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.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Is Croatia Entering New European Retail Market?

With the acquisition of numerous shopping centres, is Croatia entering a new European retail market?

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of November, 2018, the consolidation process continues on the domestic real estate market; with Austria's Immofinanz announcing the takeover of two shopping centers, STC Osijek and STC Valpovo, as part of a larger regional transaction worth about 90.5 million euro.

Immofinanz is also taking over eight ''retail'' parks in Slovenia and Serbia, as well as here in Croatia, totaling about 68,000 square metres. The value of the part of the transaction pertaining to the Republic of Croatia has not yet been published, but the entire package, Croatia's part relates to the smallest surface area of approximately 13,500 square metres, from which the Austrian MID group is leaving, the group is probably best known for its relations with the Garden Mall in Zagreb, which was sold to Supernova earlier.

In addition to Croatia, the MID group handed over three ''retail'' parks in Maribor, Krško and Ptuj in neighbouring Slovenia to Immofinanz, totaling 22,000 square metres. Owing to that, Immofinanz's Slovenian portfolio has risen to 52,300 square metres of rentable surface.

The Serbian retailer is MPC group, founded by Serbian businessman Petar Matić, and according to the latest available data, a third of the company was sold to Atterbury Europe back in 2015. Acquisitions in Serbia include 32,000 square feet of rentable land in Subotica, Borčija, and Smederevo. Stop Shop, Immofinanz's brand of retail parks, will in the future operate in nine locations and across 83,600 square metres.

Among the dealers are very well known names like Deichmann, H&M, C&A, Takko, KiK and Jysk, and the shopping centres will soon undergo rebranding, after which they will operate under Immofinanz's Stop Shop concept.

"These acquisitions reinforce our position as the leading European ''retail'' park operator, and, when speaking about Croatia, this marks our entry into a new European retail market that is extremely interesting to our international leasing companies. Good locations, excellent business, good competitiveness of local situations and classical ones, and a healthy mix of tenants are the main features of these attractive investment opportunities,'' said Dietman Reindl, the executive director of Immofinanz in a statement.

The reporters say that the exit of MID from two more centres (after leaving Zagreb's Garden Mall and centres in Koprivnica and Sisak) is the expected consequence of the pace of the new cycle on the market given the fact that its strength lies in project development, and for it to be the operator.

Click here for more business news from Croatia.

 

Click here for the original article by Ana Blaskovic on Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Digital Croatia: Instant Payments Coming to Croatia?

With talk of a brand new digital Croatia becoming ever louder, it seems that the powers that be are following suit.

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of November, 2018, when talking about digital money, especially in the context of whether or not Croatia really needs a form of ''cryptokuna'', the example of Sweden was pointed out. Due to the high level of digital payments and the development of practices where retailers and banks have begun refusing paper money, Sweden decided to introduce a digital krona.

Croatia will not take the same path as Sweden and simply introduce digital currency, but it will have an instant payment system from December onwards, not only in euros but in Croatian kuna. This was announced at the BUG F2 Future of Fintech conference held in Zagreb by the executive director of CNB/HNB (Croatian National Bank)'s payments sector, Ivan Biluš.

The new system will most help banks to carry out business with their fintch players, especially Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. It will also affect the strength of their relationships with card holders who see the ability to make fast payments anywhere as perhaps the most important thing. Biluš noted that the system, which would have the support of the CNB TIPS payment system, will be launched alongside that of the European Central Bank (ECB) on the 30th of November, 2018.

"As of January 2019, we'll not only have European instant payments in Croatia which are based on the euro, but also Croatian ones [based on the kuna], which will enable the instant transfer of the kuna", says Biluš. He said that banks in Croatia could negotiate the terms of the new service with the CNB/HNB by December, but also stressed that he didn't expect the first commercial example of the service to actually be on the market before January next year.

TIPS will enable banks to offer services that are already on offer in the United States and in the United Kingdom, where customers can quickly transfer money from their bank account using IBAN to a foreign IBAN account.

Some of the most well known applications which use fast pay include PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash and Zelle, but also Google Wallet and Facebook Messenger. Despite the country's desire for a digital Croatia, these apps are not yet available with such a payment function here on the Croatian market.

Biluš repeated several times during his presentation that the race between the fintech and the banks is an unequal one, but that major changes are expected on both sides shortly. He said that the EU, with the ECB, has its own interest in creating a single digital market for the European Union and that it was that which made the central bank enter into this business.

Although the ECB initially announced that the TIPS would cost 0.2 cents per transaction, work within ten seconds and set a limit on the transaction amount to 15,000 euros, the executive director of the payment sector at the CNB claims that the transaction cost will be 0.1 percentage points, and that the money transfer will be able to be completed in no more than two seconds.

Want to keep up with more news like this and get better acquainted with the potential new digital Croatia? Make sure to follow our business page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Bernard Ivezic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

VAT Equalisation: Bell Tolls for Purchasing OTC Drugs Over the Border?

In what will come as very welcome news for many OTC medication users across the country, the Pharmacy Chamber has stated that owing to VAT equalisation, the retail prices of OTC drugs will be reduced by an average of 17 to 18 percent.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of November, 2018, with the entry into force of the new VAT law, which will equalise the tax rate for all medicines, tax on non-prescription medicines will be reduced from 25 percent to 5 percent by the beginning of 2019, which is why their retail prices will be significantly lower and those in Croatia will hopefully cease buying their medicines over the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Additionally, pharmaceutical companies can expect the growth of the sale of these drugs owing to the tax cuts on OTC medication for which the Croatian pharmaceutical sector has been calling for years.

