Saturday, 17 December 2022

Nivea Causes a Stir With Micellar Water Poking Fun at Croatian Fans

December the 7th, 2022 - Nivea, the company loved around the world for its gentle products such as deodorant, shower gel and moisturiser has managed to upset some Croatian fans with its rather poorly thought out advertisement for its micellar water.

An image depicting a rather disappointed woman wearing face paint of the classic Croatian ''checker'' colours of red and white appeared on Nivea's Instagram page recently, in an ad in which the company claimed that its micellar water (which, let's be honest, nobody had ever even heard of until fairly recently) can ''wipe away everything but the tears''. In the upper left-hand corner of the photo sits the score from the Croatia-Argentina match.

Argentina dashed Croatia's dreams of winning the 2022 World Cup by beating the national team 3-0. A disappointing result indeed, especially when that is coupled with behaviour from the ref that many disagreed with. We're not sure how Nivea could ever think, as an enormous, internationally recognisable company with an otherwise fantastic reputation based on the trust of its countless customers, that poking fun at entire nations could be a good campaign for its, erm... ''micellar water''.

While some believe that Nivea would have poked fun at any other nation in Croatia's position and used their flag for their product advertisement, others are offended that the small but mighty nation of Croatia which struggled so hard for its independence and has performed so well in the sporting world in general, not only in this year's World Cup, is being used in such a negative manner.

Nivea has also used the Moroccan flag in the same negative light to try to sell its micellar water, which allegedly ''removes face paint'', seeing not only Croatian fans but also fans from Morocco calling for a boycott of the large brand for its insensitivity and frankly ridiculous ''creative'' decision. Referred to as an ''outrageous and provocative'' campaign, many in both countries feel targeted. 

Faced with likely unexpected backlash for this utterly ridiculous advertisement, Nivea retracted their ad and replaced it with an official apology aimed at both the Croatian and Moroccan national teams. The company then issued an official statement, in which they stated that they “deeply apologise” for the move, and that they recognise the “fantastic achievement” of both the European and the North African teams in question.

It hasn't done much good, with people still calling to boycott the brand which has let itself down rather spectacularly with this move.

For more, check out our news section.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

How Long Will Croatian Gift Cards Expressed in HRK Remain Valid?

December the 17th, 2022 - With Croatian Eurozone accession now less than one month away, just how long will Croatian gift cards expressed in kuna, soon to be an invalid currency, remain valid following the introduction of the euro?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, N1 recently looked into a reader's inquiry about the validity of Croatian gift cards expressed in kuna, which will be scrapped as legal tender of January 2023. In several large retail chains operating across the country, the situation with Croatian gift cards whose value is expressed in kuna has been clarified.

People are busy collecting all of the many coins they still have lying around the house, in old trouser and jacket pockets and under sofa cushions, others are trying to locate that old sock with a few balled up notes in it to be deposited into their bank accounts before Croatia switches to the euro. Many forgot about gift cards, and some have been worried about the deadline in which they have to spend the amount expressed in what will soon be the old currency on those Croatian gift cards. Retailers have stated that there is nothing to worry about and that everyone will have plenty of time to spend them.

"The Konzum gift card, for example, will be able to continue to be used after January the 1st, 2023, and the remaining amount on the card will automatically be converted into euros," Konzum stated.

The situation is similar in the case of gift cards issued in kuna by Lidl.

"The deadline for using the amount on Lidl gift cards is three whole years. All Croatian gift cards on which employers have paid out Christmas bonuses to their employees in kuna, as well as kuna gift cards that customers will be able to buy in Lidl until the end of the year, will simply be converted into euros as of January the 1st, 2023, so customers will be able to use them to make legal payments in Lidl stores even after the introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency," Lidl explained.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Record Croatian Inflation Driving Food and Drink Prices Even Further Up

December the 17th, 2022 - Record Croatian inflation is sending the prices of food and drink skyrocketing as the pressures being placed on our pockets and bank accounts show little to no signs of letting up yet.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the annual level (comparing the months of November 2021 and November 2022), the prices of goods and services for personal consumption, as measured by the consumer price index, were on average a concerning 13.5% higher, the State Bureau of Statistics recently announced.

The latest statistical data shows that the growth of consumer prices has well and truly accelerated on an annual basis. According to the record data published to date, the highest rate of annual Croatian inflation so far was recorded in October, when it amounted to a worrying 13.2 percent.

