Thursday, 13 April 2023

Croatia Transport Connections to Key Europe Centres Supported by EP

April 14, 2023 - Croatia transport connections to key European centres are about to be supported with €26 billion of European money. On Thursday, the Committee for Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament accepted all proposals on the connection of several routes of Croatian roads and railways to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).

As Poslovni writes, Croatian MEP Valter Flego, the author of the changes to the European transport corridors related to Croatia, pointed out that this way Croatia will "finally be connected to the key European centers by road, sea, air and rail".

"The connection Pula-Buzet-Divača-Trieste will be the first international route that will connect Istria with the west by rail and open up the possibility of further revitalization of the railway route to the rest of Croatia. There is also the construction of a new railway section Zagreb-Maribor-Graz, which will drastically shorten the journey from Zagreb to Austria and enable better traffic flows for entrepreneurs who transport cargo. It is also planned to connect the Port of Rijeka to the Baltic-Adriatic corridor, which opens up the possibility of expanding its capacities. We want to ensure Croatia's connection to the Western Balkans corridor, geostrategically position the Port of Ploče as a key point for cargo transportation from the region, and modernize the railway route from Zagreb to the far east of Croatia. We extended the Mediterranean corridor from Rijeka to Split, which will finally revive the Lika railway. We have secured additional European funds for modernization of the Split seaport and airport, as well as a direct railway connection between Rijeka and Split with Western Europe, via Zagreb to Graz," explained the Croatian MEP.

Flego pointed out that the proposals were supported by all Croatian MEPs. "For the first time since Croatia joined the EU, we participated in the revision of European transport corridors. And I can freely say: together we succeeded".

He also thanked the Slovenian and Italian representatives from the liberal club Renew and the rapporteur of the Parliament, Dominique Riquet, who supported Croatia's connection to the most important European transport routes, and reminded that credit also goes to his predecessors in the liberal club in the EP, Ivan Jakovčić and Joza Radoš, who worked on the initiatives in the previous convocation of the EP.

On the proposals for changes to the guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network, after they were accepted by the competent committee with 44 votes out of a total of 45, all MEPs should vote at the plenary session next week in Strasbourg. This is followed by inter-institutional negotiations of the Commission, the Parliament and the Council, that is, the member states.

Flego points out that in order to make changes to the EU's transport network, Croatia would get a new 26 billion euros from the Connecting Europe Facility and calls on the government to prepare proposals.

"We secured the money and now the ball is exclusively in the state's hands. Insufficiently good project preparation, lack of architects and contractors, administrative obstacles, and slow state administration - these are problems that we simply have to solve and be 100% ready at the beginning of next year. Otherwise, we will have to return the money. That is why I call on the Government of the Republic of Croatia to take care of the fact that we must have prepared projects at the beginning of next year for new sections on European corridors. No more excuses. There must be no delay in the preparation of projects, neither by the Government, nor by the competent ministry, nor by HŽ", says Flego.

The revised TEN-T network policy aims to build a reliable, uninterrupted and high-quality trans-European transport network that will ensure sustainable connectivity throughout the European Union without physical gaps, bottlenecks or missing links by 2050, the European Parliament says.

The aim of the TEN-T Network Regulation at EU level is to establish an effective multimodal network of railway infrastructure, inland waterways, short coastal shipping routes and roads connected to urban hubs, sea and inland waterway ports, airports and terminals in the EU -in. The legislative proposal for the revision of the Regulation on Union Guidelines for the Development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is a key action within the framework of the European Green Plan and Strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility. During the revision, efforts were made to solve the problems and incomplete standards of the infrastructure for alternative fuels within the TEN-T network, which has a negative impact on the climate and the environment.

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

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Croatian and Polish Caritas to Build Houses in Banovina

April 14, 2023 - Croatian and Polish Caritas will restore 20 family houses in Banovina, build seven new prefabricated houses, and install 30 underground tanks for drinking water, thereby helping 57 families in the earthquake-affected area.

As Index writes, this is a joint project to improve the living conditions of people affected by the 2020 earthquake in Banovina, and the implementation of the project was made possible by monetary donations from Polish and Croatian citizens, who together donated 1,420,641,65 euros.

Of that amount, Polish Caritas donated EUR 920,641.65, the largest donation that Croatian Caritas has received from a national Caritas. For that, it is extremely grateful to Polish citizens and Polish Caritas, the press release states.

Reconstruction of 20 damaged houses and construction of seven prefabricated houses

Croatian and Polish Caritas signed a contract on the implementation of the project; preparatory activities began on January 1, 2023, primarily intending to carry out structural and non-structural renovation of 20 damaged family houses and the construction of seven new replacement prefabricated houses.

This part of the project includes 27 socially vulnerable, multi-member families who currently live in Caritas' modular housing units, where Croatian Caritas has provided housing for more than 540 people who died in the earthquake in Banovina from 2021 to today.

