Friday, 10 June 2022

Croatian Companies Can Get Involved In Solving Chip Shortage

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022-  The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development has invited Croatian companies to express interest in microelectronics projects and to be engaged in solving the problem of chip shortages and reducing dependence on imports from Asia, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Friday.

HGK and its Microelectronics and Semiconductors Group initiated the inclusion of Croatian companies in the European IPCE program (Important Projects of Common European Interest), which was achieved in coordination with the Permanent Representation in the EU and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

According to HGK, Croatian companies are also contributing to the efforts to address the issue of chip shortages and reducing dependence on imports from Asia through the implementation of the EU Industrial Strategy.

The call for expressions of interest for microelectronics projects is open until 8 July and includes the design, development and production of processes, chips, semiconductor substrates and related technologies.

HGK recalled that it is rare today that a device does not include chips, so for example there are 50 to 150 chips in an average car, and as their production was halted with the closing down of plants due to the pandemic, a shortage in chips occurred.

At the same time, the demand for all types of electronic devices has increased worldwide, and with the reopening of plants, many industries have faced a shortage of chips.

A possible solution for this is to develop a new generation of microelectronics, but also to return and boost production in Europe, HGK said.

"An opportunity for Croatian companies exists within the IPCEI and in new types of design and the use of new types of advanced materials. These are significant tools that can help keep Europe from lagging behind Asia and the United States in this segment," said the president of the microelectronics and semi-conductors group within HGK, Srđan Kovačević.

Kovačević of the Orqa company said that the company had recently concluded a cooperation agreement with the faculties of electrical engineering and computing in Osijek and Zagreb on the design of a specialised chip for unmanned systems.

One of the foundations to resolve problems in chip supply chains is the Chips Act, and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce is the contact point for it.

HGK added that in 2020 Croatia was among the first signatories of the declaration on processors and semiconductor technologies, which calls for investments of around €145 billion in boosting the development of the European microelectronics and semiconductor sector in the next two to three years, which is  20% of the European Recovery and Resilience Program.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 10 June 2022

4 In 5 Companies Would Pick Croatia Again As Business And Investment Destination

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022 - A survey by the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK) shows that over 80% of the companies are ready to pick again Croatia as a business and investment destination.

The survey, conducted by the AHK from 25 February to 26 April in 16 central and eastern European countries, shows that the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs are high energy prices and a lack of skilled labour force.

The poll covered a total of 983 companies, including 105 local and foreign companies in Croatia.

Presenting the findings of this year's survey, AHK Chamber president Thomas Sicla said that "a high number of companies, that is 84%, would again choose Croatia as a destination for their investments."

The findings of the survey for 2021 showed that that 74% companies would pick Croatia again as a business and investment destination.

Every other respondent describes Croatia's economic situation as satisfactory

More than a half of the respondents in this year's survey, that is 53% of them, see the economic situation in Croatia as satisfactory, which is a 10% rise compared to the previous survey.

Furthermore, 21% described the situation as good.

One in three respondents says economy has improved

Also a third of those polled believe that the economy in Croatia has improved since last year.

Concerning the perception of the economic developments, in other countries covered by the survey a similar number of respondents as in Croatia find the economic situation to be good.

Nearly 97% of entrepreneurs optimistic

The lion's share of the business people polled in this survey (97%) are optimistic about the prospects for doing business.

More than a half of the respondents believe that there will be improvements in their businesses, and a mere 10% are afraid of deterioration.

As for the short-term repercussions of the war in Ukraine, 80% of the respondents point to growing energy and raw material prices, and 56% point to disruptions in supply chains.

One in five respondents is afraid of losing business partners.

Asked when they expect the normalisation of the situation in the supply chains, 45% say they expect it in 2023, while 20% do not believe that it could be achieved in the foreseeable period.

Croatia's advantages and disadvantages

Croatia's EU membership, adequacy of tertiary education, skilled workers, infrastructure and productivity and motivation of employees are cited as the five advantages of Croatia.

The country's disadvantages and challenges are insufficient struggle against corruption, tax burden, non-transparent public procurement and the public administration.

The performance of the current government was assessed as satisfactory by 35% of the respondents and as bad by nearly 40%. 


