Saturday, 27 November 2021

Croatia Logs 5,502 New Coronavirus Cases, 51 Deaths

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - In the last 24 hours 5,502 coronavirus cases and 51 COVID-19 deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national crisis management team said on Saturday.

There are 34,553 active cases, including 2,506 hospitalised patients, of whom 324 are on ventilators, while 28,272 persons are self-isolating.

To date 3,424,751 persons have been tested for the virus, including 13,372 in the last 24 hours.

Croatia has registered 599,977 coronavirus cases to date as well as 10,695 related deaths and 554,729 recoveries, of which 5,629 in the last 24 hours.

To date 53.43% of the total population has been vaccinated against COVID-19, including 63.77% of adults, 56.85% of whom have completed vaccination.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

HNK Rijeka Italian Drama Ensemble Marks 75th Anniversary

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - The Italian Drama ensemble of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Rijeka on Friday officially marked its 75th anniversary, with Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek saying the ensemble was the only permanent professional Italian theatre ensemble outside Italy.

The ensemble was established in 1946, as part of the then National Theatre, the main cultural institution in Rijeka, where the Italian language has been promoted on an equal footing with Croatian from the beginning, the minister said.

"The Italian Drama ensemble has been one of the fruitful bridges between the two cultures," she added.

She said that the Italian Drama ensemble performed also in other parts of the Kvarner region, as well as in Slovenia and Italy.

The ceremony at the HNK Rijeka was held on the same date when in 1946 the Italian Drama ensemble performed for the first time, with the "Il burbero benefico" comedy by Carlo Goldoni.

HNK Rijeka director Marin Blažević said the Italian Drama ensemble staged its first performance a month after the first performance of the Croatian Drama ensemble and some 20 days after the first opera premiere of the then National Theatre in Rijeka.

In the more recent time, members of the Italian and Croatian Drama ensembles have been performing together and members of the Italian Drama ensemble also collaborate on other ensembles' projects, he said.

"We are celebrating the unique Italian Drama ensemble and the common international future," said Blažević.

The president of the Italian Union Executive Board, Marin Corva, said the Italian Drama ensemble was one of the most important institutions of the Italian ethnic minority in Croatia and Slovenia.

The Italian Drama ensemble is an example of the two countries' deep ties, he stressed.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

Ombudswoman: We Must Not Be Enemies to One Another, Virus Is the Enemy

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter on Saturday strongly condemned calls for violence that could be heard at a protest against the COVID-19 certificate mandate last weekend, stressing that citizens must not be enemies to one another because coronavirus and the pandemic are the enemy.

Speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio, Šimonović Einwalter said that violence  definitely must not be a way to deal with problems.

Citizens are tired, dissatisfied, frustrated and want this situation to be over as soon as possible and one should have understanding for that, she said, adding that the right to assembly was guaranteed by the Constitution, laws and international treaties but that gatherings must be peaceful and not violent.

"What we witnessed was an attack on reporters, calls for violence, war, formation of a military unit - those are extremely serious things that worry me," she said, stressing that one should most strongly condemn calls for violence.

"Citizens must not be enemies to one another in this situation, the virus and the pandemic are the enemy. More responsibility and more solidarity is needed in the fight against the pandemic," she said.

COVID-19 certificates are an instrument that is far from being perfect and citizens have the right to question and critically think about them just as they have the right to question any decision made by the government, she said.

Commenting on plans to collect signatures for a referendum on the abolishment of COVID-19 certificates and on the work of the national COVID-19 response team, Šimonović Einwalter said that the Constitutional Court should state its position on the constitutionality of referendum questions before the collection of signatures starts, to avoid polarisation in society.

"It would be much better to know in advance, before the entire referendum process is set in motion, if a referendum question is in line with the Constitution," she stressed, calling for making changes in that regard.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

President Offers Best Wishes to Jewish Faithful for Hanukkah

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Saturday issued a message offering his best wishes to the Jewish faithful for the holiday of Hanukkah.

"I wish all the best to all the Jewish faithful for Hanukkah, may the holiday of dedication and lights bring you an abundance of strength, peace and well-being and fill your homes with the warmth and joy of coming together. Chag Hanukkah Sameach!" Milanović said in his message.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

Conference on the Future of Europe: Migrations Within EU Not Discussed Sufficiently

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - Migrations towards Europe are definitely a problem that needs to be discussed, but so should migrations within the European Union, it was said at the opening of the fourth panel discussion of the Conference on the Future of Europe, taking place from Friday to Sunday.

Faced with a drop in citizens' trust, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU in September and October invited 800 randomly selected EU citizens to discuss topics important for the 27-member bloc in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. A group of 200 citizens will discuss migrations and the status of the EU in the world at the fourth panel, taking place from Friday to Sunday.

