Thursday, 24 November 2022

Croatian Company Include Eyeing Italian, German Markets

November the 24th, 2022 - The remarkable Croatian company Include, at the helm of which is young entrepreneur Ivan Mrvos, is now eyeing the markets of Germany and Italy with its innovative Smart City solutions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, after three years of development, the Croatian company Include has finally launched brand new smart solutions for cities and municipalities on the market. This is how the installation of the redesigned version of the wildly popular Steora smart bench and two completely new products - Aerys - an air quality monitoring station and Terra - a waste container, began.

"For a long time now, the long-term goal has been to expand our Smart City sales portfolio with solutions that solve some of the key challenges that today's communities face - public property management, micromobility, air quality and waste management," explained Ivan Mrvos, the founder and CEO of the Croatian company Include.

Last year, Include's redesigned smart benches were put on the market, which are now equipped with micromobility features and can recognise and charge all types of e-mobiles and e-bikes.

Aerys, Include's first air quality monitoring station, was installed back in March, and to date more than 20 of them have been installed across Croatia, Montenegro and Italy.

"At the beginning of next year, we expect orders from other markets where we're already present with our Steora benches," said Mrvos.

This month, the first five Terra waste containers with compression systems installed, and which can hold five times more waste than a standard container of the same size, were installed. In addition, operators can remotely monitor its filling levels and plan rubbish collection routes accordingly. As early as next month, as Mrvos announces, an additional four such containers should be installed. In addition, they developed the Solos software solution, an IoT platform that connects and facilitates the management of smart solutions.

As far as expansion is concerned, the market is the whole world, but the primary focus of the Croatian company Include will be right here in Europe, that is, the countries where they generally achieve the best results with their benches - Italy and Germany.

"We're talking about very large markets where existing competitors generate tens of millions of euros in revenue annually. Now we have a big job ahead of us to successfully promote and place our new solutions on different markets,'' stated the director of the company, which has received a massive 3.4 million euros in investments since its foundation back in 2015. The last investment, one from the beginning of this year which amounted to 400 thousand euros, helped expand Include's already enviable portfolio, which was anything but a simple task.

This company, which generates 90 percent of its revenue on foreign markets, explains that the biggest challenge was coronavirus restrictions and the lack of chips on the market.

"The chips with which we initially designed our modules and products became completely unavailable and we had to redesign certain components almost from scratch with other chips that were more available, and even then it was questionable whether these new chips would be available on the market in the long term. All this put an additional financial burden on us because we had to make additional unplanned supplies, and the supply chain itself of almost all the materials needed for work became chaotic and unavailable for work at one point," Mrvos recalled.

Fortunately, that situation is now firmly behind them.

As far as financing is concerned, Mrvos stated that they are actively working on new opportunities and that they will probably have some news on this matter in the next year. In the years to come, their vision, Mrvos pointed out, is to enable the implementation of "smartness" across all small towns and municipalities.

"We saw that smaller cities and municipalities very often don't participate in Smart City projects because integrators often focus on large cities as potentially large clients. In addition, cloud platforms through which such products are controlled are often adapted to larger environments and require smaller ones to have infrastructure in the form of employees or IT equipment with which to manage these products.

The long-term vision we have is that all cities, regardless of their size and infrastructure, can participate as Smart Cities and that through our platform they can control their smart products without significant investment in IT infrastructure or new employment,'' they explained from the Croatian company Include.

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

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Zagreb IT Company BISS Developing New AI Solution - Reverse 112

November the 24th, 2022 - The Zagreb IT company BISS, which works with artificial intelligence (AI) is currently working on a very innovative new solution which could see their revenues shoot up over the next year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, the Zagreb IT company BISS is known for developing solutions based on AI, which make doing all kinds of business much easier for clients. They're mostly oriented towards the development of platforms in the field of delivery and public safety, and with this brand new solution they are currently developing, they are within reach of concluding a deal that should result in an increase in income of as much as one hundred percent in the next year alone.

"We've been developing this solution for several months now and have already demonstrated it in front of some of our clients. We're now waiting for the implementation of the contract,'' is all that Aleksandar Radovan, the director of development of the Zagreb IT company BISS, could reveal at this moment in time. What can be said is that this regards a solution that will change the public warning system, that is, automate it. They called it Reverse 112, and they have already made a proof of concept.

"The system is designed to work through public surveillance cameras. If you upgrade them by taking pictures from these cameras, you can detect various risky situations, such as car accidents, fires, floods, the gathering of too many people in too small a space and so on. The system automatically reacts and sends notifications to the services in charge of public safety,'' explains Radovan. In addition, this new system could be integrated with telecommunications operators and thus send notifications to all people, warning them of a certain disaster and giving them instructions on how to behave.

"When we had the coronavirus pandemic and the earthquake at the same time, people were sent conflicting information. Some people were told to go out into the streets, and others were instructed to stay inside. People were confused. With this system, which is centralised and authorised by the 112 service, people would receive a clear message and would know exactly how to behave. Thanks to Reverse 112, you wouldn't have to call 112, it would call you," explains Radovan.

He adds that the system, based on AI, virtual reality and autonomous security, is so advanced that it can detect, based on roaming data, whether or not the recipient is a foreigner and then send a warning message to them in their own language.

"Artificial intelligence was tried to be developed 50 years ago, but then the technology wasn't at a level that would enable its efficient use. Today we have the technology and huge amounts of data. Today, artificial intelligence can truly and efficiently solve many problems and bring automation to boring and repetitive jobs," said the director of the Zagreb IT company BISS.

Even their biggest client, the well-known company DPD, was skeptical of their Aimago solution, a package delivery management system.