For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 10 June 2022

PM: Allowances For Parents With Children With Special Needs To Be Increased

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday that the government would try and secure budget funds to increase allowances for parents with children with special needs, with whose representatives he would meet next week.

"We... will meet with the parents' representatives on Monday and find a solution to meet their demands. We are yet to see what the effect on the budget will be," the PM said, adding that there were around 5,100 children with special needs.

He recalled that his government had already made major changes by increasing maternity allowances.

Sjena association vice-president Suzana Rešetar said the prime minister's invitation to talks came after the association said it would stage a protest outside the Social Policy Ministry in early September.

Topics other than the allowance, which currently amounts to less than HRK 2,400, could be opened at the talks as well, she said.

"We do not want to be charity cases that depend on the allowance. We want adequate social services for our children, such as lessons with speech specialists or psychologists paid for by the state as well as medicines and medical devices," Rešetar told Hina, noting that currently those services are paid for fully or up to 50% by parents, which many have problem coping with financially.

In addition to quality health services, parents of children with special needs also want the state to secure adequate education for all such children, which would make them more competitive on the labour market and reduce their dependence on the state allowance.

"We even have problems when enrolling children in primary schools," Rešetar said, adding that parents were frequently told that schools did not have the conditions or capacity to organise classes for children with special needs.

She noted that an additional problem was that the state treated all parents of children with special needs the same, without taking into account the total number of children they have, the number of children with special needs or disabilities, their housing conditions, working conditions, etc.

"If you have a sick child, the state removes you from the labour market and pushes you into extreme poverty, it does not support motherhood at all," said Rešetar.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 10 June 2022

Discover Magnificent Croatia: Something For Everyone

June 10, 2022 - A look at magnificent Croatia through the eyes of new TCN intern Adriana Tasovac!

As somebody who frequents Croatia on a regular basis, I emphatically and inarguably consider it a premier destination for an idyllic holiday. There are so many amazing activities for every member of the family offering an array of discoveries. You could: go Island hopping, traverse through nature, take guided tours through cities and towns, immerse yourself in its culture, and many more! 

A country also known as the land of a thousand islands, it comes as no surprise that, Island hopping is a very popular choice to see many of the islands around Croatia’s coast. The private cruise yachts offer an in-house chef and captain. This number one “to do trend”, from one setting to another offers, enjoying sizzling summer sunsets on pristine beaches, swimming and diving in the crystal clear, blue seas, and guided tours on many popular islands like Hvar, Vis (of Mamma Mia 2 fame), Pag, Korčula (recently proclaimed as the 5th most beautiful island to travel to), and more. 

WhatsApp_Image_2022-06-10_at_4.56.52_PM.jpegGradina beach, Vela Luka, Korcula Island

For nature lovers, who prefer a more mountainous escape, Plitvice Lakes National Park is the place to be. This visit embraces hiking trails and native flora and fauna for all the wildlife enthusiasts. There is an abundance of parks to choose from, and with all the breathtaking waterfalls and lush rainforests, one is bound to fall in love with these parks. They also offer a variety of adventurous activities such as mountain climbing and exotic animal spotting.

croatia-812260_1280.jpgPlitvice Lakes National Park, Plitvička jezera | Pixabay

To all the “Game of Thrones” fans out there, this one is for you. The coastal city of Dubrovnik has been one of the most prominent filming locations for the exteriors of Westeros’ capital city, King’s Landing. Another beautiful city, Split, helped shape the landscape for the famous series’ location of Daenerys Targaryen’s throne room. The old and impeccable architecture is something that supporters and non-supporters of the show can equally enjoy and appreciate. Guided tours through these stunning locations add feeling to the story that the buildings tell. 

dubrovnik-city-2236067_1280.jpgGame of Thrones Filming location, Dubrovnik | Pixabay

Croatia’s history has played a significant role in molding its rich and diverse culture today. A great influence on its gastronomic culture is the food and wine. Many residents on the islands and in smaller towns have developed gratitude for the finer details in life. An appreciation for food that brings them joy. Croatians have developed a fine sense of taste by creating cheeses, wines, rakija (brandy), oil, and many other delicious treats. Most of these delicious treats have already found their way into delis and supermarkets all over the world. 

