Saturday, 25 June 2022

Pahor Says Blocking Croatia's EU Entry Talks Hardest Decision in His Career

ZAGREB, 25 June 2022 - Slovenia's President Borut Pahor said on Saturday that the most difficult decision which he had made in his political career had been to block Croatia's EU accession negotiations in his capacity as Prime Minister in 2008.

"Blocking Croatia was my most difficult political decision," Pahor told the Slovenian national broadcaster in his interview on the occasion of Slovenia's Statehood Day, observed on 25 June.

In December 2008, the Pahor cabinet vetoed the opening of new policy chapters in Croatia's EU accession negotiations over the border dispute between the two neighbouring countries.

The blockade was lifted only after Croatia's government led by Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor acceded to Slovenia's request to sign an arbitration agreement in late 2009.

Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, and Croatia in mid-2013.

In 2017, Croatia's government and parliament decided on withdrawing from the arbitration procedure after it was compromised by some of the Slovenian protagonists in the process.

Pahor's second presidential terms expires this year.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

For Many Croatian Exchange Offices, This Summer Will be the Last

June the 25th, 2022 - For many Croatian exchange offices, this summer season will be their last. Croatia's Eurozone entry is set to take place at the very beginning of next year, and for a number of offices, the doors are being well and truly locked.

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the beginning of summer and the height of the tourist season is also the usual time of the "main harvest" for Croatian exchange offices, with the biggest turnovers in that niche market occuring during the months of July and August.

Last year, almost a third of the total annual turnover of authorised Croatian exchange offices was realised solely during those two summer months, and from the beginning of June to the end of September, 50 percent of the year-round turnover took place.

For many Croatian exchange offices, especially those for which these jobs aren't just a "side" activity, this summer, given the introduction of the euro at the beginning of next year, could be the last in which they remain in business.

According to the annual report of the Croatian National Bank (CNB) published this week, about 850 authorised Croatian exchange offices were active across the country at the end of last year, with a slightly higher number of them holding CNB licenses, a total of 1,146 of them.

Those who provided foreign currency trade services throughout the year or seasonally did so through approximately 3,500 Croatian exchange offices, where they traded a total of 31 currencies. However, out of 25.1 billion kuna in annual turnover (of which 18 billion kuna refers to purchases), more than 87 percent or 21.7 billion kuna was realised in euros (15 billion kuna through purchases, and the rest through the sale of euros). The majority of the remaining turnover refers to the US dollar (5.6%) and the Swiss franc (4.7% of the turnover).

Compared to pandemic-dominated 2020, last year's turnover within Croatian exchange offices increased primarily due to the recovery of the travel and tourism industry, by about 30 percent or almost six billion kuna. The first four months of this year also brought year-round traffic growth to offices.

According to the CNB, by the end of April, exchange offices across the country had generated a massive 6.73 billion kuna, compared to less than 5 billion kuna in the same period last year.

Authorised Croatian exchange offices achieved a record turnover back in 2017 (30.2 billion kuna), although in the meantime the inflows of tourist foreign currency grew. For example, in the record year of 2019, exchange offices made less than 30 billion kuna worth of foreign cash exchanges.

To a large extent, the explanation lies in the growing trend of non-cash payment transactions. By accepting foreign payment cards (cards issued outside of the borders of this country), transactions worth 20.8 billion kuna were realised last year.

Compared to the first year of the pandemic, 2020, it's equal to twice as much, compared to pre-pandemic 2019, not even four percent less, and compared to the exchange record in 2017, the value of transactions with foreign payment cards performed in Croatia last year was about 4.5 billion kuna higher.

There is no doubt that with the introduction of the euro in 2023, the number of CNB licenses for these jobs will fall even further. Most of the approximately (seasonally or year-round) 850 active Croatian exchange offices also perform other activities and currency exchange operations aren't their main activity.

The CNB estimates that they are the core business for approximately 200 legal entities, which in turn provide these services at approximately 400 exchange offices. It is also estimated that they employ between 600 and 800 employees.

