Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Low Croatian Youth Unemployment Rate Only Because of Demographic Issues

June the 29th, 2022 - Croatian youth unemployment is very low at this moment in time, not because of record economic growth or even because of the summer in which many people gain seasonal employment throughout the tourist season, but because of Croatia's ongoing demographic issues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, it has never been easy for young people on the labour market, and the global coronavirus pandemic has only worsened their position. This is highlighted by recent Eurostat statistics, because the Croatian youth unemployment rate (of those aged 15 to 29) increased from 15.8 percent during the pre-pandemic year of 2019 to 2.4 percent, and then to 18.2 percent in 2021.

Croatia, however, isn't at all following these negative trends - but not for a good reason. Croatian youth unemployment rates are lower than the EU average and are continually falling. Back in 2019 it stood at 10.5 percent, and last year it dropped even further, down to 9.9 percent.

Predrag Bejakovic, a scientist at the Institute of Public Finance, explains that there are several reasons for the Croatian unemployment rate being as it is, as well as other such trends.

"The first is emigration. We don’t know the exact numbers of how many people emigrated, but the fact is that a significant number of people have left Croatia. If someone leaves, then they're usually younger people,'' says Bejakovic, adding that, in addition to emigration, the decline in the Croatian youth unemployment rate is also influenced by demographic trends, ie the fact that the share of young people in the total population in this country is always falling.

"We shouldn't forget the generous government support, the measure of the Youth Guarantee and the situation on the labour market, which is characterised by a shortage of labour," said Bejakovic.

This was a challenge for Croatia even before the unprecedented coronavirus crisis emerged

''Such trends don't mean that it's become easy for young people to find work,'' says Marta Sveb, a research assistant at the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) who addressed the problem of youth and the labour market in an analysis entitled "The Pandemic: Unemployment and the Lost COVID-19 Generation".

"Getting a job was challenging even before the coronavirus crisis, and then came the so-called an ice age when there were almost no employment opportunities due to the lockdowns,'' says Sveb. The current position of young people is again, due to the war in Ukraine and the consequent energy crisis, very uncertain.

"It's to be expected, on the one hand, that employers will employ less and less due to this crisis. On the other hand, the situation on the labour market has changed significantly and employers are facing a shortage of workers. What it will be like and what the perspective of the young people is, it's really difficult to say,'' says Bejakovic, adding that everything will depend on the outcome of the war in Ukraine.

The perspective of young people, adds Marta Sveb, due to the fourth industrial revolution, will also depend on their skills.

“The World Economic Forum points to trends of declining demand for workers in the segments that have traditionally employed the most workers in previous generations. These were, for example, data entry workers, administrative and factory workers. On the other hand, there's a growing demand for highly specialised STEM profiles,'' warns Sveb.

This generation, states the young scientist, faces challenges at every single step. But that doesn’t have to all be so bad, she adds.

"We can look at challenges as an obstacle or as an opportunity," she said, adding that those who will work to further develop their skills in those sectors, such as the green economy, will certainly find employment. The education system should, of course, be adapted to this, but for those who want success, it's much better not to wait.

There is work for everyone

The differences in the youth unemployment rates among the member states of the European Union are also interesting. They vary from 28 percent in Spain and Sweden to three and eight percent in the Czech Republic and Luxembourg.

"Unemployment in the Czech Republic is low, so youth unemployment also is. On the other hand, the general unemployment rate across the Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, Greece and Italy, is high, so it's harder for young people in those countries to find work as well,'' he concluded.

