Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Croatian Company Infinum Opening Office in Podgorica, Investing €3 Million

October the 6th, 2021 - The Croatian company Infinum is set to open an office down in neighbouring Montenegro, more precisely in the capital city of Podgorica, in which it plans to invest a hefty amount.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Croatian company Infinum, a leading software design and development enterprise, is opening an office in Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital, where they have already assembled a team of fifteen people. The plan is to increase that number to about 60 people within a couple of years and invest as much as three million euros.

Nikola Kapraljevic, the operating director of Infinum, revealed this to Hina, adding that the company currently employs more than 350 people. This year alone, the company became richer for 70 new employees, and Infinum expects to round that number up to 100 by the end of the year.

Last year, they earned around 100 million kuna, which is 22 percent more than the year before last, and in 2021 they expect a continuation of their growth trend of as much as 25 percent. It's worth noting the fact that a year ago, with Porsche Digital, the Croatian company Infinum founded the Porsche Digital Croatia development centre, and they believe that with their sister company, Productive, joint revenues for this year could reach up to 160 million kuna. At Porsche Digital Croatia, according to Kapraljevic, they're working on products that enhance the experience of Porsche users and that help optimise Porsche's production process.

"We've continued to work with most of our clients, and our teams have the opportunity to work on interesting and innovative solutions in healthcare, education, renewable energy, finance, and even music," said Kapraljevic.

In addition to the latest office in Podgorica, Infinum has offices in Zagreb and Varazdin, neighbouring Slovenia and even across the pond in New York. They announced further expansion elsewhere in Europe such as the British market, brand development in other Western European countries, and continued expansion in the US where they are increasing the number of people on their team in New York.

In an interview with Hina, Kapraljevic revealed that they're currently developing a mobile application (app) for controlling the functionality and monitoring of cars, and a platform through which Porsche can be rented for either short or longer periods of time.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Croatian President Expresses Support to Modern, Civic and Open Montenegro

ZAGREB, 16 Sept 2021 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Thursday received his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Đukanović and after the meeting, Milanović told the press that he supported the modern, civic and open Montenegro.

Commenting on the rising political and ethnic tensions triggered off by the recent inauguration of a Serbian Orthodox Church bishop in the Montenegrin city of Cetinje, Milanović said that the Montenegrin head of state was expected to pay a reciprocal visit to Zagreb anyway, however, "the latest developments in Montenegro have accelerated it to happen." 

Đukanović's visit ensued the day after the opposition parties, led by Đukanović's Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) demanded that a transitional government should be set up which would be tasked with calling early parliamentary elections.

Those Opposition parties brand the cabinet led by Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić marionettes who promote anti-Montenegro interests.  They also describe the recent enthronement of Serb orthodox bishop Joanikije as "a Great Serbian offensive".

Milanović told the press conference in Zagreb that Đukanović's visit was an opportunity to extend support to "the modern, civic and open Montenegro".

He went on to say that Croatia's relations with Montenegro are good and commented that the relations had oscillations, however all that has been settled.

Milanović went on to say that Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia deserved preferential treatment on their journey towards the European Union.

My duty is to attract the attention of those in the EU who cannot see that to this fact, he added.

The Montenegrin president arrived in Zagreb on his first official visit abroad since the situation in his country has worsened with the 5 September enthronement of Joanikije in Cetinje.

Montenegrins perceive the ceremony held in the Montenegrin historical capital city as yet another attempt of Great Serbia advocates to exert their influence in Montenegro and negate the Montenegrin identity.

The current PM Krivokapić is believed to have risen to prominence during a series of protests in reaction to a law on religion in late 2019. Those protests were led by senior members of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The original law proposed by Đukanović's DPS passed in late December 2019 — dubbed the 'Law on Religious Freedoms' — pledged to return all property granted to the Serb Orthodox Church after 1918, unless they had proof of ownership prior to that year. However, in the last elections, Krivokapić, supported by the Serbian Orthodox Church, managed to defeat Đukanović's party that was in power for 30 years.

