Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Is Croatian Property Tax Issue Set to be Raised Again?

June the 22nd, 2021 - The highly unpopular topic of Croatian property tax might soon raise its ugly head again. The first time it was suggested a few years ago saw huge public pushback and it was since put back on the shelf, but never entirely scrapped.

As Novac/Marina Klepo writes, in order to secure revenues for local self-government units, Slavko Kojic, the former head of finance in the City of Zagreb, said recently, the tax system needs to be revised and the dreaded Croatian property tax needs to be introduced. He isn't the only one who is calling for that particular tax, the introduction of which in Croatia has failed twice, and ingloriously.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has sharply increased everyone's budget deficits, so, with the introduction of a global corporate tax rate, property taxation is most often mentioned as a desirable way to increase revenue. Whether or not that is a good idea is in the title of a recently published work by the ECB. An analysis considered by 23 countries shows that the contribution of property taxes to total budget revenues is small, averaging about six percent at most. It is higher in countries with higher tax rates (such as the UK and the USA), at about ten percent, and Croatia is among the countries where it is below two percent.

In the decade after 2007, the share of these revenues increased in 12 countries, mostly in Greece, from about one percent, to more than five percent. Croatia is among the countries where there has been no increase in these revenues.

“In general, property taxes to governments can be an effective means of increasing revenue and managing public finances, and increasing the effective tax rate and base can offset other taxes,” authors Marta Rodriguez-Vives and Miguel Angel Gavilan-Rubio believe.

The European Commission, the OECD and the ECB have long recommended that countries shift from labour taxation to a property tax, which is less detrimental to growth. Among other things, it results in greater investment in more productive sectors than the construction of houses and apartments. Previous research has shown that developing countries could collect an additional amount of about two percent of GDP from property taxation.

Whether, when and in what form the topic of Croatian property tax will be on the agenda again remains unknown. The last time the government tried to introduce it was back in 2017, but under pressure from the public, especially from the Lipa Association, which began collecting signatures against and threatening a referendum, it was shelved and the government eventually gave up.

The main argument of the opponents of Croatian property tax is that the tax pressure in Croatia is already too high and that it will affect the broadest sections of the population, given that 88 percent of Croatian households live in their own properties. However, the point of the tax isn't to cover the poor, but the richer sections of the population who have more at their disposal.

For more, follow our politics section.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Numerous Recommendations Before Croatian Eurozone Membership Provided

June the 10th, 2021 - Croatian Eurozone membership depends on numerous factors, and the sorting out of the mess that is the portfolio of state owned companies is just one of the pressing ones.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, although some strides have been made, state-owned companies remain synonymous with political flattery, corruption scandals and, in general, just bad business. However, if Croatian Eurozone membership is to become a reality, and if the country wishes to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which are two strategic foreign policy goals of the government, Croatia will have to make serious efforts to sort out the mess in the portfolio of state-owned companies.

To this end, in the form of the OECD team, in cooperation with the European Commission and the Croatian authorities, a comprehensive diagnosis was made and the government was provided with a number of recommendations for improving corporate governance.

Three are key to a significant turnaround: centralising state ownership, professionalising governance, and harmonising the legal and regulatory framework through a new law on state-owned companies, the OECD said.

"The owners of these companies are taxpayers. The idea is that they should be accountable to the public as private companies are to their shareholders,'' said Charles Donald of the working group on state-owned companies and OECD privatisation.

"Although these recommendations aren't mandatory, they're the ''acquis'' for joining the OECD," Donald said.

Sanja Bosnjak, State Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property, assessed the guidelines as a benchmark and made sure to state that Croatia has committed itself to reforms in the state-owned enterprise sector in the action plan for joining the exchange rate mechanism.

"This is a symbolic start to work on reforms in this area that involve the entire administration," she said.

