Friday, 18 February 2022

Prime Minister: Measures Will Protect Citizens and Economy From Energy Price Rises

ZAGREB, 18 Feb 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday that the package of measures for cushioning the electricity and gas price rises, worth HRK 4.8 billion, was a wise state intervention that would, as of 1 April, protect citizens and a large part of the economy from rising energy prices.

"This way, we are showing the government's readiness to make a wise intervention that benefits citizens in key moments," Plenković said, talking about the package of measures at a government session.

The measures apply to all citizens, a large part of the economy, especially micro and macro businesses, and special measures have been introduced for socially vulnerable groups, as well as for pensioners, farmers, and fishermen, the prime minister said.

"In addition to the caps on the prices of petroleum products, we have made a good, clear framework which also involves tax relief, social transfers, and subsidies, and which will cushion the price rise as of 1 April," he said.

The prime minister also said that over the past two days, based on well-prepared documentation for the European Commission, it had been decided that the deadline for using the money from the European Solidarity Fund for earthquake relief in Zagreb would be extended for another year, from June 2022 to June 2023, to overlap with the deadline for the use of money allocated for the earthquake in Banovina.

He said that he now expected "intensive work and dynamics of the reconstruction process" in order to use that money and engage other sources and ensure as soon as possible that the reconstruction process would accelerate.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

PM Plenkovic Reveals Inflation Measures: Lower VAT on Food, Fuel...

February the 17th, 2022 - PM Plenkovic has revealed the Croatian Government's highly anticipated inflation measures to try to curb the negative effects globally rising prices are having on the domestic economy and as such on the country's residents.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, PM Plenkovic has stated that Croatia's inflation measures will be put into force as of April the 1st this year.

"The current global rise in energy prices has caused a wave of rising prices across Europe. Fuel prices in Europe are rising due to higher demand after the coronavirus crisis, the second reason is the situation with Russia, which is the largest supplier and has reduced production, Norway can't increase its production, in Europe there is higher demand due to recovery and colder winters. 43% of European gas comes from Russia, 23% comes from Norway, 11% from Algeria. Europe imports 61% of its total energy needs and 90% of its gas needs, which accounts for 21% of energy consumption,'' said PM Plenkovic, adding that the package of measures will be in force from the aforementioned date.

“The average price is 120 mW / h, 2.7 times higher than in Croatia. In Croatia, we had a system in which the prices were regulated for a year. If it weren't for this intervention, the prices for electricity would increase by 23 percent from April the 1st, and for gas, by 79 percent ", he emphasised.

"The package we're presenting today is worth 4.8 billion kuna. It was done systematically, in coordination with all ministries and bodies. It applies to households, companies and farmers. It's universal, meaning it's aimed at all users. It refers to the reduction of household bills, tax relief, one-off benefits for pensioners, a special programme for fishermen Gas prices will grow to a maximum of 29 percent with these measures in place. As far as gas is concerned, if we did nothing, 0.326 kW / h would jump to 0.574 kuna. When we reduce VAT, we arrive to 0.482, and with an additional subsidy we come to 0.382 kuna per kW / h,'' said PM Plenkovic.

''These benefits will apply to all households that use gas. The amount of support directly on the bill is 10 lipa per kilowatt-hour. The amount of the discount is shown on the invoice with a separate item. The cost of this measure is 600 million kuna, and we'll provide it by selling greenhouse gas emissions at auction. By changing the law, we'll permanently reduce the VAT on gas and heating from 25 percent to 13 percent. This equalises the VAT on electricity and gas and thermal energy,'' he added.

Gas will be reduced from 25 percent to 5 percent from April the 1st, 2022 to March the 31st, 2023.

VAT on food is also being reduced from 13 percent down to 5 percent on fresh meat and fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables, edible oils and fats, baby food, agricultural costs, seedlings, fertilisers and pesticides, and from 25 percent to 5 percent. percent on butter and margarine. VAT on products such as sanitary pads and tampons is also being reduced from 25 percent down to 13 percent. VAT on tickets for sports, cultural and other events is also being reduced from 25 and 13 to 5 percent.