Support for this part of the project is provided by the Republic of Croatia, as a friend of the donors, because the new Law on Reconstruction provides for the project "Country - Friend of Donors", to remove damaged family houses, clean the land and lay the foundations for those residential buildings that will be built by donors. The Republic of Croatia will do this for seven prefabricated houses that will be built by Croatian and Polish Caritas, the press release states.

Drinking water for 30 families

The communal part of the joint project of the two Caritas will provide drinking water for 30 families. The plan is to install underground water tanks for families in the wider area of the city of Glina, in villages that do not have access to drinking water, and whose wells were damaged in the earthquake. The acquisition of a tank for the delivery of drinking water is also planned.

"Helping people in need is a clear sign of the care of the Caritas family in Croatia and the world and is an expression of active love, which reflects a complete concern for the good of man.

Caritas' mission is concrete help to people in need, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliation. Caritas, its employees, and numerous volunteers, as well as benefactors, are inspired by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, who said: 'Whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,'" said the director of Croatian Caritas, Fr. Tomislav Glavnik.

The duration of the project is two years

The planned duration of the project is two years, but it is expected that most of the activities will be completed by the end of 2023.

In addition to this project, Croatian Caritas also implements five other projects in cooperation with the Diocese of Sisak and Caritas of the Diocese of Sisak, worth almost 800,000.00 euros, which include the renovation of the premises of the Caritas Parish of St. Lovre in Petrinja, renovation of the premises of Caritas and the parish house in Glina.

This also includes the renovation of the House for the accommodation of female students of the Pedagogical Academy in Petrinja, the carer program of Caritas Sisak Diocese, and support for increasing the capacity of the Caritas Soup Kitchen in Sisak.

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

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Irish Rally Driver Craig Breen Dies in Accident in Croatia

April 13, 2023 - During a training drive ahead of the WRC Croatia Rally competition, around 12:40, Craig Breen's vehicle came off a local road 2201 in Lobor, near Zlatar.

The Irish driver Craig Breen, who drove for the WRC Hyundai team and was near the top of the competition, hit a wooden pole with the left front end and died on the spot, while the passenger was uninjured, reports the Krapino-Zagorska PU, writes Index.

The Croatian Auto and Karting Association and the organizer of the WRC Croatia Rally addressed the media at the press conference.

"We will know the cause of death only after the autopsy," it was said at the beginning. "This rarely happens, tragic accidents like this," said Danijel Šaškin, president of the WRC Croatia Rally Organizing Committee.

Davorin Štetner, president of the Croatian Auto and Karting Association, also addressed the public. "This news cut us all," said Davorin Štetner. "He was one of the role models; the investigation is ongoing. The FIA's investigation is ongoing; we are their member. Of course, we are trying to connect what happened; our investigations are going in the direction of preventing this kind of thing," Štetner said.

"It is important to keep calm, to express our condolences to the family, these are terrible things. We are trying to find out what happened," he said. We are deeply shaken, Štetner added at the end.

"Our safety standards are at the highest possible level"

Subsequently, a joint statement from the organizers Štetner and Šaškin came via email. "We are extremely sorry and deeply shaken by the news of the serious accident that occurred today in which Craig Breen, a member of the Hyundai Motorsport team, lost his life.

It was a test drive before the competition. Breen was a superb and experienced Irish driver, winner of numerous rally races and world champion in the WRC Super 2000 Rally in 2012. Together with the competent services and the FIA, we are carrying out all actions to determine the circumstances that led to this tragic event.

Our safety standards are at the highest possible level, prescribed by the FIA and monitored by the Croatian Auto and Karting Association, and it is really important to us that such tragic situations do not occur. We want people to primarily enjoy motorsport while respecting all safety rules. Our thoughts are with Craig's family, his friends and the entire team," they said.

The team responds

The Hyundai Motorsport team confirmed earlier that its Irish driver Craig Breen (33) was killed in the accident in Lobor during a training drive before the race at the Croatia Rally.

"Hyundai Motorsport is deeply saddened to confirm that driver Craig Breen lost his life today in an accident during testing for the Croatia Rally. Co-driver James Fulton was uninjured in the accident that occurred just after noon. Hyundai Motorsport has no intention of commenting further on this accident," the team announced.

FIA chief: Condolences to the family

The International Automobile Federation, FIA, also responded.

"On behalf of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Craig Breen following his death during a test drive in Croatia. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones and the entire rally community at this difficult time," said the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Who was Craig Breen?

The son of former Irish champion Ray Breen, Craig began his career in Ireland before making his rally debut in 2009, when he won the International, British and Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy titles. That year he was also crowned Irish Young Driver of the Year.

The native of Waterford, in the southeast of Ireland, joined the discipline's top category, the WRC, in 2016 with Citroën, finishing third in Finland in his first season in the elite category. Although he never won the WRC, Breen took a total of nine podiums between 2016 and 2023, along with six second and three third places.