"In the beginning, the solution was abstract to them, but when we showed them how it worked and what advantages it brings, they soon accepted it," Radovan points out. Not only did they accept it, but they asked that the software of this Zagreb development company, which employs 70 people, be continuously upgraded.

"We're currently improving its functionality so that it will be able to distinguish company packages from those of physical persons," says Radovan, adding that the goal of the system is to detect incorrect or wrong addresses in order to optimise delivery and reduce costs. Differentiating the packages of companies from individuals is important to DPD because they still have different contracts with companies, but they often have a larger amount of packages. Ultimately, all this data contributes to the better organisation of work, and then to greater savings.

DPD is currently the Zagreb IT company BISS's largest client of all, with which they have been successfully cooperating for a decade now, and thanks to which they generate 50 percent of their revenue on foreign markets. This share could also increase due to large projects in the field of public safety.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Meat Becoming Luxury Croatian Item - Here Are The Main Reasons

November the 23rd, 2022 - The price of meat has shot up across Croatia, and this Croatian item is edging closer and closer to becoming somewhat of a luxury product. Here are the main reasons why.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the ongoing global crisis and bad domestic policy decisions led to a weakening of domestic production and less availability of meat products to Croatian customers. The result of this set of deeply unfavourable circumstances led to a significant increase in the price of meat, which could soon become a luxury Croatian item, reports DW.

The meat industry here in the Republic of Croatia is facing ever-increasing problems, and with it so are meat consumers, who are needing to fork out ever-higher prices to purchase meat. The cost of fattening cattle up in Croatia has doubled this year, meaning the cost of production in Croatia is at the very top of the European Union (EU). The situation is worse only in the Baltic countries of Latvia and Lithuania.

At the same time, Croatian imports of pork have more than doubled since the time before Croatia joined the EU back in July 2013. With regard to the entire production chain, the sector was also affected by the closure of the Petrokemija fertiliser factory in Kutina, according to Deutsche Welle.

The cause of this situation is not only the global crisis...

"Not only is it imported, but it's also encouraged by part of the support system in agriculture, already years ago. This endangers the development, but also the very survival of domestic animal husbandry, especially when it comes to pig and cattle breeding,'' says agricultural analyst and former producer in animal husbandry and dairying, Miroslav Kovac. He warned of the poor state of domestic cultivation, along with the establishment of the internal market and the disposal of important agricultural land.

"There's no state, no system, no people, nobody that is ready to withstand the pressure of lost values ​​like what has happened here in Croatia. The domestic population of pigs and cattle has been destroyed, in the long term, obviously, by bad political decisions, without a clear goal in space and with people, most often guided by "fireman's" logic. Dependence is increasing, and the price is increasing along with it. The biggest misfortune of all is the decimation of breeders and the obliteration of their logic of development," Kovac added.

"When will we stop sawing the branch we're sitting on?"

According to Kovac's beliefs, the public's attention shifted from the need for quick solutions here in the Republic of Croatia to the problems faced by importers. In the long run, this isn't at all good for the individual, nor for the Croatian economy as a whole: "How long will it take for us to understand the logic of the functioning of organised countries in this particular segment and stop sawing the branch we're sitting on?'' he asked.

"If we continue doing what we were doing before, the prices will rise across the entire supply chain, and even faster here, and the difference in price aside from business profits will melt away. Here, however, the current practice of emergency and partial interventions costing millions at the expense of the state and EU budgets will not help us, as it has never been the case before. I emphasise the logic of the development and preservation of the domestic economy, and now it's also in the wider context of the EU, and by no means is any of this only of individual interest,'' warned Kovac.

"Croatian agricultural policies are to blame"

Kovac has previously criticised Croatian agricultural policy due to the apparent stagnation of the sector. At the same time, neighbouring EU members Slovenia and Hungary are taking a number of quality steps forward, which have raised their production to quite an enviable level. Of course, there's also a jump in prices to take into consideration, but domestic production is in much better condition, with fewer imports and costs borne by local customers.

"Having run out of raw materials from domestic sources, problems with prices will spill over to consumers, who are the ultimate payers, including the value added tax that is charged on top of everything and isn't negligible for a long time,'' explained the analyst.

The news from the Croatian agricultural sector is somewhat dramatic: this autumn, according to Eurostat, the price of chicken in Croatia rose by 35.5 percent compared to the same period last year, while the EU average stood at 26.7 percent. It must be expressed that this refers to the placement of meat in sorted categories, while the Croatian Government capped the price of a whole chicken to just 24.99 kuna, along with products in some other meat categories.

Is Croatia condemned to imports?

Overall, the price of meat has risen significantly, seeing it become closer than ever to a luxury Croatian items. As a result, demand decreases, which in turn leads to further price increases. We can't even influence some factors, for example, the import of artificial fertilisers that came from Russia. Urea from Russia was sold in Croatia at a price three times higher than it was last year, when the Croatian market still had domestic products of this type of its own. Condemned to imported goods, Croatian farmers reduced their consumption of fertilisers, and consequently their yields. Because of this, some have already given up meat production and switched to arable farming or left the sector of agriculture altogether.

What do the manufacturers think about everything?

How the situation looks from that angle was explained by one of the largest producers in all of the Republic of Croatia - the Pivac Group. Today, too, they primarily point out that, due to market disturbances, their input production costs are constantly increasing. 

"Our production has risen in price by more than 30 percent this year alone, and due to inflation and the energy crisis, the increase in input prices will be a challenge in the future as well," the president of the group, Ivica Pivac, revealed. He emphasised that, when it comes to basic raw materials, their strategic focus on their own livestock production proved correct. However, the increase in animal feed prices by more than 80 percent influenced a significant increase in costs in this segment of production as well.