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

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Former Officials From Ex-Yugoslav Countries Issue Appeal to EU, NATO Over Montenegro

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - Former office-holders from the area of the former Yugoslavia on Monday evening sent a letter to EU and NATO leaders, expressing concern about the situation in Montenegro and calling on them to join in active political dialogue and help resolve the crisis in that country peacefully.

"One more place of conflict and crisis in Europe is the last thing Europe and the world need right now. We therefore call on EU institutions and other allies to join in active political dialogue with the different political and social stakeholders in the current crisis in Montenegro and help them arrive at a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict in the country," the letter of appeal reads.

Signatories to the letter, including Croatia's former foreign minister Vesna Pusić, former Serbian prime minister Žarko Korać, and former Bosnia and Herzegovina prime minister Zlatko Lagumdžija, said that the recent events surrounding the enthronement of the new leader of the Serb Orthodox Church in Montenegro were only superficially related to religious issues but in reality "have nothing to do with religion, and not even with politics or ideology."

"They are yet another manifestation of a conflict between forces that believe that Montenegro should not exist as a separate state and those who believe that Montenegro should stay independent, with all attributes of statehood," the letter reads.

"Since we have all witnessed the Balkan wars of the 1990s, we cannot help but notice alarming similarities between the current developments in Montenegro and those that led to the wars of 25-30 years ago," the signatories to the letter said, noting that Montenegro was not a country with a large population but that strategically it was very important for the stability of Southeast Europe.

Riots erupted in Montenegro on Sunday during the inauguration of the Serb Orthodox Church Metropolitan of Montenegro, Joanikije, with those whose opposed the ceremony being held in Cetinje putting up barricades on roads leading to the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica and clashing with police.

Metropolitan Joanikije and the head of the Serb Orthodox Church (SPC), Patriarch Porfirije, were taken to Cetinje aboard a police helicopter and the religious ceremony of Joanikije's inauguration was held there.

The protesters interpreted the SPC's insistence on holding the ceremony in the Montenegrin historical capital of Cetinje as an act of provocation and humiliation of Montenegrins, asking that it be moved to some other Serb Orthodox shrine in Montenegro.

Thirty police officers and protesters were injured in the clashes and police used tear gas and stun guns during Sunday's riots.

PM: Those who violated the law will be held to account

Montenegro has demonstrated stability and it has shown that the policy of peace is the most important to its citizens, Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić has said, noting that those who have violated the law in the latest events will be held to account.

The enthronement of the head of the Serb Orthodox Church in Montenegro was an important moment that some tried to use to destabilise Montenegro but their attempt failed, said Krivokapić.

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

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Croatia’s Foreign Ministry Closely Following Developments in Montenegro

ZAGREB, 5 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs stated on Sunday that it was closely following the developments in Montenegro, and that it condemned any form of violence.

The ministry calls for dialogue in the search of solutions to the current problems and expressed hope that the latest developments will not have repercussions for the status of ethnic Croatians in that country.

"We expect all political protagonists in Montenegro to solve all the issues facing the Montenegrin society in the European spirit and through inclusive and constructive political dialogue," the ministry said after the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) bishop Joanikije for Montenegro was inaugurated in a monastery in the Montenegrin historical capital of Cetinje despite the days of protests of thousands of Montenegrin patriots.

During the clashes of the police and demonstrators, seven police officers and a score of protesters were injured. The police detained a dozen protesters.

Croatia "condemns any form of violence and we expect all protagonists in Montenegro to contribute to the defusion of tensions and to peace and order in the country."

"We are hopeful that the current situation will not adversely affect the position of the Croat community in Montenegro," says the ministry.

It recalls that Montenegro is a neighbour of Croatia and that the two countries have developed good relations, and that both are members of NATO.

It underscores that Croatia strongly supports Montenegro's EU membership aspirations.

Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović said on Sunday afternoon that the enthronement of the SPC bishop for Montenegro in a monastery in Cetinje had been conducted with the use of force which he condemned in the strongest terms. He also accused the government of excessive force against peaceful protests.