The amount of vouchers for the most vulnerable in society is also being doubled, increasing from 200 to 400 kuna.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Croatian National Bank Economist Vedran Sosic Talks Interest Rate Growth

February the 16th, 2022 - Croatian National Bank economist Vedran Sosic has spoken out about interest rates and when prices in general might return to some form of normality.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, economist Vedran Sosic has stated that currently, inflation is expected to peak in the second quarter, after the peak of electricity and gas prices, and should calm down entirely by the end of the year. Raw material and energy prices have boosted inflation and it's normal that we're currently troubled by the price of oil, it is difficult to predict what will happen there. A slight descent is expected towards the end of the year, but all this is all still shrouded in uncertainty.

''Energy prices have quickly made their mark on prices being paid for fuel at the pumps, although we still have a limit on petrol prices, we'll see what happens with fuel costs in April - we have a package that should alleviate this spillover. Food is currently the largest contributor to inflation, with prices rising by around 8 percent, sometimes by even more. Producer food prices rose by about 4 percent, less than the case with retail. Traders say they're trying to take on part of the cost growth on margins, but according to statistics, it seems that margins haven't yet been reduced. A lot of what happened last year has already been absorbed in terms of prices, so that's something we shouldn't be seeing in the coming months,'' explained economist Vedran Sosic.

He also spoke to N1 and said that it is possible to use the growth of raw material prices to increase the price of the final product: "It's possible for that to happen. That is the greatest danger. Inflation is also a psychological phenomenon, the more we talk about it, the greater the risk that the inflationary spiral will roll, which is harder to bring back down again.''

"Interest rates will rise, but people can protect themselves now"

Commenting on interest rates on loans, CNB's main economist Vedran Sosic explained:

“Back in October last year, when it became apparent that inflation was going on, we warned people that interest rates would rise. The normalisation of monetary policy was expected, those expectations haven't really altered and so these jumps shouldn't be sudden. For the European Central Bank, the market expectation is about half a percentage point increase in interest rates. In some markets, this growth can be seen, Croatia borrowed more when it issued bonds, so the growth of interest rates is already visible.

Every loan is different - those that come with a fixed rate are protected. Those who have a variable, again, aren't the same as what's tied in with the interest rate. An increase of one to two percentage points for those who have a loan for a period of 20 years, could mean a 10 to 20 percent higher installment, that would of course be the worst case scenario - so about 400 kuna on a loan of 4,000 kuna. The suggestion to people is to look at what rates they have, maybe reprogramme things, change the bank… Let them ask personal bankers, inquire about protection, there's still time to change those loans.'' concluded economist Vedran Sosic.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 14 February 2022

Croatian Property Market at Risk of Collapse? EU Sends Warning to Country

February the 14th, 2022 - Could the Croatian property market be at risk of collapse? It seems so, as with a handful of other countries to whom the European Union (EU) has sent out warnings.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the aforementioned EU warnings were sent to Croatia, Hungary, Liechtenstein and Slovakia. In addition, recommendations were sent to Germany and Austria after they both failed to meet the requirements of the ESRB from back in 2016 and 2019, as reported by Index.

“Financial stability risks related to residential the property market continued to grow in the context of macroeconomic risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic and the continued strong dynamics of the property market, housing loans and household indebtedness. The key vulnerabilities highlighted in the ESRB's assessment are medium-term in nature and relate to the rapid rise in property prices and the possible overvaluation of residential real estate, the level and dynamics of household indebtedness, the growth of housing loans and signs of easing lending standards,'' it was said,

A special warning for Croatia in regard to the Croatian property market notes that "after a long period of correction and subdued growth, real property price growth accelerated to 8% year on year back in early 2019."

"According to the estimates of the Croatian National Bank (CNB/HNB), property prices are increasingly deviating from their long-term basis. This is influenced by a number of supply and demand factors. First of all, in some regions, a significant part of the demand for housing comes from foreigners (about 10% in total). While total transaction activity was lower after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the share of foreign buyers remained at pre-crisis levels.

