Friday, 3 March 2023

Some Croatian Employees "Feel Poorer" Since Eurozone Accession

March the 3rd, 2023 - One thing I noticed when Croatia first joined the Eurozone, was that when my salary landed in my current account, it made me look twice. Gone are the days of kuna-dominated sums expressed in the thousands, and it's causing quite the psychological phenomenon. The illusion of money is affecting as many as two thirds of Croatian employees, who now feel ''poorer''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, challenges with getting used to the euro as this country's new currency are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the ''money illusion'', which isn't uncommon when changing currencies.

This year, at the moment when the clock struck midnight on the night of December the 31st, 2022, to January the 1st, 2023, Croatia officially got a new national currency. The kuna, which has served us more or less successfully for the past thirty years, gave way to the euro, and since then we've all been receiving our salaries, bonuses and other monetary items expressed in euros. Although essentially not much has changed - in most cases Croatian employees continued to receive the same amounts in terms of value as before, just expressed in a different currency - there was some dissatisfaction.

The above was confirmed by a survey conducted by the MojPosao/MyJob portal, in which almost 900 respondents shared their thoughts, according to which as many as two-thirds of Croatian employees feel poorer since receiving their salaries expressed in euros.

The psychological phenomenon of money illusion

Challenges with getting used to the euro are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the money illusion, which is not uncommon when countries change their official currencies. As psychologists explain, this illusion occurs because numbers are more important to people than the value of money itself, and this results in a sense of dissatisfaction when nominally smaller amounts start arriving in our bank accounts than before. This is exactly what happened with the switch to the euro.

Challenges with getting used to the euro are partly due to a psychological phenomenon called the money illusion, which is not uncommon when changing currencies.

Namely, almost two-thirds of Croatian employees (63% of them) state that they feel poorer since receiving their salary in euros instead of kuna. Now, they explain, they receive their salary in "hundreds of euros, while it used to be thousands of kuna, which has a negative effect on their satisfaction". Additionally, as a result of inflation, the cost of living has increased, so the salary itself, apart from the nominal amount, has also fallen in real terms compared to before, say the interviewees.

"At first it seems smaller, but it's the same"

On the other hand, a third of Croatian employees (32%) point out that they haven't felt the effects of the money illusion for themselves and feel the same as before the currency change. They state that they were afraid that they would be made to feel that they had suddenly become poorer, but that in the end it was a peaceful transition.

Although in the minority, some people (5%) feel richer since January the 1st than before. According to their thinking, the euro is a stronger currency than the kuna, and thus money expressed in euros has a greater value.

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Istrian Train Offer to be Upgraded by Modern Diesel-Electric Train

March the 3rd, 2023 - The Istrian train offer is finally set to be modernised after decades of stagnancy in this regard with the introduction of a new modern diesel-electric train.

It's well known that for all the fields in which Croatia consistently and impressively outdoes itself (of which there are a great many), the one thing it seems to do poorly is trains. The Croatian train offer is astoundingly bad, but that could all be about to turn around. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a modern diesel-electric motor train will be put into service in the area of Istria on Monday, March the 6th, as reported by HZ Putnicki prijevoz/Passenger transport.

This new low-floor train, which until now operated much further away in the Varazdin area, will run as a regular train with the number 4704, and will depart from Pula train station at 09:02, according to local portal Glas Istre/The Voice of Istria.

"Putting this new diesel-electric motor train series 7023 into function will improve the quality of Istrian train/rail passenger transport services across the entire area. The train has 167 seats, is equipped with ramps for wheelchair users, has video surveillance, a modern audio and video system for announcing stops, and also boasts free internet access," said Mihaela Tomurad Susac, the director of the HZ Management Office.

It has also since been learned that the new Istrian train will cover the eight most frequent lines across the peninsula which have the largest number of passengers.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Significant Interest for Self-Renovation Following Petrinja Earthquake

March 2, 2023 - Hundreds of citizens whose houses were destroyed in the Petrinja earthquake gathered on Wednesday in Sisak at a public forum organized by the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property, where State Secretary Domagoj Orlic spoke about self-renovation with an advance payment.

