Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Milanović Criticises EU for Prolongations in Croatia's Accession to Schengen Area

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday that Croatia's problem is that it is on the "external border of the Schengen Area, yet it isn't Schengen," he said, criticizing the EU for procrastination in allowing Croatia to join this passport-free area.

That is being prolonged yet Croatia is expected to act as if it is playing in the first four Series A or premiership league teams, Milanović said after meeting with his Maltese counterpart George Vella.

Apart from strengthening cooperation, the presidents discussed foreign policy topics including migration which has once again come to the fore with the Afghanistan crisis.

Milanović believes that Croatia is in an unfavorable situation due to its position.

"This puts us and our reputation in a bad situation because if the Croatian police don’t control the border then Croatia is unreliable and isn’t doing its job. If the Croatian police do their job and make mistakes at times, exceeding their authority, then it is something that Europe points its finger at Croatia. That’s not fair," said Milanović.

Milanović asked Malta to support Croatia, as the youngest EU member state, and its accession to the Schengen Area and criticized the Union for "procrastination and delay."

Romania and Bulgaria have been members of the EU since 2007 and are still waiting for a green light to access that European area without border controls.

Vella said that the migration issue is a huge challenge for the EU, however, he expects a consensus from all 27 members of the bloc.

Saying that his small country is full of migrants, the only solution is to proportionally distribute migrants and refugees among member states prepared to take them. 

We are trying to find countries - 20, 22- as many as possible willing to work together and try and implement a system of distribution (of migrants), said Vella.  

Milanović praised Malta for its treatment of the migration issue.

"A small nation such as Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean – with a special culture, language and identity, is different from others yet open in every aspect the whole time – it is able to deliberate the difficult topic of migration maturely, soberly and humanely, while some Central European states are just about to arm their population. Incredible difference! This just says how openness, especially for small economies, is important. Well done, Malta!"

This is the second meeting between the presidents in a few weeks and Vella said that it confirms "the splendid relations between the two countries and the friendship that has been developing between our nations."

EU enlargement: The bloc "is buying time and the years are passing"

The two presidents talked about the countries in Southeast Europe and their journey towards the Union.

Vella said that Malta has "always advocated for the Western Balkans to become part of the EU."

"Countries such as Croatia and Slovenia have become members and can definitely help, they can show the way. The process of EU accession is lengthy, certain sacrifices are necessary, but I am sure that there is a strong will both in the EU and in the Western Balkans for them to join the EU," said Vella.

During the recent EU-Western Balkans Summit organized by Slovenia as the incumbent chair of the Council of the EU, membership prospects for those countries were once again confirmed however they were not given any time frame for that.

I wouldn't want this to be transformed into some kind of procrastination, delay. "A lot indicates that the EU has such a policy because, in fact, it hasn’t got one, it’s buying time and the years are passing," said Milanović.

There is an election here or there, hence the fear of leading mainstream politicians of right voters and rivals on the right (...) and then countries with an Islamic population which is one of the prejudices we have to talk about, are some of the reasons why the EU is not clearly stating what it wants, believes Milanović.

Croatia's President said he wants a more stable neighbor and that in the context of the Western Balkans it is necessary to talk about stability, predictability, security, and money.

"When we talk about the Western Balkans, we must talk about stability, predictability, and security, and ultimately we talk about money too because those are fundamentally impoverished states," he said.

Malta's President Vella and his wife are on a state visit to Croatia at the invitation of President  Milanović.

Vella is expected to meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković. He will also visit Varaždin.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Petrov: More People Have Emigrated Since Joining EU Than in 45 Years of Communism

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - Opposition MPs said on Wednesday that the Prime Minister's Annual Government Report and indicators he boasted of do not correspond to the reality of life, with Bridge leader Božo Petrov saying that more people had emigrated in the past eight years than in the 45 years of communist dictatorship.

People are not leaving just because of wages but because they feel the injustice, and research indicates that the more people that emigrate the higher the level of corruption, Petrov said during a parliamentary debate on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's annual report, which Petrov believes isn't impartial.

Grbin: We traveled to Switzerland for an hour

"I thank you for enabling us to travel to Switzerland for an hour because this report does not reflect the reality of life in Croatia," Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin told Plenković, saying that he had omitted to provide concrete responses to some burning issues in the country.

Grbin criticized the government's handling of the COVID pandemic and the situation in healthcare, where debts are continuing to increase despite government intervention.