Secondly, Croatia suffered two earthquakes back in 2020, both of them hitting the Zagreb region and causing significant property damage. These events revealed some shortcomings in the quality of standards of the housing built before the 1960s. As a result, fewer apartments were advertised for sale, potentially leading to higher overall price levels. At the same time, the gradual reconstruction of damaged housing, the cost of which is estimated at 23% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, could increase house prices through greater construction activity.

Finally, back in 2020, the Croatian Government extended the housing subsidy scheme, which has now been in force since the end of 2017, and provides higher subsidy rates in less developed regions for the purchase of the first real estate,'' the warning about the Croatian property market reads.

Although only about half of housing transactions are financed through loans, according to the ESRB, real growth in mortgage lending accelerated back during the second half of 2019, and especially during 2020. It averaged approximately 7.5% between January and August 2021.

“To some extent, this dynamic has been driven by the state housing subsidy system, with an increase in the share of subsidised loans from 18% in 2019 to 35% in 2020. Many new loans have been state-subsidised loans. In addition, in the first half of 2021, in the case of some new loans, the maturity exceeded 30 years. In June 2021, the share of mortgage loans represented about 12% of the real estate market in Croatia,'' it has been stated.

“At the same time, household indebtedness in Croatia is relatively low compared to other EU countries. During 2020, loans to households increased in real terms, but at lower rates than loans to apartments. This was the result of a decline in general consumer confidence, while government subsidy schemes for housing maintained a high level of demand for real estate,'' it added.

The EU has since called for the adoption of measures that would prevent "an increase in household indebtedness, ie state subsidies for housing loans."

Finally, the ESRB states that there is "potential for serious negative consequences for the economy" in Croatia in regard to the Croatian property market and its risks.

"The ESRB believes that the key problems are the rapid growth of retail loans and the overestimation of real estate prices due to the lack of explicit measures that could mitigate the risks associated with residential real estate and the real estate sector," as reported by Index.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Could Croatian Minimum Wage Rise Under Pressure from Brussels?

February the 12th, 2022 - Could the Croatian minimum wage finally be forced into an increase under increasing pressure from the European Union in Brussels? Things might have to dramatically alter by June with yet another EU directive.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, a new directive on an adequate minimum wage across the European Union could come out of Brussels' ''kitchen'' by June and force the Croatian minumum wage upwards.

Although its pillar is the introduction of the institute of the minimum wage, which, unlike here in Croatia, is not yet available to all EU member states, the domestic labour market could be shaken by the additional demand it will bring, which is that the member state must actively strive to cover at least 70 to 80 percent of its workers with collective agreements.

The directive seeks to strengthen the European Union's idea of ​​social security and it has strong political support, as could be heard recently coming from the Belgian capital.

The topic is on the table of the convocation of the European Parliament in the continuation of this mandate and is being additionally pushed by the current President of France. On the eve of the April elections, President Emmanuel Macron's trump card is an ideal opportunity to strengthen France's leadership position in the European Union after the departure of the very well known and long-standing German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Although here in Croatia there are regular spears about the amount of the minimum wage that the Government adopts by decree (it isn't enough for workers and is always a question of competitiveness for employers), Croatia is among the 21 member states that already know and are quite well acquainted with this institute.

The exceptions are Denmark, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden. By raising the Croatian minimum wage to 3,750 kuna in 2022, Croatia has approached the goal set by the new EU directive, which is that the minimum wage must be 60 percent of the gross median and 50 percent of the average gross wage.

Therefore, the directive does not exclude the instrument of minimum wages, but provides a clearer calculation of how to calculate it and provides for a mechanism for testing the adequacy of its national level.

"We hoped that the directive would be passed during the Portuguese presidency, but some countries made a number of remarks, and Croatia doubted whether the goal of at least 70 percent of workers covered by collective agreements would be too difficult to achieve," said Kresimir Sever, the president of the Independent Croatian Trade Unions.

