Sunday, 14 August 2022

Maersk Launches Rijeka-Czech Republic Direct Freight Train Service

August the 14th, 2022 - Maersk has set up a Rijeka-Czech Republic service connecting this former industrial Northern Adriatic city and the town of Paskova in the Czech Republic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the first direct freight, container and rail service from Rijeka to the Czech Republic has now been established, connecting the Port of Rijeka via the container terminal at Brajdica with the town of Paskova near Ostrava in the far east of the Czech Republic.

Emmanuel Papagiannakis, executive director of Jadranska vrata, which manages the Brajdica terminal, emphasised that the Czech market is one of the most important in all of Europe.

"Currently, we have several regular weekly block trains from Rijeka to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Hungary, from where we're also connected to Slovakia," he said, stressing that the company appreciates Maersk's initiative to start this new Rijeka-Czech Republic service, and that direct rail connections have also been achieved as a result.

Papagiannakis pointed out that the new Rijeka-Czech Republic service confirms the increasing importance of the Adriatic Sea for the markets of Central and Southeastern Europe.

Maersk's rail service was launched back in May this year, and runs up to twice a week. The rail service is operated by CD Cargo Adria, a subsidiary of the Czech cargo operator CD Cargo, the largest provider of rail transport services in the Czech Republic and one of the main rail operators on the trans-European network corridor which includes the countries of Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Poland, and now, the Republic of Croatia.

The company Jadranska vrata (Adriatic Gate Container Terminal - AGCT) is a public-private partnership, in which International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) has a 51 percent share, and the Port of Rijeka has a 49 percent share.

In the period from 2011, when the company became part of the ICTSI corporation, which invested more than 50 million dollars in the modernisation of the terminal, to 2021, it handled two million container units (TEU) at the Brajdica container terminal, and about 70 percent of its volume now comes from outside of the borders of Croatia - from Central and Southeastern Europe.

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

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Czech PM Vows Maximum Efforts to Complete Process of Croatia's Schengen Entry

ZAGREB, 7 July 2022 - The Czech Republic will do its utmost to ensure that Croatia's accession to the Schengen zone is completed during the Czech presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2022, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said during his meeting with his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenković in Prague on Thursday.

The meeting took place after the Czech Republic took over the rotating EU presidency on 1 July.

The Czech Republic has always supported and continues to support Croatia's admission to the Schengen zone. We are confident that Croatia meets all the criteria. We will do all we can to ensure that the accession process is completed during our presidency and that Croatia becomes a full member of the Schengen zone on 1 January 2023, Fiala said.

The Croatian prime minister praised the Czech presidency programme under the motto "Europe as a Task".

Europe as a Task: Rethink, Rebuild, Repower are the main priorities of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Plenković said that these priorities fit the present time of challenges, such as the Covid pandemic, which still requires caution and vigilance, and Russia's terrible aggression against Ukraine and the fallout of the war, including increased prices and inflation pressure.

Plenković said that one of the highlights of the Czech presidency will be the adoption of the decision on Croatia's entry into the euro area on 1 January 2023.

"We believe that this autumn, under the Czech leadership of the EU, the final decision will be made on Croatia's entry into the Schengen zone on 1 January 2023," said Plenković, underscoring that this also meant deeper integration of his country into the EU.

Plenković said that Croatia appreciated the wish of Prague to put emphasis on southeastern European countries during its EU chairmanship.

For us this is particularly important because of Bosnia and Herzegovina, given that we together have advocated that it be granted the status of EU candidate. We expect BiH to implement the reforms, particularly those conducive to ensuring the equality of the Croats as soon as possible, said Plenković.

The Czech and Croatian premiers expressed their satisfaction with bilateral relations and with the activities of the respective minorities in their countries.

Commenting on the well-developed and diversified economic cooperation, Plenković said that the trade between the two countries was close to reaching €1 billion.

The Czech Republic is among the top 15 investors in Croatia, and the Czechs are the second most numerous foreign visitors to Croatia.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 17 September 2021

DANUP-2-Gas Project: Danube Countries United in Introducing Renewable Energy

September 17, 2021 - The DANUP-2-Gas Project, developing renewable energy opportunities for all Danube countries, is set to hold a stakeholder event on September 28 at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Engineering and Computing (FER).

