Thursday, 27 April 2023

Zagreb-based Portuguese Company Xpand IT Hunts Croatian Talent

April the 27th, 2023 - The Portuguese IT company Xpand IT has been operating out of its Zagreb base for some time now, and has been hunting and utilising Croatian talent, of which there is a huge amount in tech.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/PD VL native tim writes, a specialised IT company for software engineering from Portugal, Xpand IT, has been operating from its Zagreb base since the middle of last year. Since then, they have hired Croatian talent, more specifically over a dozen IT experts, and they're operating with the ambition to keep on adding Croatian members to their team.

This Portuguese company is on the continuous hunt for Croatian talent from the blossoming domestic IT scene who will participate in the design and programming of their software products and the implementation of various solutions for international clients and who will fit into their global mission - to change the world for the better using technology.

Twenty full years of experience, 340 clients in 30 countries (mostly in the European Union and Brazil) and almost 400 employees deployed in six specialised departments - which function as independent production business entities in Portugal and Croatia - and sales centres in the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. This company has an awful lot to offer Croatian talent, of which there is plenty in the tech sector.

As a global company, Xpand IT offers a whole range of services used by some of the largest national companies in the field of Big Data, BI & Analytics, Data Science, Middleware, Digital Xperience and Collaboration solutions. The company's experts cover a wide range of areas, such as near-real-time big data collection and processing, cloud migration, custom business reporting and analytics, data science, collaboration solutions, customer relations, layered solutions and tool development to improve a user's digital experience. It is precisely this breadth that has secured the trust of very big clients from various industries such as banking, healthcare, telecommunications and energy.

As such, Xpand IT has already developed some state-of-the-art solutions for companies such as Toyota, Just Eat, Commerzbank, LeasePlan, Altice, Vodafone, Ageas, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas. In addition, it has developed a mobile application (app) for healthcare service providers for several different platforms, which has enabled patients to schedule appointments and view their medical records. This Portuguese technology firm has also worked with various government agencies to simplify business processes and improve efficiency by integrating multiple systems that have enabled a centralised view of data and workflow.

The Portuguese company's decision to have a base right here in the City of Zagreb is all the more interesting considering that we mostly hear about the lack of Croatian talent in the IT sector because they escape abroad, hence the outflow of quality local IT professionals to other typically EU countries.

"In addition to the size of the country, the population, the market, legal or legislative framework, people in Croatia are also known to be extremely professional, dedicated and hardworking. This is what we need to continue achieving top results in technology," explained Paulo Lopes, the director of Xpand IT. In addition, this Portuguese IT company sees Zagreb as an attractive base for programmers and engineers from neighbouring countries such as Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and other countries in the region.

"There is a clearly defined process when it comes to this company's internal business organisation. If there's anything that sets us apart from other development companies in Croatia, it's the internal organisation of the business with clearly defined processes and the depth and breadth of communication: each of our employees is actively involved in finding solutions, not only in the domain of what they're responsible for, but at the level of the entire company,'' said the director of the Croatian branch, Dejan Kapetan.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 27 April 2023

Rugvica Investment to Return Croatian Immunological Institute to Old Glory

April the 27th, 2023 - The power of the Croatian Immunological Institute, which many have referred to over recent years, is set to make a comeback thanks to investments being made in Rugvica.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the middle of next year, the snake bite antidotes produced in the new Croatian Immunological Institute's plant, which recently started being designed, should hit the market.

Preparatory work and the creation of a technological study for the construction of a new plant for the production of blood plasma and vaccines are now underway, for which a public tender is expected in two years. This project is no longer a precarious one and is now financially in an unquestionable state, because there is a market that is chomping at the bit to welcome vaccines with some of the parent strains that Croatia has. On top of that, the returns on investments will likely be relatively quick.

All of this more than encouraging information can be the basis for the further development of the Croatian Immunological Institute, which, later down the line, can also produce vaccines based on mRNA technology without much of an issue. This is how we can summarise the plan that, after many years of back and forth and beating around the bush by the government and administration, was finally devised in order to sustainably give the old Croatian Immunological Institute a new perspective and financial profitability. The realisation of the first steps in the construction of the new plant in Rugvica have now officially begun.

