Monday, 24 April 2023

Famous Split Bellevue Hotel Has New Owners - The Split Company Retoi

April the 24th, 2023 - The cult Split Bellevue Hotel now has brand new owners, the Retoi company, which is also from Croatia's second largest city and has close ties to... shoes.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the brand new owner of the well known Split Bellevue Hotel is the company Retoi, which is also from Split, and which offered a massive price of 14,111,111 euros for it. The company is owned by Alex Birkenstock, who also owns the renovated Ambasador Hotel in Split.

Bids were initially opened at the Commercial Court in Split on Friday, and Retoi offered the highest among the six bids received. The company Rico Coca offered 13,100,000 euros, and Ruzarija from Zagreb had a total offer of 13,130,000 euros.

The company Tu doma submitted two identical offers of 9,109,000 euros, Porto Hvar offered 8,008,008 euros, and Mediteran trade offered 7,423,002 euros. Klaus Alex Birkenstock, one of the world's largest shoe manufacturers, otherwise the owner of the huge Birkenstock brand, bought the equipment and furniture of the hotel with the Laurus building, including 23 works of art that decorate its walls, writes Vecernji list.

The Split Bellevue Hotel was sold in the bankruptcy estate of Laurus, and the lowest total price could not be lower than 7,167,031.65 euros. All bidders also had to pay a 2 million euro bond.

This complex is otherwise one of the oldest Croatian hotels in the most prestigious location in the City of Split. It was first mentioned around 1875 under the name Hotel de la Ville. It was run by Spiridone Tocigl, and was known for its famous coffee house and medicinal baths. It has hosted numerous very notable personalities during its time.

Back at the beginning of the 20th century, J.L. Crown became the owner of the cult Split hotel and changed its name to Grand Hotel Bellevue. The first major renovation was carried out in 1933, when the hotel got heating, hot water, a lift and bathrooms next to the rooms, the greatest luxury one could thing of back at that time. Among other people, Agatha Christie, Anatole France, and Orson Welles have all stayed in the Split Bellevue Hotel.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Sunday, 23 April 2023

Marino Franinović from Pula Becomes Honorary Consul of Georgia in Croatia

April 23, 2023 - Another strengthening of diplomatic ties, as Marino Franinović from Pula is appointed Honorary Consul to the Republic of Georgia, reports Glas Istre.

Until recently, Georgia covered Hungary and Croatia from Budapest, but now we have the Embassy of Georgia in Croatia with headquarters in Zagreb and the Consulate of Georgia with headquarters in Pula and consular powers over the consular area that includes Istria and Split-Dalmatia County, Franinović reveals.

Having received the letter of appointment by which the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Ilia Darchiashvili, appointed Marin Franinović as the honorary consul of Georgia in the Republic of Croatia, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, approved Franinović's performance of the duties arising from the aforementioned letter of appointment.

- I instruct the authorized bodies of the Republic of Croatia to enable Mr. Marin Franinović to carry out his duties without hindrance, to enjoy all the rights and privileges that belong to his service and his position, and to provide him with their assistance in everything. In confirmation of this, the seal of the Republic of Croatia has been affixed, it says in the exequatur signed by President Zoran Milanović.

This is how this native of Pula with residence in Zagreb, who has been working around the world for almost two decades, officially became the honorary consul of Georgia in the Republic of Croatia. These days, we talked with Franinović about how his appointment came about, as well as about Georgia, the similarities between that country and Croatia and Istria, and the work he normally deals with.

Professional path
- First of all, someone needs to recognize the human in the human, the human values that mostly come from home upbringing, is the introduction to Franinović's answer to our first question about being appointed honorary consul.

- Live so that your parents are happy and your friends appreciate you. My brother and I were brought up in that spirit, and we should first of all thank our parents for that. However, it is necessary to return to the beginning of my international education, as well as my professional career.

I got my master's degree and completed my MBA in London, then started working for JPMorgan and a few years later ended up at the European Investment Bank based in Luxembourg, as an advisor to Vice President Vazil Hudak. It is a position that opens almost all doors in more than 160 countries of the world and on the basis of which I have made many friendships on a global scale at the highest government levels. Today, it is probably the biggest capital I own, Franinović tells us.

One of the countries where the vice president of the European Investment Bank and he made his significant professional and personal contribution is Georgia, as Franinović says, "a wonderful country of wonderful people."