A scrumptious cheese called “Paški Sir” which is made from sheep’s milk originates from the Island of Pag. Locals of Pag willingly display their love for the cheese, by sharing the cheese-making process at many of their cheese farms.

20140507_Paški_sir_cheese_from_Pag.jpegWikimedia Commons

Another enriching site to experience the culture, is through wine. Tasovac winery, is a fairly new winery that specialises in multiple tantalising wines. There is a wine variety for every palate. “Plavac Mali” is a traditional Croatian variant commonly found on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. 
Tasovac Winery, Žrnovo, Korčula

In a nutshell, Croatia offers a variety of interesting and extraordinary activities for the whole family to enjoy. The unique and memorable experiences are well worth a visit and return to this beautiful country. Discover Magnificent Croatia on your next holiday. 

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 10 June 2022

5th Day of International Meeting of Travel Influencers Explores Inland Dalmatia

PR TEXT - June 10, 2022 - After visiting the best of the Mediterranean, including the heavenly Biokovo Skywalk and the WTA tournament in Makarska, tasting wine on Brač and Hvar, and enjoying the view of Zlatni Rat, the Hvar Historical Theater, and the Pakleni Islands, the digital creators got to peek into Inland Dalmatia during the International Meeting of Travel Influencers.

Recall, this is a unique project of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and the editor of the Croatian Hotspots magazine, Maja Zlokić, which thus entered its spectacular finale.

Inland Dalmatia is great for active holidays and sightseeing, and was there a better city to start this adventure than the heroic Sinj? Nothing speaks of Sinj as eloquently as the Sinjska Alka Museum. The guests enjoyed a museum tour with many uniforms, equipment, weapons used by the Sinj Alkars, Alkar statutes, and digital displays. Of particular delight were the life-size display of the Alkar procession and the replay of the 1715 Battle of Sinj, where the influencer group could experience the glorious battle in a multimedia environment.



However, the real euphoria arose during the visit to the Sinj Hippodrome, when the cameras of the digital creators did not stop clicking during the encounter with beautiful horses, which many wanted to pet and feed. The beauties of Sinj have taken over Instagram stories and posts, and the group gained a great insight into the Sinj tradition, from ancient times related to horse breeding and training, as indicated by three centuries of the Alka and many domestic and international horse tournaments.


The real hit on Wednesday was the mystical blue-green eye - the source of the Cetina. It is a photogenic location that Instagram has adored for a long time because of its stunning turquoise colors, but also incredibly picturesque ambiance, which contributes to the proximity of nearby sacral buildings, which seem to obscure this unusual natural phenomenon - the Church of the Holy Salvation.


There was also content for culture lovers, and the favorite photo of the source is from a bird's eye view. Many of the influencers, such as Goran Jović - one of the ambassadors of this project, and his wife, photo & travel blogger Diana Loos, already have an affinity for beautiful photography and were delighted by this ambiance, just like the beauties of Imotski - the Blue and Red Lake. Stories have been told about them since ancient times, and one of the most impressive moments related to these top Imotski attractions is when the Blue Lake dries up and becomes a football field! Playing football at the bottom of the lake is a real treat, and photos of this event will travel worldwide!


Slightly sad about the last day of the meeting, but at the same time overjoyed about the great experience, quality content, and unparalleled inspiration, the influencers promised Central Dalmatia one thing - this parting is only for a short time.

All photos by Goran Jovic

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

Friday, 10 June 2022

VARTEKS District: Contract Signing for Roundabout Marks Beginning of Urban Regeneration

June 10, 2022 - In June 2021, the revitalization of the Varteks textile industry premises was declared a strategic investment project of the Republic of Croatia called "VARTEKS district - urban regeneration".

As part of the project of great economic importance for the City of Varaždin and all its residents, through cooperation between the City of Varaždin, Varteks, and Austrian investor SES Spar European Shopping Centers, the northeastern part of the old factory will become S-PARK Varaždin, the central part of the revitalized VARTEKS district, today's press conference at the City Hall concluded, where the partners signed a contract to construct a roundabout on Zagrebačka Street. This will be the first step of the new project, and an agreement on cooperation for the strategic investment project "VARTEKS district - urban regeneration".


