Friday, 23 November 2018

Istria: Employees in Buzet Town Institutions, Firefighters Consider Strike?

While the strike that took place owing to Uljanik's failings towards its employees might have taken up a large part of media coverage, strikes in other parts of the country are also occurring, or at the very least being considered by numerous dissatisfied members of staff. Namely, in a certain picturesque town in Istria, the decision to initiate a strike procedure has not been issued officially for now, but the consideration of such a move is continuing.

It's not new information to state that a great number of employees, particularly those working in various positions in public institutions and city administrations up and down the country find themselves increasingly dissatisfied with the way things are being done. Often with very little real room to maneuver, and with complaints usually going either unheard or simply being swept under the rug and brushed off, many find themselves with little choice other than to either go on strike, or at the very least to threaten it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of November, 2018, members of the Union of Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia, as well as other employees in institutions of which the founder is the Town of Buzet; includng the Grdelin kindergarten, the home for the elderly and the public firefighters unit, came to the decision to initiate a strike procedure. As previously stated, in Buzet's city administration itself, the decision to initiate a strike procedure has not officially been issued for the time being, but the consideration of such a move remains at the forefront of the minds of those involved, with the potential of a strike occurring as soon as next month.

''During the upcoming week, conciliation will be the most likely outcome, followed by a public protest to give warning that a strike might really occur in early December,'' stated the head of the trade union office, Darko Vidmar.

Make sure to follow our news page for more information from across the country.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Ivica Todorić's Lawyer Speaks Out: "He'll Decide What He Does Next"

Ivica Todorić's attorney, Jadranka Sloković, clarified a few things for N1 on the 21st of November, 2018, with regard to what can be expected next in Ivica Todorić's case, as well as on his planned political engagement, which he himself recently announced, much to the surprise of most.

Ivica Todorić is on parole, who can carry out precautionary measures?

"He'll carry them out himself, because he has to obey them - he has to be at his place of residence, in Zagreb.''

Todorić apparently has the right to free movement in Zagreb, but he mustn't leave the city without the explicit permission of the judge, and he's also had to hand over his passport.

''They will check all of that. He's too much of a well-known person to be able to just go anywhere," explained Sloković.

How is the investigation going, when can we expect the indictment?

"So far, between 60 and 70 witnesses have been questioned," stated the lawyer, which means that there are ''more witnesses than were initially scheduled for the investigation." Witness examination is, therefore, at an end. Problems could arise however, due to the situation being to do with a foreign company.

"We really think that this will be a problem, from knowledge of the language to knowledge of the regulations, which must be applied to certain situations,'' explained Sloković. She added that the result of the assessment is not expected to be arrived to particularly quickly, either.

"It's been announced, and a decision may have been reached now, to extend the investigation for another six months, which means that the investigation will last for at least eighteen months, after which a decision will be made as to whether an indictment will be filed or not, and the indictment may be brought by the prosecutor one month after the investigation has been completed, meaning that that period can be extended for another three months, so there's still a long way to go to the indictment.''

"As for the witnesses who've been questioned up to now - given the fact that this is a non-public investigation, I can't go into [can't discuss] the testimonies, but our stance is that the testimonies don't burden Ivica Todorić in any way whatsoever."

Was custody after extradition necessary, what do you have to say about the bail fee?

"Our position was that no detention was necessary and that everything could be solved with the precautionary measures that are applicable in this case, however, the court's view was that prison was needed, and that could be replaced by bail and precautionary measures. Essentially it was the same decision as that of the court in London,'' explained Sloković, adding that a lower bail amount and different precautionary measures were involved.

Ivica Todorić announced his political engagement, yet before him lies a lengthy court process?

"We still don't know in what way this process will be completed. No matter how optimistically it started, the question is what will be proven during the investigation - it's not certain that an indictment will be filed."

As for his announced political engagement, Sloković stated that such a move is entirely Todorić's decision.

"In one thing he's right - despite Agrokor's difficult destiny, he created respectable firms, there's no burned ground left behind him. He definitely has certain qualities and what he decides to do now is his choice," concluded Jadranka Sloković.

