Saturday, 13 May 2023

Changes Coming as HAC Plans Lucko Traffic Regulations Update

May the 13th, 2023 - HAC has announced that it is set to update Lucko traffic regulations and that Croatia's road users should prepare themselves for quite the change in this regard as everything undergoes optimisation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian Motorways (HAC) has announced new Lucko traffic regulations in order to reduce issues with summer congestion, meaning that the number of approach lanes will increase from three to four in the direction of the sea, and ENC usage will be enabled at all entrance lanes.

In the press release issued by Croatian Motorways on the topic, it is stated that owing to Croatian accession to the Schengen area and the border control with neighbouring Slovenia having been abolished, new Lucko traffic regulations need to be introduced as that border crossing, which is no longer there, was the thing which used to slow down the flow of road traffic.

"With the abolition of border controls, an additional increase in the intensity of traffic entering the A1 highway at Lucko is expected. As such, HAC has started to improve the throughput capacity of the Lucko intersection within the framework of the existing dimensions of the motorway. Through these new solutions, the plan is to facilitate the flow of traffic and reduce congestion on the section of the A1 Zagreb - Split - Ploce motorway, especially in the approach to Lucko heading in the direction of the coast.''

In the area of the Lucko intersection, traffic management will be ensured continuously with two traffic lanes from the direction of Slovenia towards the south, instead of the current single traffic lane. This should contribute to the more even distribution of traffic flows in the direction of the coast and, according to the Croatian Motorways, it will reduce the wait to join the traffic lane in the approach to the Lucko zone. In addition to that, the number of lanes in the approach area to the toll booths/gates has been increased from three to four lanes.

The dynamic management of the toll gates will eliminate the situation of intertwining traffic during peak hours, for example when an ENC user is in the far left lane, they will no longer have to look for an ENC lane, but will be able to use any lane to make such a passage. As a result, passing with an ENC device and picking up a card for manual payment will be possible at all entrance toll lanes, which will be opened depending on traffic demand to the south, as well as to the north.

Shorter queues are expected as a result of the upcoming Lucko traffic regulations

Although these measures won't manage to solve all of the problems due to the limited capacity of the Lucko - Bosiljevo section itself, it is expected that the positive effects will be visible through the reduction of the length of the queue along the Zagreb ring road.

It is also expected that the queues of vehicles waiting to pay, which extend to the ring road, will form later on and as such disperse earlier (meaning there will hopefully be a shorter waiting time in the queue). This, as HAC stated, will contribute to increasing traffic safety on the ring road and in the area of the Lucko intersection, and savings in time which would otherwise be lost in traffic jams are also expected.

The aim of the new measures is to optimise the bandwidth of all directions arriving at the Lucko toll station. The new solution is also intended to ensure the safety of all road users, and to reduce time losses for users due to congestion and traffic jams on this very important section of the motorway.

"With adherence to the speed limit and the caution and cooperation of all road users, it's possible to achieve a safe and efficient traffic flow on the section of the motorway from Zagreb to the Bosiljevo intersection, which will make it much easier for people to travel to their desired tourist destinations," the statement from HAC concluded.

For more, check out our news section.

Saturday, 13 May 2023

PM Plenkovic and Government Ministers Receive Death Threats

May the 13th, 2023 - PM Plenkovic and his government ministers faced threats to their lives yesterday. Despite the relatively low threat of terrorism in Croatia when compared to numerous other European countries including the UK and France, the police were quick to intervene.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to information which was issued yesterday, the police received a phone call yesterday morning about a threat to murder PM Plenkovic and members of his government. Because of this, an intervention team was sent out and the police procedure was ongoing throughout the day.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic commented on the latest report of the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) and confirmed that the attempt to establish a paramilitary group had been prevented, and he also revealed that yesterday morning, himself and members of the Croatian Government were once again threatened.

He issued a statement while paying a visit south in Dubrovnik as part of Dubrovnik-Neretva County's day. You can read more about what he had to say and more about what has been going on in the weird world of Croatian politics here.

When asked to comment on the SOA report, Andrej Plenkovic said while in the City of Dubrovnik that there were "two groups that had been very clearly identified, which connected a circle of people who had the shared aim of violently overthrowing the nation's constitutional order."

It is important to note that as touched on above, while Croatia's terrorism risk is very low in comparison to other European countries, the threat is still there and has increased owing to various radicalised fringe groups forming in neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. The controversial return of some former ISIS/ISIL fighters to their home countries has also heightened the general risk, but it remains incredibly low.

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

Friday, 12 May 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Protests, Threats and Expensive Dresses

May the 12th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had threats made to Plenkovic and the government, demands from nurses, technicians and other hospital staff for an increase in their wages and better working conditions, broken planes and expensive dresses.

We're kicking off this week in Croatian with a bang as threats were made to the government and the police turned up at Banski dvori

As Index reports, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said today (May the 12th) that a threat was made to him and members of the government this morning, and added that police officers are now present in front of Banski dvori, according to

"The threat is still present and a police unit is currently standing in front of Banski dvori because this morning there was a threat made against me and members of the government. It happens all the time", Plenkovic said in a statement to the media down in Dubrovnik, where he arrived on the occasion of the Day of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

"There was a terrorist attack three years ago"

He said the above while commenting on today's annual SOA report, about which he said: "We had discussions at the Committee for National Security given that there was a terrorist attack almost three years ago, it could be the case that someone would want to carry out a terrorist act against the Prime Minister, that is, against me".

