Saturday, 27 November 2021

2021 Sinj Advent Program is Here!

November 27, 2021 - The 2021 Sinj Advent program is here, with many festive things to enjoy this year, from an ice skating rink to gramophone records fair! 

The sweet anticipation of Christmas is slowly approaching. Socializing with the enticing aromas of mulled wine and delicious snacks guarantees a good time for all those who want to feel the Christmas magic through a handful of fun and unique events in a festive atmosphere.


Many different events have been prepared for the youngest. They even have their own Children's Week called "Days of Joy, Games, and Peace" organized by the association Whole Life, which begins on the feast of St. Nicholas and lasts until the feast of St. Lucia. The Cetina Region Museum brings an edition of an exciting publication, and on the eve of St. Lucia, the customs and traditions associated with its feast. After polishing their boots well, the little ones will enjoy (but also perform) plays, music and dance performances, choir performances! The Sinj Tourist Board, organized by the Association Prokultura and in cooperation with the City of Sinj, the Sikirica Gallery, and the Cultural and Artistic Center, is setting up an exhibition of photographs "Angels" by the famous photographer Ivo Pervan.


Numerous valuable and active associations from Sinj and Cetina region have taken several exciting events and actions. Visitors will enjoy concerts by Adastra, Piroman, Vocal Ensemble Jedinstvo, Ana Malovan, Sinj City Music and Mixed Choir, KUD Osinium, Vrilo, and in Disk pod Zvijezda, and the Sinj Majorettes Christmas show. KUD Cetina will take us back in time with its staging of Christmas Eve in the Cetina region, Sinj ferali will delight with an invitation to an evening of poetry and prose with music, and Sinj Folk Theater will contribute to the festive atmosphere with performances. Associations SRMA and Sinjski ferali will decorate the city. The commendable humanitarian action Santa's Equestrian Caravan will delight many children in this most magical time. On the eve of the Advent candle lighting, pilgrimages will be organized along the Path to Our Lady of Sinj from Dugopolje, Dicmo to Sinj. After prayers and blessings, pilgrims will join in the Advent candle lighting. There will be a gramophone records fair for the first time and, after many years, a skating rink!

The New Year's Eve celebration will begin with style: the youngest will be given a children's New Year's Eve organized by Sinj ferali, followed by Sinj culinary specialties, and finally, everyone will welcome the New Year.


The Sinj Advent is organized by the City of Sinj, the Sinj Tourist Board, the Shrine of Our Miraculous Lady of Sinj, and numerous institutions and associations from the Sinj area.

The Advent program in Sinj will take place following the recommendations of the Civil Protection Headquarters and the current measures of the CNIPH.

For more on Inland Dalmatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

October Blues: Imagine the Global Economy Had a Dalmatian Work Ethic

November 27, 2021 - Some in Dalmatia want winter tourism, others are exhausted after the season. How would things look if the global economy adopted the Dalmatian work ethic? 

I love Dalmatia.

I love Dalmatians. Hell, I married one, and she is as lovely as ever, as well as one of the most dedicated and hard-working people I know. 

My wife got that work ethic from her father, who is from the village of Brusje on the island of Hvar. One of ten kids, there was never money for anything, and the 12-kilimetre round-trip walk to school in Hvar Town each day certainly kept him fit. Without ever taking a kuna of credit in his life, he managed to buy land in the most prime part of Jelsa, build a 4-storey house and put all four kids through university, while at the same time spending hours in the family field each day, supplying the family with much of its food. 

Total respect, and I am only sorry that he did not get a proper son-in-law who loved to spend time in the field and not on a laptop, or at least one who adored blitva... 

When people say that Dalmatians are lazy, I always smile and think of my father-in-law, who is always on the road about 5 am each day to tend to the field before his daily chores. I think of the many Dalmatians who left the country in the 19th century, who emigrated out of economic necessity with little more than the shirts on their backs and went on to build incredible businesses and new lives in countries where initially they did not even speak the language. Seriously impressive stuff, and I read somewhere that if the Croatian diaspora was its own country, it would be one of the richest in the world in terms of GDP. 