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

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Davor Filipovic Talks Inflation, Eurozone, Tenders and Measures

June the 9th, 2022 - Economy Minister Davor Filipovic was a recent guest on the 'A sada Vlada/and Now for the Government' radio show, where he discussed the situation with ongoing inflation and plans to try to mitigate the pressure on both people and the economy.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, new measures have come into force over the last few days, which should work to further stabilise the spiralling growth of fuel prices. Still, the question arises as to what can be expected in the weeks ahead, which Davor Filipovic touched on:

“We can know what will happen in the next two weeks. What will happen after that... I think, at least in these conditions of uncertainty, is impossible to predict. On Monday, we made decisions to reduce excise duties and trade margins. We've extended the period in which we calculate the prices of oil and oil derivatives, and this decree will remain force for the next thirty days,'' said the Minister, explaining the decisions recently made by the Croatian Government.

He added that it's yet to be seen what the situation will be on like on global oil markets, and that prices will be further formed accordingly.

"We went for a two-week interval to benefit our people and the economy. The price of fuel is now lower than it was for one entire week. If the prices of fuel on global markets do go down, then they'll go down in this country as well,'' Davor Filipovic pointed out, believing that, when all the circumstances are taken into account, people can be satisfied with what's been done so far.

"There will be no fuel shortages"

Speaking about the maneuver space of the Government, the Minister noted that there is space left in relation to excise duties, and that when it comes to petrol, it is about 36.37 lipa per litre at this moment in time.

"When we talk about diesel, then the space is a bit smaller, by about 16 or 17 lipa. In these extraordinary circumstances, all the options are on the table, we're analysing and monitoring what is happening on the market, so that we can respond adequately. We're going to do everything in our power to be shoulder to shoulder with people and with the economy," he said.

He also answered the question of whether there may be a shortage of fuel in Croatia:

“Our stocks are in accordance with the law, ninety days for oil and petroleum products. I dare say there will be no shortage. The reaction of distributors comes primarily because we've reduced the trade margin. For many years, they were delimited, and I'm of the opinion that in crisis situations, everyone must bear their part of the responsibility, including oil companies and distributors. Their reaction is such 'because we've cut their salaries' more than it being about a real danger of shortages,'' Davor Filipovic points out.

Asked whether additional aid packages will be provided for the most vulnerable among us, such as farmers and fishermen who are in a difficult situation due to the high price of blue diesel, the minister said:

"Since April the 1st, 2022, the Croatian Government has responded with a large package of measures amounting to five billion kuna. Were it not for the intervention of the Government, there would have been a larger increase in the price of electricity, and the same would've been true for gas. We're going to be monitoring the situation and making adequate and timely decisions, as we've done so far.''

"The plan is to double the capacity of LNG Terminal on Krk"

Minister Davor Filipovic also referred to the issue of Janaf and distribution, as well as the issue of LNG Terminal on the island of Krk.

"This new situation puts the Republic of Croatia in a position to become an energy hub and an important player when it comes to energy in this part of Europe. Janaf is in a situation where, with the existing capacities, we can satisfy, for example, all the needs of neighbouring Hungary. Janaf's capacity is 11.4 million tonnes, and Hungary needs 8.1 million.

Without any investment, we can supply oil to Hungary. With certain investments, Janaf can double those capacities. From that aspect, we're in a very good position. When we talk about the LNG Terminal on Krk, there is no European official, when I go to Brussels or somewhere else, who doesn't draw attention to the importance of it. It was a wise move by the government. The plan is to double the capacity of Krk's LNG Terminal to 6.1 billion cubic metres. In order to ensure the supply of Croatia, but also in order to be able to supply Slovenia. We're thinking about supplying gas to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well in the foreseeable future,'' he pointed out, adding that the whole situation makes Croatia a serious player on the new energy map of Europe.

A new package of sanctions against Russia is ready, and it regards a total ban on Russian oil imports. What is the situation here in Croatia?

"When it comes to oil, it's already being imported from other sources. Russian oil doesn't come to Croatia through Janaf. The focus is on the security of the energy supply in Croatia. Our underground gas storage will be replenished by November the 1st, 2022, to 90 percent capacity. HEP has been granted a state guarantee that it can take out a loan of 400 million euros, so that our hospitals and maternity hospitals can function smoothly,'' Filipovic assured.

