Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Garden Brewery Building New Premises, Planning Asian Expansion

December the 1st, 2021 - The much loved Garden Brewery is ready to construct a brand new, larger facility and plan their expansion to the distant Asian market.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, with an Advent programme they organised for the month of December, the Croatian craft brewery Garden Brewery is saying goodbye to the facility where they've brewed beer and hosted many events in the first five years of their business.

They're also building a new, significantly larger brewery in Zagreb's Zitnjak area, which will enable them to triple their production and become the largest craft brewery in the region and one of the leading ones in all of Europe, as well as strengthen their exports with the expansion to the Asian market.

The completion and relocation of their production facilities and the Zagreb Brewery to a brand new location is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2022, with installed capacities of 35,000 hectolitres and significantly increased capacity of the retail location.

Zagreb Brewery Director Tom O’Hara explained that with constant growth, the craft brewery has simply outgrown its current location. “In the last two years, our production team has done a really great job because we've had to exceed our capacities, but even that wasn't enough. This year, due to insufficient capacity, we had to give up work, missing out on an additional 30 percent of traffic. There were times when I had to tell the sales team not to actively sell anything. It was an unsustainable situation that needed to be addressed. We've considered several options for continuing to expand at our current location, but we've come to the conclusion that we need to start from scratch,'' explained O’Hara.

Although the continuation of monetary expansion and consequent inflationary pressures, along with the bursting of supply chains, marked the third quarter of this year, in 2021, Garden Brewery continued to record record growth in both revenue and operating profit.

The report for the first 9 months of 2021 states that The Garden Brewery Group, consisting of The Bird (brewery), Yellow Submarine (burgers) and Lula (festival business), generated total revenue of 89 million kuna (twice as much as in 2020) with an operating profit of 16.2 million kuna.

The growth of the craft beer segment stood at an impressive 51.24 percent, and thanks to the completion of the digitisation process, they had 27.8 million kuna in revenue from online sales. According to the Group's report, the aforementioned investment will enable a further step into foreign markets and the possibility of negotiating significantly larger contracts. Garden Brewery's expansion will be financed by a combination of their own funds and favourable credit indebtedness. They don't want to reveal the amount of the investment yet.

“We're building a facility that will, we hope, stand the test of time for the next ten years. We're also investing a lot in our production and sales space, primarily to create a craft brewery that will stand out as one of the best in Europe. Our sales space will provide a user experience that will be completely unique for this region and it will also be a great advertisement for Zagreb,'' O’Hara revealed.

In terms of size, Garden Brewery is still a mid-range craft brewery, but after expansion they want to be the largest craft brewery in the region of Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, and in the upper rank of craft breweries in Europe, where they have already established themselves as one of the important players in this blossoming business.

Capacity expansion also creates new opportunities for exports, and Garden Brewery currently exports to over 30 different markets. In Asia, they currently sell to China, Malaysia and the Emirates. The Croatian domestic market accounts for close to 30 percent of their revenue, which they plan to maintain next year, which means additional growth.

“Our strategy for Asia for next year is to grow these markets with the opening of additional ones such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and India. Depending on the pandemic, we hope to move in that direction. Although these are remote markets and sometimes they present a logistical challenge for sales, we believe we've only scratched the surface of what we're capable of there,'' concluded O’Hara.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Only 11% of Labour Force Works Remotely, Yet This Percentage Can Rise to 34%

ZAGREB, 30 November, 2021 - About 11% of the workforce works remotely yet 34% could be teleworking in Croatia, it was said at a roundtable discussion as part of DEVOTE, in Osijek on Tuesday.

DEVOTE (Development of Teleworking Future) was organised by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), oil industry unions and the Norwegian employers' association NHO.

Even in the pandemic 2020 year, when remote working became more typical, there was 3% who constantly worked remotely and 8% occasionally, which is a total of 11% of Croatia's workforce, it was said.

Calculations were presented which indicate how many potential jobs or employees could work remotely. In Europe, that percentage is 37% whereas in Croatia it could be 34%.

"We have 11% who worked remotely and 34% who could, in theory, do so," chief economist at HUP and DEVOTE project leader, Iva Tomić said.

She added that during the coronavirus crisis and lockdown, one of the significant ways to preserve jobs was remote work in fact.

