Saturday, 24 April 2021

President: Croatia Flag Removal From Ambassadorial Residence Could Not Happen in Zagreb

April 24, 2021 - Commenting on an incident in Belgrade where the Croatian flag was removed from the residence of the Croatian ambassador, President Zoran Milanović said on Friday that such a thing, Croatia flag removal, could not happen in Zagreb.

"I thought an ambassador's residence was a protected building, and this is the case in Croatia. So I think that it (what happened in Belgrade) could not happen here. Croatia's law enforcement authorities would prevent it," Milanović said in response to questions from the press after he attended a special session of the town council in Križevci on the occasion of the town's day.

Croatian Ambassador Hido Biščević said on Thursday it was no accident that the Croatian flag was taken down from his residence in the Serbian capital city and that the incident reflected "part of the atmosphere" in Serbia's society, which he said continued to feed on hate speech.

Milanović said that Biščević was an experienced diplomat and "I hope that he knows what he is doing."

The president went on to say that Croatia and Serbia have several outstanding issues, and Croatia is generally ready to shelve all of them except the issue of people who went missing in the 1991-1995 war.

Milanović also accused Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his cabinet of a stalemate in the process of the appointment of new Croatian ambassadors.

He said that it was Plenković who turned down the model of a 50/50 quota whereby half of the nominees for diplomatic missions are proposed by the head of state and a half by the government and added that such a model had been applied in the past during the presidential term of Stipe Mesić and the governments led by Ivo Sanader and Jadranka Kosor.

He complained about a lack of communication with the premier and added that this adversely affected the state affairs.

Milanović also criticized the government for disbursing extremely small outlays for the Croat ethnic minority in Serbia, which is why local Croats depend on Serbian President "Aleksandar Vučić and (Serbian) Radicals."

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Slams Removal of Croatian Flag From Ambassador's Residence in Belgrade

ZAGREB, 23 April, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday condemned the removal of the Croatian flag from the ambassador's official residence in Belgrade, saying that such incidents fomented an atmosphere of hate, hostility and intolerance.

"Such incidents are certainly not conducive to understanding (...) We hope and wish for the relations between Croatia and Serbia to be good because it makes sense that we should have stable relations," he told the press.

Croatian Ambassador Hido Biščević told N1 television on Thursday it was no accident that the Croatian flag was taken down from his residence and that the incident reflected "part of the atmosphere" in Serbian society, which he said continued to feed on hate speech.

Unknown persons removed the flag from the building which has video surveillance but no guards most likely on Wednesday morning, he said.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry said this was an "injudicious and isolated act," hoping that it "won't cast a shadow on efforts to set Serbia-Croatia relations on new foundations so that in future they can develop in the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation."

Grlić Radman said that because of such incidents "we can't say the relations have good prospects, we can't talk about a good future, but we must believe in a good future."

He announced that he will go to Subotica on 28 April for the laying of the cornerstone of a new Croatia House. His talks with local officials will also address an initiative, opposed by Croatian linguists, to declare the Bunjevci dialect an official language in that town in northern Serbia.

The minister reiterated that the initiative was contrary to the Croatia-Serbia agreement on the protection of national minorities.

He said that on 27 April the prime minister of the Vojvodina province, Igor Mirović, would visit Petrinja, struck by a devastating earthquake last December.

Serbia's EU path "goes also across Croatia"

The minister went on to say that Serbia's EU path "goes also across Croatia." Before Serbia joins, it is necessary to resolve the issue of the war missing, universal jurisdiction, and reparations for POWs, he said.

Serb representatives have three guaranteed seats in the Croatian parliament and Croatia wants Croats in Serbia to be represented as well, he added.

Serbia "must actively and strongly deal" with reforms, the fight against corruption, and the rule of law, he said.

Serbia was granted EU candidate status in March 2012 and began accession negotiations in January 2014.

Ambassadorial appointments

Although Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović have not yet agreed on the appointment of new ambassadors and consuls, Grlić Radman said he did not think the process was blocked and that there was "only one Croatian diplomacy."

He dismissed the possibility of a quota or a 50:50 model (between the president's and government's proposals). He said "agreement must be reached" and that one could talk about the list of candidates the government had sent the president, but that the government was not in favour of quotas.

He said the candidates were "professional diplomats who have proved themselves on the job."