The biggest increase was observed in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group

Observed according to the main groups of the ECOICOP classification, on an annual basis, the largest increase in consumer prices on average was achieved in the groups Food and non-alcoholic beverages, by 19.2%, Restaurants and hotels, by 17.0%, Furniture, home equipment and regular household maintenance by 16.6%, Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, by 16.5%, Transportation, by 13.3%, Various goods and services, by 11.6%, Recreation and culture, by 9.1%, Clothing and footwear, by 5.8%, Alcoholic beverages and tobacco, by 4.6%, Healthcare, by 4.1%, and Education, by 2.3%.

The largest contribution to the growth rate of the annual index was achieved in the groups Food and non-alcoholic beverages (+4.98 percentage points), Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (+2.78 percentage points), Transportation (+1.96 percentage points points), Furniture, home equipment and regular household maintenance (+0.95 percentage points), Restaurants and hotels (+0.85 percentage points), Miscellaneous goods and services (+0.72 percentage points), Recreation and culture ( +0.48 percentage points), Clothing and footwear (+0.34 percentage points), Alcoholic beverages and tobacco (+0.23 percentage points) and Healthcare (+0.13 percentage points).

Observed according to special groups, the highest increase in prices on average at the annual level was achieved in the Energy group, by 21.2% (contribution to the increase of +3.56 percentage points).

As Croatian inflation continues to make more and more people struggle to make ends meet each month and drag those who were on the breadline deeper into poverty, many are asking whether or not the government is doing anywhere near enough to really curb the events of this unprecedented living crisis.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

Croatian Law on Employment of Foreign Seasonal Workers Simplified

December the 17th, 2022 - The Croatian law on the employment of foreigners (third country nationals/non-EEA nationals) has been simplified, making life much easier for sectors like the hospitality, catering and tourism sector going forward.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the operative group of employers within the tourism and hospitality sector, the Croatian Employment Service (CES) and the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) have come together to devise a workable solution within Croatian law that will significantly simplify the procedures for issuing stay and work permits for returning foreign workers.

Instructions for police administrations and police stations have been prepared, as have all of the proper recommendations for employers for the correct submission of such requests, in order to facilitate the entire procedure to the satisfaction of both parties within the scope of Croatian law. Over the following days, detailed instructions for applications for returning workers will be provided to police administrations as well as to employers.

In addition to the above, on January the 12th, 2023, a workshop will be held where employers will have all of the details of the the model of issuing stay and work permits, as well as the methods of properly submitting requests, explained and clarified to them in full. On top of all of that, the possibility of upgrading the CES application is being investigated, so that through the application, it will be possible to check the status of any ongoing procedure, whether the request has been processed, when the work permit was issued and other similar information.

This method of cooperation and communication between the public and private sectors has showcased some truly excellent results and can be an exemplary example of efficient and high-quality communication that results in solutions that, on the one hand, relieve MUP clerks, and on the other hand, truly ensure a quality response to problems on the domestic labour market.

"In the short term of this initiative, our ministry established a dialogue with the representatives of employers within the tourism sector, in order to speed up and simplify the process of issuing residence and work permits, especially for seasonal workers who have been working in Croatia for several consecutive seasons. Both the employers and our Ministry are satisfied with the agreed concrete measures, and this is the way we'll continue our further cooperation. The first such opportunity is their inclusion in the drafting of the new Croatian immigration policy", said Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

"This kind of dialogue between MUP and Croatian employers is an excellent example of quality and efficient cooperation that very concretely helps both employers and workers. In a short period of time, we've facilitated the continuous employment of foreign workers who have proven themselves as quality employees in previous years. These changes to the Croatian law will make it easier for employers to prepare for the tourist season," said Irena Weber, CEO of the Croatian Association of Employers (HUP).

For more, check out our news section.

Friday, 16 December 2022

Dalić and Kovačić ahead of Morocco: "We Want to Win World Cup Bronze and Repeat 1998"

December 16, 2022 - Zlatko Dalić and Mateo Kovačić held Croatia's final pre-match day press conference at the Main Media Center in Qatar on Friday. Croatia and Morocco will fight for the World Cup bronze medal on Saturday at 6 pm local time. 

After Croatia lost to Argentina on Tuesday and Morocco lost to France on Wednesday, the two teams dropped out of the fight for the 2022 World Cup title. They will play the 3rd place play-off on Saturday at Khalifa International Stadium. 