- After several years of cooperation and friendship, the Government of Georgia offered me the position of honorary consul in the Republic of Croatia last February. Exactly one year later, Mr. E. Zaal Gogsadze, Ambassador of Georgia to the Republic of Croatia, solemnly handed me the exequatur of the President of the Republic of Croatia, which is also the final act of a complex diplomatic procedure.

On the same day, the Georgian ambassador to the Republic of Croatia presented his credentials to President Milanović. The Georgian ambassador was accompanied by adviser and temporary chargé d'affaires at the Embassy of Georgia George Zviadadze. Namely, until recently, Georgia covered Hungary and Croatia from Budapest, but now we have the Embassy of Georgia in Croatia with headquarters in Zagreb and the Consulate of Georgia with headquarters in Pula and consular powers over the consular area that includes Istria and Split-Dalmatia counties, says Franinović.

- If I had to describe Georgia in one single word, the right word would certainly be hospitality. What makes us return to a country and truly love it are the people and their hospitality rituals, says our interlocutor.

- Georgia has an 8,000-year-long tradition of wine production, which makes it the oldest wine region in the world. The Georgian Qvevri method of wine production is one of the world's leading methods, and this long and harmonious coexistence of clay and vines has been producing great results for centuries. In fact, Georgia and Croatia are very similar countries in many respects. There are just under four million of them and us.

Both we and they have a similar share of the tourism industry in GDP. The only difference is that they aspire to join the EU and NATO, while we already enjoy full membership. From an economic perspective, according to the criteria of the World Bank, Georgia is at the very top in terms of ease of doing business. In fact, in all rankings of the World Bank, Georgia is in the top 10 countries in the world. This is really impressive, we can learn a lot from them, especially from the perspective of digital transformation, he points out.

Economic cooperation
- In Georgia, as well as in Croatia and Istria, tourism is one of the key branches of the economy, and they invest a lot in the development of the hotel and tourism industry. This is supported by the fact that this year Georgia was the host country at ITB Berlin 2023 – the world's leading trade fair for the tourism industry. I had the honor to attend the opening together with members of the Georgian Government.

Let's also mention that the secretary general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) who inaugurated the fair in Berlin this year is exactly Zurab Pololikashvili from Georgia. We can expect it soon in Croatia, Istria and Dalmatia. As for my work in that sphere of diplomacy, I am primarily focused on strengthening the economic cooperation between the two countries. The potentials are huge. On both sides there is a whole range of companies that can find their interest.

At the invitation of the Special Adviser of the Prime Minister of Georgia for Foreign Direct Investments, Vazil Hudak, I was in London two weeks ago at the Georgia Investment Forum. There is an impressive number of companies focused on investments in Georgia, especially from Great Britain, Spain and the USA. Georgia's economy is driven by the country's stable political environment, liberal and free market economy.

This is why the country is ranked number seven in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. Georgia's economy is also twelfth in the Heritage Foundations Index of Economic Freedom and eighth in the Frazer Institute's Economic Freedom of the World report, says Franinović.

Since it is an honorary title, Franinović emphasizes that he will be able to enjoy some privileges, but he will not be paid for his work.

- As the word itself says, it is an honorary position that entails various privileges, but does not foresee compensation for work. But there is beauty and personal satisfaction in that. As I mentioned in the introduction, first of all, for this position you have to be recognized as a human being. And not by one person, but a consensus must be reached by several people, in this case members of the Government of the country that nominates you.

Therefore, some values must be recognized; first of all the human ones, and then the professional ones. Because in these cases, there is no policy, and no party membership card that would position you for such a position. By the way, this is not my first honorary function. Namely, after my mandate at the EIB, I became the ambassador of GLOBSEC, the leading organization of the European Union dedicated to strengthening security, prosperity and sustainability in Europe and the whole world. We are currently preparing for the upcoming GLOBSEC Forum in Bratislava in May 2023, which is traditionally attended by more than a thousand key stakeholders from more than 65 countries. Over the years, GLOBSEC has hosted a whole series of honorary guests of the highest world rank, including Pope Francis, says our interlocutor.

Improving relationships
Otherwise, the "core business" of the company where Marino Franinović works is based on renewable energy sources.

- I am a co-owner of a company that plays a significant role in the energy transition process of the Republic of Croatia, with a primary focus on solar energy, battery systems for storing electricity, and at the same time we are building and developing a national network of charging stations for electric vehicles. In the last 13 years, we have built more than 600 projects and have more than 80 employed experts. At the same time, I am the owner of a famous boutique hotel in Bol on Brač, about which you can read from London to New York, says Franinović.