The best solution

As is already fairly well known, in June 2022, the municipal council of Rugvica made a decision to donate almost 70 thousand square metres of land to the Croatian Immunological Institute, for the purpose of building an entire plant dedicated to the production of biological drugs. They are also building a separate plant for the production of antitoxin against snake bites inflicted by venomous European snakes, and a biopharmaceutical facilities for the production of animal immunosera intended for both human and veterinary use.

This decision was preceded by a statement from the State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, as well as the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property, all of which determined that there are no legal obstacles to such a transaction. Rugvica turned out to be the best solution because the process of establishing property legal relations over in Brezje, where horses are still located for the production of antitoxin from snake venom, is still ongoing.

As announced by the Ministry of Health on this occasion, the construction of the entire plant was supposed to start in two years at the latest, while the construction time to the functionality phase is expected to be nine months from the positive end of the public tender, i.e. the selection of the contractor according to the conducted tender.

The construction method of the production facility itself will involve prefabricated modular segments of clean rooms designed and built outside the facility and connected and formed inside the facility, which is something that needs to be preceded by a series of preliminary works, from obtaining all of the necessary permits, the evaluation of the conceptual design and final development of the main project to defining the details of financing modalities. In the zero phase, therefore, the plant for the production of antivenom is being worked on, on a plot of land spanning 69,000 square metres.

After a tender was successfully held back in January for the suppliers of the assembly facility where the Croatian Immunological Institute will move the production of snake antivenom in Rugvica, the government gave the green light to the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Immunology to sign contracts with suppliers in mid-March. This is an important step in the first phase of moving the Croatian Immunological Institute to a location in which, in the future, the plan is to build a plant for procedures involving blood plasma, and in the third phase, possibly also vaccines.

As Marija Bubas, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Health stated back on February the 15th, the Administrative Council of the Croatian Immunological Institute came to a decision on giving consent to the director of the Institute to enter into a contract for the delivery of a prefabricated building and to create project-technical documentation and obtain the necessary permits.

The contract was then concluded with a selected community of bidders in the total amount of three million euros including VAT, and it regards documentation for the construction of a biopharmaceutical plant for the production of antivenom for the bites of European snakes. The funds for the payment of obligations are being provided from the state budget for 2023 and 2024.

The group of bidders consists of the companies Naya Life Sciences Slovenia and Skopje, the Finnish company Elomatic Consulting and Engineering, and the Turkish Poli Panel Group. At the same time, all of the preparatory work and the technological study are ongoing, which will be the basis for the tender for the construction of the new plant, and it will be ready for the launch of a public tender in around two years. During that period, some of the people will work in the antivenom plant, and some will remain in the old premises in Rockefellerova in the heart of Zagreb, in buildings that are owned by the state.

Namely, back in 2015, with the aim of solving the Croatian Immunological Institute's problems, the state separated the facility's operations into an institution of the the employees and then the business processes and the Croatian Immunological Institute itself, which took over the assets and debts.

Fortunately for the owner, the property is worth more than the amount of debts that have accumulated, so there should be no problem solving those issues. Although the plan is to eventually transfer everything to the Croatian Immunological Institute, for now the status quo will remain the same, because some of employees will not be able to move to Rugvica for some time.

''In Zagreb, an educational centre for exercises and the transfer of knowledge of the production of vaccines could be launched soon, given that knowledge is key in this business," Vedran Cardzic, the director of the Croatian Immunological Institute, explained.

The beginning of the antivenom production process is still located in Brezje, where the Croatian Immunological Institute has raw materials at hand, namely horses and snakes, and the construction of a biological laboratory according to GMP norms is also being planned there. Here in Zagreb, on the other hand, the reconstruction of the quality control laboratory is currently underway, where they have implemented the latest technology according to GMP norms for controlling the finished product in sterile conditions. This will all be portable and will be moved to the new space in Rugvica when it is built, and the third phase is the actual moving process itself.

The financial structure will be combined, and it's very likely that it will also include funds from both Croatian and EU funds, and by the middle of the year, all concrete plans on the basis of which funding can be requested may be ready. The construction of the antivenom plant will be financed from the Croatian Immunological Institute's own income from blood plasma products, in the total amount of about five million euros. It's interesting to note that the investments in the antidote plant, and one day the hefty investments in the vaccine factory, can be paid back in a maximum of four years.

What the Institute could produce as soon as tomorrow, if only there were space, are vaccines against measles and rubella.