The value of state-owned companies is estimated at a massive 190 billion kuna, making up a whopping 47.2 percent of Croatian GDP in 2019. The (central) state owns 59 of them, of which 39 have special status. 19 are wholly or majority owned by the Centre for Restructuring and Sales (CERP), and two more companies are outside that umbrella. Beyond them is a constellation of 938 local state-owned companies. Most of them operate in the segment of transport, energy, construction, finance, telecoms, manufacturing, tourism and property/real estate.

While with about 260 state-owned companies per million inhabitants, Croatia can ''boast'' of being one of the record holders in the EU, as well as in the rest of Southeastern Europe where a similar phenomenon reigns, the problem is, in typical Croatian fashion - total and utter inefficiency.

The return on capital and revenue growth is lower than it is in the private sector, and with the exception of strategic companies, more than 80 percent of non-strategic ones have failed to reach even the median return on capital of the sector in which they operate, the OECD found.

With fragmented competencies, from ministries, the CERP to various agencies, the OECD recommends the establishment of a single body with adequate mandate and resources to coordinate stakeholders and end the current practice of unclear roles and, more importantly, blurry responsibilities.

The second recommendation for Croatian Eurozone membership is aimed at professionalising management through strengthening the role and powers of the supervisory board. The current election of members of supervisory boards is open to political staffing, varies by company, and the prescribed fees are typically not very attractive to professionals.

The recommendation is to establish professional and independent committees, as well as independent auditors, and to enable supervisory boards to set their own strategies and oversee management. In doing so, the OECD emphasises in particular that government officials and policy-appointed persons cannot by any means ever be considered independent experts.

Finally, a new law is needed that should harmonise the current legal framework and underpin reforms in the state-owned enterprise sector.

In addition, the list of recommendations for Croatian Eurozone membership includes increasing transparency, strengthening internal controls, setting clear financial and non-financial targets, and simplifying the legal framework and corporate structure of companies so that state-owned companies compete evenly with private ones in the same market.

For more on Croatian Eurozone membership and Croatian politics in general, make sure to follow our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 31 May 2021

What Will New Zagreb Mayor Tomasevic Do for Capital's Citizens First?

May the 31st, 2021 - Zagreb has a new mayor and a major political shift has taken place in numerous places across the country which were former HDZ strongholds. With the results finally in after the second round, just what does brand new Zagreb mayor Tomasevic from Mozemo! (We Can!) promise to do for the capital's residents?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the new Zagreb mayor Tomasevic said last night that he expects the official handover to take place at the end of the week and that the first meetings are expected as early as today.

"I'm going to proudly lead this city to a better future and I will be the mayor for all of its citizens, both those for whom I was the choice and those for whom I wasn't the choice. I believe that all of the citizens of this city, regardless of how they voted and whether they went to the polls at all, want better living conditions in their neighbourhoods, more accessible kindergartens, better healthcare services, more care homes, better public transport, better bike paths, more green areas, they want this city to finally give a bit of perspective to young people,'' said the new Zagreb mayor Tomasevic when giving his winning speech.

Tomasevic and his party Mozemo! announced that they'd reduce the existing 27 city offices, and thus the head offices, down to about 15. This of course also requires a vote in the Assembly. However, the late Milan Bandic's top people will not be easily replaced - the contracts for 11 of them will cease to be valid by the end of the year, but some of them have contracts for another three years and Zagreb mayor Tomasevic cannot dismiss them, even if he fully cancels their positions in the city's offices.

"We;'l talk to all of those people and directors, we'll see what projects are underway, what the deadlines are. There will be a normal transition of power. We'll have about 15 city offices, and for coordination, 27 offices are way too many, that's clear,'' said Tomasevic after the first round.

He also spoke about his first moves between the two rounds of local elections.