Zlatko Dalić and Mateo Kovačić addressed the press at the Main Media Center for the last time. 

Will Modrić play in Euro 2024?

"I hope that he will. How he lives for football and how he feels at 37, I think he will play for Croatia then, too," said Dalić. 

About the World Cup bronze medal match against Morocco 

"This is a big final for us. The fight for the medal. We have the most respect for Morocco, who had an incredible World Cup. I think they think the same as us and will play with the best they have like us. This is the game for third place in the world. This is a big final for two small nations," Dalić. 

"Of course, we were sad after the semi-final. We wanted to be in the final, but it didn't work out that way. But our focus is on the game tomorrow. It's a big game, and we want to bring home the bronze medal," said Kovačić.

How does this compare to the 'Bronze Generation' in 1998?

"1998 was the first medal for our country from our football team. This was the beginning of our success. This is slightly different as we have now won the silver medal, but we want to be 3rd after being 2nd in the world. Every medal for us is a big thing. We are a small country," said Dalić. 

"We all remember 1998. We all hoped that one day we would achieve the same thing. To have a chance to win a medal for the second time in 4 years is a huge thing. We will give everything we can to achieve that," said Kovačić. 

Are all players ready?

"This is our 7th game in a month; we played extra time twice. We have some injuries - Juranović, Brozović, and Gvardiol. We will see how the rest of the day goes. We only want to play the players that are 100% ready. We don't want to play players that have problems. It will be challenging for the players who can't play, but we need to do what is best for the team," said Dalić. 

"We want to return home with the bronze medal. We have a big welcome reception waiting for us. We can't wait to come home," said Kovačić. 

"Morocco reminds me of us four years ago. Tomorrow will be much tougher than the first game. We have so much respect for them and are blown away by what they have achieved here," said Dalić. "When you look at the teams they have eliminated and beaten, it is amazing."

"We have no idea what our team will be or do in four years. So we are only focusing on that bronze medal tomorrow," said Kovačić.  

And Croatia's future?

"Croatia has a very bright future. We needed some players from this current generation to stay with us to help the younger players transition into the national team," said Dalić. 

"The older players have shown just how much Croatia means to us and how much longer we want to keep playing for Croatia," said Kovačić. 

Friday, 16 December 2022

Save the Date: Croatia World Cup Welcome Reception in Zagreb on Sunday!

December 16, 2022 - After an incredible reception in 2018, another Croatia World Cup welcome reception will be organized in Zagreb on Sunday! 

The Croatian Football Federation, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Zagreb, will organize a ceremonial welcome for the Croatia national team after the exceptional success achieved at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

On Saturday, December 17, Croatia will play against Morocco for 3rd place in the FIFA World Cup. No matter the result on Saturday, Croatia has achieved another incredible result that caused euphoria back in the homeland. Regardless of the outcome, Croatia fans expressed a clear desire to greet their football heroes once again.

The Vatreni will land at Franjo Tuđman Airport in Zagreb on Sunday, December 18 at 5:10 pm and then head towards Ban Josip Jelačić Square along the same route they traveled after winning the silver medal in 2018.

The final destination of the ceremonial reception will be Zagreb's main square, where a stage will be set up, and one of the best football teams in the world will be welcomed along with an appropriate program. The director of the program will be Joško Lokas, while the bands performing include Prljavo kazalište, Jura Stublić and Film, Daleka Obala, Dalmatino, Zaprešić Boys, Opća pašnáš and Slavonia band.

The official anthem of the Republic of Croatia will be sung by the Croatian Navy Band "Sveti Juraj".

HNS, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and the City of Zagreb, will subsequently announce the security details of the organization.

The Croatian Football Federation, on behalf of the national football team, thanks the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the City of Zagreb, the Ministry of Interior, the contractors and everyone involved in the organization for their effort and commitment so that the event can take place as the players and fans of the Croatia national team deserve.

Source: HNS

Friday, 16 December 2022

Croatia Airlines: New Brac-Munich Connection for Tourist Season 2023

December 16, 2022 - Croatian tourism never sleeps. Though it's only December, and the new tourist season is expected to start in the late spring or early summer months, the preparations are already underway. Among the first such news came from the director of commercial affairs of Croatia Airlines, Slaven Žabo, who announced that during the next tourist season, they would connect Croatia with a total of 22 international destinations.

As 24Sata writes, Croatia Airlines announced on Tuesday that it has introduced a new seasonal route, Brac - Munich, in cooperation with the Brac Airport and other stakeholders in the Croatian tourism sector, and the airplane on that route will operate once a week.

