Friday, 14 January 2022

By European Union Standards, Croatian Charging Stations Must Increase

January the 14th, 2022 - There needs to be many more Croatian charging stations dotted around the country to meet EU standards, despite the fact that the purchase of electric cars in the bloc is still somewhat modest.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, although the number of electric cars in some European Union countries has already reached an enviable level, the fact is that in most others it is modest, to say the very least. The main reason, with the still relatively high purchase price, is the insufficient charging infrastructure for such vehicles across the bloc.

There are around 600 Croatian charging stations located up and down the country, suitable for about 2,000 electric cars. It may seem to those not in the loop that this is enough, because, by comparison, for the 2.8 million registered Croatian petrol and diesel motor vehicles, we have 800 fuel stations.

However, e-mobility technology is somewhat different and requires longer and more frequent charging and as such a denser network of charging stations, which in turn entails the adjustment of a country's electricity network and overall capacities. This could soon be applied here in Croatia because, according to the Croatian National Association for e-Mobility Circuit, which is part of the European Association for Electromobility - AVERE, the new EU plan is for member states to create e-charging capacities at level the level of 10% of the total fleet, which means that within the domestic, framework we would theoretically need to have have tens of thousands of Croatian charging stations that could theoretically serve 280 thousand vehicles.

National goals

''For the last six months, we've been working hard on the new regulation for alternative fuel infrastructure (AFIR), which is a strategic document of the European Union that defines the use of alternative energy sources, namely electric vehicles. The difference between the previous directive and the new regulation is that this regulation is mandatory, and the directive serves solely as advice to member states. We're currently working on regulations that will oblige Croatia to adhere to these new rules. With the arrival of these regulations, we can expect an even greater number of super fast vehicle chargers, not only for personal transport, but also for truck traffic on the stretch from Varazdin to Rijeka and Zagreb to Ljubljana in Slovenia,'' explained Hrvoje Prpic, President of the Circuit.

He added that the new AFIR regulation significantly better defines the publicly available infrastructure for charging electric vehicles, and most importantly, the regulation seeks to ensure the simplest possible increase in the number of charging stations across the European Union. AVERE's proposal is for each country in the EU to install enough infrastructure for at least 10% of the total number of vehicles registered in the country, which in Croatia, for example, would be much more infrastructure than is currently needed for the existing number of electric vehicles.

Circuit believes that this is a great way to motivate future vehicle buyers to consider switching to zero-CO2 vehicles, because in that case they would come to empty Croatian charging stations and not worry about needing to find a place to charge their car, and on the other hand, these charging stations would be co-financed by the EU, so such expansion of such infrastructure would not cost the state all that much.

In addition to that, AFIR would set goals in order to significantly strengthen the infrastructure on the TEN-T corridor - a single trans-European road network that connects all major transport points in Europe.

This means that the number of charging stations for light and heavy electric vehicles would be further increased across Croatia and in its neighbouring countries. AFIR requires that at least one charging station for electric trucks or buses with two chargers up to 350 kW be available, and for light passenger vehicles, there must be at least one charging station with two chargers up to 150 kW on the TEN-T corridor by the year 2025.

By 2030, that number of fuel stations must be doubled. On all additional roads connected to the TEN-T corridor, EU member states must ensure a uniform network of fuel stations every 100 kilometres. According to AFIR, charging for vehicle charging should also be possible with the help of bank cards, so all charging station operators should install card readers at their future Croatian charging stations.

This would greatly facilitate the charging of the vehicles belonging to many electric vehicle drivers, especially for tourists who are unfamiliar with the charger network in the country they are visiting.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Andrej Plenkovic Visits Novska Gaming Campus, New Student Dorms

January the 14th, 2022 - Novska is having a complete and utter turnaround, becoming the Novska gaming campus which has just recently been put into function, as have new student dorms.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, it has been less than two years since Novska's former INA building was transferred to the portfolio of that city, which is rapidly positioning itself as the centre of the gaming industry in Croatia. The new building has been put into a new function by being transformed into new student dorms.

This has been a joint project of the City of Novska, Sisak-Moslavina County and the Croatian Government, which was officially opened this week by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who made sure to emphasise that this is just one project which is transforming Novska into the country's gaming centre as the industry of the future.

Two business incubators are playing host to more than 60 companies specialising in video games, while over 50 percent of the companies engaged in the gaming industry are registered in Novska where young people just keep on coming, which is the nucleus of development and new positioning of the city and the wider county.

In the specific case of the second student dormitory in this county, the education department has a prominent role, which verified a new subject for Novska's students - training to become technicians for video game development, resulting in the need to open the aforementioned student dormitory.