Uncertain market opportunities

"Although all of our input costs have increased, we constantly strive to minimise the impact of market disruptions on our end customers. However, unfortunately it wasn't possible to avoid price corrections. Otherwise, we'd be calling the sustainability of our production and supply into question," said Pivac.

Compared to last year's prices in Pivac stores, the current price of certain cuts of pork has increased by 18 percent, and when it comes to their most popular product, prosciutto, its price has increased by 20 percent. "Uncertain market conditions make it difficult to project price movements, however, we're going to continue to do everything we can so that the increase in input costs affects our customers as little as possible,'' assured Ivica Pivac, emphasising that for his company "when planning business, the focus remains on investments in self-sufficiency, production capacities and human resources,'' but it is still not known whether this will be enough to amortise the crisis stress for consumers and stop meat becoming a luxury Croatian item which is simply not affordable to some.

For more on inflation and increases in the cost of living in Croatia, keep up with our news section.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Minister Marko Primorac Reveals More About Unpopular New Profit Tax

November the 23rd, 2022 - Croatian Finance Minister Marko Primorac has revealed more about the highly unpopular recently introduced tax on profit. Many in the business world consider this new tax, which some are calling a ''tax on tax'' to be deeply detrimental to the success of larger companies.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Finance Minister Marko Primorac pointed out the face that the Republic of Croatia is planning to introduce (yet another new) tax on all companies that enjoyed extra profit because it is a ''solidarity tax'' considering that we're in difficult times and that people should be helped as much as possible.

According to the proposal of the Ministry of Finance, the additional profit tax should be collected during the declaration of profit tax - at the end of April 2023. It would be a one-time payment, without the obligation to pay any advances, 24sata writes.

''The additional tax would only apply to the year 2022. It would be an extraordinary and one-time measure. The Law on Special Profit Tax is expected to enter into force by December the 31st, 2022 by urgent procedure. We expect 2.1 billion kuna in revenue to flow in from the introduction of this additional tax and that estimate is based on data for 2021,'' said Minister Marko Primorac.

The additional profit tax would include, he says, all economic activities. All companies headquartered in Croatia would need to pay this tax if their profit increased by more than 20 percent compared to the average of the last four years. It is also important to note the fact that only the amount that exceeds 20 percent will be taxed with this additional tax.

It's worth noting that many companies have complained that they simply don't have any ''extra'' profit to enjoy and that all earnings they have achieved since the end of the restrictive measures and economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic have been spent on patching up the issues experienced back during that time. Others, including the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) deem the introduction of this new profit tax a ''punishment'' to companies doing well and yet another obstacle to any boost to the already enfeebled domestic economy during difficult times dominated by spiralling inflationary pressures.

For more, make sure to keep up with our news section. For all you need to know about any other new laws and taxes which affect businesses in Croatia, follow our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

New York Times Writes About Dedicated Croatian Women in Football

November the 23rd, 2022 - The New York Times has written about two Croatian women heavily involved in a sport dominated by men as the 2022 World Cup gets underway in Qatar.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, while the fans are eagerly awaiting the first game of the Croatian national team at this year's World Cup in Qatar against Morocco, the New York Times has presented two important Croatian women in this country's national team with a longer service than many of the male members. Iva Olivari and Ivancica Sudac served in the Croatian Football Association even before joining FIFA. For them, it's a bigger-than-life job.

Olivari, according to the publication by The New York Times, followed Luka Modric from the very beginning. He was a mere seven years old when Olivari joined the nascent Croatian Football Association.

"You watch him grow, you watch him become a man. That's the journey we've been through," she said.

She has known Modric (who is now 37) since he was just a teenager, just a few years after the war forced him out of his hometown and made him a refugee. She remembers how he made his way through the Croatian youth teams, how he left Croatia to make a name for himself in the biggest European leagues, how he led Croatia in an incredible performance to the World Cup final and helped the mighty Real Madrid win trophy after trophy.

She didn't follow only Luka Modric on his way to the top of the top. She was also present when legendary players like Davor Suker, Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki were at the very beginning of their careers.

However, Olivari isn't the one with the longest tenure in HNS, or even the woman with the longest tenure in the Association: that title is held by her colleague Ivancica Sudac, who is also one of the Croatian women with the longest tenure spent in European football. Sudac joined the Alliance way back in 1991, a few months earlier than Olivari, when the two were barely in their 20s.

"The two of us are like two dinosaurs," 51-year-old Olivari said with a laugh, reports tportal.

Ivancica Sudac, on the other hand, was a law student who had very little interest in football when she received an invitation to join the Federation a year before it was officially recognised by FIFA. While campaigning for membership in the midst of the Croatian War of Independence and the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia, she managed because she was fluent in several languages, including French and English. She is currently the head of international affairs and licensing within the federation.

Olivari came shortly after her. She had just returned home to Croatia from the USA after giving up her dream of a tennis career, answering an ad in a newspaper. She and Sudac were actually the founders of the international department of the Croatian Football Association.

These two Croatian women worked together for a long time, first translating thousands of pages of international sports regulations into Croatian, and then writing letters to foreign federations to convey the demands of the highest officials. For the first few years, the pair even worked on a typewriter before being introduced to a primitive word processor that they would share by turning the screen around to each other every few hours.

By 2012, Sudac had become one of the highest-ranking women in European football's governing body, UEFA. For Olivari, who assumed the role of more direct work with the Croatian national team back in 2002, a major development took place when former striker Davor Suker became president of the Association.

In 2016, Suker made, as Olivari says, a "brave decision" after consulting with former captain Dario Srna and Anto Cacic, the coach of the national team at the time, and assigned her a place on the bench as team leader, the first in the women's competition.