Last WRC tragic accident happened in 1989

The last WRC driver to die behind the wheel of his car was Portugal's Augusto Mendes at Rally Portugal in 1989.

Since then, four co-drivers have died in the races - Frenchman Francis Malaussène in Monte-Carlo (1990), New Zealander Rodger Freeth in Australia (1993), British Michael Park in Wales (2005) and German Jörg Bastuc in Spain (2006).

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

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Liberland at 8: a Meeting with President Vit Jedlicka in Osijek

April 13, 2023 - It is 8 years since a Czech citizen made global headlines by claiming the Free State of Liberland on a slither of territory on the Danube between Serbia and Croatia.

I post regularly on Facebook, and it often happens that soon after I post a picture of my whereabouts in Croatia, I get a message from a friend or acquaintance to see if I have time for a beer. 

Such a thing happened on a recent trip to Osijek, but I was VERY surprised to learn that the sender was in Croatia. 

Vit Jedlicka, President of Liberland, who has been arrested several times and spent the night in Croatian jails on more than one occasion. The last I heard of him, he was banned from entering Croatia, despite being a law-abiding EU citizen with no criminal record.


An hour later, we were reunited in central Osijek, where President Vit picked up a couple of copies of our recent book, Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, joking that he might find it useful after his efforts to establish his country next door. 

The president was in typically jovial mood, and well he might be, for his Liberland dream is moving forward slowly, and he now has representation in 110 countries, as well as offices in over 20. 

And today the party begins to mark the 8th anniversary, with a 4-day conference and celebration in Apatin, over the Danube in Serbia. You can learn more about it here.

Me? I am still recovering from the first conference back in 2016, truly one of the most surreal moments in this random 20-year journey in Croatia - you can read about it in Liberland Conference: Reflections of a Weekend in Alice in LiberWonderLand.

As for progress and updates, a couple of summaries to digest. 

Freedom for Liberland! from David Freid on Vimeo.

Summary of recent Liberland diplomacy

Liberland considers itself fully a State, as it is one according to the standing Public International Law, particularly the Montevideo Convention (1). As such, it can enter international agreements and bond with them. 

Somaliland, a de-facto state and the one relatively well-functioning polity in the erstwhile area of Somalia, recognizes Liberland fully and formally. A memorandum of cooperation has also been signed.

Liberland’s humanitarian arm, the Liberland Aid Foundation, has helped in numerous hot spots of dire need, such as Brazil during the Covid-19 crisis, Somaliland and El Salvador. It has recently opened offices in Malawi and Ghana, and negotiations are in the works with Abia State in Nigeria.

Considering its position as a relative newcomer on the international stage, Liberland focuses on “soft” diplomacy, entering memoranda of understanding regarding economic cooperation and humanitarian aid. The aim is to open doors for Liberland companies and government initiatives and to engage in a dialogue leading to a deeper, primarily economic, cooperation.

You may find the repository here of the memoranda of understanding and cooperation signed on behalf of Liberland or the Liberland Aid Foundation, that are currently in force and bind Liberland.


(1) Rossman, Gabriel (2016) "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (But Still So Far): Assessing Liberland’s Claim of Statehood," Chicago Journal of International Law: Vol. 17: No. 1, Article 10.

Available at:

Liberland: Myths and Realities - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Free Republic of Liberland, founded on April 13, 2015, was proclaimed as a new country in accordance with international law regarding terra nullius. The land formerly known as Gornja Siga remained unclaimed by either Serbia or Croatia for over 25 years. Our project is now stronger than ever, with XXXXXXX applicants, XXXXX e-residents and XXX actual citizens. Our Blockchain, after going through a number of iterations, is ready to launch. Our Constitution and government structure, which is tied directly to the Blockchain, is truly the first of its kind. Our project to form a new country has received a lot of attention, including extensive media treatment. While much of the coverage has been excellent, a large bit of it is not.

The nature of information consumption by the general public is such that it is piecemeal, dependent upon the news cycle, and almost always incomplete. If some people haven’t heard about Liberland in the last few months, they assume we no longer exist. In addition, some people spread hearsay or misinformation without knowing the facts. Or, people read a random comment in a forum or blog post and assume it to be true without checking official Liberland organs. We’ll attempt to address some of the more frequent misunderstandings and myths here. 

Myth 1: Liberland is not a “real” country and does not exist

This is likely the easiest myth to refute. Our position is that we fulfill the criteria for statehood laid out in the Montevideo Convention. According to Article 1 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States, the canonical definition in international law reads: "The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states."

We have a government, one that is capable of conducting relations with other governments. We have a people, and we have a defined territory (and additional property outside the territory). Granted, our access and control over the territory is limited by Croatia - this will be dealt with below. It should be noted that Croatia did not have complete control over its territory and its government did not have the consent of all of its people when it was recognized by other nations. 