As it is known, the VAT equalisation regards analgesic drugs, for the treatment of gastroenterological problems, drugs for help with allergies, as well as vitamins. It should be noted that it doesn't include all vitamins, only those registered as actual medicines will see a price drop.

The equalisation of the tax rate does not bring direct benefits to producers themselves, but potential benefits may be experienced by drug distributors if they raise their sales margins, this will include both hypermarkets and pharmacies.

Despite the good news, the aforementioned VAT equalisation isn't going to come into force just yet. In Croatia, the pharmacy chamber claims that the retail prices of OTC medicines will be reduced only at the beginning of 2019.

"In addition, price reductions will be welcomed at the time of seasonal illness when the need for non-prescription drugs increases. Patients have so far been able to go to neighbouring countries for drugs to lower their temperature and reduce pain, precisely because of the price difference, where the national budget also lost out,'' they say.

Pliva explains that this change will not affect their business as VAT is a neutral item for producers, but although Pliva doesn't plan to change its producer prices, they believe this will contribute to the increased availability of non-prescription drugs.

"With this, we've become closer to most European countries where, in line with the EU guidelines, two drugs, regardless of the way they are issued, have the same tax to ensure product competitiveness and market competition,'' explains Mihael Furjan, CEO of Pliva.

For Belupo's business, whose non-prescription drugs account for around 19 percent on the Croatian market, this is very good news, as they plan to strengthen their OTC medication segment in terms of their total sales.

"Therefore, Belupo, independently and as a member of CASI (Association of Non-Receptive Products Manufacturers), actively advocated equalising the VAT rate for non-prescription drugs, led by the practice of 27 European countries applying the same VAT rate, and to all medicines, irrespective of the issuing regime, and respecting the principle of neutrality when it comes to the tax treatment of similar goods,'' they explain from Belupo.

In Rijeka, JGL argues that, with a 20 percent drop in prices, this measure should certainly stimulate self-assimilation and dismantle the withdrawal of medicines from the national insurer.

The Rijeka-based company says that in their semi-annual report, they have secured the growth of total business thanks to the growth of the OTC medication segment, which is growing faster than the domestic average.

PharmaSu also expects the higher consumption of OTC drugs.

"In addition, the state has not only boosted spending, but savings on drugs which are given on prescription, and have similar therapeutic parallels in OTC status. This is mostly related to pain and cold medicines,'' said PharmaSu's Jerko Jakšić.

Expectedly, the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers at the Croatian Employers' Association has naturally welcomed the equalisation of the VAT rate, and recalls that the EU Directive on VAT permits EU member states to apply a reduced rate to pharmaceutical products for the purpose of sickness prevention and treatment. They of course expect this to have a direct and positive impact on the Croatian health system.

"Non-prescription drugs are easier to come by and more widely available than prescription drugs are, there's no waiting around and seeing doctors involved. Reducing the VAT rate on OTC medicines will make them more accessible to consumers as it will lower the cost of the drug, and will therefore reduce the pressure on prescribing medications, and this will have a positive impact on the health budget, as it's self-relieving, without burdening the system,'' they point out from this sectoral Association.

Want to keep up with more news on VAT equalisation, medicine and the domestic economy? Make sure to follow our lifestyle page for more.

 

Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Drivers Beware! Traffic Changes, High Fines Coming This Week

Drivers need to beware this week as the police will be ever-present checking for the placement of winter tyres and other required equipment up and down the country's roads.

As Index writes on the 11th of November, 2018, some big changes for drivers in Croatia will come into effect as of Thursday. Namely, on most roads, they will need to make sure they're drive with their winter equipment.

The penalty for non-compliance with this important safety regulation currently stands at 700 kuna.

"Although winter begins only at the beginning of December, from November the 15th, winter equipment will be required in the Republic of Croatia.

The Decree on the Mandatory Use of Winter Equipment on Winter Roads in the Republic of Croatia, issued by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, states that winter equipment is mandatory on from the 15th November of the current year to the 15th of April next year, in this case from the 15th og November 2018, to the 15th of April 2019.

According to the Decision, the mandatory use of winter equipment applies to all types of motor vehicles, regardless of the weather conditions and the road conditions,'' explains HAK.

Pursuant to Article 193 of the Road Traffic Safety Act (OG 67/08), winter conditions include snow and ice on pavements too. If the traffic police stop a vehicle on the road without winter tyres and other necessary equipmenr at a time when winter equipment is required, they will be forced to immediately stop the vehicle, or make the driver continue driving on a road on which the movement of that type of vehicle (without winter equipment) is permitted, or to put the winter equipment in place there and then. Otherwise, the driver will face a fine of 700 kuna.

"Tyres are one of the most important parts of the vehicle, and the way in which they work between the car and the road is crucial for safety. It's good that the vehicle has the proper tyres for every time of year, since at temperatures below 7°C, summer tyres lose their elasticity as well as their adherence properties,'' they state from HAK.

Summer tyres almost have no chance whatsoever of properly functioning in the snow, with an extended stopping time which can then become very dangerous. At a temperature of -10°C, a car with summer tyres on travelling at a speed of 60 kilometres per hour will stop only after 55 metres, while a car with winter tyres on will come to a halt after 44 metres.

At lower temperatures, the braking distance is even longer. If the car still has its summer tyres on, it will stop only after 62 metres, with winter tires, it will stop by up to 50 metres.

Make sure to follow our news page for more important updates.

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