It's worth noting that the proposal of the European Commission is that it should be 70 percent of the workers covered by collective agreements, while the MEPs are proposing 80 percent in their amendments. "The aim is to ensure that every worker in the EU is paid for their work so that they can live with dignity, and nothing less than that. Croatia is close to the aforementioned minimum wage target, but hasn't yet reached it in gross terms. The problem in Croatia is low wages, so naturally the Croatian minimum wage is also low,'' the trade unionist added.

The trade unions themselves have a hard time estimating how many workers are actually covered by collective agreements in this country. Sever estimates that about 50 percent of employees in Croatia have a collective agreement in addition to an employment contract, but with the caveat that there is no data on "home" contracts.

In this context, it is important to note that the European Union as a whole is moving towards strengthening the role of trade unions, not only as workers' representatives, but also as bodies that collectively negotiate with employers.

It should be noted that the directive isn't binding, but it does work to further encourage member states to achieve a high percentage of coverage of their workers by collective agreements. The setting of benchmarks and modalities is still being negotiated, as are the timeframes within which each member state should achieve these goals.

Although in practice collective agreements are often perceived as clashes between employers and workers, their prevalence carries wide social consequences.

"The wide application of collective agreements is a way of coordinating wage policies that can ensure greater transparency and certainty of workers' incomes at the national or sectoral level, but also the stability of the workforce and the control of labour costs for employers, without harsh, generally universal legal interventions," said a senior research associate at the Institute for Social Research, Teo Matkovic.

He also mentioned that the legal instrument of the Croatian mininum wage has existed now for just over a decade, and it has been growing significantly for several years since. It is the opposite of collective agreements, the use of which has decreased significantly in the last 20 years or so.

"In this country, the coverage of collective agreements is modest, and the content is thin, especially outside of the public sector, so this coordination mechanism will need to be worked on if the adequacy of income in Croatia is to be relied on," explained Matkovic. He believes that a significantly larger area for collective bargaining, provided by the directive, "would strengthen the position of work across the EU, and in Croatia is likely to reduce emigration and encourage investment in skills and productivity."

For employers, the cost of labour is a calculation of competitiveness, especially emphasised in the circumstances of accelerating inflation and rising costs of raw materials. "Any increase in the Croatian minimum wage has significant consequences for employers, especially in the situation we're now witnessing when there's inflation, the rising cost of living and rising energy prices across the market.

If we take into account the consequences of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, it's clear that employers can hardly bear the new increase in costs, without these costs being accompanied by a reduction in the workload,'' they said from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), also pointed out that they're aware of the need to increase the living standards of citizens, "but it is necessary to apply a rational approach that will not lead to new layoffs."

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Around 50,000 Croatian Employees Among Lowest Paid in All of EU

January the 31st, 2022 - Around 50,000 Croatian employees are taking home among the lowest wages in the entire European Union (EU). These workers are primarily from the wood/wood processing, textile and leather industries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian minimum wage at this moment in time stands at 624 euros per month, gross. The highest in the EU is unsurprisingly 2,257 euros in Luxembourg, and in only four countries in the European Union do workers receive a lower minimum wage than here in Croatia. In Hungary, Romania, Latvia and Bulgaria, people take home the EU's lowest minimum wage of a mere 332 euros.

“I should be able to afford to buy some decent clothes, have some sort of normal social life life, such as being able to go to watch a film at the cinema or going to watch a match. What about holidays? It's all getting harder,'' said one person, who added that if they're havint to work all twelve months of the year and they can't even go on holiday, then they think it's beneath the honour of every person.

The average Croatian household spends more than two thousand kuna a month on food alone. Another 1.2 thousand kuna goes to housing costs and another 1.2 thousand to transportation. That means that for pure and simple survival, it costs 4.5 thousand kuna per month, and the minimum wage in Croatia at the moment is 3750 thousand kuna. That is without the latest price increases. Across the European Union, as trade unionists point out, the poverty indicator is the data on how much is spent on food, as reported by Dnevnik.hr.

"The share of food costs on average across the European Union stands at about 13 percent, in more developed European Union countries, it is below 10, and in Croatia more than it's more than 27 percent without any increase," said Kresimir Sever from the Independent Croatian Trade Union.