We are very real with real people from all over the world involved in helping us make our project successful. Liberland has solidified its internal governance and has over 100 global representatives. We have presented our case to the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. and the European Parliament in Brussels and legislators and diplomats from all over the world. In Serbia, Liberland citizens are investing in tourism, maritime industry and high-tech fields. Our anniversary conferences and Floating Man celebrations alone have brought thousands to the region.

Myth 2: Croatia and Serbia oppose Liberland

While Liberland has had considerable difficulties with the Croatian government, we have been working on resolving the impasses. The blockade and patrols around Liberland cost Croatian and EU taxpayers large sums of money and prevent all access to the land, even stopping no-impact visits by hikers or beachgoers. To put it mildly, Liberland supporters in Croatia have been subjects of interest of Croatian intelligence services and attendees of our events have encountered problems at border crossings. In order to overcome these points of friction, we propose constructive dialogue that will benefit Croatia and support border security.

With common understanding and partnership with Croatia, our project can bring significant investments, jobs and tourism to a region that needs it. Along with the investments that would come with a flourishing Liberland, The Croatian region of Slavonia, with its rich culture and history would prosper as this neighboring area could be a key factor in our long-term development strategy for job creation and tourism. Independent, publicly available economic studies show that Liberland could have a positive incremental impact on Croatian GDP as high as 0.5% or more in just a few years.

With regards to Serbia, we are on very good terms with the local population; in fact, most of our activities are based in Serbia, in Ark village, Apatin and its harbor, our Free Trade Zone, Sombor and Belgrade. We have brought considerable investment, conferences and tourism to Serbia since the beginning. While we would welcome higher involvement, our relations with the Serbian government are very good.

Liberland is not a separatist or secession movement and we do not infringe upon the borders of Croatia or Serbia. 

Myth 3: Liberland hands out passports and citizenship for free and will invite hundreds of thousands of immigrants and refugees to Europe

This is patently untrue. Citizenship is not free for the asking. You do not get it just by signing up on the website. This is a misconception that seems to have spread during the initial frenzy of coverage about Liberland. It is earned by donating or becoming an active supporter of the project and earning the equivalent in Liberland Merits (LLM), which is currently set at 5000 Merits. Our e-residency program, much like Estonia’s e-residency program, is not a physical residency program, although e-residents are welcome to visit our facilities provided they comply with Serbian immigration laws.

Although we have generated strong interest from all over the world, Liberland does not plan on and never did plan inviting mass immigration to the region. As we saw during the refugee crisis, the majority of newcomers flowed not to Liberland (indeed, they literally marched right on by) but directly to countries where they would receive the most social welfare benefits. For instance, millions of refugees went to Germany alone.

In addition, the people of Liberland are entirely a self-selected community; we attract people who place a high value on individual freedom and responsibility, who have a high level of education or technical skills and who align with our points of view; cultural assimilation of Liberlanders is already a given, and it is a wonderful culture indeed. Our aim is to build an environmentally friendly community in this beautiful region of Europe. A high population density is not necessary to succeed; we feel we can use the latest technology to build a sustainable community that maintains a high quality of life and does not place undue burdens on the local environment.

Myth 4: It’s just a “tax haven”

With taxes and regulations at historic highs in the EU and other countries, it’s no wonder that people want to escape such confines to somewhere where freedom reigns. Much ado has been made in the European press about the “Panama Papers” but the main takeaway from that story is that corrupt officials of much more well-known and larger countries take their ill-gotten funds and stash them away. By contrast, Liberland is a place where you don’t need to stash your money away in hidden foreign bank accounts. We place a very high value on free markets and transparency. Government revenue is collected in the form of voluntary fees and contributions, not mandatory taxes.

Our Free Trade Zone does benefit from reduced or exempted VAT, import duties and taxes in full compliance with Serbian law. 

Myth 5: No other country recognizes Liberland

Another misconception about Liberland is regarding recognition by other countries. While we do not yet have full diplomatic recognition from UN member countries, we most certainly have diplomatic relations with them. Our delegations meet often with heads of state, top officials, diplomats, representatives of parliaments, senates and congresses, governors and mayors of other countries. We have signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs), twin city agreements and trade and aid agreements with several UN-recognized countries. On a humanitarian level, the Liberland Aid Foundation has sponsored humanitarian projects in Serbia, Croatia, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Brazil, Uganda and more

Note that we subscribe to the declaratory theory of statehood, in contrast to the constitutive theory (the constitutive theory of recognition holds that a state does not exist until it receives recognition from other states). In contrast, the declaratory theory of recognition holds that a state may exist without recognition, which is merely an acknowledgment of an existing situation. The declaratory theory has become the prevailing view in international relations (see the Montevideo Convention criteria mentioned above).

