Sunday, 28 August 2022

Finance Ministry says It Helped in Investigation into Gas Trading Wrongdoing

ZAGREB, 27 August, 2022 - The Croatian Finance Ministry said on Saturday it had actively participated in an investigation into a case involving abuse of trust in doing business and money laundering in gas trading, which resulted in the arrest of several persons on Saturday.

Investigators of the USKOK anti-corruption office earlier in the day arrested Damir Škugor, an executive in the INA oil company, and his father. Also arrested were owners of the OMS Upravljanje company, businessman Goran Husić and Josip Šurjak, president of the Croatian Bar Association.

Marija Ratkić, management board chair at the Plinara istočne Slavonije gas company, whose supervisory board includes Damir Škugor, was arrested as well for alleged wrongdoing in gas trading, which, according to available information, has caused damage to INA in the amount of more than HRK 100 million.

In a statement issued on Saturday afternoon, the Finance Ministry said that its services - the Money Laundering Prevention Office and the Tax Administration's financial investigations division - played an active role in the case.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Croatia Logs 988 COVID Cases, 7 Deaths

ZAGREB, 27 Aug (Hina) - In the last 24 hours, 988 coronavirus cases, out of 3,582 tests, and seven related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID crisis management team said on Saturday.

There are 6,453 active cases, including 582 hospitalised patients, 21 of whom are on ventilators, while 4,497 persons are isolating.

Croatia has registered 1,211,419 coronavirus cases to date, the death toll stands at 16,646, and 70.87% of adults have been vaccinated, including 68.84% fully.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Serbia's Aleksandar Vucic Says Croatia 200 Years Ahead Economically

August the 28th, 2022 - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic rarely has a good word to say about Croatia, and his recent statement that Croatia is 200 years ahead of Serbia in the economic sense came as quite a surprise, despite it being quite the backhanded compliment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, on Saturday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic proposed current Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic as his candidate for the composition of the new Serbian Government, announced the postponement of the Pride Parade, and also said that the Republic of Croatia had always been economically more advanced than Serbia, both during the time of Yugoslavia and even back when Serbia was under the rule of the Turks.

"Croatia has always been ahead of us economically, they have always been more developed in that area. I'm speaking economically, I wouldn't want to talk about them being more developed in any other sense. I cannot make up for 200 years of Serbia lagging behind, it just isn't realistic," said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, speaking about the economic development of Serbia and the countries of that country's immediate region, which are also the countries surrounding Croatia. At the beginning of a long press conference in which he touched on various topics, using an interactive board as an aid.

Speaking about Serbia's GDP, Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia will have almost doubled its GDP by the end of next year, while claiming that neighbouring Croatia didn't even increase theirs by 50 percent.

"Croatia will continue to be richer, but the wage gap will decrease. Today, they have an average salary of 1,100 euros, and we have 635. It's no longer three to one. We are slowly getting closer to them. They are a successful country and there is no need to philosophise in that regard,'' said Aleksandar Vucic.

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

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Croatian Startup Make IT Easy Succeeds with Investment Plans

August the 28th, 2022 - The Croatian startup Make IT easy has succeeded with its investment plans, raising more than 150,000 euros a little more than a month after launching their campaign on Funderbeam.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, MobilityONE, the software made by the Croatian startup Make IT Easy, intended for fleet management and cost control, raised more than 150,000 euros a little more than a month after the launch of its campaign on Funderbeam.

According to Marko Stojakovic, executive director of the Croatian startup Make IT Easy, they collected exactly 157,000 euros from around 100 investors, which was the minimum amount they had set for themselves. The campaign is still set to go on for another fifteen days, but Stojakovic has noted that it will close when they collect 300,000 euros, which is the upper goal they set for themselves.

Stojakovic explained that the average investment in their software stands at around 1,500 euros, and among the more famous investors are Juraj Sebalj, a well-known rally driver and brand ambassador of the platform, who invested 15,000 euros, and Nenad Bakic, known for his role within Varteks. "The majority, or 80 percent of them, of investors are from Croatia, the rest are foreign investors," Stojakovic pointed out.

This Funderbeam campaign for MobilityONE is an introduction to the second round of financing (the first was at the end of last year when they collected 260 thousand euros through Funderbeam), in which they plan to collect 1.5 million euros, followed by the conquest of the European and American markets. The plan is to collect the same in three ways, through the ongoing Funderbeam campaign, then through venture capital funds and European funds. They used the period between the two financial campaigns for software development. At the moment, as Stojakovic revealed, they are about to sign the payment contracts with several respectable Croatian and foreign companies, the names of which cannot reveal the names until they are signed.

As for the investors, that is, the venture capital funds (VC funds), they are in negotiations with five of them, and they have already received a non-binding letter of intent from one of them.

"We're talking with the others and soon, in six months, we should close this investment round with the funds," says Stojakovic. There is obviously no lack of interest, which is not surprising when you take into account the fact that the market for managing mobile assets and fleet resources should grow to 30 billion euros by 2030.