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

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Croatian MP Miro Bulj: There Could be No Worse Time for Eurozone Entry

June the 18th, 2022 - Croatian MP Miro Bulj has boldly claimed that there could be no worse time possible for Croatian Eurozone accession, for which it has had the green light and into which it will enter on the 1st of January 2023, replacing the kuna with the euro.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian MP Miro Bulj (MOST) spoke recently with N1 television about possible changes to the Law on Referendums. He says that MOST is against the way of defining which topics could be decided in a referendum. Bulj also believes that the imminent introduction of the euro couldn't be possibly coming at a worse time.

"In the sense of defining the topics [which could be decided in a referendum[, what they did with the constitutional referendum for which we collected 400 thousand signatures, is more than sad. We'll oppose it. We can change it to make it easier to collect signatures, not to limit them in advance and define the appropriate topics. We know that the Constitutional Court is under the control of HDZ, that these are the Godfathers and that it's a purely political body. That body is meaningless. We strongly oppose this and we will monitor how other political options will behave,'' warned Bulj, talking about the amendments to the Law on Referendums.

Croatian MP Miro Bulj also said that the HDZ had enjoyed great levels of support from other political parties when it came to the epidemiological measures introduced in the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus, which had a hugely negative impact on the economy.

"It doesn't mean anything to them that we have more voters than we have residents, it's a disastrous proposal. This is a blow to the foundation of and the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia,'' believes Bulj.

"Where does one get the right to say that the constitutional changes for which MOST collected signatures aren't constitutional? They can't say what the people think about the Constitution. It was the same with the definition of marriage. This is a direct interference of HDZ and the Constitutional Court in the interest of Andrej Plenkovic, who has also taken over the judicial system. This isn't something new, it's a blow to democracy, it's shameful act and an anti-national blow to the Constitution,'' said Croatian MP Miro Bulj.

Bulj's beliefs on Croatian Eurozone accession

"It couldn't possibly be coming at a worse moment," Bulj said when asked if it was the right time to send the kuna to the history books and introduce the new currency, adding that we need to be taking care of our natural resources and as such, our farmers.

"We must help our farmers during these difficult times, not be spending our time on preparing to introduce the euro. It's clear to Finance Minister Zdravko Maric how much inflation will rise to and what will happen, but it's more important to listen to Brussels than the interest of the Croatian people. They've played games and it's obviously more important to Plenkovic to be the one to introduce the euro than listen to the interest of the people. Nobody knows what will happen when the euro is introduced,'' concluded Croatian MP Miro Bulj.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

MEP Biljana Borzan Claims Government Lobbying Against Pesticide Reduction

June the 9th, 2022 - Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan has made the claim that the Croatian Government is actually lobbying against the reduction of harmful pesticides in the Belgian capital of Brussels, adding that she has been shocked by it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Government, more precisely the Ministry of Agriculture, is allegedly directly lobbying in Brussels for the European Union (EU) to abandon the binding goals of reducing the use of chemical pesticides in food production. This is part of a letter sent on March the 16th, 2022, to the European Council, which, among others, is apparently signed by the Croatian Government.

The letter is in the possession of Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan, who, as the Eurosocialist rapporteur for the ''Field to Table'' strategy, is committed to reducing the use of chemical pesticides.

"I'm shocked and angry, on whose behalf is the Croatian Government lobbying against pesticide reduction?! On behalf of the citizens of Croatia, who are probably satisfied that bees are dying out and that traces of pesticides are ubiquitous on our food? I'd like to call on the Minister to comment on this situation and explain to the public why it isn't in their interest for food to be sprayed less with chemicals!'' MEP Biljana Borzan demanded.

The letter, allegedly signed by the Republic of Croatia and eleven other EU member states, disagrees with the bloc's overall goal of halving the use of chemical pesticides by the year 2030 through the ''Field to Table'' strategy.

In particular, they oppose the new law on the sustainable use of pesticides, which the European Commission (EC) is due to present on June the 22nd, 2022, and which Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan recently warned was in question due to fierce lobbying.