Recently, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Goran Grlić Radman, was on an official visit to Georgia. This is the first such visit of the Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs to Georgia. Grlić Radman met with his Georgian colleague, Minister Ilija Darchiashvili, with whom he discussed continuing the intensification of political dialogue between Croatia and Georgia, as well as strengthening cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, tourism, energy and culture.

After the meeting, the ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of diplomatic training. Minister Grlić Radman welcomed the recent opening of the Georgian Embassy in Zagreb, as well as the consulate in Pula, which will surely improve our bilateral relations.

He also met with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, as well as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Levan Davitashvili, with whom he signed an agreement between the two governments on economic cooperation.

Sunday, 23 April 2023

Association of Croatian American Professionals Conference Coming to Zagreb (ACAP 2023)

April 23, 2023 - An important date for those interested in the strengthening ties between Croatia and its diaspora - ACAP 2023 (Association of Croatian American Professionals conference) is coming to Zagreb.

Wherever I look, i see shoots of hope for the future of Croatia. 

Entrepreneurs who are becoming more successful at business, a slowing down of the emigration in Osijek and surrounding area, and a much greater engagement from the Croatian diaspora with the young movers and shakers in the Homeland. Not to mention the steady trickle of those in the diaspora who have decided to return to Croatia for its safety, lifestyle and authentic experiences. You can read a number of interviews about their experiences in the TCN section, Croatian Returnee Reflections

One of the strongest bonds that has been built across the Atlantic has been with the Association of Croatian-American Professionals (ACAP), which has been doing excellent work promoting Croatia and ties to Croatia since its inception in 2014. The official website describes itself 

The Association of Croatian-American Professionals is an international network of 2,000+ professionals spanning all industries and academic communities.  Since 2014, ACAP has endeavored to connect and inspire Croatian-American professionals from the United States and around the world to exchange ideas and engage in business collaboration while preserving the cultural heritage we all hold dear to our hearts.

ACAP is a non-profit organization created to foster knowledge-sharing, networking, and promoting Croatian and Croatian-American professionals, and trade between the two. We are active in providing opportunities for professional development, promoting trade, bridging businesses and communities, and facilitating networking events. We welcome individuals of non-Croatian heritage who are active in the Croatian community.


And ACAP is coming to Zagreb! This year's ACAP 2023 conference will be held in Croatia for the first time, from July 5-8 in Zagreb, bringing together some of the heavyweights of the diaspora looking to develop more business and connections in Croatia. These include the CEO of the world-famous Cleveland Clinic, Tomislav Mihaljevic. Health tourism is a huge potential for Croatia, which boasts excellent in the field, and ACAP 2023 has made it a large focus of the event, backed by some very influential speakers in the field, including ACAP President, Dr. Steven Zivko Pavletic:

We hope you will be able to join us in Zagreb. Expectations are high and we will need your support to make this conference a full success. We hope to highlight the excellence of Croatian professionals in Zagreb with a force like never before.

More details on the July conference can be found here with the agenda and link to register


What's it like living in Croatia, and where can you get the best survival tips? TCN CEO Paul Bradbury and TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds have teamed up to publish Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.



Sunday, 23 April 2023

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from (April 23, 2023)

April 23, 2023 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency,, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

This week's top 10 jobs from

Metro Cash & Carry d.o.o. is hiring a person in the position of METRO Potentials Management Trainee Program (m/f). Place of work Zagreb. Send complete applications via link by May 4th.

Strabag BRVZ d.o.o. for services is hiring a person in the position of IT Security Analyst (m/f/d). Place of work Zagreb. You will have the opportunity to play an active role in our IT Security division and to build up the division together with the very international team, which is located in various countries and cities. Send complete applications via link by May 7th.

KWS Group is hiring a person for the position of Global Key User Finance (m/f/d). Place of work Berlin, Germany. Attractive remuneration and flexible working hours. Send complete applications via link by May 18th.

MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geräte GmbH is hiring a Software Developer (m/f/d). Place of work Innsbruck, Austria. Salary will be determined based on professional experience; the formal minimum salary according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement is € 41,691.44. Send complete applications via link by May 18th.

Sunce Hoteli d.d. / Bluesun is hiring a Junior CRM Specialist (m/f). Place of work Zagreb. Possibility of additional prizes and bonuses. Send complete applications via link by April 30th.

iC artprojekt d.o.o. employs a person in the position Graduated electrical engineer (m/f). Place of work Varaždin. The possibility of advancement and lifelong education. Send complete applications via link by April 30th.