Milanović, on the other hand, wants it to be known who is behind which ambassador for responsibility's sake, saying that this has been the practice before.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Arena Hospitality Group Purchases Hotel in Wider Centre of Belgrade

December the 31st, 2020 - the Croatian tourist company which is known for its numerous business ventures at home and abroad, the Arena Hospitality Group, has purchased yet another hotel in a foreign country, this time in the Serbian capital.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the large Croatian company, the Arena Hospitality Group announced recently that through its local branch located over in Serbia, it concluded the takeover of the 88 Rooms hotel in the wider centre of the Serbian capital of Belgrade. The value of the transaction stands at an enormous 45 million kuna in total.

The modern hotel is located a mere few minutes away from Belgrade's historic city centre, as its name suggests, it offers 88 rooms and suites, a restaurant, bar and conference room, as well as a well-equipped gym.

The acquisition of 88 Rooms is another milestone in the Arena Hospitality Group's strategy to expand its operations across the Central and Eastern European region. This acquisition also further enables the Arena Hospitality Group to increase the volume of the business it engages in in cities across Europe with the aim of increasing its presence in the higher category market segment in the region of Central and Eastern Europe, while striving to create added value for shareholders, Seebiz reports.

The Arena Hospitality Group's projects, in both the short and medium term, include repositioning the Brioni Hotel in the beautiful Istrian city of Pula into a luxury hotel boasting 227 rooms, with the ambition for it to become the best hotel in that category in all of Pula and its surroundings, the repositioning of Camp Stoja in Pula into a higher category camp, the conversion of a building location in the heart of Zagreb into a hotel with 113 rooms, which will include a famous restaurant and bar, wellness and spa facilities, a fitness centre, a meeting space and more, and the renovation of the Riviera Hotel in the very heart of Pula.

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Monday, 2 November 2020

Croatia Pan Europe Trains Will Run 160 Kilometres Per Hour By 2030

November 2, 2020 – From southern Spain to Budapest through Rijeka and Zagreb and from Salzburg through Zagreb, Belgrade and Skopje to Greece, Croatia pan Europe trains will run 160 kilometres per hour by 2030

In the biggest investment ever made in the infrastructure of the country's rail network, Croatia pan Europe trains will run 160 kilometres Per Hour By 2030. In an investment costing 4.5 billion Euros, 750 kilometres of railways will be modernised.

koncar08.jpg© HZPP

The lines that will receive the upgrade will connect Rijeka to Budapest in Hungary via Zagreb (RH2) and Zagreb to Belgrade via Vinkovci (RH1). Though these lines already exist, they have never undergone an overhaul of the scale proposed. The modernisation with ensure double lanes across the whole of both routes and facilitate passenger train speeds of 160 kilometres per hour.

The level of investment means that during the next ten years, HŽ Infrastruktura's (Croatian Railway Infrastructure Company) rebuild of the Croatia pan Europe trains network will be the largest infrastructure project in the Republic of Croatia and the largest beneficiary of EU grants in the transport sector. Most of the money for the modernisation is coming from European Union grants.

ddzphoto.jpgAlmeria on the Mediterranean, in Andalusia, southern Spain, where the Mediterranean Corridor begins © ddz photo

The RH2 line is part of the Mediterranean Corridor which connects the south of the Iberian peninsula with eastern Hungary via six countries. The line runs from Almeria on the Mediterranean coast in the south-east of Spain, through Madrid and Barcelona. It passes through Marseille in France, then northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, the Hungarian capital of Budapest, before finishing in Záhony in the east of Hungary, not far from the border with Ukraine. The route covers more than 6000 kilometres. The Croatian section will pass through Jurdani (six kilometres north of Opatija), Rijeka, Karlovac, Zagreb, Dugo Selo, Križevci and Koprivnica.

PatriceAudet.jpegTo Croatian rail passengers, the Spanish city of Barcelona will be just a few hours away by 2030 © Patrice Audet

The RH1 line is part of the Pan-European Corridor X. The Croatia pan Europe trains section of this transport route was once one of the three lines taken by the Orient Express. The modernised rail line will start in Salzburg, Austria and pass through Ljubljana before reaching Zagreb. The line will pass through Slavonski Brod and Vinkovci before making its way to Belgrade, then Niš in southern Serbia. The old Oriental Express line then headed east, to Istanbul via Sofia, Bulgaria. The EU-funded train section of the Pan-European Corridor X instead heads south, to Thessaloniki in Greece via Skopje in Macedonia.

