Monday, 14 March 2022

PM: I Spoke with Banožić and Hranj About Strengthening Capabilities of Armed Forces

14 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Monday said on Twitter that he had spoken with Defence Minister Mario Banožić and the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Admiral Robert Hranj, about investments in strengthening the capabilities of the Armed Forces.

Shortly before that, he said that a meeting had been held with members of the government and relevant institutions about the facts established so far about the crash of the military aerial vehicle in Zagreb.

The competent bodies are conducting an investigation that will shed light on all circumstances. We are intensively communicating with NATO allies, PM Plenković said in the tweet.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Dubai Business Forum Attended by Around 100 Companies from Croatia, UAE

7 March 2022 - The Dubai-Croatian Business Forum, held as part of Croatia Day at Dubai Expo 2020 on Sunday, brought together around 100 companies from Croatia and the United Arab Emirates, with energy, industry and construction companies, as well as IT and food companies being dominant in the Croatian delegation.

The forum was organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with HGK president Luka Burilović noting that "adaptability and resourcefulness are critical to the survival of business, notably in the current circumstances."

The Croatian business delegation included representatives of Končar and Rimac Automobili, the IT companies Geld Data and Poslovna Inteligencija, as well as the Podravka and Paška Sirana food companies.

Trade between Croatia and the UAE has been growing in the past few years. In 2020 and 2019 Croatia's exports to that country totalled US$ 70 million, and the trend continued in 2021 as well, with trade amounting to $63 million in the first eleven months of that year.

In previous years exports totalled half the amount of exports in the recent years, around $30 million.

Croatia mostly exports electrical transformers to the UAE, and they account for 40% of all exports to that country.

Burilović said that one of the current challenges, requiring adaptability and resourcefulness, was business sustainability.

"The most important thing that we have to change in that regard is the perception and vision of the future because only those companies that prepare on time and adapt to the challenges of the green transition will be competitive," he said.

The Croatian business delegation also included businesses offering products in the area of sustainable development and renewables, with the HGK noting that Dubai Chamber vice-president Faisal Belhoul confirmed openness to cooperation and support in the UAE market.

The forum was also attended by Croatian PM Andrej Plenković, who said the event provided a unique opportunity for intercultural and business cooperation.

"Many Croatian companies contribute to and promote our cooperation, including Infobip, Podravka, Končar, Đuro Đaković, HS Produkt and others," he said as carried by the HGK.

Dubai Expo 2020 is taking place from October 2021 to the end of March 2022. It has brought together states, multilateral organisations, companies and educational institutions, with 192 countries presenting their products. An estimated 25 million visitors are expected to attend, of whom 70% are international guests and 30% local.

Originally scheduled for 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, Dubai Expo 2020 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite being postponed, organisers kept the name Expo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes.

The theme of the event is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future", with three subthemes: opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

The World Expo event is marking its 170th anniversary.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Majority of Citizens Have to Buy New Appliance as Repair Not Worth It

ZAGREB, 31 January 2022 - The majority of citizens are compelled to buy a new electric appliance because the cost of the repair is not worth it, according to the latest results of a survey commissioned by MEP Biljana Borzan's (S&D/SDP) office, which she presented in Europe House in Zagreb on Monday.

The majority of citizens, or 81%, bought new appliances because repairs were not worth it, 72.9% opted to buy a new appliance because it was not possible to repair the old one and 43.4% did so because repairs were not available, according to the survey conducted in November 2021 by the Hendal agency on a sample of 800 respondents.

"I consider this to be truly sad because, on the one hand, we want to protect consumers so they do not have to spend money on new appliances, and naturally considering the fact that the European Union is exceptionally green orientated, which is an absolute priority in all our laws," said Borzan, who is a member of the European Parliament's  Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

When buying new appliances, consumers look at the price first (90.6%), then at the expected lifespan (89.6%), guarantee duration (82.8%), availability of servicing and spare parts (80.3%), and lastly care for the environment (56%).