"The market we'd be entering is that of the whole of South and Southeast Asia and some other underdeveloped countries in Africa. It can be done through UNICEF, where the prices are slightly lower, and it can also be done with strategic partners. We've come a long way with discussions with potential strategic partners over in India and other countries that lack raw materials.

We have an advantage here because we have the parent strains that remain owned by the Republic of Croatia and that is the base from which these vaccines are made. We will be in demand there, because we have good products that they need. We aren't interesting for Europe because there are multivalent vaccines on the European market already which work against several different diseases," explained Cardzic.

The Croatian Immunological Institute will be able to produce about 250 million doses of such vaccines, and it can easily be calculated that it is financially profitable.

"This is the basis for us to develop further and produce more mRNA vaccines based on the technology that, once adopted, you can produce vaccines for any pathogen. This is a good path for the Institute, which will return it back to its old glory with a lot of work, after a decade of presence on the market, acquiring young forces that should be given the freedom to work and be creative with it,'' concluded Cardzic.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Croatia Qualifies for 2024 European Handball Championship!

April 26, 2023 - The Croatia men's handball team defeated Greece 31-26 (10-10) in Halkida and qualified for the 2024 European Handball Championship in Germany!

Croatia visited Greece on Wednesday and was welcomed in a half-empty hall in Halkida, however a bigger turnout was announced. Until the eighth minute of the game, Croatia had a minimal lead (4-3), followed by a nine-minute period without a goal. Greece then took the 6-4 lead with three consecutive goals, with many missed opportunities to increase their advantage.

At no time did Greece manage to go ahead by more than a two-goal difference, and at the end of the first half, Luka Cindrić and Domagoj Duvnjak brought Croatia to a tie (10-10).

New Croatia representative Mario Šoštarić opened the second half with a goal for 11-10, the first Croatian lead after the eighth minute of the game. Greece held the lead until 14-14, and with goals from Marin Šipić and Cindrić in the 41st minute, Croatia gained a three-goal advantage for the first time (18-15).

By the 16th minute of the second half, the much more playful Croatia attack had already scored 11 goals, one more than in the entire first half. Although Greece was also more efficient than in the first half, they could not keep up with Croatia's pace driven by Luka Cindrić, who finished the match as the top scorer with nine goals and managed to create opportunities for his teammates as well.

In the 49th minute, Croatia took a four-goal advantage for the first time (23-19). In the end, Croatia maintained that advantage and reached the victory that brought them to first place in the group and a guaranteed spot at the European Championship.

Luka Cindrić led Croatia to victory with nine goals, while Mario Šoštarić and Josip Šarac scored five each. Mateo Maraš and Marin Šipić scored three goals each, and goalkeeper Marin Šego recorded seven saves. Savvas was the best for Greece with six goals, while Liapis scored five. Goalkeeper Boukovinas made eight saves.

Croatia has seven points from five games, one more point than Greece. In third place is the Netherlands with five points, but also with one less game, which they will play tonight against Belgium, at the bottom of the table with no points.

The first two spots guarantee placement in the final tournament in Germany and a better place in the draw, and the four best third-placed national teams from the eight qualifying groups will also advance.

In the last round, scheduled for Sunday, April 30, Croatia will host Belgium in Rijeka, while the Netherlands will host Greece.

Source: HRT

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

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Slavonia Returnees from Ireland all Agree on Several Things

April 28, 2023 - In the last decade, young people mostly traveled in one direction from Slavonian railway stations and airport terminals. After a wave of emigration to Ireland and Germany and a period spent working abroad, more and more people are returning to the east of Croatia. How do Slavonia returnees feel?

The HRT team, writes Poslovni, spoke to them about what the Croatian labor market can learn from Western Europe, what Croatia's advantages are, and how to navigate in a new country and culture.

"The number of returnees is relatively small. These are mainly people who are overqualified for the jobs they do abroad. Nevertheless, there are success stories, where people learn something, earn some money and bring it all back here," said associate professor, Ph.D., Željko Pavić, Department of Sociology, University of Osijek.

One of such is Branko's story. He went to Ireland 20 years ago and returned ten years ago - around the time of the first big wave of emigration. Now a businessman, he worked in restaurants and became a chef. He is opening his own restaurant soon.

"I learned languages, I learned a lot of other recipes, and I think now is the time to apply a little bit of that in our area here," said Branko Grozdanić from Osijek.

All returnees agree on one thing: when it comes to work culture, Croatia cannot compete with the West.