Some of the more outlandish myths and misconceptions about Liberland will not be dealt with here, but some of the things we have heard include:

  • Liberland is just another crypto scheme
  • Liberland is just a bunch of elitist white or rich guys
  • Liberland is a Serbian plot, a Russian plot, etc.
  • Liberland has a central bank (a rather sordid tabloid in Bangladesh recently published this nugget, among other zany claims. News to us!)

Myths and misconceptions about Liberland can be overcome simply by following the news posted on our website, on our social media, or on Liberland Press. You can also contact our office at any time with specific inquiries.

Thomas D Walls, Minister of Foreign Affairs


-Free Republic of Liberland official website

-“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (But Still So Far): Assessing Liberland’s Claim of Statehood,” Gabriel Rossman, University of Chicago Journal of International Law (2016)

-“An Argument for the International Recognition of Liberland,” Christopher Balch, Mich. Journal of International Law (2015)

-Democratic Statehood in International Law - The Emergence of New States in Post-Cold War Practice, Jure Vidmar, Hart Publishing (2013)

-War and Peace on the Danube: The Evolution of the Croatia-Serbia Boundary Author: Mladen Klemenčić & Clive Schofield, IBRU: Centre for Borders Research, Durham University

-A multi-part economic study by the Libek Foundation of Serbia, covering:

Spillover economic effects of Liberland on the economies of Serbia and Croatia
The Importance of Economic Freedom
Free trade zones in Serbia – current situation overview
Overview of taxes, business environment and tariffs in Hungary, Serbia and Croatia
Taxes in Hungary, Serbia, and Croatia: a brief overview



Thursday, 13 April 2023

Giant Croatian-Style Easter Eggs on Display in Mendoza, Argentina

April the 13th, 2023 - For the second consecutive year, ten giant Croatian-style Easter eggs have been placed on display at the Plaza Independencia in Mendoza, Argentina.

These giant Croatian-style Easter eggs are made of fiberglass and five of those on display in Plaza Independencia are 2.50 meters high and 1.60 meters wide. The remaining five are 2.15 m and 1.40 m wide.

The Croatian community established this unprecedented custom in conjunction with the Municipality of the City of Mendoza. It is an old tradition of displaying giant Easter eggs in public spaces, painted by artists with allegorical motives that arrived in Mendoza last year. Last year’s exhibition was so successful and accepted that it was repeated again, adding the music and folklore that accompanied the audiovisual show.

Mendoza 2 photo Marcelo Rolland

Traditionally, during the Easter period in Croatia, public spaces are adorned with a wide variety of giant painted eggs, enhancing the tourist attraction of the place. It is also an extraordinary moment to share outdoors with the family.

The artistic activities of the live painting ended on Saturday with a performance of the Croatian vocal ensemble Planinari. This event, declared of tourist and cultural interest by the Deliberative Council of the City, by the Senate of Mendoza and by the Municipality of San Carlos, closed with the delivery of prizes to the artists who participated in the visual work contest, which included with a jury made up of representatives of the Croatian Community, the National University of Cuyo, the Municipality of the City of Mendoza and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.​

Mendoza 3 photo Marcelo Rolland

Mendoza 4 photo Marcelo Rolland

Mendoza 5 photo Marcelo Rolland

Mendoza 6 photo Marcelo Rolland

Photos credir: Marcelo Rolland

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

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Val Marina: Hvar Hotel Takes Top Spot on Hvar TripAdvisor Restaurants

April 13, 2023 - Hotel food seldom lives up to the quality of surrounding restaurants, but there is a rather delightful exception in Hvar Town - Val Marina in Hotel Adriana.

One of the many quirks I had running my first portal, Total Hvar, over 10 years ago, was to report on the weekly listings of the island's restaurants on TripAdvisor. And for at least two years, the undisputed number one, both in terms of ranking and number of reviews, was Dalmatino. 

Time passes, and I found myself staying at Hotel Adriana last week as a guest of the hotel. I was curious to see what the dining options were these days, and I was rather surprised that there was a new king in town, Hotel Adriana's very own Val Marina. 

The Val Marina terrace has always been my favourite spot in Hvar Town, but never for lunch or dinner. The food was never that special, at least in my experience. 


For it has always had - at least in my opinion - the best breakfast experience on the island.

An unbeatable combination of a quality, healthy and diverse breakfast offering, attentive service, and THAT location. 

What a great place to watch the town waking up, the first boats going out, and the people watching in this glitzy destination. For a complete detox from life, there are few greater pleasures than a leisurely breakfast on the Adriana terrace. One of those hidden gems that never make the guidebook, and few know that it is open to non-residents. 

I was a little surprised to be approached by a lady from the Netherlands on my second morning. She had seen the photo on my Facebook with the info that it was open to non-residents. She had been walking past for years and decided to treat her friend. They looked very relaxed as I left.

So far, all was familiar territory, but did the new Val Marina really deserve top spot? I decided to try the 3-course dinner option that even, having skipped lunch and walked over my breakfast along the coast to Podstine. 


