Friday, 20 May 2022

Construction of 2nd Croatian Underground Gas Storage Facility Begins

May the 20th, 2022 - The construction of the second Croatian underground gas storage facility is now underway following approximately sixteen very long years of discussions on the matter.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, after almost sixteen years of discussions and plans to build the second Croatian underground gas storage facility (PSP) Grubisno Polje (GP), the war in Ukraine and the ensuing energy crisis have suddenly made such strategic facilities very desirable and deeply necessary.

Although activities on the project began in parallel with the Russian attack on Ukraine back in February, the start of works on the new Croatian gas storage facility were inaugurated just a few days ago in Grubisno Polje by the new Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Davor Filipovic.

Unlike the existing "large" gas storage facility, PSP Okoli, with a capacity of about 550 million cubic metres of gas, PSP GP will be smaller, about 40 million m3, but it will be a flexible, or peak, storage unit.

The concession is relatively small, which in practice means that despite the large storage capacity, it will take a long time, especially if its occupancy falls below half, to release this gas into the Croatian energy system. The PSP GP will be developed in two phases and the total estimated value of the project is around 500 million kuna. It is estimated that the new Croatian gas storage facility could be in operation by the year 2027 at the very earliest.

Vlado Vlasic, the director of PSP, pointed out that currently, this project, both for PSP and for society as a whole, is the most important development and investment activity in Croatia.

"After a full 35 years since the commissioning of the storage facility in Okoli, the company PSP, as the operator of the Croatian gas storage system, is building another Croatian gas storage facility. Today, when the whole of the EU is dealing with the issue of providing people with the necessary energy sources, we're here to mark the beginning of the construction of a strategically important energy project.

Market disturbances

Over more recent years, the energy market has become very flexible through stock exchanges, enabling a secure and mostly cheap supply of gas, oil and electricity itself from global sources. As a result, strategic gas storage facilities have become questionable, as was the case here in Croatia last year.

However, situations such as Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the West's reaction to it by imposing sanctions have called the security of the supply into question, and prices have increased several times over. That said, the war in Ukraine will not last forever, and energy traders are aware of that.

Owing to all of these variables, it's almost impossible to estimate what the situation on the gas market will be by 2028, when PSP Grubisno Polje will certainly be in operation - both in terms of the security of supply and prices on the global market, and in terms of increasing energy transition in which there is less and less space for gas.

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

Friday, 20 May 2022

Dubrovnik Super Yachts Lacking, Turkey Set to Profit in 2022

May the 20th, 2022 - The classic sight of Dubrovnik super yachts which could be seen each and every summer in the Pearl of the Adriatic is severely lacking this year, with rich Russian yacht and villa owners avoiding Croatia entirely owing to sanctions. It seems Turkey is set to make the profit this year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a couple of years ago, there were no cruisers, but there were Dubrovnik super yachts that chose Croatia's southernmost city as their favourite destination, and spent up to half a million euros in Croatia in just three weeks. These were the absolute guests, especially last year when Croatia set a record in the number of yacht arrivals, so many that Dubrovnik has already been called the Croatian Monte Carlo, writes local portal Dubrovacki vjesnik.

However, this year no yacht owner has decided to go down to Dubrovnik, except for the one that was on a winter berth in the Port of Gruz. Whether the problem is the fact that the owners of luxury yachts are often Russians who will, understandably, avoid parts of Europe where they may have their property confiscated or something else, Dubrovacki vjesnik tried to find out from yacht managers.

Russian oligarchs have been left without their villas, yachts and money: "This war is a disaster for them"

"The reason for the absence of yacht owners is primarily the situation due to the war in Ukraine, and a large number of yacht owners across the Mediterranean have always been Russians. We don't expect them anywhere in the Mediterranean, not even in Croatia. Turkey will certainly benefit from this because many Russian-owned vessels are already in Turkey and so that country will definitely have a better season than us.

It's hard to predict how many there will be across the Mediterranean. So far, we're doing well, but I expect it will be a little less this season than the previous two pandemic-dominated summers. What the numbers will be, we'll see at the end of the season. This year there will also be fewer Americans because of the war in Europe,'' Dorijan Dujmic, the director of BWA Yachting Croatia.

Compared to 2021, there have been fewer private planes landing Dubrovnik Airport as well, and the reason is certainly the same - rich Russians are now bypassing Croatia, and Americans looking at a map of Europe still believe Croatia is too close to the ongoing conflict, as it seems only a few inches away from Ukraine on paper.

“Since the beginning of this year, about 247 business and general aviation flights (private flights) have been in operation at Dubrovnik Airport. Compared to last year during the same period, there was an increase in the number of aircraft operations (flights) of about 13.83 percent,'' said Ivan Maslac, the commercial director of Dubrovnik Airport.

