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.

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Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Croatia's First Enogastronomy Study Programme: Students to Learn About Pairing Indigenous Wine and Food

May 25, 2021 - As reported by Večernji list, the Polytechnic of Požega will from the next academic year offer Croatia's first enogastronomy study programme.

The first study programme in the field of biotechnical sciences is focused on the quality and health of food and beverages, primarily in the hospitality and tourism sector.

At the Polytechnic, they point out that the current development of gastronomy in Croatia must not be left to chance and that the need for the education of experts in this area is becoming increasingly important.

There are now three national gastronomy study programmes in Croatia, but this is the only study programme of enogastronomy, which means that the science and study of wine will play a significant role. But, the key difference is that this is the only STEM study programme of its kind.

"Unlike the other two study programmes, which are predominantly economic and in which marketing and communication dominate, 70 percent of our courses revolve around cooking and only 30 percent are marketing and management," explains doc.dr.sc. Berislav Andrlić, Vice Dean for Development of the Polytechnic.

Although the enrollment quota in the first year has been reduced to 30 full-time students who will study at the expense of the Ministry of Science and Education in Požega, due to the specifics of the study, students from all potential tourist areas of Croatia are expected. A smaller number of students is fitting because cooking involves professional practice with a chef, for which work in small groups is ideal, but the program content includes a number of courses related to indigenous dishes from all parts of Croatia, from Dalmatia and Istria to Slavonia.

"We believe that such a study in Požega is needed for two reasons. The first is the resources we have in the environment, and the second is the needs of the labor market. We have conducted a survey among businessmen, hotels owners, restaurants, and family farms on the Adriatic and on the continent, and more than 70 percent said that they needed such food and beverage managers, restaurant and hotel managers, i.e. people who will know how to create menus and do guest management, and at the same time know how to produce food. So, it offers a combination of both occupations, both sales, and food production, which is not the case with other programmes that are mostly based only on sales," Andrlić points out.

Upon completion of this programme, students will acquire a Bachelor's in engineer food technology, majoring in enogastronomy, which is an innovation compared to other similar faculties where they were bachelors of economics. Potential employers will be all economic entities that are primarily engaged in tourism, i.e. food production on the one hand and tourist catering on the other. With students who complete the study of enogastronomy in Požega, they will get both of these functions in one person.

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

Friday, 21 May 2021

Remains of Five Victims Who Went Missing in War Identified in Osijek

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - Five people, whose remains were unearthed in Croatia's Danube region after they had gone missing in the 1991-1995 Homeland War, were identified in an Osijek hospital's forensic department on Friday.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, accompanied by War Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved, attended the final identification and after that he told the press the government was committed to shedding light on the fate of all the war victims.

Plenković said that the issue of missing victims was raised on every occasion and at every formal and informal meeting with Serbia's representatives.

Minister Medved said that Serbia still made no contribution to efforts to find the victims who went missing in the war.

After today' identification, the number on the list of missing people has fallen to 1,864. Of them, 401 are presumed to be dead and the fate of the remaining 1,463 victims is still unknown.

For more news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 21 May 2021

Goran Vrabec Best Young Farmer in Croatia

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - Goran Vrabec has been named Croatia's best young farmer in 2021, a farmer who owns a family farm in the northwestern region of Zagorje growing chili peppers, and he was presented with the prize by Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Friday.

Vrabec was chosen from among 21 finalists and along with the first prize, he also won a reward of HRK 25,000, donated by Zagrebačka Banka.

Brankica Borović, whose family-run farm business produces natural, dermatologically tested cosmetics based on immortelle and almond oil, won second prize and HRK 15,000, while wine maker Ivan Gerštajmer Zelember won third prize and HRK 10,000.

The competition for the best Croatian young farmer was organised by Croatian member of the European Parliament Sunčana Glavak, the Agriculture Ministry and the Jutarnji List daily.

The finalists will travel to Brussels for a ceremony at which the best EU farmer will be awarded.

Zagrebačka Banka has secured financial education for the young farmers and will assist them in filling out forms for EU funds, while the Konzum retail chain, which is a sponsor of the competition, will sell their products.

Glavak said that the record high number of applicants showed that young people were very interested in staying in Croatia and its rural areas.

She said that it was encouraging that Croatia would have a record-funds amount of funds from the EU at its disposal, which it will be able to use to improve farm production.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that Croatia was slightly above the EU average in terms of the number of young farmers, who number 23,228, which is 13.6% of the total number of farmers.

"That is not enough, but the trend is positive and has been rising and we want the share of young farmers to reach 20% with the share of farmers aged above 55 simultaneously going down," she said.

The minister said she was glad that young farmers were increasingly using measures from the Rural Development Programme because it brought structural transformation to rural areas. She noted that agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture could be the real engines of development of Croatia's economy.

Parliament Speaker Jandroković said that he was glad Croatia was above the EU average in terms of the number of young farmers and that he saw hope for development of villages and rural areas in that.

Ample EU funding has evidently helped young people recognise opportunities and realise that country life is often better than life in a city, and that it is possible to make a living from farming, he said.