Prices are rising day by day, and if this inflationary pressure continues, it will be harder and harder for the average person to get by.

"Inflation isn't only a problem being faced by Croatia but by the whole world. Prices are going up and everything should be done to mitigate these inflationary shocks on the economy,'' he pointed out, adding that they are looking for a way to help. He noted that it's true that the whole situation is slowing down growth projections, but that none of the world's experts believe that there will be a global recession.

"There will be cases where some countries will find themselves in such a situation, but not the global economy as a whole," he said.

Croatia's 2023 accession to the Eurozone will be extremely helpful

"Entry will make it easier for the country in any case, especially when it comes to crisis situations. There are going to be many advantages at our disposal when we enter the Eurozone. Currency risks will disappear, and conversion costs will also become a thing of the past. Numerous exporters welcome the decision, and tourists will benefit more. There will also be an increase in the country's credit rating, as announced by certain agencies,'' claimed Davor Filipovic, adding that the costs of introducing the euro in Croatia are minimal when compared to the longterm benefits.

"Very soon, we'll have a tender of two billion kuna, which will be aimed at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In order to use the money to increase competitiveness, to digitise processes, to use everything that can be used in the direction of the green transition," he said.

As for cutting parafiscal levies, Minister Davor Filipovic says they have already begun the process.

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

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Month of May Sees Croatian Economic Expectations Drop

June the 2nd, 2022 - The Croatian economic expectations which were looking promising over the last few weeks have dropped since May this year owing to continuing inflation worries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian economic expectations worsened during the month of May 2022 as a wave of pessimism among consumers in the face of high ongoing inflation outweighed improved retail sentiment, a European Commission (EC) report found.

The Economic Climate Index (ESI) in the Republic if Croatia fell by 0.8 points during the month of May compared to the revised value we could read about in April, amounting to 110.1 points.

The strongest deterioration last month was the general feeling and sentiments among the country's consumers, whose index fell 3.4 points from April, sliding below the long-term average of the past twenty years.

Croatian economic expectations in the service and construction sectors, whose indices fell by 1.4 and 0.6 points, were also somewhat dampened. Retail managers showed a certain degree of optimism, as was expressed in the jump of the index by as much as 6.4 points. Expectations in the industry, whose index rose by half a point, also improved slightly.

At the same time, business leaders are signaling a decrease in the demand for labour, which was reflected in the fall of the index by 3.3 points. According to their perception, the uncertainty was alleviated compared to the month of April, despite ongoing inflation, and the rise in energy prices and problems in supply chains, seeing the EUI index fall by 1.3 points.

At the European Union (EU) level, the economic climate index fell by half a point in May when compared to April, while in the Eurozone it remained almost unchanged.

This occurred despite the fact that the countries using the single European currency are all facing the exact same struggles as Croatia in regard to inflation, although the currency offers a form of safety net Croatia won't be able to enjoy until its own accession to the Eurozone in early 2023.

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

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Dalmatian Coast Particularly Vulnerable to Fluctuating Tourism Trends

May the 19th, 2022 - It's not exactly news that Croatia as a whole is heavily dependent on tourism, with the sector being this country's strongest economic branch. The Dalmatian coast, however, is the most vulnerable location of all in this country when it comes to tourist trend fluctuations.

As Morski writes, the Institute of Economics in Zagreb recently conducted the first comprehensive study called: "The vulnerability of local self-government units of the Republic of Croatia to tourism activities" which reveals interesting trends related to the exposure of the Croatian economy and local units to tourism activities and trends. The study was implemented as part of the Mastercard project Uplift, which is intended for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises with a focus on tourism.

The results of the study, made as a step in promoting sustainable tourism and integrating tourism into the broader context of the country's overall economic development, were presented at a panel discussion.