"It turns out that the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture is lobbying against environmental goals in Brussels, and at the same time, in Croatia, they're making life difficult for organic food producers by reducing subsidies and employing absurd regulations. When did we as a state decide to head in that direction? When the Parliament debated this, did the citizens vote for it? I recently conducted a public opinion poll on this topic and as many as 91 percent of respondents said they support reducing the use of pesticides, which shows that citizens' awareness of their impact on health and the environment is high,'' concluded Borzan on the matter.

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

Saturday, 4 June 2022

German Media Says Croatian Eurozone Accession Good for Tourists

June the 4th, 2022 - The German media has claimed Croatian Eurozone accession which will now definitely take place on the 1st of January 2023 is a good thing for tourists and travellers.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the opinion and subsequent decision of the European Commission (EC) that the Republic of Croatia meets all of the conditions for the introduction of the euro is important to the Germans. The tabloid Bild put it on their cover, and many other German media outlets are writing about it.

"Good news for everyone travelling to Croatia," wrote Bild, the headline of which emphasised that there will be no more trouble with the exchange of the euro into Croatian kuna. It is explained that the European Commission, among other things, monitored "inflation and exchange rate stability" and confirmed that Croatia meets the criteria. It also stated that the European Central Bank has concluded the same and quoted the statement of the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who said that the introduction of the euro will strengthen the Croatian economy, but also that Croatian Eurozone accession will strengthen the euro.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung dedicated two articles to Croatian Eurozone accession. One noted that both the European Central Bank and the European Commission have determined that Croatia meets the criteria for the introduction of the euro and that this will be decided by EU finance ministers, according to Deutsche Welle.

Commentary published in the economic part of the FAZ emphasised that the European Commission "knows how to adjust economic data to suit political wishes".

"Such a practice can be seen with the Croatian introduction of the euro on January the 1st, 2023, which is now being recommended by the European Commission. In doing this, it is acting quite arbitrarily with the convergence criteria of the Maastricht Treaty. That tready attests to all non-euro-states (except Romania, which is a special case) that they meet the criteria for state budget stability - with the strange argument that the stability pact has been repealed and that there's nothing they could violate.

In the Croatian case, the treaty also has no interest in the fact that their debt amounts to about 75 percent of GDP, significantly more than the 60 percent prescribed in the Maastricht Treaty. This ignorance has its role models: Italy and Belgium were admitted to the monetary union as founding countries back in 1998, despite their great indebtedness, because they somehow belonged to that circle,'' recalls Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The daily for economic issues, Handelsblatt, also emphasised that the ECB and the European Commission have determined that Croatia meets the criteria for the introduction of the euro and that it is set to become the 20th member of the Eurozone next year. It noted that ''all EU member states except Denmark have made a contractual commitment to one day introduce the single European currency, but governments can set the pace themselves. Sweden, for example, still has its own currency. In Eastern Europe, too, some governments are in no hurry to introduce the euro because they appreciate the benefits of an independent monetary policy,'' wrote Handelsblatt.

Numerous other German media (ARD, ZDF, Spiegel, Süddeutsche Zeitung,…) also reported on the green light of the ECB and the European Commission for Croatian Eurozone entry in 2023.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Former CNB Governor Damir Odak Talks Eurozone Entry

May the 25th, 2022 - Former CNB governor Damir Odak has discussed Croatia's current final preparations for entrance into the Eurozone, scheduled for the very beginning of next year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian kuna that has been deposited into banks by the last day of this year, will ''wake up'' on January the 1st, 2023, as euros, said former CNB governor Damir Odak.

Odak was a recent moderator of the round table ''The expected impact of the euro on banks'' which was held as part of a larger conference called ''The Financial Market'' in Opatija. Former governor Damir Odak said that then, at the time of conversion, the amounts will be ''divided by 7.5 and something'', kuna and euro bank accounts will be merged into one single account, and of course, all Croatian bank accounts will have new balances shown in the new currency - the euro. Whoever comes to an ATM or branch to withdraw cash will receive euros instead of kuna, he explained, as Novi list reports.