Neither Olivari nor Sudac, even after more than 30 years within the Association, have any intention of resigning anytime soon. Sudac, who is now a senior member of football's governing body FIFA, says there is no other job she could imagine ever doing. Olivari says she still feels the same rush of adrenaline every time she steps out and sits on the bench. Both of these dedicated Croatian women say their roles still bring them the same sense of mission now as they did as sports representatives of the then-new and independent nation of Croatia.

For more, check out our news section. Keep up with our sport section as Croatia gears up to face its opponents in Qatar.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Croatia and Morocco Ends Without Goals in 2022 World Cup Opener at Al Bayt Stadium

November 23, 2022 - Croatia opened their 2022 World Cup campaign at Al Bayt Stadium against Morocco on Wednesday. 

After an incredible run in 2018, where they finished as World Cup finalists, Croatia opened their 2022 World Cup campaign four years later. Croatia and Morocco met on Wednesday at Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar to kick things off. Croatia is in Group F, with Canada and Belgium up next in their group. 

Dalić and Modrić spoke to the media on Tuesday before the match. Dalić revealed he is satisfied with preparations, although lasting only a week as players gathered in the middle of the club season. Even with the short time together, Dalić said that Croatia is ready for the 2022 World Cup. 

TCN is on the ground in Qatar following Croatia in the group stage of the tournament. It was a balmy 27 degrees Celsius at Al Bayt Stadium, located north of Doha in Al Khor, Qatar. 

The starting lineups for today’s match are as follows:

Morocco: Bono - Hakimi, Aguer, Saiss, Mazraoui - Amrabat, Amallah, Ounahi - Boufal, Ziyech, El-Nesyri

Croatia: Livaković - Juranović, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa - Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić - Vlašić, Kramarić, Perišić

Match report

Croatia possessed well in the first minute of the match and played out for a Morocco goal kick. There were howls from the Morocco fans in the stands every time Croatia touched the ball. 

Croatia's first corner came in the 5th minute of the match. Modric and Kovacic played it short, with Luka sending the ball into the box. Morocco ultimately cleared the ball, but it went back into Croatia's possession. 

Morocco had their first dangerous attack in the 7th minute. Croatia's defense cleared it and took back the ball. 

Another slight scare for Croatia happened in the 10th minute when Kovacic lost the ball in Croatia's half. Gvardiol was there to clear it out for a Morocco throw-in.

Hakimi shot in the 13th minute, but it deflected off Croatia's defense and into Livakovic's hands. 

Modric crossed the ball into the penalty area a minute later, with no one in front of the goal to receive it. 

Perisic capitalized on a nearly fatal Morocco mistake, shooting from about 30 meters out with the ball gliding just over the crossbar. 

Ziyech nailed a dangerous ball into the penalty area in the next Morocco attack, but it went out for a goal kick. 

Luka fouled Hakimi right outside the box in the 19th minute. The ref called for a Morocco free kick, which was, fortunately, drilled into Croatia's wall. 

Kramaric had a brilliant attack in the next play and sent the ball back into the center, which went out for Croatia's second corner. 

Morocco had another dangerous play in the 25th minute when En-Nesyri was found in the penalty area. Croatia was holding more possession of the ball, but Morocco was getting more chances at goal.

The stadium exploded into Morocco fan chats often, making this feel like a true home atmosphere for them. 

Brozovic had an impressive attack from the midfield and played Vlasic on the right wing, who had his back turned to the play.  

Another dangerous free kick for Morocco came in the 40th minute, outside the box on the right. Brozovic chested the ball to Modric, and it was ultimately cleared out for a throw-in. 

The match halted in the 42nd minute when Vlasic dropped onto the pitch, complaining of calf pain. After the medics came to assist him, Vlasic decided he could go on.  

Croatia's best chance came when a Perisic and Sosa combo found Vlasic at the top of the box in the first minute of stoppage time, resulting in a brilliant save by the Morocco keeper. Vlasic and Modric both had chances to end the first half.

The match ended 0:0 at halftime. 

The second half started with one sub for Croatia - Pasalic replaced Vlasic. There were no subs for the Morocco team. 

There were no real dangerous attacks in the first five minutes of the second half, and then things started getting interesting. 

Noussair Mazraoui headed the ball into Livakovic's hand. In the next attack, Modric played Juranovic, who crossed into the box. The ball went out for a Croatia corner. Morocco's keeper Bono brilliantly stopped Croatia from scoring, and the match stopped before Morocco could capitalize on a counter-attack as Bono and Mazraoui both called for medical assistance. Both players continued. 

Modric tried playing a long ball into the box in the 58th minute, but no teammates were to be found. Mazraoui was finally subbed off for Atiat-Allah. 

Morocco was awarded a free kick outside the box in the 63rd minute. Hakimi stepped up to take this one which was nailed at Livaovic's goal. Livi punched the shot out for a Morocco throw in. 

Morocco subbed off Boufal for Ezzazouli in the 65th minute. 

Luka intercepted the ball from the Morocco defense in the 66th minute. He and Kramaric tried moving into the box but were denied by the Morocco defense. 

Croatia held possession for the next few minutes, calmly passing around in an effort to tire out the Morocco side.

Kramaric was subbed off for Livaja in the 71st minute. 

Juranovic was fouled on the right wing for a free kick, Luak sent it in, and the ball was played out for a Croatia corner. The cross found Livaja, who chipped back into the box for another Croatia corner. The play ended in the hands of Bono. 

The commentator announced 59,407 fans in the stands for the game. 

Amrabat clipped Modric's back heel for a yellow card. 

Kovacic was subbed off for Majer in the 79th minute. A Morocco handball in Croatia's favor was called for a free kick near the right sideline moments later. Luka sent the ball into the box, which found Gvardiol's head, and went out for a goal kick. 

