Friday, 15 October 2021

Parliamentary Parties Support Croatian-German Visiting Forces Agreement

ZAGREB, 15 Oct 2021 - Croatian parliamentary parties on Friday welcomed the adoption of the law ratifying the Croatian-German Visiting Forces Agreement, with some expressing concern about the article on criminal jurisdiction and coercive measures.

The agreement concerns temporary stays of members of the armed forces of Croatia and the armed forces of Germany in the territory of the other state.

"We are concerned about the article on criminal jurisdiction and coercive measures, which narrows the right to exercise criminal jurisdiction over members of the armed forces of the sending state," Vili Matula of the Left-Green Bloc said during the discussion. "It is not clear to us why the receiving state should waive the right of broader criminal jurisdiction," he added.

The Left-Green Bloc generally supports bilateral defence cooperation with countries that have highly developed democratic standards and do not violate human rights, and when defence cooperation also includes forms of development assistance.

"Germany is one such country and we have no objections to this kind of cooperation," Matula said.

Arsen Bauk of the Social Democratic Party said that these are common provisions in agreements like this. "Without them, I doubt that any country would send its troops to another country. We, too, certainly would not want our soldiers, when deployed in a foreign country, to be tried under the laws of that country, in particular if that country has capital punishment or cuts people's hands off."

Bauk said that this agreement should be supported, because "if any problems arise in its implementation, there is a clear mechanism to fix them."

Katarina Peović of the Workers Front said that the agreement could perhaps have been improved, but that the Croatian parliament did not have a chance to do that.  She resented the emphasis being put on the fact that the agreement was being signed with a major European country, which she said was "pure self-colonialism".

"I don't see this agreement as servile, but as one laying the legal groundwork for cooperation, which is already excellent," said Domagoj Hajduković of the Social Democrats group, adding that the two countries have close bilateral defence cooperation and participate together in NATO and EU missions.

"Everything that applies to the Croatian armed forces also applies to the German armed forces," noted Zdravko Jakup, state secretary at the Ministry of Defence. "We are always responsible for our forces wherever they may be and no one can absolve us from such responsibility," he said, expressing satisfaction that the ratification of the agreement is before Parliament.

The agreement governs the type, scope and duration of stays, the terms of entry, exit and stay, public security and order, public health, criminal jurisdiction and coercive measures,  telecommunications, environmental protection, the operation of vehicles of the sending state’s armed forces and the use of the receiving state’s airfields, settlement of claims, exercises, and settlement of disputes.

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Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Croatia Introducing German DGNB Certification For Sustainable Construction

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - An NGO called Croatia Green Building Council on Tuesday signed an agreement with the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), a Stuttgart-based non-profit organisation, on the DGNB system for certification of sustainable buildings, building interiors and districts.

The DGNB Certification System, a second-generation system compared to other international certification systems, includes assessment which revolves around ecological aspects, DGNB says.

DGNB-certified buildings consume fewer resources during construction, have lower greenhouse gas emissions and largely can be recycled.

The DGNB director, Christine Lemaitre, said today in Zagreb after the agreement-signing ceremony that she was glad to see that Croatian partners opted for promoting the DGNB system.

The head of the Croatian NGO, Dean Smolar, explained that the system was adjusted to EU regulations and the Life Level(s) project which is being implemented by the Croatia Green Building Council.

To date, over 8,200 public and private buildings and districts in 27countries worldwide have acquired DGNB certificates.

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

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Many Newer Croatian Emigrants Seeking German Citizenship

July the 4th, 2021 - The vast majority of newer Croatian emigrants have a poor perception of their homeland, with a fourth of them planning to adopt German nationality and apparently leave any trace of Croatia behind them.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, only around eight percent of parents from the newer generation of Croatian emigrants have enrolled their children in some form of Croatian curriculum in Germany, and more than 27 percent want to take out German citizenship, Vecernji list reports.