And yet... 

I know I am going to get slaughtered on social media for this article (particularly by those who don't read beyond the title), and I am ok with that. When you have a double lawsuit ongoing from the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, a little additional social media abuse it like water off a duck's back. 

I am also aware that nothing will change with anything that I write, for a learned a long time ago that there is a reason that Dalmatia seems to be a little slower in time, without all the latest brand stores and latest technology - the locals like it that way. Like many foreigners coming to Dlamatia over the years, I used to get frustrated at the lack of local interest in embracing change and things that I called 'progress'. The reason these things did not exist were because locals did not want them. It took me 15 years but I managed to condense my advice to incoming foreigners into one sentence. If they could accept and live by this sentence from day one, they would truly have found paradise. But if - like me - you spend years fighting against that sentence before finally accepting its truth, a long period of frustration ensued. The sentence is this:

Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you. 

Dalmatia definitely changed me - for the better - and I long ago gave up trying to change Damlatia. But there is one small area where I think I can contribute to a small change  that I think would be beneficial to all, and it is one which divides locals. 

Winter tourism. 

Not many people know that organised tourism in Europe began in Dalmatia. 

With a focus on the winter. 

The founding of the Hvar Health Society in 1868 attracted convalescing aristocrats in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rest in the temperate climes of the island known as the Austrian Madeira. Even as late as 1990, winter tourism was rocking, with Americans coming for up to 6 weeks for the art, nature, food and wine - read this fascinating interview with a UK tour rep based here from 1986-91. Croatian Winter Tourism in 1990: Full of Life! Tour Rep Interview.

The issue of winter tourism comes up each year, and I always smile at the responses. We are tired, we have worked so hard in the season. We made enough in the season, we don't want it. I have to attend to my olives and fields etc. It is October after all, and the season has now been a full six months. 

While I used to smile at this more when I actually lived in Dalmatia, it is somehow a little less amusing living in continental Croatia, where people work equally as hard, usually without the benefit of lucrative tourism that happens accidentally, and they have to slog it out 12 months to survive. 

But that I guess is one of the joys of being born a Damatian in Dalmatia - it really is God's own paradise. 

The thing is, though, that this seasonality is - at least in the humble opinion of this foreigner, if he is allowed one - is that it is really affecting the quality of life in Dalmatia, and I think this seasonality is becoming a real issue. Living on Hvar was an incredible experience, and running TCN kept me shielded from the extremes due to the interesting assignments that constantly popped up. But the reality is that during the season, most people are working 5 jobs to make the most they can in the season, and in the winter, there is nothing open to enjoy. 

I was in both Osijek and Split this month, and there is no question which is the better city to live in during the winter. And it is not the Dalmatian capital. Split SHOULD be one of the top cities in Europe for lifestyle. It has so much to offer, and it has the potential to be one of the most attractive remote work destinations in Europe. And yet sadly, it is showing signs of esging towards overtourism in summer and a strangulation of life in winter. It really doesn't need to be that way. 

One of the most interesting points in TCN's recent winter tourism initiative (which has led to the Split winter tourism round table with Mayor Puljak and others on December 13), was in this great interivew with the team from The Daltonist, who lament the lack of local life in town. This is detrminental both to tourism, as people want to exeprience the local vibe (did I mention Osijek?), but also it is not that much fun for locals either. 

Not all people want to work all year in Dalmatia. And that is fine - that is one part of the essence of the Dalmatian lifestyle. But others do. Why not look at rather than working 12 hours a day 7 days a week for a seasonal worker, who is then unemployed during the winter, perhaps closing for a day or even two each week to give the staff a chance to breathe and enjoy life a little. At the same time, work with others to develop content and local life, so that things are open longer. By moving away from seasonality, workers can be given permanent contracts, find stability and become invested in the company's success. 

And there would be life in winter. And that would be a win for both tourists and locals. 

And creating content and fun out of season need not be that complicated or successful. Build it and they will come. Check out Nomad Table by Saltwater Nomads at Zinfandel each Friday through the winter in Split. A sell-out each week. 