Keep up with all things related to Ivica Todorić here.


Click here for the original interview by N1 Hrvatska

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Ivica Todorić Leaves Jail: I'll Win Power and Lead Croatia in Right Way

Ivica Todorić paid his million euro sum and has now officially been released from Remetinec prison. How did he come upon such a large amount of cash, you ask? No idea, I respond. In the paradoxical land that is Croatia, everything is impossible and at the same time nothing is impossible, let's just say that.

Now he's free, at least for now, the former Agrokor boss has one or two new ambitions and obviously needs a new career path to venture down now that he's no longer at the seat of the country's largest privately owned company. What better path to take than the one he says ruined him and then conducted a witch hunt against him? Yes, politics.

Todorić's bail fee was set at 7.5 million kuna, and the catch was that it couldn't be paid in any other way except cold hard cash. His lawyers deemed this clause to be a tricky one to bypass, and Todorić's wish to be free seemed to have had cold water poured all over it, until yesterday when he managed to come up with a million euros in cash. You know, as you do.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of November, 2018, upon being asked just how he came upon a massive one million euros in cash, Ivica Todorić explained that a lot of people who contacted him themselves were ready and willing to help out with the bail fee. 

The first morning after leaving Remetinec prison, Ivica Todorić went to get his hair done. According to a report from 24sata, just as he did before leaving for London last year, Todorić went to one of the capital city's most well known hair salons, located on Bauer street (Ulica Antuna Bauera).

''I've come back with the ''old-new'' hairstyle. As far as bail is concerned, a lot of people helped me out, and they got in touch with me themselves. It's not fair for me to talk all about that now, everything will come to light. I'll win power and start turning Croatia in the right direction, I'm going to the elections,'' said Todorić for 24sata.

Keep up with Ivica Todorić's ever unusual antics by following our dedicated page. Keep up with the Croatian political scene by clicking here.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Ivica Todorić Pays Million Euro Bail, Soon to Leave Remetinec

Ivica Todorić has been spending time in Zagreb's Remetinec prison since his extradition from Britain to Croatia to face trial for his alleged crimes in Agrokor, his former company. The trial however, still appears to have no set date, at least not publicly.

Despite his year long attempts and final appeal while living in London to stop the British decision to extradite him having failed, he continued to fight for his right to freedom following his arrival in Croatia, with his lawyers questioning why he needs to be behind bars when he poses no threat of influence over any witnesses.

In response to this, the Croatian authorities have claimed that while that might be true, his flight risk is still very high, especially given his ''trip'' to London, which lasted an entire year, at a very crucial time. Todorić himself still claims this was a pure coincidence, that he had to be in London for business, and that he wasn't escaping anything.

Recently, his freedom had a price of 7.5 million kuna placed on it, and while the former Agrokor boss may indeed possess that in assets, the clause was that it had to be paid in cold hard cash, which looked like it was about to throw a wet blanket on the entire idea. Until today.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of November, 2018, Ivica Todorić's defense team sent their proposal to Zagreb County Court, and a confirmation of the payment having been paid is now being awaited, according to N1.

What this means is that Ivica Todorić has paid the one million euro bail fee, and Agrokor's former owner will likely soon be released from Remetinec. This information was confirmed to Telegram by a source close to the Todorić family.

Make sure to follow our news page and keep up with all things related to Ivica Todorić here.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Croatian Navy to Purchase Patrol Vessels, Rockets and Radars?

The Croatian military, in its various segments, has been making some rather large purchases of late, and it seems that there's no plan to stop at just aircraft as the Croatian Navy plans some major purchases.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of November, 2018, Croatian naval priorities have been quickly swung to the acquisition of new or modernised radar systems with support of unmanned systems (UAVs) and the desire for five to even ten patrol vessels.

For the period between 2024 to 2026, the procurement of an offshore patrol boat of a modular design has been planned, which would also boast a helicopter landing platform. This would enable the Croatian Navy (HRM) to step out into the Mediterranean as well, given the fact that such vessels can spend weeks, even months out of their home port, according to a report from Večernji list.