Compared to the Netherlands, the minimum wage is almost three times higher: 1,725 ​​euros, which is almost 13 thousand kuna per month. They spend less than 13 percent of their salaries on food, compared to more than 27 percent here in Croatia, and the price of electricity is a little less than 13 euro cents per kilowatt hour, which is even slightly lower than it costs in Croatia.

When asked if they think that the time will come when the minimum wage for Croatian employees stands at 13 thousand kuna, they answered: "I think so. When young people realise that they shouldn't run away but stay here and fight against those who do evil.'' Some naturally jaded Croatian employees have a different opinion: "I don't think so, I don't believe in fairy tales."

While the meat industry is announcing a rise in meat prices of up to 30 percent, the unions are asking the Croatian Government for all measures to help - they should lower VAT on energy, offer higher aid to the poorest among us, and lower excise duties on fuel, with the addition of more price caps. They also pointed out that chain price increases are on their way in the coming months, and the minimum will remain the same until next year.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Value of Bills and Receipts Issued in Croatian Tourism Sector 219% Higher

January the 26th, 2022 - The value of bills and other receipts issued in the Croatian tourism sector for 2022's maiden month of January seems to promise a good year ahead.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, across all economic activities registered in the fiscalisation system last week, the value of fiscalised bills and receipts increased by 16 percent compared to the same comparable week back in 2021, and by eight percent compared to the same period in 2020, according to data from the Tax Administration which was published on Monday.

From the 17th to the 23rd of January, 2022, the total value of fiscalised accounts across all industries reached 3.3 billion kuna, which is 16 percent more than was recorded back in the same period last year. At the same time, the number of bills issued in general increased by 20 percent.

The number of bills and receipts issued in the most important activity in the fiscalisation system jumped by as much as seven percent - wholesale and retail trade, the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, while their value was higher by 8 percent. Last week, 23.5 million bills/receipts were fiscalised in trade, reaching a grand total of 2.3 billion kuna.

When it comes to the Croatian tourism sector, more precisely the umbrella covering the fields of both catering/hospitality and tourism - activities which include the providing of accommodation and the preparing and serving of food, fiscalised bills/receipts stood at 341 percent more, with 4.8 million of them issued, and their value increased by a very encouraging 219 percent, reaching a massive 216.9 million kuna in total.

It's worth noting that in the same sense regarding the Croatian tourism sector, from the end of November 2020 and throughout January 2021, due to the severely unfavourable epidemiological situation, stricter measures were in force, including the suspension of the work of cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants.

This recent announcement from the Tax Administration also compared last week this year with the same week back in 2020, which is a month or so before the pandemic hit Croatia, 4 percent fewer bills/receipts were issued, but their value was 8 percent higher.

For more, follow our business section.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Croatian 2022 Season Lacks 35,000 Workers, Some Hotels May Not Open

January the 25th, 2022 - It might seem like we're far from the sweltering heat of summer and an influx of tourists at the moment, thanks to the temperatures and the weather, but the Croatian 2022 season will be here before we know it. As many as 35,000 staff are required and apparently are struggling to be found, leading some facilities such as hotels to perhaps not even bother opening their doors this summer.

As Novi list/Alenka Juricic Bukarica writes, there will be an estimated shortage of between 30,000 and 35,000 tourism employees for the Croatian 2022 season. The problem of labour shortages escalated last year when some hotels, and not only those of lower category, didn't bother to open their doors during the main summer season because there were no employees who would work the season to be found.

The tourism sector therefore calculated that around 800 million kuna more revenue could have been generated if they had been able to hire labour under more relaxed conditions.

Most of the Croatian tourism sector, with the exception of, for example, travel agencies, no longer have job preservation measures introduced in 2020 available for their employees, which is why the sector launched a series of proposals back in early autumn, immediately after the season, to alleviate the problem of staff shortages and to further facilitate employment. The sector also expects the labour market test obligation to be scrapped.