The Embassy of the United States in Montenegro has called for the defusion of tensions. It urges protesters not to vent out their anger on law enforcement forces that were trying to preserve peace.

The embassy says on its Facebook that all who support the multi-ethnic, inclusive and democratic Montenegro should defuse the current tensions.

DP blasts Joakinije's enthronement, supports Montenegrin patriots

The Croatian oppositionparty called the Homeland Movement  (DP) on Sunday condemned the forcible enthronement of Joanikije and criticised the SPC for continuing to be a key player in attempts to destabilise Montenegro.

The DP says that the arrival of SPC Patriarch Porfirije and Joanikije by helicopter in Cetinje was an air landing operation and war-mongering act.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Croatia Condemns Decision to Name Pool After Morinj Detention Camp Guard

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry on Wednesday condemned the decision of the Kotor City Assembly to name a public indoor swimming pool "Zoran Džimi Gopčević", after a guard from the notorious 1991 Morinj detention camp who was also one of Montenegro's best water polo players of all time.

"It is utterly unacceptable to have a public facility named after a guard of the notorious 1991 Morinj prison camp. Such a decision is not in the spirit of good neighbourly relations we are building with Montenegro and will most definitely have consequences for our future relations," the ministry said in a press release.

The ministry expressed hope the new Montenegrin authorities would "realise that such decisions are not the right path for Montenegro's European prospects."

Zoran Gopčevič was one of Montenegro's best water polo players. As a member of Yugoslavia's water polo team he won a silver medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics. However, in the 1990s he was the commander of the Morinj prison guard. 

The Morinj camp was a detention facility near Kotor, Montenegro where Croatian prisoners of war and civilians were kept by Montenegrin authorities in the Yugoslav People's Army during the Croatian War of Independence.

The public indoor pool in Kotor has so far carried the name of Nikša Bućin, antifascist fighter killed in 1994 in a battle against Chetniks.

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

 

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Montenegrin Health Minister Jelena Borovinić Bojović Thanks Croatia For Vaccine Donation

ZAGREB, 25 May, 2021 - Montenegrin Health Minister Jelena Borovinić Bojović said in Zagreb on Tuesday that Croatia's donation of 10,000 vaccine doses was significant for Montenegro's efforts to inoculate its population against COVID-19.

In early May the Croatian government decided to donate 30,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines to Bosnia and Herzegovina and 10,000 doses each to Montenegro and Kosovo.

After meeting with her Croatian counterpart Vili Beroš, Borovinić Bojović thanked Croatia for that "big friendly gesture and great solidarity."

The donation of 10,000 doses will be "very significant in the process of mass inoculation that is currently underway in Montenegro," she said.

Croatia's Health Minister Vili Beroš underscored that Croatia's care for its neighbouring countries.

"I hope that we will contribute at least a little in the fight against this disease," said Beroš.

The two ministers discussed cooperation in the transplantation programme with Borovinić Bojović underscoring that Croatia has "shown especially good will to help us in resolving that problem."

She added that they discussed the signing of a memorandum of understanding that would enable Montenegrin doctors to come to Croatia for further training regarding transplantation surgeries.

The Croatian transplantation programme has been recognised beyond the borders of our country, said Beroš.

He underscored Croatia was willing to help Montenegro in that regard.

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

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Identity of Boka Kotorska Croatians - Scientific Conference by Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute

May 12, 2021 - Earlier in May, Boka Kotorska, in the town of Tivat in Montenegro, was the host of the scientific conference "Identity of Boka Kotorska Croatians" which will introduce changes in Croatian education.

Croatia has a big diaspora, no secrets there, but its worldwide spread makes you miss the region.

In Boka Kotorska, in Montenegro, Croatia's first neighbor on the southern border after Dubrovnik, not only is there a huge population of Croatians, but they also have a significant cultural impact on the area. So significant it even calls for social science to step in.