But imagine that Damatian work ethic of only working for half the year was applied to the global economy. Those Wall Street brokers and the like who work 50 weeks a year so that they afford the fortnight in Croatia on the Dalmatian coast - now working for just 26 weeks and staying home, with the appropriate mild negative effect on Dalmatian tourism. In fact, if all of Dalmatia's visitors only worked half a year, how many would be able to afford to come to Dalmatia at all? 

The difference is, of course, that they are not Dalmatian, living in God's Own Paradise. 


Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you. But build in a little winter tourism for those who want it - it will improve the quality of life all round. 

Read more about the Split Winter Tourism initiative, which will take place on December 13. 

PHOTOS: Secret Video Mapping Artists Visit Croatian Yugoslav Monuments

November 27, 2021 – On a dark November night in 2021, Hungarian artists chose their moment to project vividly colourful video art at Petrova Gora, one of the remaining Croatian Yugoslav monuments.

They left their Hungarian city early in the cold morning. Not for another 5 hours would they reach Petrova Gora, the site for that evening's video mapping. Throughout the long journey, the three friends chatted excitedly about the art they were about to create. They'd been planning it for months. But, when they reached Petrova Gora they stopped talking.


“These are absolutely incredible pieces of architecture,” exclaims Dan, one of the three-man team from Secret Mapping Experiment who visited Croatia this month. “They have a real power in their environment. Sometimes you can feel frozen in your body when you're around them.”

“A lot of the time we work around them in silence,” agrees Gabe, Dan's accomplice. “You just feel too small next to them. They really have an impact on you.”

SecretMappingExperminent_pres_Partizan_Basis_6.jpgCroatian Yugoslav Monuments: Petrova Gora in 2021

“Before we visit, we work for many months in front of a computer screen with a tiny template of the monument,” admits Dan. “So, it's a really special feeling to come and see all the work you planned on such a big scale.”


Their long, involved preparation is the creation of video mapping art. In detail, this is moving art and animations, designed to be projected onto a specific backdrop or structure. On this occasion, that backdrop was the 37 metre high Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija, otherwise known as the Petrova Gora Monument.


Each of the 3 members on this Secret Mapping Experiment excursion brought something slightly different to the project. Gabe studied fine art and is now a painter and educator. He teaches computer graphics, 3D modelling, video editing, creating animation. Third member David works a lot with VR installations, 3D and animation being his speciality. Dan does lighting design and video mapping in the commercial sector, for large events, concerts, art installations.

“In commercial work, usually the client will dictate colours, or ask for logos to be added,” says Dan. “When I do Secret Mapping, I have total artistic freedom. This is my playground, a place to experiment and be free. It's a good combination to go out into nature to do this kind of work. Outdoors and abandoned places are not the usual places you would see our equipment being used.”

Croatian Yugoslav Monuments: Petrova Gora (Spomenik ustanku naroda Banije i Korduna), Podgarić (Spomenik revolucije naroda Moslavine) et al

SecretMappingExperiment_pres_Partizans_basis_total2_4.jpgCroatian Yugoslav Monuments: Secret Mapping Experiment at Petrova Gora

The Croatian Yugoslav Monument at Petrova Gora is built on Veliki Petrovac, the highest peak of the small Petrova Gora mountain range. The mountains run across the borders of Croatia's Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County, just 10 kilometres north of Velika Kladuša in Bosnia and Hercegovina. This is a little known and little-visited part of Croatia.

Formally titled Monument to the uprising of the people of Kordun and Banija (Spomenik ustanku naroda Banije i Korduna), this is just one monument in a series that were built all over the former Yugoslavia after World War II. Many famous sculptors and architects were employed to design the monuments, such as Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković, Vojin Bakić, Miodrag Živković, Jordan and Iskra Grabul. This series of monuments (spomenici) is the largest single collection of abstract sculptures in the entire world. Together, they tell the tale of the victims, triumphs and struggle of the former Yugoslav people against the Nazis and their allies.


