Monday, 31 December 2018

Croatian Prime Minister Says No to Property Tax in Interview

The Croatian Prime Minister looks back on his government's achievements during 2018, and offers and insight into what else will be implemented in 2019, from tax reductions and help with housing costs to demographic measures.

''If, because of the continued issues between Israel and America, the Republic of Croatia is unable buy the F-16 Barak combat aircraft from the Israelis, as it has chosen to, Croatia will cancel its decision,'' said Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in an interview with Vecernji list.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of December, 2018, in his New Year's interview with Vecernji list, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković spoke about the government's 2019 announcements in the field of tax policy, economy and demography, Croatia's foreign and EU policy, and relations with neighbouring countries.

 When asked if Israel had written approval from America to allow for the sale of F-16 Barak aircraft to Croatia when they showed up at the Croatian tender for the purchase of combat aircraft, Plenković said that "Israel had taken on the obligation of needing to obtain American permission for the sale of the airplanes offered, ie, the F-16 Barak, which Croatia has chosen ".

"At this point, we have information that the US doesn't agree with the sale of Israel's airplanes [which have been] offered to Croatia and insists that all the equipment with which the Israeli aircraft has been upgraded and modified be removed from them. We expect an Israeli declaration in view of these new circumstances,'' the Croatian Prime Minister stated.

"As I said publicly three weeks ago, if we were unable to buy the airplanes we selected, the government will cancel its decision on the choice,'' he noted.

 Regarding a recent decision by the President of the Republic of Croatia to dismiss her adviser Mato Radeljić, the Croatian Prime Minister recalled the fact that there were a number of advisors who had also been dismissed, adding that he was talking about staffing issues under the authority of the Croatian president.

Commenting on Radeljić's allegations of alleged threats made to him from SOA, Plenković said that SOA had carried out internal controls and no pressure or threats of any kind had been found.

"I spoke with SOA's chief, he reported to me that SOA carried out its internal oversight of this issue, and even the slightest doubt that pressures or threats were being made to the former advisor were completely eliminated,'' he added.

 When asked about the now somewhat infamous SMS affair, the Croatian Prime Minister emphasised that this affair was particularly bad because it regarded absolutely unacceptable behavior.

''Fabrication, ie, the counterfeiting of alleged correspondence of the highest political and judicial officials, was aimed at destabilising the political scene, the institution and the legal order. We want to strengthen trust in our institutions, I expect the police, DORH and all the competent bodies to keep shedding light on this affair right up until the end,'' he said.

 Regarding the government's implemented tax reforms, the Croatian Prime Minister said that his government is continuing to reduce taxes, including VAT rates, as it committed to earlier in its program.

 "Our tax system is now simpler and fairer than it was at the beginning of this mandate, with a total tax deduction for citizens and entrepreneurs of 6.5 billion kuna,'' Plenković said, adding that tax on medicine will drop as of the 1st of January, 2019.

''We've seen that shops have already started lowering their prices, which hasn't been the case so far, and this way it [the tax reductions] will be felt by citizens,'' he added.

 Asked if he has now completely dropped the controversial idea of property tax, the Croatian Prime Minister simply said, "There will be no property tax."

Reflecting on the demographic measures implemented by his government so far, Plenković emphasised the fact that he believes that positive demographic figures are also showing that, over the first ten months of 2018, 351 children more were born than during the same period last year, and that this is a direct result of the Croatian Government's various demographic measures.

"When we keep in mind that this number has continued to decline over the last twenty years, and in 2017, 981 less children were born than there were one year earlier, this latest data provides moderate optimism," he said.

"We're subsidise housing loans for young people, thanks to which 5,200 families now have their homes. In the next two years, another 5 or 6 thousand families can expect to be helped to build or purchase a house or apartment," the Croatian Prime Minister added.

 In addition, he said, tax reforms had strong positive demographic effects on the country.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated politics page for much more.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Croatian National Tourist Board Commits Large Sum to Strategic Projects

In line with the fact that the Croatian National Tourist Board's budget is facing an increase, the plan is to allocate a hefty amount to strategic promotional campaigns, as well as to joint advertising.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of December, 2018, the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) has announced a tender for the selection of PR agencies and media agencies on as many as sixteen different broadcasting markets.