The Croatian Navy also intends to acquire a few (two to three) new or modernised ships for underwater surveillance (so-called mine-hunters), and the absolute priority is to procure a new anti-ship (missile) system, the planned successor to the current Swedish RBS-15, whose remaining rockets will be out of function in the next five to seven years.

In its plan, the Croatian Navy intends to procure and own up to ten such patrol ships over the next ten years, with the remark that after the construction of five new ones, the purchase five more used ones can follow. The price stands at about ten million euros per copy, and they will gradually replace the OB class "Mirna", which were built back in the early 1980's.

It has been deemed that the Croatian Navy should be equipped with a minimum of two large patrol vessels, of up to 1,500 tons in weight. These ships should have multiple uses, ranging from war uses, such as anti-aircraft uses, as well as to be able to perform tasks from the Coast Guard's domain. The multipurpose ships will also have platforms for the installation of new anti-ship rocket systems, and a load displacement of about 1,500 tons would also enable the accommodation of a scout helicopter which would significantly increase the ship's monitoring capabilities at sea.

Considering that the fact that the Adriatic sea is a vitally important naval corridor to Western Europe, with main ports in the north, underwater surveillance for the Republic of Croatia is just as important as the surveillance of the airspace and the ability to react promptly in terms of so-called ''air-policing."

Otherwise, over the past ten years, the Croatian Navy has unfortunately failed to realise any major modernisation project that was put into any longterm plan.

Make sure to stay up to date with our news page for more information like this.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Taxis in Croatia: Ridecar Begins Providing Services in Zagreb

More taxis in Croatia will make the capital city richer for transport possibilities as Ridecar has entered Zagreb's taxi market with 35 of its vehicles, by the end of the year, there will be a hundred of them across Croatia.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of November, 2018, Zagreb is now richer for another player on its market taxi, which is "Ride2", the Ridecar rent-a-car's brand. The first 35 vehicles, along with a large media campaign in daily newspapers and promotional discounts for first-time users, has started its operations in the Croatian capital, giving users of taxis in Croatia yet more choice. Marijan Babić, the director of the company, said that by spring 2019 there will be a hundred of their vehicles present.

How Ride2 distinguishes itself from the competition is as they say themselves, is that a third of their vehicles, and in the future a larger part than that, will be electric cars. In addition, drivers can choose between five categories of vehicles, from standard, electric, to van and premium van.

"We were afraid that we wouldn't manage to complete all of the IT preparation for ordering and paying for the ride in time, but that's all working perfectly. The last obstacle was the Apple Store, which only included our application in its offer Sunday,'' Babić stated.

He added that their application (app) for ordering rides was downloaded 500 times by the early afternoon yesterday, and in the coming days, that number will likely be multiplied. For now, they have ten electric vehicles in their taxi fleet, mostly Renault ZOE's, and by the end of the year, the Hyundai KONA should arrive and their fleet of electric vehicles should climb at least thirty cars. Babić pointed out that they expect the existing electric renault cars to be able to deal with a whole day taxi service in the city, but with the Hyundai, they will increase their operations even more because those cars boast a 500-kilometre autonomy.

"We've invested almost 150 million kuna in our fleet, and only about 25 million has been poured into the taxi business itself. By the end of the year, electric cars will make up 30 percent of our taxi fleet, and finally, we plan to completely exhaust fossil fuel vehicles. Of course, a small part will have to be kept because some of the premium customers look for specific types of vehicles, which aren't currently made in any electric versions,'' explained Babić.

He mentioned that the company's decision to enter the taxi segment was initially decided on after the changes in the Road Traffic Act which gave them a bit more breathing space, but at the same time it caused issues with one of their more profitable services, which was hiring a vehicle with a driver.

"At the request of our partners, which are mostly British agencies, we had an offer in which you could have a package where you rented a car with a driver. The plan was initially to have about 1,000 orders per season, but last year it went up to 6,000, and it managed to reach an amazing 25,000 this year. This is a service that is being sought, but as Uber drivers had to, it was necessary to bring in regulation and now it's possible to do such a job only by renting a limo, knowing which types of cars can and can't enter this segment, this can only really be done by a hotel or a tourist agency. Everyone else had to enter into the standard taxi framework,'' Babić said.

