Friday, 10 December 2021

Croatian Registry of Political Parties Now Has 172 Entries

ZAGREB, 10 Dec 2021 - Currently there are 172 political parties entered in Croatia's registry of political parties, the Večernji List (VL) daily reported on Thursday, while commenting that it seems that the less trust in politicians, the higher number of registered political parties Croatia has.

At the end of 2020, there were 168 political parties formally registered.

From 31 April to 30 November 2021, nine parties were added to the registry, and 14 were erased from the list.

The latest entry in the registry is "Grobnička stranka" led by Suzana Šebalja Colnar, and the headquarters are in Žeželovo Selo in the municipality of Čavle.

The registry was established in January 1990, and the first entry was the Croatian Social and Liberal Party (HSLS). Since then, 390 political parties have been registered formally, however, many of them have been also removed from the registry.

The requirement for establishing a political party is that at least 100 natural persons with active legal capacity agree to find it and register it. The registry is run by the ministry of justice and public administration, the daily newspaper says.

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

Friday, 7 May 2021

Prime Minister Announces Possible Ban on Working Sundays in Retail Sector Revisiting a Hot Button Topic

May 7, 2021 – PM Plenkovic has stated the ruling coalition is planning to propose changes to the Trade Law that would limit retail companies from working Sundays.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced yesterday the ruling coalition is working on changes to the Trade Law. Among other things, the law regulates allowed working hours. Plenkovic stated they are considering limiting work on Sundays for the retail sector. Apparently, the idea is to allow the retail sector to work a maximum of 16 Sundays a year. This is taking into account the tourism season months. Retail stores would close for the other Sundays of the year.

Working on Sundays is a long-time hot button issue for Croatian politics and business. The idea behind the regulation is simple. If you ban stores from being open, retail companies will give their workers time off to enjoy Sundays with their families. The Catholic Church is a big proponent of this regulation. In fact, reports the initiative for the change in the law might have been a part of the promise made to the Croatian Bishops' Conference (HBK) by the ruling coalition. Church has been vocal in asking for public support in this initiative for the past several years. The same article by reveals the justification for the law proposal stems from supposed research by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. After several inquiries into the matter, the ministry finally admitted they don't have any such research documented.

Does the Croatian Economy Need more Restrictions?

It seems like a far-fetched concept in today's world, banning companies from working. While some might argue retail sector sometimes overworks and underpays its employees, it seems like the solution to that problem should be better controlled over the worker's rights and fair business practices. Many Croatians are in favour of the proposed change in the law. This is a fact that no one should dismiss. Still, regulation disabling companies from working for a part of the year seems like a relic of times long past. The mere fact the PM has stated they would allow 16 working Sundays to accommodate for the tourism season is worrying. It screams of a concept of tourism Croatia is supposedly trying to get away from. 16 weeks of tourism per year sounds like a counterproductive move in a country struggling to shed the image of a seasonal destination.

We will know soon enough is this new concept of Trade Law will be proposed and accepted. For now, it remains as a controversial concept for an economy yet to feel the full effects of the lockdown-related drop in business figures.

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

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Croatian Hospitality Facilities Get Political on VAT

Croatian hospitality facilities, well, some of them at least, are getting a bit political in the run up to the elections. Some rather interesting and original approaches are being used and one of them is particularly clever.

The elections are rapidly approaching in Croatia and as with each and every time there is an election or indeed political event of any kind, numerous issues that have been left to linger in the background to rot get dragged back to the forefront in a flurry of pre-election promises that nobody ever truly expects to be fulfilled. VAT is one burning issue that bothers everyone, and yet nobody really wants to tackle it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of June, 2020, if you happen to find yourself sitting down to drink some coffee in Kostrena's Mosquito bar with its beautiful sea view, you will also be able to read an unusual message written by the owner of the facility at the bottom of your bill.

"PP and the highest VAT in Europe are calculated [and included] in the price. Spain and Italy 10, Hungary 5, Greece 13, and France and Slovenia 6 percent. Let's go to the polls and stop the tax repression of the state that exists in order to provide privileges for the eligible," the strong and clear message against Croatia's extortionate VAT reads.