"Attitude towards the worker, progressing at work, which I think is the most important aspect. You can start as a kitchen porter today and become a manager in 2 years. It's just that they appreciate the work", emphasizes Igor Vukadinović from Osijek.

Zen went to Ireland primarily because of love. But after half a year, he realized neither the girl nor the country was the one. He had difficulty coming to terms with cultural differences and bad weather.

"The start there is quite difficult, primarily because of real estate; rents are expensive. Your first job probably won't bring you a fabulous salary," said Zen Špehar from Osijek.

Research shows that most Croatian emigrants do not plan to return to their homeland, though. Those who do not rule it out will only do it if a number of conditions are met.

"Everyone has to weigh out what is more important in life," says Igor.

"We live in the perfect position. In terms of weather, food, quality of life, everything", emphasizes Igor.

Those who strive for stability, a slower and more relaxed lifestyle that largely does not involve money, think more about returning. Unfortunately, this will only somewhat mitigate the significant damage done to Croatia by the loss of its youth.

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

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Could Croatian Garden Camping Take Off? Popular New Trend Sparks Idea

April the 26th, 2023 - Have you ever heard of a concept called garden camping? This idea has been put forth by the Germans, who have already started offering single-night camping opportunities. Croatian garden camping might tackle a few issues at once, should it take off here.

Camping is very popular across Croatia, and the likes of the Istrian peninsula, where the nature is abundant and sleeping under the stars is a real treat, have been dabbling in it for many years now. With more and more campsites popping up all over the country, could a Croatian garden camping concept take off? Some believe so.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the always inventive Germans have kicked off the so-called garden camping trend by starting to offer one-night camping possibilities in the Waldshut district this summer in order to take advantage of the current boom in camping. At the same time, introducing such a way of doing things will do very well in suppressing the growing number of wild campers, as reported by local Istrian portal Glas Istre/The Voice of Istria.

"Farmers, private individuals and communities made their meadows and parking spaces available for a tent or camper for one night and offered additional services such as sanitary facilities, a barbecue area and firewood, breakfast or some kind of snack. Camps for one night quickly created a wide network of simple and natural accommodation facilities for mountaineers, cyclists and campers, which complemented the offer of official camps in the entire region,'' reported Jerko Sladoljev from Top Camping in Porec for Glas Istre.

By the end of this year, according to Sladoljev, the concept will be extended to the entire Black Forest, and according to some sources, to the whole of Germany. With the aim of bringing tourists closer to nature, a digital platform was created that displays more than 1,700 parking spaces with contact information, as well as campsites and places for tents. Italy launched a similar initiative three years ago with the concept of freer camping called "garden camping".

It seems that Croatian garden camping might also be a very good way of not only bringing in more money for tourism in general, but also for furthering the ''sustainable tourism'' trend. On top of that, much like with the German idea, it will likely do very well in curbing the issue of wild camping across the country, which plagues wardens and can lead to illegal fires getting out of hand and causing untold damage to the tinder dry Dalmatian and Istrian forests during the hot summer months.

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

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

From the UK to BiH, Which European Countries Do Croats Travel to Most?

April the 26th, 2023 - When it comes to where Croats travel abroad, it tends to be to other European countries, and in all honesty - Croatian citizens don't really travel outside of the country that much when compared to other Europeans. Let's see where they do like to go.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, last year, foreign income from tourism exceeded that of the record pre-pandemic year of 2019, and expenditures for foreign trips also increased significantly. How much and where did Croats travel last year, and what is the balance of the exchange of tourist services?

The Croatian National Bank (CNB/HNB) has published the statistics on the exchange of tourist services in 2022, as reported by tportal. The data confirms the full recovery of tourist trips after several pandemic-dominated years. Revenues from foreign tourists reached a massive 13.1 billion euros, which is 44 percent more than in 2021 and 24 percent more than the record tourism year of 2019.

A strong recovery was also recorded in tourism consumption by Croats travelling abroad. Last year, Croats spent 1.39 billion euros on tourist trips outside of the Republic of Croatia, which is 47.9 percent more than was spent back in 2021. However, the spending of Croatian tourists abroad still didn't reach the record from 2019, when 1.57 billion euros were spent.

Compared to other European nations, Croats don't really tend to travel to foreign destinations. According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) from back in 2021, out of 6.3 million private multi-day trips, as many as 85.4 percent or 5.4 million were realised within Croatia itself, and only 981 thousand (15.5 percent) were realised abroad.