Croatian tourism and the country's GDP

Tourism is the most important Croatian economic sector. Back in pre-pandemic 2019, tourism activity in Croatia directly generated 11.8 percent of the country's total GDP. At the same time, the gross value added of tourism activities in that year amounted to a massive 82.8 billion kuna, which is 24.4 percent of the total gross value added that year. Croatia is also much more dependent on tourism revenues than its Mediterranean competitors are. As such, tourist revenues back in 2018 and 2019 amounted to as much as 18.3 and 21 percent of GDP, and in 2020 and 2021 were reduced to 8.9 and 15.8 percent of GDP due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on tourist and travel demand. Even such reduced revenues from tourism in the two pandemic-dominated years were still, when expressed as a share of GDP, by far the largest in the entire European Union (EU).

A study by the Institute of Economics in Zagreb further analysed the situation as it was from 2012 to 2021.

Some of the interesting data from the study shows that a comparison of the values ​​of the seasonality index in 2021 compared to 2012 suggests that the shortening of the tourist season was recorded by local units in the Dalmatian hinterland that have started to engage in tourism more intensively during the summer tourist season.

When the value of the index of vulnerability to the concentration and seasonality of Croatian tourism is observed, it grows across most local units in the analysed period. This is happening because the demand for Croatian tourist products is growing intensively, so the concentration of demand in a large part of local units is increasing. The most vulnerable are the local units of Zadar County, followed by Split-Dalmatia County, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Sibenik-Knin County and Istria County. With only Istria County standing out, it's obvious that the Dalmatian coast is extremely vulnerable to any alterations when it comes to tourism.

In addition, the study shows that the share of private accommodation in terms of total accommodation capacities has increased significantly in the vast majority of local units, while the share of accommodation in hotels, hostels and camps is declining. The most unfavourable structure of accommodation capacities is recorded by Split-Dalmatia County, which has 87.8 percent of private accommodation capacities, and the most favourable is the City of Zagreb, with 52.7 percent of accommodation capacities in hotels, hostels and camps.

Compared to the competition, the demand for Croatia is stronger

Compared to 2012, the number of beds per capita increased by 38.3 percent, which is the largest increase in the concentration of accommodation facilities among Mediterranean countries. At the same time, the number of tourist overnight stays increased by 38.2 percent in the period from 2012 to 2019, reaching 7.05 million overnight stays in 2019.

"The good news is that, compared to the competition across the rest of the Mediterranean, Croatia is also recording a significant increase in demand for its tourism. If we analyse this increase in intensity by counties in more detail, we come to an interesting conclusion: the wave of interest in Croatia spilled over from the usual coastal destinations to the interior, to locations not so much engaged in tourism - such as units in Istria, Dalmatia, Lika and Gorski Kotar, and even in the continental part of the country,'' pointed out Maruska Vizek from the Institute of Economics in Zagreb.

"We're aware of the challenges in the structure of accommodation focused on private renters and the further development of tourism should go in the direction of building accommodation facilities of this type that will allow the extension of the tourist season and create additional value. In coastal areas, the emphasis should be on quality, while in areas that are becoming increasingly interesting for tourism, such as Baranja, Lika and Gorski Kotar, we need both quantity and high quality of accommodation,''said Slavko Steficar from the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.

For more, make sure to check out our travel section.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Croatian Inflation Results in Continuing Soaring Prices on Markets

May the 13th, 2022 - Croatian inflation is continuing to force prices up for just about everything. Croatian marketplaces, where many people still love to buy fresh produce, are now raising their prices, making even basic salad more expensive.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, fruit and vegetable prices on Croatian markets across the country are skyrocketing. The fact these are astronomically high prices compared to the same period last year has been confirmed by the fact that a kilogram of chard or spinach is now costing 30 to 50 kuna, as reported by Slobodna Dalmacija.