A special challenge is the return of ISIL fighters and their families from captivity in Syria to neighbouring countries. SOA pointed out that in some countries of the Western Balkans, Salafi jihadist parajams are still active, and they are led by charismatic religious preachers.

As has been the case over more recent years, the primary terrorist threat in Europe continues to be radicalised individuals inspired by jihadist ideology. These are independent attackers, so-called lone wolves, whose actions are unpredictable. They typically have no direct contact with any terrorist organisations, but are inspired by calls from terrorist organisations to commit a terrorist act, SOA revealed.

"Extremism in Croatia has no foothold or public support"

Despite the attack on St. Mark's Square back in 2020, Croatia is still a society in which extremism on any basis - religious, ideological or national - doesn't have a significant foothold, nor does it have public support, and thus no strength or potential to destabilise national security, the SOA report stated.

However, as they pointed out, SOA has detected attempts by individuals with extremist and militant attitudes to properly organise their followers, with the intention of implementing military training and the procurement of weapons, all with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the democratic constitutional order.

"That young man carried out the shooting in 2020 because of the atmosphere in which he grew up. Someone gave him a weapon, someone taught him to shoot and someone provoked in him that exact moment, which is the most important factor. We were lucky that he unfortunately didn't succeed in carrying out his intentions,'' the PM said.

What did SOA announce today in its annual report?

As far as terrorism in Croatia is concerned, SOA estimated in their annual report published today that the threat of organised attacks by terrorist groups here in Croatia is still considered low, but the possibility of a terrorist attack being carried out, primarily by independent attackers, can never be entirely ruled out.

President Zoran Milanovic meets with Bosnia and Herzegovina's Presidency Member Denis Becirovic

Zoran Milanovic recently met with Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denis Becirovic in Zagreb. The Bosniak member of the BiH presidency, Denis Becirovic, has been officially visiting Croatia, during which he will also meet with Plenkovic.

After the bilateral meeting of Milanovic and Becirovic with their accompanying delegations was held, statements to the media followed.

"I'm pleased that after a long break, we're now having talks at the highest level. The talks were in Croatia's interest because I represent Croatia, and the interest of this country is for Bosnia and Herzegovina to be spatially stable and for it to become an EU member state. I give my special support to the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina,'' said Milanovic.

"It's time to relax and improve our relations and to build bridges of friendship," said Becirovic, adding that the two countries generally cooperate with each other very well and that talks must be focused on solving any issues that do remain between the two neighbouring nations.

"Dodik is a security threat, he must be stopped''

Becirovic called the controversial Dodik a security threat. "He's a security threat, he must be stopped in his politics, it's time for everyone to understand that," he said and added that he believes better days are ahead in the cooperation between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was followed by questions from journalists. The first question was about the gas pipeline.

"I have no problem supporting all of the development projects, and some people must understand that it's in their interest that we regulate that an acceptable way and in the way that the EU asks of us. There are clear directives about this so we do need to talk about it. A policy of blackmail isn't a policy that can bring good," said Becirovic.

Spain's Queen Letizia turned heads with a dress which cost almost 800 euros during her recent visit to Zagreb

Queen Letizia arrived in Zagreb recently on the occasion of the Summit of spouses of European leaders on the prevention of childhood obesity. She was hosted by Sanja Music Milanovic, the wife of Zoran Milanovic.

Queen Letizia, often referred to as one of best-dressed women in the world, wore a sky blue dress made by the Spanish designer Maria Barragan (which totalled 775 euros), which she combined with snake pattern heels from the Carolina Herrera brand. According to the Spanish media, she also wore diamond earrings.

Sanja Music Milanovic welcomed her in a purple suit with a modern cut, which she combined with black heels.

One of the best dressed women in the world arrives in Zagreb

As noted above, Queen Letizia is considered one of the greatest fashion icons in the entire world. Vanity Fair ranked her in the top ten best-dressed women on Earth, and many foreign media portals and papers regularly write about her elegant style, but also her simple and affordable fashion choices (we're not sure 800 euro dresses and diamond earrings are exactly affordable, but there we go). Otherwise, she can often be seen wearing clothes from Zara, a popular Spanish brand which has shops and is popular across Europe.

Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman attended the coronation of King Charles III in London, and not Zoran Milanovic

A truly historic event took place recently, with the coronation of King Charles III following seventy long years of his mother's reign as queen. Queen Elizabeth sadly passed away back in September 2022, and since then, preparations have been underway in Britain for the crowning of her son. 

As statesmen and women of the world descended on the British capital for the coronation, there was no sight of President Zoran Milanovic, with Gordan Grlic-Radman attending the historic event instead. Many raised their eyebrows when the news broke that President Zoran Milanovic and his wife weren't going to attend the coronation of King Charles III, but there were no reasons within British or Croatian politics for it. The plane that was going to be used to transport to pair to London simply broke. Instead, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman travelled using a commercial plane.

