the best drummer in Yugoslavia turned into an entertainer. He soon became known as the "party king". Many people still recount the concert at the Mississippi club in Split, during which Stavros at one point jumped, hit his head on the ceiling, ended up in the emergency room, and after being stitched up, returned to the club and finished the performance professionally, which lasted until dawn.

At one point, the German publishing house Ariol wanted to move him to Germany, where he worked as a studio musician, but ultimately he chose his family again.

From the best drummer in Yugoslavia to a megastar

He officially became a megastar in 1989 with his third album, which included the hits "Umoran" and "Dao bih sto Amerika." For the next 20 years, he performed over 120 concerts a year. The beginning of the Homeland War stopped many careers, and Stavros then decided not to record new albums but immediately enlist in the army. Since he had no military training because he refused to serve in the JNA, he chose to help in the only way he could. He performed over 500 charity concerts.

He continued his career with collaborations with Tonči Huljić and Fedor Boić, and he also tried his hand as an actor by participating in the comedy show "Jel' me netko tražio," which was a great success. He continued to play drums until 2000 when he left that part of his career behind. Admittedly, his son Milo followed in his footsteps and became an excellent drummer, who has several years of jazz academy in Graz and study in America behind him.

In the later phases of his career, his personal life, aesthetic procedures, and the fact that he turned to religion and became a "fanatic" were often written about.

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

Thursday, 4 May 2023

We Too Are Healthcare: Protest of Cro Nurses and Other Hospital Staff

May 4, 2023 - Under the motto "We too are healthcare," nurses, technicians, and non-medical staff held peaceful protests in front of four hospitals in Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik on Wednesday, demanding decent wages for their work and improvement of their labor and legal status.

As 24Sata writes, these half-hour protests were held in Zagreb - in front of the Merkur and Dubrava clinical hospitals, in Split in front of the KBC, and in Dubrovnik in front of the general hospital there.

The protests were organized by the Croatian Professional Union of Nurses and Technicians and the Independent Union of Health and Social Care Employees. Croatian medical staff, as well as non-medical staff working in healthcare institutions, are dissatisfied that their membership did not receive a ten percent increase in coefficients according to the government decree last week, which Croatian doctors did receive when they went on strike recently. The increase for other medical and non-medical staff was between 3 and 5.4 percent.

This time, unions have announced a series of mini-protests starting Wednesday, May 3. They will protest every day from 11 to 11:30 a.m., during the daily break, in front of various hospitals throughout Croatia.

The protests will be held until May 12, when, on the International Day of Nursing, a large, central protest has been announced in Zagreb.

Maids, cooks, laundry workers, and other non-medical staff in the healthcare system will join the nurses and technicians in protest activities. They are also demanding an increase in salary coefficients by a minimum of ten percent and an improvement in the labor and legal status.

The president of the Independent Trade Union, Stjepan Topolnjak, also said that there is a principled determination of the trade union to strike if the Government and the relevant ministry keep ignoring their demands.

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

Thursday, 4 May 2023

March Unemployment in Croatia and EU Drops Marginally

May 4, 2023 - The unemployment rate in the eurozone decreased marginally in March, dropping by 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous month, and unemployment in Croatia decreased by the same amount, according to a Wednesday Eurostat report. In the 20-member eurozone, the unemployment rate measured by the International Labor Organization (ILO) methodology was 6.5 percent in March, dropping from 6.6 percent in comparison to February, according to data from the European Statistical Office.

In the EU, as Index writes, it was six percent, remaining at the previous month's level. For comparison, in March 2022, it reached 6.8 percent in the eurozone and 6.2 percent in the EU. Eurostat estimates there were 12.96 million unemployed in the EU in March 2023, of which 11.01 million were in the eurozone.

A comparison with February shows that the number of unemployed in the EU decreased by 155,000 and in the Eurozone by 121,000. On an annual level, their number decreased by 353 thousand in the Union and by 365 thousand in the eurozone.

Croatia in the company of Lithuania and Slovakia

Spain and Greece are still the only ones with a double-digit unemployment rate, which reached 12.8 and 10.9 percent in March, respectively. Italy and Sweden follow, with unemployment rates of 7.8 and 7.3 percent, respectively. In Croatia, the unemployment rate measured by the ILO methodology was 6.2 percent in March, dropping from 6.3 percent in February. In March 2022, it amounted to 6.7 percent.

According to Eurostat data, 112,000 citizens were unemployed in Croatia in March, three thousand fewer than in the previous month, according to revised data. The tables show that compared to the same month last year; their number decreased by 10,000.

The closest to Croatia in March were Slovakia and Lithuania, with an unemployment rate of six and 6.4 percent. The Czech Republic had the lowest unemployment rate in March, at 2.6 percent. Germany and Poland follow, with 2.8 percent, and Malta is close behind, with an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent.

Marginal drop in youth unemployment

The unemployment rate of citizens under the age of 25 was 14.3 percent in the eurozone in March, having slipped by 0.1 percentage point on a monthly basis. At the same time, in the EU, it dropped by 0.2 percentage points to 14.3 percent. In March of last year, Eurostat tables show it was 14.2 percent in both areas.

The statistical office estimates that 2.76 million young people were unemployed in the EU in March, of which 2.26 million were in the eurozone. The number of unemployed young people in the eurozone in March was thus higher by 91 thousand than in the same period in 2022, and in the EU by 105 thousand, Eurostat announced.

Four above 20 percent

Spain had the highest youth unemployment rate in March, at 29.5 percent. Greece follows with 24.2 percent, Italy with 22.3 percent, and Sweden with 21.9 percent. Among the EU countries with data available to Eurostat, Germany had by far the lowest youth unemployment rate, at 5.6 percent. Austria and Slovenia follow, with 7.6 and 7.9 percent, respectively.

In the first quarter of 2023, Croatia had an unemployment rate in that age group of 17.4 percent, with 26,000 unemployed, according to a Eurostat report. For the sake of comparison, in the fourth quarter of last year, it recorded an unemployment rate of a revised 17.9 percent, with 27,000 unemployed youth, according to the tables of the European Statistical Office. Eurostat did not only have data on youth unemployment in Romania.

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

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