The owner of this particular Croatian hospitality facility explained to precisely what prompted him to make such an interesting move to encourage citizens to go to the polls.

"It was simply because many people weren't aware of the facts at all. If there is the VAT level I mentioned exists in countries which rely on tourism and have a few hundred million inhabitants, how are we any different, and yet we're promoting ourselves as a tourist country? There were many people in the hospitality sector who worked while the VAT on catering services was 13 percent and also when they raised it to 25 percent, and then many put their stores up for sale because their businesses sadly became unprofitable. The government only went out to meet the hotel lobby and the restaurants managed to receive a reduction down to 13 percent VAT on food services,'' said Miro Juraj, the owner of the Mosquito bar in Kostrena.

He points out that this is his way of encouraging people to go to the polls because elections, he says, are the only place where some things can be made to change.

"Everyone who complains that coffee is too expensive for them, should know that every third employee is a state employee, that's how much money is given to the state," concluded Juraj.

For more on Croatian hospitality facilities, follow our lifestyle page.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Croatian Economy: Would HDZ Prefer Elections to Take Place Tomorrow?

As Novac/Frenki Lausic writes on the 27th of April, 2020, for HDZ, when it comes to the Croatian economy, the state budget and other standards that regard citizens, it would be best to hold parliamentary elections now.

With each new passing day and month, even if we go with the baseline scenario, where the recovery of the Croatian economy would begin to be felt in the second part of the year, and the coronavirus pandemic would be kept under control, economic disadvantages on all levels would be visible.

The business results of Croatian companies will be much worse, the state budget deficit and public debt will grow radically, and the wallets of most citizens will grow even more empty. Last year, the Republic of Croatia achieved a budget surplus of 0.4 percent, and Zdravko Maric, the finance minister, said in preliminary estimates that the borrowing of a massive 45 billion kuna would be needed in the first three months of the coronavirus crisis in order to cover current expenditures of the enfeebled Croatian state budget.

Executives from the Croatian National Bank (HNB/CNB) said that each month with the epidemiological measures we've had so far in place, brings about a three percent drop for the Croatian economy. The current uncertainty is so high that the risks are largely unaccountable. In such a situation, pragmatism also requires HDZ to reduce this uncertainty to an absolute minimum, which can now, at least as far as HDZ as a party is concerned, can only be achieved through rapid elections. The July elections, if the party wins, gives HDZ the opportunity to make cuts on the expenditure side of the state budget with the power of a new electoral victory, and with generally less resistance.

Furthermore, such a strategy also enables the party not to make any painful decisions before July rolls around, especially those concerning the salaries of employees in the state and public sectors. If we remain with ''only'' a 45 billion kuna hole blown in the budget for the first three months of the coronavirus crisis, we should know that this represents 31 percent of the state budget and 11.2 percent of Croatia's GDP, if we calculate the GDP compared to the 2019 result, when amounted to 400 billion kuna.

However, if we know that with the baseline scenario, real GDP will drop, according to various calculations, by between seven and ten percent, then the deficit ratio in GDP in 2020 will be higher than 11.2 percent. This would also mean that public debt would reach close to 84 percent of GDP, the last time that was the case was back in 2015. In a less optimistic scenario, Croatia's GDP decline would be greater than ten percent and would go towards fifteen percent (and more) than that. The budget deficit would go up to 60 billion kuna and public debt would soar above 90 percent of GDP. In just one year. It goes without saying that this would be devastating beyond words for the Croatian economy.

A quick look at the numbers: 

A 45 billion kuna deficit in the state budget in the first three months of the coronavirus crisis.

84 percent of GDP could account for public debt in 2020 (up from 73 percent of GDP in 2019) even with a baseline (optimistic) scenario.

31 percent of the central government's budget amounts to 45 billion kuna

11.2 percent of GDP (from 2019) amounts to 45 billion kuna.

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Friday, 31 July 2015

Parliamentary Elections Possible on November 22

A general election in Croatia on November 22?