Right behind chard come both coloured and white beans that are sold at a price of 30 to 40 kuna and the absolute record holders for this are the markets in Split, Dubrovnik and Rijeka. Parsley is a bit cheaper down in Dubrovnik where it sells for 30 kuna, in Split it stands at 40 kuna and in Rijeka, on some markets it's costing as much as 50 kuna.

Among the most expensive foods is garlic, which sells for as much as 60 kuna per kilogram at the moment. Those with more luck can find it for a few kuna cheaper, but never under 50.

Even something as basic as lettuce seems to have become a luxury of sorts thanks to soaring Croatian inflation. It is being sold at the price of 25 kuna down in Dubrovnik, Split and up in Pula, while you'll pay 15 kuna in Osijek. Carrots are slightly cheaper, ranging from 10 kuna (Pula and Karlovac) to 25 kuna (Dubrovnik). Beans are 50 kuna when sold at markets. Potatoes are 8 kuna in Dubrovnik, 10 in Split, 12 in Osijek. Peas in Pula are around 35 kuna.

Green cabbage and kale range from 15 to 20 kuna, red onion in Split is 25 kuna, 20 kuna down in Dubrovnik, and the cheapest can be found in Karlovac and Koprivnica, where 10 kuna should be set aside for one kilogram. Young onions are more expensive and range from 25 to 35 kuna, which is very high for the average Croatian earner.

Fruit prices have also risen compared to last month thanks to ongoing Croatian inflation. Apples are the most expensive in Dubrovnik, Pula, Split (12 kuna) while the cheapest in Koprivnica and Sisak cost a mere 5 kuna. Oranges range from 10 to 15 kuna, lemons range from 15 kuna (Osijek) to 20 kuna (Dubrovnik). The Dubrovnik market is a record holder when it comes to the price of strawberries, where you'll need to set aside 50 kuna per kilogram, followed by Split where they cost 40 kuna and Osijek where they cost 30 kuna.

Due to the rise in prices of energy and raw materials, fertilizers, seeds and protective equipment, the rise in prices of fruits and vegetables is a logical sequence of the crisis in the market of agricultural products. Strawberries, garlic, chard, lettuce have thus become a luxury for many Croatian wage earners who, even before the price increases caused by inflation, could barely make ends meet. As a result most people now bypass the markets and buy their products in shopping centres where the shares on certain agricultural products are either lower quality imports or vegetables which are being sold just before their expiration date.

All this points to tectonic disturbances in the agricultural market caused, among other things, by the war in Ukraine, which can be overcome only by joint actions of producers and the state, especially in terms of a fairer distribution of incentives from EU funds with which Croatian farmers are dissatisfied.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 9 May 2022

What Will Average Croatian Wage and Pension be in Eurozone?

May the 9th, 2022 - With Eurozone entry rapidly approaching and due at the very beginning of next year, just what will the average Croatian wage and pension be? It seems an increase is on the cards.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, when Croatia introduces the euro at the beginning of 2023, the average Croatian wage (net salary) will stand at around 900 euros, and an average pension will stand at around 320 euros, considering the fact that due to ongoing inflation, personal incomes and pensions across Croatia could increase slightly before the changeover from the kuna to the euro anyway.

If we take in some information and consider it relevant data on the average net salary across the EU back in 2021, which amounted to 1916 euros per month, it means that the average Croatian salary needs to be about a thousand euros to reach the EU average. In nearby Austria, the average net salary last year was 2053 euros, and in Belgium - an impressive 2091 euros.

In Bulgaria, the average net income last year was 413 euros, and the average Croatian wage was 797 euros, while the neighbouring Slovenians received an average of 1,038 euros per month back in 2021, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

The Czechs were doing slightly better than the Croats were with a typical net salary of 813 euros, and the Danes were much better, with 3,100 euros, placing them at the very top of the European Union (EU). They are closely followed by the Swedes with a salary of 3062 euros.

