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.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Prague Spring Anniversary Marked by Czech Groups in Croatia

ZAGREB, November 29, 2018 - The Croatian-Czech Society and the Češka Beseda association on Wednesday held a round table discussion dedicated to the Prague Spring, a period of political liberalisation in Czechoslovakia as a Communist state after World War II. The year 1968 stirs up strong emotions among Czechs and Slovaks because it was a year of great hopes, enthusiasm and optimism, as well as a year of great disappointments, it was said at the event marking the Prague Spring anniversary.

The Prague Spring and its end, as well as the subsequent protest suicide of student Jan Palach, is probably the best known event in the history of the Czech and Slovak peoples in the world, said the president of the Croatian-Czech Society, Marijan Lipovac.

Around 50,000 Czechs and Slovaks were vacationing in Croatia at the time and could not return to their country as the borders were closed for about ten days.

The residents of Zagreb offered them to stay with them in their homes, said Češka Beseda vice-president Marina Kolaček Novosel, speaking of reports in Croatian newspapers at the time of the Prague Spring.

The Prague Spring was a reform movement led by Czechoslovak Communist leader Alexander Dubček and aimed at democratising and liberalising the country's social and political system, said Lipovac.

The hopes of reforms were destroyed in the occupation by five Warsaw Pact states – the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria, in August 1968.

The Prague Spring was supported by Yugoslavia and Romania since Josip Broz Tito saw in it the success of his concept of socialism, while Nicolae Causescu, with his rigid regime, defended the principle that each state has the right to develop its own kind of socialism.

After the occupation, Dubček and the Czechoslovak leadership were forced to capitulate and give up their reforms, even though they were allowed to stay in their positions for some time.

The only of the planned reforms that was implemented was the federalisation of Czechoslovakia, which on 1 January 1969 became a federal state consisting of the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic. A period of so-called normalisation ensued and lasted until the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

During the occupation, 137 Czechoslovaks who tried to put up resistance were killed. Political opponents were fired or arrested and around 250,000 people emigrated, including many researchers and cultural workers.

During that period, Croatian citizens and institutions provided their Czechoslovak guests with accommodation and the necessary assistance, once again confirming the solidarity between the Croats, Czechs and Slovaks in difficult times of their history, said Lipovac.

For more on relations between Croatia and the Czech Republic, click here.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

First Germany and Ireland, and Now Czech Republic? Škoda Looking for Croatian Workers

Croatian employers are not the only ones who are desperately looking for Croatian workers. There are more and more foreign businesses coming to Croatia in search of possible employees. One of them is the well-known car factory Škoda from the Czech Republic, reports Radio Mrežnica on November 20, 2018.

Škoda is looking for workers, and this week the company decided to focus on Croatia. In four towns, Osijek, Sisak, Karlovac and Zagreb, representatives of the company will meet and talk with interested Croatian workers who are thinking about possibly moving to this Central European country, which is in economic terms far more developed in Croatia. While during the “dark days of socialism” then Yugoslavia seemed like a heaven to other Central and Eastern European countries, in the last 30 years everything changed. Now, Croats and citizens of other former Yugoslav republics are looking with envy at the living standards in countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

The ad that the Czech company published over the local Radio Mrežnica draw a huge amount of interest from listeners and the Czech representatives in Croatia were happy to provide more details. “ManpowerGroup" Czech Republic is looking for potential employees for Škoda Auto, in the town of Mlada Boleslav. Potential employees can earn up to 1,000 euro, in addition to accommodation and travel costs, which will be covered separately. They will also have a coordinator during their stay in the Czech Republic. ManpowerGroup will take care of them,” said the company representatives.

The interviews about possible employment at Škoda will take place in Osijek on Tuesday, in Sisak on Wednesday, in Karlovac on Thursday, and in Zagreb on Friday.

Škoda Auto, better known only as Škoda, is a Czech car manufacturer which was founded in 1895 as Laurin&Klement. It is located in the town of Mlada Boleslav.

According to the latest numbers, Croatia's population is significantly decreasing, with a trend of fewer births and more deaths, and there has never been a greater wave of emigration. Compared to 2008 when the population amounted to 4.3 million, ten years later, at the end of 2017, that number had decreased by 204,300 people and Croatia's population then was 4.1 million.

Since Croatia joined the EU in 2013, the number of immigrants has varied between 10,400 in 2013 and 15,600 in 2017. However, the number of people emigrating has increased noticeably more. Even though there was a growing trend in the period between 2011 and 2013, that number has increased significantly since accession.

In 2014, the number of emigrants was 20,900 which was an increase of 36.7% compared to 2013. In mid-2015, most EU member states lifted restrictions on Croatian workers and the number of emigrants increased by almost 10,000 that year. In 2016, that number continued to grow and in 2017 was a record high of 47,400, most of them emigrating to Germany.

For more on the emigration situation in Croatia, click here.

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