In addition, newer Croatian emigrants also visit Croatian Catholic missions/parishes less and have been removed from the register of those of the Catholic faith over in Germany.

This was shown by the research of political scientist and historian Tade Juric from the Croatian Catholic University entitled ''The perception of emigrants about Croatia" conducted in the diaspora in Germany on a sample of 1,200 respondents in 2018 and 534 respondents in 2021.

While many older Croatian emigrants, Juric points out, have lived for Croatia for most of their lives and invested all their capital, knowledge and emotions into the country, new research shows that the recent emigration from the so-called ''EU wave'' of emigration doesn't really have much of this idealisation of the homeland, on the contrary, a negative image among them prevails.

By the end of December 2020, Croatia had only 4.036 million inhabitants according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), and the emigration of citizens was't stopped during last year's pandemic-dominated travel chaos, in which 34,046 citizens still emigrated from Croatia, with 33,414 people immigrating to Croatia. Last year, 26,355 citizens emigrated to Germany alone.

Juric's research shows that Croatian emigrants believe that homeland and those who have left Croatia aren't effectively and successfully connected, that Croats in the homeland have a negative attitude towards Croatian emigrants and nurture numerous prejudices towards emigrants, but also that Croatia doesn't do enough to help emigrants and Croats outside Croatia.

''More than half of the newer Croatian emigrants have an extremely negative perception of the Croatian Government (HDZ) and events in the homeland, and only 5.6 percent have maintained a positive perception of Croatia at all,'' explained Juric.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac Visits Bavaria to Discuss Tourism Cooperation

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - Croatian Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac met with Bavaria's Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, Hubert Aiwanger, in Munich on Monday to discuss ways of increasing cooperation in the tourism sector.

Brnjac said that Croatia and Bavaria would continue exchanging experience and best practice in the digitalisation of tourism services and the development of cultural and rural tourism, her ministry announced in a press release.

"Croatia and Bavaria put emphasis on the development of sustainable tourism, and their cooperation in many areas of common interest has been going on for about 50 years within the Bavarian-Croatian Commission," Brnjac said.

She noted that half of German tourists visiting Croatia come from Bavaria, which is why it is very important for Croatia to convey the information on the activities that are being undertaken so that Croatia is recognised as a pleasant and safe destination.

Bavaria supports Croatia's Schengen membership bid

Aiwanger said there was a lot of space for cooperation between Croatia and Bavaria in the tourism sector, emphasising that Bavaria supported Croatia's accession to the Schengen area next year as an important precondition for facilitating movement of tourists.

The working meeting was also attended by the deputy president of the ADAC motoring association for tourism and finance, Karlheinz Jungbeck.

Brnjac and Jungbeck discussed preparations for the summer tourist season as well as expectations and plans for future development. Brnjac said that the cooperation with ADAC, which has 22 million members, ensured the greater visibility of Croatia on the German market, adding that today's meeting set a framework for future institutional cooperation.

According to ADAC, there is a growing interest in visiting Croatia, notably in the camping segment. This year ADAC included 134 Croatian campsites on its list of the best European campsites, the same number as in 2019, and 13 of the campsites were rated as ADAC Superplatz 2021.

About 42,000 Germans are currently vacationing in Croatia, mostly in Istria. Last year German tourists generated 1.6 million arrivals and 12.7 overnight stays, which was 60 percent of overnight stays made in 2019 when a record 21.2 million overnight stays were generated by German visitors. Last year, the 12.7 million overnight stays made by German tourists accounted for 23 percent of total overnight stays in Croatia.

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

Friday, 11 June 2021

Most of Croatia No Longer Risky for Germany

ZAGREB, 11 June 2021 - As of Sunday the majority of Croatia will no longer be considered as epidemiologically risky for Germany, the Robert Koch Institute announced on Friday, while the German foreign ministry plans to lift a general travel warning as of the start of July.