The aforementioned tender launched by the Croatian National Tourist Board for the selection of PR and media agencies will last from December to March.

The total lease budget for all broadcasting markets included in the 2019 tender amounts to more than a massive 42 million kuna, as was decided by the Croatian National Tourist Board's Tourism Council during a recently held session.

As is already well known, there are concrete plans to increase the Croatian National Tourist Board's budget during the coming year, the increase is expected to be one of around 14 percent and will amount to an enormous 331 million kuna, which is a result of the increase of the tourist tax revenue in accordance with the government decree.

Approximately 41 million kuna will be allocated for the implementation of the Croatian National Tourist Board's strategic promotional campaigns across various broadcasting markets, i.e, for strategic cooperation with numerous air carriers and tour operators who have organised programs for Croatia in their packages and offers.

When it comes to joint advertising, as much as 24.6 million kuna will be allocated. After the session of the Tourism Council, the ninth Croatian National Tourist Board parliament session was held, where the aforementioned budget for 2019 was adopted.

Make sure to stay up to date with more information like this by following our dedicated news and lifestyle pages.

 

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

Friday, 21 December 2018

Mirjana Hrga and Sebastian Rogač to Become Advisors to President

A couple of new names for both strategic and foreign and European policy for Croatian politics as the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, has appointed Mirjana Hrga and Sebastian Rogač as her advisors.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of December, 2018, the Croatian President dismissed Dario Mihelin as her advisor for external and European politics, a decision which will come into effect as of January the 15th, 2019.

Similarly, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović dismissed Mato Radeljić from his post of advisor for internal affairs on the 21st of December 2018.

The President of the Republic of Croatia has since appointed Mirjana Hrga as her advisor for strategic policies, relations with the Croatian Parliament and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, as well as Sebastian Rogač as her advisor for foreign and European policy. Both decisions will come into effect as of January the 16th, 2019.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated politics page for everything you need to know about the Croatian political scene.

 

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Zagreb News: Wolt Food Delivery Service Now Available in Capital!

A welcome piece of Zagreb news for those in the city as a new service for the Croatian capital, the well-known Wolt food delivery service, has begun operating as of today.

As SEEbiz.eu writes on the 20th of December, 2018, as of today, Wolt, a renowned international food delivery service, behind which stands a successful Finnish company of the same name, has become available in Zagreb.

The Republic of Croatia thus becomes the thirteenth country, with Zagreb being the 38th city in which Wolt runs its operations, and through the brand new service, you can now order food from just over 35 restaurants from across the capital.

Wolt's list includes some of the most popular and well-frequented restaurants and pastry shops across the city, including Umami Restaurant, Cookie Factory, Bikers Food Bar, Pani, Curry Bowl, and the list even includes some of the most famous chains, such as Medvedgrad Brewery.

All the food is delivered by Wolt's delivery partners in special heated bags, and through Wolt's top quality service, all customers have an easy and efficient experience when it comes to ordering food - as Wolt has stated from Wolt's office in Zagreb. Additionally, one of the best features of this new Zagreb service is its extremely fast and high quality customer support which responds live to customers during and after they place their food orders.

This will come as a welcome change to some who have had rather poor food ordering experiences in Zagreb, with delivery drivers even calling them to ask for directions to their location, the food arriving cold, or you simply not getting what you've ordered at all.

Wolt can be accessed and used over the Internet or via a smartphone on both iOS and Android platforms. Registration is simple, and a new user can login via Facebook or via their email, and after entering their credit card, they can choose food from more than one hundred restaurants from around Zagreb. Wolt currently accepts all credit cards and Visa debit cards for payment.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Zagreb news you're interested in, stay up to date with our Total Zagreb page for everything you need to know about what's going on in the capital.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Startups in Croatia: Estonian Entrepreneur Gives Croatia Advice

Entrepreneurs and startups in Croatia often have a difficult time getting things off the ground when starting with their business here, with the country's notoriously draining red tape and a usually slow and outdated approach to everything, launching a business, company, or startup in Croatia isn't a particularly attractive thought for most. Despite that, many startups in Croatia are seeing the arduous process through to the end, and are succeeding. 

Just what can Croatia and Croatian startups learn from the wildly successful TransferWise founder?