As was soon learned from the Croatian Government, the Directorate for the Use of Official Aircraft informed the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia about the failure of the official aircraft during a technical flight. It was then stated from the government that instead of President Milanovic, Gordan Grlic-Radman would head over to London on a regular commercial flight.

It was explained that their pilots performed a technical flight to test one of the aircraft's systems, noting that the test was failed and the plane was returned to the airport. The replacement part was then ordered from the manufacturer. President Milanovic decided to remain at home and swapped London for the Istrian city of Pula, which was celebrating its City Day.

The previously announced protest of healthcare professionals who are not doctors and hospital employees took place, with their wages, conditions, and Health Minister Vili Beros in their sights

Around 1000 nurses, technicians and non-medical staff from all parts of Croatia protested on Thursday at Zrinjevac (Zagreb), demanding higher wages and better working conditions, with the message that they've been devalued and cannot continue to sit twiddling their thumbs and waiting for announced changes in 2024.

"The new coefficients and pay grades will be applied only from February 2024, we can't wait until then," said Stjepan Topolnjak, president of the Independent Union of Health and Social Welfare.

At the protest, which lasted about an hour and a half, he warned that cleaners, laundry workers and auxiliary workers work for minimum wage, and nurses with a secondary vocational education for only 50 euros above the minimum wage.

"A nurse in primary care has a salary of 700 euros, and in hospitals that goes up to 900 euros. Is that enough of a salary for the work they do?!" asked Topolnjak, greeted by shouts from protesters: "We're healthcare too!" "Give us back our rights and our dignity!", "Saving on nurses is like saving on the foundations of a house, one day everything will collapse!" and "Nurses deserve more!!

"The system does not need ministers, but it does need workers"

The president of the Croatian Professional Union of Nurses and Technicians, Brankica Grguric, told Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who has thus far refused to accept them, that they don't need him, adding that his attitude towards them is shameful.

"The system does not need ministers, but it does need workers, cooks, midwives, nurses and physiotherapists," said Grguric.

The president of the Croatian Chamber of Nurses, Mario Gazic, came out to provide support with the message that the protest at Zrinjevac should only be the beginning of further actions.

"Nurses and non-medical staff deserve the same respect as doctors get"

The president of the Association of Independent Trade Unions of Croatia, Mladen Novosel, also spoke at the protest, saying that nurses and other staff deserve the same respect as the prime minister and the health minister showed to doctors.

"They were put in a more favourable position compared to you," Novosel pointed out to the protesters present.

The president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions (NHS) Kresimir Sever warned that Croatian healthcare is in an unwell state, and that the cure is in the hands of the prime minister and Vili Beros.

"You were forced out onto the steets to protest because you aren't being respected equally, one group is accepted and the other is invited to collective bargaining," said Sever.

The protestors were also supported by Zeljko Stipic from the Preporod educational union and Sanja Sprem, the president of the Croatian Teachers' Union.

Trade unionists have claimed that the prime minister had opened a "Pandora's box" by increasing doctors' salaries but choosing to ignore others.

''This is the beginning of a story that will succeed,'' said Stipic, while Anica Prasnjak from the Nurses' Union said that "there is no giving up".

Prasnjak also warned that starting on May the 25th, she will begin preparations for a "serious strike" if the government and actors in Croatian politics continue to willfully ignore their demands.


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section. A dedicated Week in Croatian Politics article is also published every Friday.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Overbuilding a Threat to the Green Oasis of Famous Croatian Tourist Area

May 12, 2023 - Dozens of construction sites have sprung up in the area of Opatija, with overbuilding threatening to devastate the environment of this Croatian tourist area. Although the spatial planning documentation was changed in 2021, in the meantime, 250 supplemental requests from investors arrived.

The city does not have the authority to prevent concreting, so it called on state services to support their fight against devastation, writes HRT / Poslovni.

There are many large construction sites in Opatija, and in one of them, in less than a year, a green oasis where locals used to pick asparagus, and tourists enjoyed walking and enjoying the view was devastated.

"The worst of all is the road that they cut in half and moved the concrete part to private land, and it is the only approach to the houses," says Nikola Turina from Opatija.

This was made possible by vague and unclear legal provisions and the insufficient presence of inspections, which further encourages individual investors, so scenes like this are common, they claim in the city of Opatija. Despite the moratorium on rough construction works from June 1st to September 15th, the noise of internal construction works will not bypass Opatija this tourist season either.

"Imagine what it's like for people who own apartments; how do they explain to their guests that it takes 24 hours for a decision or ban to take effect. What we ask all the time is - if there are not enough inspectors, give us the authority to do something substantial," said Filip Vlah, head of the municipal system of the City of Opatija.

Illegal Construction

They appeal to state inspections to become more involved in stopping unwanted phenomena in the area. They are asking the Government to amend the legislation enabling local self-government units to play a more active role in the fight against apartment building.