Tomić claimed that the legislative framework is fairly rigid and unclear and HUP proposes a special mechanism for teleworking, which could be permanent for companies who opt for this type of work or temporary if that is a better option.

"One way to attract workers, now when there is a shortage on the labour market in Croatia, is remote work. Employers need to be enabled the simplest and most flexible legislative solutions so that this form of work can be provided to mutual satisfaction for employers and workers but also to bring us closer to European practise," underscored Tomić.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

€520,000 Project to Ensure All Residents of Lekenik have Access to Books

ZAGREB, 30 November, 2021 - A HRK 3.9 million EU project aimed at promoting reading and reading competences was presented on Tuesday in the municipality of Lekenik, where book vans will be introduced to provide access to books for roughly 6,000 people in 18 communities within the municipality.

The project will be implemented by the Lekenik Public Library in partnership with the local authorities, the Pet Plus association and the Agency of Local Democracy, based in Sisak.

The library's director, Marija Hlupić, said during the presentation that apart from the funding secured from the European Social Fund, the Croatian Culture Ministry has allocated HRK 580,000 (€77,300) for this two-year project.

In addition to the book vans that will bring books o the scattered communities, other activities such as workshops and cultural events will also take place in Lekenik under this project, and admission to them will be free for users.

The book vans will operate every working day and will visit all communities.

Mayor Ivica Perović welcomed the project as interesting.

The municipality is located about 35 kilometres southeast of Zagreb and covers an area of 220 square kilometres.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Medved: Serbia Not Cooperating in Search for Missing from Homeland War

ZAGREB, 30 November, 2021 - Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved on Tuesday warned about the issue of persons unaccounted-for since the Homeland War and criticised Serbia for failing to provide information on the missing.

"We informed the parliamentary committee of all our activities, achievements, challenges and difficulties we are faced with. The fundamental condition for efficiency is the Law on Missing Persons from the Homeland War which was adopted in 2019 and locating the latest mass grave site near Bobta has shown results," Medved told reporters after a meeting of the parliamentary War Veterans Committee.

He added that since 2016 to date, the remains of 144 war victims have been located and exhumed while and 197 victims whose corpses have been exhumed have been identified.

He recalled that a few days ago a large mass grave was found in Bobota near Vukovar with the remains of at least 11 people. We will continue to inform the committee of any further developments, he said.

 At least 11 victims in Bobota mass graves, maybe more, DNA analysis to be made

In reference to the mass grave unearthed in Bobota, Medved said that he could say with certainty that the remains of at least 11 people were found, adding that there could be more.

We need to wait for DNA analyses and I believe that we will be able to identify those people very quickly and call their families to take over the remains of their loved ones, he added.

He could not confirm whether the remains found were civilians and repeated that it was necessary to wait for the DNA results.

In addition to the activities by the Veterans' Affairs Ministry on the mass grave in Bobota, the Interior Ministry and State Attorney's Office (DORH) are implementing procedures in this regard, which is obviously a war crime, he underscored.

Medved said that there were two more locations in Vukovar-Srijem County being prepared for test excavations. He added that to date, 99 locations had been investigated in that eastern county.

"I once again appeal to anyone who in public or personally have come to certain information, to share it with the relevant bodies. They are obliged by law to submit any information they have," said Medved, and he ensured the confidentiality of the source's identity who provided information on the missing from the Homeland War.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Conflict of Interest Commission Euthanised, says Opposition

ZAGREB, 30 November, 2021 - Opposition parties on Tuesday criticised a bill on the Conflict of Interest Commission, claiming it will euthanise the body, while the ruling HDZ party rejected the claims, with Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica saying the commission will remain independent.

The Commission will remain an independent and anti-corruption body with new mechanisms and extended scope of activities, Minister Ivan Malenica said in the Sabor.

The Opposition, however, thinks differently, with MP Nikola Grmoja (Bridge) saying that the bill was full of "legislative diluter", its sole purpose being to get rid of the commission . That is no surprise considering that the majority of independent institutions are under the control of Andrej Plenković, said Grmoja.

Grmoja noted that the bill was being discussed amid a scandal involving the State Attorney's Office (DORH), "which proves the government is connected by an umbilical cord with DORH which has turned a blind eye to protect Plenković's friend Gabi," a reference to former regional development minister Gabrijela Žalac.