After it had removed Dubrovnik-Neretva, Istria, Karlovac, Krapina-Zagorje, Požega-Slavonia and Split-Dalmatia counties from its list of risky areas, Germany's epidemiological institute had taken the remaining counties in Croatia off the list of risky areas with the exception of Međimurje and Varaždin counties.

The decision enters into force on Sunday, which means that anyone returning to Germany will not be required to present a negative COVID test or to digitally register their return. Anyone travelling to Germany by air will still need to have a negative test.

The Robert Koch Institute has removed many European countries from the list of risky areas such as Austria, Bosnia and  Herzegovina, Serbia and the USA. Slovenia is still considered to be a risk area.

Germany's foreign minister Heiko Maas also announced lifting a general travel warning for areas with a 7-day incidence rate of less than 200.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated travel page.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

German Die Welt Praises "Elon Musk of the Balkans" Mate Rimac

May the 30th, 2021 - The German Die Welt publication, which is highly popular among German readers, has praised Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac once again, referring to him as the Elon Musk of the Balkans.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the German Die Welt reported that ''Mate Rimac actually just wanted to be a successful professional auto-moto driver, but over time he became a symbol of hope for car manufacturers on the road to electromobility,''

The Berlin-based Die Welt looks back at one episode with which the success story of this much loved Croatian entrepreneur began. Mate Rimac's old BMW "troika" failed in one race and the engine "died", writes Die Welt journalist Thomas Geiger: "At that time, it seemed like the biggest possible accident that could happen, but in actual fact, nothing better could have ever happened to Mate Rimac...''

If it weren't for that technical problem, Rimac might never have come up with the idea to install the simple electric motor of a forklift in his car, instead of an expensive new engine. And so, writes the German Die Welt, Rimac's green "troika" became the well known "Green Monster", and Rimac himself became the "king of drifting". The innovative Croat's videos were watched by millions of people on YouTube, and later he became "the man who made the strongest sports e-car in the world, that is, an ardent supporter of electric propulsion".

"The Elon Musk of the Balkans"

"A skilful Croat with an almost shy smile hidden behind a thick beard is currently one of the most sought-after people in the industry," the German newspaper wrote in its article entitled "Visionary under voltage", emphasising that Rimac is only 33 years old, and that a lot has happened in his life in the past ten years alone. "Once an average student, and then an ingenious inventor" is now a partner and supplier of sophisticated technological solutions, from batteries to engines - he has become the "Elon Musk of the Balkans", writes the German Die Welt, as reported by Deutsche Welle.

The fact that this remarkable entrepreneur comes from Croatia gives this whole story an additional, special element, writes the Berlin daily. "On the colourful car map of the world, the former Yugoslavia has been a relatively white spot since the end of production of the small Yugo back in 2008, there are almost no automotive manufacturers there. Nevertheless, decisive development began right there: only 200 kilometres southeast of the headquarters of Rimac's company in Sveta Nedelja, a certain Nikola Tesla was born,'' notes the German Die Welt.

''Rimac is geographically closer to Tesla than he is to Elon Musk,'' writes the German journalist.

Regardless of the electrical engineering thanks to which he became famous, Rimac doesn't "insist" on changing the world for the better, at least not on the road, the article notes:

”Rimac's penchant for e-cars has its source not in environmental protection, but in the joy of driving, the taste that these cars give him,'' notes the journalist.

Regardless of all the successes that Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac has stacked up over recent years, and despite all the models he has developed and sold for high sums of money, "Die Welt" still notices one particularly Croatian problem plaguing the entire thing - the lack of skilled labour.

"Croatia isn't exactly the armpit of the world, but the outskirts of Zagreb aren't a magnet for experts from abroad either. That's why it isn't surprising that Rimac is currently planning a new headquarters, which is a bit reminiscent of Autostadt in Wolfsburg or a little more like Apple's headquarters in Cupertino/ And in those new headquarters, Rimac's Green Monster will of course get a place of honour,'' concludes the German Die Welt article.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Convoy With 70 Tonnes of Humanitarian Aid From Bavaria Arrives in Petrinja

ZAGREB, 13 April, 2021 - A large convoy from Bavaria, carrying more than 70 tonnes of humanitarian aid from Bavaria for residents of Sisak-Moslavina County, hit by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake on 29 December 2020, arrived at a divers' base in Petrinja on Monday.