"With the new spatial plan, we have protected the area under the new road. There is no more construction, and reconstruction can be done in the existing dimensions, but I don't know how many more buildings will spring up because the legislature allowed it. We complained to the institutions that reject us, and everything ends up at the top of the relevant ministry", says the mayor of Opatija, Fernando Kirigin.

That is why Opatija decided to initiate a new procedure for amending the spatial planning documentation to reduce the construction area and make it impossible where there is no adequate infrastructure. Acceptable architectural solutions for this city, which is the cradle of Croatian tourism, will also be defined.

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

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Animal Abuse and Mistreatment in Croatia to be Fined with Higher Amounts

May 12, 2023 - The amendments to the Law on Public Order and Peace Offenses, which entered into force on Thursday, will ensure that animal abuse is punished with fines from two hundred to one thousand euros instead of the previous twenty to one hundred euros, according to a press release from the Croatian Friends of Animals association.

As the association explained, reports Index, with these legal changes, a fine of two hundred to one thousand euros will be imposed on a person who "unsupervised and carelessly keeps animals that can injure or endanger citizens or who abuses animals in a public place or mistreats them in another way".

"Higher penalties are more likely to have a preventive effect"

Small and often symbolic amounts of fines do not significantly help deter individuals from committing misdemeanors to the detriment of animals, or to the detriment of people. Higher penalties are certainly more likely to have a preventive effect, which is especially important because animal abusers often also become human abusers, say the Croatian Friends of Animals.

According to the provision of the Law on Public Order and Peace Offenses, citizens are urged to immediately call the police when they witness the abuse or mistreatment of animals in a public place, and the police are the only ones with the authority to stop mistreatment of animals and take measures to sanction the violators, they point out in the press release.

They also note that other legal regulations are not applicable in such situations. "It is great that such situations can be reported under the Law on Public Order and Peace Offenses, and the higher penalties prescribed should deter potential perpetrators from both committing and repeating the offence," further point out the Croatian Friends of Animals.

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

Thursday, 11 May 2023

End of Covid-19 Pandemic: Public Health Recommendations in Croatia

May 12, 2023 - The Croatian Institute of Public Health published detailed recommendations on its official website after declaring the end of covid-19 pandemic was announced.

"With these recommendations, the Recommendations on testing for COVID-19, isolation of patients, and quarantine of close contacts (latest version: 23 of June 6, 2022, titled Treatment of patients, close contacts of patients and termination of isolation and quarantine) cease to be valid because due to the abolition of the epidemic status of the disease COVID-19, the obligation of isolation for the sick, the obligation to test for SARS-CoV-2 for specific categories of the population, and the quarantine for close contacts has already been abolished. Supervision over isolations and quarantines is no longer carried out ", they wrote in the introduction, as reported by 24Sata.


Further testing is recommended for all symptomatic people with clinical suspicion of COVID-19 and for people who have an increased risk of developing severe forms of COVID-19, people who enter a collective in the social welfare system, or people who go for hospital treatment (diagnosis), especially with the recommendation that they be tested with a PCR test.

We recommend SARS-CoV-2 testing for employees of health institutions and employees of social service providers of accommodation and accommodation for elderly and seriously ill adults and people with disabilities before returning to work IF: they have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, have participated in large gatherings where measures to prevent the spread of droplet infections were not followed; in the last 14 days.

Health workers and workers in homes for the elderly and seriously ill adults and adults with disabilities are recommended to wear an FFP2 mask for ten days after the last contact with the patient and avoid close contact as much as possible due to work tasks. It is recommended that they be tested immediately after exposure, every three days, and finally on the tenth day after the last exposure, where they can perform the test themselves.

It is also recommended that they avoid large gatherings, especially contact with elderly people, chronic patients, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people.

We recommend testing patients for whom hospitalization is planned and for whom diagnostic-therapeutic procedures that generate aerosol are planned in specialist-conciliar or hospital health care. In addition, other patients who require medical care (for example, when referring to a unified hospital emergency admission or specialist consultation treatment), if a high risk of exposure to infection is assessed when issuing a referral based on the anamnesis.

Due to the impossibility of conducting diagnostics within the given time limits for all patients, health institutions cannot condition the admission of patients with a negative BAT or PCR test that is not older than 48 hours, especially if the diagnostic or therapeutic procedure is urgent or a delay may cause the patient's health condition to deteriorate (such requirements from hospitals are particularly problematic for hospitalization after weekends, non-working days, etc.). If a health institution has a BAT or PCR diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, it should be ensured that such patients are diagnosed in their institution in order to avoid burdening the system based on referrals from the chosen doctor.

Committees for the prevention and suppression of healthcare-related infections in healthcare institutions may, based on the local epidemiological situation, decide on the obligation of testing for specific categories of patients.


We recommend isolation for people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus who are receiving hospital treatment and are users of homes for the elderly. In the case of these persons, isolation lasts five days from the onset of the disease (symptomatic persons), i.e., from the day when a swab was taken that was positive for SARS-CoV-2 (asymptomatic persons). It is recommended that they use FFP2 masks for another five days (up to the tenth day from the onset of the disease/positive smear) if their health condition allows it.