More than half of the students enrolled in this subject of study come from outside of the area, and 21 students will be the new tenants of the new building. According to Prefect Ivan Celjan, there is a recognition of the education and needs of today's students, but also the efforts of parents who are trying to achieve better conditions for their children. Owing to the deep understanding of the above, the student dorms will be fully funded, which means they'll be free of charge for end users.

The new dorms will house students from all over Croatia from Zagreb, Dugo Selo, Bjelovar, Kutinska Lipa, Stari Petrovo Selo, Kumrovec, Bektez, Koprivnica, Vodnjan and beyond, while the interest in the new field of study is unsurprisingly huge given the popularity of video games and the Novska gaming campus.

The Croatian Government has raised subsidies for entrepreneurs to the maximum (within the programme of the reconstruction and revitalisation of the local economy after a series of catastrophic earthquakes at the end of 2020) and this concept is being carried out in cooperation with the CES, being considered a magnet for young people who will come to Novska and hopefully decide to stay following their studies.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Pupovac: Peaceful Reintegration Helped Restore Inter-Ethnic Trust

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - Serb National Council (SNV) president Milorad Pupovac said on Thursday that the peaceful reintegration of the Croatian Danube region on 15 January 1998 marked "the peaceful end of the war in Croatia" and helped restore inter-ethnic trust.

The peaceful reintegration was based on two peace agreements - the Erdut Agreement, adopted as part of a wider package with the Dayton Agreement, and a document adopted on this date in which the UN Security Council approved the mandate of the UN transitional administration for the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia and defined the status and rights of Serbs in Croatia and their institutions, Pupovac said in Vukovar.

He said that the peaceful reintegration had not only brought peace but had also helped restore inter-ethnic trust.

"The restoration of trust between the majority Croats and the minority Serbs was a prerequisite, then as it is now, for the democratization of the country, emergence from the war and ethnic conflict, and the return of displaced Croats and Serb refugees," Pupovac said, noting that these achievements were sometimes valued too little.

He said that the peaceful reintegration, the Erdut Agreement, and the Letter of Intent had also laid the ground for mutual recognition of and cooperation between Croatia and Serbia. "That is very important for Croatia and the Serb community and for the relationship between Croatia and Serbia."

Those who have in the past years been hoping for "a peacetime Storm", trying to deprive the Serbs of their right to use Cyrillic alphabet and expel them based on criminal prosecution for war crimes, are actually working against the peaceful reintegration and the commitments arising from that process, Pupovac said.

He noted that Croatia, unlike some other countries of the former Yugoslavia, had emerged from the war as a reintegrated country thanks in part to people who led the peaceful reintegration process on behalf of the Serb community, such as the former Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Vojislav Stanimirović, for which he said he never received due recognition from some political circles, except President Tuđman.

Speaking of the anniversary of Croatia's international recognition, which is also marked on 15 January, Pupovac said that it was firmly connected with the issue of minority rights, especially the rights of the Serb minority.

He recalled that international recognition was preceded by the adoption of the constitutional act governing the rights of ethnic minorities, adding that all countries that had been advocating the international recognition of Croatia had demanded the adoption of an appropriate mechanism for the protection of minority rights.

The head of the Joint Council of Serb-majority municipalities (ZVO), Dejan Drakulić, said that the peaceful reintegration process was still ongoing because some issues of importance to the Serb community remained unresolved, citing autonomy in education and certain status issues. 

"Our task is to emphasize the importance of peaceful reintegration and the need to develop a more democratic and more tolerant society," Drakulić said.

The SNV and ZVO held a meeting in Vukovar to mark the anniversary of the peaceful reintegration of the Danube region and the international recognition of Croatia.

The peaceful reintegration process began on 15 January 1996 when the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1037, establishing a transitional administration for Eastern Slavonia. Retired US general Jacques Paul Klein was appointed transitional administrator. The process formally ended on 15 January 1998 with the UN handing over the administration of the region to Croatia.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Police Reorganisation to Downsize Leadership Positions

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - The government on Thursday endorsed the reorganization of the Interior Ministry based on which the number of leadership positions in the General Police Directorate, police departments, and stations will be cut by 638 and the number of divisions by 115.

At today's meeting, the government amended a decree on the internal structure of the Interior Ministry in order to reorganize the police in a functional way.

Security challenges are increasingly complex and demanding due to new types of crime, which require the police to constantly adapt, Minister Davor Božinović said.

Murders and robberies down, organized crime up

According to preliminary indicators for 2021, murders were down by 16.7% on the year and all were solved, robberies were down by 10.2%, and grand theft by 13.6%, he said. On the other hand, organized crime was up by 11.6% and human trafficking by 37.1%.