The beautiful Danube region in Slavonia, apart from boasting natural beauty, also has a lot of historical and archaeological significance. This is evident with the European Commission having recognised the ''Iron Age Danube Route'' earlier this year.

That being said, the Danube river also boasts a political and economic factors, the one that unites all the countries through which the Danube flows. One form of such international cooperation is the DANUP-2-GAS project.

''The Danube region holds huge potential for sustainable generation and the storage of renewable energy. However, to date, this region has remained highly dependent on energy imports, while energy efficiency, diversity and renewables share are low. In line with the EU climate targets for 2030 and the EUSDR PA2 goals, DanuP-2-Gas will advance transnational energy planning by promoting generation and storage strategies for renewables in the Danube region by coupling electric power and the gas sector,'' says the official website of Interreg Danube which is handling the project.

In an effort to achieve their goals, the DANUP-2-Gas project aims to bring together energy agencies, business actors, public authorities, and research institutions to join the cause.

The project started on the July 1 2020, and it will last until the end of 2022. So far, 24 institutions from Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and of course Croatian partners have begun cooperating for DANUP-2-Gas, united by the geographical fact that the Danube connects them all. The Hrvoje Požar Energy Institute (EIHP), the International Centre for the Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, and the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) are the project's Croatian representatives. Check out the full list of partners in the project here.

As (EIHP) reported on its website, September 28 will be an important date for the DANUP-2-Gas project as FER will hold a stakeholder event from 09:30 to 12:30, the lectures held in English will explain the potential of the project, as well as the uses and benefits of renewable energy in the hope of encouraging more support.

The event is imagined as a hybrid event, being held partly online and partly in person, but as EIHP warns, there is a risk of the event ending up being held entirely online, depending on the epidemiological situation.

''Based on the platform developed during the DTP project ENERGY BARGE, it will incorporate all pre-existing tools and an atlas, mapping previously unexamined available biomass and energy infrastructure. Further, a pre-feasibility study utilising an optimisation tool for efficient hub design will identify suitable locations for sectors coupling hubs and a combination of two idle resources in the Danube region.

The unused organic residue (e.g., straw) will be processed to biochar for easy transport along the Danube river and as the basis for synthesis gas generation. Adding hydrogen produced from surplus renewable energy allows for the upgrading of this syngas to a renewable natural gas. This will enable the storage of surplus energy in the existing gas distribution grid, increasing energy security and efficiency. All of the resources required for this process are available in the Danube region and the ten partner countries,'' the Interreg Danube website stated, elaborating the positive changes it is attempting to achieve.

Learn more about Croatian inventions and discoveries from Tesla to Rimac on our dedicated TC page.

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

Friday, 17 April 2020

Croatian, Czech Prime Ministers Discuss Arrival of Czech Tourists in Croatia

ZAGREB, April 17, 2020 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Twitter on Friday that he had talked with his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis and that they agreed the two countries' tourism ministers should propose models for the arrival of Czech tourists in Croatia this year.

"In the context of excellent relations between Croatia and the Czech Republic, I talked with my Czech counterpart and we agreed that Tourism Ministers Gari Cappelli and Klara Dostalova should propose acceptable models for the arrival of Czech tourists in Croatia," Plenković wrote on Twitter.

His comment came after some media outlets reported that an association of Czech travel agencies had proposed the opening of corridors, including towards Croatia, to make it possible for Czech tourists with a certificate confirming that they are healthy, to go on holiday.

Minister Cappelli commented on the idea on Thursday, saying that such proposals were as expected but that their implementation did not depend only on the wishes of visitors and tourism business partners but also on decisions by epidemiologists and governments.

The Croatian UHPA association of travel agencies has welcomed the Czech initiative, expressing hope it would be implemented to help salvage the tourist season.

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Tourism Minister: Czech Tourist Arrivals Depend on More Than One Factor

ZAGREB, April 16, 2020 – Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on Thursday that the arrival of Czech tourists in Croatia would not depend only on their wishes or on the Croatian tourism sector but also on decisions to be made by national COVID-19 crisis management teams and governments.