As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute reported on its website, May 6 to 9 saw the conference “Identity of Boka Kotorska Croatians“. The three-day conference gathered crucial scientific institutes in Croatia to the town of Tivat in the Bay of Croatian Saints. Headed with Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute, Croatian Catholic University, Croatian Studies Faculty, Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics as well as Institute for Historical Sciences in Zadar attended the conference while Croatian ministries of European, and Foreign Affairs, Science and Education, Culture, and Media, as well as Croatian Central State Office for Croatians Outside of the Republic of Croatia, founded the event.

„The scientific conference went well as well as signing conclusions with recommendations that that knowledge on Bokelj Croatians we learned on this conference enter the Croatian national curriculum in important subjects. These conclusions are the crown of our efforts to launch this conference in public, not just in an academical way, but to massively popularize to ensure long-term benefits for Bokelj Croatians as for every educated citizen of Croatia and Montenegro“, said Dr. Željko Holjevac, head of the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Conference conclusions suggest additions to the curriculum documents on key definitions of Croatian National Identity to make space for Croatians outside Croatia, including Boka Kotorska Croatians. Identity features and creativity of Bokelj Croatians in Croatian education, and the book „Boka Kotorska - the Bay of the Saints and Croatian Culture“, by Vanda Babić to be the mandatory literature for tourist guides in Montenegro.
Final meetings at the conference, as well as sailing with a „Katica“ ship through Boka Kotorska Bay, Saw the participation of Boris Bastijančić, the advisor and representative of the Montenegro president and representer of Croatian parliament and MP, Zdravka Bušić, and others.

„I'm glad to be at this scientific conference, and I want to thank everyone's effort for something like this to happen in Boka Kotorska. I would especially like to thank students that took part in this and gave their part as young people who love the truth of Boka, the place of saints. This is a message that we too need to do something to mark this time with love, hope, and faith“, said the Kotorska bishop, mons. Ivan Štironja.

Some Croatians live outside of Croatia, but maybe you would want to live in Croatia. Learn more about living in Croatia on our TC page

For more about the Croatian Diaspora, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Cooperation Discussed for Agricultural Project in Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro

DUGA RESA, January 28, 2020 - Officials of Karlovac County and the municipality of Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina, negotiated on Tuesday in Duga Resa cooperation in a project of long-term development of agricultural production in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia, which will be co-financed through the EU's INTERREG programme.

It is a project of cross-border cooperation between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro, coordinated by the north western Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša, so the talks with representatives of the City of Duga Resa and other local units of the Karlovac County were attended by the Velika Kladuša mayor, Fikret Abdić.

The municipalities in Karlovac County, that have shown interest in the project, are part of a total of about 40 municipalities of the three countries, which were visited by the representatives of the municipality of Velika Kladuša and then offered to be their partners in the project, with the aim of cultivating uncultivated land for the benefit of local communities.

The adviser to the Velika Kladuša mayor, Ervin Abdić, told reporters after the meeting that the project was definitely under way, and that they only had to determine who would participate in it. He said that a Memorandum of Cooperation and Friendship would be signed in Velika Kladuša on 22 February with the cities and municipalities which decide to participate, and that they would know the final number then.

“All the communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro which we have visited consider the project useful. In the initial phase, at least two hectares would be cultivated in each municipality, that is, a total of about ten hectares in the five years of the project, and the cost for each municipality would be €250,000, 75 percent of which will be reimbursed from EU funds," Abdić added.

Duga Resa Mayor Tomislav Boljar said that this was the third meeting with the initiators of the project and that in the meantime they had talked to farmers and owners of multiple family-run farms (for which the acronym in Croatian is OPG) about establishing chestnut plantations, which would be the dominant crop.

“There is interest in chestnut plantations, especially in this way where there is co-financing, expert assistance and placement, and it is a crop more resilient to the climate woes we suffer from. The most important thing is to bring neglected land into use, because that will help someone to remain living in the countryside, and chestnut is also good for beekeeping and ecology in general,” Boljar underscored.