As 24Sata writes, after informing the audience of the most important changes to the Reconstruction Act, State Secretary Orlic spoke in detail about self-renovation, and the changes that unify the conduct of the proceedings, reduce the number of participants in the proceedings and shorten the renovation procedures.

"The biggest advantage of self-renovation is that the applicant, that is, the people who have the right to self-renovation, can choose the architects and contractors themselves, which means that there will be no long-term public procurement, and the process is accelerated," he said.

The request must be submitted to the Ministry of Spatial Planning. Then, after the expert evaluation of the architect, it can be decided in which direction the renovation will go, that is, whether it is a structural or non-structural renovation, or the removal of the old damaged building and the construction of a replacement family house, said the state secretary.

As he explained, before, it was necessary first to make a decision, then an evaluation, and then a decision again, while now a decision is issued immediately after the evaluation. Moreover, when it comes to the payment of funds, there is a possibility of advance payment to the applicant's final account; it is possible to pay during or after the self-renovation process. Another new move was the cancellation of the removal project for detached houses.

Regarding replacement houses, three standard solutions will be applied, 55 square meters, 70 and 85 square meters, with the possibility of building a larger house if the owner wishes, but the state pays only the legal amount. As Orlic said, it is expected that the interest of the construction industry will follow the great interest of citizens in the self-renovation system.

In the end, he noted that all the eligible expenses incurred by citizens would be refunded. He invited citizens interested in self-renovation to contact the reconstruction centers in Petrinja or Sisak.

After the forum, all those interested could check the stage of their requests with the ministry's experts.

There was great interest in the public forum in Petrinja last week, and forums were announced tomorrow in Velika Gorica and on Tuesday, March 7, in Glina.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Croatian Tourist Board: Traffic in First Two Months Exceeded Record 2019

March 2, 2023 - Tourist traffic in the first two months of this year exceeded the same months of 2019 by 5 percent with almost 514,000 tourist arrivals, and by 16 percent with 1.46 million overnight stays, according to data from the eVisitor system, which Hina was provided by the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ). Moreover, the number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in the first two months of this year was higher than in the same months last year, by 24 percent in arrivals and 17 percent in overnight stays.

As Index writes, more than half of the total tourist traffic was realized on the coast, that is, 283.7 thousand tourists stayed in the counties by the Adriatic, and they accounted for a little more than 961.3 thousand overnight stays, of which the most were in three regions - Istria, Kvarner and Split-Dalmatia County.

Most overnight stays in Zagreb

Zagreb is first among destinations, with almost 255 thousand overnight stays in the first two months, while Rovinj is second with nearly 86 thousand. Split is third with 85.1 thousand. They are followed by Opatija, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Porec, and Zadar. According to the types of accommodation, the most overnight stays in the first two months were in hotels, 780.6 thousand, which, according to HTZ, is 23 percent more than last year, and 9 percent more than in 2019.

Among the markets from which tourists came in terms of overnight stays in the first two months, Croatia is in the first place, i.e., domestic tourists, with 557.3 thousand overnight stays or 6 percent more than in 2022, and as much as 19 percent more than at the same time in 2019. These are also rare, if not the only, months of the year when there are more domestic overnight stays than foreign ones.

Slovenia is in second place, as tourists from that market spent 132.4 thousand overnight stays in Croatia, or 14 percent more than last year and 18 percent more than in 2019, followed by tourists from Bosnia and Herzegovina with slightly more than 105 thousand overnight stays, which is 18 percent more than in 2022 and about 9 percent less than in 2019.

From the market of Austria with 85.3 thousand overnight stays of their tourists, an increase of 27 percent was recorded compared to the first two months of 2022 and 29 percent compared to the same in 2019, while slightly more than 80 thousand overnight stays of tourists from Germany is 7 percent more than in 2022. . and even 44 percent more than in 2019.

Head of HTZ: We have a successful tourist year ahead

"The results of tourist traffic this year, as well as the trends in the tourist market, indicate that we will have a successful tourist year, during which we can further strengthen Croatia's position as one of the leading destinations in the Mediterranean," HTZ director Kristjan Stanicic commented for Hina.