Dragan Volarević, a pensioner from Zadar and one of the three Croatians participating in discussions this weekend, called for putting on the agenda the topic of migration of people from eastern to western EU members.

"Around 10% of Croatians have emigrated, mostly young and highly educated people who are needed in every country. I was surprised the most by the fact that the first person to support me was a young Dutchman who is also interested in this topic even though his country does not have the problem of emigration of young people," Volarević told Hina.

He believes that the EU should help countries like Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania create favourable conditions for young people to stay and work in their countries.

As for immigration from third countries, participants in the panel agreed that EU countries should show solidarity with refugees and migrants.

Migration is a burning issue across Europe, notably Mediterranean countries, as well as in Poland, Great Britain and on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We must avoid human losses if we want to call ourselves civilised countries but we are not doing enough to define concrete solutions, said Antonio from Italy.

For solutions to be defined, politicians should listen more, says Volarević, who described his experience at the first panel session in Strasbourg last month.

"During debates in working groups, members of the European Parliament had answers prepared in advance, and while presenting them they spoke of different, often unrelated topics, without keeping track of time, which is why only two citizens had the opportunity to speak," he said.

The second panel session, dedicated to migrations and global politics, was held online. Ten sub-topics were presented at it on Friday, of which five are related to migrations while the other fire have to do with the status of the EU in the world, and they will be discussed in greater detail by working groups on Saturday.

As regards migrations, EU citizens will work on recommendations on border control, on how to respond to illegal border crossings, how to facilitate access to official border crossings, how to integrate migrants in the labor market and education system, and how to facilitate the acquisition of EU citizenship.

With regard to the EU's status in the world, the discussion will focus on the EU's external policy which is in line with its values, such as promotion of democracy and human rights, changes in decision-making in the field of external policy so that the EU can define itself as a global power and strengthen the common foreign policy, on European defence forces, policy towards Russia and China, and the strengthening of trade.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

HZJZ Official Confirms COVID-19 Vaccine for Children To Arrive on 20 December

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - The deputy director of the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ), Ivana Pavić Šimetin, said on Friday it could be assumed that the new coronavirus variant, called Omicron, had still not arrived in Croatia, confirming that the COVID-19 vaccine for children would arrive on 20 December.

Croatian scientists, too, are taking samples to see if the new coronavirus variant is present, and their sequencing takes about ten days, she said in an interview with Nova TV.

She noted that one could assume that the new variant had still not reached Croatia.

Pavić Šimetin explained that mutations can always occur if a virus is very much present in the population, if a large number of people are infected or are susceptible to infection.

In order to prevent mutations, it is important for as many people as possible to get vaccinated, which reduces virus circulation as well as the possibility of new variants emerging, she said.

The HZJZ official also said that on 20 December Croatia would obtain the Pfizer vaccine for children from age 5-11. Its distribution will take a few days, after which the vaccination of children will begin, Pavić Šimetin said.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

ECDC Calls for Stepping Up Vaccination, Epidemiological and Hygiene Measures

ZAGREB, 27 Nov, 2021 - The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has called, in the context of detection of Omicron, a variant of coronavirus considered a variant of concern, for stepping up primary vaccination, applying a booster dose for people above 40 as well as for stepping up other hygiene measures.

Based on currently available genetic information, the risks of this variant of concern are high, according to preliminary data, the ECDC said on Friday evening.

The B.1.1.529 variant, first detected in southern Africa, is the most divergent variant that has been detected in significant numbers during the pandemic to date, raising serious concerns that it may significantly reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and increase the risk of reinfections.

"Today we are releasing a threat assessment on the emergence of a new Sars-COV-2 variant of concern. There is still considerable uncertainty related to the transmissibility, vaccine effectiveness, risk for reinfections and other properties of this variant. At this stage, based on our experience with previous variants we must be proactive and implement measures as a precaution to buy time until we gain more knowledge. Therefore, I would like to reiterate the three key recommendations from our rapid risk assessment from the 24th of November. Firstly, it is imperative we close the immunisation gap. Secondly, booster doses should be considered for all adult individuals, prioritising persons above 40 years of age. Finally, due to the uncertainties involved with this situation, the timely reinforced implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions is now more important than ever," said ECDC director Andrea Ammon.

The non-pharmaceutical interventions include the appropriate use of face masks, teleworking, operational modifications that reduce crowding on public transport, ensuring adequate ventilation in closed spaces and maintenance of hygiene measures that can be implemented immediately. Setting limits for the number of participants in social and public events during end-of-year celebrations will support physical distancing efforts.

Ammon said countries are again urged to give utmost priority to individuals initially targeted by COVID-19 vaccination programmes that remain unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated. Increasing COVID-19 vaccination coverage in all eligible age groups, but particularly in the elderly, in the vulnerable, and healthcare workers should remain the priority for public health authorities.