In his comment on the Jutarnji List daily's report that Czech travel agencies have proposed the establishment of air and road corridors for healthy tourists who will not have to self-isolate upon arrival in Croatia or their return home, the minister explained that about 200 travel agencies that had made this proposal were trying to do something in the current circumstances.

The newspaper underscores that an association of Czech tour operators has recently sent a proposal to the government in Prague, suggesting that Czech citizens who get the confirmation from the authorities that they are healthy and negative for COVID-19 be allowed to travel to destinations with low rates of the coronavirus infection, such as Croatia and Slovenia.

Those agencies, just as anyone else, do not have much space for business and travel. It is the easiest for them to come to seaside destinations in Croatia, where they had good business results and booking arrangements. Whether they will manage to implement those proposals does not depend only on us but also on other countries, Cappelli said.

He added that similar suggestions could be expected from Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, primarily from their citizens who own boats and summer houses in Croatia.

The minister said that those property owners would likely be the first visitors after the corona crisis.

Cappelli finds it important that Croatia "sends good signals from its healthcare system. The country has possibly imposed the most rigid measures but it is also the safest."

More news about Croatian tourism can be found in the Travel section.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Czech Worldwide Expedition Arrives in Croatia

ZAGREB, March 1, 2020 - Members of the Czech expedition "Tatra Around the World 2" in Zagreb on Saturday presented the project and the Tatra truck in which they are travelling around the world.

They kicked off several days ago and Croatia is their fifth destination, after which they will head for Montenegro and then east. On their route, among other places, are Turkmenistan, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Gambia.

The first world expedition in a Tatra truck took place before World War I and the biggest one was in 1987, said the leader of the expedition, Petr Holecek.

The latest expedition consists of five permanent members who can be joined by anyone interested in the adventure, whether for a couple of days or a longer period, he added.

Petr Kasicka, first secretary at the Czech Embassy to Croatia, said the project was supported by many business people.

The leaders of the expedition which, over the next three years, will visit 67 countries and go around the world, are doing a big promotion for the Czech Republic, he said, adding that the embassy and everyone in the Czech Republic would help them.

More news about relations between Croatia and the Czech Republic can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Investment in Croatia: Czech Energy Company Invests 80 Million Euros

As Vedran Marjanovic/Novac writes on the 31st of January, 2020, GEEN Holding, one of the largest Central European producers of electricity from renewable energy sources, will soon begin construction of its third biomass power plant in Croatia in Gospic, marking a valuable investment in Croatia.

''Over the coming days we'll start the final phase of site preparation for the project in Gospic. Construction will follow shortly, and after a year it will be finished and connected to the grid. The plant will be in full operation in the first half of 2021. Currently, over fifty percent of the necessary equipment has already been manufactured,'' they stated from the headquarters of GEEN Holding over in the Czech Republic.

At the beginning of December last year, GEEN Holding put a biomass-fired power plant in Zupanja into operation, and in October 2018, a power plant with the same facility in Benkovac was built. The raw material for production at both power plants is wood waste.

''The total investments in Benkovac and Zupanja amount to 80 million euros. The electricity from our two power plants is distributed through HERA, and thermal energy is used by other Croatian private companies for various business purposes. Biomass power plants in Croatia represent 40 percent of the installed capacity in our power plants,'' they stated.

The total amount of electricity generated by all power plants in GEEN Holding's portfolio is currently 113 million kilowatt hours. The power output of the Zupanja power plant is 4.93 megawatt hours and the Benkovac power plant - 4.96 megawatt hours. The thermal capacities of the Zupanja and Benkovac plants range between eight and ten megawatts.

When asked why they chose their investment in Croatia and use it as one of their major markets, GEEN Holding said they recognised the country's need for stable and strong energy sources.

''Energy in Croatia is significantly dependent on coal and gas from abroad. The capacity for new hydropower plants, for example, is very limited. Therefore, we saw a business opportunity in Croatia for the development and operation of biomass power plants,'' they say from the Czech company, whose annual revenue is around 30 million euros.

