Sunday, 12 June 2022

Could Croatian Bus Companies Introduce Smarter "German Model"?

June the 12th, 2022 - Could struggling Croatian bus companies, who have had very little help from the state and have been in troubled waters ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic at the start of 2020 introduce the so-called German model? It seems the will is there.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, ever since June the 1st this year, the German Government has been testing out a special model in which it has decided to stimulate public transport use and has offered a ticket of 9 euros per month for the use of both buses and trains. The reaction of the German people was rather unsurprisingly fantastic and the tickets quickly sold out.

Public transport is the only real alternative to travel during these times in which we've seen such drastically rising fuel prices, and the examples of Germany and even neighbouring Slovenia show how this can actually work excellently.

The German Government's idea for bus transport pricing through the aforementioned special model saw tickets sell out rapidly because for 27 euros, people can literally use these services as much as they want. If a bus ticket is bought in Hamburg, for example, it can be used without any problems in Berlin or any other German city, it can also be used on some of Germany's DB intercity trains.

"Public transport is the only alternative to travel for many people with such high fuel prices and this is being widely recognised by European countries. We hope that the example of Germany will show the way this should be handled to the Croatian Government and the relevant ministry in order to help people out, because this is the only real solution,'' said Hrvoje Mestrovic, president of the Coordination of Public Liner Carriers at the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP).

Croatian bus companies have, as has been mentioned, been dealing with an extremely unfavourable economic situation for a very long time now, with little to no attention having been paid by the state, in their opinion. Trying to balance business and preserve thousands of jobs continues to be a huge burden. Mestrovic pointed out that the state also has a clear benefit from introducing such a plan for Croatian bus companies because the money will be returned to the state treasury for a large amount of the tickets sold, which we have witnessed in both Slovenia and Germany.

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

Monday, 23 May 2022

German Media Takes Swipe at Croatian Labour Market Struggles

May the 23rd, 2022 - Croatian labour market struggles are continuing as we hurtle rapidly towards the height of the summer season, and the German media has had a say in just what this country continues to do wrong year after year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, it is estimated that approximately 35,000 waiters, chefs, waiters, receptionists and other profiles within the tourism industry will be missing this summer. But the most striking fact is that the complaints of catering and hospitality employers are somehow always accompanied by some weird (and misplaced) sense of surprise. Everyone is surprised in a certain way, every single year, although we can certainly expect the same situation next year as well.

There's no big riddle to try and solve here. Croats typically head off to the western EU countries en masse during their working lives, because their salaries in Croatia are too low. There's not much of a labour force to speak of in Slavonia, the population of which literally flows down into the Adriatic during the summer months. There is also a huge lack in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia... The pool of personnel in Croatia's immediate neighbourhood has also been somewhat exhausted, so more and more people are reaching for tourism staff from distant Asia, as was the case earlier on in the Croatian construction sector with workers being imported into the country from Nepal, the Philippines, India, etc, writes Deutsche Welle.

The same head-scratching and shock is repeated year after year...

Wages have, on balance, risen slightly, but obviously not by enough, but employers say they have no options at their disposal to raise them even more. They also claim that they aren't in a position to raise anything else because of ongoing inflation, so one can often hear objections from the state to offering any further help. Damir Kresic, the director of the Institute for Tourism in Zagreb, spoke about this to DW:

"The state could definitely do something else, but not without working with employers and with the unions - first to develop a strategy for the whole economy. In doing so, they could answer the question of how many workers Croatia actually needs and from which professions. For years, I've been warning people in vain about this problem in tourism. But our approach is a yearly spontaneous one, and the amazement is the same every time, although the problem hasn't changed. We're really shocked by it each time, for some reason,''

Kresic then went on to explain that the solution lies in the long-term preparation of the education system, after defining sectoral needs. In addition, the Croatian labour market needs to be further regulated, so that workers receive adequate remuneration for their work, instead of a situation in which many prefer to accept income under the table, cash in hand, or simply work "on the black market", because that way they get more to play with.

After all, if it's only three or four months of work a year, there can be no question of stable employment and a strategic solution for anyone's existence. Then it would be logical for workers to go to Ireland for equal pay, but for permanent employment, let alone twice as much money in their pockets.

"Among other things, we faced certain shortcomings in the engagement of the Asian workforce in Croatian tourism. It turns out that they aren't a good solution for our employers in that sector, but now we don't have many choices, at least not for this and next season. At the same time, I have nothing against these people from another continent, so let me be clear. They can be more diligent or honest workers than us, there are no rules, so I'm not talking about that. The problem is the service industry in which the Croatian worker here always offers a better authentic experience,'' says Kresic.

In a similar way, a Croatian receptionist or waitress wouldn't be a more successful worker in the Philippines than a person from there. He went on to explain that tourism simply means contact, local experience, understanding of the context, cultural integration. "That's why we need planned staff production with adequate conditions to keep hold of people on the Croatian labour market, of course, because otherwise we'll be training them in vain,'' he concluded.

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

Friday, 1 April 2022

Croatian Infobip Teams Up With Giant German Operator Vodafone

April the 1st, 2022 - The quite remarkable Vodnjan-based company Infobip has come on leaps and bounds since its creation, making a name for itself on a global scale. The Croatian Infobip company now has a new impressive move under its belt, in the form of a partnership with the German giant, Vodafone.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the impressive Croatian Infobip company has announced a partnership with one of the largest mobile network operators in Germany, Vodafone, to provide mobile security for potentially 62 million smartphone users across the country. Vodafone has been well known for a great many years now by mobile phone users from not only Germany but from across Europe, and this latest move is sure to put Infobip even more firmly on the tech map than it already is.