Morocco's coach entered fresh legs in the 81st minute in hopes of getting a goal. The Morocco fans grew even louder.

Juranovic was founded when running up the line for a Croatia free kick in the 87th minute. 

Perisic was subbed off for Orsic in the 90th minute. Six minutes of stoppage time were added to the end of the match. 

The match ended without goals (0-0). 

Croatia plays Canada next on Sunday, November 27. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Croatian Emergency Services On Land, At Sea, And Up Mountains

November the 23rd, 2022 - In this edition of How to Croatia, I'll take you through the ins and outs Croatian emergency services, be there a fire, sudden chest pain, a broken down car or an emergency out at sea.

Forget your 999s and your 911s. 112 is the number you’ll need to memorise when it comes to the Croatian emergency services. While we always hope no tragedy of any kind will befall us, the chance is always there. 112 is a free phone number which can be called 24/7 from a fixed phone (landline) or mobile phone to reach the fire department, to call for an ambulance, to contact the police or for rescue purposes.

While dialling 112 will get you through to the emergency services who will then put you through to the service you need. Calls to this number can be answered in English, German, Italian, Hungarian, Slovak & Czech, and Croatian of course. 

The average time to answer a 112 call is a mere five seconds. An SMS (text messaging) service is also available for those with disabilities which may affect their hearing, verbal communication or understanding.

You can also dial the following numbers depending on the Croatian emergency services you require. These are also all free and can be called at any time, from any type of device:

192 - Police

193 - Fire department

194 - Emergency medical help 

195 - Maritime search & rescue 

1987 - Help on the road (HAK)

195 - Help at sea

Things to note

Among the various services offered by HAK, a particularly useful one for tourists is the English-language update on all current road conditions. The service also includes updates on border queues and ferry delays.

During the intensely hot summer months, wildfire breakouts are unfortunately becoming more and more common, especially on the coast and in the tinder dry scrub of the Dalmatian hinterland. It is of paramount importance that rubbish is taken away and disposed of properly. All it takes is a shard of glass glittering in the scorching Croatian sun or a carelessly tossed cigarette butt to set off a blaze that can become rapidly out of all control in such a dry, baked environment. It goes without saying that devastating wildfires can and do occur naturally in such temperatures, but anything we can do to prevent them starting should be in the forefront of our minds.

The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (in Croatian, Hrvatska Gorska Služba Spašavanja, or HGSS) is also typically kept extremely busy during the height of the tourist season thanks to people attempting to hike up the Biokovo mountain in Primark flip flops, do a bit of free island hopping on a gigantic inflatable flamingo or doughnut, or even try swimming from Split to Brač. Can’t be that far, can it? Oh yes, it can.

HGSS ran a funny campaign a few years ago in a humorous attempt to prevent people from succumbing to their ill-informed, ill-equipped and even more ill-experienced adventurous side, but despite their best efforts, people end up in all sorts of sticky situations with each and every passing year, particularly in summer. Why anyone would ever want to try to climb a rugged, imposing Dalmatian mountain which has probably claimed more than a few lives over the centuries in 3 euro flip flops and armed with half a bottle of flat Coke for hydration in the horrific August heat I don’t know, but maybe I’m the weird one.

For more on the practicalities of moving to and living in Croatia, make sure to keep up with our How to Croatia articles in our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

"We're Ready": Zlatko Dalić Satisfied ahead of Croatia's First World Cup Match

November 22, 2022 -  Croatia meets Morocco in their first match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday. Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić addressed the press one day before the big game. 

Croatia's first 2022 World Cup match is on Wednesday against Morocco at Al Bayt Stadium. The teams meet at 13:00 local time. 

"There is no easy opponent here. We appreciate and respect Morocco, and we expect a tough match," said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić ahead of the team's first World Cup match.

"We followed Saudi Arabia's win and Tunisia's draw. Everyone plays well, and surprises are possible. Therefore, we will enter with maximum respect," added Dalić. 

Croatia had only a week of preparations, but Dalić is satisfied with what was done.

"We used this time to get used to the conditions that awaited us. I am very satisfied. We are ready," Dalić said, revealing how he decided on the starting lineup. 

"We chose the highest quality in terms of energy and experience. We don't have any doubts anymore; the guys know the lineup. We have experience and energy, and we have a good mix. A challenging match awaits us. I believe we made the right choice," he said. "Livaja has also recovered and has no problems."

Dalić also spoke about Morocco's quality. 

"We analyzed them. They are a great team. They are well organized. They have great individuals in all positions. I don't want to comment on their decision to change the coach. Halilhodžić is an excellent coach, but that is their business."

According to the latest announcements, Morocco could play with a home atmosphere.

"I know that they will be particularly motivated and that they will have a lot of fans. We are careful and full of respect. We have to be at the maximum level."

Croatia arrived in Doha as the 2018 World Cup finalists and has a series of excellent results behind them. Dalić agreed that Croatia's rivals certainly look at them differently.

"We've had a lot of opponents, and they look at us better than before Russia. We are worthy; we are aware of it. However, we must be realistic and objective. The pressure is high, and the expectations are high. We will not fall into such a trap, and we will go one game at a time. I believe in this team."

Dalić pointed out that Croatia is one of the few in the world who has won two World Cup medals in the last 20 years.

"In the last 20 years, we have won two medals. And there should be commotion around us, but we are preparing in peace. Of course, the first game is important, a good start is important, but it is not crucial," said Dalić.

Modrić also commented on retiring from the national team.

"I haven't made a decision yet. I don't want it to be a topic at the World Cup. I'm here to enjoy and play a good tournament. We'll see how far we can go. We have faith in our abilities. If we play like before, we can do a lot. Tomorrow we have a tough match. I believe we can play well and hope for a favorable result", said Modrić.