Deltron d.o.o. is hiring a person in the position of Human Resources Coordinator (m/f). Place of work Split. We offer a great atmosphere at work, good relationships, team spirit and team cohesionSend complete applications via link by April 24, 2023.

Ziegler d.o.o., Kutina is hiring a person in the position of Program engineer - electrical engineer (m/f). Place of work Kutina and Zagreb. The possibility of constant improvement and advancement. Send complete applications via link by May 5th.

Austrian Business Agency GmbH / Work in Austria is hiring a person in the position IT employee (m/f). Place of work Austria. Send complete applications via link by April 25th.

Bridge Personal & Service d.o.o. is hiring a person in the position of Software development / Software developer (m/f). The place of work is the whole of Austria. Send complete applications via link by April 30th.

For more career options and job listings, visit


These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.


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

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

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

Saturday, 22 April 2023

Croatian OECD Entry Could Occur in 2025, but Corruption Needs Eradicating

April the 22nd, 2023 - Croatian OECD entry could occur in the year 2025 at the very earliest, but important reforms must take place and the country must deal with its endemic problems surrounding nepotism and corruption.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, six full years after sending the letter of intent and one year since the opening of negotiations with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Croatia could be admitted in 2025 at the earliest, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the recently held conference "Croatia on the way to OECD: What does membership bring?"

For the head of the government, joining the prestigious club of 38 countries, of which 22 are EU members, is the third (remaining) strategic foreign policy goal after joining the Eurozone and the Schengen area.

State companies and banks

Unlike the situation with Eurozone accession, the Croatian OECD entry process has no deadline set, and the green light depends on the rigorous evaluation of more than 20 technical committees that assess whether the candidate country, in this case Croatia, has fulfilled the reforms and aligned itself with all of the rather stringent OECD standards, policies and practices. With this in mind, it isn't remotely surprising that the Prime Minister "retained some flexibility" regarding the entry date.

"Through the guidelines and programmes of the OECD, there will be an improvement in all those segments of Croatian society that we've already brought to a very high level with EU membership, and with OECD membership, we're going to be making it even better," Plenkovic believes. Next week, he announced, the government will revise the forecasts of GDP growth this year to 2 percent, but also announce a drop in the share of public debt in GDP to 68.4 percent and last year's budget surplus to 0.4 percent.

What the prime minister sees as a special added value, a system that will improve the corporate management of companies in (co)ownership of the state, is also one of the biggest obstacles facing Croatia at this moment in time. There is considerable apparent resentment for the fact that state-owned companies are very open to political infiltration, the serial production of corruption scandals and operate inefficiently.

Earlier, it was clearly stated that, although not mandatory, the recommendations on the centralisation of state ownership, the professionalisation of management and the tidying up of the regulatory framework, represent ''aqis'' for Croatian OECD entry.

"Through the accession process, Croatia will implement numerous reforms in the field of public administration, healthcare, trade, education, agriculture, transport and the management of state-owned companies,'' assured Goran Grlic-Radman.

OECD Secretary General Matthias Cormann said that Croatian OECD accession will be a positive transformative journey as it will lead to a rise in standards and bringing income and productivity closer to the OECD average. "These aren't just formalities but will provide tangible benefits to Croatia's residents," said Cormann during his very recent visit to Zagreb.

Government proposals coming soon

In the panel discussion that followed, Finance Minister Marko Primorac asserted that the Ministry of Finance is participating in the work of nine committees, and out of five OECD questionnaires, four have been completed. He announced that he will soon come out with proposals aimed at ownership policies, portfolio management, the equalisation of salaries, as well as certain "steps in the depoliticisation of Supervisory Boards and Management Boards".

"It's certain that Croatia's membership in the OECD and the reforms which need to be carried out in order to make that happen will further contribute to easing the business environment and creating a more productive, competitive and profitable Croatia," stated HUP (Croatian Employers' Association) director Irena Weber.

''For Croatia, the benefits of OECD membership include support for reforms through the sharing of best practices, participation in global debates and support for G7 and G20 policies. All of this increases the confidence of investors, often also the credit rating,'' said Gita Kothari, Deputy Director of the Directorate for Legal Affairs of the OECD.

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

Saturday, 22 April 2023

New Osijek-Baranja County Business Centre Opens Doors in Osijek

April the 22nd, 2023 - The newly built Osijek-Baranja County business centre, one of the most strategically important centres in the entire county, has now officially opened its doors in an investment worth almost ten million euros.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the investment in the brand new Osijek-Baranja County business centre is worth a total of 9.5 million euros (71.6 million kuna), and the works and equipment were completed in less than two years from the start of construction.