Hrvoje Zekanović (Sovereignists) told the Prime Minister that he supports a lot of things the government has done during the pandemic and in general, saying that Croatia "actually didn't cope badly," but there are some issues he cannot agree with.

One of them, he said, is the introduction of the euro currency, which is not an act of monetary stability but an exclusively political aim of additional cohesion and unitarism in the EU. I do not advocate exiting the EU, but I advocate constantly examining our status to see what membership brings or takes, said Zekanović and added "for now it seems that we are good here."

Milorad Pupovac of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) referred to the pandemic and warned that the virus is spreading because we do not have a sufficient level of vaccination and that it is spreading among young people and jeopardizing their health.

With regard to the earthquakes, Pupovac said that the worst is behind us. We know what needs to be repaired. We have adopted a law to speed up reconstruction. I am not sure that the Fund is equipped for that task and that it is doing the job properly and that the ministry is equipped adequately, said Pupovac.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

HNB Governor Says in 2022 Exact Date for Switching to Euro Will Be Defined

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić said on Wednesday that next year Croatia would know the exact date for its changeover to the euro, adding that a strong campaign will be conducted in 2022 to inform the public of all the details.

Addressing a conference on what switching to the euro would mean for SMEs, which was organized by the 24 Sata daily, Vujčić underscored that Croatia has set a date for the introduction of the euro currency, but next year only will we know the exact date of the euro changeover.

If that is to be 1 January 2023, we have only 14 months for preparations, he said.

A law will be passed precisely regulating the changeover from the kuna to the euro, and the main principle will be to protect consumers so they are not brought into a worse position than they were prior to the conversion.

"The experience in all the countries that have entered the euro area indicate that wages increased more than prices while the standard of living increased and that is why the support for the euro in those countries is very high," he underscored. In other transition countries where the euro was introduced, the support is about 80% which Vujčić believes is proof that the fear of declining living standards is unreasonable.

Dual display of prices

The governor said that in the countries that adopted the euro the practice of dual display of prices was useful.

The dual display will also cover wages and not only prices, he also explained.

The logistics of exchanging the currencies have been worked on for a year and a half already, he said.

Payments will continue in both currencies for the next two weeks after the euro is introduced, explained Vujčić.

Finance Minister Zdrako Marić also underscored that based on current forecasts, the earliest the euro could be introduced is 1 January 2023.

He explained that prices in both currencies will be shown on articles five months prior to introducing the euro and for 1 year after its introduction. Marić believes that legislation related to the euro should be adopted in the spring of next year.

The president of the Croatian Chamber of Crafts and Trades (HOK), Dragutin Ranogajec, expects problems to occur during the 14 day period of payments in both currencies with regard to accounting and fiscalisation.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Croatian Architects Win Silver Medal at Architectural Olympics in Tokyo

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - Krešimir Rogina, an architect and leader of the International Summer School of Architecture in Grožnjan, and Bernarda Ivančan, have been awarded a silver medal for their project Storiescapes, the Croatian Musical Youth reported on Wednesday.

Ivančan and Rogina presented their project at the International Architectural Design Competition in Japan.

The project won the second prize placing Croatia among the world leaders in this area.

The judging panel always includes leading Japanese architects like Kengo Kuma, Jun Aoki, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto.

This year's theme was Interpathetic Spaces dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and the way it has changed our lives.

Rogina and Ivančan presented a model and video animation with a five-minute film which was presented via video link to the judging panel.

Rogina has already been awarded twice at this competition - 1990 and 1999 - when he applied with his colleague Vinko Penezić.

Ivančan has been working with Rogina since 2016 when they established the R/INovation research and experimental center.

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

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

ZSE Indices Close in Red

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - The main Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices closed in the red on Wednesday, with the Crobex falling by 0.96% to 2,027 points and the Crobex10 by 0.66% to 1,235 points. 

Turnover at the close of the trading session was HRK 11.3 million, about 3 million higher than on Tuesday.

The highest turnover, of HRK 2.17 million, was generated by the Atlantska Plovidba shipping company. The price of its share fell by 1.18% to HRK 502.

It was followed by plastic car parts manufacturer AD Plastik with a turnover of HRK 1.92 million. It ended the day at HRK 154 per share, down by 9.14%.

The only other stock to pass the turnover mark of one million kuna was the HT telecommunications company. Its price rose by 0.27% to HRK 185.

A total of 46 stocks traded today, with 10 of them registering share price increases, 23 recording price decreases and 13 remaining stable in price.