At the same time, it should be emphasised that during foreign trips, visits to relatives and friends prevail, and only a small part refers to the classic type of tourist trips, which include rest, leisure, tours and visits to various types of foreign events.

The main foreign destinations testify to the tourist habits of the inhabitants of this country and where Croats travel abroad. Croats visit countries in the surrounding area the most, with trips to neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina leading the way, where almost a third of tourist spending abroad was realised for various purposes. Among the top five destinations are neighbouring Slovenia and Serbia, as well as Germany. If we're heading outside of Europe, then we can also include the USA, where a lot of the Croatian diaspora and new Croatian emigrants now live.

The European country that most attracts Croats with its tourist attractions is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Portugal has also recorded the greatest growth in arrivals and spending by Croatian tourists over more recent years. It's interesting to note that the tourist meccas of Italy and France are not among the leading tourist destinations for travellers from Croatia. Croats spent only 13.9 million euros on tourist trips to Italy, and even less, 13.4 million euros, on visits to France.

On the other hand, Croatia is a real superpower in terms of attracting foreign tourists, and that isn't really a shock to anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for decades now. German tourists alone spent 3.52 billion euros in Croatia last year, which is almost three times more than Croats spent in total on all of their foreign trips.

In addition to the Germans, more than one billion euros were spent in Croatia last year by tourists from Slovenia, Austria and Italy, countries for which Croatia is traditionally a favourite tourist destination.

Foreign revenues from all leading Croatian broadcasting markets also exceeded revenues from the pre-pandemic year of 2019. At the same time, the markets of Great Britain (154.1 percent) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (50.7 percent) recorded the greatest relative growth compared to last year.

When looking at the relationship of tourist exchange with individual countries, only with Bosnia and Herzegovina does Croatia have a somewhat balanced exchange, while with all other tourism partners, huge surpluses have been recorded.

For more, check out our news section.

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

700,000 Croatian Pensioners to be Given Financial Help for Energy Costs

April the 26th, 2023 - Approximately 700,000 Croatian pensioners are set to be paid out more cash as part of a government decision to help them with the rising costs of energy.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the government has not decided on a means test or limit for these payments set to be paid out to a large number of Croatian pensioners, meaning that it will be possible for them receive this state payment while having numerous other incomes in addition to their monthly pension, according to Pension/

The energy supplement will be paid out to around 700,000 Croatian pensioners in amounts ranging from 60 to 160 euros. To be more precise in regard to who can expect the payment, it will received by everyone who has a pension of up to 610 euros per month. That means that the cash will also be paid out to those wealthier retirees who have their own houses, apartments or other forms of income besides their monthly pensions. The estimated funds for this so-called energy payment amount to around 64.3 million euros.

It should be noted that the payment will be made on two different occasions. The first will be paid out this Friday for Croatian pensioners who receive only their pension as their monthly income, while the second date will fall in July 2023, where the government energy payment will be paid out into the accounts of those who have a foreign pension, and those beneficiaries who are currently in the process of exercising their right to access their pension.

The amounts of this assistance are also known, and they vary depending on the amount of the pension in question. As such, those Croatian pensioners with pensions of up to 260 euros per month will receive an energy payment supplement in the amount of 160 euros, while those whose pensions amount from 470.01 to 610 euros will receive 60 euros in government aid.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Schengen, EU and Third Countries - How Croatian Border Checks Work

April the 26th, 2023 - Croatia joined the borderless, passport-free Schengen zone on the 1st of January this year, but that doesn't mean things are simpler for absolutely everyone. With people entering the country from EEA countries, Schengen countries and third countries, let's look into just how Croatian border checks actually work.

Schengen accession took place on the very same day as Eurozone accession (January the 1st, 2023), making the Republic of Croatia the first country to have ever entered both of these zones and deepened its EU membership even further on the same date. While the Eurozone meant the scrapping of the kuna and the alignment of Croatia with the rest of the EU countries using the single currency (the euro), Schengen entry meant the dropping of Croatian border checks within the Schengen zone.

What is Schengen and how does it function with regard to Croatian border checks?

The Schengen countries have free movement, meaning travel between them is treated as if it was domestic travel within a single country, and there are no border checks for anyone travelling between them. This means that on the 1st of January 2023, the Croatian border crossing with Slovenia was sent to the history books, and hopefully the painfully long (and now rather infamous) queues of cars during the hot summer months have gone with it. 