Citizens trust institutions the least

"When adopting laws we endeavour to build in this green, ecological part and take the environmental impact and future of the planet into consideration," she added.

"As many as 94% of citizens think that appliances should last longer, and the life span and the availability of repairs are the most important aspects to them when they are buying a new product," she said and explained that a new resolution calls for the introduction of a new feature, repairability. She said that each appliance should bear an indication of the life span of the appliance and the availability of spare parts and servicing, adding that 78% of citizens expect this, said Borzan.

When it comes to complaints, citizens have the most faith in consumer protection associations, followed by traders and manufacturers, while they have the least faith in state institutions, which only 18.4% of citizens trust.

Resolution on the right to repairs in March

Borzan believes that the resolution will be put to the vote in March, after which she expects a prompt response from the European Commission so that work on preparing the law can begin in the spring.

Borzan added that Croatia was near the bottom of the EU ranking as far as consumer protection is concerned.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Vučković Presents New Contracts in Sisak Under Rural Development Programme

ZAGREB, 31 January 2022 - Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković presented farmers in Sisak-Moslavina County on Monday with four new contracts for aid from the Rural Development Programme for local projects.

Vučković said that projects worth HRK 1.18 billion had been agreed so far for this county and that most of this amount had been paid out. She said that this had helped farmers maintain and develop their production during the times of the coronavirus pandemic and earthquakes.

An additional HRK 1.2 billion in aid has been paid out from other programmes since 2014, which makes it a total of HRK 2.4 billion, the minister stressed.

Vučković said that new measures for Sisak-Moslavina County were also in the pipeline, including a further HRK6.5 million "to encourage new demographic trends", and additional aid to help farmers cope with increased costs due to the rise in energy and mineral fertilizer prices.

Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivan Celjak said he was confident the ministry would continue to be a partner to the farmers in repairing the earthquake damage, increasing production and marketing their products.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Croatia Reports 6,220 New Coronavirus Cases, 46 Deaths

ZAGREB, 30 Jan 2022 - In the past 24 hours, 6,220 new coronavirus infections were detected out of 13,062 PCR tests, while 46 related deaths have been confirmed in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Sunday.

There are 2,008 hospitalized patients, including 185 on ventilators, while 38,731 persons are self-isolating.

To date, 56.53% of the population has been vaccinated. This includes 67.72% of all adults, of which 64.82% are fully vaccinated.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn't English.

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

30 Years of International Recognition: A Look at Croatia's European Integration

January 26, 2022 - On January 15, Croatia celebrated 30-years of international recognition, marking yet another milestone for a country that has undergone drastic reform in only three short decades. To fully appreciate the significance of this anniversary, one must first understand where Croatia was and how it achieved its current standing as one of Europe’s safest nations. A look at Croatia's European integration. 

A Bit of Background

Before we can discuss recent events in Croatian economic and foreign policy, we should look back a little further. Prior to succession from communist Yugoslavia, Croatia existed in many forms over the last several centuries. Lying at the crossroads of central Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Balkans, Croatia has a history that is as long and rich as its coastline. While it is difficult to pinpoint an exact date for the origins of Croatian nationhood, the elevation of the Dutchy of Croatia to kingdom status in 925 is a sufficient starting point. The Kingdom of Croatia maintained its independence until 1102 when it entered a personal union with Hungary, marking the beginning of over 800 years of foreign rule. 

The subsequent eight centuries were turbulent, to say the least. Large portions of Croat inhabited territory changed hands as regional powers like the Ottoman and Venetian empires vied for dominance in southeastern Europe. This situation persisted until between the late 18th and mid 19th centuries with the fall of Venice and the subsequent establishment of the Austro-Hungarian compromise in 1867. Following the dissolution of Austria-Hungary post-WWI, Croatia was incorporated into the short-lived Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After a brief stint as a Nazi puppet state during WWII, Croatia was reincorporated into the land of the south Slavs, giving birth to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a communist dictatorship that lasted for almost five decades. Independence was finally won after the Croatian War of Independence which ensued from 1991 to 1995. 