They also announced that in the coming months and years, they will focus more on increasing the efficiency of the power plants in Benkovac and Zupanja and on the better use of the heat produced, primarily, as they pointed out, for the production of pellets.

''A pellet production project alone could bring 20 new jobs to Croatia,'' GEEN Holding estimates.

According to the registry of the Croatian Energy Agency, sixty Croatian companies have licenses for electricity production. In addition to GEEN Holding's facilities, another dozen HERA-licensed companies produce electricity from wood waste. Although not the only foreign company to invest in biomass energy production in Croatia, GEEN is certainly the largest investor.

For more on investment in Croatia, follow our business page.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Croatian and Czech PMs Meet in Prague

ZAGREB, November 5, 2019 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis in Prague on Monday evening, discussing ongoing negotiations on the multiannual EU budget, strengthening economic cooperation and trade between the two countries, enlargement of the Schengen area, migration, and the priorities of the forthcoming Croatian presidency of the EU.

The meeting took place ahead of Tuesday's summit of Friends of Cohesion, an informal group of EU member states that receive more from the EU budget than they contribute to it.

"It is very important to us that the amount of funds that we will have in the cohesion envelope is at the level of the present seven-year budget period," Plenković told a joint press conference with the Czech prime minister.

Plenković said that it was important for Croatia to catch up with central European countries that had joined the EU in 2004 and had benefited considerably from EU membership.

The next long-term budget covers the period from 2021 to 2027, and given that this money can be used for another three years, it means that it covers the entire next decade.

"We want to be in a position at the end of the next decade to be able to look back calmly on all our achievements from EU membership since 2013," the Croatian PM said.

Plenković wants a balance to be found in budget negotiations between countries that traditionally want EU budget funding to be reduced and those that want larger allocations for poorer members so that they can catch up faster with more developed countries.

"We want a more consensus-based approach, we don't want winners and losers in this game," Plenković said, adding that this was particularly important for Croatia as the next president of the Council of the European Union. He said that there would be enough funds for cohesion policy in the EU budget.

Babis said that the Czech Republic supported Croatia's aspirations to join the Schengen passport-free travel area, after the European Commission assessed that the country had met all the technical criteria. "I think Croatia deserves to be part of the Schengen area," Babis said.

The two prime ministers expressed their satisfaction with the development of economic cooperation and trade and supported their further promotion. Last year trade between Croatia and the Czech Republic reached 900 million euro, and about 700,000 Czech tourists visited Croatia.

Plenković acquainted his host with the work programme of the Croatian presidency of the EU.

As for migration, both countries agree that this issue should be tackled at its source, where migrants come from, and when they come to the EU, their applications should be dealt with in the first EU country that they enter.

More news about relations between Croatia and the Czech Republic can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Croatian-Czech Society Leader Receives Award for Promotion of Czech Republic

ZAGREB, June 16, 2019 - Croatian-Czech Society President Marijan Lipovac is one of this year's 16 recipients of the Gratias Agit award given by the Czech foreign affairs ministry for the international promotion of the Czech Republic.

This prestigious award was bestowed on Lipovac at a ceremony organised by Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek in Prague this past Friday.

"The Gratias Agit has been awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the promotion of the good name of the Czech Republic abroad ever since 1997 in appreciation of prominent personalities and organizations developing activities in nongovernmental fields," the Czech Foreign Ministry says. Since 1997 the ministry has since honoured over 300 individuals and institutions.

Lipovac has deserved the award for being an initiator of many activities of the society at whose helm he is and for organising panel discussions and other events on the promotion of the relations between Croatia and Czech Republic. He is also the author of a book about the Croats in Czechia.

In January this year, that book titled "Češki Hrvati - hrvatski tragovi u Češkoj ("Czech Croats - Croat traces in Czechia " written by Lipovac and Franjo Vondracek, was presented in the Czech Centre in Zagreb.

The book gives an overview about some hundred people from Croatia who have lived and been active in Czechia, and also describes prominent Croats who attended tertiary education in Prague in the past.