Vodafone is joining Deutsche Telekom in enabling Infobip's Mobile Identity mobile authentication solution, which will be available to business customers in the banking, retail and public sectors.

According to ICT Business, the rise in fraud over the past two years has shown a critical need for companies to invest in better security. While two-factor authentication (2FA) via email, SMS or push notifications ensures that a company can verify who a person actually is, it comes at the cost of users having to change authentication channels, disrupting the overall user experience and making things sometimes more complicated than they need to be from an end user perspective.

Using the Croatian Infobip company's Mobile Identity solution, companies will be able to easily verify precisely who their customers are by their mobile phone number at every stage of their journey, from account activation and set up to payment and application download. All of this happens safely and quietly in the background, without the need for the user to enter a verification code.

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

Friday, 31 December 2021

Increasingly Popular Croatian Sparkling Wines Most Sought After in Germany

December the 31st, 2021 - Croatian wines are extremely popular throughout the world and that isn't really news, but what about Croatian sparkling wines? It seems that the Germans have a real taste for it, with a lot of it being exported there.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, according to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), in the first nine months of this year, Croatian winemakers exported 403 hectolitres of sparkling wines worth as much as 870,000 euros.

The main markets for the wine were Germany, where 122 hectolitres worth 471,017 euros went, followed by the Netherlands, then neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. One year earlier, when assessing the first nine months, exports were slightly higher, totalling 457 hl worth a massive 1,173,292 euros.

Growing demand...

The Belje winery is aware that Croatian sparkling wines are an important export asset, and just this week this winery launched a top-quality sparkling white wine - La Belle Grand. As they say from there, their new sparkling wine is a brut style wine, which is one of the most sought after in the world, and is characterised by "beautiful pearls" of many small bubbles.

“This summer, we installed a new line and equipment for bottling Croatian sparkling wines in our winery in an extremely short period of time, in order to expand our range and meet the growing market demands for this category of wine. La Belle Grand is our first sparkling wine prepared just for this year's festive period. With it, we're celebrating the end of the year in which we won 52 medals,'' points out Marijan Knezevic, head of winemaking development at Vina Belje. Another new brand on the market is the Slavonian Enosophia from Fericani.

“In the first year of Enosophia's existence, we achieved some really nice results. Although we've only been present on the market since July, we've distributed almost 16,000 bottles of sparkling wine. For next year, we plan to produce and distribute a total of 77,000 bottles of sparkling wine, Nice to see you, Today Blance and Today rose. Enosophia is a brand that is focused on combining innovative technologies and traditions in the development of new flavours. We create light and modern Croatian sparkling wines, produced by the Charmat method and by following the demands of the market,'' explained Martin Kovacevic, chief oenologist of the Enosophia winery. Their Nice to see you sparkling wine is a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and Today blanc is made from the much loved and very well known Croatian Grasevina variety.

"We're currently present in 50 outlets, meaning in restaurants and other catering and hospitality facilities. In the first year, our focus was primarily on presenting the brand here on the Croatian market, but despite that, we've already achieved positive results in terms of exports. Enosophia has been launched on the Japanese market with the sparkling wine called Nice to see you and we expect this trend to continue in the future. Our Croatian sparkling wines under the Feravino brand have also found their fans across many European countries, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the countries of the more immediate region,'' added Kovacevic.

As he explained, their Today blanc sparkling wine is primarily intended for retail sale, while in the HoReCa channel it is marketed as a ''welcome wine'' or as a wine for the preparation of cocktails. Nice too see you is also available through the HoReCa channel, but can also be purchased through the Enosophia brand website. "As for our plans for 2022, we plan to present the second Today - Today rose, which will be produced from the Frankovka variety, which is the most represented in our vineyards," revealed Kovacevic.

The Pavlomir wine house from Novi Vinodolski also has a few export trump cards under its belt, producing four Croatian sparkling wines in the top category, an impressive 15,000 bottles a year.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Croatian PM Congratulates New German Chancellor

ZAGREB, 10 Dec 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday congratulated the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on his appointment, thanking Germany for its support to Croatia in its bid to join the Schengen area of passport-free travel and the euro area, the government said.

"My most heartfelt congratulations on your appointment as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany and best wishes for a successful term in office. I look forward to cooperation in further deepening relations between our two countries as well as on topics of importance for the future of the European Union," PM Plenković said in his message.

He also expressed gratitude for Germany's support to Croatia's efforts to accomplish its strategic priorities - membership of the Schengen area and of the euro area, underlining the importance of a common contribution to the stability and EU membership prospects of Southeast Europe.

"The 30th anniversary of our bilateral relations next year is a symbolic opportunity to additionally strengthening our partnership and cooperation on the political, economic, scientific and cultural fronts, as well as in a number of other important areas," Plenković said in his message.

Scholz was sworn in as Chancellor on Wednesday. He is Germany's ninth post-war chancellor and successor to Angela Merkel, who held the post since 2005.

Germany's new Social Democrat-Green-Liberal government, headed by Scholz, has 416 deputies in the 736-member 20th Bundestag.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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.

For more on politics,CLICK HERE.

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.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

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.

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