With Osijek on the comeback and the battle against the concerning demographic crisis in the eastern part of the country continuing, this new and imposing economic and business complex in Slavonia will open the Spring Fair, where 170 exhibitors from across the Republic of Croatia and abroad will present themselves on more than 2,500 square metres of closed and 8,000 square metres of open exhibition space.

As part of the three-day exhibition and sales event, a number of accompanying events will be held at the newly opened Osijek-Baranja County business centre, from entertainment and promotional to professional gatherings, and products and programmes will be presented by a number of reputable companies such as the Nexe Group, Ancona Group, Saponia and more.

"The main goal of this representative project is the development of the local economy in this county, as well as across all of the eastern part of the Republic of Croatia. After the end of this first phase, phase two has also been planned. That will be the phase in which the business tower and some closed halls will be constructed, but it goes without saying that what has now been built, a facility with almost 5,000 m2 of closed space, offers the opportunity to organise various fairs and other economic activities as it is. Osijek-Baranja County is taking over the responsibility and management of this new facility," prefect Ivan Anusic announced.

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

Saturday, 22 April 2023

Croatia to be Powered Entirely by Renewable Resources by 2030?

April the 22nd, 2023 - Could the Republic of Croatia be powered entirely by renewable resources/energy by the year 2030? Some experts truly believe that this could be the case.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, by the year 2030, Croatia could get almost all of its energy from renewable sources, according to an analysis presented by the Croatian Renewable Energy Sources Association (OIEH). The investments required to reach these energy goals stand at around one billion euros annually.

Of this huge sum, 500 million euros would be needed for the construction of solar and wind power plants, 300 million for the rehabilitation, modernisation, reconstruction, replacement and digitisation of the country's transmission and distribution network elements, and 200 million for storage technologies.

The above analysis is based on detailed modeling of the evolution of electricity production and consumption and on numerous simulations of the operation of the Croatian power system in different time frames. It also suggests ways to accelerate the transformation of the power system to strengthen resistance to various crises.

According to the OIEH, which is headed by director Maja Pokrovac, based on current consumption and its growth trend, as well as the currently required import of electricity, the analysis shows a possible future energy picture for Croatia in 2030 with 100 percent renewable energy.

"The annual electricity consumption of 21 to 23 TWh per year would be met by the production of electricity mainly from solar and wind power plants in the country. In January 2030, according to this scenario, Croatia would have 2,500 MW of wind farms that produce 6 TWh of electricity per year. It would also have 2,500 MW of solar power plants that produce 3 TWh of electricity annually. We'd also develop 400 MW in the form of other projects of renewable energy sources such as biomass, biogas and geothermal power plants, which would produce 2 TWh of electricity per year," according to the OIEH. They add that in the year 2030, with the average production of hydroelectric power plants of 6344 GWh, other renewable energy sources would produce around 17 TWh, or primary energy of 42 TWh.

This is equal to the production of electricity from 4.2 million tonnes of natural gas or 3.1 million tonnes of liquefied gas, 3.6 million tonnes of oil, or 5.9 million tonnes of hard coal, which represents about 42% of the nation's current primary energy consumption. The completion of the construction of the Senj2/Kosinj hydropower system with a capacity of 412 MW is also expected by 2029, with an increase in the annual production of the Senj hydropower system by about 220 GWh.

By building new wind and solar power plants with variable production, it will be necessary to build new flexibility resources for balancing system services on the production side and consumption side by 2030. These are new reversible hydropower plants with a capacity of +600/-600 MW, annual consumption of around 2.5 TWh and production of non-renewable 1,875 TWh of electricity.

New batteries will also be needed for storage services and balancing system services. The country will also need stable and flexible electrolysers for the production of hydrogen, which would store surpluses in the system during large-scale production of hydroelectric power plants, wind power plants, and solar power plants. Of course, as the association states, an essential condition for this kind of energy picture in the year 2030 is the development of the transmission and distribution network. Special mention should be made of the development of a new double transmission line of 400 kV, transmission capacity of about 2500 MW, between Dalmatia and northwestern Croatia.

With all of the above, it would be the best scenario of the electric power development strategy in the medium term, which is based on 100% RES, and which requires large investments, but gives low operating costs (electricity prices) in terms of operation.

According to this analysis, in 2030, by categories of available energy, renewable energy sources participate with 68.7%, non-renewable with 20.2% and the Krsko nuclear power plant (which has a Croatian share of 50%) with 11%. The exchange balance is zero, that is, the electricity balance would be completely balanced. According to this scenario, Croatia would not need imports at all.