He said 889 traffickers were arrested, almost 200 more than the year before, 69.5% more corruption crimes were reported, and 100 criminal complaints were filed for war crimes, 100% more than in 2020.

Speaking of drug seizures, Božinović mentioned 1.1 tonnes of marijuana, 745 kilos of cocaine, 257 kilos of heroin, and 367 kilos of synthetic drugs. He congratulated the Dubrovnik police on the seizure of more than 60 kilos of cocaine and 220 kilos of heroin.

"In order to keep and improve such results, we must be aware that only an adaptable system can deal with the challenges of the future, so our intention is for police organization to follow the real security needs of local communities."

More people at the operational level, less in administration

The reorganization focuses on increasing police operation at all levels, higher visibility in the streets, more people in operations, and less in administration, the minister said.

He said this was the first integral reorganization of the General Police Directorate before Croatia joined the Schengen Area.

An important part of the reorganization is increasing the efficacy of special and riot police in high-risk crises such as terror threats, hostage situations, and migration crises, Božinović said.

The minister said the reorganization did not mean that citizens would lose any of the services they had had until now and that there would be no new hiring, as a result of which HRK 1.6 million would be saved.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

PM Comments on Energy Price Hikes, Gov't Measures

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a government session on Thursday that the entire Europe had been affected by an increase in energy prices.

The average rise in electricity prices until November 2021 in the EU was 27% and the price of natural gas for households grew by 40%, he said.

Croatia has been an exception and that fact should be respected. It is primarily owing to measures that have been taken to cap fuel prices as well as the mechanisms at the government's disposal, thanks to which the price hikes have not been felt in Croatia during the current heating season, Plenković said.

He repeated that in the country prices of electricity and natural gas would not go up until 1 April and the end of the heating season, adding that the government was regularly analyzing the situation and that a few weeks ago it started preparing legislative changes to prevent drastic price hikes.

The PM said that in the weeks to come the government would take further steps to alleviate the impact of price increases, using all tools available, such as VAT reduction, vouchers, etc, while taking care that macroeconomic stability was maintained.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Croatia's Industrial Producer Prices Rise for 10th Straight Month

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - Croatia's industrial producer prices increased by 16% in December 2021 compared with the same month in 2020, rising for the tenth month in a row year on year, according to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS).

The rise began in March, when it reached 3.5%, after which it intensified to 5.8% in April, 7.6% in May, 7.2% in June, 7.9% in July, 9.3% in August, 12.1% in September and 16.4% in October. In November it hit a new record high of 16.6%.

December's industrial producer prices rose 0.4% compared to November 2021.

The growth in industrial producer prices was on the back of energy price hikes. In December,  producer prices of energy on the Croatian market soared 57.6% on the year.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Beroš: More Hospitalized COVID Patients in Areas with Lower Levels of Vaccination

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - Health Minister Vili Beroš told the cabinet on Thursday that in the past 24 hours, 46.28% of those tested proved positive to the novel coronavirus and that areas with low levels of immunisation showed a higher number of hospitalised COVID patients. 

The number of hospitalised patients has increased along the entire coast and KBC Split is experiencing the biggest pressure. The Križine hospital has opened yet another COVID ward and 18 nurses from other institutions have been assigned to the hospital, said Beroš.

The situation in the Zadar General Hospital has also deteriorated. The highest number of COVID patients is present in Split, Zagreb and Rijeka.

To date, 4.9 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered and 642,406 people have received an additional shot.

District nurse services have contacted 1,611 elderly citizens this week and 643, or 40% have agreed to get vaccinated.

Fourth and fifth waves have overlapped

Beroš said that testing in health institutions is being stepped up, adding that the only logical modus operandi was for the primary health care services to take on testing and a decision in that regard would be made today.

"The fourth and fifth waves have overlapped, as have the Delta and Omicron variants. It is expected that the highest pressure in the days to come will be where the inoculation rate is lower," he said.

Currently, there are 53,051 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Croatia, plus 22,000 citizens who are self-isolating.

Epidemiologists expect the Omicron variant will infect the majority of the population, but those who have been vaccinated will experience only mild symptoms while those who haven't are more likely to develop grave symptoms and possibly fatal outcomes, the health minister said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

EHF Euro 2022: Croatia Falls to France 22:27 in First Match of Group C

January 13, 2022 - The Croatia men's handball team fell to France 22:27 in the first match of Group C at the EHF Euro 2022 in Szeged.

The Croatia men's handball team met France in its first match in Group C at the European Championship, which is being held in Hungary and Slovakia. Coach Hrvoje Horvat led the team in Szeged, Hungary, where they had Croatian support from the stands.

