Monday, 7 November 2022

New Croatian Fuel Prices Tomorrow, Price Increase for One Type

November the 7th, 2022 - Inflation is continuing to pile the pressure on everyone's bank accounts, wallets and back pockets. With spiralling prices and a lack of stability continuing to dominate, Croatian fuel prices are set to change yet again as of tomorrow, with quite an increase on the cards for one type.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as RTL Danas/Today has unofficially learned, Croatian fuel prices are set to change once again as of Tuesday, with basic Eurosuper 95 being 48 lipa per litre more expensive, while diesel will be cheaper by 25 lipa per litre.

The Croatian Government will most likely step in and freeze the price of blue diesel so that it remains at 8.49 kuna per litre. The average tank for fiel should as such increase in price by 24 kuna at the pump, while diesel vehicle owners will pay 12.5 kuna less from Tuesday on than they currently are.

According to the Government decree on determining the highest retail prices of oil derivatives, over the last two weeks, the price of basic Eurosuper has been 11.10 kuna per litre, while the price of Eurodiesel has been 13.44 kuna.

For more on Croatian fuel prices and other news, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section.

Monday, 7 November 2022

Could Investor Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar Take Over Brac Airport?

November the 7th, 2022 - With news of Arab investors more or less dominating the local press of late (see the Fortenova saga), could another investor from that part of the world end up taking over Brac Airport?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, before going into any details, it's important to say that the state intends to withdraw from the ownership structure of Brac Airport, located (as the name should suggest) on a certain Central Dalmatian island across from the City of Split. The first step in starting the procedure for the sale of the shares the government has within that company is contracting work with consultants to assess the company's value, and then those shares that will be offered through a public tender.

DO Advising and Agram Brokers were hired as appraisers, and judging by past practice, it can be expected that CERP will announce a tender for the sale sales in early 2023. Although, as a rule, such procedures are only initiated when investors express interest and submit letters of intent, unofficially from CERP it has been circulating that the Brac Airport government shares sale is proceeding as part of the plan to reduce the state portfolio, and allegedly without the need for prior inquiries from investors.

However, as has been heard from several interlocutors, the majority owner of the company - Sunce hotels, which holds 50.2% of the shares, is interested in the complete takeover of Brac Airport. CERP, on the other hand, has 33.8% of the shares available for sale, and according to data from the ownership structure of Brac Airport, the state has a total of 38.5%, while smaller shares are held by Svpetrvs hotels, HT, the municipality of Puscica, Sardina and some other small shareholders.

Sunce hotels was taken over a year and a half ago by an Arab investor from the United Arab Emirates - Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar and his company Eagle Hills Real Estate. Several people in the know claim that until now he has been focused exclusively on the hotel business, but he is allegedly interested in the complete takeover of Brac Airport as well, which is extremely important for Brac's tourism.

However, significant investments are needed, and projects have been being discussed and prepared for years. Admittedly, other investors related to the tourism sector on that island, which were involved in the relatively recently opened (and controversial) Grand Hotel View, could also be interested, and more greenfield investments are underway.

New airport director Petra Bonacic-Sargo also announced the investment in the annual financial report for last year, but when asked about the plans, she didn't go into details.

"Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we applied for two infrastructure projects in order to extend the track and reconstruct the passenger buildings with the help of EU funds. We haven't given up on them, we're still working on them and we hope for a positive outcome,'' said the director of Brac Airport.

At the time when the projects were being prepared, the head of the company from Brac was Tonci Peovic, and the plan was to extend the runway from 1,760 to 2,400 metres and widen it from 30 to 45 in order to enable the landing of larger planes. Investments were also prepared for upgrading the terminal building, and the airport was then going to be made to be able to receive three large aircraft at the same time.

A total investment of around 21 million euros was foreseen, however, in the meantime, certain changes have taken place and now, according Peovic, there is no reason for such a large investment and expansions for Brac Airport. Originally, the project was prepared based on cooperation with the Austrian TUI and a fleet whose planes had 175 seats, but that cooperation no longer exists, and Croatia Airlines has been renewing its fleet and replacing the existing planes with the Airbus 220, and the tendency, he adds, is to switch from turbo-propellers on jets and airplanes that carry fewer passengers.