"During the socialist era, the monuments were used for different purposes, marking different events,” says Gabe. Secret Mapping Experiment visited Croatia's Monument to the revolution of the people of Moslavina in Podgarić in 2019. “But, since the end of communism, a lot of them have been damaged, destroyed or are uncared for, particularly in Croatia. The last time we visited, we saw lots and lots of graffiti covering the monument. It feels like you're standing in a long-abandoned film set."

Today, these abstract Yugoslav monuments are several decades old. Amazingly, many still look futuristic. Their design deliberately doesn't focus on individual heroes or dwell on pain or suffering. Instead, motifs such as hands, wings and flowers are used, suggesting perpetual movement and progress. The same style of monuments does not exist anywhere else on earth. They are exclusive to the countries of the former Yugoslavia.


Because they mark different events and have different authors, each is unique. The monument at Petrova Gora is formed from a huge amount of concrete poured onto a steel frame. Originally, the structure was covered - at great expense - with polished stainless steel sheets. Over the last three decades, these stainless steel sheets have begun to disappear from the surface, a classic case of 'Balkan recycling'. The author of the Petrova Gora monument is renowned Croatian sculptor Vojin Bakić (1915 - 1992).

Vojin Bakić and the Monument to the victory of the people of Slavonia (Spomenik revolucionarnoj pobjedi naroda Slavonije)

AnyConv.com__2880px-Vojin_Bakić_radi_na_skulpturi_Bika_1956.jpgVojin Bakić at work on one of his well known 'bull' sculptures, captured by famous Croatian photographer Tošo Dabac

Born in Bjelovar, Vojin Bakić studied at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts under two of Croatia's most globally recognised sculptors - Ivan Meštrović and Frano Kršinić. One of the leading modernist sculptors of his era, Vojin Bakić was employed to create many pieces of public art within Yugoslavia.

e73a14_4dc4e466b1bb4b6f9a169a0818742a47_mv2.jpgFoliated Form (Razlistana format), one of Vojin Bakić's Croatian Yugoslav monuments/sculptures still visible, located in the centre of Zagreb

In addition to his work at Petrova Gora, Bakić is famous for monuments in Kamenska, Kragujevac (Serbia) and Dotršćina (Zagreb). Indeed, you can still today see some of his much-loved sculptures as you walk around the Croatian capital. Upon completion, his Monument to the victory of the people of Slavonia (Spomenik revolucionarnoj pobjedi naroda Slavonije) in Kamenska was the largest postmodern sculpture in the world. Unfortunately, it was destroyed at the end of the Croatian War of Independence and the impoverished part of Slavonia in which it sat was robbed of a world-famous visitor attraction.

temp_1.jpgMonument to the revolutionary victory of the people of Slavonia (Spomenik revolucionarnoj pobjedi naroda Slavonije), one of the now-destroyed Croatian Yugoslav monuments

Secret Mapping Experiment


The Secret Mapping Experiment has been visiting monuments, landscapes and abandoned structures for six years. By necessity, the video mapping projections always take place at night, under the cover of darkness. Although, the team do sometimes encounter people.

”In the past, we've had locals approach us while we are working,” says Dan. “They're interested. They enjoy it. Sometimes they'll have stories about the monument. But, the last time (in Petrova Gora) we only met cops. They questioned us for about 10 minutes and then they let us continue. They must have decided it was a good project.”


”It hasn't always been like that,” remembers Gabe. “Two years ago we were stopped by police at a monument in Greece and they took us to the station for the questioning. We were there for hours. Afterwards, they let us leave, but they advised us not to go back to the monument.”


Monuments visited by the team exist under different levels of protection, depending on where they are. There are some who think it disrespectful to repurpose these monuments as art canvasses without mention of their raison d'être. Dan disagrees. He thinks Secret Mapping Experiment's videos and photos pay greater attention today to some monuments than they otherwise receive. It's hard to disagree in the case of the disintegrating monument at Petrova Gora.