"The city of Varaždin welcomes the arrival of S-PARK in Varaždin as part of the project "VARTEKS district - urban regeneration" which the Government of the Republic of Croatia has declared a strategic investment project. This will not only be another shopping center in the city, but it will revitalize valuable space that has lost its original economic purpose. It is important to us residents of the city of Varaždin that the architectural solution is fully respectable and our industrial heritage and brand that is a kind of symbol of the city. It was created for years from the former Tivar to today's Varteks. We consider it necessary and support the regeneration of this valuable space because it preserves jobs and keeps production Varteks. At the same time, S-PARK means creating new jobs in the store and providing better supply and new facilities to all citizens", concluded Neven Bosilj, mayor of Varaždin.


"S-PARK Varaždin will be the first and unique retail park in Croatia to be developed in a historically important industrial site. I am very proud that we as SES have the opportunity to develop a quality, new meeting place with retail, gastronomic, and service facilities for people in Varaždin and its surroundings. In doing so, we will be guided by the important historical heritage of this place, which will be our inspiration for the design of the new S-PARK," said Christoph Andexlinger, Chief Operating Officer of SES Spar European Centers.


SES Croatia representative and project manager Boštjan Brantuša revealed that in the northeastern part of Varteks there will be a complex of commercial, gastronomic, and service facilities, and the first Interspar in Varaždin, which will significantly raise the standard of available content to citizens.

The Chairman of the Board of Varteks, Tomislav Babić, expressed his satisfaction that the City of Varaždin also recognizes the value and quality of the project and advocates to preserve buildings important in the industrialization of Varaždin, as well as expressing interest in revitalizing the central part of the complex with facilities important for citizens.


"Since the start of the restructuring in 2019, Varteks has worked on the sale of unused assets that generate additional costs as unused capital.  By activating this capital, Varteks plans to settle its debts, modernize its business and expand its retail network. Varteks does not intend to engage in real estate but in the basic business, which is fashion, while we believe that the Varteks complex should definitely get facilities adapted to modern life, with a lot of greenery and functional roads and all other facilities that will ensure a higher standard of living. We are glad that SES, a sister company of SPAR has an identical vision and that as a buyer of a significant part of the complex it will build modern, beautiful, and functional contents that will fit perfectly into the characteristic architecture of the city of Varaždin, nurturing its historical heritage", concluded Babić.

The Zagrebačka street roundabout project financed by the Austrian investor will, upon completion, contribute to better traffic regulation for greater safety of citizens and its smooth running with new facilities in the city.

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

Friday, 10 June 2022

UNHCR Croatia, Festival Of Tolerance Marking World Refugee Day

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022 - UNHCR Croatia and the Festival of Tolerance will mark World Refugee Day, observed on 20 June, with exhibitions, films and debates.

They wish to encourage social dialogue on the importance of protecting refugees' rights, their inclusion in the communities which have offered them protection, and refugees' contribution to the societies in which they continue to build their lives.

Anna Rich of UNHCR Croatia says World Refugee Day pays tribute to the courage, strength and contribution of millions of people around the world who are forced to leave their homes due to violence, war or persecution.

Festival of Tolerance director Nataša Popović said its social role is to focus on important topics through art.

The message of this year's exhibition is that every person is entitled to seek protection, whoever they are, wherever they come from and whenever they were forced to flee. The focus is on solidarity and building a more just society, and welcoming everyone regardless of ethnicity, race or faith.

The exhibition can be seen from 16 June to 3 July in public transport in Osijek, Karlovac, Rijeka, Zadar, Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik as well as on billboards in Zagreb.

Talks on refugees will be held in Zagreb from 30 June to 3 July.


For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 10 June 2022

Pfizer, Sobi Investing €100m In New High-Tech Plant Near Zagreb

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022- The Pfizer and Sobi biopharmaceutical companies inaugurated the construction of a new high-tech production plant in Savski Marof on Friday in which they are investing €100 million and from which they will export innovative biological drugs to 50 world countries as of 2026.

The plant is located where Pfizer's Haspira company has already had a plant since 2015. The new plant should be built by 2024. It will spread over 4,000 square metres on 11 hectares of land.