Djordje Jovanovic.jpgThe rail journey time between Zagreb and Belgrade (pictured) will be shortened considerably by the improvements © Djordje Jovanovic

Trains are currently the greenest transport option for long-distance travel. As the world heads in the direction of seeking energy sources that do not rely on finite fossil fuels, rail also currently looks to be the long-distance travel option best-equipped to meet this challenge. In the future, visitors from all across Europe may increasingly rely on the Croatia pan European trains network in order to access the country. The improvements also increase business and leisure opportunities for Croatians in Europe.

Dimitris Vetsikas.jpgThessaloniki in Greece is one of the most popular cities in Europe for visitors. The renewed rail section of the Pan European Corridor X will end here © Dimitris Vetsikas

Around 935 million Euros was invested in the Croatian railway infrastructure between 2010 and 2019. The new investment dwarfs those figures. The initial investment, occurring between 2020 and 2024 amounts to as much as 1.8 billion Euros, of which almost 78.7 per cent is co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). From 2025 to 2030, EU funds totalling more than 2.7 billion Euros are expected to be invested in the Croatia pan European trains network.

Freight train passage along the lines will also be increased, reaching a new speed of 120 kilometres per hour. The Croatia pan European trains network also offers great potential to open up continental Croatia regions to international visitors. The Croatian railway network currently has 2,617 kilometres of track, of which 274 kilometres are double-track and 980 are electrified.

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Sunday, 23 June 2019

Croatia Water Polo Lose FINA World League Title to Serbia in Belgrade

June 23, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team lost to Serbia by a goal in the dramatic FINA World League final in Belgrade (12:11). 

The 18th edition of the World League has come to an end, and while the final tournament of this competition is officially called the ‘World League Super Final’, the last game, the one for the gold, really was a super final.

Croatia vs. Serbia, two of the world’s water polo giants, met on Sunday in Belgrade to determine not only who would win the World League, but who would secure their spot at the Tokyo Olympics next summer. 

This ‘El Classico’ of water polo was held for the second time this week, after Serbia defeated Croatia by a goal in the group stage of the competition on Wednesday. Thus, Sunday became the rematch of rematches, with more than a medal on the line. 

It’s no coincidence that we’ve seen these two nations often meet - recall, they were finalists in the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, and met in the semifinals of the World Cup in Budapest 2017 and the Euros in Barcelona in 2018.

"What is more beautiful than playing at this pool in Belgrade, one of the water polo temples? Another final, against Serbia. Where do you get more motivation? This is why we live for sport. That's what I'm going to tell my players, and be assured that we will welcome the match in that respect,” coach Ivica Tucak said before the game. 

“Today, my boys and I will give our all, our whole heart, and I hope, I think we have a very, very great chance of winning.”

At 4:45 pm, the game was off. 

The first half of the first quarter saw goals by Buljabašić and Vukičević for 0:2 Croatia, and thanks to a goal by Maro Joković with a second to go, the first quarter ended 1:3 for Croatia. 

Serbia woke up in the second quarter - and Filip Filipović tied the game for Serbia at 4:4 with just over three minutes to go. With a minute to go in the second, Serbia led 6:4. 

Croatia won the sprint in the third quarter. Vukičević scored for the equalizer, and Fatović scored to retake Croatia's lead for 6:7! With a minute to go in the third, the game was tied at 7:7, but Bušlje threw a rocket for 7:8 Croatia with less than 30 seconds to go. The third quarter ended at 7:8. 

The final decisive quarter was met with a downpour, which is no surprise, considering Belgrade's dark sky hinted at it throughout the game. With extremely difficult conditions to play in, Serbia managed to equalize for 8:8 with seven minutes to go. Croatia retook the lead thanks to Vrlić for 8:9 with six minutes to go. The final minutes wouldn't go without excitement, and Serbia managed to equalize at 9:9, but Croatia came back for 9:10! 

With four minutes left, Bijač made an incredible save to keep Croatia in the lead, but Serbia came back for 10:10 with three minutes to go. Filipović scored for Serbia - it was 11:10 with one minute to go. But Vukičević saved the day, and brought Croatia back with a goal. Serbia was granted a shot from 5 meters with 20 seconds to go, and scored to take the lead. In Croatia's final attack, they were unable to equalize. The game ended 12:11 for Serbia.

Serbia has thus won the FINA World League and qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

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

Saturday, 22 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Tops Spain, Awaits Serbia in Final

June 22, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team is one game away from securing a spot in the Tokyo Olympics next summer after defeating Spain in the semi-final of the World League Super Final in Belgrade on Saturday. 