And besides, Croatia has always best preserved its past by repurposing it, one example being Diocletian's Palace. Another is the World War II Monument to the Revolution (Spomeniku revolucije) on Glavica hill in central Makarska. After suffering several years of neglect, the monument's cylindrical tower was turned into an observatory. Today, the site is a revitalised tourist attraction and a wonderful backdrop to concerts and other public events.

54516047_2197069537021042_4760558114711797760_n.jpgMonument to the Revolution in Makarska, one of the repurposed Croatian Yugoslav monuments © MARA - Makarska razvojna agencija

From months in planning on a miniature scale, the art of Secret Mapping Experiment assumes its vast, true size only briefly. Thereafter, the work returns to miniature – as photos or videos. “We are working on a road movie project, a documentary,” says Dan. “I really hope we will finish it next year.”

After the team visited Petrova Gora, they did not return to Hungary. Instead, they visited another famous World War II monument in the region (this article will be updated with those images as soon as they are processed and ready). When asked if they plan to revisit any Croatian Yugoslav Monuments in order to finish their documentary, Dan isn't giving anything away.

”Who knows?” he says, with a smile

SecretMappingExperminent_pres_Partizan_Basis2.jpgThe Secret Mapping Experiment team in 2021

The names of Secret Mapping Experiment's team members were changed for the purpose of writing this article. To see more photos of their work and to follow their progress, look here

You can read more about Zagreb here, Makarska here and for more great reasons to visit these and other Croatian destinations, be sure to bookmark Total Croatia News travel pages here.

All images © Secret Mapping Experiment or public domain unless otherwise accredited.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Danube Full of Life: American Cruise Guests Still Visiting Vukovar

November 26, 2021 - The Dalmatian coast may be sleeping through winter, but out east it is very much the Danube Full of Life, as the river cruise ship tourists keep on comin'.

One of the most controversial aspects of tourism on the Adriatic surrounds cruise ships. With over a million passengers a year, they undoubtedly bring traffic, but at what cost? There are pros and cons to the argument, and it has been a hot topic of discussion, at least until the pandemic temporarily halted that discussion. 

But Croatia has another cruise ship sector which receives much less attention, and one which is still going today at the end of November - Danube river cruising. 



Touch history in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, as you sail along the exotic lower Danube. Celtic fortifications, medieval towns and grand cities, along with the natural beauty of pastoral landscapes and the Danube’s famed Iron Gates, showcase the best of eastern Europe. Nature lovers will relish the opportunity to see Bulgaria’s natural wonder, Belogradchik, a fairytale stone world of fantastic shapes associated with interesting legends; or to bike through Belgrade’s sprawling Kalemegdan Park. Wine connoisseurs will have a chance to taste history from the centuries-old wine-growing hills dating back to the Romans in Ilok, a royal and vinous town. Be treated to the flavors, sights, sounds and cultures of this diverse swath of the continent.

Some 60 American guests arrived in Vukovar today as part of their cruise. Three buses were waiting to take them on their excusions. And there were two choices on offer. Two buses took the tour of Vukovar, Eltz Palace and Ovcara, while one bus headed for one of the best wine tasting exepriences in Croatia, the fabulous Ilocki Podrum in Ilok. 


We visited Ilocki Podrum last week. Where else in the world can you hold wines that were served at the Queen's coronation in 1953, as well as the weddings of both Prince William and Harry? You can try them too. There are 92 bottles of the Traminac 1947 left, the wine that the Royal household served 11,000 bottles of at the coronation. A bottle of this unique wine today will set you back 55,000 kuna.


Our fearless guide from last week, Dom Butkovic, was on hand to take the American guests around Vukovar, and I am willing to bet that there are at least four bottles of rakija just outside this shot. 


Today is the last cruise of the year, but cruise ships in November show that there is plenty of life in eastern Croatia, even if few people write about and promote it. 

For more news on Vukovar, follow the dedicated TCN section.  