He emphasized that optimistic announcements and feedback from key partners also come from numerous tourist fairs where HTZ represents Croatian tourism in this period, from New York, Madrid, Milan, through Munich, and Budapest. He also expects positive effects from performances at upcoming fairs, especially in March at ITB in Berlin and Ferien-Messe in Vienna, of which Croatia is a partner.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

PM Andrej Plenkovic: Croatia Will Continue Helping Ukraine

March 2, 2023 - The Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met with Ukraine's Minister of Energy German Galushchenko, and on that occasion he emphasized that Croatia shall continue helping Ukraine in the country's ongoing struggle. Croatia's help will continue to cover all the key aspects. 

"During the meeting, full support was given to the Ukrainian people in the fight for freedom, and it was pointed out that Croatia will continue with political, economic, financial, humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine," the official press release by the Croatian Government states, as reported by Index (HINA).

At the same time, readiness for cooperation in the fields of energy, restoration of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, as well as ensuring energy security of Ukraine in conditions of Russian aggression was expressed, to which Croatia has already contributed as part of international efforts to help Ukraine, the press release further concludes.

P-TECC covers 24 countries of Central and Eastern Europe

Incidentally, the Ukrainian Minister of Energy German Galushchenko is participating in the 4th ministerial meeting of the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation (P-TECC). P-TECC is a multilateral initiative led by the US Department of Energy.

P-TECC covers 24 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and is complementary to the Three Seas Initiative with an emphasis on energy infrastructure, interconnection and security. This year's meeting of P-TECC in Zagreb started yesterday with a business forum, while a ministerial meeting will be held today.

Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic will also participate in the opening of the meeting of the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation, today, on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 8:30 a.m., at The Westin Hotel in Zagreb, at Izidora Krsnjavoga 1.

For that occasion, the Croatian Prime Minister will be accompanied by Croatia's Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Davor Filipovic.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Croatian Atlantic Group Expects Continued Growth, Another Record Year

March the 2nd, 2023 - The Croatian Atlantic Group is no stranger to success and eye-watering figures when it comes to revenue, and it only expects that trend to continue. Another hope is for yet another record year.

As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Atlantic Group (Grupa) ended last year with record revenues, and despite the expected less favourable economic conditions, the company expects to continue this trend this year as well. They expect to be able to mark up record sales totalling around 900 million euros.

According to the company's just published unaudited financial report, the Croatian Atlantic Group concluded 2022 with total revenues of 6.37 billion kuna, (850 million euros) which were 11.8% higher than they were back during the previous year.

Such optimism within the Croatian Atlantic Group is based on estimates that the prices of raw materials, packaging materials and energy sources should not reach record levels from back in 2022, but they still expect significant volatility. Negative pressures, on the other hand, will be alleviated by Croatia's entry into the Eurozone and the Schengen area which took place on the very first say of 2023.

In their unaudited financial report, the Croatian Atlantic Group estimates that purchase prices, regardless of stabilisation measures back at the end of 2022, are significantly above the level from the pre-crisis period, and based on this they expect a lower normalised EBITDA margin this year. They also note that in the first half of 2022, the impact of the increase in the price of raw materials and packaging material was significantly lower compared to the second part of the year, considering that Atlantic acquired a large part of the quantities they had at more favourable prices than the then market prices. That alone would result in a drop in profitability in the first part of 2023, primarily in the first quarter. On the other hand, they expect to see the beginning of the recovery of their profit margins in 2024.

This year, as can be seen from the report, management's focus, in addition to dealing with the problems of inflation and supply chains, will be on the internationalisation of certain brands and the development of the distribution business by strengthening existing and acquiring new principals, and on possible mergers and acquisitions.

The Croatian Atlantic Group closed the last business year with a net profit of almost 196 million kuna, at the same time, revenues grew by 11.8% on an annual basis, while profit was weaker by 43%, and according to the unaudited financial report, EBITDA was reduced by 20.6% compared to 2021, to 575.4 million kuna in total. The biggest impact on the drop in EBITDA was the high costs of raw materials, energy and logistics, the very negative impact of which exceeded sales growth across all Atlantic's business areas.

"Despite numerous challenges, the Croatian Atlantic Group achieved historically record sales results during 2022, and growth was achieved across all business and distribution areas. After the years dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, 2022 was marked by Russian aggression against Ukraine, which caused an energy crisis, additional disruptions in supply chains and significant price increases for almost all strategic raw materials and services.