“We can immediately restructure the city administration and establish a city office for reconstruction. Currently, 80 percent of apartment buildings haven't even submitted a request for renovation, because people are struggling with documentation, which is a failure of both the city and the state. The city has the human capacity to form an office that will help people meet the requirements, that they don't have to collect documentation by going to city and state offices, but that we do it for them and communicate with people on their own doorsteps. The first thing that will be felt immediately after the change of government will be in the city administration, which will become open, accessible and transparent,'' Zagreb's new mayor assured, giving hope to many still struggling shamefully after the March 2020 earthquake struck Zagreb.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Zagreb's Acting Mayor Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic Leaving Politics

May the 30th, 2021 - Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic, who stepped in as Zagreb's mayor following the premature and sudden death of longtime mayor Milan Bandic, has decided to leave the political scene and pursue another career in a very different field.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic, the current acting Mayor of Zagreb, failed to enter the second round of recent Croatian mayoral elections, so she decided on a change in her career path, opting instead to kickstart her scientific career as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb, Jutarnji list reported on Saturday.

The Faculty of Kinesiology announced on its website that Dr. sc. Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic is to give an inaugural lecture as "an application in the process of election to the title of scientific-teaching title of assistant professor in the scientific field of social sciences, scientific field of pedagogy, for the subjects of pedagogy and didactics" on Wednesday.

Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic, while known for stepping into the role of Zagreb's mayor following Bandic's untimely death, is otherwise a doctor of science. Back in 2018 she received her doctorate in pedagogy, and now, after becoming an assistant professor, she will be able to work as an independent lecturer.

Her associates have confirmed that she will remain here in the Republic of Croatia and that she will teach at the Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb following her doctorate.

There was speculation in the media that Jelena Pavicic Vukicevic could leave Croatia upon stepping down from her current political role at the capital's helm.

The above could be heard being circulated in the corridors of the city administration because her husband works abroad, and she herself has openly said that such a possibility exists for her too, but that it is the least possible option when compared to remaining here in the country.

For more on Croatian politics, make sure to follow our dedicated section.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Croatia Holding Election Runoffs on Sunday

ZAGREB, 29 May 2021 - The second round of local elections will take place on Sunday for the mayors of 57 cities and 87 municipalities as well as for the prefects of 14 counties in Croatia.

During the second round of voting, 3,231,000 citizens are eligible to vote at nearly, 5,500 polling stations that will be set up in 432 cities and municipalities.

Four biggest cities to get new mayors

The results of mayoral runoffs will show who will run the four biggest Croatian in the next four years. In the capital city of Zagreb, the mayoral candidate of the Green-Left Coalition, Tomislav Tomašević of the We Can party faces off Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement party (DP), whereas in Split, the mayoral runoff includes Vice Mihanović of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Ivica Puljak of the Centre party.

In Rijeka, Marko Filipović of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and independent Davor Štimac are vying for the mayoral of this northern Adriatic seaport, and in Osijek, Ivan Radić of the HDZ and Berislav Mlinarević, supported by the DP party and the Bridge party, are running in the mayoral runoff.

Those four cities will have new mayors, as none of the incumbents are in the mayoral race. In Zagreb Milan Bandić, who was at the helm of the city for 20 years, died of heart attacks on 28 February.

The outgoing mayors of Osijek and Split, Ivica Vrkić and Andro Krstulović Opara (HDZ), decided not to run for a new term, citing health reasons.

The outgoing Rijeka mayor Vojko Obersnel, an SDP official, who has been at the helm of Rijeka since 2000,  said before these local elections that the time had come for younger politicians to take the helm and supported Marko Filipović of the SDP as his successor.

Another major cities, which are county seats, for instance Varaždin, Dubrovnik, Vukovar and Sisak will have the mayoral runoffs between the incumbents and the new opponents.

In Pula, which was run by Boris Miletić of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) until these polls, the IDS official Helena Puh Belci faces off independent candidate Filip Zoričić.

Six counties get prefects in 1st round, 14 to have runoffs

Six counties elected their prefects in the first round of voting on 16 May, when the winners won more than 50% of the ballot, and the remaining 14 counties will have runoffs for their prefects on Sunday.