The Estonians are also better paid than Croats typically are, with an average salary of 958 euros net, with the Latvians and Lithuanians being weaker with 648 euros and 645 euros respectively. The people of Cyprus receive an excellent 1,658 euros, and Malta also earns well from the Croatian perspective, with an average Maltese wage being about 2261 euros per month.

They are followed by rich EU countries: Finland with 2509 euros, France with 2157 euros and Germany with 2270 euros as an average salary.

The average Greek earns 917 euros, a Portuguese worker 846, a Pole 736, a Slovak 690, and a Hungarian 683 euros. Over in Romania, the average net salary is only 522 euros, meaning that only the Bulgarians are the poorest in the EU.

The average net salary in Italy is 1,762 euros, and in neighbouring Spain 1,718 euros. The real "heavyweights" are the Icelanders with 3435 euros and the Luxembourgers with 3009 euros, followed by the Irish with 2479 euros and the Dutch with 2263 euros.

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

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Third of Croatian Households Only Just Making Ends Meet

May the 8th, 2022 - The number of those at risk of severe poverty across the country is increasing as around a third of Croatian households are only just managing to make ends meet.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of the report on the state of human rights for 2021, the House of Human Rights in Zagreb held a discussion on socio-economic rights where it was pointed out that in Croatia, more than a fifth of the population is at risk of poverty, and a third of Croatian households are barely making ends meet.

The discussion was based on the part of the report entitled "The right to an adequate standard of living" which outlined, in 19 points, the state of the right to housing, access to social services, poverty, social exclusion and social welfare challenges throughout 2021. In addition, problems related to socio-economic rights vulnerable groups were further highlighted in the chapters on the rights of children, national minorities, especially when it comes to Roma and Serbs.

The report states that more than a fifth of Croatia's population is still at risk of poverty and social exclusion. It is even more devastating that every other person over the age of 65 who lives alone is at risk of poverty, and more than half of their pensions are lower than the Croatian poverty line. Material deprivation is also worrying - as many as a third of Croatian households are currently finding it very difficult or difficult to make ends meet. No significant progress has been made on housing policy in 2021 either, the report said.

Problems in the areas of legal security of housing, affordability, occupancy, accessibility and access to housing have been further exacerbated by the aftermath of the earthquakes in Zagreb and Sisak-Moslavina County back in 2020, as well as the global coronavirus pandemic. It has been especially emphasised that the at-risk-of-poverty rate is higher for tenants than it is for apartment owners, and almost a quarter of subtenants are at risk of poverty. The trend of burdening the population with housing costs also continued last year.

People in Croatia still have problems with the availability and affordability of adequate heating, as well as the overcrowding of apartments because as many as 36 percent of residents live in apartments which are too small. This data is of additional concern due to the slow recovery of the earthquake-affected areas, but also rising inflation and rising energy prices.

How can we turn the situation with poverty around for the better?

"In these circumstances, last year the National Plan for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion for the period 2021-2027 was adopted, a key policy that should respond to these challenges. However, this plan is quite unambitious and doesn't bring any measures that could turn the situation with poverty around for the better,'' said Tina Djakovic, the coordinator of the Human Rights House in Zagreb.

The measures proposed by the state aren't aimed at a systematic solution to the problem, and there are no new approaches to respond to growing challenges such as energy poverty or poverty of the elderly or social exclusion of people living in isolated areas, refugees and a number of other vulnerable groups and individuals.

Exercising socio-economic rights in the Republic of Croatia is also difficult due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and 2020's earthquakes, said Deputy Ombudsman Tatjana Vlasic, who pointed out during the discussion that most complaints from people to the Ombudsman's Office came from earthquake-affected areas of the country.

She also pointed out that as many as 92 percent of Roma households live below the at-risk-of-poverty level in Croatia, and almost half of them live in isolated settlements that do not have access to electricity and water. She also warned of the situation in Sisak-Moslavina County, where the unavailability of public transport causes significant issues when it comes to accessing health and social services, which especially affects the elderly.