A welcome glass of Prosecco came with the menu and wine list, as well as this nice little appetiser.

Ah, yes, olive oil - we must be back in Dalmacija.


I went with the waiter's recommendation for a seafood starter, one which had quite unusual texture and taste combinations.


Capaccio de sepia. Black cuttlefish, green apple, grapefruit, fresh marinated zucchini, yuzu, caper berry grilled focaccia bread.Capaccio de sepia. Black sepia, green apple, grapefruit, fresh marinated zucchini, yuzu, caper berry, and grilled focaccia bread.

And the tanginess of the grapefruit was a splendid foil for the cuttlefish. 

A classic for the main.


Tuna steak with asapagus.


Lightly cooked, superbly tender. 


Ably supported by the delicious asparagus side and washed down with a very drinkable Pinot Grigio. 

I am not usually a dessert person, but the VERY attentive waiter made the case for a splendid finale to the meal. 


Chocolate marquise cake - snickers ice cream and strawberry. It tasted three times as good as it looked. 

I haven't tried other Hvar restaurants this year, but they will have to be pretty good to knock Val Marina off its top perch. An excellent restaurant, which comes attached with rooms in a four-star hotel, which comes with the inclusion of that incredible breakfast. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. 

April on Hvar is divine.

(Paul Bradbury was a guest of Suncani Hvar Hotels in April 2023) 



Thursday, 13 April 2023

Croatian ReversingLabs Aiming for Unicorn Status With New Product

April the 13th, 2023 - The impressive Croatian ReversingLabs software company is aiming for the very prestigious unicorn status with its brand new product. It seems they have a very good chance of success.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, during these times when we do just about everything via the Internet - we communicate, pay for things, shop, work, study, and even count our steps using the web - the security of our data and software has never been more important, and it's also never been less secure.

''There are countless channels for attack, from messages, emails, links and documents we open, to the basic pages we browse. The methods these hackers and attacks use are constantly developing and improving,'' Igor Lasic, senior vice president for technology of the Croatian ReversingLabs software company explained. ReversingLabs otherwise specialises precisely in cyber security, and Lasic continued by noting that artificial intelligence (AI) will be another component that will further complicate the fight between the good and bad online.

For example, as he he explained, in the software supply chain, the bad guys are constantly looking for weaknesses, and the good guys are constantly looking for ways to eliminate them. "It's a dead race, although users today are still in a slightly better situation than they were ten years ago," said Lasic.

It's specifically in this area - the software supply chain - that the Croatian ReversingLabs company, with offices in Zagreb and across the pond in Boston, deals with. ReversingLabs is currently seeking an opportunity to achieve the goal they are striving for the most - to become a unicorn, that is, a company worth a billion US dollars. They're currently in the phase, he said, of starting to conquer the market with a brand new product.

The company founded by Mario Vuksan and Tomislav Pericin started its operations in Zagreb fourteen years ago with a focus primarily placed on cyber security. This focus is based on previous work experience in the American company Bit9, which was later renamed to Carbon Black. They have focused on developing technology to detect and fight against malicious software (malware), and today they have the best static analysis of software in the entire world that doesn't require any sort of access to the source code.

A turning point in the development of the Croatian ReversingLabs company was the attack by the Russian secret services on the American software company SolarWinds when there was a breach in the networks of tens of thousands of American companies and government agencies. Then, by chance, ReversingLabs turned out to be the only technology option possible for detecting advanced software supply chain attacks.

"Most of the components of today's software, about 80% of them, come from open sources, that is, the Internet. The primary tactic of the attackers is to get to open sources and insert their components into parts of the software, which the users then completely unconsciously incorporate into their own software," explained Lasic.

As terrifying as that sounds, there are more and more such incidents taking place, and heavily infected software packages are discovered on a weekly basis, with several major incidents occurring annually.

The biggest and most sophisticated such attack so far was the aforementioned "SolarWinds" attack, and nowdays we're witnessing another big attack - the one through the 3CX application for making calls over the Internet.

''Our task is to control open source repositories on a daily basis, and even more often, with the aim of detecting infected software components and preventing such incidents from taking place,'' Lasic pointed out. The quality of their solution was also quickly recognised by investors, and the Croatian ReversingLabs company received a second round of investment in the amount of 56 million US dollars back in 2021, while in total they have received 81 million dollars of investment to date, which makes them one of the most potent domestic startups that could take the title of the third Croatian unicorn.

According to Lasic, the latest investment was led by the private equity fund Crosspoint Capital, which is interesting for several reasons. It is led by some of the giants of the technology industry in the modern day, and one of the partners in the fund is Greg Clark, a big name in the world of cyber security who managed Symantec, a well-known American software giant, for several years.