Recovery and Leading Up to EU Membership

Coming out of a brutal conflict, the impacts of war can still be felt today. Croatia had won its independence but at a significant cost. Thousands of lives were lost, and thousands more were displaced. In the years immediately following, a period of reconstruction began as damaged cities were rebuilt the state reconsolidated the institutions that had been damaged or destroyed during the war. Going into the 21st century, Croatia entered a period of shaky but upgraded stability and modest economic growth. Ties with the European Union improved and an application for membership was lodged in 2003. 

The road to EU accession was long and at times tedious. The Union required Croatia to agree to judicial reforms as well as cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. These issues became somewhat contentious at the time, delaying the opening of accession talks. Fortunately, they were resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, allowing negotiations to begin in 2005, hailing the beginning of Croatia’s European future. The next eight years were spent opening and closing the 35 chapters of the accession acquis. There was a brief ten-month delay due to the Piran Bay border dispute with Slovenia. But the restraints were eventually lifted, paving the road for Croatia’s EU membership in 2013.

European Integration: Croatia Today

Since 2013, Croatia has worked consistently to implement reforms that have firmly established it as a bona fide EU member. The right to freedom of movement probably represents the most significant change to the average Croatian’s life. EU states have the right to impose restrictions on new members. So, European labour market access has been one of the more obvious signs of progress within the union. Additionally, Switzerland granted Croatians equal residency and labour privileges, putting Croatia on par with other EU citizens in all associated countries. 

Furthermore, Croatia has made huge advances towards Schengen and Eurozone membership. In December of last year, prime minister Plenković announced that he expects final decisions on both application procedures in 2022. These treaties represent progress not only to Croatia but to the EU as a whole, providing fresh advances to a stagnating Europe.  

As Croatia moves further along the road of development, the small country will continue to face challenges. Only in the last few years, Croatia has had to manage rapid population decline, a migrant crisis, unusually frequent natural disasters, and a global pandemic. These stressors represent just a few examples of the trials that will test Croatian resilience in the years to come. 

But for now, Croatia should be proud of its achievements. Croatia has carved a crescent-shaped niche for itself on the world stage, going from a vague war-torn corner of southeastern Europe into a country renowned for its natural beauty, sports icons, and rich history. Croatia serves as an example for other western Balkan nations, showing that despite a complicated history, a bright future remains possible. So, wherever you may be reading this, as you contemplate Croatia’s 30-year anniversary, be considerate of the past, mindful of the future, and appreciative of the present. 

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

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Hidden Village of Progress: Ivankovo - Great Example of Slavonia Full of Life

January 25, 2022 - There are many obstacles the Slavonia region faced in the last two decades, but one of the most prominent ones is the emigration of young people who do not see a future for them here. However, one particular village in the eastern interfluve of the Drava and Sava rivers in Vukovar-Srijem County stood out from the rest. Meet Ivankovo.

Ivankovo is located in Vukovar-Srijem County, west of the historical city of Vinkovci, along a busy road that has passed through that area since prehistoric times. The design reminds of a typical traditional Slavonian village; the houses are located on long narrow plots, built on a regulation line, and the background is used for agricultural purposes. In addition, there are villages Prkovci and Retkovci, which are also part of the Ivankovo Municipality. Furthermore, its geographical and traffic location connects cities like Đakovo, Osijek, Vinkovci, Vukovar. Also, the motorway A3 Bregana - Lipovac, industrial track, airport Klisa, the port of Vukovar, and neighbouring municipalities Vođinci, Stari Mikanovci, Andrijaševci, Cerna, and Jarmina. Historically, the municipality of Ivankovo was always highly populated (unusual for villages in Eastern Croatia) with, according to the 2011 census, 6,194 residents in Ivankovo, 1,263 residents in village Retkovci and 549 residents in Prkovci. However, the 2021 census showed that the emigration of people, especially young people, did not bypass Ivankovo. Only Vukovar-Srijem County has 19 percent fewer people than ten years prior, with just Ivankovo losing 1,091 residents. These devastating numbers only show how much this part of the country suffered since the Homeland War, and the possible potential Eastern Croatia can offer was neglected for decades. Recently, however, things started to change.