According to his assessment, and he left the company before the summer, it is enough to extend the runway to 2100 to 2200 metres and keep the width as it is now. Considering the characteristics of the terrain, this will greatly reduce the cost of the investment, estimated to stand at a whopping 6-8 million euros, and there remains the possibility that part of the money for reconstruction and modernisation will also be provided through EU funds.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Croatian Cafe Charging Extra for People to Sit by Outdoor Heaters

October the 22nd, 2022 - One Croatian cafe in the City of Zagreb has decided to start charging customers extra to sit by their outdoor heaters on the terrace, citing inflation and energy costs as the reason behind the unusual move.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, one Croatian cafe in Zagreb wants extra if you plan to be sitting and drinking your (probably) coffee outside on the terrace under the outdoor heaters. Coffee by the outdoor heater will cost you 14 kuna, and it will come at a cost of 12 kuna if you don't need warming up as well. In short, every guest in this particular Croatian cafe who wants to sit on the terrace under the outdoor heater must pay an additional two kuna for heating in addition to whatever their bill is for their order.

"I think that heaters are a luxury outside, in winter. We have enough interior space, if someone really wants to be outside in the fresh air, we'll turn the heaters on, but we simply have to pass that part of the cost on to the end user," said Ivan Oreskovic, the owner of this particular cafe. Oreskovic eventually decided on this move because of higher electricity bills, which grew by 200 percent and are now around three times higher than they were before. One kilowatt came at a cost of 55 lipa last year, it costs one kuna and 65 lipa this year.

"People sit outside for 30 minutes on average, so far we've borne that cost. Each heater consumes approximately 2 kilowatts per hour, that would be 2 times 1.6 which is 3.2 kuna - we used to pay one kuna for it. We passed the difference on to the customers, and we keep the main part of the cost to ourselves", explained the owner.

This is the only cafe in the entire country that includes a heater on its price list, at least so far, and people are divided about the idea. Some are ready to pay two kuna extra if they are satisfied with the service and the cafe, but others think that it isn't fair. As things stand, this kind of recipe for cost reduction and survival will be applied by many business owners working in the catering and hospitality sector, writes RTL.

"As for the amounts themselves - whether it's 2, 5 or maybe even 50 kuna, it definitely depends on the decision of the company owner who is responsible for the organisation of the business. I'm equally sure that business owners are definitely also taking into account the amounts that people can actually afford to pay,'' pointed out Ivan Tadic, secretary of the Association of Caters in Zagreb.

While this Croatian cafe has chosen this somewhat controversial model and others will likely follow, for most, charging extra for heating is the last thing on their minds.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.

Saturday, 18 June 2022

1000th Issue of "Hrvatska Riječ" Weekly of Croat Minority in Serbia Released

ZAGREB, 18 June 2022 - A ceremony was held in Subotica on Friday to mark the publication of the 1000th issue of the "Hrvatska Riječ" weekly newspaper of the Croat community in Serbia.

Addressing the ceremony, the newspaper's editor-in-chief Zlata Vasiljević said that many events, achievements and problems of the Croats in Serbia would not have been covered in the media if there had not been "the Hrvatska Riječ" newspaper.

This 52-page weekly is issued every Friday.

"These 1000 issues of the newspaper bear witness to political, societal and economic changes in the country in which we live, and they also bear witness to the political relations between Serbia and Croatia. What is even more important, these first 1,000 issues have covered all that has happened in the Croat community in Serbia," Vasiljević said.

The head of the Croatian National Council in Serbia (HNV), Jasna Vojnić, said that the leadership of this ethnic minority is proud of the newspaper and praised the journalists in the newspaper for being reputable, professional, fair and incorruptible.

She recalls many obstacles and problems and pointed out that in some areas in Serbia there is still fear of buying and reading the Hrvatska Riječ in public.

The head of the DSHV party, Tomislav Žigmanov, said that the newspaper had grown into "the biggest mine of information about the Croat community in Serbia.

Dubravka Severniski of Croatia's central office for the Croats abroad praised "Hrvatska Riječ" as a high-quality newspaper that helps ethnic Croats in Serbia to preserve their language and identity.

The publication of this weekly is financed from the budget of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

Monday, 14 March 2022

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

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

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

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

Monday, 7 March 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The World Expo event is marking its 170th anniversary.

Monday, 31 January 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Citizens trust institutions the least

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

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

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

Resolution on the right to repairs in March

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

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

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Vučković Presents New Contracts in Sisak Under Rural Development Programme

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

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

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

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

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

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Croatia Reports 6,220 New Coronavirus Cases, 46 Deaths

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

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

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

A Bit of Background

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

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

Recovery and Leading Up to EU Membership

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

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

European Integration: Croatia Today

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

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

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

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

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

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