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

Friday, 21 May 2021

Next Week, Croatia Will Consider Possible Relaxation of COVID Rules as of 1 June

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - The head of the Croatian COVID-19 crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović, said on Friday that the authorities would next week start considering possible relaxation of anti-epidemic rules as of 1 June.

The current rules are in force until 31 May and we will see which course to take considering the relaxation, the minister said.

Božinović added that Croatia wanted the application of the EU Digital COVID certificate to start as soon as possible.

Being a tourist destination, Croatia would like to see the implementation of the COVID travel pass as soon as possible.

Apart from serving as a travel pass, the digital COVID certificate can be used for some other purposes, and this depends on decisions to be made by individual member-states, Božinović said.

He went on to say that the technological system was equal at the EU level, and it would be known who was authorised to develop the QR codes for certificates, he explained.

During a news conference in Zagreb today, the head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) Krunoslav Capak, informed that all the participants in two pilot projects -- a business lunch and a wedding party  -- tested negative to coronavirus seven days after the participation in those events.

Overall in Croatia, the number of new positive cases fell by 38% over the week, he added.

Croatia's current incidence rate  per 100, 000 inhabitants is 262.5.

As for the vaccination of foreigners, Capak said that Croatia enabled foreign citizens to get vaccinated.

For instance we have vaccinated 500 diplomats and their families' members, they have no Croatian documents, and information about their inoculation has been entered into the relevant data base, Capak said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers up and down the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Local Elections Main Topic in Croatian Parliament

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - Sunday's local elections were the main topic of speeches in the Croatian parliament on Wednesday morning.

Dalija Orešković, speaking on behalf of the Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS) and Centre group, said that the results of the vote showed that citizens were becoming aware that government could be changed. She urged the opposition in parliament to begin dialogue on the reform of the electoral legislation and administrative structure of Croatia.

"We have three years ahead of us to reform electoral legislation and electoral units to make them constitutional and fair, to ensure that each vote counts equally, and to reduce the number of counties, towns and municipalities," Orešković said.

She congratulated "all new progressive forces that made it into the second round of elections, thus threatening the survival of the petrified and corrupt structures of the existing government."

Andreja Marić of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) warned of double standards used by the national coronavirus response team, which allowed the opening of the borders on election day despite the epidemiological criteria in place.

"What kind of message does that send to the public? How can we expect people to comply with the measures if such decisions that mock us all are made?" Marić asked.

She recalled that medical professionals had warned that they expected a rise in the number of new infections in the next three weeks as a result of this decision. "The ruling parties heed only messages that suit them politically," Marić said.

Silvano Hrelja of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) and Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU) group drew attention to the low turnout. "Those most dissatisfied again stayed at home," he said.

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

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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Financial Stability Council Meets to Discuss Risks to Stability of Financial System

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - Timely and full reporting on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on business operations and the materialisation of credit risk in financial institutions is important as some sectors of the Croatian economy are still strongly affected by physical distancing measures, the Financial Stability Council said.

The Financial Stability Council is an inter-institutional body that designs Croatia's macroprudential policy. It consists of representatives of the Croatian National Bank (HNB), the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA), the Ministry of Finance and the State Agency for Deposit Insurance (DAB).

The Council met on Tuesday under the chairmanship of HNB Governor Boris Vujčić to discuss main risks to the stability of the financial system. The meeting also involved Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, HANFA Board President Ante Žigman and DAB Director Marija Hrebac.

Despite the accelerated recovery of economic activity from the consequences of the pandemic, in the circumstances of continued uncertainty regarding a return to usual social contacts and business, the financial system's exposure to systemic risks remains elevated, the Council said in a statement, citing high public debt, the financial sector's exposure to the government, a possible rise in the number of insolvent companies and fast growing housing prices as main risks.

It noted that housing prices had risen by 7.7% in 2020 year on year and surpassed their level in the period preceding the global financial crisis, adding that housing loans were picking up.

Given that some sectors of the economy are still strongly affected by physical distancing measures, the Council said that a premature cancellation of aid could put healthy businesses at risk and increase the credit risk, while extended maintenance of support could keep companies with unsustainable business models on the market and zombify the corporate sector, which would have adverse implications for growth and financial stability, the statement warned.

The Council said the banking sector was highly capitalised and liquid. The volume of loans covered by the loan repayment moratorium continued to fall after peaking in September 2020 and at the end of March 2021 it covered 8.6% of corporate and household loans. The loans covered by the moratorium were mostly aimed at hotels and restaurants.

The Council said that the recovery of the financial markets, which began at the end of last year, had continued in the first half of this year and that nearly all sectors supervised by HANFA were seeing growth.

The positive mood has also affected the financial services sector, whose assets at the end of March 2021 were 3.5% higher than at the end of 2020, accounting for 32.15% of the total assets of the financial system in Croatia, or 61.7% of the nominal GDP, the statement said.

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Monday, 3 May 2021

Japanese Nipro Acquires Croatian Glass Pharmaceutical Packaging Producer

May 3, 2021 - The Japanese company called Nipro PharmaPackaging International NV has taken over the Croatian glass pharmaceutical packaging producer "Piramida". 