Croatia joined the European Union on the 1st of July 2013 and opened its borders to new opportunities, which was partly a curse if we consider the emigration, but Euro funds all of a sudden became available and small communities and districts like Ivankovo saw the opportunity to use its resources to develop their infrastructure. After the change of the government in 2017, hard work needed to begin. One of the first obstacles elected officials had to face were decrepit institution buildings (school, kindergarten, fire station), sacral objects, financial transactions pointlessly directed at projects that did not make any sense, engaging locals in public events, and keeping young residents and their potential families in the district of Ivankovo. This was only a drop in the ocean, but with the available European funds and fixes in municipalities' budgets, projects of developing neglected villages finally started.

Ivankovo.info_-_Ivankovo_iz_zraka_oranice.jpg

foto: Facebook/Ivankovo.info

The first big project happened at the Industrial Zone Ivankovo, which was, after many years, finally put into function and allowed local entrepreneurs to invest and develop their own establishments. This encouraged employment, of which 70 percent needed to be from the Municipality of Ivankovo. 

Local utilities also needed a massive upgrade, so a communal society was formed and today employs 26 people from the Municipality, who take care of the village’s environment every day.  Public spaces like children’s playgrounds, parks, and other areas were built and renovated. Furthermore, part of the Revitalization plan included planting 300 trees across the Municipality. The roads have been renovated, built where needed, and the sewer system finally connected with households across the villages of Ivankovo, Prkovci, and Retkovci. Waste management is still a huge problem across Croatia but the local government of Ivankovo, with the help of EU funds, enabled the construction of a recycling yard which highlights the need for sorting and recycling the waste.   gospodarska_zona.jpg

Industrial Zone Ivankovo, foto: Facebook/Marko Miličević - načelnik Općine Ivankovo

Social incentives: co-financing the purchase of houses for young families, infant benefits, free preschool educations, new kindergarten buildings, free student transportation, student scholarships, and other perks of the demographic policy all came into fruition since 2017, and it helped residents of Ivankovo immensely.  

dječji_vrtić_Ivankovo.jpg

Newly Built Kindergarten Ivankovo, foto: Facebook/Dječji vrtić IvankovoStara_općina.jpg

Renovated old government building, foto: Facebook/Marko Miličević - načelnik Općine Ivankovo

This is only a drop in the ocean that shows if people put in a little effort and genuinely care about the development of the community in which they reside, Slavonia can truly be better. When asked about these achievements and progress the Municipality went through the last few years, Mayor Marko Miličević says that “this is only the beginning. It was hard, we had to fix a lot of issues that were rooted here for years, but with the help of my colleagues and finding resources to finance our goals of development of this region, we started something that we can only continue to build on.”

He continues: “The most important part was listening to people, getting to know them again and recognizing their needs because before they weren’t being listened to.”

Plans seem ambitious as well: “This Municipality has so much potential and highly educated people, with more than 100 faculty students every year who are studying economics, IT, electrical engineering and computing, food technology, medicine, etc., which are all the fields that are the future of this country.” he says.

Furthermore: “We have numerous development projects in works that we want to be finished in the next few years: further development of Entrepreneurial Zone Ivankovo, a tourist, sports and recreation center, a retirement home, catering and tourist zone, etc.

Mayor Miličević ends on a hopeful note: “We have achieved the future of development in the Municipality of Ivankovo, and we plan to continue it.”
Advent_u_Ivankovu.jpg

 Winter Joys During Christmas Holidays, foto: Facebook/Marko Miličević - načelnik Općine Ivankovo

Sports recreation, social events, concerts, the inclusion of young people in said events, and more only shows that the district of Ivankovo finally livened up and restored a little bit of life that resided here 30 - 40 years ago. Multiple “parasites” wormed themselves in the core of Slavonia and slowly but surely exhausted the region to the limit. People settled for what was enough for them, for what was given to them, and some of them left because they couldn’t see their future here. Generations of high schoolers heard every day that there isn’t a place for them here in Slavonia, that there are many people like them who never found themselves here and had to leave because of it, and that they need to leave as well. 