We were only able to partially compensate for these price increases by optimising our internal resources and to a lesser extent by increasing our sales prices, which, as expected, led to a drop in profitability. Regardless of this, we continued with our investments in business development - innovations in our production portfolio, the modernisation of our production capacities and the continuation of the digital transformation,'' noted the President of the Management Board of the Croatian Atlantic Group, Emil Tedeschi.

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

Thursday, 2 March 2023

2022 Marks Croatian Company Span's Most Successful Business Year

March the 2nd, 2023 - The Croatian company Span has marked the year 2022 as its most successful business year to date, with the most growth for the company seen right here in Croatia and across the pond in the United States of America.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian company Span came out with its unaudited financial results for 2022 recently, and despite the current (and ongoing) challenging geopolitical and market circumstances, the year ended with growth across all key business indicators.

Span's revenues in 2022 amounted to an impressive 829.7 million kuna, which represents an increase of 8 percent when compared to pandemic-dominated 2021. EBITDA also increased by 48 percent and amounted to 72 million kuna at the end of 2022. EBITDA after non-recurring items increased in the observed period by 65 percent and amounted to 70.1 million kuna. The Croatian Span company's net profit at the end of 2022 therefore stood at a 50.7 million kuna, which is a very encouraging increase of 113 percent compared to 2021.

The highest growth in revenue within the Croatian company Span was achieved by services with high added value - mostly from the business area Software development and business solutions, which grew by 62 percent, and the area of Infrastructure services, Cloud and Cyber security, which achieved growth of 49 percent respectively in the observed period. The decrease in revenue in the Software Asset Management and Licensing segment results from a decrease in revenue over on the Ukraine market, where Microsoft provided Span's customers with free use of its products and services until the end of 2022. The decrease in revenue in that market was fully offset by revenue growth in other markets and in other segments business.

The share of revenues that the Croatian company Span achieved in foreign markets in 2022 amounted to 68 percent, with the markets of both Croatia and the USA recording the most significant growth of all.

"The circumstances that followed us in 2022 posed numerous challenges, but also created new business opportunities for us. It was a year in which we did everything to help our Ukrainian colleagues, but also a year in which we carried out some of the biggest projects in Span's history. The increased market demand presented us with the challenge of finding new experts, so during 2022, we hired as many as 228 new colleagues at Span and entered the new year as a team of more than 800 employees. Strategically, we remain focused on the growth of services with high added value with a focus on the areas of cloud and cyber security,'' emphasised Nikola Dujmovic, the company's founder and president of Span's Management Board.

Among the special events that marked the last quarter of 2022, the launch of the digital platform, which enables business users to manage existing licenses and cloud services, is worth noting. This was a tick in the box of achieving yet another of the company's strategic goals. The excellent business results achieved by the Croatian company Span after the IPO were also recognised by the European investment community. Span was included among the three best European small and medium-sized companies that entered the capital market, for which it was awarded the Rising Star award. For the second year in a row, Span also received HR Cloud's "Excellence in employee experience" award.

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

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Dinamo, Hajduk, Šibenik, Slaven Belupo Advance to SuperSport Croatian Cup Semi-finals

March 1, 2023 - The teams in the SuperSport Croatian Cup semi-finals have been decided, with Slaven Belupo, Šibenik, Dinamo, and Hajduk as the final four left in the competition.

Slaven Belupo was the first to advance to the SuperSport Croatian Cup semi-finals. The first semi-final was played on Tuesday at the "Ivan Kušek Apaš" stadium in Koprivnica. Slaven Belupo beat the best second-division team, Rudeš 2:0. Belupo scored its first goal in the 88th minute after Benedik Mioč's shot bounced off the visiting defender Luka Pavković and into the net. Filip Hlevnjak scored for the final 2:0 in the first minute of stoppage time.

On Wednesday, the remaining three Croatian Cup quarter-final matches were played.

Šibenik reached the Croatian Cup semi-finals for the second time in the club's history, winning 2:0 away to the second league team NK BSK Bijelo Brdo. Knežević scored for Šibenik in the 20th minute and Arai in the 88th minute for the victory. 