Friday, 26 November 2021

The Vukovar You Never Hear About: Igor on 'Dinner for 5'

November 26, 2021 - The people of Vukovar live 365 days a year, and not just on November 18. Nice to see the fabulous Vrhunsko Vukovar food and wine garden featured on RTL's popular 'Dinner for 5' show. 

One of my top finds on our recent trip east was the Vrhunsko (Excellent) Vukovarsko Cooperative Food and Wine Garden and Shop. If you were looking for a symbol of the new Vukovar, then this was it. Around 20 top producers of local products have come together to offer the finest gourmet products the region has to offer, direct from the small local producers. 

Located in the city centre on the main route of the November 18 Remembrance Day Parade, I spent quite a bit of time with the fabulous team at the shop, and it was a strange contrast sipping a glass of refreshing Grasveina as we took a break from filming as the estimated 50,000 participants walked by.  


We will be doing a LOT more on this wonderful place and the personalities who run it in the coming months, but I was very pleased to notice that the wine garden was featured on national television earlier this week on the popular RTL show, Dinner for 5. Below is the report from 24 Sata. Photos are from the cooperative's Facebook page, as I don't have permission to use the ones from the show. Great place, check it out on Facebook, and feel free to order from their online shop

Igor’s burger surprise in “Večera za 5”: The food was so greasy, it was dripping all over”

As a gift, the contestants received products from the cooperative where Igor works, which made everyone happy. As a special surprise, they sang famous Slavonian songs on karaoke.

Today's host in the Vukovar edition of “Večera za 5 na selu” was Igor, an agricultural technician, who served his guests a Black Burger, the Šokačko-srijemski Steak and Drunken Crepes. Some people didn't like the appetizer, while others loved it, the main dish was mostly well received, and the wine chateau crepes didn't sit equally well with everyone. Despite having prepared interesting dishes with a lot of effort to prepare dinner, Igor only scored 35 points and missed out on taking the lead.


He greeted his guests with plum brandy (šljivovica), pear brandy (viljamovka) and cherry liqueur and they toasted for a good dinner and even better company. "The best choice of aperitif so far, I adore viljamovka," said Marina, and the others praised the brandy. For starters, they ate burgers with black Slavonian pig bacon. Everyone liked the wine that the host served, however they had some objections to the meal. "Grease was dripping all over, I don't like it when it's too greasy," said Marina, while Nenad disagreed: "Tasty, good, juicy, greasy, yummy… I swallowed it in three bites."

The host then brought out two main dishes in one - veal steak and stuffed breaded pork steaks in a sauce, and everyone noticed how nice the plate looked.

“It's hard to describe. It was as if I had tasted a ray of sunshine, as if I had tasted a piece of paradise…, the mushrooms, the sauce… It was very, very good“, Lorena praised the main course, and Marina and Nenad found it tasty even though they found the pasta to be a bit much. “The veal steak was fine, though it could have been a little less cooked so that it preserved a little of that juice. You can tell he made an effort, so thumbs up for that”, concluded Mario.


Dessert was wine chateau crepes. Nenad especially looked forward to that because his mother used to make it for him, while Mario found that his plate was too full. “It was difficult to start eating the crepes without having the chateau overflow” he said, adding that the chateau was unfinished. The others thought it was delicious.

As a gift, the contestants received products from the cooperative where Igor works, which made everyone happy. As a special surprise, they sang famous Slavonian songs on karaoke.

Lorena and Nenad rated Igor's dinner with tens because they thought everything was great – the food, wine, ambience and the mood, while Marina and Mario were more critical - Marina didn't like the appetizer because it was too greasy, so she rated it with an eight, and Mario said, “I rate it with a seven because the appetizer was too greasy, the main course bulky, and the dessert was average.”


For more news and features about Vukovar, follow the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 26 November 2021

New Port Opens in Trget, Istria

ZAGREB, 26 Nov 2021 - A new port with 295 refurbished berths for a total value of HRK 10.5 million was officially opened on Friday in Trget, Istria as the most organised port in the remit of the Rabac Port Authority.

During the opening ceremony it was said that the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure financed the project with HRK 8.4 million and Istria County provided HRK 2.1 million.