"They recognised the potential of the technology that ReversingLabs has developed and believe that we can become a unicorn. They're also specific in that they provide us with both tactical and strategic assistance," says ReversingLabs' senior vice president for technology. ReversingLabs will really need that help, because the company is in the phase when it has to market its new product, and on the insanely competitive American market, that is certainly not easy, even with the best possible product.

"Sales and marketing must now capitalise on the technical excellence that we've developed and ensure our recognition on that market," emphasised Lasic, who replaced Zagreb with Boston during his studies and "stayed" there for a full 30 years. The majority of that investment was invested in the development of a product intended to provide security in the software procurement chain and to strengthen the team in charge of sales and marketing.

They increased that department in their American office located in Cambridge near Boston by about five times, and the number of people in Zagreb, who are engaged in engineering work, research and product development, by about 40. Today they have a total of more than 250 employees, and more than 170 of those people are based here in Zagreb. A significant spring in their step in terms of the conquest of the US market will surely be the fact that the analytical company Forrester included them in their overview of the most complete solutions of SCA suppliers (software composition analysis) for the year 2023.

This is important, according to Lasic, because based on that list, numerous companies decide which and whose solution they will implement. Their goal is to conquer the American market, where they currently generate 90 percent of their revenue with their first product, and those figures have been growing significantly for the past two years now. Europe is important to them, but it is a smaller market, and the general level of awareness of cyber security, as well as the budgets dedicated to it, are much lower.

Despite the difficult economic situation we all continue to find ourselves in, the Croatian ReversingLabs company isn't too concerned about the turbulence and crisis unfolding in the technology sector, which is currently in full swing in the USA and around the world.

"This is the best time to start something. Hard times either bring out the best in you or destroy you. In this situation, you have to focus all your energy on finding the best and optimal ways to make money," said Lasic, who led the development of as many as six startups across the pond in America before coming to ReversingLabs. He has been at ReversingLabs for eight years now, and what keeps him going is the founder's ambition and new projects, of which there is no shortage.

"The company is constantly growing, so my function changes accordingly, which is a big challenge for me. That makes me happy and it's really fulfilling. The worst thing is when the company stagnates because it's difficult to maintain the work ethic in such situations,'' concluded Lasic.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Kazakh Culture in Croatia: Ethno- Folk Ensemble Turan Stuns in Zagreb

April 13, 2023 - A stunning evening of the cultural pearls of Kazakhstan, as world-famous Ethno-Folk Ensemble Turan steals the show.

My inbox is an increasingly interesting place to hang out, and every once in a while, an incoming message with a difference piques my interest.

An invitation to come to an evening to experience the culture of Kazakhstan, with the main event a performance from Ethno-Folk Ensemble Turan. 


I decided to accept, not do any research, and see what Kazakhstan had to offer. My expectations were not particularly high, but I think it is important to support such events, as Zagreb becomes a more international city - there is a lot going in the city that deserves greater exposure. 

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I certainly did not expect to witness what was easily the best concert I have been to in the last five years, if not longer. 

The boys from Turan were simply stunning, with their unique Kazakh instruments, which they frequently interchange. The sounds they produced were simply stunning - I never thought a string instrument could mimic the sound a gentle breeze, for example - a perfect portrayal of life on the steppe. 

But as outstanding as the music was, what stayed with me was just how much fun these guys were having playing together. They knew each other inside out, and watching their faces - a mixture of concentration and joy - was a wonderful experience. 

Although Ethno-Folk Ensemble Turan were the main act, they were not alone,and some excellnent tenor singing accompanied by the piano and cello, made up below. For more details, see the official press release below. 


There was also a great exhibition of Kazakh culture and a selection of traditional Kazakh delicacies. A sterling effort throughout, and rarely has an evening of culture aroused to a country about which one knew relatively little beforehand. 

Congratulations and many thanks to the Embassy of Kazakhstan for the invitation and organisation. 

On April 11, for the first time as part of the celebration of Nauryz Meiramy in Croatia, with the support of the Embassy of Kazakhstan, a concert was successfully held by the ethno-folk ensemble TURAN, whose unique work has been recognized by listeners all over the world.


In his welcoming speech, the Vice-President of the Croatian Parliament, Davorko Vidović, emphasized the importance of this cultural event, which enabled not only an introduction to the rich creativity of the Kazakh people, but also helped to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between the countries.


The strong energy of the group, the virtuoso sound of classic kyuis, folk and original works in the unique genre characteristics of the ensemble and throat singing technique did not leave anyone in the hall indifferent and caused sincere admiration and thunderous applause from the Croatian public. Music lovers were amazed by the magical sound of kobyz, sybyzgy, zhetygen, sherter, dombra and other old Kazakh instruments.

On the stage of the concert hall of the Academy of Music in Zagreb, other soloists of the "Kazakhconcert" performed brilliantly - honored artist of Kazakhstan Aktoty Raimkulova, famous tenor Medet Chotabaev, famous pianist and concert major Dina Mirmanova, as well as cellist, master of studies of the Shanghai Conservatory Talgar Tolkynuly. The audience in the hall applauded the performances of the artists.

