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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Friday, 8 May 2020

Milanović, Steinmeier Underline Importance of Solidarity in Europe

ZAGREB, May 8, 2020 - Presidents Zoran Milanović of Croatia and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany said in a phone conversation on Thursday that cooperation and solidarity among European states were important in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Milanović's office said in a press release.

Croatia is currently presiding over the EU and Germany will follow it on July 1.

"The two presidents agreed that common European efforts are necessary to overcome this situation and that the success of the fight against the crisis caused by coronavirus will greatly impact Europe's future," the press release said.

After slowing down the spread of infection, both countries are gradually relaxing the restrictions imposed in mid-March. Croatia has confirmed 2,125 COVID-19 cases and 86 deaths, while Germany has confirmed 166,091 infections and 7,119 deaths.

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

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Grabar-Kitarović Opens Croatian-German Economic Forum in Frankfurt

ZAGREB, February 11, 2020 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović opened the German-Croatian economic forum in Frankfurt on Monday, highlighting the importance of economic relations between the two countries and the high priority which Croatia attaches to economic cooperation with Germany.

"The development of economic cooperation with Germany as one of Croatia's most prominent economic partners in the European Union continues to be our priority," Grabar-Kitarović said in her opening remarks.

The forum was organised on the premises of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as part of the Croatian Business Day event marking the Croatian presidency of the European Union.

It was Grabar-Kitarović's last trip abroad in her capacity as President, and she stressed the importance of holding such meetings at this level.

"This economic forum is very important to us because it puts special emphasis on innovative companies and their smart solutions in the context of Industry 4.0, which is an additional chance for us to promote our economic cooperation," the Croatian president said.

She said that Croatia was interested in attracting more German investments, particularly in science, technology and innovation, as well as greenfield investments in the car industry and elsewhere. She noted the support Croatia had extended to a highly innovative project called "Vallis Solaris Croatia", which is aimed at joint implementation of applied research in renewable energy sources.

Grabar-Kitarović also mentioned Croatian citizens working in that part of Germany, saying that their number had increased significantly since Croatia joined the EU in mid-2013 and that their experience could be used in further promoting the partnership between the two countries.

"Many of them, I am confident, could help create a valuable platform for various business partnerships that could achieve two-way mobility or brain circulation, instead of brain drain, between our two countries," the Croatian president said.

She announced another Croatian Business Day event as part of the Croatian EU presidency for May in the northern city of Hamburg.

The Croatian president is also scheduled to visit Mainz, just southwest of Frankfurt, where she will present charters and medals to Croatian associations.

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

Monday, 10 February 2020

Outgoing President Rings Stock Exchange Bell in Frankfurt

ZAGREB, February 10, 2020 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Monday visited the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and signalled the start of the business day by ringing the traditional bell.

President Grabar-Kitarović arrived in Frankfurt to open the German-Croatian business forum, which was organised as part of the events marking the Croatian presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020.

Addressing the forum, the president said she hoped that her presence at the opening of the working day of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and at the Croatian-German forum would help further strengthen the two countries' bilateral relations.

"My attendance also confirms excellent German-Croatian relations, notably in the economic field," Grabar-Kitarović said in Frankfurt.

In this context she points out the fact that Germany is Croatia's biggest trading partner and the second biggest market for Croatia's exports, while German passport-holders are the most numerous tourists visiting Croatia.

She went on to say that the Frankfurt forum was organised in line with the conclusions of the visit of the German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, to Zagreb in October 2019, when the foundations were laid for the deepening of cooperation, primarily in the fields of energy and digital development.

The Croatian president added that the goal of Zagreb was to facilitate an increase in German investments in the country.

The Croatian president was accompanied by Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and the National Bank (HNB) governor, Boris Vujčić as well as by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) president, Luka Burilović.

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

Thursday, 6 February 2020

House in Dalmatia Flying German Flag Becomes Hit on Facebook...

A picture of a house in Dalmatia, surrounded by mountains and the threatening grey skies of winter becomes a hit on Facebook, thanks to the trusty old German flag.

If you're anything like me, then you're a (not so secret) lover of memes. Croatian memes can get quite dark, given the often murky waters that a lot of the country's political events are staged in, but once you reach a certain level of desensitisation, you can crack a grin at most of them.

Not all of them are politically based, which is a first indeed for a country that asks you what ties you have to any political party when merely opening a current account, and one page in particular is a hit across the country.

The extremely popular Facebook page Dnevna doza prosjecnog Dalmatinca (A daily dose of the average Dalmatian) is a usually light hearted take on the funny and often odd activities undertaken in Dalmatia. From innovative ways to dry out the famous prosciutto from Drnis to giant inflatable flamingos precariously tied to cars travelling down motorways - this Facebook page covers it all.

Recently, a photo of a house in Dalmatia appeared on the page. This house in Dalmatia was nothing outstanding, quite the opposite in fact. But the sight of the Croatian flag flying alongside the German flag drew in some interesting and funny comments from social media users.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of February, 2020, the house in Dalmatia, more specifically a photo from Kastela, speaks volumes with its flying of the German flag, a flag which many Croats worship.

Germany has been a top destination for Croatian citizens looking to earn as much as they can for their retirement for many years now, and that trend has been exacerbated ever since Croatia joined the European Union back in July 2013, seeing Germany's restrictions on its labour market drop for Croatian citizens and the borders open.

This photo of a house in Dalmatia, more precisely in Kastela, has drawn numerous humorous comments from Facebook users that the person who built the house must have made the money for it in Germany.

"You can see where the money for the roof was raised", "If the origin is known, why wouldn't our politicians put their party's flag on it", "So people know where the euros are from" are just a few of the tongue-in-cheek comments written under the amusing photo.

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