The round table was attended by the presidents of the leading domestic banks, all of whom are preparing for the huge project of introducing the euro as Croatia's currency in 2023. In some banks, as it was said, there is a ''general mobilisation'', to make sure that everything is in order so that all processes run smoothly and the transition to the new currency is as painless as possible.

Mario Zizek, President of the Management Board of Addiko, says that the project of introducing the euro is priority number one in that bank. "It often happens to all of us that projects slip out of people's full attention within a few days, but with the introduction of the euro, this is far from the case," said Zizek. Balazs Bekeffy, President of the Management Board of OTP banka, says that, based on the experience of others, some services and products may become more expensive, but this will not be anything drastic.

Liana Keseric, President of the Management Board of Raiffeisen Bank, said that they have five key focuses at this moment in time: their clients, leadership, risk management, technology and processes. Marko Badurina, President of the Management Board of Hrvatska postanska banka, says that despite the short-term costs, the long-term net effects are positive. Christoph Schoefboeck said additional cost optimisation will be needed.

By joining the Eurozone, the day before, CNB Governor Boris Vujcic reminded the banks that they would have the full help of the European Central Bank/EC) at their disposal, which is something the CNB had issues with due to its limited maneuver due and the already very high ''euroization'' of the banking system. Therefore, many restrictions will be lifted, the required reserve will be significantly reduced, and the obligation to cover foreign currency liabilities with foreign currency claims will be abolished. Therefore, a new wave of liquidity awaits them. However, it has also been said that banks are also facing negligible costs due to the adjustment of all of their internal processes, IT systems, applications, information campaigns, and also the loss of some jobs, such as those held by people working in exchange offices.

The most interesting presentation was given by the President of the Management Board of Privredna banka Zagreb, Dinko Lucic. He said that banks are big advocates of the introduction of the euro in Croatia precisely because they aren't looking at the short term, because if they did only take that into consideration, he said, then they'd really have high costs. Lucic recalled the experience of Slovakia's accession to the Eurozone:

"According to the experience there, and knowing the opportunities here, for larger banks on the Croatian market, the costs related to the introduction of the euro could range between 10 and 17 million euros, which is a serious cost in the short term. In the long run, however, we expect an increase in economic activity, greater attractiveness of the state for foreign investment, greater need for financial instruments and we see this as an opportunity to partially compensate for the costs incurred,'' said Lucic.

"It will be smoother in Croatia than it was in some other countries where the euro was introduced. However, when I compare Croatia and Slovakia, there was a much bigger national consensus in Slovakia on the introduction of the euro, while some recent research shows that there are still many Eurosceptics and those who argue that this is something very negative. That said, the euro brings long-term benefits to society as a whole, that’s for sure. Its importance for crisis stability is particularly evident. The sooner we adopt the euro, the better,'' concluded Lucic.

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

Monday, 9 May 2022

Can Brits Purchase Croatian Property? Yes They Can, Here's How

May the 9th, 2022 - Brexit resulted in more questions than it did answers, and whatever side of the fence you happen to be on, be it Bremain or Brexit, we can all likely agree on that. British nationals living across the EU ended up in strange and often unclear positions overnight, with very real legal and financial worries on their plates. With that being said, can Brits purchase Croatian property now Brexit is done, dusted and in the past? Yes.

''Can Brits purchase Croatian property?'' is a question that I see often, and the answers provided are somewhat vague. Given that the United Kingdom is no longer an EU member state, British citizens are no longer EU citizens, meaning that certain rights which were once afforded to them merely by being the holders of British passports no longer apply. Brits can no longer take up residence in Croatia with a quite registration and the flash of a UK passport like they once could, and only those Brits who were here before Brexit and who have acquired rights are still treated like EU citizens.

Up until February the 1st, 2020, ironically just before the global coronavirus pandemic reached Europe and caused havoc like we've never seen before, Brits could purchase property in Croatia as they were EU citizens. The same continued to be true between that aforementioned date and the 31st of December, 2020, during a transition period when all EU law continued to apply to the UK as it slowly made its way out of the bloc of which it had been a leading, powerful and wealthy member for over 40 years. 