Along with the Slovenian border, Croatian border checks with neighbouring Italy and Hungary have also now been abolished. This is because all of those countries are also part of the wider Schengen zone. People entering Croatia from Slovenia, Hungary or Italy also do not face any checks when entering Croatia.

While Croatian border checks on the land were abolished on January the 1st, 2023, border checks at airports were only scrapped on March the 26th for flights operating within the Schengen area.

Do I need to be an EU national in order to be able to travel freely within the Schengen zone and avoid Croatian border checks?

No. The Schengen zone permits the free movement of over 400 million people. You just need to be legally present in the European Union in order for this to apply to you. This may mean you need a visa, so check that based on your citizenship.

What if I have permanent residence in Croatia but I am a non-EU national?

If you hold permanent residence in Croatia and can prove that (by holding a residence permit), then you are free to live and work in Croatia indefinitely without being subject to any requirements. You are also free to come and go as you please (there are some restrictions depending on your status and nationality).

Whenever you go through Croatian border checks, such as if you are travelling from Croatia to a non-Schengen country, or vice-versa, you need to make sure you proactively show your residence permit along with your valid passport. Do not assume the border officer somehow knows you're a permanent resident otherwise. They don't.

As a permanent resident of Croatia, your time in Croatia is considered time at home and is not part of the number of days you can spend in another Schengen country. You can spend a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days in any other Schengen country outside of Croatia. Make sure you have your passport Croatian residence permit with you at all times because random checks can and do sometimes still occur.


Not everyone requires a Schengen visa, so make sure to check if you do. The answer will be based on your citizenship whether or not you already live in the EU could have some bearing on it. If you do need a visa and you have entered an EU country with a valid Schengen visa, you can travel throughout the Schengen zone for as long as your visa remains valid, and for a maximum of 90 days during any 180 day period. You will not need a separate visa for each Schengen area country and you will not need to show your passport when crossing each internal border.

The EU and Schengen are different things

The borderless Schengen area currently includes 27 EU member states. If you wish to travel to an EU country which is not part of Schengen for a short stay (meaning less than 90 days), you must obtain a separate national visa from the authorities of that particular country. If you wish to travel from an EU member state that isn't part of the Schengen area to the Schengen area, you will need to apply for a Schengen visa to enter.

The EU, the EEA and Europe are different things, as well

This sounds insultingly obvious, but it's amazing how many people mix up the continent and the bloc called the European Union. EU law applies to 27 European countries. It does not apply in certain European countries which are not EU member states, such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while they do apply in the Republic of Ireland, which remains a member state.

Certain EU laws also apply in non-EU member states which are part of the EEA (European Economic Area), such as Norway, Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. In the case of Switzerland, which is not an EU member state but is instead aligned by numerous bilateral treaties, it has adopted numerous provisions tied to EU law in order to have access to and to participate in the EU's large single market.

External borders

The external border refers to the external border of the Schengen zone. This means that when exiting Croatia and entering neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, which are all non-EEA countries and also not part of the Schengen zone, or entering Croatia from them, you will be subject to Croatian border checks. This is also the case if you're flying out of Croatia (or into it) from a non-Schengen country, such as the United Kingdom.

If a person does not require a Schengen visa or holds a valid one entitling them to free movement within the Schengen area for no more than 90 days in any 180 period, then Croatian border checks are carried out in order to determine the following:

- The identity and the citizenship of the individual attempting to cross the Croatian border

- The validity of their passport or other government-issued travel document

- The validity of their Croatian residence permit if they present one

- Various checks against different relevant databases

- Time already spent in the Schengen zone as of January the 1st, 2023

- Whether the Schengen visa (if applicable) is valid

- That they aren't an individual for whom an alert has been issued for the refusal of entry into the country

More can be read here and a detailed guide to visas for those third country nationals who require them in order to enter Croatia can be read here.

Third country nationals who do not hold valid residence in Croatia and as such cannot present a Croatian residence permit with their passport

Third country nationals (individuals entering who do not old the citizenship of any of the current EEA/EU member states and who do not present a valid Croatian residence permit) are subject to thorough checks upon entry and exit. In addition to the aforementioned checks, additional checks are also carried out, including the calculation of the time that individual has previously spent in the entire Schengen zone as of January the 1st, 2023 (the day of Croatia's official accession). They will have their passports stamped by a border officer.