Public health authorities should identify those with an epidemiological link to cases with the new variant or travel history to areas known to be affected to control or delay the spread of the new variant, she said.

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Saturday, 27 November 2021

Croatian Tunaholic to Take to Streets of Belgrade, Budapest...

November the 27th, 2021 - The Croatian Tunaholic is set to spread its wings (or perhaps fins) to pastures new, including outside of Croatian borders, to Belgrade and Budapest.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, when Patrik and Vesna Janko Finderle opened a fish bar called Tunaholic in Porec last summer, which was a natural upgrade of their fishing business in their hometown, they never dreamed that guests from other cities would come just because of their street food, let alone that they'd expand their business so quickly beyond Istria, including Croatia.

After taking to Rovinj this summer, the Croatian Tunaholic franchise is currently being sold in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, while negotiations with Zagreb and Budapest are underway, and Rijeka is also expected soon. Inquiries and interests also exist for Belgrade, Novi Sad, and even Sarajevo, and they've also had invitations from Germany.

A combination of an offer and a story...

Vesna Janko Finderle believes that the Croatian Tunaholic franchise's success so far is due to a combination of a high quality offer and a well-designed story, which combines tradition and modern performance, good design and nice packaging… although she admits that they didn't expect such levels of interest.

“Tunaholic isn't an ordinary fish bar, it's a story designed down to the smallest detail, from the preparation and name of the dishes, the packaging, all the way to the design of the facility. We tried to enrich simple foods with a modern gastronomic approach, whether it's just sardines, squid or tuna, and we named the dishes after the streets of Porec and designed the packaging so that it would be convenient to carry and eat.

We found a great position in the very centre of Porec which is difficult to bypass and so the first guests came to us, and now many come to us because they've heard about us online.

Customers wait in lines during the season, so next year we're going to introduce a quicker way of ordering electronically, but our guests don't really mind waiting a bit,'' said Vesna Janko Finderle, an interior designer who is responsible for designing the equipment, packaging, the menu layout and the interior.

The Finderle family has been involved in the fishing industry for almost 30 years and they offer tourists fishing trips on their Hedonist boat, including big game tuna fishing. In addition to their own catch, they procure fish from reliable sources, and this is a condition that future franchisors of the Croatian Tunaholic brand will have to meet.

In addition to fishing, Patrick Finderle is in charge of gastronomic offer and the recipe design. Lawyer Matko Sanjin Jovanovic, who is in charge of concluding deals, as well as Andrija Colak, the owner of the Surf’n’Fries franchise and a franchise consultant, who helped them set up the entire concept of the Tunaholic Fish Bar franchise, also have a significant role in the project.

A great contribution is also made by the Bold agency, which has taken on the role of PR in all potential franchises, in order to keep the brand recognisable and unified.

“Important links in our chain are also the two Anas, one is a photographer and the other is a graphic designer. During the first season alone we saw that there is great interest in our story and we decided to protect the name and trademark as soon as possible. In addition to Croatia, we're currently looking at the wider European market. Rovinj was followed by inquiries from Croatia and the immediate region, some we rejected, some we negotiated with. It's important for us to have serious and reliable partners to guarantee the quality of the Croatian Tunaholic brand.

Ljubljana is being realised and some partners in Budapest are also interested in the food truck concept, so we're now looking at how to solve all of that.

In Zagreb, we've had several inquiries from the city centre, which is important for our location as it should be in a busy place, preferably in the city centre. Large shopping malls are also possible. Now the summer season is over and we can dedicate ourselves to franchising, in the summer we told everyone to wait until October for the crowds to pass,'' said Vesna Janko Finderle.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Dubravka Mandic Returns from Paris to Croatia, Creates DermaWise

November the 27th, 2021 - Dubravka Mandic from Eastern Croatia has been in the challenging corporate world for a long time, but upon returning to Croatia from the French capital of Paris, she decided to enter entrepreneurial waters.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ivan Tominac writes, Dubravka Mandic from Osijek has been a part of the corporate world for a long time. She has worked in the automotive industry for the last ten years, and has spent the last five in Paris working for the PSA group. After the expiration of her contract, she decided to stay in Paris as a ''tourist'' of sorts and enjoy life.

She took a step back and decided that she would no longer be part of the corporate world and that she wanted to do something that made her happy. While still living in Paris, she began to take her long-term hobby, the production of cosmetic products, more seriously, attending various educational workshops, seminars and online courses.