The hope for Slavonians has been stepped on for years, but the current changes slowly every day. Osijek started it, Vukovar and Vinkovci are following it. Still, a village like Ivankovo can only be an example of how much power its residents have and use their potential to make, how one former foreign politician said, Slavonia great again.

For more, check out our dedicatedlifestyle section.

Monday, 24 January 2022

President Talks with Croatian Earthquake Engineering Centre Representatives

ZAGREB, 24 Jan 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Monday received representatives of the Croatian Earthquake Engineering Centre (HCPI) for talks on the state of buildings damaged in the 2020 earthquakes in Zagreb and the Banovina region.

HCPI was established last October and has become one of the fundamental operative forces within the Civil Protection Directorate, the president's office said in a press release.

HCPI representatives told the president their engagement is envisaged after major natural disasters when a larger number of structures is damaged and rapid response is required from engineers to professionally inspect the structures and provide a rapid evaluation of their usability.

They also talked about the state of buildings and houses damaged in the 2020 earthquakes as well as the importance of quality post-earthquake construction and reconstruction.

After the March 2020 quake in Zagreb, Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering professor and HCPI coordinator Josip Atalić brought together structural engineers who visited the damaged buildings and houses, did quick checks and issued stickers denoting their usability.

HCPI engineers inspected 25,580 buildings in the Zagreb area at that time, and another 813 buildings since.

HCPI representatives said they self-organised after the Zagreb earthquake and visited the area because there was no earthquake plan. They did the same after the earthquake in December 2020 in Sisak-Moslavina County, with 1,700 engineers volunteering in the inspections.

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Msgr. Roko Glasnović Ordained New Dubrovnik Bishop

ZAGREB, 22 Jan 2022 - Msgr. Roko Glasnović was ordained the new Bishop of the Dubrovnik Diocese on Saturday.

Glasnović was born on 2 July 1978 in Šibenik to father Nikola and mother Marija née Palić. He attended a theological seminary and studied theology in Split from 1999 to 2005. He was ordained a priest in 2005 in Šibenik.

He has performed numerous pastoral duties at the Šibenik Diocese.

 

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Croatia Shopping Malls Against Covid Confirmation

July 4th, 2021 - Croatia shopping malls against digital covid vaccination card and negative test.

Marko Župa, communications manager of the Westgate Shopping City shopping center, told RTL television that the directive according to which it will be possible to enter shopping malls only with a digital covid certificate and a negative covid test is completely illegal.

"Three years ago, the GDPR came into force, it is a European directive, which, for example, in this particular case prevents us from asking our visitors, our employees, employees of our stores their health status. So in this legal part, this completely fails," said Župa.

"As for the techniques themselves, when this legal part would be resolved, and it is not so easy, we should, for example, employ 22 full-time people in our shopping center to scan certificates throughout the day. The first question is who will pay these people themselves because it is a certain amount of at least 120 thousand kuna per month," added the communications manager of Westgate Shopping City.

Župa said that the second question was who should pay for the tests and added that Croatian society would be divided into vaccinated and unvaccinated.

"Those who are not vaccinated will then live in some separate blocks, use shops where there will be only unvaccinated people, and so on," said Župa for RTL television.

The Croatian Institute of Public Health has confirmed that this measure is being considered for shopping centers and other facilities. It remains unknown, however, who should cover the cost.

"I first ask the question of the morality of such a decision in general. Secondly, I ask about the normality of such a decision because, in my opinion, it is completely insane. So it happens that we want to segregate society into vaccinated people and those who are not vaccinated. And again, as with so many other topics, we return to shopping malls. Well, here is an open question, will we look at who is vaccinated and who is not vaccinated at the entrance to the church or some third facilities, sports facilities?" said Župa.

He added that Westgate has fantastic communication with the National Civil Protection Headquarters, but they found out about this idea from the media.

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

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

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