SDP: Commission will be reduced to ordinary bureaucratic body 

The Conflict of Interest Commission was one of the most successful independent bodies and the HDZ now wants to euthanise it and reduce it to the level of an ordinary bureaucratic body that will deal with declarations of assets, said Peđa Grbin (SDP).

Sandra Benčić (Green-Left Bloc) underscored that the bill eliminates the possibility of preventing conflict of interest and leaves unresolved the issue of political corruption, citing in that context the recent ruling against the HDZ.

Kruno Katičić (HDZ) described the Opposition's remarks as across-the-board, incorrect criticism.

"I consider claims that this is an attempt to euthanise the Commission and prevent it to apply the provision on the breach of general principles (of conduct for office-holders) as incorrect, Katičić said, adding that the bill would make it possible to "apply the principles in line with the legal force of the legal principle contained in any legal act," said Katičić.

Minister Malenica underscored that the bill aligns rules on conflict of interest with international standards and recommendations by GRECO and the European Commission and that it significantly expands the circle of office-holders obliged to submit declarations of assets and that the 'cooling-off' period is being extended from 12 to 18 months after leaving office.

Declarations will also have to be submitted once a year by 30 January for the current year and will contain detailed activities conducted two years prior to taking up office.

Procedures should be faster and the Commission will be able to penalise officials who do not submit the requested information, he said.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Ministry says has No Information on Investigation in Zalac Software Case

ZAGREB, 30 November, 2021 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak said on Tuesday, in a comment on a corruption scandal involving former Regional Development and EU Funds Minister, Gabrijela Žalac, that she has no information on the course of the investigation in the case.

Asked at what moment she had contacted the USKOK anti-corruption office, Tramišak said that at the handover of duties by her predecessor Marko Pavić, she had been told that the State Attorney's Office and USKOK were conducting certain preliminary investigations.

"This was followed by certain notifications to the Ministry, which cooperated with the state institutions and made certain documents available at their request," she said, adding that she did not know the content of the documents in question nor did she research them.

Asked if prosecutorial authorities had contacted her with any feedback, Tramišak said that her ministry did not have any such information and should also not have it.

Asked if she believed that State Attorney Zlata Hrvoj Šipek should stay in office, Tramišak said that she was not the person that question should be put to.

The minister said that her ministry continued to do its primary job of EU funds absorption competently and professionally, pointing to an increase in the rate of utilisation of EU funds.

Former Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac was arrested in an operation initiated by the European Public Prosecutor's Office on the suspicion that she awarded to her friend an overpaid job of procuring software for her ministry, which was paid for mostly with EU money.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Netherlands Refusing to Confirm Croatia's Admission to Schengen: Vecernji List

ZAGREB, 30 November, 2021 - The Netherlands does not want to consent to Croatia's accession to the Schengen area of passport-free movement because it has a caretaker government, the Večernji List daily says in its Tuesday issue.

The Slovenian EU Presidency has put conclusions on Croatia's readiness to join the Schengen area on the tentative agenda of the next meeting of EU ministers of the interior but the daily has learned from unofficial sources that the Netherlands is signalling that it may not be ready to support a decision to that effect.

The conclusions in question do not constitute a final decision on Croatia's admission to Schengen but are the penultimate step. With the conclusions in question, the Council of the EU confirms in writing what the European Commission has already stated, namely that Croatia has met all the technical requirements for entry to the passport-free travel area.

The final political decision is yet to be made. It will be a special decision of the Council, adopted after the Council consults with the European Parliament. That political decision, however, cannot be made if the conclusions have not been adopted. The Slovenian government plans to have this done before the end of its presidency on 31 December, when EU presidency is taken over by France.

However, according to unofficial sources, at a meeting of the COREPER (Permanent Representatives Committee), the Netherlands expressed reservations on the matter even before a more detailed debate has been launched.

Its representatives justified this with the fact that the Netherlands currently has a caretaker government, which is why it would prefer not having to make a decision on such a sensitive matter.

The Dutch went to the polls in March this year and negotiations on a new ruling coalition are still underway. This is a record long period of talks on government formation in the history of Dutch democracy.

A Dutch source confirmed that the country's position on the expansion of the Schengen area had always been one of the more critical and cautious, notably regarding respect for fundamental rights at the borders that should become the new external borders of the Schengen area.

Asked about the country's current position on the specific issue of conclusions that would be adopted in December and confirm Croatia's readiness to join the Schengen area, the source said that there is no final position and that it is still being worked on, the daily said.