During the UK's transition period out of the EU, British (and as such EU) nationals were free to purchase Croatian property without having to get any particular permissions and without having to engage in anything out of the ordinary. This applied to all property with the exception of what was classed as ''property and real estate in protected areas'' and agricultural land. Then came January the 1st, 2021, and everything changed for Britain. That was the real D-Day, when the UK ceased to be a member of any kind of the EU, the transition period ended at midnight (Central European Time) on the 31st of December, 2020.

The answer to the question of: Can Brits purchase Croatian property? was expected to change, but it didn't alter all that much. In short, yes they can, but that desired property absolutely needs to be classed as a residential property, and for that it must be in a certain ''zone''. This is all based on reciprocity agreements held between the Republic of Croatia and various other countries, and this functions in the British sense much like it did before Croatia joined the EU back in July 2013.

A tip for looking this sort of agreement up in Croatian would be to Google: Uzajamnost za stjecanje prava vlasnistva na nekretninama u Republici Hrvatskoj.

It sounds a little bit complicated, but in reality it isn't. If a Croatian citizen can buy property in a certain country, then the citizens of whatever country that might be can typically do the same in Croatia, with certain conditions attached in each specific case. You also do not need to registered as a resident of Croatia in order to buy a property here.

So, what needs to be done?

Consent for the acquisition of ownership rights over Croatian property by foreign citizens who aren't nationals of the EU/EEA or an EFTA country requires what everyone in Croatia just adores - an administrative procedure. I can hear you jumping for joy just reading that. A Brit intending to buy a property here must first make a request to the Ministry of Justice.

In the case of a British citizen who isn't protected by the Withdrawal Agreement wanting to purchase a property here, this procedure is conducted at their request to purchase real estate. Again, that real estate needs to be ''zoned'' as residential, and Brits cannot purchase agricultural land, nor can they buy property situated in a so-called protected area. 

An updated list of countries (aside from the UK) which comply with the reciprocity principle is available under Information on reciprocity in the acquisition of ownership rights of real estate between the Republic of Croatia and countries other than EU Member States, the Republic of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway or the Swiss Confederation.

The procedure is laid down in the provisions of the Act on Ownership and Other Real Rights and the Act on General Administrative Procedure. A mouthful, I know. Any submitted application must be written and then be submitted to the Registry and Archives Department. This can be done by post to the following address:

Croatian: Ministarstvo pravosudja i uprave Republike Hrvatske, 

Uprava za gradjansko, trgovacko i upravno pravo

Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000, Zagreb, Grad Zagreb, Republika Hrvatska

English: The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration of the Republic of Croatia,

The Directorate for Civil, Commercial and Administrative Law

City of Vukovar Street 49, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia

The following documents must be enclosed along with your (written) application form:

- An acceptable legal basis for the acquisition of ownership (this can be a property purchase agreement, the deeds proving the property has been gifted to you, etc). These documents can be in their original form, or they can be certified copies.

- Proof of ownership from the seller of the property, such as a copy from the land register confirming their ownership.

- A certificate of the administrative body responsible for urban and physical planning, according to the location of the property, on the legal status of the property.

- Proof of the prospective owner's nationality (such as a certified copy of their passport showcasing their citizenship) or proof of legal entity status (evidence with a copy from the court register) if the prospective owner is a foreign legal entity.

- When the applicant is represented by an attorney-in-fact, the original power of attorney or a certified copy thereof must be submitted.

In certain cases, additional documentation will be sought from would-be buyers of Croatian property. It all depends on the individual request. 

So, in short, the answer to Can Brits purchase Croatian property? is a resounding YES, given that all of the requirements for reciprocity have long been met. This was of course helped not only by the UK's recent EU membership, but also by the fact that Croatia is the EU's youngest member state and that many bilateral agreements between the UK and Croatia before Croatian EU accession were long-standing and clear.