The problem of waiting for work permits for third country nationals

The 2021 Croatian census showed a sharp decline in the number of inhabitants of the country, and thus the working population, and in the conditions of the pandemic, the trend of local workers going abroad increased, meaning that the already insufficient pool of domestic labour was further emptied. As expected, the Croatian 2022 season will come with great demand for staff from other, mostly neighbouring non-EEA/EU countries, but also the Philippines, India and Ukraine.

Last year, when it came to hiring foreigners, employers ended up having to wait for several weeks to get valid work permits for their staff to that they could work legally, and waiting for even one month during the height of the busy tourist season is unrealistic.

According to the Croatian Employment Service (CES), two thousand and 463 waiters, two thousand and 101 chefs and 689 maids were registered at the bureau at the end of December. According to the same institution, a total of 235,219 workers were wanted for last year's season, of which 27,792 were seasonal workers.

Out of a total of 27,792 sought-after seasonal workers, most were in Istria, Split-Dalmatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties. When it comes to labour market tests, in 2021 - 28,838 workers were in demand. Thus, work permits were issued to more than 2,000 cleaners from abroad, about 1,700 foreign waiters, 1,300 assistant cooks, about 1,200 cooks, and about 700 hotel maids.

The highest number of requests for the labour market test was received by the Zagreb Regional Office, amount to around 8,500, while Pula is in second place with about 6,800 such requests, and Rijeka is in third place with about 5,400 requests. It's worth mentioning that back during the record-breaking year of pre-pandemic 2019, about 20,000 seasonal workers from abroad were employed in the Croatian tourism sector.

Crisis reactions

Commenting on the situation with staff in tourism last year and this year, Marina Cvitic, the president of the Trade Union of Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia (SIKD), pointed out that in tourism, it is more than necessary to specifically increase salaries, all the more so given the situation with inflation.

''This was the biggest mistake employers in tourism made at a time when there were staff to be hired. There were enough of them, and the employers had enough money and they could have financially increased the salaries of their employees. Now they have less money, and they give bigger increases than when they did have money. But, unfortunately, there are no staff now. It's a vicious circle. Now, salaries should be increased by at least 50 percent in order to get people to come back,'' she warned.

She added that today anyone who is healthy can find a job. It might not be a quality job, but it will be enough to get by. People don't leave Croatia because there is no work, but above all to find better jobs and more stability. Last year, she said, the staffing situation became very difficult.

''On the one hand, I understand why it was how it was. Employers couldn't plan in time because the pre-season was marked by lockdowns, and until the very beginning of summer, it was practically unknown whether there would be a tourist season at all. Then in June everything started again rather abruptly, and of course all those who weren't invited to come here to work until June, had been looking for a livelihood elsewhere. A large number of workers who would otherwise have decided to work in Croatian tourism went and did other things, usually being engaged in the construction or trade sectors. Wages in these industries increased, so tourism offered low incomes in relation to them. Therefore, without a concrete increase in salaries, I'm afraid that there will be no progress for the Croatian 2022 season and that part of the facilities will remain closed once again due to lack of staff,'' said Cvitic, adding that now is the time to negotiate the price of labour for the upcoming tourist season.

This time last year, the negotiation was to reduce, not increase wages, because there was no need for workers. During the season, through non-taxable awards and other things, they tried to compensate for that.

As for foreign workers, Cvitic revealed, they were really from everywhere, from Nepal, Brazil, Argentina, India, to the Philippines to Ukraine.

''From those countries where it is worse than it is in this country, things are easier, on top of that, Croatia is actually just a stop on their way to Western European countries. The problem is that this type of employee, when in contact with the guest, cannot provide the service that a person who lives here and who is representing this country can do. Croatian are known for their quality and professionalism, and unfortunately we're in a situation in which we educate quality staff, invest in their education and practice, and then those people go to work elsewhere. This is clearly indicated by the latest census data. Personally, I expected that there would be no decline in Istria, precisely because of the progress in tourism, however, the peninsula didn't remain immune to this negative trend,'' concluded Cvitic.