As Novac.hr/Jutarnji/Gordana Grgas writes on the 15th of December, 2018, because of his ''robbing'' of the earnings made by banks on their faithful customers' money, this Estonian entreprener is being referred to as a modern day Robin Hood.

The financial and tech startup that he founded with his partner back in 2011, TransferWise, was one of the most valuable in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and was built on the foundation of offering a cheap and fast money-sending service around the world with the help of a simple and handy mobile app. Already holding 0.5 percent of the global market, transferring about 4 billion dollars per month, and having four million users, it's not doing too badly, to say the very least.

The brain behind the genius idea which is rubbing the banks up the wrong way is Taavet Hinrikus, 37, an Estonian citizen, and this past week he was in Zagreb, because in the meantime, he has gone a step further and become a business angel, entering into the development process of the promising Croatian startup based in Osijek, Gideon Brothers, which deals with robotics and was founded by Matija Kopic and Milan Račić, who he says are a fantastic team.

While Novac.hr talked with the Estonian in the Katran club, where the first industrial robot made by Gideon Brothers had just been presented with great enthusiasm, the talented entrepreneur was asked about just how he earned the title of Robin Hood, Nottingham's famous outlaw who went down in history by robbing the rich and giving to the poor. Taavet responded with the fact that TransferWise ''returns'' the money to the people, which they would otherwise be forced give banks in hidden and sometimes very unfavourable exchange rate costs when it comes to international transfers.

"We've noticed that as a global problem and we've been able to find a ten-fold better solution for that than the existing ones," said Hinrikus, and this point was also the main ingredient of his ''recipe'' for business success in a lecture he had previously given to his young audience at the largest hall of the Zagreb Faculty of Electronics and Computing (FER). Among the students, all of whom are interested in startups in Croatia, were the minds behind the Gideon Brothers startup from Osijek.

''There's no better place in Croatia to start a technology company than FER,'' Kopić of Gideon Brothers told them.

And what exactly does Transferwise do so well to make it so popular and successful? The best description is probably the fact that it is the ''Skype for money transfers'', and they have succeeded in a world that has been, at least until now, ruled almost entirely by banks and their often unfair fees, these all-powerful banks have been ''wounded'' only by the likes of America's PayPal and Western Union, so far. They came to this business idea because they often sent money to Tallinn from London and were shocked and hindered when they'd see that they lose money each and every time.

''How we started is very simple. We're focused on applying new technology. And we're less greedy,'' said Hinrikus, adding that there's no real reason why sending money electronically should actually be expensive.

They're even anything from five to ten times cheaper than PayPal. Since last year, their services have also been made available in Croatia, and they are currently focusing on the further expansion of their business platform, and further remuneration for cash transfers. They currently employ about 1,300 people, several hundred of them are in Estonia, where both founders are themselves from.

Their success was initially driven by marketing, and they were rebellious against the "evil banks in London", as was recalled by Ivo Špigel, a Zagreb entrepreneur and the founder of Perpetuum Mobile.

Hinrikus's acquaintance with Matija Kopić from Osijek, who also also presented his own startup at the same London event, has gone from strength to strength. Both then won over investor interest with their performances and ideas.

Should Croatia dream of being like Estonia? Novac.hr asked Hinrikus.

''Of course you should. You need a government that appreciates the importance of technology, a government which thinks about how to make the government more efficient itself, and better for citizens with the help of technology,'' responded Estonia's answer to Robin Hood.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on startups in Croatia, doing business in Croatia, Croatian companies, products and services, and the business and investment climate.

 

Click here for the original article by Gordana Grgas for Novac.hr/Jutarnji

Friday, 14 December 2018

Driving in Zagreb: Traffic Chaos to Follow Roundabout Closure?

Driving in Zagreb comes with both ease and difficulties, unlike the along the coast, the time of year rarely causes issues when it comes to traffic in Zagreb, but Mayor Milan Bandić's timing for major roadworks often does.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of December, 2018, after having been delayed multiple times, the closing of the huge Zagreb roundabout has now been announced for this coming Sunday, December the 16th, 2018, as has another important event, a sporting one.

On Sunday, December the 16th, the Zagreb Advent Run will take place in the Croatian capital, and driving in Zagreb will become more problematic as the new traffic changes will come into force.