Croatia and Spain met in the second semi-final of the World League Super Final in Belgrade on Saturday after Serbia beat Australia to secure the first spot in Sunday’s finale. Recall, in the group stage of the tournament, Croatia defeated Kazakhstan and Australia, and lost to Serbia. They defeated Japan in the quarterfinal on Friday. 

Spain was no stranger to Croatia and no easy opponent, even though the two teams met back in April in Zagreb for the Europa Cup finals where Croatia celebrated 12:9. 

“For the last few years, Spain has always tortured us. It’s true that we’ve won, but not without difficulty. Still, I believe we have the strength to pass them today, I believe we are better and we will take this victory too,” said coach Ivica Tucak before the game. 

And defeat them,  they did. 

Croatia opened the first quarter with a goal by Vrlić, which was followed by two goals from Garcia and one from Lončar for 4:0 Croatia with a minute and a half to go. Spain finally got their first goal at the minute mark, though Vrlić scored again to make it 5:1 for Croatia at the end of the first quarter. 

Spain’s second goal came halfway through the second quarter, with their third goal scored with less than three minutes to go. Croatia, however, saw goals by Joković, Šetka, and Fatović for 8:3 at the end of the second. 

Spain came back at the start of the third quarter, and two minutes in they were down by just three goals - though it was short-lived after Buljabašić scored for 9:5. It was 10:7 to end the third quarter. 

The final quarter went two and a half minutes before seeing a goal by either side, and it was Spain to score for 10:8. The result remained 10:8 with just two minutes to go, and Joković hit the post without any luck. Bijač defended the goal brilliantly, and it was Croatia to hold their own for a place in the final against Serbia on Sunday! 

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

Friday, 21 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Tops Japan for Spot in Semis

June 21, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team and Japan met on Friday for the quarterfinal of the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

Croatia continued their fight for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics next year against Japan in the quarterfinal of the World League Super Final in Belgrade, Serbia. In the group stage of the tournament, Croatia defeated Kazakhstan and Australia and lost by a goal to Serbia. Croatia thus secured second place in Group B. 

Croatia kicked off the quarterfinal match with a goal by Maro Jaković a minute into the first quarter, which was followed by another from Andro Bušlje for 0:2 Croatia. Japan came back with a goal by Inaba with less than 5 minutes to go in the first and equalized with just over three minutes to go. Japan even took the lead a minute later for 3:2,  but Bušlje and Fatović put Croatia back ahead for 3:4 at the end of the first quarter. 

Fatović opened the second quarter for Croatia with a goal, which was followed by another for 3:6 with just under six minutes to go in the second. Japan came back with one for 4:6 30 seconds later, and Krapić increased Croatia’s lead to 4:7. A goal by Vukičević made the game 4:8, and while Japan came back for 6:8 with a minute and a half to go before halftime, Šetka and Miloš pushed the result to 6:10 at the half. 

Croatia continued dominating in the third quarter - Fatović scored for 6:11, and by the middle of the quarter, Croatia was leading by six goals (8:14). The third quarter ended at 8:15 for Croatia. 

Croatia won the sprint at the start of the fourth quarter and increased their lead thanks to a goal by Krapić for 8:16 a minute in. Japan came back with two goals to decrease Croatia’s lead to 10:16, but Buljubašić scored for 10:17. It was 11:17 with four minutes to go, but Joković put Croatia back up to 11:18 seconds later. 

With two minutes to go, Croatia led 12:20, and the game ended an incredible 13:20 for Croatia. 

In the semifinal, Croatia will play the winner of Spain v. Kazakhstan. 

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

Thursday, 20 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Tops Australia (11:9)

June 20, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team and Australia met on Thursday at 3 pm to play for the second place of Group B at the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

After Croatia crushed Kazakhstan in the first round and lost to Serbia by a goal the night before, Thursday’s meeting between Croatia and Australia would decide who would finish second in Group B of the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

Not only do Croatia and Australia have a Croatian connection - recall, the Australia coach is Elvis Fatović, whose son Loren Fatović plays for Croatia, but the two teams are no strangers in the pool. You might remember that Australia knocked out Croatia in the quarters of the World Championship in Barcelona back in 2003, which they also achieved yet again at the World Championship 10 years later. Australia even knocked Croatia out of the quarters at the World Cup in Berlin last year! 

However, Croatia wasn’t about to let Australia taste the victory in Belgrade. 

Croatia was the first to take the lead thanks to a goal by Ivan Krapić, though Australia’s Aidan Roach equalized for 1:1. Andrew Ford put Australia in the lead for 1:2, though Croatia was quick to come back after a Bušlje goal. After Hollis scored with 9 seconds to go in the first quarter, Australia was up 2:3. 