The existing plant makes biological substances for drugs, final drug products for cancer and rare diseases, and components for COVID vaccines. The new plant will produce drugs for rare conditions.

The director of the existing plant, Domagoj Runjac, said they started with 30 employees less than ten years ago and now there are 500, and that another 100 would be hired in the new plant. "This is the only such factory in Croatia, and in the broader area, and the first which Pfizer is building together with Sobi."

Pfizer vice president Steven Stears said high-tech standards of doing business and production would be implemented.

Pfizer is here to change patients' lives for the better, but also to create jobs, he said, adding that it is fantastic to see what is being done in Savski Marof and that the first drugs will be launched in 2026.

Sobi senior vice president Christine Wesstrom said this Swedish company needed a strong partner for the high-quality and sustainable production of complex drugs and has found one in Pfizer.

The high-tech and research teams and managements in both companies, as well as in Croatia, guarantee this cooperation's success, she added.

Economy Ministry state secretary Nataša Mikuš Žigman said the new plant and Pfizer-Sobi's investment was important for the local economy and the promotion of Croatia as a country in which high-tech industries were being developed.

Croatia has great human resources and potential for developing biotechnological production, and this investment will help increase production capacities and diversify the Croatian economy, she said.

The investment will also increase competitiveness and the production of drugs for export will reduce supply chain risks, she added.

The US Pfizer is one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies discovering, developing and supplying more than 170 drugs and vaccines. Its first Croatian branch was opened in 1996. The company focuses on oncology, internal medicine, vaccines, immunology, and rare diseases.

Together with BioNTech, Pfizer developed a COVID vaccine, delivering more than 2.9 billion doses in 170 countries this year. Another four billion doses are expected to be manufactured this year, with two billion to be provided to low and middle-income countries.

Sobi is present in over 70 countries and is dedicated to developing and implementing innovative treatments in haematology and immunology as well as specialist care for patients with rare diseases, who number 300 million.

There is no treatment for 95% of the 6,000 rare diseases recorded, and Sobi sees this as an opportunity, it was said today.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 10 June 2022

SDP Advocates Ban On Energy Drink Sales To Minors

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022 - MEP Biljana Borzan and MP Andreja Marić of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Friday announced that they plan to resend a motion to the Sabor to ban the sale of energy drinks to minors, saying that 80% of citizens support that idea according to a survey.

During a press conference in Parliament House, Borzan recalled that one year has passed since the death of a minor after consuming an energy drink and that SDP had proposed a bill in 2018 already that would have restricted the sale of energy drinks to minors similarly to some other countries.

That received the support of the entire opposition and even some ruling Croatian Democratic Union lawmakers, however, the bill was rejected by the then health minister Milan Kujundžić, claiming that there was no data on how many minors actually consumed energy drinks.

96% of students have consumed energy drinks, 61% take them with alcohol

Presenting the results of a survey conducted among 271 secondary school students in the eastern Croatian town of Županja, Borzan said that 69% of them said that the price of energy drinks did not deter them from purchasing them while 96% said they consume energy drinks even though 86% of them know they are unhealthy.

She added that the school in Županja is probably not an exception and the results would be identical in any part of the country.

Borzan said that the survey indicated that 70% of students started drinking energy drinks while still in elementary school.

In addition, 8% drink an energy drink once a day, 5% several times during the day, 9% consume it often and 22% regularly.

Borzan in particular warned that it was concerning that 61% of the students said they consume energy drinks with alcohol.

Another survey of 805 citizens throughout the country showed that 80% of citizens support a bill that would ban the sale of energy drinks to minors.

It is obvious that the sale of energy drinks to minors must be regulated by law, she said, appealing to Health Minister Vili Beroš to ban their sale.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 10 June 2022

Croatia Logs 285 New Coronavirus Cases

ZAGREB, 10 June 2022 - In the last 24 hours, 285 coronavirus cases, out of 1,835 tests, and two related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Friday.

There are 2,125 active cases, including 165 hospitalised patients, six of whom are on ventilators.

To date, Croatia has registered 1,139,319 coronavirus cases, the death toll is 16,014, and 68.76% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.

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

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