Isidor Kršnjavi street (Ulica Isidora Kršnjavog), where the start of the race will be, will be closed for all traffic from 08:00 to 12:30 on the aforementioned date.

The rest of the routes being used within the scope of the Zagreb Advent Run will begin being closed off by local police several minutes before the start of the race at 10:00 and will remain closed until 12:30.

Sunday will also bring problems owing to the Dinamo Zagreb - Hajduk Split match, which traditionally brings with it major traffic jams, at 15:00.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for more information on traffic and driving in Zagreb, as well as in the rest of the country. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, stay up to date with everything you need to know about what's going on in the Croatian capital city by following Total Zagreb.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Croatia and the Eurozone: Next Two Years Crucial for Adaptation

Unlike the United Kingdom, which used an opt-out, one of Croatia's obligations upon joining the European Union was the eventual introduction of the euro as the country's main currency. While many are against the plan, it will go forward regardless. Erste's main man has warned that Croatia's time to adapt properly to the imminent change is slowly slipping away, and the cooling of the global economy is expected. How will the relationship between Croatia and the Eurozone progress?

As Tomislav Pili/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of December, 2018, even though the banks are expected to experience falling revenue due to the loss of currency trading, Croatia's eventual entry into the Eurozone is likely to bring a lot of benefits to Croatian society, said Erste Bank's CEO Christoph Schöfböck on Tuesday. The statement comes among continued mixed feelings from the public on Croatia and the Eurozone.

"The path towards the euro can't be a purpose for itself [a self-serving purpose], it must have a reason, and that's the prosperity of society," Schöfböck stated. Reflecting on developments in the global economy, Erste Bank's main man stressed that the world economy would "cool down" in two years, so Croatia must use that time for economic adjustment to finally enter into the Eurozone. As for movement on the domestic economic plan, this year Croatia can expect GDP growth between 2.5 and 2.8 percent, according to the director of economic research, Alen Kovač.

"We're growing at a faster rate than the European Union, but also slower than comparable countries," he stressed. Concerning the next year, it is estimated that the positive features of the Croatian economy will remain as they are, such as the further growth in the inflow of money from European funds, investment growth and personal consumption. However, in 2019, the risks that come from abroad - the trade war, Brexit and the issue of the Italian deficit - will be more pronounced. Therefore, next year the growth of the Croatian economy will slow down and will reach between 2.5 and 2.6 percent.

In addition to presenting macroeconomic forecasts, Erste Bank also used this opportunity to launch its new payment application, KEKS Pay. The application is the result of the internal startup of the bank and is described as "the first real digital wallet in Croatia". It serves to transfer money to friends or family's accounts, regardless of which banks they respectively use, and also allows for the collection of money from within a chat group. It functions as a "financial Whatsapp", so it's not necessary to open an account to transfer money, only the recipient's mobile number is required. Use of the application is completely free, as is initially downloading it.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for more information on Croatia and the Eurozone, the domestic political scene, doing business in Croatia, and much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Tomislav Pili for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Croatian Demographic Picture: Cash for Birth in Least Populated Municipality

There can be no denying that Croatia's overall demographic picture is grim. An astonishing amount of people have left, mainly since the country's accession to the European Union, when borders ''opened'' and life was made easier for those seeking opportunities abroad, but also since before then. With an enormous number of Croats having fled the country, mainly from the overlooked continental and eastern areas, the already poor Croatian demographic picture is growing more and more bleak.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of December, 2018, over the last six or seven years, all the first graders from the entire territory of the Levanjska Varoš municipality, with its 136 square kilometres, in which there are just nine settlements, will sit behind just three school desks, according to a depressing report on Croatia's continually worsening demographic crisis by Glas Slavonije.

The small number of children born in this part of Osijek-Baranja County this year offers no hope for this municipality, at least at the moment, and with very little room for optimism in expectations of its demographic recovery, other measures are being sought.

Cash for every birth is an incentive for many, as the aforementioned area is one of the least populated areas, the first association of which is one of ​​poor development, a small population, and one of the areas in the whole of the Republic of Croatia which is the most in need.

In Levanjska Varoš, there are currently less than 6.9 inhabitants per square kilometre. The last census, which was carried out back in 2011, stated that there are 1,250 inhabitants, but, according to the mayor Slavko Tidlačka, for a long time now there have been less than 1,000, about 950 people who live in one of the nine settlements.