LRH: We are raising the standard for employees

Liburnia Riviera Hotels (LRH) also touched on the Croatian 2022 season staffing issues, said that this year, they will need about 600 additional employees.

''We always need waiters, cooks, receptionists, maids... We'll also need additional strength in other areas. On a smaller scale, we'll also hire staff for some specific positions such as lifeguards, gardeners or handymen, as well as people to come and work in administration. The search for new human resources has already begun. We believe that it is very important to start the search in time to find the best employees, especially given the poor market situation,'' they said.

Initial talks with potential future employees for the Croatian 2022 season, as well as negotiations with some key partners in the recruitment process (employment agencies) began late last season, they said from LRH, adding that they offer employees competitive market conditions with adequate accommodation and food, as well as working continuously and intensively to improve overall working conditions and raise standards in all aspects of employee relations.

Jadran/Adriatic: Scholarships and a stable job

''Considering the situation on the labour market, primarily starting from the ambitious plans for next year, activities related to the labour force haven't stopped for this company.

As of September the 1st last year, a total of 46 employees received indefinite contracts, and some of them had their contracts extended for another year, meaning that Jadran now has 165 full-time employees, an increase of 12 percent compared to the same period back in 2019,'' said Lucija Jukic, the director of sales and marketing of Jadran Crikvenica.

She added that, in addition to continuously advertising the need for labour force and cooperation with the CES, Jadran will also perform at the upcoming virtual job fair Sezonac.hr.

In agreement with the High School in Crikvenica, the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism in Ika and the PAR Business School in Rijeka, Jadran applied to the programme of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport for scholarships for students studying for tourism professions for which employment approval has been obtained, adding nine new scholarship recipients into the mix.

''Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, we had to abandon the planned, year-round operation of the Boutique Hotel Esplanade, which was to become a centre of excellence, but we're glad to announce the opening of Hotel Lisanj, which will begin working on February the 11th and will not close until the end of the year. Jadran will also employ another 450 seasonal workers during the Croatian 2022 season,'' concluded Jukic.

Valamar: Permanent job and awards

The largest tourist company in Croatia, Valamar Riviera, says that this year, according to the plan, about 7,000 employees from Istria to Dubrovnik will work in their facilities.

''An additional advantage of working at Valamar is the possibility of working in our hotels in Austria during the winter months. After their first season working here, employees can enter the permanent season and have a seasonal job, with year-round income. Last autumn, Valamar started with the selection and employment for the Croatian 2022 season within the Good Job at Valamar programme and invited all those interested in developing a career in tourism to apply for a job with us.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Valamar, with the support of social partners and government measures, preserved all jobs through the Pause, Restart programme, which last year enabled the realisation of a solid tourist season, and we're already intensively preparing for the season ahead. At Valamar, we offer the best working conditions and have been recognised as a top employer in tourism for many years now. We expect to fill most of the job positions this year with employees from Croatia, and we're satisfied with the interest of candidates from the immediate region,'' said Valamar.

When asked what conditions they offer, they stated that last year, they hired 400 employees for an indefinite period of time, and paid the highest awards for the season, awards for excellence and a 13th salary and Christmas bonus.

For more on how companies are preparing for the Croatian 2022 season, check out our business section.

Monday, 24 January 2022

Croatian Average Salary Can Purchase 4 Times Less Fuel Than Swiss

January the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian average salary can purchase four times less fuel than the average Swiss salary can, which is unlikely to come as much of a shock to anyone. Now that the Swiss labour market is fully open to Croatian nationals, facts such as this one are likely to only add to further demographic issues.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, here in Croatia, 643 litres of Eurosuper 95 petrol can be purchased at its current price for the average Croatian average salary.

At the same time, the Swiss can buy 2742 litres of fuel for their average salary, the Danes can buy 2150, the Norwegians can buy 1828, and the Germans can buy 1706 litres. The neighbouring Italians, with a slightly lower average salary of 1,752 euros and currently the eighth most expensive fuel in all of Europe (1.77 euros per litre) can purchase one thousand litres.

When you look at the price of fuel only, Croats are currently paying for the 18th most expensive petrol from as many as 44 European countries, meaning that the country's fuel prices are among the most expensive.