Dubravka Mandic pointed out that her love for cosmetics has been present ever since she was a child, when her mother watched her walk around the house with strange masks on her face. “In our teens, we sat down together, drank chamomile tea and put face masks on, we used to set our own little spa up. Thanks to my mum, I discovered very early on how to make some macerates and hydrolates. Then, of course, I couldn't even dream or imagine how important it would become in my life and how much it would ultimately determine my life path,'' says Dubravka Mandic, who, after returning to Zagreb, decided to establish her own company for the production of cosmetic products - DermaWise.

“We're a young, energetic and innovative company. Our vision is to produce specific products that are intended primarily for health, and then for entertainment and beauty. Be Wise, Use DermaWise is our logo that clearly sends a message to our customers. We believe that it is wise to use products whose manufacturers have focused on quality rather than quantity. I'm the owner and creator, but also the ambassador of my brand, so when you ask me which model is behind the brand, I'd say an authentic, social model that is miles away from the traditional, corporate model. Today, customers want to see the people behind the brand, and I want to make that possible for them.

All of our products have been tested and their effectiveness has been proven. It was very important for us to confirm the effectiveness because there are a large number of preparations on the market that promise miraculous results without any studies done. Dubravka Mandic pointed out that they plan to expand the range of products in two directions - cosmetics for intimate care and special preparations for targeted dermatological problems.

“We are preparing some very interesting products and we're currently testing four new products. We hope that we will be able to launch all four of them over the next six months,'' concluded entrepreneur Dubravka Mandic.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

80-100 Million Euro Costs for Croatian Banks to Switch to Euro

November the 27th, 2021 - Croatian banks will have a hefty sum on their hands as the country's Eurozone entry approaches. The costs of the transition alone are eye-watering.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, based on the Action Plan for the Adjustment of the Financial System to the Introduction of the Euro as the Official Currency, about a month ago the Croatian National Bank instructed commercial Croatian banks to prepare a simulation of the costs of adjusting to the euro.

Estimates of the expected effects on revenues and expenditures directly related to the adjustment process, from the beginning of this year to 12 months after the date of the introduction of the euro, must be submitted to the CNB by the end of this year.

According to the CNB's instructions, the simulation includes all points of the Action Plan related to the implementation of the conversion, the double reporting of prices, the notification of users and adjustments following the introduction of the euro.

Among other things, it should include all foreseeable costs of pre-supply, indirect pre-supply and the cost of additional processing and the transportation of cash and additional cash insurance in branches of Croatian banks, as well as all foreseeable costs related to changes in the operation of payment systems. In addition, Croatian banks are expected to calculate related to regulatory reporting requirements, but also with all the expected savings associated with the conversion.

On their behalf, the Croatian Association of Banks provided a rough estimate. "For the needs of the technical process of adjusting the banking system, one-time costs are estimated at between 80 and 100 million euros. In addition to the above, the turnover on the foreign exchange market of kuna/euro will stand at about one billion kuna per year,'' stated the director of HUB, Zdenko Adrovic. One-time costs related to the introduction of the euro, he says, are primarily related to the adjustment of information systems and ATM networks.

However, HUB emphasised that both Croatian banks and their clients will find it easier to manage any currency risk in the long run, which means that risks will generally be reduced, and the collectibility of placements will be higher on average than it would be if Croatia were to keep the kuna.

HUB also emphasised that the introduction of the euro is extremely important for increasing investment, financing conditions and long-term growth of the Croatian economy. They add that the technical introduction of the euro is a very complex process that requires intensive engagement and cooperation of all bank employees.

"Croatian banks will play an important role in the whole process, given that they'll adjust the software of their POS devices and digital services and the entire ATM network so that people have the opportunity to use all banking services and withdraw their cash from the moment the euro is introduced. In addition, banks will convert deposits and loans and inform their clients in a timely and detailed manner about all they need to know,'' they concluded.

In any case, despite the instructions of the CNB to Croatian banks, this year was largely marked by the preoccupation with the euro project and all of the related preparatory activities. Although the Government continues to insist on the "fast track" move, so the target date for entry into the Eurozone is still the 1st of January 2023 (the earliest possible date according to the rules related to ERM II), the exact date will be known only next year.

Whether it is the beginning, middle or end of the year, operational activities to replace the kuna require very careful coordination. This is especially true for IT system customisations, which also account for a large share of the aforementioned costs. Regarding technical and technological adjustments to the transition to the common European currency, it is enough to mention, for example, that the number of devices on which payment cards are accepted in Croatia exceeds 113 thousand.

Most of them, slightly less than 108 thousand, refer to EFTPOS devices for payments at points of sale, and despite the long-term trend of reducing the ATM network, there were almost 4900 ATMs at the beginning of this year. Like most other banks, Erste Bank says they're already working intensively on the euro adjustment process to prepare in time for the introduction of the new currency. In terms of costs, most of it relates to the IT segment.

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