Flights on the Brac - Munich route are planned for the period from the end of May to the first half of October 2023, on Saturdays, and the aircraft to operate on that route will be the Dash 8-Q400 Croatia Airlines, with a capacity of 76 seats.

Croatia Airlines says that this route has significant potential, given that this year most foreign tourists arrived on Brac from Germany, which was a rise of 5 percent compared to the pre-pandemic 2019.

The director of commercial affairs of Croatia Airlines, Slaven Žabo, said that during the next tourist season, they would connect Croatia with 22 international destinations, make more than 17 thousand flights and offer more than 1.8 million seats, while the planes will fly on a total of 47 international routes.

"In this context, I would like to remind that we are again planning charter flights from Graz and Linz to Brac, as well as regular domestic flights Zagreb - Brac twice a week, which together with the new line Brac - Munich undoubtedly,, represents a strong contribution of Croatia Airlines to the business of the Brac airport, and at the same time, helps strengthen tourism in the Split-Dalmatia County," Žabo pointed out.

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

Friday, 16 December 2022

A Week in Croatian Politics - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Schengen and Qatar

December the 16th, 2022 - This week in Croatian politics has been dominated by upcoming Eurozone and Schengen accession, support for Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU candidate status, support for Kosovo's EU candidate status application, inflation, Ukraine, and of course - football.

Ursula von der Leyen announces her arrival in Croatia on the 1st of January, 2023

An incredible day for Croatian politics is set to occur as the clock strikes midnight on the 31st of December, 2022 - Eurozone and Schengen accession on the very same day. An impressive feat for any country indeed. European Commission (EU) President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that she intends to be present in Croatia on the maiden day of 2023 as Croatia scraps both the kuna and land border crossings.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has referred to Ursula von der Leyen's arrival on that particular day as a special marker of Croatia's much deeper integration into the European Union (EU), of which it has been a member state since July 2013.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has finally been given European Union (EU) candidate status, and Croatia will support it every step of the way forward

Significant disparities between the Republic of Croatia and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina appeared when Croatia became the newest EU member state back in the summer of 2013. These two countries which share a complex history suddenly ended up on very different political playing fields after enjoying an extremely ''free'' relationship, especially in terms of soft border crossings and freedom of movement. Bosnia and Herzegovina now finally has EU candidate status after many years grappling with its deeply complicated internal political situation.

The heads of state or government of the current EU member states confirmed the recommendation agreed upon several days previously by the EU's ministers for European affairs that Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted the official status of a candidate country for membership of the European Union.

Ahead of the meeting of ministers for European affairs which took place on Tuesday in Brussels, Croatian and Greek Prime Ministers Andrej Plenkovic and Kirijakos Mitotakis sent a letter to European Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in which they emphasised their unwavering and strong support for the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the bloc.

The EU flag was placed in the very heart of Sarajevo, a city with an extremely traumatic and tumultuous past, and among the first to react to the decision of the European Council was the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christian Schmidt. Schmidt pointed out that EU candidate status offers a unique opportunity that should be taken advantage of.

He described this status as a key step in the further harmonisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with EU standards and regulations and another confirmation of the commitment of both parties to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was somewhat left behind following Croatia's accession, as a member of the European Union.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina must become a safe and prosperous multi-ethnic nation and prove that it is able to overcome its political and economic dysfunctionality and implement a reform agenda. This requires determined politicians and functional institutions, ready to work in the interest of the country," said Schmidt, announcing that everyone will continue to work to ensure the full implementation of the Dayton Agreement, which has been of vital importance to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina's post-war stability.

Plenkovic reacted on Twitter shortly after the decision. "We're proud and happy, the European Council has confirmed the candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina, for which it strongly advocated! Our neighbour and friend deserves our support, which is also an incentive for further reforms and an agreement on changes to the electoral legislation. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart!" Plenkovic wrote on the social media platform. The tweet is a reminder of the enmeshment of Croatian politics and that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that the two nations with (on many levels) a shared past have remained close.

Plenkovic subsequently made a statement to the media after the meeting of the leaders of the member states in Brussels, in which he said that "Croatia, as a friendly country, will help Bosnia and Herzegovina on its European Union path.''

Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava says his party will vote against training Ukrainian soldiers in Croatia, citing the Homeland War

Homeland Movement (Domovinski pokret) president and Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava has openly said that he isn't a fan of the idea of training Ukrainian soldiers in Croatia and will vote against such a move. The topic has been a burning one of late, with Plenkovic being absolutely for it, claiming those who are against it will have to carry that on their consciences for a long time to come, and President Zoran Milanovic initially being against it, once stating that Croatia doesn't need to taunt Russia or have another war dragged to its doorstep.

Tensions surrounding the idea have been high in the world of Croatian politics for several weeks now, and Penava is yet another politician to come out of the woodwork against the idea. Penava has openly stated that ''Croatia has been through a war'' and that his party is ''going to be voting against it.''

"Our parliamentarians came to this decision respecting their consciences, our electorate, our patriotic spirit and the programme declaration that we just adopted at the Homeland Movement's closing ceremony, and respecting above all the interests of the Croatian people, which have been neglected due to unreasonable moves, primarily made by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who sought to privatise this topic.

There's also the President of the State, Zoran Milanovic, because of whom this topic was inflated and brought into frameworks that far exceed the importance for our people, especially in the context of people in Banovina still living and freezing in containers, in the context of the demographic devastation across the country, in the context of a huge increase in prices and a drop in the social standard and people's personal standards,'' said Penava.

Penava also said that "with a view to the Croatian people and the well-being of the Croatian state", the unanimous opinion of all the representatives of the Homeland Movement is that they will vote against the training of Ukrainian soldiers in this country, for the reason that "we have been through the war and know perhaps better than anyone what it means have a war" and "we don't want to bring any more war to our people and our country".

"And for us, there's a point and a limit below which we refuse to go. I'd like to thank all our parliamentarians for their quality critical reflection on this situation, for the maturity, experience and love they demonstrated, for not putting their ego in the foreground, but for voting in the interest of this country,'' Penava added.

PM Plenkovic gives a thumbs up to Kosovo seeking EU candidate status

Bosnia and Herzegovina now has EU candidate status, and it seems that Plenkovic's support far from stops there, with other countries in the wider region also lodging their own requests. Kosovo, which has also suffered a horrific time thanks to Serbian aggression, much like Croatia, has applied for candidate status. 

"We welcome Kosovo's request for membership in the European Union and wish them much success on their EU journey. We're going to continue to provide support and share Croatian experiences," Plenkovic said on Twitter.

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti submitted an application for Kosovo's membership in the European Union in the Czech capital city of Prague on Thursday this past week, setting in motion a process that could take many years, if not entire decades, and which depends on the normalisation of relations with Serbia. Kurti submitted that request to the Czech Republic for a reason, as it is holding the presidency of the EU this semester.

"Any European country that respects the values referred to in Article 2 and undertakes to promote them may apply for membership of the European Union," says Article 49 of the Treaty of Lisbon.

In all previous cases, when deciding on the candidate status of a country, the discussion surrounded whether the applicant country fulfills the conditions for membership, that is, the candidate status for membership. Here, however, another matter must be resolved first - whether Kosovo is even a country in its own right. For the 22 EU members, the answer is unquestionable, they have long since recognised Kosovo and established diplomatic relations with it. But the decision requires the consensus of all 27 member states, and Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain do not recognise Kosovo's independence for their own internal reasons. Therefore, we should not expect a clear answer from the EU until the situation regarding the status of Kosovo becomes clearer.

Zoran Milanovic and Andrej Plenkovic send a message of support and pride to the Croatian national team in Qatar following Argentina's 3-0 victory

The President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, and the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, both stopped butting heads for thirty seconds and sent their support to the Croatian football team on social media after the crushing semi-final defeat by Argentina (0-3) this week.

"Keep your heads up, Vatreni! Getting into the semi-finals of the World Cup is a magnificent success. We're with you in the fight for third place!" Plenkovic wrote on Twitter.

"Congratulations to the Croatian national football team! The Vatreni have entered the semi-finals and will play for third place - that's a big deal," Milanovic wrote on his Facebook. Milanovic is otherwise on an official trip to Chile and watched the match with the Croatian community in Punta Arenas, and he was in Qatar for the match between Croatia and Belgium.

Croatia's hopes were crushed following defeat in the semi-finals against Argentina, where we were beaten 3-0, and on Saturday the team will play for bronze against France or Morocco. Minister of Foreign Affairs Goran Grlic-Radman, who came at the invitation of the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic were also in Qatar this past week.