A litre of petrol is the most expensive in the Netherlands, amounting to 2.11 euros, followed by Norway with a price tag of 1.92 euros, the Finns with 1.89 euros, then the Icelanders and Danes, and surprisingly the Greeks with 1.78 euros per litre of fuel.

Given that the average salary in Greece stands at roughly 1,116 euros, they can purchase less fuel than the average Croatian salary can, being able to afford just 627 litres. The Portuguese are in a similar situation, where a litre of Super 95 costs 1.71 euros, or almost 13 kuna. With their average salary of 1,110 euros, they can afford just a few more litres of fuel than the Croats - 649 litres.

The bad news for Croatia is that in 17 countries across Europe with (currently) higher fuel prices than those listed in Croatia, with the exception of Greece, significantly more litres of fuel can be bought for an average salary than for the Croatian average salary. That said, it is also old news that we're following Western European countries in terms of prices, but not in terms of overall living standards.

According to the latest data, fuel in neighbouring Serbia is only slightly cheaper than it is here in Croatia, 10.7 kuna when recalculated, and in Serbia the average salary is only 550 euros, which means that only 385 litres of Super 95 can be purchased for a typical Serbian wage. The ratio is more or less the same down south in Montenegro, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks to the slightly lower price of a litre of gasoline (1.20 euros), the situation is a little more bearable.

The Hungarians, Bulgarians and Romanians, as well as the Slovaks, can currently buy slightly less petrol for their average salaries than the Croats can.

In a total of six European countries, petrol is still below the 1 euro price limit. Apart from Russia, these are Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine, Novi list writes.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Croatian Employees Shun Emigrant ''Return Incentive'' Measure

January the 23rd, 2022 - The demographic crisis in Croatia long predates the current coronavirus-induced one, although it certainly hasn't helped matters. Those Croatian employees who decided to remain in the country and not go chasing their luck abroad have some suggestions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, an on online survey conducted on the posao.hr/job.hr portal on the topic "Will the incentive measure stimulate people to return or will it cause resentment among others?" brings some interesting results in which it is stated that as many as 78 percent of respondents don't support this incentive measure. Only 2 percent of respondents will encourage this incentive measure for people to return to Croatia, while 64 percent of them believe that the amount of financial incentive isn't enough to make such a big life decision.

The aim of the research was to examine the effect achieved by deciding on an incentive measure for people living and working outside of the Republic of Croatia and those who remained as Croatian working employees, living and working in their homeland.

The posao.hr portal conducted the aforementioned survey, in which 253 respondents participated, of which 73 percent are Croatian employees, 22 percent of them work abroad, and the rest have a foot in both rooms, being partly in Croatia and partly abroad.

There is a level of indignation from Croatian employees when it comes to these measures.

Adopting a measure that will encourage the return of young people back home to Croatia, according to the research, has had a negative effect on people who decided to stay and who are Croatian employees. As many as 61 percent of them believe that the adoption of this measure does not appreciate their decision to grit their teeth and stay in the country.

When asked whether, by that logic, Croatian employees who decided to remain here should also receive financial support to stay in the country themselves, 85 percent of them answered in the affirmative.

Only 11 percent of the respondents supported this return incentive measure, while 78 percent of them clearly said that they did not agree with the granting of this type of incentive to people simply to return to Croatia. The respondents employed abroad clearly agreed that the incentive is an insufficient reason to leave well-paid jobs they have elsewhere.

When asked whether this amount of money would encourage them to return home and leave a well-paid job abroad, 64 percent answered that the amount is too small with the comments "… is not the point of return a one-time payment, but a reasonable standard upon return instead?", "I was a craftsman in Croatia for more than 20 years. Anyone who has experience of entrepreneurship in Croatia knows that the stated incentive of 150,000 kuna would be "eaten" by the state in a single year. And then what?''

When asked whether the measure would encourage them to return, only 2 percent answered in the affirmative, which is a clear indicator of how successful this measure will be, or perhaps not.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

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