Of those six winners in the first round, four are HDZ representatives: Antonija Jozić of Požega-Slavona, Igor Andrilović of Virovitica-Podravina County, Ivan Anušić of Osijek-Baranja County and Danijel Marušić of Slavonski-Brod Posavina County.

Social Democrat (SDP) official Željko Kolar was reelected prefect of Krapina-Zagorje County and Matija Posavec, an independent candidate, was reelected as the head of Međimurje County.

In the other 14 counties, the first two vote-getters will participate in the runoffs on 30 May.

Anti-epidemic measures to be implemented at polling stations

Voters going to the polls on Sunday are required to wear protective masks and they are also advised to have their own pencils. Although the epidemiological situation has improved since the first round of the voting, the same anti-epidemic measures will be implemented on Sunday.

Polling stations open from 7 am to 7 pm

The polling stations will open on 7 am and close at 7 pm. The course of voting will be observed by 8,334 monitors, and the lion's share of them have been proposed by political parties running in the elections, while a mere 17 monitors will be at polling stations on behalf of nongovernmental organisations

Friday, 21 May 2021

Green Activists, Some Opposition MPs Slam Low Carbon Transition Strategy

ZAGREB, 21 May 2021 - Several activists of the Green Action gathered outside the national parliament on Friday to express their dissatisfaction with the strategy for low carbon development, which was presented to lawmakers on Friday morning.

The document which was today on the parliament's agenda has neither vision nor ambition. We consider it a failure, said the Green Action NGO leader Luka Tomac.

Tomac said that the scientific community had been warning for 20 years that Croatia had 10 years to make a turnaround in its climate policy, however, the document showed that the government was not inclined to make such plans and postponed the climate action for the period after 2030.

Activist Marija Mileta said that the strategy envisaged investments, import, and further development of fossil fuels even until 2050.

Opposition lawmakers say the document is outdated

During the parliamentary debate on the document, lawmakers from the Opposition parties said that the strategy was outdated.

Some said that the strategy lacked the courage to make headway.

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

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Just 20% of 5.5 Billion Kuna of Croatian Covid Guarantees Approved

May the 19th, 2021 - Of the massive sum of 5.5 billion kuna in so-called Croatian covid guarantees, only a mere 20 percent has been approved as yet. Many people, from business owners to the banks themselves, has opinions as to why that is.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has recently underlined the key role of the state during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, recalling the fact that the Croatian Government has so far paid out 10.5 billion kuna through job preservation measures and that the ORM measures have covered a total of 687,000 employees and 120,000 employers.

However, unlike the aforementioned direct fiscal aid, which has been being extended and expanded as time has gone on, national guarantee programmes for the economy have failed miserably from their initially planned levels. Most of these programmes were adopted last year, and so far, less than a fifth of the planned amounts of Croatian covid guarantees have been approved.

Croatian covid guarantees in the amount of more than 1.53 percent of GDP are planned through budget-funded and approved by the European Commission's Covid-guarantees covering 80 to 100 percent of the loan principal. That's equal to more than 5.5 billion. According to the data presented in the Government Convergence Programme 2022-2024, so far, an amount equal to just 0.26 percent of GDP has been approved, which is equal to less than a billion kuna.

Various participants have their own thoughts and opinions about the reasons for such low utilisation, from HBOR and HAMAG-BICRO, which are in charge of approving these Croatian covid guarantees, to the banks and even to the business owners themselves. Some believe that the problem is the lack of interest of commercial banks as the first address to which enterprises typically turn.

Others (even the banks themselves) point out overcomplicated rules and the typically Croatian problem of there being far too much administration. Small enterprises also see a problem in the lack of information.

The HAMAG-BICRO agency admits that the figures are "less than expected" given the level of coverage of state guarantees. They also point out that they "promptly processed all requests they received from banks", and that the figure in that sense stands at about 154 million kuna.