More news about relations between Croatia and the Czech Republic can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Czech and Croatian Presidents Advocate Stronger Central Europe

ZAGREB, April 11, 2019 - Czech President Milos Zeman and his visiting Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who met in Prague on Thursday, expressed their support for strengthening cooperation between Central European countries through the Three Seas Initiative and the Three Rivers Initiative with the aim of strongly connecting Central Europe countries and encouraging their cohesion with the rest of the European Union.

President Grabar-Kitarović paid an official visit to the Czech Republic, two years after President Zeman visited Croatia. "I am glad that the Three Seas Initiative is growing into what my initial idea was and it is an initiative for an authentic, autochthonous Central Europe of our 12 countries that were all, with the exception of Austria, on the other side of the Iron Curtain," Grabar-Kitarović told a press conference in President Zeman's official residence.

She underscored that the initiative is aimed at achieving cohesion with the rest of the European Union and overcoming mental and physical barriers between the East and West.

"The aim is to connect our countries, but to connect them with the European Union too and to boost the competitiveness of our economies and all with the aim of better living standards for our citizens," she said.

According to Grabar-Kitarović, Croatia and the Czech Republic have an interest in participating in that initiative which, she assessed, is compatible with the Three Rivers Initiative.

This is an initiative proposed by Czechia for the construction of a canal that would connect the Elbe, Oder and Danube rivers so as to enable navigability that would connect the Northern, Baltic and Black Seas.

"That initiative is particularly interesting for Vukovar, which is also a port on the Danube and can connect the three rivers toward the Adriatic sea, toward Ploče across Corridor Vc," Grabar-Kitarović said.

President Zeman said that cooperation between countries in Central Europe needs to be reinforced and that a sort of Visegrad Plus should be established. He is particularly satisfied with the strengthening of economic ties between Croatia and the Czech Republic, which, he emphasised, is improving. "In the past five years, trade between our two countries has increased by 50%," Zeman said, adding that about one million Czechs go to Croatia during the summer.

Grabar-Kitarović said that she would like an economic forum to be organised so that "we can advance economic relations, investments and trade between our two countries."

President Grabar-Kitarović recalled the long-term historical ties between the two peoples and underscored that now more than ever the Croats and the Czech are connected by a joint future and common interests in the EU. "They are indeed very similar and I hope that we will continue to promote the interests of Central Europe," she said.

She expressed her wish for a summit of the Visegrad Group (V4) consisting of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, to be held in Croatia. "I would like to host a summit of the V4 so that we can discuss all the opportunities for development that we in Central Europe have," she added.

Grabar-Kitarović and Zeman will meet again at the beginning of summer when the next meeting of the Three Seas Initiative will be held in Slovenia on June 4 and 5.

The president made reference to ethnic minorities as yet another link between the two countries and she thanked the Czech Republic for the way it treats its Croat community.

She recalled that an estimated 10,000 ethnic Czechs in Croatia are held in high esteem and have their representative in the parliament and enjoy all rights regarding mother language and their heritage.

She recalled that numerous Croatian students studied in Prague.

She also underscored that the Adriatic Sea connected the two countries considering the loyalty of Czech tourists and added the "Adriatic Sea is your sea too."

"There are about a million Czech tourists who are always welcome guests, recognised for their exemplary conduct and who manage to adapt well due to the similarity of our languages," she added.

President Zeman is travelling to Dubrovnik on Friday to attend the China - CEEC Summit and said that he agreed with the Croatian president that it is necessary for relations with China to be based on mutual benefit.

Grabar-Kitarović recalled that a Chinese company is working on the largest infrastructure project in Croatia, the Pelješac Bridge, and that there is interest for other projects too like the Rijeka port.

"When it comes to capital, we do not discriminate (...) the thing that is important is that the capital is clean and that intentions are sincere and that business is conducted according to regulations," she said.

I expect the other 15 countries attending the summit in Dubrovnik to promote their national interests and work on strengthening bilateral relations with China. She invited her host to conduct an official state visit to Croatia.

During her stay in Prague, Grabar-Kitarović met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic Radek Vondracek and President of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera.

More news about relations between Croatia and the Czech Republic can be found in the Politics section.

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