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

Saturday, 7 May 2022

The Two Types of Brit in Croatia: Pre and Post Brexit

May the 7th, 2022 - There are two types of Brit in Croatia. No, not ethnically, but politically. Back in 2016, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland very narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a non-binding referendum, the likes of which are not the norm at all in a democracy of the UK's type.

Split almost entirely down the middle, the vote to leave the EU came as an enormous European and global shock, sending pound sterling tumbling and causing turmoil following over 40 years of the UK being one of the first and indeed among the wealthiest and most powerful member states. I won't get into the multitude of issues surrounding the Brexit vote, as more than enough time has passed for certain aspects of it to become clear, we've all read about them, and that isn't the point of this article.

Article 50 was eventually triggered, an article which enables a country to leave the bloc and which, according to its creator, was never really designed to be used as such a move was deemed deeply unlikely to ever happen. The UK ended up having numerous extensions, or Brextensions if you will, prolonging the exit process and seeing the country remain a member state for significantly longer than was initially envisaged.

The end eventually came, and the country entered into a year long transition period during which all EU law continued to apply to the UK, which included freedom of movement, one of the fundamental pillars of the functioning of the European Union. The transition period, which was spent tying up loose ends and seeing additional agreements and arrangements dealt with, ended on December the 31st, 2020, with new rules coming into force on the 1st of January, 2021. That date automatically created two sets of British nationals; those who had exercised their right to freedom of movement when the UK was an EU member state, and those who hadn't.

What does that mean for a Brit in Croatia?

Put simply and shortly, there are now two types of Brit in Croatia - a pre-Brexit Brit and a post-Brexit Brit. These two sets of people are treated entirely differently in this country, should they live here or want to live here, despite having the exact same nationality.

New residence permits

As a pre-Brexit Brit, you're not a third country national, and you're not an EU citizen, you have a category all to yourself, but it is up to you to be able to demonstrate that.

First of all, you need to request a new residence permit which separates you as a a pre-Brexit Brit in Croatia from a post-Brexit Brit. This card will state that you are protected by the Withdrawal Ageeement and you can request it from MUP. This is not a new residence application, just a scheme of declaration. You were supposed to request this before the end of June 2021 but some still haven't. You can still request it, your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement will be unaffected, but you may face an administrative fine for not respecting the aforementioned date (around 200 kuna). You can read more here.

For those who had temporary residence before the 31st of December, you need to download and fill in this form.

For those who already had permanent residence before the same date, you need to download and fill in this form.

Those who are already permanent residents will be asked less questions than those who are temporary residents. This is because permanent residents, regardless of their nationality, no longer need to abide by any conditions in order to live in Croatia permanently. Temporary residence are still ''provisional'', so to speak.

The rules for pre-Brexit Brits in Croatia:

If you're a Brit in Croatia and you were granted legal residence here before Brexit occurred, you're covered by something called the Withdrawal Agreement. That agreement provides what are known as acquired rights for those British citizens who had exercised their right to free movement when their country was an EU member state and as such moved to Croatia before the clock timed out on the 31st of December, 2020.

It's important to note that the ''pre-Brexit'' type of Brit in Croatia's time period also includes the transition period during which all EU law continued to apply to the UK.

As a pre-Brexit Brit in Croatia, you're afforded a series of special rights which clearly distinguish you from post-Brexit Brits (which we'll get into later) and see you treated much more like an EU citizen than a third country national.

The ins and outs

As a pre-Brexit Brit in Croatia, you had temporary or permanent residence granted and a document/permit to prove that before Brexit was concluded, when you were an EU citizen. As such, you'll continue to be broadly treated as such. This means that:

You are free to continue living and working (if you worked) as you did before, under the same conditions as you did before,

You are free to be self-employed or take up another form of employment without the need for a work permit,

You can continue to receive healthcare from the state (through HZZO) on the same basis as you did before,

You will be exempt from needing to fill out and pay for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) when it comes into force,

You can enter and exit Croatia with your valid passport. You don't need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you're travelling,