Isolation outside the health system and the social welfare system

It is recommended to carry out isolation for five days, wearing an FFP2 mask until the 10th day, for people who, due to the nature of their work, have to come into contact with elderly, chronically ill people, immunocompromised people, and pregnant women.

Close contacts

Close contacts are advised to wear a mask for ten days after the last risky contact, to monitor their health status in terms of the appearance of symptoms that may point to COVID-19, and to conduct self-testing on the 5th day after the last close contact. It is also recommended that they avoid larger gatherings and, in particular, contact with people at increased risk of developing more severe forms of the disease, COVID-19.
In case of symptoms, it is recommended to carry out the test immediately. In this case, testing in authorized laboratories is recommended.


Health workers and workers in homes for elderly and seriously ill adults and adults with disabilities are recommended to wear an FFP2 mask for ten days after the last risky contact with the patient and avoid close contact as much as possible due to work tasks. It is recommended that they be tested immediately after exposure, every three days, and finally on the tenth day after the last exposure, where they can perform the test themselves. It is also recommended that they avoid large gatherings and, in particular, contact with people at increased risk of developing severe forms of the disease COVID-19 outside the work environment.

All infected persons, regardless of whether they carry out isolation or not, in contact with other persons, are recommended to wear an FFP2 mask for ten days from the onset of symptoms (symptomatic patients) or ten days from the day when a smear that is positive for SARS-CoV was taken.

In addition to wearing a mask, enhanced hand hygiene (hand washing and disinfection) should be performed during the same period, and symptomatic patients should also perform respiratory hygiene (use disposable tissues and dispose of them correctly, do not cough into the palm but into the forearm). A sick person during this period can especially endanger chronic patients, elderly people, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people, and contact with them should be avoided. Going to health facilities should also be avoided if it is not necessary for health care, and if going is still required, then the infected person should emphasize immediately upon arrival that he is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and should not be denied the necessary therapy and/or health care. A person with clearly expressed symptoms who is positive for COVID-19 should also avoid any contact with a large number of people in a closed space, including public transport.

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

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Calling All Cyclists to the Baranja Rural Trail, :BRUT 2023

 May 11, 2023 - A challenge for all cyclists at this year's Baranja Rural Trail, meet :BRUT 2023.

For the third year in a row, specifically on June 17th, 2023, in the east of Croatia, in Beli Manastir, a gravel/XC cycling race called Baranja Rural Trail or better known as :BRUT is being held. The race was brought to life by cycling enthusiasts from the Baranja and Tourism Association (BIT) to provide all cyclists and guests from Croatia and abroad with an excellent experience of eastern Croatia, specifically Baranja, as an excellent cycling destination.


The first edition of the race was held in 2021 with the participation of 110 competitors from all over Croatia. In 2022, 140 participants took part in :BRUT, and in 2023, the organizers expect an even greater number of competitors from Croatia and surrounding countries.

If you thought that Baranja was flat and that cycling through it would be easy, you were wrong. With an elevation profile of 500 to 1000 meters, the brutal race route passes through unpaved roads, surduk (a carved path on a mountainside), forests, and fields.

During the ride, competitors choose between a shorter route of 25 km or a brutal route of 50 km - depending on how they feel. :BRUT can be ridden on all types of MTB, CX, and gravel bikes, including e-bikes. The surface on which :BRUT is ridden is mostly dirt road, with only a small part being paved or covered with medium-grained gravel. Depending on the weather conditions, the surface can be softer or harder, and in case of rain, muddy.


For all those who come to Baranja a day earlier, on Friday, June 16th, 2023, a night individual time trial (ITT) called :BRUT Stars will be held. On a short circular track in the Baranja vineyards, 1200 meters long, competitors will compete in two rides, and the participants of the final will secure the first starting row in the :BRUT race.

Registrations for :BRUT2023 are open and can be found on the website If you are interested, hurry with your registration as the number of competitors is limited.


":BRUT is more than just a cycling race. :BRUT represents the beauty of Baranja and goes beyond the outstanding gastronomic and enological offers. :BRUT is a story of challenge, perseverance, and the success of every competitor. :BRUT is pure emotion!":BRUT team




Thursday, 11 May 2023

Pizza Festival Zagreb: City Centre to Become Little Italy

Zagreb, May 11 2023 (Press Release) - Zagreb’s citizens and visitors will soon have the opportunity to enjoy supreme Italian pizza, have a romantic date in Italian style with backdrop of dreamy canzone, while appreciating unbelievably creamy artisanal gelato or a proper classic Negroni.

From 18th till 28th of May J.J. Strossmayer’s Square in Croatia’s capital will host the second Pizza Festival Zagreb that brings creative and rich gastronomic experience, irresistible music delights, charity events and celebrities.


This unique festival dedicated to the most famous dish in the world will transform Zagreb’s J.J. Strossmayer square into a proper Little Italy. Meticulously selected, experienced team of chefs and pizzaiolos will gather just for this occasion, and offer their newest creations. Apart from pizzas of all kinds and styles that you could imagine, they will delight you with original pastas, sourdough focaccias, and artisanal gelatos.