"Getting the workforce has been a big challenge so far, and I'm afraid it will remain the biggest challenge in the forthcoming period. We've a good image among drivers and the backbone of Ride2 are those we engaged over the summer season,'' Babić concluded.

Make sure to follow our news page for more information on taxis in Croatia and much more.


Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Monday, 19 November 2018

Driving in Croatia: Changes Coming to Croatian Motorways

Driving in Croatia is always a pleasure, especially if you're taking a journey across the country, from the south to the north. Having lived in Dubrovnik for a number of years before moving up north to Zagreb, I can say with confidence that the roadtrip between Dubrovnik and Zagreb is, despite its length, a particularly impressive one, offering you a chance to see the true wealth of natural diversity Croatia boasts in all its glory.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of November, 2018, the changes coming to Croatia's roads have already been implemented in various degrees by other European countries, including Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy.

Boris Huzjan (56) has been the president of the Croatian Motorway's administration (HAC) for a year, and he has the restructuring of two of the largest Croatian road companies under his belt.

In an interview for Jutarnji list, Huzjan spoke about future plans for driving in Croatia and answered the question of whether or not it really is true that the plan is record all cars when they arrive at toll booths, as well as measure their speed, and that the police would potentially punish drivers who, for example, manage to arrive from Zagreb to Dugopolje near Split in less than three hours.

"We're aware that motorways allow drivers to achieve higher speeds than allowed and that this in itself significantly undermines the level of traffic safety. That's why we've decided to support the Ministry of the Interior's (MUP) efforts to control and monitor the speed on the roads in accordance with the National Road Safety Program with one single goal: the increasing of traffic safety. So it's not a repressive measure, but a rescue of human life. These [regulations] have already been implemented in various degrees by Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy...

In the experience of the Netherlands, where the average speed measurement was introduced for the first time back in 2001 on the E19 motorway between Rotterdam and Delft, prove the effect of reducing vehicle speed by 0.5 percent, and the number of deaths was reduced by more than 50 percent.

By introducing continuous automatic speed controls on our highways, traffic safety will be increased, the consequences of traffic accidents will be reduced, the behaviour of drivers will be affected, and this will also reflect the behaviour of drivers on all of the other roads. Speed ​​monitoring will be performed by measuring the average speed of a vehicle at certain sections of the highway, and with radar controls at specific locations, such as locations where there are road works going on, where speeding is the most common cause of traffic accidents.

The speed-controlled locations will be marked with traffic signs that will warn you to look at how fast you're going. We want to do this in a timely manner because we don't intend to use this as a measure to simply punish people. Our goal is to make people aware of speeding, and for this project to be applied to all roads in Croatia. I believe that the most important principle of traffic policy is human life, and that must be ahead of the need for mobility.'' concluded Huzjan.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for more information on driving in Croatia and much more.

Monday, 19 November 2018

UN Sustainable Development Agenda, Croatia Takes 21st Place

Croatia appears on many a list, and while it's typically placed at number one or close to it on ''must visit'' locations around the world, when it comes to much more serious matters to do with the economic and political climate, Croatia doesn't tend to fare too well, and with good reason. For a change, Croatia has managed to do quite well according to a recently published list by the United Nations (UN), which regards its Sustainable Development Agenda.

As Ljubica Gataric/VL/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of November, 2018, according to a new report on the impact of social transfers on poverty within the European Union (EU), social transfers made in 2017 raised one third of the population's income above the currently accepted poverty risk limit.

Despite Croatia's unfavourable ''press'' when it comes to lists outside of travel bloggers and their often very surface level glance at the country, Croatia has taken 21st place the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, through which national governments committed themselves to eradicating poverty and hunger, developing education, making proper healthcare accessible for all, gender equality, and eradicating other forms of inequality.

Croatia has taken 21st place out of 155 on the UN's Sustainable Development List for 2018, and in relation to its first release back in 2016, the country has progressed by as many as fifteen places.

Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and France are doing the best of all, with neighbouring Slovenia taking 8th place, Czech Republic taking 13th place, and behind Croatia lie many EU member states considered to be very developed, which is both encouraging in Croatia's respect, and concering with regard to those countries.

As mentioned, according to the new report on the impact of social transfers on poverty within the EU, social transfers made back in 2017 raised one third of the population's income above that of the considered poverty risk limit.

According to the members, social assistance withdrew 57 percent of Finns and 51 percent of Danes from their respective poverty zones, while social transfers made in Greece and Romania removed 16 percent of the risk groups out of the accepted poverty zone.

When it comes to social transfers made in Croatia, the number of those below the poverty line has been lessened by an entire quarter. Croatia is among the countries for which social transfers account for less than 6.2 percent of GDP, which is 2.7 percent below the European Union average.

Want to keep up with more information like this? Make sure to follow our politics page.


Click here for the original article by Ljubica Gataric/VL on Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Brexit: What Withdrawal Agreement Means for Croats in UK, Brits in Croatia

Brexit. It's irritating, it sends pound sterling up and down like a rollercoaster, and quite frankly, it's become a farce.

Nevertheless, British PM Theresa May has somehow managed to get her Brexit deal past the first wobbly stages of acceptance (at least for now, which might still mean very little), and while we're still miles and miles away from the end of a road which may well simply have no actual end, what does the withdrawal agreement actually mean for citizens rights?

You don't want to read 500+ pages of political jargon to find out, so I've done it for you. Let's take a look at what has now been formally agreed between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the status of Croats in the United Kingdom, and British nationals living here in Croatia.

First things first, no, you're not getting kicked out after Brexit. There has been a lot of scaremongering and frankly ridiculous headlines from various newspapers, particularly British ones (naming no names here, but you know which I'm referring to), claiming such absurdities. You can breathe easily, not only are mass deportations barely legal, but such a move is in nobody's interest. Nobody wants to punish citizens for exercising their treaty rights in good faith.

What does this all mean for British nationals living in Croatia?

Believe it or not, but Croatia's love of residency cards for EEA nationals as well as third country nationals has actually come in handy. Countries like France and the UK don't demand you possess a card, so while Brits in France scramble to make themselves as known to the French Government as possible before Brexit, Brits in Croatia will already have been issued a bit of paperwork and a residency permit. The system already knows about you, and just this once, that's a good thing.

If you're a Brit and you've been living in Croatia, ie, exercising your treaty rights derived from EU law (freedom of movement), and continue to exercise them after Brexit day (which in this case, doesn't actually refer to the 29th of March, 2019, it refers to the end of the foreseen transition period, which is December the 31st, 2020), you're safe.

Here's an example, let's say you moved to Croatia in 2016 and you're still registered as living in Croatia, legally, with a residence permit, after the end of December 2020, you're safe and your rights will be protected as if nothing has altered. You'll go on living your life in Croatia broadly as you did before.

If you have temporary residency, which, as you applied for it as an EU national, will likely be proven with a five year biometric residency permit/card, then you'll be allowed to apply for permanent residency just as you would before, providing only what is asked of an EEA citizen, and not what would be asked of a third country national. If you already have permanent residency, then you've got literally nothing to even think about.

The EU has left it up to national governments to decide whether or not they want to scrap the ''permanent residency'' title for something else, as the UK has changed its own to ''pre-settled'' and ''settled status'', so if you're in possession of a permanent residency document and Croatia decides to alter its name, you'll have the card replaced free of charge to whatever the new system and name will be. The likelihood of Croatia altering this though, is not high, so don't worry about it.

Applications for permanent residency made during the UK's transition period (which it likes to refer to as the implementation period) will also remain the same, you'll only pay what nationals pay for other similar documents for your permanent residency card when approved, and the process will be the same as before.

You do not need to be physically present in the country on December the 31st, 2020, when the UK's transition period ends, in order to be legally resident, you only need to be in possession of a permit proving your residency in Croatia.

The only change, which is actually rather welcome, is that you'll be allowed to leave Croatia for up to five consecutive years without losing the right to permanent residency here. Previously, that was two years. So, essentially, unless you're out of the country for five years straight, you'll enjoy permanent residency for life, renewing the card as normally every ten years like you do with a passport.