Your entry into Croatia is always facilitated, but you must proactively show your residence permit demonstrating your rights along with your passport when entering. Your passport may be mistakenly stamped, but this is voided upon demonstration of your right to live in Croatia,

You can continue to drive in Croatia and will be issued with black printed license plates which separate you from post-Brexit Brits. You should bring your new residence permit proving your status when undertaking this procedure with MUP,

Your family members (such as current spouses and registered partners, parents, grandparents, children) will be able to join you and live in Croatia at any point the future,

Any children born after the end of the transition period will also be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement because you are, wherever they are born,

You can be gone from the country for five consecutive years without losing any of your rights or your permanent resident status,

All in all, your rights are largely unaffected by Brexit and you can continue living permanently in Croatia without the need to meet any conditions,

If you'd like to see more details about travel restrictions as a Brit in Croatia covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, click here.

Let's now move onto post-Brexit Brits, the British nationals who moved to Croatia, or who still plan to, now that Brexit and the transition period have come to an end. These British citizens are third country nationals, as despite being a European country, the UK is no longer an EU, EEA or EFTA member state.

The rules for post-Brexit Brits in Croatia:

As a Brit in Croatia who did not exercise their right to free movement when the UK was an EU member state, you are not afforded any special rights. You can no longer get residence easily as a British citizen like you could when the UK was part of the EU. Let's look at how you can gain residence as a Brit in Croatia now that EU membership is a thing of the past. You can apply for residence in Croatia if:

You're a British national but you already hold permanent residence in another EU/EEA/EFTA country

You're a digital nomad

You're a student in Croatia

You're coming here to start a company of your own

You're going to be working for a Croatian company

You're going to be undertaking scientific research

You're coming here to learn the Croatian language

You are already married or are going to be getting married to a Croatian citizen or an EU citizen living here

You're going to be volunteering here

You want to live here for one year only and you can prove the pre-payment of a year's worth of rent on a house, apartment, etc

All of the above grounds for application come with their own rules and requirements, and frankly, I'd be here for forever and a day if I went through each and every possible requirement and potential twist and turn. That said, these are concrete grounds for a residence application for a post-Brexit Brit in Croatia, and if you state one of them as your reason, MUP will be able to tell you what they require from you in your individual case. Here's what you will need in each and every case, however:

A completed application form for temporary residence which MUP will provide you with,

A valid identity document such as an ID card or British passport. Brits know that ID cards aren't really a thing in the UK, so the latter will most likely be the case. You must have three or more months longer on your passport than the period you intend to remain in Croatia for,

A criminal background check from the British police that is no older than 6 months, and if you hold permanent residence in another EU country, you need one from their authorities, too,

A health insurance policy. You can use a private health insurance police, a GHIC, or an EHIC if you live in another EU country and have health insurance there,

Proof of accommodation, and as such a registered address in Croatia. You'll then need to show your proof of ownership, a valid rental contract, or the accommodation provider/landlord can accompany you to MUP if you have a different situation,

Proof of sufficient funds to support yourself unless you're applying based on family reunification with a Croatian spouse,

A photograph (30x35 mm) which will either be taken at MUP upon approval of your application, or at a nearby photo studio which provides photos for identification documents. There are usually several such facilities within walking distance from an administrative police station,

An application fee to be paid into the Croatian state budget,

Your rights as a post-Brexit Brit in Croatia:

You will require a work permit in order to gain lawful employment in Croatia,

As a temporary resident, you will need to be in the country for a certain amount of time each year before being able to apply for permanent residence. Click here for travel restrictions for third country nationals, and for detailed information about time you must wait before you can apply for permanent residence, click here,

You may need to get your professional qualifications recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in Croatia,

If you plan to study in Croatia, you must meet all of the requirements before you travel here. It's wise to contact the relevant higher education provider in Croatia to check what fees you may have to pay during this process,

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Croatia so that you don't pay tax on the same income in both countries. This remains the case regardless of the EU or of Brexit,

You can't renew or replace your United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Croatia, but here's what you can do,