For more, check out our news section.

Saturday, 22 April 2023

Nikola Knez Presents Documentary 'Election Legitimacy - Republic of Croatia'

April the 22nd, 2023 - The award-winning American-Croatian director, producer and screenwriter Nikola Knez has presented his new documentary film called 'Election Legitimacy - Republic of Croatia', co-produced by Damir Rados.

The script was written by Dr. Natalija Kanacki and Dr. Dorothy McClellan. He has received more than 40 awards for directing since 2005, when his American filmmaking career began. His work varies from history, human rights, science, social life, technology, medicine, and sci-fi as well. 

Nikola Knez 1 by Croatian Film Institute

Nikola Knez's film examines whether the Croatian electoral process was successful or failed in guaranteeing citizens' democratic rights in a free, prosperous, transparent and productive society for thirty years since the founding of the sovereign Republic of Croatia. In this documentary, prominent Croatian political and humanitarian leaders, legal experts, and scholars are interviewed in a revealing and honest manner about the following key issues:

- Is the electoral process able to select leaders who act in the true interests of the people rather than those of the political elite?

- Does the electoral process produce policies that win public support and create a mandate that governments enforce?

- Is the electoral process characterised by broad the participation of citizens who enjoy political freedom?

- Can politicians and leaders of political parties be held accountable for their actions?

Nikola Knez 3a by Croatian Film Institute

There is no doubt that electoral law is one of the most crucial aspects of Croatia's aspirations for a democratic and just future. In this documentary, respected ladies and gentlemen share their perspectives on Croatia's electoral law: Vice Vukojević, Vladimir Šeks, Dr. Željka Markić, Prof. Ph.D. Joseph Jurčević, Dr. Natalija Kanački, Ph.D. Tomislav Jonjić, assistant professor, Ph.D. Stjepan Šterc, Ph.D. Davorka Budimir, Ph.D. Andrej Grubišić, Ph.D. Hrvoje Pende, Karlo Novosel and Đuro Vidmarović.

Nikola Knez 6 by Croatian Film Institute

On the Croatian Film Institute's website, you can see this film and read more about Nikola Knez's work. The Croatian version is also available while the Spanish and German versions of the film are being prepared.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.


Friday, 21 April 2023

Hajduk Juniors Beat AC Milan for Historic UEFA Youth League Final (3-1)

April 21, 2023 - The Hajduk Juniors side made Croatian football history tonight, beating AC Milan 3-1 in the UEFA Youth League semi-final! The young Hajduk side will play in the final on Monday against AZ Alkmaar. 

Hajduk was the first Croatian club to reach the semi-finals of the Youth Champions League and the first Croatian club to reach the semi-finals of any UEFA competition since Hajduk's seniors played in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in the 1983/1984 season. Tonight, they continued to write history. 

On their way to the UEFA Youth League finals, Hajduk knocked out football giants including Shakhtar, Manchester City, and Borussia Dortmund.

The UEFA Youth League finals are usually played at the Colovray Sports Center in Nyon, the headquarters of UEFA. This year, due to the extremely high interest of the participating clubs, the games were held at the FC Servette stadium in Geneva.

Earlier today, AZ Alkmaar beat Sporting Lisbon on penalties for a spot in the final. 


Hajduk: Buljan, Đolonga, Jurić-Petrašilo, Vušković, Š. Hrgović, Pukštas, Kavelj, Skoko, Vrcić, Antunović, Brajković

Milan: Nava, Bozzolan, Nsiala-Makengo, Coubis, Casali, Stalmach, Eletu, Zeroli, Cuenca, El Hilali, Sia

Match report

Both sides played cautiously for the first 15 or so minutes, though Hajduk had better chances. Vrcic just missed a great ball in the box from Pukstas in the 18th minute. Milan finally showed up in the 38th minute and began pressing Hajduk's defense, but Hajduk reacted well with counterattacks. The first half ended 0-0. 

Everything changed in the second half. A quick goal from Vrcic in the 51st minute put Hajduk ahead, followed by a stunning header into the goal by Pukstas in the 69th. Hrgovic made it 3-0 for the Split club just 7 minutes later! 

While the winner was all but confirmed at this point, Milan did find the back of the next in the 83rd minute, and Hajduk goalkeeper Buljan had to make some stellar saves to make sure that didn't happen again. 

With five minutes of stoppage time added, Milan had no luck, and Hajduk advanced to their historic UEFA Youth League final on Monday!  