Plenkovic claims that the government has reacted so well to ongoing inflationary pressures that "people don't even know what kind of crisis they're living in"

I think quite a few people may just beg to differ to that statement, but once again Plenkovic has showcased his enormous confidence in both himself and the capabilities of his HDZ government with this rather bold claim. 

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP/NPOO) offers "unbelievable investment opportunities", Plenkovic pointed out at a conference dedicated to the plan, where it was also said that Croatia was set to receive a second tranche of 700 million euros today (that is, the 16th of December, 2023).

The first annual conference on the Croatian Plan for Recovery and Resilience - Ready for Tomorrow was organised by the European Commission's representative office in Croatia in cooperation with the government.

The Vice-President of the European Commission for Demography and Democracy, Dubravka Suica, announced on that occasion that on December the 16th, the second tranche of 700 million euros will be paid out to Croatia under the NPOO, and assessed that the implementation of the plan in Croatia is going well so far. With the payment of the second tranche, Croatia will have received a total of more than 2.2 billion euros, i.e. 40 percent of the allocated grant funds, by the end of this year within the framework of the NPOO.

The government's National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021-2026 was adopted back at the end of April last year, the European Commission approved it in July, and through it Croatia received an advance payment of 818 euros million last September, while the first installment in the amount of 700 million euros was paid out in June this year.

At the same time, through the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, a key component of the European Commission's "Next Generation EU" instrument, and based on the accepted NPOO, Croatia has at its disposal 5.51 billion euros in non-refundable loans, as well as 3.6 billion euros in soft loans. Suica reported that the implementation of that mechanism is progressing according to the initial plan at the EU level as well, with a total of 136 billion euros having been paid out so far.

The "Next Generation EU" instrument is a reaction to the "unprecedented crisis", Plenkovic stated, noting that this is the European Union's reaction to the "unprecedented crisis" caused by the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, there was an "extremely strong" political will among EU leaders to provide a proper answer to a real problem together.

In less than 20 days, Croatia will enter the Eurozone and the Schengen area, which is one of the "most tangible transformative moments" in the context of the tenth anniversary of Croatian membership of the European Union. "Nobody has yet managed to enter both the Eurozone and Schengen on the same day," said Plenkovic. It is indeed an enormous move for Croatian politics and in this country's turbulent history.

He also recalled the government's "appropriate, comprehensive and generous interventions in crises". "I think we even reacted so well that most people aren't even aware of the extent of the crisis they're living in," said Plenkovic, adding that people can rest assured of a peaceful autumn and winter, with electricity and gas prices being stable.

For more on Croatian politics on both the domestic and the EU stage, make sure to follow our dedicated section and keep an eye out for our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Croatian Treci Maj Shipyard to Complete Vessel Started 15 Years Ago

December the 15th, 2022 - The Croatian Treci Maj shipyard is set to complete a vessel which started being worked on fifteen whole years ago in Russia for another client.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Treci Maj shipyard has contracted the completion of the construction of a massive chemical tanker with a capacity of 45,000 tonnes for the company Viterlef Management, and with this and other contracted jobs, capacities have been ensured for the next year, and new jobs are still being negotiated.

The above was conveyed by the assistant director for commercial affairs of Treci Maj, Sinisa Ostojic, saying that it is a vessel on which about 75 percent of the work has been completed, and which was started about fifteen years ago in Russia, but back then it was for another client.

The ship was of course not completed then, so the company Viterlef Management from the British Virgin Islands purchased it and intended to finish it in another Croatian shipyard, more specifically Brodotrogir, however, the ship wasn't completed in that shipyard either. Last year it was brought to the shipyard in Split (Brodosplit), and then to this shipyard in Rijeka.

The works on the vessel at the Croatian Treci Maj shipyard will include the installation of pipelines, the equipping of the tanks themselves, the finishing and equipping of the superstructure, and the final paint job, all within one single year.

Ostojic says that another vessel for the transport of bulk cargo, with a carrying capacity of 29,000 tonnes, is also being completed for a Canadian client at the Croatian Treci Maj shipyard. The construction of that huge vessel is now finally nearing the end, and they are also working on equipping a polar cruiser for the customer from Australia. Decisions are also being made about another similar ship.

The construction and partial fitting out of the first of three hulls for fifty-metre yachts for an Italian customer is now coming to an end, and for the third year in a row, the construction of cruiser hull parts continues, also being carried out for an Italian customer. When asked if this is enough for the survival and business of this shipyard, which is no stranger to economic woes, Ostojic replied that, based on the signed contracts, employment is guaranteed at the shipyard throughout 2023 and for the first half of 2024.