(€1 = HRK 7.523152)

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

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Dinamo, Gorica, Istra 1961, Lokomotiva Secure Croatian Cup Quarterfinals

October 27, 2021 - Dinamo, Gorica, Istra 1961, and Lokomotiva are the latest Croatian clubs to advance to the Croatian Cup quarterfinals. 

Dinamo secured a spot in the Croatian Cup quarterfinals. After a lot of trouble, the Blues defeated the leading team of the 2nd HNL BSK 3:2 away in Bijelo Brdo.

The Zagreb club took a quick lead in the second minute of the match thanks to Amir Gojak. However, BSK's Mory Gbane equalized in the 33rd minute.

Two minutes later, Josip Čikvar scored for 2:1 BSK after a mistake by Dinamo goalkeeper Vladimir Zagorec.

However, Dinamo equalized in the 39th minute thanks to Komnen Andrić, and Mislav Oršić brought Dinamo the victory in the 71st minute. 

Gorica also advanced to the Croatian Cup quarterfinals after beating Mladost Ždralovi 2:0 in the round of 16.

Vlatko Stojanovski scored for Gorica in the 41st minute and Martin Šroler in the 60th for the final 2:0. 

Istria 1961 also reached the quarterfinals after beating Rudar 3:2 in the round of 16 in Labin.

It was the 'Istrian Derby' where the victory went to the Pula club, although Rudar offered excellent resistance.

Istra took the lead in the 6th minute with a goal by Drena Beljo, but the 3rd division team turned the score around with goals by Tina Licul (32') and Lorenzo Boucaux (52)'.

Beljo equalized with his second goal in the 70th minute, and Serder Serderov brought Istra the victory seven minutes later for the final 3:2.

Lokomotiva defeated Varaždin in the final Wednesday match for the Croatian Cup quarterfinals, winning 3:2 in Varaždin. 

Lokomotiva led from the 6th minute when Aliyu scored for 0:1. Varaždin equalized in the 22nd minute when Stolnik cheated Nevistić with his head.

In the 28th minute, Stolnik pulled Aliyu by the hand, and Pivarić scored for 1:2 Lokomotiva. 

Varaždin opened the second half a bit better and equalized thanks to Postonjski in the 49th minute. However, Kacavenda's goal in the 72nd minute allowed Lokomotiva to retake the lead and ultimately the win. 

Hajduk, Osijek, and Slaven Belupo advanced to the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Rijeka and Oriolik will play the final round of 16 match on November 13. 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Croatia Water Polo Future: Coach Tucak Asks for Patience with New Generation

October 27, 2021 - With five key players retiring in the last few months, how does the Croatia water polo future look? Croatia coach Ivica Tucak and Federation director Perica Bukić weigh in on what to expect with the new generation. 

Uncertain days are ahead of the Croatia water polo team after losing five core players since the Tokyo Olympics, reports Gol.hr.

A generation change is now inevitable, and Ivica Tucak wants a national team ready for big competitions next year. Recall, the European Championship is played in Split next September, after all. 

The last few weeks have been turbulent for Croatia water polo as five key players said goodbye to the Barracudas.

Already in Tokyo, Xavi Garcia and Paulo Obradović announced they would be retiring from the national team. Next, the legendary captain Andro Bušlje followed in their footsteps, then the deputy captain Maro Joković, and the center Luka Lončar.

Croatia coach Ivica Tucak and the Croatian Water Polo Federation thanked everyone for their contribution and decided to turn a new page. Next up are preparatory matches, in which coach Tucak invited 15 players from three Croatian clubs to the redesigned national team.

"We are entering a new cycle of patience, it will take time, but these are guys who have been going through preparations for several years, and the team will be a little easier, but we have a lot of work to do, that's for sure," said Tucak. 

The director of the Federation, Perica Bukić, is also aware that it will take some time and patience but doesn't believe there will be any problems.

"Of course, the generation change carries its own, and it will take us some time to sort it out, but I personally really believe in these guys, I believe in the coach and his staff, and I expect that Croatia will continue to be competitive and fight for the top and at European and world competitions," added Perica Bukić.

The real challenge will be European Championship, which will take place in Split next year. Tucak is aware of high expectations.

"We will certainly have one national team that will be able to play on an equal footing with everyone, but I cannot promise gold, Olympic, or European medals at this moment. We have a difficult period ahead of us, I repeat, but we must be optimistic, and I believe that we will continue to be at the top of world water polo," added Tucak. 