A special atmosphere of the evening was provided by the ethno-exhibition, in which the colorful interior decoration of the yurts was presented for the first time to the inhabitants of the Croatian metropolis. Objects of arts and crafts, Kazakh folk costumes, photographs and traditional delicacies of Kazakh cuisine showed the culture and life of the nomadic peoples of the Great Steppe, whose centuries-old history and rich heritage have caused great interest in the Balkans since the time of Marco Polo.

The event was attended by citizens of Kazakhstan, members of the Croatian Government, parliamentarians, representatives of business, diplomatic, academic and creative circles. A live broadcast on the YouTube channel was organized for guests who did not make it to the concert due to the full hall.

The held event not only contributed to the popularization of the cultural heritage of Kazakh nomads abroad, but also significantly increased interest in modern Kazakhstan. Many guests of the cultural evening expressed their desire to get to know this country better and visit it in the near future.

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Less and Less Interest for Work in Croatian Public Sector

April 13, 2023 - It seems that what used to be the Croatian dream is now becoming less and less desirable. Interest for work in the Croatian public sector is slowly but surely waning. In a survey of 1,800 respondents, 40 percent of civil servants said they were satisfied with their workplace, which is below the national average.

As Poslovni writes, employment in the public sector has become unattractive due to salaries that are below the national average, few opportunities for progression and the inability to influence decisions that must be implemented, professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, Dragan Bagić pointed out on Wednesday at the round table "How to attract workers to the public sector".

In a survey of 1,800 respondents, 40 percent of civil servants declared that they were satisfied with their workplace, which is below the national average, Bagić stated. About 30 percent of them are thinking about changing employers, which is above the average (25 percent), so Croatia is threatened with a further outflow of employees from the civil service.

Only 11 percent of employees are satisfied with their incomes, which is also significantly below the national average, said Bagić, warning that wages in the civil service have fallen in real terms due to inflation and lag significantly more than in the real sector.

If such a trend continues, the public sector will not be sustainable, Bagić believes, and notes that civil servants are often the first to be attacked by citizens because of decisions they have no influence over, and are obliged to implement.

Sanda Pipunić, head of the Civil Service Administration of the Ministry of Justice, said that civil servants are dissatisfied with their salaries, working conditions, and other aspects of their work. Younger generations, the so-called millennials tend to change employers more often and look for more flexible working conditions in order to be able to balance business and family obligations.

There are not enough competent officials in key positions, and civil servants at lower levels do not sufficiently participate in decision-making, warned Pipunić.

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

Thursday, 13 April 2023

Osijek Airport - Ryanair is Back, Talks of Expansion?

April 13, 2023 - The Osijek airport is one of the smaller of nine airports in Croatia. With the eastern part of the country seriously underserved, hopes are that it will increase capacities soon.

As Poslovni writes, passenger interest is increasing in Adriatic airports, which are being renovated and prepared to receive an increasing number of passengers on long-haul flights, such as Pula, which wants to connect with North America, but continental airports are also working to improve their capacities.

Osijek Airport is starting a project to build a passenger terminal. A tender worth EUR 9.29 million without VAT has been published for a "turnkey" package, which includes the creation of design and technical documentation and building permits, as well as the execution of works. According to the tender documentation, the project will reconstruct the existing building with an emphasis on ensuring the conditions that must be met due to entry into the Schengen area, as well as arranging and upgrading the exterior of the building. For the reconstruction, Osijek Airport obtained building permits for the completed project back in 2015, but in the meantime it was abandoned and now it is necessary to adapt the project to new needs, in order to meet the criteria for the entry of passengers into Croatia from countries that are not in the Schengen area.

At the moment, such a connection has been re-established with London, because since June, Ryanair is back with flights to Osijek airport, twice a week, starting from June 2. Of international flights, Osijek airport also has a Croatia Airlines connection to Munich in this year's summer flight schedule.

The existing airport building was built in 1977 and renovated in 2007, and it was extended with permits issued in 2015, but these spaces were never put into operation, which is why the activities are now being restarted. The deadline for submitting offers for this project expires on May 9, and when the most acceptable offer is chosen and the contract is concluded, the estimated deadline for the completion of construction will be 14 months, with the fact that the period of issuing administrative acts for construction will not be counted in the deadline for execution.

Osijek airport is one of the smaller airports of nine in Croatia, and according to the recently published data of the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, it recorded a strong increase in traffic in the first two months, in January 1163 (a growth of 76%), and in February 993 (+159%), and there are announcements that growth will be more apparent in the summer months, mostly due to the line with London, which will be open by the end of October. In total, more than 15 thousand passengers passed through this airport in 2022, compared to 10.9 thousand a year earlier, and only Mali Lošinj and Brač airports have less traffic than Osijek.

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

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