MobilityONE, on the other hand, will become the first Croatian export product in that domain, and, as they claim, it stands out from the competition due to its simplicity in both implementation and use. In addition, the software, which is intended for professional fleet services companies, leasing and rent-a-car companies, car dealers, i.e. anyone with a fleet of vehicles, saves 20 percent of costs, 50 percent of management time and 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Sponsored Adriatic Holidays for Croatian Kids Without Guardians

August the 28th, 2022 - Sponsored holidays in various locations along the Adriatic coast for Croatian kids without parents or guardians outside of the social care system has become the norm every summer, and summer 2022 is no different.

As Morski writes, the long, scorching summer holidays means time dedicated solely to socialising and playing without worrying about school and homework, and Croatian kids without adequate parental care who are in the care of the state, the social care system and similar institutions also spent their summer days going on various trips, activities, holidays, and in some cases - spending some time with their extended family.

According to the relevant ministry, there are a total of 899 Croatian kids without adequate parental care or guardianship being taken care of by the state and by other service providers, who have been granted the right to accommodation or organised housing with additional comprehensive support.

Various sponsors - private individuals, camps, associations, who, by donating accommodation and transportation, enabled Croatian kids in the care of the state to enjoy holidays all over the Adriatic coast again this year, and they're responsible for making these children's summer holidays as beautiful as possible.

The Zagreb Children's Home currently cares for about two hundred children and young people up to 21 years of age. Most of them are very young.

''Summer holidays for Croatian kids without parental care are organised every year,'' the director of the Zagreb Children's Home, Jasna Curkovic Kelava, explained, adding that children under the age of three don't have an organised summer holiday of this sort because they are too young. For those kids who are slightly older, between the ages of three and seven, the aforementioned institution organised as many as five sponsored trips to the coast this year.

Thanks to one generous sponsor, the children and their educators spent the whole of the month of June in his house on the island of Pag.

In mid-June, a group of fifteen children and three of their caregivers stayed in a hotel in Tucepi thanks to the sponsorship of a family that has been doing this for more than 20 years. This past week, the children also went on a seven-day holiday to another sponsor family's house on Pag, which has also been a tradition for several years.

Completely sponsored trips have even been organised for some to go camping in the Czech Republic, enjoying scout camps and the like.

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

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Croatian Business Entities Intensively Preparing for Eurozone Accession

August the 28th, 2022 - Croatian business entities are now intensively preparing for the country's Eurozone accession, which is now very rapidly approaching. All wages which would have otherwise been paid out in Croatian kuna for the month of December 2022, will be paid out in January 2023 in the new currency - euros.

As Novac/Gordana Galovic/Jutarnji list writes, due to the upcoming introduction of the euro, Croatian business entities are undergoing the demanding process of adjusting their accounting processes, preparing financial statements, paying out wages, reporting taxes and other similar activities in euros. According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of June 2022, there were 316,052 registered business entities operating in Croatia, of which 56 percent or 176,882 are active.

Most commercial companies, 141,743 of them to be more precise, are active, and 93,393 are trades and the like. The main cost for everyone is the adjustment of IT and accounting systems.

Invoices, wages and payment slips, giro account statements, delivery notes, purchase orders, receipts and other accounting documents on the basis of which business events are entered in the business books must be expressed in the official currency of whatever country they're being carried out in. This means that companies report them in kuna until December the 31st of this year, and after January the 1st, 2023, this will all be done exclusively in euros. Invoices and other accounting documents dated before and on December the 31st, 2022, which companies will issue after January the 1st, 2023, regardless of whether they contain dual amounts in kuna and euro, must be issued in euros.

Croatian business entities will pay all of their outgoings in euros from January the 1st, 2023 onwards. Only during the period of dual circulation, i.e. the first fourteen days of January 2023, can cash kuna be used as legal tender when paying in cash. If something is paid cashless, from January the 1st, 2023, it will be automatically paid in euros because the amounts on deposit, savings and transaction accounts, other payment accounts, payment instruments and other records will be converted from kuna to euros without any charge, with the application of a fixed conversion rate and in accordance with the rules for conversion and rounding.

Companies will need report their profit tax returns, as well as their income tax returns for 2022, but submitted in 2023, in kuna. An exception is for corporate tax payers whose tax period begins before the introduction of the euro and ends after the day of the introduction of the euro, they may submit their corporate tax return for that tax period in euros.

When it comes to companies that are obliged to submit annual financial statements, all those whose business year is equal to the calendar year will need to prepare and submit annual financial statements for 2022 in kuna.

If Croatian business entities receive an invoice after closing the business year for the previous period, it must be in euros. The exception is companies whose business year is different from the calendar year. If the last day of their financial year is after the day of the introduction of the euro, they must state all of their data for the previous business year in their financial statements in euros.