Once you are able to apply for permanent residence, you will be afforded vastly different (and much more favourable rights) which are very similar to those enjoyed by nationals, here they are:

You are free to come and go from Croatia as often as you please, as long as you aren't outside of the country's borders for longer than two consecutive years,

You are free to access education,

You can undergo professional development of any kind,

You are free to take up employment without any need for permission or a work permit

Student (but not state) scholarships,

Child benefits (allowance),

Social/state benefits (welfare)

Various forms of applicable tax relief,

Free access to the goods and services market,

The freedom to become a member of an association or organisation which represents either employees or employers,

You can live in Croatian permanently and without any conditions,

 

SOURCES: MUPSredisnji drzavni portalEuropa.euGOV.UK

For everything else you need to know as a Brit in Croatia, keep up with our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Milanović Says Situation Not Normal, Croatia and Europe at Crossroads

ZAGREB, 1 May 2022 - President Zoran Milanović said on Sunday that "we are not in a normal situation, Croatia and Europe are at a crossroads," adding that he is "sorry for Croatia" and that he will "fight with all my might" not to give room to the ruling HDZ party to destroy Croatia.

Speaking to the press in Varaždin, where he celebrated International Workers' Day, Milanović reiterated that the HDZ was a "gang."

"I watch what I say. Not everything will be nice, but 90% of the things I say have been considered beforehand," he said, adding that he does not have political instruments. "I don't have... the parliamentary majority, which I didn't steal like (HDZ leader and PM Andrej) Plenković. Therefore I have to say certain things."

The president also commented on Serb National Council president and MP Milorad Pupovac's statement that Milanović was a jug that would soon break.

"He is totally insignificant, a profiteer. People voted for me... Nobody votes for him," he said, adding that Pupovac "steals from the state budget."

He criticised Pupovac for saying in parliament that the 1995 Operation Storm was ethnic cleansing, asking him to explain that to the 7th Guard Brigade's Varaždin defenders.

"They were liberating that area not from Serbs but from a military enemy and they have not one crime behind them," Milanović said. "He's not a Serb, he's a common petty thief."

International Workers' Day

Celebrating International Workers' Day with the people of Varaždin, the president said "it's more difficult to be a unionist than ever" because "employers are dispersed on many more positions."

"A worker is someone who lives off their pay," he said, adding that inflation affects such people the most, not just in Croatia.

This situation has much less to do with workers' rights and much more with geopolitics and the systemic global policy "which is devouring us at the moment," Milanović said.

He explained that he decided to celebrate International Workers' Day in Varaždin because that northern city "has had the biggest May Day celebration in Croatia for 30 years already."

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 28 March 2022

Eurostat: Croatia Catches Up with Latvia on GDP Per Capita

28 March 2022 - In 2021, Luxembourg and Ireland recorded the highest levels of GDP per capita expressed in purchasing power standards, while Croatia overtook Slovakia and ranked alongside Latvia, according to Eurostat's flash estimate. 

Luxembourg's GDP per capita was 177% above the EU average, while Ireland's was 121% above.

The high GDP per capita in Luxembourg is partly due to the country's large share of cross-border workers in total employment. While contributing to GDP, these workers are not taken into consideration as part of the resident population which is used to calculate GDP per capita, Eurostat said.

The high level of GDP per capita in Ireland can be partly explained by the presence of large multinational companies holding intellectual property. The associated contract manufacturing with these assets contributes to GDP, while a large part of the income earned from this production is returned to the companies’ ultimate owners abroad, Eurostat noted.

Luxembourg and Ireland were followed by Denmark (33% above), the Netherlands (32% above), Sweden (23% above) and Belgium (22% above).

In contrast, Croatia (30% below the EU average), Slovakia (32% below), Greece (35% below) and Bulgaria (45% below) registered the lowest GDP per capita, Eurostat said.

Croatia had made an improvement since 2020, when its GDP per capita was 36% below the EU average, and caught up with Latvia, which was 29% below the EU average in 2021.

France (4% above) and Malta (2% below) were closest to the EU average.

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