It's worth remembering that Croatia dropped the restrictions on the domestic labour market for British nationals when Britain dropped its restrictions on Croatian nationals, so you no longer need a work permit to work in Croatia as long as you have residency. Permanent residents have never needed one, nor do they now.

What does this mean for Croatian nationals in the United Kingdom?

To put it bluntly, not a lot.

There has been heightened anxiety about the issue of citizens rights from the very beginning of this long process we've come to know as Brexit, but they have always been a top priority for both the EU and the UK, and nobody wants to cause upset in people's lives.

If you're a Croat in the UK, you'll know that the UK doesn't require EU nationals to register with the government, unlike in Croatia and several other EU countries. The presentation of an EEA passport has been enough to prove your right to live in the United Kingdom, and for nationals of those countries who don't have labour market restrictions against them in the UK, that means you can work too.

The UK dropped its labour restrictions on Croatian nationals, and Croatia did the same, as mentioned, with Brits in Croatia. This means you can now look for work and gain employment without obtaining a work permit, a stay and work permit, or a work registration certificate.

What will change, however, is your need to be registered with the British Government before the 30th of June, 2021, but if you can do it before December the 31st, 2020, that's better. 

The British Government created an app (which doesn't work on iPhones. Ah, good old technology), where you'll prove your right to live and work in the UK and be issued with a status, either ''pre settled'' for those who have been in the UK for less than five years when applying, or ''settled status'' for those who have been in the UK for five years or more. You'll be allowed to stay in the UK if you're applying for ''pre settled status'' until you meet the criteria for ''settled status'', which is the same as Indefinite Leave to Remain.


Click here for more. Oh, and go and buy an Android phone.

Once you're approved with ''settled status'' which is essentially just permanent residence, you'll be allowed to leave the UK for five consecutive years without losing your status. Just like with Brits in Croatia, you do not need to be physically present in the country on December the 31st, 2020, when the UK's transition period ends, in order to be legally resident, you only need to be in possession of a permit (or whatever the UK decides to offer in this regard), proving your residency in the UK.

We at TCN sincerely hope this answers your questions about what the withdrawal agreement means for you, whether you're in Croatia or the United Kingdom. While the Brexit road is far from over, and questions as to whether it will even actually happen are more frequent than ever, you won't be being removed from your host countries.

If you want to find out more about residency in Croatia, click here. To keep up with more news on Brexit, and on Croatian and European politics, follow our dedicated politics page.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

How Safe is Croatia? Safest and Most Dangerous Countries List Published

Just how safe is Croatia?

While everyone complains about some aspect of life or another here in Croatia, the reality is that the safety levels are excellent. Your kids can easily be left to play on their own like ''back in the good old days'' in other countries, and in many aspects it's as if time has stood still. The majority of crime here is traffic crime, rarely does anything major occur.

A list of the most dangerous and the safest countries across the planet has been published, and the answer to the question ''How safe is Croatia?'' has been been delivered.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of November, 2018, Libya, Afghanistan and Somalia are listed as the most dangerous countries in the world, while here in Europe, Finland, Norway, and Iceland have been rated as the safest.

The list has been created from the data of the security specialists of the International SOS and Control Risk companies, which deal with the topics of both medical and safety assistance. On their interactive map, you can find data for countries that are rated in three categories - safety, medical questions, and road safety, according to a report from Večernji list.

The countries that are marked in a dark red colour are the worst rated when it comes to safety and security, while those in a light green colour have been considered to be the safest.

In Croatia's immediate vicinity, Slovenia has been declared the safest while Kosovo is the least secure. Croatia's neighbour to the north, Slovenia, has been rated as a country with low risk and Kosovo carries a medium risk. Croatia, as well as its neighbours; Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro are rated as countries with a low risk.

While some are annoyed by the way people tend to drive here, even when it comes to road safety, Croatia is also a country with an apparent low risk according to this data, while in the medical category, Croatia belongs to the best possible category.

Click here to view the full list, or simply see where your country lies! Make sure to keep up with our travel page for more.

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