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

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Heat Energy Provider Demands Higher Prices

ZAGREB, 27 August, 2022 - The HEP power provider, which includes the HEP-Toplinarstvo heat energy provider, has announced that it will submit to the HERA energy regulator a request for a new heating and hot water prices, Jutarnji List daily said on Saturday.

Tariffs for the production and distribution of heat energy are set based on the methodology adopted by HERA, so the changed prices for buyers will be known after HERA considers HEP's request and decides on new tariffs.

It is clear that HEP-Toplinarstvo and other suppliers of households, industry, institutions, and other consumers cannot operate profitably due to rapid gas price hikes in the world and domestic markets, given that more than 90% of heat energy production is fueled by gas.

HEP told the daily that in a number of Croatian cities where HEP-Toplinarstvo is not the provider, heat energy prices have significantly gone up due to "a drastic increase in input costs".

It is estimated that HEP-Toplinarstvo supplies 80% of the 150,000 heat energy buyers in the country, including big cities like Zagreb and Osijek.

Its announcement that it will ask for new prices is not unexpected. HEP management board chairman Frane Barbarić told Jutarnji List recently that a new, drastic price increase was necessary.

Last year, gas prices on the European market jumped 170% and this year, due to Russia's attack on Ukraine, they increased another 164% before higher demand in July and August, which additionally pushed them up, the daily said.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Government to Use All Mechanisms to Protect Croatian Pilots

ZAGREB, 26 August, 2022 - War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved said on Friday, at a meeting with four pilots of Croatia's Air Force from Operation Storm that the Croatian state, its institutions, and especially the government would use all mechanisms to protect them from accusations from Serbia.

Minister Medved and Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica held a meeting at the government headquarters with the four pilots of Croatia's Air Force from the 1995 Operation Storm about the war crimes indictments issued against them by Serbia.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Ministry of War Veterans' Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, and other relevant institutions, the government said.

It was stressed that Croatia had not received any official information from Serbia's institutions regarding the indictments against the pilots and Croatian defenders.

The pilots accused of alleged crimes have not been notified that criminal proceedings have been launched, they have not been questioned at any stage of the criminal proceedings, nor has their questioning been requested via relevant institutions of the Republic of Croatia, the government said.

Speaking of further actions and activities, Medved stressed that the Croatian state and its institutions, and especially the government, would employ all mechanisms at their disposal to protect the pilots effectively. He said that Serbia did not respect the basic principles of judicial cooperation and carried out actions contrary to the rule of law and international law.

He told the pilots that they were the heroes of the Homeland War and that they could feel safe because Croatia would never let their freedom and rights be threatened due to politically motivated proceedings and provocations by Serbia.

At the meeting, it was also said that Serbia had to face its past and responsibility for the aggression and crimes of the Greater Serbia regime.

The Homeland War and the military and police Operation Storm had a liberation character, whose legitimacy and justification have been confirmed also by final judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the government said in the press release.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Number of Fires Up by 25%, More Fatalities, Injured than 2021

ZAGREB, 27 August, 2022 - The number of fires this year to date is up by 24% on the year and the number of wildfires by 40%, and there have also been more fatalities and injured persons, the Croatian Fire Association said on Saturday.

The number of fatalities is up by 37% and the number of injured persons by 36% at 135, including 21 firemen, up 42%.

In this year's firefighting season, there have been 40 fires a day on average.

This year through 24 August, there have been 9,200 wildfires and 55,184 hectares have burned, up 156% on the year.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Croatian GDP Growth in Second Quarter Exceeds EU Average

August the 27th, 2022 - Croatian GDP growth has been considerably higher than it has been in the rest of the European Union, despite the ongoing troubles being faced by spiralling inflation and pressure on the government to step in with measures to protect some of the most vulnerable in society.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic recently visited Rijeka where he commented on the news about the 7.7 percent Croatian GDP growth in the second quarter of this year, saying that it represents the second highest growth in the European Union (EU) and is almost double the average at the level of the bloc.

Plenkovic said that for now, only neighbouring Slovenia has enjoyed a higher GDP growth in the second quarter in the entire 27 member bloc.

''The average growth in the second quarter at the European Union level stands at four percent. So, that means that Croatian GDP growth is almost a hundred percent higher, almost doubling that. We can be very satisfied with that indeed,'' he said, highlighting the extra burden the economic crisis we're all dealing with at this moment in time.

He added that considering the "fantastic" tourist season Croatia has enjoyed so far, with numbers matching those of the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019 in multiple sectors, everything indicates that the third quarter will also be very good for the country.

''This means that Croatian GDP growth this year will be higher not only as we predicted it, but also how others predicted it. This includes international institutions, agencies, organisations, and so on, so we can look forward to that and it will, of course, help us in solving the economic crisis that we're all facing,'' Plenkovic concluded, as reported by HRT.

For more on Croatian GDP growth and the Croatian Government, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

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