And while there is no fear for the water polo team at the moment, the problem is much deeper in club water polo.

"Unfortunately, there is a gap in the status of sports in our country, primarily team sports concerning our competitors, Hungary; Italy, Spain, and even Serbia and Montenegro in the segment of professional work, the status of coaches, the status of the best players, national team players, and that is something that I think is the most important problem in the long run," says Bukić.

While there are always young talented athletes in club sports, including water polo, competent institutions must find a way to create new great successes in Croatian sports, concludes Gol.hr.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

MPs Talk Online Classes, Euro Referendum, Serb Rights in Vukovar

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - Social Democratic Party MP Sabina Glasovac said on Wednesday the measures against the spread of COVID-19 were inconsistent and illogical, calling out Prime Minister Andrej Plenković for deciding to close schools without explanation.

"We still don't know on what basis the measures are being adopted. Is it based on the number of new infections or those hospitalised? Or those who end up on ventilators? Or based on the number of deaths?" Glasovac said in parliament.

Euro referendum

Hrvoje Zekanović of the Croatian Sovereignists called on MPs to sign today a petition for a referendum on the introduction of the euro.

"It's time we say that we stand by the people, that we are not politicians but activists," he said, adding that the will of the people was more important than protecting the national currency and that "the people must decide on key matters."

Jeckov: Fight against Serbs is the basis of politics in Vukovar

Dragana Jeckov of the Independent Democratic Serb Party criticized a conclusion of the Vukovar City Council on the need to expand the rights of ethnic Serbs.

She said that every year the conclusion stated that the degree of tolerance between Croats and Serbs "has not progressed and that conditions have not been created for expanding the rights."

"This year, that justification sounds bad, which is that we must wait for the data of the population census to see exactly how many Serbs live in Vukovar," Jeckov added.

As long as the current city administration remains in power, the conditions to expand Serbs' rights will not be met because collective guilt is ascribed also to those born in 1997, 2007, and 2017, she said.

"The fight against Serbs and presenting Serbs as scapegoats are the basis of politics in Vukovar," Jeckov said, adding that Serbs only wanted what they were entitled to under the law and the constitution.

She said the city leaders continue to stigmatize Serbs. "They make the treatment of Serbs a measure of their own patriotism in order to be recognized as the only true patriots because they are always and strictly against anything Serb. Serbs are a threat to all in Vukovar, except during local elections when good and suitable Serbs are put on slates and then those same Serbs vote that there are no conditions to expand Serb rights in Vukovar."

Jeckov said it was not only about Cyrillic signs on public buildings but also proportionate representation and the rights to education and housing. "I am much more worried that the climate was better in 1997," she added.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

MP Calls for Resignation of National COVID-19 Crisis Management Team

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - MP Renata Sabljar-Dračevac (Social Democrats) said on Wednesday there was no longer any trust in the national COVID-19 crisis management team and called for its resignation.

Due to the high COVID-19 mortality rate and extreme irresponsibility, we call for the resignation of the national COVID-19 crisis management team and the appointment of serious experts who would restore the trust of citizens with consistency and expertise, achieving thus a better vaccination rate, the MP said.

According to unofficial data, Croatia has 4,400 new cases today, there have been 30 deaths over the past 48 hours, and the number of active cases is nearly 18,000 yesterday, Sabljar-Dračevac said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

PM Says Minimum Wage to Increase by HRK 350 as of January

ZAGREB, 27 Oct 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković announced on Wednesday in the parliament that the minimum net wage would increase by HRK 350 or 10.3% as of January, from HRK 3,400 to HRK 3,750, that is to €500.

The government would pass the decision on Thursday, the prime minister said, submitting to the parliament the annual report on the work of the government.

He underscored that the government was raising the minimum wage for the first time to more than 50% of the average net salary and to over 60% of the median net salary, which would impact 51,000 workers.

Five years ago, he recalled, the minimum salary was 38% of the average salary.

The prime minister also said that the number of employed persons was higher by 51,000 than last year and that it had reached 1.6 million employed persons, which was to date the highest number in August after the record 2008 and the second-highest since independence.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

The unemployment rate, which stood at 13.3% five years ago, declined in August to 7.3%, he said, adding that this was the result of active employment policy measures, in which about HRK 5.5 billion had been invested over five years, encompassing 165,000 persons.

For more, check out our politics section.

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