Third country nationals who do hold valid residence in Croatia and present a Croatian residence permit with their passport

Third country nationals who hold Croatian residence permits are not treated in the same way as those who do not possess such a status and as such cannot present such a permit when arriving at the Croatian border (be that entering or exiting). 

Within the meaning of the Schengen acquis, a third country national is any person who is not an EU citizen, who is not a family member of an EU citizen exercising their right to free movement, or who is not a third country national or their family member, whatever their nationality, who enjoys rights of free movement equivalent to those of EU citizens. In short, if you hold a valid Croatian residence permit, your free access to enter and exit Croatia is facilitated as detailed previously in this article. Their passports will not be stamped.


Schengen border checks and as such Croatian border checks can be introduced temporarily at any time in certain situations.

Carry your passport and Croatian residence permit with you (if you have one) at all times, just in case.


For more on moving to, living in and travelling to and from Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section. Keep an eye out for our How to Croatia articles which tackle a different aspect of doing things here and which are published every Wednesday.

Tuesday, 25 April 2023

Ties with Royal Family - Osijek to Celebrate King Charles III Coronation


April 27, 2023 - The City of Osijek, in cooperation with the British Embassy, will celebrate the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday, May 6, in the Osijek Archaeological Museum.

The mayor of Osijek, Ivan Radić, and the ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Simon Thomas, held a press conference at the city administration in Osijek. As Lokalni writes, Mayor Radić reminded that King Charles III, when he was still the Prince of Wales, was delighted by Osijek during his visit in 2016, which is why the city administration decided to celebrate his coronation.


Vlado Kos / Pixsell

Main Ceremony

"King Charles III visited the Archaeological Museum, socialized with citizens, and tasted the products of local OPGs on the old town's Holy Trinity Square. He also rode the Osijek tram from old town Tvrđa to the co-cathedral and got to know the city from the tram. In commemoration of that visit, the main ceremony will be held in the Archaeological Museum", said the mayor.

He announced that a large screen would be installed on the appropriately decorated Holy Trinity Square in the old town, where citizens could watch the live broadcast of the king's coronation. As it is the first Saturday of the month when the traditional Antiques Fair takes place near the square, all visitors are invited to round off their morning at the event.

"The Tourist Board of the city of Osijek will prepare biscuits and tea for the citizens, and the "royal tram," the same one in which King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla rode, will be circling through the city. The passengers on the tram will have a chance to hear the story of the royal family and the king's great-grandfather, Franz von Teck, who was born in Osijek. They will also see photos of the annual tickets the city transport office made and gifted to the king and queen with a lifetime right to ride Osijek's trams. I hope that the king and queen will have the opportunity to use it once they come to Osijek again", said Mayor Radić and added that on the coronation day, the Osijek pedestrian bridge will light up with the colors of the British flag.

British Ambassador Simon Thomas said that on May 6, dignitaries from all over the world will gather in London to attend the new king's coronation and that celebrations of that moment will be organized worldwide.

Another eastern Croatian city will also celebrate the king's coronation - Ilok will traditionally send their Traminac wine for the festivities.

Photo of Osijek

"When we were thinking about where we would celebrate the coronation in Croatia, we immediately thought of the Christmas card of the then Prince of Wales, and now the King, with a photo of His Majesty and Queen Camilla in Osijek, taken during their visit in 2016. Out of all the photos from different parts of the world that year, the king chose that particular photo, which means that the visit to Osijek left a deep impression on him. Not only because Osijek is a city with a rich history and promising future but also because here he met people who share some of his passions and priorities in life: sustainability and nature conservation, work for the community, respect for heritage, development of new technologies and investment into young people. But also because the great-grandfather of King Charles III was born in 1837 right here, in Osijek. Therefore, here we are not only among friends but also among family. We are looking forward to celebrating the coronation in Osijek, and we hope that King Charles III will visit the beautiful city on the Drava once again", said Ambassador Thomas.


1972. Bozidar Kelemenic / Pixsell

 King Charles III's visit to Osijek wasn't the first royal visit - Queen Elizabeth II visited back in 1972 and had a delightful time herself.

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

Tuesday, 25 April 2023

Meet Antonio Franko, Croatia's Most Successful Paralympic Triathlete

April 26, 2023 - Antonio Franko is Croatia's most successful para triathlete. He won many medals, but his favourite is the bronze from the European Championship in Valencia. Although he achieved most of his goals, he revealed his unfulfilled sports dream.