Source: HRT and HNS

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit: Full Transcript of November 17 Hearing

Novmeber 23, 2022 - The full transcript of last week's court case between the Croatian National Tourist Board and TCN CEO Paul Bradbury.

There is a small, but growing trend in my LinkedIn inbox - messages from lawyers, international lawyers. No, I am not in trouble again, but it seems that my ongoing lawsuits with the Croatian National Tourist Board, which I am documenting in Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit, are being followed by international legal entities, who are finding the whole process rather fascinating.  Here is one such email from a couple of days ago:

  • Hello. As a lawyer working for the Council of Europe, I enjoy following your coverage of your court case.

You can read the latest report on last week's court appearance in Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit: Irish Newspapers and Belgian Radio, but below please find the whole transcript of the hearing, ably translated by Lauren Simmonds. 

Business number: 64 Pn-2010/20-22 - The minutes from 17.11.2022 during the main hearing held at the Municipal Civil Court in Zagreb

Those present from the court: Ela Misura Stopfer (judge), Renata Loncar (minute taker)

Plaintiff: Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ/CNTB)

Defendant: Paul David Raymond Bradbury

Subject at hand: Damages

The judge starts the main discussion at 09:00 and announces the subject of the discussion.
The discussion is public.

It has been established that the following are present:
For the plaintiff: Zoran Vukic, lawyer (with power of attorney)
For the defendant: Vanja Juric, lawyer (with power of attorney)

It has been established that witnesses Kresimir Macan, the identity of whom was determined by inspection of his ID card, and Zoran Pejovic, the identity of whom was determined by inspection of his residence permit were present.

It has been noted that Dora Nikolla also joined as a court interpreter, who submitted a copy of the decision on their appointment to the file, and submitted the original for inspection.

The plaintiff presents as in the lawsuit, they stand by their [previous] claim and all previous allegations.

The defendant stands by their answer to the lawsuit and all previous allegations.

The court is set to determine: A solution

Evidence will be presented by hearing [the testimonies of the] witnesses who have appeared.

-

Witness: Kresimir Macan

My profession involves communications in general, and I have been known to forward information related to tourism to the defendant. I have read the article in question and I remember it as well as I possibly could with regard to the passage of time [since then]. This is the period in which Croatia suddenly opened up to tourism after the coronavirus [pandemic]. They did not want to communicate this clearly, I guess it was because of Croatia then holding the [rotating] presidency of the European Union (EU). However, word got out and people started making inquiries. It is true that at that time, tourism in the Republic of Croatia was advertised to certain, but not all, markets, and that the focus was on destinations to which people could travel by car/road. The defendant criticised the above, considering that some other markets could have also been taken into account, which I consider to be logical. It is also true that there were signs in the Irish media that citizens of that country could not come to the Republic of Croatia, and in general there were quite a lot of confusing publications in foreign media. I believe that the confusion occurred due to the time lag between the moment when we (Croatia) opened up to tourism and the moment when the CNTB started to communicate this to the outside world.

To answer the question put forth by the lawyer of the plaintiff, I state that the CNTB announced that it was carrying out targeted activities towards these markets, and if it had communicated regularly, I would not be testifying here today. During that period, I was involved with the [topic of] coronavirus, and at that time I was not yet involved with tourism.

When asked whether I knew that on June the 12th, 2020 the CNTB's campaign was already underway, I state that I do not know. I know that such publications could be found in the Irish media, but now I don't remember exactly which media it was, everything is on the portal. There were more [such] publications, but I don't remember the exact number.

In response to the question of whether the CNTB commented on such publications in foreign media, I state that the defendant corrected all these statements since he was receiving questions and providing answers to them, and the CNTB was not doing its job proactively at that time. I know this fact because I personally received inquiries and Paul told me that he [also] received a lot of inquiries on this topic, even though I was involved with coronavirus at that time, I also started becoming involved with tourism when Croatia started losing money.

From the 19th of May, 2020, you could not get any information from the CNTB, the only information [available] was provided by the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) and the defendant. I have known the defendant for ten years. I sometimes have business cooperation with him. I do not know whether or not the defendant would offer commercial business cooperation in 2020 to the plaintiff. At that time, I did not offer the plaintiff any business cooperation, but the plaintiff falsely accused us and spread gossip that we had indeed asked for it (in reference to business cooperations).

I do not know whether the defendant had any business cooperation with the plaintiff before that. Foreign tourists addressed the defendant with questions because he was the main source of information in English, he systematically published information about the conditions of arrival and stay in the Republic of Croatia during the pandemic and, as a private entrepreneur, he was more rapid in terms of communication. I don't know what the share of Irish and English tourists is in the Croatian market. I don't know how they got here, I know that they came to Dubrovnik by plane. Nobody was flying then because of coronavirus.

In response to the question put forth by the defandant's lawyer, I state to the that there was no Viber (platform) community for tourism at that time, while there was such a community related to information related to the coronavirus, and it was an official state one. Later, my agency did one at the request of Paul, who was getting a lot of inquiries and was no longer able to answer them all. This happened because no one, with the exception of MUP, responded to any inquiries via e-mail, and due to the large number of inquiries, we opened such a community, which was later visited by 220,000 people. We had to come up with our own material because there was no official material to use. That viber community was founded on Tuesday, May the 21st, 2020.

In response to the question put forth by the plaintiff's lawyer, I state that the Viber channel was offered to the Ministry of Tourism (CNTB) for free, it was not offered for sale, and it was offered to them because business had expanded so much that we could no longer do it all alone. We did not have a conversation with the CNTB about that Viber channel, the minister claimed he would get back to us.

I have nothing more to say, there are no more questions.