This truly unique gastronomic experience will be offered by: Mrs. Fogg pizzeria and bar - with their special Festival edition of pizzas in baking tin: Margherita, signature Pizza Bacon-Friarelli, Pepperoni, and one special kind every day. The uniqueness of their pizza, among other things, lies in the five-day fermentation of the dough, love and enthusiasm. Italian restaurant Al Dente will present pizza Contemporanea that is being described as contemporary Napoletana. They will also offer mouthwatering Pizza Fritta.


You can expect to be delighted with creative selection of unparalleled pizzas made by passionate pizza enthusiasts from Pizza Social Club, followed closely by Full Circle Pizza by Marko Palfi i Lana Bene. Marin Medak and RougeMarin will be making five kinds of pizza Siciliana that was one of the greatest hits at last year’s Pizza Festival. Bite of Fun by Melkior Bašic will seduce you with 6 kinds of pizza and 5 kinds of pasta. Specialty that they are keen to share with you is Wheel of Cheese pasta - homemade pasta immersed in a wheel of Grana Padano cheese. Poma Food Boutique will amaze you with completely new and creative concept and tastes of their Sourdough Focaccias: Pistachio, Roastbeef, Truffle and Caprese. With the rising trend of plant-based diet, flexitarian way of living, caring about environment and our bodies Begs Plant Based are fully dedicated and invested in becoming a small window of big plant-based world out there. They will amaze you with combinations like Meet The Fig and Beg’s Salmon & Avocado pizzas, and are welcoming everyone - whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or a hardcore meat lover - because for all of you they have something of interest. To complete this Festa Italiana there will be Pizza Fritta - Ispirato al Napoli and Luxury Gelato Pri suncu with their artisanal premium ice creams. You will be able to enjoy full flavour and balanced textures of perfectly smooth and creamy pistachio, almond and honey, Baileys, white chocolate with cinnamon and cocoa. They will also offer Croatia’s first popsicles.


The musical part of programe Festa Italiana is created by Ozren Kanceljak and is entirely dedicated to Italian music. On Thursday, the 18th of May DJ Kanca will entertain you with FESTA FELICITÀ, programme that includes hits from Dean Martin to Maneskin. On Friday the 19th of May you can enjoy in TUTTI FRUTTI BY DJ Robert Mareković, Saturday 20th of May is reserved for a musical delight by The Griff ZUCCHERO Celebration Band - genius musicians from Istria and their frontman Goran Griff Kauzlarić. This singer-songwriter, talented guitar and sax player also looks like a twin brother of Zuchhero and promises you unforgettable night of fun.


Sunday the 21st of May will be hosting Festa Domenica, Monday the 22nd L’ITALIANO, Tuesday 23rd PORTO AZZURRO, and on Wednesday the 24th of May GIORNO FESTIVO. After DJ Kanca’s BUONA SERA onThursday the 25th, on Friday the 26th you can dance at GLORIA PARTY by DJ Stanko Bondža. Saturday the 27th is reserved for DJ Filip Jelaš and Jovannotti Beach Party. Festival will end on Sunday, the 28th of May with FESTA DOMENICA.


To make sure that nobody stays thirsty there will be Gingle Bells with their amazing signature cocktails, Šoškić Winery will present their new premium wines and a Central Bar will offer you ice cold Staropramen beer.

We are extremly proud to be able to announce Celebrity Pizza Challenge for Down Association. During 18th, 23rd, 24th and 25th for two hours (14-16h) celebrities will be making their own signature pizzas. By trying pizzas made by actor Goran Bogdan, influencer Sandi Pego, TV presenters Antonija Blaće and Minea you will contribute to Down Association - those are more than great reasons not to miss this challenge. During the whole Festival there will be Zagi Kids Zone - offering creative workshops, magician shows, trampoline and bungee trampoline.

Join us at this unique Festa Italiana starting on the 18th of May at 14:00 hours when the Festival will be officially opened by an Italian Embassy representative. Come and visit every day from noon till midnight, entrance is free and a smile on your face is guaranteed.


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Thursday, 11 May 2023

Meet KolekTIRV, NGO for Transgender, Intersex Rights in Croatia

May 11, 2023 - Croatia is a conservative country, which can be intimidating for trans, intersex and gender-variant persons. A look at the overall situation, including official systems in place, through the eyes of Espi, a member of KolekTIRV, an NGO in Zagreb advocating for the rights of trans, intersex and gender-variant persons. 

You are a member of KolekTIRV, an NGO advocating for the rights of for trans, intersex, and gender-variant persons. Tell us firstly about how you got started, and about the work you do?

I took part in civic actions as an activist, after graduating from college, the TIRV had a job offer and so I applied. Our hierarchy isn't vertical, so I wouldn't particularly want to spend too much talking about this position as such, but instead about the problems we deal with. Recently, advocacy, legal protection and psychological support are the main pillars of our work, because in the public space there's an increasing level of attack on our rights and transphobia is rampant in politics. All of this has a direct consequence on the mental health of transgender people.


How big is the community you are helping?

It's honestly impossible to provide an exact number of transgender people in Croatia because some transgender people will never come out, and some people don't need to undergo legal or medical transition(s), so there are no statistics on the precise amount of transgender people living in this country.