Last year, a significant part of general and business aviation traffic was made up of larger privately owned aircraft (Bombardier Global Express, Gulfstream V, etc.), and Dubrovnik Airport expects a large number of general and business aviation traffic this year as well, which will more than likely be of the same profile. Of course, due to the sanctions imposed on Russia due to the war in Ukraine, we expect a smaller number of Russian passengers,'' he concluded.

For more, check out our travel section.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Two-Weekly Aegean Airlines Zagreb Flights from Athens in June!

May 20, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as two Aegean Airlines Zagreb flights will run weekly from Athens from June 15!

Greek national airline Aegean Airlines will operate on a regular seasonal route between Athens and Zagreb from mid-June, reports Croatian Aviation.

Namely, the Star Alliance alliance member is renewing the line between Athens and Zagreb as of June 15. Two flights a week have been announced, every Wednesday and Saturday, and A320 aircraft will operate on the route.

Recall, Aegean introduced a regular line between the two cities in May 2018 with three flights a week in traffic, but with a smaller capacity aircraft type DashQ400. The line operated until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then the airline announced its return to the Croatian capital in the previous two summer seasons, though never fulfilled its promise. 

Given that there has been a significant increase in market demand, especially compared to the previous two seasons, the Greek airline will still operate on this route this summer, twice a week, and the first flight was announced in less than a month.

In 34 rotations, from mid-June to early October, Aegean Airlines offers a total of 12,036 seats between Zagreb and Athens, and A320 and A320NEO aircraft have been announced on the route, with 174 and 180 seats in the carrier's fleet, respectively.

Zagreb and Athens will also be connected by the regular Croatia Airlines line, which will operate from June 2 until the end of the summer flight schedule, i.e., the end of October. It is a long-term seasonal line between two cities with a stop at Dubrovnik Airport, and DashQ400 aircraft with a capacity of 76 seats operate on the line. 

Croatia Airlines will operate a total of 63 rotations on this route in the summer season, offering 10,448 seats, three flights a week, every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.

A total of 22,484 seats between these two carriers will be available between Athens and Zagreb this summer, both of which are members of the same aviation association.

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

Thursday, 19 May 2022

HUB Director: We Don't Expect Extremely High Increase In Interest Rates

ZAGREB, 19 May 2022 - Croatian Banking Association (HUB) director Zdenko Adrović said on Thursday that interest rates were not expected to rise extremely high but at rates that most people would be able to bear.

Responding to questions from the press at a HUB conference on the impact of euro adoption on the Croatian financial sector, Adrović said he did not know at what pace interest rates would grow, citing discussions in the Council of Governors at the European Central Bank.

"Some are calling for a quick and sharp increase in interest rates of 0.5 per cent already in July so that there would no longer be negative rates, while others are advocating a slower and milder increase. We will have to wait for the middle of the year," Adrović said.

He said that interest rates would most likely go up, adding that statistically 39 per cent of all loans were agreed at a floating interest rate and 61 per cent at a fixed interest rate. "This means that nothing will happen to those with the fixed interest rate, while in the case of those with the floating interest rate, the changeable part of the interest rate will change, while the margin will remain fixed."

 "We don't expect an extremely high increase, but one that most people can bear. We advise citizens to check their annuities and talk to their bank about the possibility of fixing the interest rate for a future period of three or five years if they want to avoid this risk," Adrović said.

 

For more, check out our business section

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Split To Hold Early Local Elections On 26 June

ZAGREB, 19 May 2022 - The Croatian government on Thursday called snap elections in the City of Split for 26 June.

On 26 June, eligible voters will go to the polls to elect the mayor, the two deputy mayors and a new 31-seat city council.

The snap polls will be organised after Split Mayor Ivica Puljak (the Centre party) and his two deputies Bojan Ivošević and Antonio Kuzmanić -- stepped down recently after an indictment was upheld against Ivošević for threatening a reporter.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Floraart Opens At Bundek Lake

ZAGREB, 19 May 2022 - The 56th edition of the Floraart flower show was formally opened by Mayor Tomislav Tomašević at Zagreb's Bundek Lake on Thursday.

This year, there are 160 exhibitors with over 100,000 plants.

Mayor Tomašević particularly thanked guests from the Republic of Korea and Korean Ambassador Sung-Wook Hong, for attending the opening ceremony.

Also in attendance was Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković,  who hailed cooperation with Korea.

The minister said that local flower growers, particularly young entrepreneurs in this sector, had been supported under various schemes totalling HRK 15 million (€2 million).

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

PM Says Croatia Can Play Crucial Role In Providing Energy In Europe

ZAGREB, 19 May 2022 - Croatia can be a crucial country for future energy supply to the countries in its neighbourhood that now fully depend on Russian energy sources, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday commenting on the "REPowerEU" plan to rapidly reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels in Europe.

Plenković told a news conference that the REPowerEU Plan, which the European Commission presented on Wednesday as its response to the hardships and global energy market disruption caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, highlights the need to invest in gas and oil pipelines networks.