That regional private equity fund, which has completed the sale of its 100 percent ownership stake in Piramida to Nipro PharmaPackaging International NV, a subsidiary of Nipro Corporation which has its headquarters in Japan, says in a press release that after it had acquired Piramida, it had "invested in the acquisition of 8 new production lines, the modernization of facilities and the development of the vials business. "

"Under Blue Sea Capital’s ownership, Piramida has increased the number of employees by 35% and doubled production capacities, as well as revenues. Moreover, the company is now ranked in the top five largest glass ampoule manufacturers for the pharmaceutical industry in the European market," says Piramida's former owner.

One of the world’s leading producers of medical equipment and pharmaceutical packaging, headquartered in Japan, has recognized the Croatian company's outstanding results. Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Nipro Corporation generates more than USD 4 billion in annual revenues, employs over 33,000 people, and serves the Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, and Pharma Packaging Industries.

Its new owner "Nipro PharmaPackaging" is specialized in developing and manufacturing advanced pharma packaging products and complete packaging solutions for early development drugs or the enhancement of packaging solutions for existing drugs.

Kresimir Sečak, CEO of Piramida, was quoted as saying that "together with Blue Sea Capital we managed to spur strong growth in Piramida and transform it into one of the most attractive Croatian SMEs that exports 97% of its production to a blue-chip customer portfolio. The management team is looking forward to working with Nipro to advance further Piramida’s position on the European and global markets."

To read more about news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 3 May 2021

Croatia Tourist Figures for April and Labour Day Better Than in 2020

May 3, 2021 -  During the Labour Day weekend, there were 41,400 tourists in Croatia, who generated 157,000 bed nights, which is 277% more bed nights than in the same period last year, and the number of bed nights for all of April was 116% higher year on year. 

The 41,400 tourists in Croatia over the Labour Day weekend increased as much as 2,000% compared with the same period in 2020 when the country was in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there were hardly any tourists at all.

This year's numbers give "some hope and optimism and indicate further positive trends," the HTZ said.

There were 239,000 tourists in Croatia in April, which is 2,356 more than in April 2020, while the number of bed nights increased by 116% to 846,000.

In the first four months of the year, 592,000 tourists were registered in Croatia, and about 2 million bed nights, which is about 90% of last year's results or a contraction of 10%. The HTZ noted that in the first two months and a half of 2020, there weren't travel restrictions in the world but that they were imposed afterward.

Brnjac: Croatia prepared for more tourists

Commenting on the results, Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac said, according to a press release issued by her ministry, that Croatia recorded a successful four months despite the pandemic.

"Croatia is recognized as a responsible and safe tourism destination, which is confirmation of all the efforts we are investing in creating optimal preconditions for tourists and citizens," said Brnjac.

Great interest has been expressed by guests from Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovenia, she said, adding that "this positive trend will continue with a favorable epidemiological situation."

Data from eVisitor and eCrew (nautical tourism) indicate that foreign tourists were predominant during the Labour Day weekend, accounting for 23,000 of 41,400 tourists and 157,000 bed nights generated during that weekend, 112,000 were by foreign tourists.

The majority of bed nights were generated by domestic tourists, followed by Slovenia, Poland, and Germany.

Most bed nights were recorded in Istria, Kvarner, Split-Dalmatia County, and Zadar County, with Rovinj, Zagreb, Poreč, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Mali Lošinj, and Split as the most popular destinations in terms of bed nights.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Saturday, 24 April 2021

President: Croatia Flag Removal From Ambassadorial Residence Could Not Happen in Zagreb

April 24, 2021 - Commenting on an incident in Belgrade where the Croatian flag was removed from the residence of the Croatian ambassador, President Zoran Milanović said on Friday that such a thing, Croatia flag removal, could not happen in Zagreb.

"I thought an ambassador's residence was a protected building, and this is the case in Croatia. So I think that it (what happened in Belgrade) could not happen here. Croatia's law enforcement authorities would prevent it," Milanović said in response to questions from the press after he attended a special session of the town council in Križevci on the occasion of the town's day.

Croatian Ambassador Hido Biščević said on Thursday it was no accident that the Croatian flag was taken down from his residence in the Serbian capital city and that the incident reflected "part of the atmosphere" in Serbia's society, which he said continued to feed on hate speech.

Milanović said that Biščević was an experienced diplomat and "I hope that he knows what he is doing."

The president went on to say that Croatia and Serbia have several outstanding issues, and Croatia is generally ready to shelve all of them except the issue of people who went missing in the 1991-1995 war.

Milanović also accused Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his cabinet of a stalemate in the process of the appointment of new Croatian ambassadors.

He said that it was Plenković who turned down the model of a 50/50 quota whereby half of the nominees for diplomatic missions are proposed by the head of state and a half by the government and added that such a model had been applied in the past during the presidential term of Stipe Mesić and the governments led by Ivo Sanader and Jadranka Kosor.

He complained about a lack of communication with the premier and added that this adversely affected the state affairs.

Milanović also criticized the government for disbursing extremely small outlays for the Croat ethnic minority in Serbia, which is why local Croats depend on Serbian President "Aleksandar Vučić and (Serbian) Radicals."

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

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