Another source, familiar with closed-door talks in the Council of the EU, has said that the Dutch are showing good will and sincerely want to help and cooperate with the Slovenian Presidency to reach a consensus on the adoption of the conclusions, the daily says. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Happy Holidays: 70 KLM Split and Zagreb Flights from Amsterdam this December

December 1, 2021 - The latest flight news to Croatia as 70 KLM Split and Zagreb flights will run this December!

Dutch KLM will continue to operate daily between Amsterdam and Zagreb in December, and due to increased demand around Christmas and New Year, KLM will resume traffic between Split and Amsterdam just like last winter, reports Croatian Aviation.

KLM planes will land at Zagreb Airport every day in December. Two flights a day have been announced, with only one daily flight announced for December 26. 

The morning departure from Zagreb to Amsterdam is mainly made with an E175 aircraft with 88 seats. Around Christmas, a larger aircraft, E190, was announced. In addition, E190 aircraft with 100 seats were announced for the afternoon rotation from Zagreb to Amsterdam. From December 6 to 17, smaller E175 aircraft will also be used on this rotation. In the second half of the month, 100 seats per direction will be available again on the afternoon flight.

KLM will operate 40 return flights with E175 aircraft to Zagreb (7,040 seats) and 21 return flights with E190 aircraft (4,200 seats) in December, offering 11,240 seats.

KLM aircraft will return to Split Airport in the second half of December. Flights have been announced for Christmas and New Year. In December, 6 return flights were announced, three with B737-700 aircraft and three with B737-800 aircraft. KLM will offer 1,968 seats between Split and Amsterdam in December and additional seats available at the beginning of January next year.

After introducing the second daily flight to Zagreb, KLM is the dominant carrier, and a relatively large number of passengers choose the services of this airline to travel between the two cities and continue traveling to other destinations in Europe and the world. 

The Croatian national airline, Croatia Airlines, continues to operate daily between Amsterdam and Zagreb. Flights from Zagreb take off in the morning upon the arrival of planes from Sarajevo, Split, and Dubrovnik, so it is possible to continue the journey from these cities to the capital of the Netherlands.

According to available information, Croatia Airlines will operate most of its flights in December with A319 aircraft. A smaller DashQ400 aircraft was announced on only two dates - December 1 and December 8. In addition to KLM, Croatia Airlines will offer an additional 8,368 seats between Amsterdam and Zagreb on its flights this month.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Croatian Cup Quarterfinals: Gorica Wins on Penalties, Hajduk Tops Lokomotiva 6:3 for Semis!

November 30, 2021 - The first day of the Croatian Cup quarterfinals came to a close, with Gorica and Hajduk securing their spot in the semifinals!

Gorica was the first to qualify for the Croatian Cup semifinals, defeating Istria 1961 at home on penalties, 6-4 (2-2, 2-2). 

By the 96th minute, Istra had the semifinal match in their hands. With two goals, Beljo had Istra up 2-1, but in the last seconds, Kristijan Lovrić scored, and in the penalty shootout, the hero was Gorica goalkeeper Dominik Kotarski, who stopped two shots.

Assisted by Serderov, Beljo put Istra in the lead in the 10th minute. Dieye equalized in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for 1-1 at the half. 

Dieye tried increased Gorica's lead in the 68th minute though his goal was called offside thanks to VAR. Beljo put Istra back in the lead for 1-2 in the 83rd minute. 

A last-minute equalizer came for Gorica when hero Lovrić scored in the 6th minute of stoppage time to send the match to extra time. 

VAR canceled another Gorica goal in the 98th minute, and the match ultimately finished on penalties. Iličić and Silva were stopped by the Gorica keeper, giving Gorica the penalty shootout victory and semifinal spot. 

In the wild second quarterfinal match, Hajduk topped Lokomotiva 6-3 in Zagreb. 

Krovinović gave Hajduk the early lead with a goal in the 7th minute for 0-1. A penalty was awarded to Lokomotiva which Pivarić nailed in the 3rd minute of stoppage time for 1-1 at the half. 

The second half was one to remember. Atanasov nailed the far post from the goal line in the 51st minute for 1-2, which Ljubičić increased to 1-3 two minutes later. Livaja made it 1-4 for Hajduk in the 57th!