The Ministry of Health, i.e. the National Health Council, which gives the final approval for a person to change their gender in their personal documents has kept such documents since 2015. Since that time, there's been a Rulebook (Pravilnik) which allows for the possibility for a person to have their gender altered in their personal documents. That has information that about 200 people in Croatia have made this change.

The Croatian Institute of Public Health has data that 0.005% of the population are transgender, and according to the literature, numbers a thousand times higher would be expected, meaning that around 0.1-2% of the population is expected to be transgender.

There's also data on minor transgender persons that don't conflict with other data. Experts from the List of Experts of the Ministry of Health who are responsible for providing healthcare for transgender children and young people have provided official data on 106 minors who have contacted them since the Ordinance came into existence due to suspicion of gender dysphoria. Seventy of those individuals have been confirmed to have gender dysphoria, that is, they've been confirmed to be transgender, and 41 of them are on hormone therapy. None of these people are younger than sixteen, so the information that is currently circulating in the public space is inaccurate and false.


How do you raise awareness for young people about these issues in Croatia?

Through the education of people within institutions that deal with upbringing and education, as well as through media appearances where we try to approach the situation with the aim of raising the level of general awareness and bringing the problems we face closer to young people. Primarily, however, the focus is on the adults who are actually raising these young people.

Croatia is quite a conservative country in many respects. What obstacles have you encountered in your professional work and daily life?

Professionally speaking, it's been known to happen that we have to spend all of our resources on maintaining our already earned rights, which, within political campaigns or building the careers of politicians, are used as a tool that these same actors use to score points in their own careers. Apart from the constant feeling of Sisyphean-esque work, which actually isn't the case, because when we look back over the last decade, a lot has happened in the field of trans rights and we've progressed as a society, I personally encounter transphobia, but I no longer attach too much importance to it. I learned that people are afraid of things they don't understand, so I try to educate people as much as possible and bring people closer to transgenderism.

There are some who would say that we live in a woke community, and that youngsters being transgender etc is a trend rather than a real thing. What are your thoughts on this?

I don't think anything about that, except that it was the same sentiment with the LGBT+ community just ten years ago. Any visibility in the society of a community is recognised as a "trend" at the very beginning, because we can't cope with new knowledge and we generally have difficulty adapting as people. I understand it from that perspective, especially when the public space is overflowing with transphobia. We're an example of good practice, there's been no increase in transgenderism among young people, there's finally a society in which young people can get out of gender-normative and heteronormative frameworks and become who they are through freedom, and not through coercion of any kind.


How does Croatia's system protect the community you serve, and is it very different from other countries in Europe?

The Law on State Registers regulates the possibility of changing gender designation in official/personal documents. What determines the procedure for changing the gender designation in documents is defined by the Rulebook on the method of collecting medical documentation and determining the conditions and assumptions for the changing of gender or living in a different gender identity.

Along with that Rulebook, Professional guidelines were issued for the preparation of opinions of healthcare professionals and psychologists on determining the conditions and assumptions for gender alteration and living in a different gender identity, as well as a list of experts who have experience working with transgender individuals.

The standards of healthcare of transgender and gender non-normative persons are issued by Wpath - the World Professional Organisation for the Health of Transgender Persons. It is the seventh edition, published back in 2012, according to which Croatia's Regulations and Guidelines were made. The eighth edition was published in 2022 and is currently in the process of being translated into Croatian.

Personal name changes are regulated by the Personal Name Act, and the Anti-Discrimination Act protects people from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. The Anti-Discrimination Act also ensures the protection and promotion of equality as the highest value of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia.

According to the recommendation of the European Union, most EU member states have the rights of transgender persons regulated by law, and for now, Croatia only has the Ordinance of the Ministry of Health. In addition to that, the European Court of Human Rights has established that EU member states must provide people with gender dysphoria access to medical procedures for gender adjustment and that the costs incurred should be paid out by their health insurance, which isn't yet regulated in this country, and the issue of gender identity is not and cannot be treated as a mere aesthetic question.

If you had a message for politicians to bring effective change, what would it be?

Certainly the first and most basic thing is that they don't spread transphobia and don't use us for political purposes with false information that they then market to the public. What is certainly important, but not only for the trans community, is accessible public healthcare, which we still have on a public basis, and which is unfortunately increasingly being privatised. That affects everyone, pensioners, those who are unwell, the trans community, literally anyone and everyone, having public (socialised) healthcare is exactly what we should be proud of as a society, healthcare is for everyone, not just for those who can afford to pay for it. There definitely needs to be a shift in the treatment of healthcare professionals so that they feel they can stay here in Croatia and are satisfied with their work. The same applies to professors and people who work in educational institutions. Only when we have that can we deal with other things. The thing we'd want would certainly be the introduction of a Law on Gender Identity, which would guarantee transgender people the right to free public healthcare, because as I mentioned above, our health problems are not of a mere aesthetic nature.

If you had a message for young people experiencing gender issues, what would it be?