Despite the sheer amount of struggling Croatian households, poverty and homelessness remain taboo topics...

Djordana Barbaric from the MoSt association pointed out that poverty and homelessness as an extreme form of poverty, are still taboo topics that are rarely discussed, and that vulnerable groups and individuals are often left entirely invisible. She stressed the importance of interdepartmental cooperation and a multidisciplinary approach to the problem, because people in poverty or homelessness often find themselves in complex circumstances and need help in the field of social protection, healthcare and in exercising theor right to work and enjoy protection against discrimination.

Olja Druzic Ljubotina from the Study Centre for Social Work at the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb, warned about the problem of child poverty and pointed out that children are especially vulnerable because they are dependent on others and are often an invisible group in society. Accessibility to pre-school education remains a problem in Croatia, which is crucial for the prevention of poverty and social exclusion of children. She also pointed out that institutions often don't recognise child poverty as their problem, that is, that different departments should work together to find a solution and be able to act properly and systematically.

Poverty and social exclusion are significantly added to by the lack of availability and the quality of social services, said Valentina Zeljak Bozovic from the Rehabilitation Centre for Stress and Trauma Zagreb.

According to their research on the availability of social services, the differences between rural and urban units of local self-government units in the provision of almost all social services have been confirmed, and differences also exist at the regional level. These differences are the most noticeable in the availability of social services for young people, people with disabilities, people with mental health problems, and members of national minorities and refugees.

With Croatian households struggling to make ends meet, inflation continuing and the war in Ukraine continuing to result in various economic issues with supply chains, it's not hard to see how all of the failings of the many systems in this country are failing the most vulnerable in society on a consistent basis.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Could Revising Student Earnings Limit Solve Croatian Labour Issue?

May the 7th, 2022 - The continuing issues faced by the Croatian labour force (or lack of it, to be more precise) could be solved by altering a current law and increasing the limit on how much students are allowed to earn without them, or usually their parents, facing tax issues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, irritated employers have rightly pointed out that the income threshold after which the right to tax relief is lost for students is much too low, and that raising it would encourage students to not only seek out employment, but to be willing to work more. Therefore, they've suggested that the threshold be raised to 30,000 kuna, with different treatment if the taxpayer (their parent) has more children. This could solve the problems faced by the Croatian labour market, particularly when it comes to seasonal and tourism employment.

According to tportal, this initiative from the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) is also being strongly supported by the president of the Croatian Tourism Association, Veljko Ostojic, who very formly believes that the greater engagement of students in seasonal jobs in the tourism sector would reduce the need for the import of foreign labour, and the administrative issues and ridiculous waiting times for work permits that come with that.

''We've proposed to the Government that the non-taxable income limit for dependent members be raised to 30,000 kuna. We believe that in this way, a significant number of people would be activated on the Croatian labour market,'' Ostojic said.

Student work is otherwise regulated by the Student Affairs Act, and the current law on that has been in force since November 2018.

Students are employed through authorised intermediaries, which can be student centres or higher education institutions that have a centre for student standards, provided that they have received approval from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education to conduct mediation activities. The law also regulates the minimum hourly wage, which is calculated by dividing the amount of the minimum gross salary by 160. The hourly wage is adjusted once a year, and for 2022 it amounts to 29.30 kuna.

Altering this and increasing the amount students are free to earn without facing issues from the tax man would not only put a gradual stop to importing non-resident staff, but put the Croatian labour market in a far better position when it comes to the height of the summer season, when good staff are increasingly difficult to come by for would-be employers.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Three Croatian Egg Farms Collapse, Set to Close at End of Week?

May the 5th, 2022 - Three large Croatian egg farms have collapsed and their management has stated that they plan to remain open and in function only until the end of this week.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian poultry and egg producers are currently navigating troubled waters. Just as they announced before Easter, some are closing down their farms because their production costs have become too high to be able to cope with.