In the wake of an accident involving the Liberian ship Fidelity in 2018, when oil leaked out in the Bršica port and the entire Raša Bay and the Trget port were polluted, it was necessary to remove the old berths and clean up the bay. This clean-up cost Istria County HRK 195,000 and Raša Municipality HRK 92,000.

The director of the Rabac Port Authority, Antonela Mohorović Kožuh, recalled that incident and said that today that episode was brought to a happy end.

"With the assistance of the Civil Protection Authority, with a lot of effort, we managed then to organise and deal with the damage. At the end of it all, we have a new port in Trget. Once a small, ugly and abandoned port, we now have 295 refurbished berths. Trget port is now the most organised port in the area in the remit of the Rabac Port Authority and it makes us all proud," underscored Mohorović Kožuh.

She added that next year a moor would be built in Trget and that documents are being prepared to refurbish the Sv. Marina port.

For more on travel, CLICK HERE.


Friday, 26 November 2021

PM Says Fighter Jet Purchase Big Step Forward

ZAGREB, 26 Nov 2021- Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday the purchase of French fighter jets was a big step forward as they were state-of-the-art technology and represented French-Croatian cooperation as well as contributing to European defence and strategic autonomy at EU level.

"That's such a strong and big step forward for the Croatian Army. We can be very satisfied. I think it's a phenomenal step forward and that it's a step forward for which we waited 30 years. I haven't heard even a hint of dissatisfaction from anyone who deals with this all the time," he told the press.

As for the general comment "we could have given the money for something else," we are giving it, he added.

The aircraft will be paid for over several years without it impacting the deficit, Plenković said, adding that the process was "carefully calibrated and carried out in a way we can be proud of."

As for criticisms that the price of the jets has gone up, which President Zoran Milanović said was scandalous, Plenković said, "If yesterday he was happy and today it's a scandal, did he wait for Macron to leave before reacting? I find it a little ridiculous."

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Croatia on Wednesday and Thursday, when an agreement on the purchase of the Rafale fighter jets was signed.

Plenković said VAT was not paid on used goods but on the commercial part and that the state paid that to itself. As for price indexation in the repayment years, he said it was something normal.

As for Milanović's criticisms that no one had consulted him about a strategic defence agreement, the prime minister said he could care less.

"He met with Macron yesterday, he supported the purchase of the aircraft. The strategic partnership is a document signed by the government and the French president. He received the document, the preparation and the information. It's ridiculous that he's complaining after the meeting. He should be happy."

Plenković said everyone was looking for some media coverage, but that one should be smart about it.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Strong GDP Growth in Q3 Increases Forecasts for All of 2021

ZAGREB, 26 Nov 2021 - The 15.8% GDP increase in Q3 has prompted RBA analysts to review their growth forecast for 2021 of 7%, the Chamber of Commerce says Croatia could be among the fastest-growing EU economies in 2021, 2022 and 2023, while employers note growth at the end of 2021 will be just a little higher than it was 10 years ago.

The State Bureau of Statistics (DZS) on Friday released its first estimate of GDP growth in the third quarter of the year, under which it is 15.8% higher than in Q3 2020.

That is the second-largest jump in economic activity after a record growth of 16.5% in Q2.

HGK: GDP growth in three quarters as much as 10.7%

Considering the good results in Q2 and Q3, in the first three quarters of the year GDP went up by as much as 10.7% compared to the same period of 2020, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said in its analysis of the latest DZS data.

Real GDP was not only significantly higher than in 2020 but it even exceeded the 2019 GDP by about 1.5%, putting Croatia among the most successful EU countries for which data is available.

"Of a total of 21 member states for which Eurostat has data for all three quarters, only ten achieved a GDP that was higher than in 2019. Compared to other member states, Croatia also stands out for the growth rate, having achieved the highest growth," the HGK said.

According to the European Commission, with an average GDP growth of 5.7% in this and in the next two years Croatia could rank third among EU countries, behind Ireland and Romania, and its growth is expected to be more dynamic than that of the entire EU, which will enable it to get closer to the EU development average.