Chestnut is just one possible crop, but it is an interesting one because there is already plenty of valuable information from a large cross-border project, completed at the end of 2019, on the promotion of chestnut and its protection against pests, also coordinated by Velika Kladuša. The partners in that project were the Croatian cities of Karlovac, Petrinja and Vojnić, while the partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina were Buzim and the Agricultural Institute from Bihać.

More agriculture news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Croatia Sees Montenegro as Next EU Member State

ZAGREB, January 15, 2020 - Montenegro has made the most progress among EU membership candidates and Croatia sees it as the next member state, Croatian Ambassador Veselko Grubišić said in Podgorica on Wednesday, presenting the priorities of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU.

Croatia will fight for its neighbours and their prospects of joining the EU as soon as possible, he said, presenting the priorities to Montenegrin officials.

"We'll continue to help all six countries in the region on their EU journey. We'll continue to fight for the neighbourhood," Grubišić said, calling on Montenegro's leaders to double their reform efforts.

"Montenegro is the leader in the accession process and must be the next EU member state. Neither we nor you have the right to a different outcome," he added.

He said attention would focus on deepening the single market, boosting competitiveness and promoting investment, digitisation and enterprise. "We'll support the implementation of the European pillar of social rights and underline the need to ensure a better life for every citizen of the EU and Europe."

Prime Minister Duško Marković said Montenegro was fully committed to meeting the membership requirements. Montenegro is negotiating under the strictest criteria the EU has ever had in the enlargement policy and in such conditions, with a relatively young administration, it is the leader of the European integration process, he added.

Although Montenegro does not advocate changing rules mid-game, its leaders believe "the negotiating process should be made more concrete and more measurable and its results clearer and more visible, both to the participants in the accession process and to all Montenegro citizens," Markovic said.

The head of the EU Delegation in the country, Aivo Orav, said enlargement was a process that was continuing, despite certain difficulties in recent months.

The message for Montenegro is that it's the leader of the integration process, that we have no more time to wait to resolve certain problems in the EU and that it's better to be ready for joining the EU as soon as possible, he said, adding that the rule of law was in the centre of the enlargement policy.

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

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Montenegro's Croat Minority Contributes to Positive Processes in the Country

ZAGREB, October 19, 2019 - The Croat minority in Montenegro contributed significantly to the country's accession to NATO and has been contributing to its accession to the European Union, and the Montenegrin state has secured, primarily through its election laws, a privileged status for the Croat minority, Montenegro's Human and Minority Rights Minister Mehmed Zenka has told Hina.

"The Croat minority has contributed very much to all positive processes in Montenegro, notably integration processes. Also, a positive step was made through election laws facilitating the representation of the Croat minority in the Montenegrin parliament. Montenegro and Croatia have a joint intergovernmental committee monitoring the status of Croats in Montenegro and the status of Montenegrins in Croatia. We would like to have such cooperation with all countries in the region," Zenka said.

Croats are the smallest constitutionally recognised community in Montenegro. According to the last census, in 2011, they accounted for 1% of Montenegro's population. Owing to their privileged status, they have a guaranteed seat in the Montenegrin parliament.

Zenka also underlined the impact of the Croat community on Montenegro's cultural and historical heritage, "of which Montenegro is proud".

"We must not forget the history of navigation of Montenegrin Croats. They brought values they gathered all over the world to the Bay of Boka and Montenegro. That's why I say that even if there were not a single Croat in Montenegro, we must celebrate Croats because of the cultural and historical heritage which they brought and which Montenegro has inherited," the minister said, noting that one of such values was the Boka Navy, which this year marks its 1210th anniversary.

The Montenegrin government expects the Boka Navy to be inscribed on UNESCO's list of non-tangible cultural heritage by the end of this year.

"I believe that Montenegro and Croatia will find a common language and make sure together (the Boka Navy) is inscribed on UNESCO's list," Zenka said.

Speaking of the status of the Montenegrin minority in Croatia, Zenka said that he received "positive signals" from societies gathering Montenegrins but that there was room for the improvement of their status as well as for the improvement of the status of Montenegro's Croats.

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

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