RTL discovered that three large Croatian egg farms are set to shut their doors, and the producers have also been complaining that the traders must be deaf and are offering them purchase prices which are much too low, even though the eggs on the shelves have never been more expensive.

This concerning information was also confirmed by the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture. The president of the chamber, Mladen Jakopovic, said: “two or thee are closing, we found out about that informally. Two or three Croatian egg farms will shut. According to our information, that would amount to about five percent of Croatian egg production at this time.''

There is almost no egg producer who isn't facing trouble at this moment in time, and they are thinking about reducing production entirely because the current situation is becoming unbearable.

Magi Lukac, the head of one egg production company, pointed out that the costs are growing every day. “We just managed to raise the prices a bit, and now we've had a new blow with new costs that don't follow the selling prices. We have information that many poultry farmers are going to reduce their capacities,'' he said.

The Republic of Croatia is almost self-sufficient when it comes to egg production, but after the coronavirus pandemic, inflation and the situation with the war in Ukraine, the prices of cereals and energy have skyrocketed, and they complain that traders are not giving them a higher purchase price despite that.

"The price of wheat and corn have grown by 200 percent, soybeans and sunflower meal have gone up by 100 percent, and eggs aren't following that growth. I'm afraid that we will be needing to feed tourists with foreign eggs this year,'' Lukac pointed out for RTL.

The competent ministry says they are preparing additional incentives in order to try to soften the blow being dealt to Croatian egg farms, as well as to businesses directly related to the industry.

Zdravko Barac, the director of the Directorate for Animal Husbandry and Food Quality of the Ministry of Agriculture, said: “Of course we won't allow a shortage of eggs to occur, nor will we allow that for other livestock products. We reacted with a whole series of measures in a difficult period two years ago.''

Five million kuna is intended for poultry farmers, and 2 million kuna for egg producers, and on top of that, some more good news is coming from Brussels.

Mladen Jakopovic, President of the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture, pointed out: “It has been agreed that the import of wheat and other cereals into the European Union would be exempt from anyone needing to pay customs duties and associated customs costs. That is 20 million tonnes, which is 20 times more than Croatia's total annual production.''

This temporary measure should take effect in two weeks, but whether or not it will be enough to prevent the locking of the doors of more Croatian egg farms is yet to be seen.

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

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Volume of Retail Trade in March Down Slightly in EU, Croatia Sees Strong Growth

ZAGREB, 4 May 2022 - Retail trade in the European Union and the euro area in March fell slightly reflecting a decrease in fuel sales whereas in Croatia it increased strongly, the latest Eurostat report released on Wednesday indicates.

In March, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade decreased by 0.2% in the EU and by 0.4% in the euro area compared with February, when it increased by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively.

The volume of retail trade in the EU and euro area dropped the most at petrol stations, by 3% and 2.9% respectively.

The retail sale of non-food products also decreased, by 0.7% in the EU and 1.2% in the euro area.

An increase in the volume of retail trade was reported only for food products, beverages and tobacco, of 0.6% in the EU and 0.8% in the euro area.

Among the Member States for which data are available, the highest increases were observed in Slovenia (+11.4%), Latvia (+11.1%), and Hungary (+7.3%).

Croatia registered a month-on-month increase in the volume of retail trade of 4.0%, the strongest increase since November 2020. In February it increased by 0.8%.

The largest monthly decreases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Spain (-4.0%), Luxembourg (-3.3%) and France (-1.9%).

The highest year-on-year increases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Slovenia (+25.6%), Estonia (+18.4%) and Malta (+16.4%).

The largest decreases were observed in Denmark (-11.0%), Spain (-4.8%), and Belgium (-3.9%).

The volume of retail trade in Croatia in March increased by 5.5% year on year after a 0.7% decrease in February.

Romania registered a similar increase in the volume of retail trade, of 5.4%.

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

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