Witness: Zoran Pejovic

I know what is written in the article in question, my statements were also published in it, and I know what Paul stated and published in that article, and I believe that it is all correct. Namely, I was opening a hotel on Hvar at the time, and inquiries were constantly coming from tourists and journalists, because no one knew whether it was possible to come to Croatia or not, all because of the pandemic. I believe that it is very necessary to communicate this information to the public and to foreign tourists and travel agencies, because there was uncertainty. At that time, I cooperated with the defendant via his portal Total Croatia News in such a way that I wrote information, and he mostly corrected the incorrect publications coming out in foreign media. Namely, we wanted the tourism market in Croatia to continue despite the pandemic, and for it to remain in people's memory so that when the market opens, they have that (the Croatian) market in mind.

In response to the question put forth by the plaintiff's lawyer, I state that I have been working with the plaintiff for about 10 years, that is, we have known each other for that long. He certainly did not pay me for any business services, and it is possible that we did some promotion through social media. I don't know how many times it was published in foreign media that citizens of Ireland and Belgium were unable to travel to the Republic of Croatia. I don't know how many Irish and Belgian tourists came to the Republic of Croatia before 2020. I know that these are airline destinations. I don't know if there were flights from those countries to Croatia from April onwards in 2020. I don't know in what percentage the success of the Croatian tourist market was measured in during the 2020 [tourist] season in regards to its rank in comparison to other competitive tourist countries.

To the specific question of whether the defendant worked within the tourism sector, I state that he worked as a tourist journalist, which in my opinion is in the tourism sector. I don't know how long he has been writing about tourism. As far as I know, he has been writing about tourism for 10 years. I don't know how many followers he has.

In response to the question put forth by the plaintiff's lawyer, I state that my statements have been faithfully transmitted in the article in question. When I said that there is no organised work on promotion and that promotion should be done more strongly, I was referring to the fact that tourist boards in countries mostly engage in destination marketing in tourism. I didn't rely too much on the work of the tourist boards, but since in this situation the state was the one that passed certain bans (coronavirus restrictions), I was of the belief that the CNTB should have been the one to communicate it, which did not happen. The plaintiff did not file a lawsuit against me. They neither asked me to publish any corrections nor withdraw my statement.

In response to the question put forth by the plaintiff's lawyer, I state that the target markets for 2020 were Belgium and Ireland, but by the 13th of May 2020, Croatia could not be reached by plane from those countries, and I do not know exactly when the flights began running again. I don't know if it was possible to come to Croatia by car, I don't think it was possible to cross the border.

I have nothing more to say, there are no more questions.

Evidence will be presented by a hearing of the defendant - Defendant: Paul David Raymond Bradbury

The first case of coronavirus in Croatia appeared in March 2020, and my portal Total Croatia News had written about coronavirus two months before that. In March, we already had a map showcasing the possibilities of entering and travelling to Croatia, and since March we had daily reports with all the necessary information, and we were the first portal in Croatia that informed [people] about this information.

Even on the 7th of May, 2020, the Ministry of Tourism didn't have any information about the possibility of movement and the possibility of travelling to the Republic of Croatia, although all other countries already had such information [on offer to the public], Croatia was the only country in the world that did not have it. It was impossible to deliver information to foreign tourists, even on the website of the CNTB, one piece - and a weak piece at that - of information was published with reference to a Narodne Novine (Official Gazette) number.

I wrote an article about it and just two days after the publication of that article we had a lot more information about it being offered on the websites of the CNTB and the [Tourism] Ministry. During those two months of the absence of such information, everyone asked us for information, and my mailbox/inbox was full, and we were in charge of providing information to such an extent that CNN published my website on its list of links for obtaining information for each country. For other countries, the official websites for their tourist boards were linked.

On May the 13th, 2020, the Republic of Croatia opened up [its borders] a bit, but it was not yet known who could come here and how, and on May the 15th, 2020, Kresimir Macan called me and said we should go to the Croatian border and see the situation on the spot so that we could publish the information. Chaos greeted us at the border and we saw two Slovenian citizens who wanted to go to the Adriatic, but since they did not have a certificate of accommodation, their entry into Croatia was forbidden. At that time, we worked closely with MUP and apart from them, we were the only ones who knew what the situation was, so we decided to create a viber community where people who had crossed the border could share their experiences, and I published that information with the fact that only MUP was helping in providing information.

In view of all this, I also followed the publications by [various] European media, and one day I came across an article in the Irish Times entitled "The Irish can't go to the Republic of Croatia", which was not true. I wrote about it and sent an email to the editor of the Irish Times, and within an hour that title was removed and the article was corrected. In addition to that, a man from Belgium sent a similar article published in the Belgian media via the Viber group, which was then also corrected and changed.

Given that I managed to do it, and the CNTB, which has 70 employees, failed to do it, I believe that I have the right to have my opinion and the right to express it, and I did so. By the way, that Viber community won seven awards and people said that we were the ones doing the work of the CNTB, I did that work exclusively on a voluntary basis, and now the CNTB is the only one filing a lawsuit against me, which is something that is not clear to me.

Regarding the information that a campaign was published by the CNTB for seven markets for which Croatia is a destination that can be reached by car, I read that on June the 1st, 2020. That was published by the CNTB and I criticised it because I thought we should have included the market(s) of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Switzerland.

In response to the question put forth by the lawyer of the plaintiff as to whether I have inspected the Irish media in printed form, in which it is written that Irish people could not enter the Republic of Croatia, I state that it is difficult for me to obtain printed media from Ireland.

In response to the question of whether or not I had any insight into Irish television or radio before the 12th of June, 2020, I state that the only way of monitoring foreign media that we deal with is online.