In the second quarter, Australia increased their lead to 2:4, and were even at 5:3 with 45 seconds to go in the second, though it ended 4:5 for Australia before the half. 

Croatia kicked themselves into gear in the third quarter - after Krapić equalized for 5:5, Vrlić, Benić, Vukičević, and Garcia put Croatia in the lead for 9:5. Ford and Putt brought Australia back to 9:7 - and with goals from Fatović and Lachlan Edwards, the third quarter ended 10:8 with the Croatia lead. 

We didn't see a goal by either side in the fourth quarter until there were just over three minutes to go - Vrlić scored for 11:8 Croatia. Australia reduced Croatia's lead to 11:9 thanks to a goal by Blake Edwards with less than three minutes to go. Neither team managed to score for the remainder of the quarter, and the game finished 11:9 for Croatia!

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Unlucky Against Serbia (10:11)

June 19, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team lost to Serbia 10:11 in Belgrade on Wednesday. 

The ‘El Classico’ of water polo took place on Wednesday between Croatia and Serbia who met in the second game of Group B at the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

The outdoor Tašmajdan pool, which can accommodate 4000 spectators, was filled to the brim for the highly anticipated spectacle, though it’s not hard to see why -  Serbia v. Croatia. In Belgrade. We think that says enough. 

The best of the best in the world of water polo met at 9 pm on Wednesday and were fortunate to play without rain. Belgrade has been experiencing summer thunderstorms over the last few days, which interrupted Serbia’s game against Australia on Tuesday night. 

Both sides came out fierce in the first quarter. It was Croatia to ultimately come out on top, though both sides could have scored many more goals. By the end of the quarter, Croatia had a two-player advantage but failed to increase their lead. The first quarter ended at 3:2 for Croatia. 

The second quarter saw a much more balanced duel. Garcia scored for 4:3 and Buljubašić for 5:4.

Croatia fell in the third quarter. While they were up 6:5 thanks to a goal by Joković, Serbia equalized at 6:6, and Stefan Mitrović put Serbia in the lead at 6:7. Filip Filipović increased Serbia's lead to 6:8 at the end of the third quarter. 

Serbia was up 6:9 in the fourth quarter, though Joković brought Croatia back to 7:9, and Garcia to 8:9. A penalty by Joković brought the game to an even 9:9 with three minutes to go. With two minutes to go, Serbia was up by a goal (9:10) - but with just over a minute to go, Loren Fatović equalized for 10:10! 

Serbia retook the lead at the minute mark for 10:11, and Croatia had one last attack to equalize but were unlucky. Joković lost the ball in the last 10 seconds, and Serbia won 10:11. 

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

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Crushes Kazakhstan in 1st Round

The Croatia water polo team convincingly defeated Kazakhstan 20-4 (5-2, 6-0, 3-0, 6-2) in the first round of the FINA World League Super Final in Belgrade. The champion of the tournament secures a spot at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, reports T.potal on June 18, 2019. 

Ante Vukičević scored four goals to be the most efficient player of the Croatia national team, while Andrija Bašić scored three goals. Hrvoje Benić two, Ivan Buljubašić, Anđelo Šetka, Lovro Miloš, and Loren Fatović each scored two goals, while by Luka Lončar, Maro Joković and Andro Bušlje scored one. Besides the Croatian goalkeepers, only Ivan Krapić did not score for Croatia.

Miras Aubakirov scored twice for Kazakhstan, while Medvedev and Shmider each scored one. 

In the second meeting of Group B, Serbia and Australia will play at 21:00, while in Group A, Hungary - Canada (15:45) and Japan - Spain (19:15) will meet. All the teams will play in the quarterfinals of this tournament.

The Croatia water polo team will play their second match of the tournament on Wednesday (21:00) against the host, Serbia, while Ivica Tucak & Co. will face Australia on Thursday (15:00) in the final round of Group B.

Last year's winner, Montenegro, did not make it to the final tournament this year. Hungary, who won the silver last year, came to Belgrade with their B team as they await the main spectacle this summer - the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. 

Serbia, the host of the tournament, has a total of 10 medals from this competition, 9 of which are gold. However, last year in Budapest, they were left without a medal. 

Spain won the bronze last year and came with their strongest squad to Belgrade. They also won the silver at the European Championship last year in Barcelona and won the bronze in Zagreb this year at the Europa Cup.

The Croatian ‘Barakudas’ won their last World League medal two years ago in Russia where they secured the bronze.

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

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