Speaking from my own experience, I can safely say that the most important thing is to surround yourself with people who accept you, create your own bubble of a world where happiness happens, the same thing that all people in the world do in order to make their lives meaningful. In addition, I needed patience, I waited for the moment when I felt safe enough to come out, but this isn't my recommendation for everyone because sometimes it's impossible to wait that long for "life to start". It's important that people seek psychological support for everything they face and they should also allow themselves to feel their emotions in the process.

Making the decision to transition is not one to take lightly, and the process is quite rigorous in Croatia. Can you tell us more about it?

Certainly, but not all transgender people need a legal and medical transition. That's the choice of each individual themselves. Such decisions require really, really getting to know yourself, your body, and then giving it time. Some trans people immediately know everything they need, some need a longer process to make their decisions, but it goes without saying that here in Croatia, that process is a long one. There's a List of experts to whom a person turns, which includes psychological and psychiatric expertise, endocrinological health support, the Centre for Social Care, which gives an opinion on the conditions in which the transition takes place, and surgeons who do the work operatively. Such a process lasts at least a year and depending on the person's needs, it is reported to the persons on the List.

What is your relationship with schools and educating kids on these issues?

We're focused on educating the staff themselves, not the children. Of course, sometimes young people come to our education sessions and some of those sessions are aimed at them, but our main educational goal is that people who work in the system of working with children know what they're doing and how they can properly respect the children in these situations.

If someone is experiencing gender issues and wants to reach out, what kind of support can you offer?

We can offer peer support where, as trans people, we can help people along their way and do deal with their problems, we can offer psychological support in which a psychologist talks to people, legal support that is aimed at solving the legal processes that people face as a result the law not being followed, discrimination and transphobia. We also provide information about procedures and opportunities in Croatia, and we also offer a safe space for socialising with other people from the community.

You can learn more about the work of KolekTIRV on their official website.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

How the Pelješac Bridge Changed My Stomach

May 11, 2023 - How is the Pelješac bridge affecting lives of local inhabitants? Some benefits for the stomach. 

I was one of the first people to cross the new Ston bypass, marking the completion of the Pelješac bridge and road project. It got me thinking about what the last nine months has looked like since the bridge opened.

There is still some debate around it. Some would have preferred Pelješac to remain the isolated gem it had always been, free from too much traffic and influence. However, I’d say that the majority of opinions are positive.

People also like to comment on the design of the bridge and that it has ruined a once untouched landscape. In my opinion, it is not pretty or ugly, it’s just a bridge. If I were a visitor I wouldn’t have much to say about it. It does what it is supposed to, and that of itself is a feat if you look at our history.

If you have lived in the more isolated parts of Dalmatia, you know that products and places where you can buy things are limited. If your diet is specific or you’re used to having a wider variety of options for food, it can be challenging. When you do find things sometimes the prices are astronomical.

I have seen a common thread when expats comment about food in Croatia. If they’re from North or Western Europe, the UK or the US they will praise quality, variety and freshness. But if you’re from Africa or the global South, chances are that you’re somewhat disappointed.

I don’t expect I’ll ever get the same variety of fresh produce here as in South Africa, although more items may become available. What is common produce there is exotic here. Mangos, papayas, star fruit and avocados simply don’t grow in Europe. They will likely always be imported.

I grew up in a house with a large avocado tree in the front yard. We had an overabundance of them. It was nothing to go pick a ripe avo, cut it up and smear it on your face as a face mask when you were over eating them.

I remember the first time I saw an avocado in a store here. It was some crazy price (I think 40kn a pop) but I bought it anyway. When I opened it I was crushed to find it brown and disgusting on the inside (although it wasn’t even that soft). I bought them a few times until I gave up. Now and again we do stumble on a good one when we dare to try.

The other day I saw a papaya for the first time at a Kaufland. At the beginning of the year it looked like the vegetarian produce section at Lidl had quadrupled in size. Are there suddenly more vegetarians or do we just have better connections now to get a bigger variety of products in? A friend told me she’d been a vegetarian in Italy for over a decade then upon starting to live on Pelješac and having very limited food options she reluctantly reverted back to a meat diet.

Affordable restaurants in Opuzen and Metkovic are now less than an hour’s drive away. Good food without crazy tourist prices. I’m reluctant to mention my favourite here as I’m afraid it’ll become too crowded now that the bridge has made it more accessible.


I know this goes against the grain of “eat local, you won’t be disappointed”, but at the end of the day I am an African city kid who grew up on high quality “tropical” foods. There are definitely some great local food options here. For example, Croats have perfected potatoes. It is hard to find bad local potatoes. You can eat a cooked potato with a bit of salt and it’s good. Nothing beats wild asparagus. Oregano, sage and rosemary can be foraged on a short stroll into nature in Dalmatia. You’ll find wild cherries in the spring and blackberries in bushes in the summer. But on those days that you crave a variety on a more global scale, it helps that you can now cross a bridge and after 35 minutes, there it is.

I can’t comment much on meat since I am not a meat eater. Had I been carnivorous, my view would likely be totally different.

I knew change had come at the end of last year when we could for the first time get freshly baked Danish at one of our local shops. Not just bread, burek and krafne, but Danish! I never dreamed I’d see the day.



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