In the next Cup quarter-final, Dinamo beat Lokomotiva after extra time 3:1 (1:1, 0:1) and qualified for the SuperSport Croatian Cup semi-finals. 

Lokomotiva took the lead with a goal by Silvio Goričan in the 37th minute, but Dario Špikić leveled the score at 1:1 in the second half, taking the game to extra time. Josip Drmić scored for Dinamo in the 47th second of extra time. Robert Ljubičić set the final result in the 117th minute. 

Hajduk was the last semi-finalist to qualify, beating Osijek 2:1 (1:0). Last season's Cup winner dominated most of the match. In the 21st minute, 16-year-old Luka Vušković scored for 1:0. In the 77th, Filip Krovinović scored for 2:0. Osijek's only goal was scored by 16-year-old Filip Živković, who made it 1:2 in the 84th minute. Interestingly, the young Hajduk player wrote the history of Hajduk and Croatian football in this quarter-final match. At 16 years and five days, Luka Vušković became the youngest scorer in the history of Hajduk's first team.

The draw for the semi-final meetings will take place next Monday.

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

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

From Syrian Student to €250m Company, 829 Croat Jobs

March 1, 2023 - Who is the most impressive foreigner you have met in Croatia? For me, none I have met comes close to this Syrian student-turned-entrepreneur. 

Due to study in Italy, he pass through Zagreb and stayed, a decision which led to more than 50 years in Croatia during which he achieved so much. This despite having his business plans ruined twice, on two different continents.

The amazing story of Mohamed Radwan Joukhadar - born in Aleppo, found love in Vukovar - where the tragedy of war in his two cities did not dampen his determination to build a hugely successful business employing over 800 Croats and turning over more than 250 million euro a year, making it one of the top 40 companies in Croatia. Learn more on this story in the latest from the Fat Vlogger on YouTube.

Do you have a story of a foreigner doing incredible things in Croatia?

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Foreigner.  


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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.

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


Wednesday, 1 March 2023 - Innovative Digital E-Learning Platform Launched in Ogulin

March the 1st, 2023 - PetNula (, an innovative e-learning platform for the repeating of elementary school educational material, has been created and successfully launched in Ogulin.

As Lider writes, PetNula is the very first Croatian digital platform designed for the repeating of the material learning between the fifth to the eighth grade of primary school. It has been created from the desire to systematise the complete material of the upper grades of primary school in one place for children and enable them to test out their own skills and knowledge, and it has been available to users since back in mid-February.

With technology based on successful experiences from Poland, PetNula's methodology is fully adapted to the curriculum of the Croatian education system.

One of the initiators of the project, Natalia Zielinska, gathered a large number of teachers and educational experts together for the project, including the authors of textbooks, mentors at competitions, advisers and native speakers of foreign languages who developed the platform according to the structure and type of tasks from the NCVVO National Examination Guide.

''I've always been focused on education and the dissemination of knowledge, and these activities, due to or thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, began to flow into the digital world as well. I've been cooperating with the Polish e-Learning company GroMar for a long time now, and just as an example, GroMar created an official digital platform for the Polish education system from kindergarten to college, and as it has been operating in Croatia for three years, we recognised that there was space to offer users a new educational platform.

In Poland, there are already two such solutions; even high school students created one for their future colleagues, and such a process of practicing with mistakes and testing turned out to be a very effective way of learning, because learning is a process in itself that needs to be trained and improved,'' explained Zielinska.

GroMar is a Polish company for modern e-learning solutions that supports global companies such as PEPCO, DPD or SUZUKI in lifelong education and competence development, and their Croatian team initiated the development of an educational platform for primary school age.

''A large number of global studies show that children respond positively to e-learning platforms and learn more easily in such an environment, while exercises, quizzes and tests are among the formats recognised as the favourite options, which is why they've also been implemented into PetNula. The web application currently offers more than 1,400 tasks and materials for repetition in both Croatian and English languages, and enables users to efficiently systematise the learned content through infographics, tables for repetition and questions for self-assessment, providing them with feedback and the possibility to restart the tests,'' explained Rutva Primorac from GroMara.

You can learn more on the official PetNula website.

For more, check out our news section.

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