The drive, organised by divers and Ante Šistov, helped collect more than 70 tonnes of construction material, including bricks, oriented strand boards, electrical fittings, doors, tiles, etc.

Šistov said this was the second humanitarian convoy for the region of Banovina, noting that so far more than 120 tonnes of humanitarian aid had already been delivered to the quake-hit region.

The base for the collection and distribution of humanitarian assistance in Petrinja was set up by the HRVI Nemo-Adriatic association of divers-disabled war veterans, with support from the Croatian Homeland War Volunteers Association and the Promocija Ronjenja agency.

The campaign, which is still ongoing, has been joined by numerous divers' clubs and centres from Croatia and abroad, firefighters and rescuers from Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Austria as well as numerous German companies.

For more about earthquake in Petrinja, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Croatian Emigrants in Germany Double Since Croatian EU Accession

April the 2nd, 2021 - The number of Croatian emigrants in Germany has doubled since Croatia joined the European Union (EU) back in July 2013 and freedom of movement laws became applicable to the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, there were 426,845 Croatian emigrants in Germany last year, which means that the number of Croatian citizens in that country almost doubled after Croatia's accession to the EU because there were 224,971 of them registered there back in 2012, Vecernji list reports.

According to the National Statistics Office in Wiesbaden, Croatian emigrants in Germany are in 6th place when it comes to foreign immigrants after the citizens of Turkey, Poland, Syria, Romania and Italy. Last year, 26,335 Croatian citizens immigrated from Croatia to Germany.

In the pandemic dominated year, Germany had the lowest influx of foreigners, but the question is how comforting it is that fewer Croatian citizens emigrated last year, especially compared to the worst years of exodus in 2018, 2017, and 2016 when, according to the precise German statistics, more than 50,000 Croatian citizens arrived in Germany.

Political scientist and historian Tado Juric from the Croatian Catholic University predicts that due to the change in the way of working brought about by the pandemic, which will increasingly lead to more and more remote work, the emigration of Croats to Germany could stop within around five years, and some of those previous Croatian emigrants in Germany could also return.

"The West won't give up on importing labour for some time to come as a key measure in rebuilding its population. But even that will not last forever. Under the influence of the fourth industrial revolution, which gained unprecedented acceleration with the appearance of the coronavirus crisis, a completely new form of economy was created.

Teleworking will replace many jobs in such a way that after the socialisation of workers and students, which we're only just witnessing, many occupations will move into the field of teleworking. That means that a worker from Moldova, for example, will do from his apartment what a Croat is doing now in Stuttgart. My assessment is that in five years, due to this complete transformation of the way of working that teleworking brings, emigration from Croatia will stop, but there will also be a bigger return of former emigrants home,'' said Juric.

For more on Croatian demographic issues, follow our politics page.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Despite Pandemic, 26,000 Croatians Moved to Germany in 2020

ZAGREB, 29 March, 2021 - In 2020 Germany saw the lowest increase in the number of foreigners in the last ten years, however, despite the pandemic, more than 26,000 Croatians emigrated to Germany last year, show statistics published by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden on Monday.

The net increase in the number of Croatian citizens with residency in Germany in 2020 was 11,955 to 426,845.

From 1 January to 31 December 2020, 26,335 Croatian nationals emigrated to Germany while 10,305 Croatians moved out. Around 1,000 Croatian citizens obtained German citizenship and were consequently removed from the register of foreigners.

Croatians are the sixth most numerous foreign community in Germany, after Turks, Poles, Syrians, Romanians and Italians.

The number of Croatians with residency in Germany has almost doubled since Croatia joined the EU in 2013.