This is an opportunity for the Croatian companies Plinacro and Janaf, and talks are being conducted with them to see what can be done, said the PM.

Plinacro, a leading Croatian gas transport system operator, and Janaf, which manages the oil transport network, have initial projections of necessary investments, according to Plenković.

The EU has a high degree of understanding for Croatia's crucial role, and the Croatian energy companies "have important roles in the changed energy structure of Europe," he added.

The PM highlighted three aspects of the EC plan: saving energy, diversifying supplies and accelerating the rollout of renewables.

The €300 billion plan consists of schemes for the disbursement of €225 billion in loans and €75 billion through grants.

The investment in gas and oil infrastructure is important to us because they create possibilities for additional investment, enhance our capacity and help Croatia become a strategic country in the diversification of supply routes, said Plenković.

He said that the government was taking necessary steps to fill gas storage capacities, as required by the EU.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Latest Film by Director Stanka Gjurić Selected at CIFF in Dhaka, Bangladesh

May 19, 2022 - The latest film by writer and filmmaker Stanka Gjurić, "Son of a Prophetess", is now part of the official selection of the prestigious Cinemaking International Film Festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The latest film by writer and filmmaker Stanka Gjurić, "Son of a Prophetess", with award-winning classical guitarist Srđan Bulat and poetess Ivanka Blažević Kiš in the lead roles, has entered the official selection of the prestigious Cinemaking International Film Festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which will take place in November 2022.

The short thriller-drama film was shot in Croatia and follows a young man who arrives from a trip, expecting his mother who is a prophet by occupation, to bring him the dog that she was taking care of during that time.

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Stanka Gjurić is a poet, essayist, actress, columnist, and filmmaker from Croatia. She was born in Čakovec, but today she lives in Zagreb. She has published 20 books and received numerous literary awards for her poetry. Stanka is a member of Croatian Independent Artists and the Croatian Academy of Science and Art in Diaspora (Basel, Switzerland). With her first short film 'Ubojite misli' (Battle Thoughts) she gained international recognition.

‘CIFF’ is one of the most important international film festivals in South Asia based in Bangladesh. It is organized with the support of DHAKA Festival and the largest film distribution and co-production company in South Asia, Cinemaking24.com. ‘Cinemaking’ is an international distribution and co-production company that seeks to promote film globally.

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The last edition of the Cinemaking International Film Festival 2021 was a competition of 600 films from 121 countries, selected in a competition of thousands of films submitted to the competition. The festival was held in several places, such as the International Mother Language Institute, then in the main national cultural center, the famous ‘Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’, and in the equally famous ‘Shahojpath’ school in Dhaka.

Croatian filmmaker Stanka Gjurić has presented her films all around the world: France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Slovenia, Egypt, Canada, Serbia, USA, South Africa, Argentina, India, Russia, Austria, Brazil, Great Britain, etc. With her short films, to date, Gjurić has won 15 international awards.

For everything you need to know about filming in Croatia, in your language, be sure to check Total Croatia's page.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

HNB Governor: Switching To Euro To Strengthen Resilience To Crises

ZAGREB, 19 May 2022 - Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić said on Thursday that the introduction of the euro in the country as sole legal tender would strengthen the resilience to crisis, bring about better terms and conditions for borrowing, boost competitiveness and improve cost-efficiency.

The highest share of exchange risk and foreign currency lending risk will be eliminated, and banks will have direct access to the euro-area and the eurosystem's monetary operations, all of which will make their performance easier, Vujčić said at the 25th expert conference on the financial market, organised in Opatija by the Croatian Banking Association (HUB).

He recalled that all the preconditions for the changeover to the euro on 1 January 2023 had been met and that the Council of the EU was expected to make a formal decision on Croatia's admission to the euro area.

Croatia expects the Council to give a nod in July.

The country will start minting euro coins in the second half of 2022.

Vujčić said that all the segments of society would be ready for the euro changeover, and that preparations were proceeding as planned.

The governor is confident that Croatia will meet all the convergence criteria, including price stability, sound public finances, sustainable exchange-rate stability, fiscal criteria and the criterion concerning long-term interest rates.

As for a one-off price rise during the changeover, consumer prices are likely to go up by 0.2 percentage points in the first year of the euro adoption.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Croatia Reports 468 New COVID-19 Cases, Five Related Deaths

ZAGREB, 19 May 2022 - Croatia has recorded 468 new coronavirus cases and five COVID-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Thursday.

There are 292 hospitalised patients, 11 of whom are on ventilators.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic in Croatia, a total of 1,133,139 COVID cases have been registered and 15,950 people have died as a consequence. 

Currently there are 3,897 active cases in the country and 1,727 people are self-isolating.

By Wednesday, 5,250,173 doses of a COVID vaccine had been administered, and 59.51 per cent of the total population, or 70.78 per cent of adults, had been vaccinated.

 

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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