To the question of how many publications in the Irish media of that content I came across before June the 12th, 2020, I state that I have read a lot of them, and the publication that I remember is the one that ran in the Irish Times that I testified about. I can't say exactly how many Irish media published such articles, nor can I state the dates on which they were published, at that time I was working 18 hours a day and followed a lot of media, so I don't remember.

To the question of how long such information was being published in the Irish media, I answer that the information [of that kind] was brief in the Irish Times because I contacted them, and if I hadn't, it would probably have been there much longer. Specifically, I only contacted the Irish Times, while a Belgian citizen from the Viber community contacted the Belgian media. I personally saw the publication [in question] in the Belgian media, and that Belgian citizen sent the link to me. I don't know exactly which Belgian media it is, but if necessary I can go through my emails and find out. I assume it was shortly after the announcement in the Irish Times because I was writing about that announcement when I got the information about this one. The publication in the Belgian media was in French and I speak French. That Belgian citizen's name is Didier. That gentleman could have driven a car from Belgium to Hvar since he could not get a flight there. I don't know what the exact address of the Belgian media is, Didier sent them a correction.

To the question put forth by the plaintiff's lawyer as to whether the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia had permission from their countries to enter the Republic of Croatia during the months of May, June and July, I state that this caused issues for me because this information changed very quickly and it was difficult to find out at any given moment in time. There was a period when the Serbian borders were closed and the Hungarian borders remained open, so through the Viber community, we advised Serbian citizens to come to Croatia via Hungary. I don't know if Swiss citizens had permission to enter Croatia from April to July 2020. In July, the situation changed, Americans could not fly via Frankfurt, so Switzerland allowed travel via Zurich. I don't know what the share of travellers from Belgium and Ireland was before 2020, nor do I know what the share of travellers from Switzerland was. I know that Serbia was one of the most attractive markets for Croatia for tourism.

Regarding business cooperation with the plaintiff, I state that I occasionally wrote articles for them in the period from 2016 to 2018, and in 2019 and 2020 I offered them cooperation, so for three projects I was at a meeting [with them] in March 2020 - the project regarding digital nomads in the Republic of Croatia, religious tourism and the Olympic Games Festival of traditional Dalmatian Games. I offered the Minister of Tourism our Viber platform for information about the coronavirus and travel, I thought it would be stronger if it was official, but he did not get back to us. I did not offer him business cooperation under market conditions. I don't remember if it was before June the 12th, 2020. The 2020 [tourist] season ended well in Croatia compared to other competitor countries.

In response to the question put forth by the lawyer of the plaintiff, I state that in the press release of the tourist board dated June the 1st, 2020, it was stated that Croatia was opening its borders to seven markets - Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Hungary, while there were no other campaigns ever since the 1st of March, 2020, when all activities of the CNTB were stopped due to the [public health] crisis, and even though the borders were opened on the 13th of May, 2020, only on the 1st of June, 2020 was there a new campaign which meant three weeks of nothing.

I have nothing more to say, there are no more questions.

The parties unanimously state that they have no further evidentiary proposals, and they propose to close the main hearing.

No further evidence will be taken.

The file and the documentation attached to the file have been read.

The plaintiff proposes the court accept the claim in its entirety, with compensation for the costs of the litigation according to the bill of costs which they have submitted.

The defendant proposes the court reject the claim of the plaintiff, with compensation for the costs of the litigation according to the bill of costs which they have submitted.

The main discussion has been closed.

The hearing for the publication and delivery of the verdict is scheduled for: January the 13th, 2023 at 09:50 - Room 219/II. 

To follow Diary of a Croatian Lawsuit into its fourth calendar year, follow the dedicated TCN section.

****

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Free Hepatitis and HIV Testing in Rijeka for European Testing Week

November 22, 2022 - The Hepatos Association from Rijeka is inviting citizens to participate in the free and anonymous testing for hepatitis B and C and HIV as part of the European Testing Week for these viruses.

As Index writes, the president of the Hepatos association, Aleksandra Marković pointed out that in this way, the association, in cooperation with the Teaching Institute for Public Health of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the Internal Medicine Clinic of KBC Rijeka and other partners, joined the Month of the Fight Against Addiction and the World HIV/AIDS Day.

The test aims to enable the broadest possible range of people to determine whether they have hepatitis B, C viruses, or HIV. Since 2013, when the European Testing Week was first organised, more than 500 organisations from fifty countries have participated.

In Rijeka, testing without a doctor's referral will be possible on two days, November 24 and December 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the association's premises in Blaža Polića Street. The interested inmates will be tested in Rijeka prison, and field tests will be organised in Mali Lošinj. Testing will also be possible in the LORI association in Rijeka.

As Marković stated, half of the people who find out they have HIV are diagnosed late. It is estimated that there are 13 million people in Europe with hepatitis B or C; most of them are unaware of it and treatment often starts too late.

The problem is that many infected people do not know they are infected and spread the disease.

Davor Štimac, head of the Clinic for Internal Medicine at KBC Rijeka, pointed out that the treatment of hepatitis has changed significantly in recent years. Hepatitis C is effectively treated with drugs that patients tolerate well, and timely treatment is almost 100 percent successful.

The problem is that many infected people do not know they are sick and do not seek treatment, spreading the disease to others, he said. "In the last few years, we have been treating 20 to 30 patients with hepatitis at the Rijeka Hospital, and our capacity is significantly higher," Štimac pointed out.

The risk groups for hepatitis include intravenous drug addicts, people who have patients with this disease in the family, those who engage in risky sexual relations, people prone to promiscuity, but also those who received blood transfusions before the 1990s when blood was not tested for viruses, as well as persons who performed dental procedures in insufficiently sterilized circumstances.

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

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