As 24Sata writes, everyone has had a role model, at least in childhood. That is why it should not be surprising that children often look for their role models and inspiration in top athletes, who later influence the choice of sport that the child wants to play. And one of those who can inspire us all with his sports and life successes is Antonio Franko. Antonio was born with a disability, but despite this, he is the most successful Croatian para triathlete. He is involved in one of the most challenging sports disciplines, and in the conversation with 24Sata, he revealed how he decided to take up this sport in the first place, what the most difficult challenges were, and his unfulfilled career goal.

'Stubbornness, self-criticism and patience'

Antonio grew up in Kraljevica, a small town near Rijeka, where he took his first sports steps. He has the best memories of his childhood and the region he grew up in, with his friends and family supporting him. His parents, he points out, were his financial and moral support from day one, and his childhood friends are still with him today and proudly follow and celebrate his every success.

"I started sports for rehabilitation. Due to my disability, until I was 18, I constantly had surgeries, so recovery meant working in the pool to train my leg for as normal and functional a life as possible. That's why swimming was my first contact with sports when I was five. As for para sports, it started when I was 19 years old, when, at the persuasion of our Paralympian Milka Milinković, I started swimming more intensively. Then the president of the club where I trained got me interested in triathlons, which he did recreationally. I took a chance and tried it. Even today, I can say that I found myself in that sport", Antonio told 24Sata.

Every day continues Antonio Franko; progress was visible, and better results arrived. But you can't become a top athlete overnight, says Antonio, so his results didn't come all at once. There was a lot of training, sacrifice, determination, and time, and thanks to that, today, he holds the title of one of the world's best paratriathletes.

"Every athlete should have qualities such as stubbornness, self-criticism, and patience. I don't think it works any other way. You need to give yourself time in training and be patient. Success will come. These three mentioned qualities also guided me through sports life and led me to the title of the most successful Croatian para triathlete".

Training seven days a week

As Antonio points out, his most challenging discipline is running, which comes at the end, after swimming and cycling. But of all three triathlon disciplines, he admits, cycling is his favorite.

"I train seven days a week, approximately 4 to 6 hours daily. Sunday is the easiest day because I do regeneration training. But on a weekly basis, I swim an average of 20 kilometers, cycle a total of 250 kilometers, and run 40 kilometers. My season lasts approximately from May to October, and everything else is subordinated to the preparation for competitions", Antonio described his regime.

In addition to being fully dedicated to training and preparation, Antonio is a fitness coach for soccer and basketball players.

"The biggest problem is the lack of time, but if you do what you love, like me, it's a real pleasure. When I train other athletes, it comes as a break from my sport, and I can say that I get to relax. This job is a challenge because one day when I finish my career, I plan to become a coach. This is an opportunity for me to build myself into something I want to do in the future", said Franko.

"Professional staff shortage"

Regarding the future, this 28-year-old from Rijeka has clear goals. He says that he has achieved most of them so far, but there is one more that he hopes to fulfill soon.

"When I started in the more professional field, my goal was to compete with the best in the world. Year after year, I progressed, so my goals also increased. My goal is to always push the limits, and I want to find out what my maximum is. This is perhaps one of my main drivers. I had failures, but that is also how you learn. Right now, my biggest goal is to win a medal at the Paralympic Games in Paris," says Antonio Franko, adding that preparations for Paris have already begun.

Although he has won many titles and medals, Antonio is most proud of the medal from the 2019 European Championship in Valencia, where he won third place. For him, that success was a turning point in his career because, as he says, only after that did others start taking him more seriously as an athlete.

"That is why it is crucial to send a message to young people to give themselves time and be patient. But as far as para-sport in Croatia is concerned, the biggest problem is the infrastructure. There is a lack of swimming pools and gyms, which is a constant problem. Someone who can only swim is doomed to a swimming pool, and we know that not every city has a swimming pool. At the same time, every city, for example, has a football field. Also, there is a shortage of professional staff willing to work with people with disabilities. I hope that one day these problems will also be solved", concludes  Antonio.

Antonio Franko is one of the faces of P&G's 'Winners every day' initiative. It is a campaign by the Croatian Paralympic Committee and Procter & Gamble Croatia. Thank you to Paralympians for getting involved in campaigns that aim to support the further development of parasports in Croatia.

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

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