In 2012, the last year before Croatia's accession to the EU, there were 224,971 Croatians in Germany.

In 2020, the number of people with a foreign passport in Germany rose by 262,000 while in 2019 it grew by 376,000.

Statistics for 2020 show that immigration from EU countries remained stable but immigration from third countries slowed down significantly, which is associated with difficulties related to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of 2020, roughly 11.4 million foreigners lived in Germany.

The number of residents from the Western Balkans grew last year as well.

Currently 211,000 nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina live in Germany, which is around 7,000 more than in the previous year, as do 242,000 Serbians, around 5,000 more than in 2019.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Suddeutsche Zeitung on Croatia: Article Talks "Red List" Placement

A journalist writing for the German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung has criticised the Austrian prime minister and the Austrian authorities for their attitude towards Croatia in the coronavirus era.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of August, 2020, the Republic of Croatia has unfortunately found itself placed on the red lists of numerous European countries as an epidemiologically insecure country, and as such has been the subject of many media outlets in our neighboring countries over recent days - which is not surprising, because Croatia ''reddened'' in August, in the heart of the tourist season when the country still had a very large number of tourists within its borders.

For example, Kvarner almost reached 100 percent of last year's figures. But non-compliance with anti-epidemic measures and an increase in the number of people infected with the new coronavirus has led to reactions from countries with large numbers of tourists; Austria and Slovenia put the whole of Croatia on its red list, Germany put ''only'' two Dalmatian counties with the largest increase in newly infected people on its red list… All together, this move resulted in a large number of tourists going home overnight, which meant crowds at the borders and at airports.

Over recent days, the chairman of the Supervisory Board and the co-owner of Valamar, the largest tourist group in Croatia, Gustav Wurmböck, criticised the Austrian Government's decision in an Austrian weekly called Profil, pointing out that the Austrian authorities failed to ask anyone about the situation in Croatia's numerous hotels and camps.

''Nobody has been infected in any of Valamar's facilities," he said, adding that the sector had previously called for hotbeds such as nightclubs to be regulated.

The new regime was also commented on by Austrian journalist Felix Haselsteiner in his column for the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. He was actually among the tourists who had to return home due to the new measures. In the article ''The virus in the car'', he also asked the question of whether Austria's move was necessary at all. Namely, he criticised the policy of the Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz towards Croatia. Kurz stated that the virus was ''coming to Austria by car'', and suggesting that this was due to Austrian returnees from Croatia. The journalist said that the Austrian Prime Minister thus denied the reality that the virus had been in Austria since March and that it had no intention of leaving, adding that Croatia had been demonised as a party destination, which wasn't removely true, and that Austrians traditionally come to Croatia to camp.

The return of the virus

"Croatia gets a quarter of its GDP from tourism and they couldn't afford to just cancel the summer season, so they were one of the first countries in Europe to open up to tourists. The virus returned to Croatia as the tourists did. So, to continue with Kurz's metaphor, coronavirus travelled by car for the holidays and then it returned,'' said the journalist from the Suddeutsche Zeitung. The author also pointed out that it would be better if Austria, like Germany, put certain regions on its red list, which would be a real European solution, and that in that case Austria could play a crucial role in the European response to the pandemic. The columnist for Suddeutsche Zeitung believes that revenge will be carried out in some way or another, particularly because many Croats go to Austria to ski.

He also discussed the experiences of some tourists who were more than satisfied with the adherence to the measures in Croatia.

The German RTL also reported on the experiences of a group of German tourists returning home from Croatia. They remind that on August the 20th, the Robert Koch Institute declared the Croatian counties of Sibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia as risky areas. However, tourists said that Croatia was "an idyll without traces of the COVID pandemic".

For all tourists, however, the infuriating issue was the sudden departure home on the orders of a higher political force that didn't sit well with anyone whatsoever. In addition, many tourists had to isolate themselves or have had to be tested for the virus in the last two weeks at their own expense, Novi list writes.

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