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

Friday, 21 April 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - EU, OECD, USKOK, HDZ and Other Abbreviations

April the 21st, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've seen HDZ still being chosen as the favourite on the political scene, Croatia's WWII past has been revisited once again, and two big names from the OECD and the EU have paid visits to Zagreb.

A new survey has revealed that HDZ is still the favourite among voters, for some reason

As Index reports, just how much the constant turbulence within the weird world of Croatian politics really affects the popularity of the main actors on the ''stage'' was checked in HRT's recently carried out HRating. This monthly survey included 1,100 respondents, with the largest possible error being +/- 3.54%, and the reliability standing at 95%. This data was collected from April the 14th to the 18th, 2023.

No event or situation has yet appeared within Croatian politics that would quicken the pulse of the Croatian voter and change their long standing political sympathies. Remarkable, I know. The survey proves that - the months go by, the surveys are taken, but everything remains the same. This "same" means that HDZ is still somehow the favourite of the Croatian voter. Followed by... you guessed it! SDP.

Along with HDZ and SDP, only three other parties managed to cross the electoral threshold

The strongest among them - Mozemo! (We Can!), is close to 10%. It is followed by Most (Bridge) with the support of 9% of the country's voters. Domovinski pokret (Homeland Movement) concludes this group of five safe parliamentary parties. This month it is at 6%. From the "powerless" crowd for whom the parliamentary mandate should be just a fiction, the party headed by the mayor of Split jumps out - and Centar (Centre) is currently at 3.4% and its rating is currently stable.

All the others, and there are still 13 of them in the survey, may as well not even really exist. They stand little to zero chances of making it into any sort of powerful political position in Croatia as a single constituency unless some big changes occur. These are: HSS and Radnicka fronta (Workers' front) which tie in terms of their voter support, followed by Fokus (Focus) and Hrvatski suverinisti (Croatian sovereignists).

At a recently held government session, Plenkovic spoke about Jasenovac and claims that the behaviour of some MPs isn't acceptable

At the most recently held session of the Croatian Government, the decision on granting prior consent and the decision on granting a state guarantee for long term credit to the company Hrvatske ceste/Croatian roads were on the agenda. That consent and credit would be given in order order to finance ongoing projects and the company's business plan this year. The opening speech at the session was delivered by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.

"The Ston ring road is very well made, it's an extremely valuable strategic project for Croatia," he began, before also referring to the latest assessment by the Fitch agency, which confirmed Croatia's BBB+ rating. "They recognise the direction we're going in, as well as the reform efforts and resistance to the crisis we've shown. We can also see that our trend is going better than planned, and that inflation is decreasing," Plenkovic said, adding that OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann had paid a recent visit to the country.

"This is an organisation that has very, very high standards, both in combating corruption and in numerous sectors, so we'll further stimulate our reform process with activities related to the OECD. For us, it's the last step for Croatia's international positioning," Plenkovic added.

The Prime Minister condemned some opposition MPs and their apparently "unacceptable" behaviour

He referred to the recent chaos in parliament which unfolded during the debate on amendments to the law on offenses against public order and peace. To quickly remind you, it was especially stormy when the discussion started about the greeting "Za dom spremni'' (Ready for the homeland), which is generally deemed an "Ustasa" phrase with Nazi connotations and for which an individual could be fined up to 4000 euros for using. Of course, the history behind that phrase is deeper than just "It was used during the brief period of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and so it must be banned'' but we won't get into the ins and outs of that (or any connotations with the Homeland War) in this article.

"We consider the performances and statements of individual members of parliament yesterday to be inappropriate, and we believe that this is unacceptable, especially the aggressive approach that was directed towards the president of the parliament (Goran Jandrokovic)," said Plenkovic.

This Sunday, a joint commemoration will be held at the location where the Jasenovac concentration camp stood, where representatives of Jewish municipalities will also be present, who in previous years refused to come because they were dissatisfied with the government's attitude towards Croatia's position during WWII and the Ustasa regime in general.

"We're glad that this year, the Council of the Jewish Municipality of Zagreb and the Coordination of Jewish Municipalities in Croatia will also respond to the invitation of the Director of the Public Institution of the Jasenovac Memorial Area to participate in the commemoration,'' concluded Plenkovic.

Is the new Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime's new boss going to be the woman put ex PM Ivo Sanader behind bars?