HUP: GDP at end 2021 just a little higher than it was a decade ago

The Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) underscored that based on available indicators, the DZS's initial estimate confirms the double-digit growth rate of real GDP in the third quarter of this year as against the same period last year, however, it noted that  at the end of 2021, GDP would be just a little higher than the growth achieved more than a decade ago.

HUP notes that based on most economic indicators, Croatia continues to be at the bottom of the EU along with Bulgaria.

"In order to change that and for growth to be stepped up and the level of development of other EU members from central and eastern Europe to be achieved, we need to use the present time to create foundations for strong and sustainable growth rates in the future," HUP underscored.

Joining the euro area and accessing EU funds "could additionally push growth rates up in the coming period but exclusively on the condition reforms are implemented to enable investments and new employment."

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Friday, 26 November 2021

Two Croatian Doctors Awarded Medical Oscars 2021

ZAGREB, 26 Nov 2021 - Two Croatian doctors, Gordana Drpa from the KBC Zagreb hospital, and Matej Šapina from KBC Osijek, are the winners of the 2021 International Medis Awards - a sort of medical Oscar for best research achievements in medicine and pharmacy.

The International Medis Awards for Medical Research rewards excellent researchers from nine countries in Central and Southeast Europe in nine medical fields and this year's winners were proclaimed in Ljubljana on Thursday.

Pulmonologist Gordana Drpa from Zagreb and paediatrician Matej Šapina from Osijek were awarded among 230 researchers who applied for this year's competition from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia.

Dr Drpa won in the area of pulmonology and allergology. She is the author of the first original article on how the ratio of neutrophils and lymphocytes can predict the outcome of extensive stages of lung cancer in small cells. The article was published in the Radiology and Oncology science journal.

Dr Šapina is the first author of an original scientific article dealing with research in geospatial grouping of children's IgA-vasculitis and nefritis syndrome. The article was published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

In addition to the two Croatian doctors, other laureates were Marin Jukić from Serbia (pharmacy), Christoph Grander from Austria (gastroenterology), Luka Roškar from Slovenia (gynaecology), Marija Vukoja from Serbia (intensive medicine and anaesthesiology), Aleksandra Tomić Pešić from Serbia (neurology), Fanka Gilevska from North Macedonia (ophthalmology) and Gorica Ristić from Serbia (rheumatology).

The competition was founded in 2014 by the Slovenian Medis pharmaceutical company and it is the main sponsor of the competition.

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Friday, 26 November 2021

NeuroSplit Association Wins European Citizen's Prize

ZAGREB, 26 Nov 2021 - The NeuroSplit student association for neuroscience is this year's winner of the European Citizen's Prize for its achievements in popularising science, it was said at a ceremony in Zagreb on Friday.

Representatives of the association, founded in 2015 at the Split School of Medicine and awarded for the success of its project "With One Dream United", a series of events designed to popularise science, workshops, humanitarian campaigns and lectures, were presented with the prize by Croatian members of the European Parliament Tomislav Sokol and Sunčana Glavak.

"We are young professionals and what we have in common is a desire to work for the benefit of our community. We have many ideas and plans which will hopefully receive broad support," said Miro Vuković on behalf of the NeuroSplit association.

He said that the results of the "With One Dream United" project were beyond expectations, citing in that context the organisation of a conference called Nobel Days and an international congress on practical skills for students.

At the Nobel Days conference four Nobel Prize winners spoke about their discoveries and life to university and secondary school students from all over Croatia, and the congress on practical skills for students included workshops offering students from the field of biomedicine skills for their future careers.

Sokol said the European Citizen's Prize going to medical students in the current time of the pandemic was an appropriate coincidence.

"We are in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis and this prize sends a message about the importance of investing in science and in professionals," he said,

"Our main priority must be for EU citizens to not be divided into first and second-class citizens and for health care in all EU countries to be equal," said the MEP, noting that projects like the one launched by NeuroSplit could help the national health system raise its quality and be more competitive at EU level.

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