Croatia entered this championship with many changes caused by the coronavirus. Luka Cindrić and Marino Marić did not play in tonight's match as their negative COVID-19 tests did not arrive in time. They are expected to be ready against Serbia in two days.

Croatia started with Mandić and Čupić on the wings, Šipić as the pivot, Jaganjac on the left, Gadža in the center, and Martinović on the right. Pesic started in goal. 

Recap

France scored the first goal to lead in the 50th second of the match. Martinovic scored Croatia's first goal for 1:1 in the 2nd minute. 

France led 1:3 in the 4th minute and it was 1:4 for France in the 5th. Mandic came back for 2:4 moments later. It was 2:5 for France in the 7th and 2:6 for France a minute later. 

After Croatia's missed opportunities, France led 2:7 in the 9th. Cupic finally scored for 3:7 Croatia in the 11th minute. 

A brilliant save by Pesic in the 12th minute kept Croatia in the game. Gadza scored for 4:7 in the 15th minute. 

It was 4:9 for France before Croatia made it 5:9 in the 19th. Pesic made an incredible save for a Croatia counter in the 20th for 6:9. 

Cupic scored from 7-meters for 7:10 in the 22nd minute. Croatia picked up the momentum as the first half came to a close, taking advantage of France's mistakes. Martinovic scored for 8:10 in the 23rd. 

It was 8:12 for France with 4 minutes to go. Cupic scored from 7 meters again for -3 (9:12). 

Mandic made it 10:12 with less than two minutes left in the first half.  Sipic scored for 11:13 going into halftime. 

France opened the second half with a goal in the 31st for 11:14, and it was 11:15 in the 32nd.

Sipic scored for 12:15 which was followed by a France penalty for 12:16. Martinovic scored for 13:16 in the 36th. Susnja scored for 14:17 a minute later. 

Sipic scored for 15:18 in the 40th. Susnja scored his second goal for 16:19 in the 42nd. Cupic scored for 7 meters for 17:20 a minute later. 

Lucin scored on a counter for -2 (18:20) and again for 19:21 in the 46th minute. Mandic was excluded with a red and blue card in the 46th minute which changed the dynamic of the game.

France scored from 7 meters for 19:22. Cupic scored from 7 meters for 20:23 with 7 minutes to go. Cupic scored again for 21:25 with 4 minutes on the clock.

Lucin made it 22:25 with two minutes left.  The match ended 22:27 for France. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.  

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Croatia's Weekly COVID-19 Caseload Highest Since Start of Pandemic

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - In the past seven days, there have been over 48,600 new cases of infection with coronavirus in Croatia, which is the highest weekly caseload since the outbreak of the pandemic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told his cabinet on Thursday.

This is twice as high as two weeks ago, he added.

The COVID-related death toll exceeds 13,000.

"This fact is important to highlight against the backdrop of the slowing daily rate of inoculation. From early March to the end of May 2021, 1.14 million persons were given a shot. Since then, less than a million have been given the first dose," the premier said.

Commenting on vaccine hesitancy, Plenković said that it was detrimental to unvaccinated people, particularly those who had caught the virus and died of the infection.

Better protection against the virus can be ensured provided there is a combination of higher vaccination rates, booster doses, and compliance with COVID protocols, he said, adding that the government had made sure that there were enough amounts of vaccines for all.

He reiterated the importance of immunization in light of the fast spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Croatia has logged 9,157 new COVID cases and 23 related deaths in the past 24 hours, with the latest infections putting the number of active cases at 55,500, the national COVID-19 response team said earlier today.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Pensioners' Union Against COVID Mandatory Vaccination for Over-65s

ZAGREB, 13 Jan 2022 - The Pensioners' Trade Union (SUH) said on Thursday that it was against making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for citizens above the age of 65.

The SUH union issued a press release on this topic today after Health Minister Vili Beroš said two days ago that the authorities were considering the possibility of introducing mandatory vaccination against coronavirus for senior citizens since the COVID mortality rate is higher in older age cohorts.

The average age of the deceased whose death is connected with the coronavirus infection is 76.2 in Croatia, and therefore the minister believes that mandatory inoculation should be introduced for older citizens.

However, the vaccination rate of Croatians aged above 60 is relatively high: 78.5%. On the other hand, only Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia Latvia and Estonia in the EU have lower vaccination rates in these age cohorts in comparison to Croatia, the union says.

SUH called on the authorities to refrain from any coercive measures for senior citizens.

The mandatory vaccination will be an act of discrimination based on age, the union says, adding that it holds that it is the right of every individual to choose inoculation and the type of vaccine, with full responsibility for one's own health and for the protection of the health of other citizens.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

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