Like the poor Croatian demographic picture in general, the prospects for many local villages in this area, as well as across the country as a whole, with a little more ''leg room'' in some areas, are still extremely bad.

Until recently, this municipality has been awarding parents a sum of 1,000 kuna for each newborn child, but now that amount has been significantly boosted. Last year's decision on the right to financial compensation for newborn children in the area was passed. According to the details of that move, parents are paid 2,000 kuna for their first and second child, 5,000 kuna for a third, and for the fourth and then every next child, as much as 10,000 kuna.

Make sure to follow our lifestyle page for more information on the poor demographic image in Croatia and much more.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Americans Approve Sale of Israeli Aircraft to Croatia

After some controversy and a lot of back and forth by all involved parties, it seems the situation with the Israeli aircraft being sold to Croatia has been resolved.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of December, 2018, the competent state department has sent its notification to the Congress in regard to the transfer of the Israeli F-16 aircraft to a third party, ie, to the Republic of Croatia.

As N1 reports from the US Embassy in Zagreb on December the 11th, 2018, the US Department of State has now formally informed Congress of this particular case, which now has a fifteen-day deadline for consent under the US Arms Export Control Act.

Although certain details do still need to be resolved, the State Department has expressed its hopes that cooperation of all the involved parties will lead to a final and successful resolution of the problem.

The process is that the US must approve arms sales to its partners through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. As part of the process of making sales to foreign countries, buyers must agree to seek written approval from the US Government prior to any changes, modifications, or any further sale of military equipment to a third country or buyer.

Over the last few decades, the United States has approved thousands of such requests for the so-called ''Third Party Transfer (TPT)'', which refers to all of the sales of ammunition. Such military equipment resale is treated transparently, in accordance with the interests of US foreign policy, with a view to protecting the integrity of the armaments system. As part of this process, the TPT request may encourage further consideration in Congress if the value of the military equipment in question at the time exceeds a certain amount.

Upon approval of such a request, the United States usually requests that its partners ensure the military equipment purchased from the US or through another military aid program is returned to its original state or that any additions are removed from it. In addition, the United States often cooperates with the original buyer country to ensure that the military equipment is readily prepared by properly authorised persons before further sale.

Although the US government does not generally comment on the goals and intentions of its allies in the procurement of military equipment, we can say that in the wider sense, the US strongly supports Croatia's efforts as a NATO member in its modernisation plans, including in terms of the purchase of the Israeli F-16 aircraft, over which there has been much ado.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by N1 info

Friday, 7 December 2018

Is America Blocking Sale of Israeli F-16's to Croatia?

A new twist in the Israeli F-16 story as the original author of a text published on the Axios website argues that he has received information from Israeli officials that Trump's administration is blocking Croatia's purchase of Israeli F-16 military aircraft.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 7th of December, 2018, the Axios portal has reported that America's Trump administration is going to block the Croatian purchase of Israel's F-16 military aircraft, Večernji list writes.

According to the text published on the Axios website, US officials allegedly claimed that Israel was being dishonest and was attempting to make money on America's account. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu allegedly discussed this issue with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brussels on Monday, where he told him that he wasn't opposed to the sale, but that it was apparently being blocked by US Defense Minister James Mattis.

To briefly explain, the US must give Israel permission to sell its aircraft to a third country, which is what Croatia is. Allegedly, the Trump administration is angry because the Israelis have upgraded their old planes with modern Israeli technology in order to persuade Croatia to buy their aircraft rather than American ones. The Americans are arguing that Israel cannot sell its aircraft without their consent, and especially not in a bid in which the US was competing.

Here at home at the Croatian Defense Ministry, which has been met with raise eyebrows for weeks in regard to the signing of this contract, confirms that Croatia, neither guilty or in the wrong, has been stuck in the midst of lobbying and conflict between the US and Israeli administrations.

The aforementioned Ministry allegedly doesn't believe that the problem is being caused by Minister Mattis, who, in the beginning, was very much in favour of such a Croatian-Israeli agreement and was fully aware that Croatia is not in the financial position to take on the acquisition of the newest US F-16 aircraft block 70/72, which was initially offered by the Lockheed Martin manufacturer in the international tender, reports Večernji list.

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated politics and business pages for more.

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