Zeljka Mostecak, the deputy chief state attorney, has been mentioned as a potential new director of the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) after the departure of Vanja Marusic, reports

To be clear, we're talking about a female prosecutor who has many years of experience under her belt and who was the main prosecutor in some of the most famous cases related to corruption in independent Croatia. Mostecak was, it should be mentioned, the main prosecutor in the very well known Fimi Media affair, a multi-year proceeding that led to the final conviction of former PM Ivo Sanader (HDZ) and seeing him banged up.

It should also be noted that HDZ itself was actually convicted in that case, but as a legal entity. For that case, Mostecak received the prestigious state attorney's award. Mostecak was also a prosecutor in a series of cases arising from the Fima Media affair, including the HAC affair. Before Mostecak worked at DORH, she was the main prosecutor in the HAC-Remorker affair. Former HDZ Minister of Transport and Mayor of Zadar Bozidar Kalmeta was also accused of wrongdoing in that affair.

Kalmeta was acquitted of sharing over 15 million kuna and 850,000 euros from road maintenance and construction companies with his associates. Three of Kalmeta's co-accused were found guilty.

The former minister was also acquitted of part of the indictment according to which he damaged the Ministry of Transport for 600,000 kuna by ordering the promotional film "The Transport Renaissance of Croatia" from the marketing agency Fimi Media. The company was tried for filling HDZ's ''black fund'' with money from various state companies and institutions.

The Commissioner for Internal Market of the European Union, Thierry Breton, visits Zagreb

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic received the Commissioner for the EU's Internal Market, Thierry Breton, in Zagreb this week. The pair discussed the state and ongoing development of the Croatian economy, the consequences of Russian aggression against Ukraine on the supply of energy sources across Europe, and the strengthening of the European defense industry as a whole.

Plenkovic explained to Breton that the Croatian economy is fully expected to grow more rapidly in 2023 than the initial expectations of the government, the European Commission and other international organisations initially predicted. They both also emphasised the need for continued military aid to Ukraine. The Prime Minister made sure to bring it up to the commissioner that Croatia offers the potential of energy support to its neighbouring countries by expanding the LNG terminal on Krk from 2.9 to 6.1 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

Plenkovic and Breton both expressed their ongoing sympathy and firm support for Ukraine as Russian attacks continue, both believing in the very pressing need for continued military aid being sent over to Ukraine. It was precisely in this context that they also discussed the production of ammunition for Ukraine, the overall security of the European Union and taking measures to increase the production capacity of the European defense industry, as touched on above.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Secretary General, Mathias Cormann, visits Zagreb as Croatia edges closer to membership

As Novi list writes, the OECD's Secretary General paid a visit to Zagreb recently, and he had nothing but praise for Plenkovic's government in its swift and fruitful responses to all sorts of issues we're currently facing in this economically unfavourable climate.

''For now, the Croatian Government is reacting very quickly and efficiently, and I have no reason to doubt that this will continue,'' said Mathias Cormann.

The HRT team spoke with OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann, and he talked about the areas will he focus on when it comes to implementing reforms and whether or not Croatia's accession process can be completed in two years.

''We cover the entire spectrum of economic, social, environmental, and public order. So, from competition, public management, the fight against corruption to environmental protection standards, agricultural policy, and trade. We review the entire spectrum of public order in order to assess Croatian practices, legislation and policies and assess how far they are already aligned with the OECD standards or to what extent further reforms are needed to improve either policies or practices,'' said Mathias Cormann.

When it comes to what sort of key reforms Croatia needs to implement to improve, Cormann said that this is an ongoing process, and that this isn't really a political procedure but a technical review. What we do know is that there are 25 OECD policy committees with experts from 38 member states that will review all Croatian legislative policies and practices in the economy and society and assess their alignment with the proper standards.

 ''At the end of that process, they will recommend what improvements should be made. I can get back to you at that point so we can talk about it,'' Cormann stated, adding: ''I will say that Croatia is obviously very committed. It's progressing as fast as it can to meet all the conditions it needs to,''

 The Croatian Government ambitiously mentions a deadline of two years for OECD membership, but can these goals be achieved in two years? Cormann says there's no time frame.

''I say we're making progress as fast as we can, but it will take whatever amount of time it takes. This is a thorough and very serious procedure. Ultimately, it depends on how quickly the government provides the requested information and how quickly the government and parliament introduces the necessary reforms to implement all of the recommendations. For now, the Croatian Government is reacting very quickly and efficiently, and I have no reason to doubt that this will continue. But it is very difficult to determine the time frame,'' he concluded.

For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section and keep an eye out for our Week in Croatian Politics articles which are published every Friday.

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