Dabro gave Lokomotiva some hope in the 59th minute with a goal for 2-4, but Atanasov increased Hajduk's lead to 2-5 with a rocket from 30 meters out for 2-5. Hajduk's goal in the 71st minute was called offside by VAR, but Sahiti's goal in the 90th minute made it 6-2 for the Split club. 

An own goal by Elez gave Lokomotiva their third goal of the match in the 4th minute of stoppage time for the final 3-6, and Hajduk has comfortably booked their spot in the semifinal. 

Osijek and Slaven Belupo will meet Wednesday at 4 pm, and Dinamo and Rijeka at 6:30 pm.

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

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Ancient Spalatum Port Discovered in Split, Connection to Diocletian's Palace

November 30, 2021 - Archaeological findings have uncovered an ancient Spalatum port in the Split area, tracing back to the Roman settlement in the 2nd century. 

The conclusion of the latest archeological campaign in the Spinut seabed on the north side of Marjan is an archaeological sensation: there, during the Roman settlement of Spalatum, in the 2nd century, an ancient port was built, which reached its peak during the construction of Diocletian's Palace, reports Slobodna Dalmacija

From the port, the road led to Spalatum, a settlement in the area of today's Manuš, inscribed on the ancient road map Tabula Peutingeriani from the 2nd century. It continued to the Diocletian's Palace construction site 200 meters away.

The underwater site in Spinut has been known since the 1950s, and in the mid-1960s, thanks to the efforts of Mladen Nikolanci, director of the Archaeological Museum in Split, and Nenad Cambi, the museum's curator at the time, interest in Split's underwater archaeological heritage began.

Nenad Cambi has on several occasions analyzed the Spanish and North African amphorae found in Spinut, and Irena Radić Rossi conducted archaeological research in 2006, finding that it was still an ancient port.

As part of the "Underwater Heritage of Marjan" project, run by the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments in cooperation with the Diving Club "Špinut", minor archeological excavations were carried out at the underwater archeological site in front of the "Gusar" rowing club.

"Examining the Marjan seabed during September and October this year, the attention of archaeologists was attracted by slab bricks measuring 36 cm x 36 cm, exactly the ones most used in the construction of Diocletian's Palace, especially in the construction of arches. They are scarce in other sites in Dalmatia.

Along with other material found during the smaller soundings, it became clear that the Spinut port was used in Diocletian's time. The large-scale construction project required the constant supply and storage of bricks, stone, wood, food, and other necessities for slaves and workers engaged in the construction of the Palace.

"In front of the Palace was the main port, while Spinut was most likely an auxiliary port," explained Dr. Miroslav Katic, director of MHAS, adding that a good part of the construction material for the Palace had to be stored.

"Pillars were brought from Egypt, marble from Greece, and various luxury materials for furnishing buildings from other parts of the Mediterranean. The unloaded material was not immediately installed, but stored and taken as dictated by the dynamics of the works."

Material from the port of Spinut was transported to the Palace by a 1.5-kilometer road. The reconstruction of the ancient landscape of Split, made by Dalibor Popovič, best evokes the land connection, i.e., the road that approached the Palace from the west, points out Katic.

Research has revealed the intense activity of the port in the 2nd century, and according to experts, it may have been repaired at the end of the 3rd century, when the construction of Diocletian's Palace began and its use continued in late antiquity.

"In fact, it was created during Spalatum, a Roman settlement that preceded the Palace. It initially served farm buildings located somewhere in Spinut and reached its operational peak in Diocletian's time," they added.

The archaeologists concluded that the transport of a larger quantity of goods between Salona and Spalatum, i.e., the Palace, was more accessible and safer by sea than by land.

The research in Spinut, i.e., the "Marjan's Underwater Heritage" project, is co-financed by Split-Dalmatia County in the Program for the Development, Protection, and Valorization of Maritime Heritage in Split-Dalmatia County.

As an associate and partner of the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments, Marjan Park-Forest is collaborating to produce a small video that will present Marjan's underwater heritage to the general public.

The head of archaeological research in Spinut is the curator of MHAS Miroslav Gogala, and archaeologists Miroslav Katić and Nikolina Uroda, and Dalibor Burić participated in the research. Divers Bruno Stanić, Antonija Grubišić Čabo, Stipe Boban, Jakša Babić and Paško Krančević from RK Špinut participated.

Work on examining Marjan's underwater heritage will continue next year.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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