He added that, if the jobs that are being negotiated now, and some of which are in an advanced stage of negotiations, are successfully implemented, then employment within the Rijeka shipyard will be ensured for a longer period as well. As he said, discussions are also currently underway about the construction of new pontoons for Dok 11 at the Viktor Lenac Shipyard.

Negotiations are ongoing with a Cypriot company on the construction of two smaller ships for the delivery of liquefied natural gas, for the construction of two chemical tankers for a customer from Italy, and state guarantees will be required for both jobs should they be given the green light to go ahead, Ostojic concluded.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 15 December 2022

Schengen Croatia: New Border Crossing and Motorway to Connect Baranja to EU

 December 15, 2022 - Approximately two weeks are left until the moment when Croatia's entry into the Schengen area will become apparent "in the field". Schengen Croatia might significantly benefit the east of the country with the possibility of a new border crossing opening at Knezevo - Sarok in Baranja.

As Glas Slavonije writes, on the first day of next year, border controls towards EU member states will be abolished, and border ramps will go into history. This, however, does not mean that, if necessary, they cannot be closed again.

The stalls remain

The infrastructure at the border crossings, such as the stalls for checking documents, will remain in their current locations, but there will be no police or customs controls there. Kilometre-long queues of heavy trucks that used to form daily on both sides of the Dubosevica - Udvar border crossing will go down in history, at least for now. For the people of Baranja, for example, it will be much easier to go to Mohac and Pecs, which they will be able to reach quickly, just as they go to Osijek, without stopping.

Robert Jankovics, a member of parliament of the Hungarian national minority, who was also involved in the process of "abolishing borders", agrees. "The entry into the Schengen area is one of the great successes of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, achieved thanks to political stability, in which we from the Hungarian community in the Republic of Croatia also helped. The very fact of the entry of the Republic of Croatia into the Schengen area means a lot both for Hungarians in Croatia and for all Slavonians and the people of Baranja, who will no longer have to wait at the border. We will see additional benefits, I hope very soon, with the completion of the full profile of corridor 5C through Croatia, i.e. Baranja," says Jankovics, continuing that all this provides great opportunities for everyone who lives here - to live better.

On a smaller scale, he emphasises that people who migrate every day because they go to work in Hungary will benefit the most. There are few of them for now, which does not mean that there will not be more of them in the future. Speaking about his participation in the whole process, he says that he did what he could and what was within his authority. He also conveys parts of parliamentary political discussions about the future of border policemen and customs officers, emphasising that it was promised that no one will be out of a job and that their wages will not be reduced.

Furthermore, Croatia's entry into the Schengen area opens up several more possibilities. First of all, a greater number of "border crossings". More than 10 years ago, Glas Slavonije wrote about the need to build a road between Knezevo in Baranja and Sarok in Hungary. At that time, the Hungarians had already built a road from Sarok to the border with Croatia, but it turned out that the road - lead nowhere. In 2009, the leaders of the Popovaca municipality were invited to neighbouring Sarok for a discussion about the future road, and even the Hungarian Minister of Transport was at the meeting. The idea sounded great, especially since the two places were connected for centuries because they were in the same country, Austria-Hungary when they were connected by a macadam road that can still be seen today.

Connectivity and development

Although there are only three kilometres of road from Knezevo to the border, the project was halted from the Croatian side, with the explanation that everything would be started when Croatia enters Schengen, which was also confirmed by the higher levels, announcing at that time the construction of a total of 17 crossings, including Knezevo - Sarok, after Croatia becomes part of the Schengen area.

"Now is the time to revisit the issue and intensify it. I would like the whole story to end satisfactorily and for Baranja to get another border crossing. The two crossings on the future motorway and the one between Knezevo and Sarok would serve the population on both sides of the border, and Baranja would reach the level of Western Europe in terms of connectivity. Between Belgium and Germany, for example, there is a border crossing every 10 kilometres," explains Jankovics, emphasising that transport connectivity enables faster development, especially since the southernmost parts of Hungary and the northernmost or northeastern regions of Croatia are among the most underdeveloped areas of the two countries because they are a sort of dead end where "bus turning points" because they have nowhere to go. The new border crossing, along with the motorway, will mean the opening of Baranja to Europe.

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