It should be noted that some large banks, unlike, for example, ESIF guarantee programmes, haven't even entered into agreements with the Agency for individual national guarantee programmes.

HBOR, on the other hand, says that in addition to loan insurance and guarantee programs implemented under the coronavirus measures, almost 1.4 billion kuna in loans have been approved so far. The largest part refers to loans secured by the Export Liquidity Loan Portfolio Insurance Programme, which is implemented in cooperation with 14 banks.

"Under this programme, banks independently make the decision to include approved loans in the secured portfolio according to pre-agreed conditions, ie without the need for additional approval by HBOR for each individual loan," they explain.

They also state that all programmes within the scope of coronavirus measures remain active. Depending on the terms and conditions of a particular programme, they allow coverage of up to 80, 90 or 100 percent of the loan principal amount, and in some cases they even pay regular interest. The implementation of these programmes is currently scheduled for the end of June, and is expected to be extended until the end of the year, in line with the duration of the EC's Temporary Framework.

In addition, back in November 2020, HBOR introduced the Insurance Premium Subsidy programme, which enables liquidity loan users secured through a portfolio or individual insurance programme to subsidise the cost of their insurance premiums by up to one hundred percent.

Enterprises affected by the pandemic have so far, however, made it known that they are primarily interested in grants. For example, according to a survey by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) from back in February, as many as 94 percent of 1,700 respondents suggested this, while only 6 percent expressed some level of interest in financial instruments, ie guarantees and loans.

“One of the reasons for that certainly lies in excessive regulation, administration and bureaucracy in achieving the proper conditions for financial instruments. It's currently one of the most complicated in the entire EU. This was confirmed to us in talks with the banks themselves, which are trying to influence the relaxation of these conditions,'' they claim from HUP.

The low utilisation of state guarantee programmes, according to them, can be explained by the "fiscal exhaustion of the economy.''

The lower interest of enterprise owners stems, in addition, from the fact that loans, at least for larger companies, are already available at low interest rates from commercial banks. In the Voice of Entrepreneurs Association (UGP), which is primarily the “voice” of those micro and small companies, warranty programmes are generally considered “good things”, especially given the degree of coverage, yet they still see several reasons for their poor utilisation.

One of them is the problem of education or insufficient information. However, UGP also says that banks often don't treat these guarantees as first-class, so in the end the loan amounts are reduced, as they claim, "by more than half". In addition, they say that banks continue to approach loan processing very conservatively.

"If they believe that an individual company has no prospects according to their projections, it's unlikely that the loan will be approved even with a guarantee," they said, emphasising primarily coronavirus-crisis-affected companies that have current liquidity problems.

Finally, in addition to the Croatian covid guarantees provided by the state, there are currently many other guarantee programmes, including those coming from European institutions such as the EIB, which are directly obtained by commercial banks. The association also notes that "banks put more emphasis on other types of insurance, such as insurance for land, halls and machinery."

Regarding other guarantees, HAMAG also points out that enterprises still have ESIF guarantee programmes to use if they want to (individual and portfolio, for investments and working capital and for rural development).

These financial instruments, based on the signed agreements (with the Agency's guarantee for a part of the principal and agreed interest), facilitate access to financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and encourage credit activity, they claim. 

HUP says that despite the biggest crisis in 25 years, enterprises are ready to create and invest in new projects (according to the survey, up to 21 billion kuna in five years) if they are given the investment momentum through grants.

Therefore, over the past few months, they've persistently called for more grants to be available to the private sector through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the main purpose of which is to ensure recovery from the ongoing public health and economic crisis and resilience to the future in the short term, they say.

For more, follow our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Croatian Recovery and Resilience Programme Faces More Criticism

April the 22nd, 2021 - The Croatian Recovery and Resilience Programme is continuing to face more backlash, doubt and criticism as this so-called ''generational opportunity'' presents more questions than it does answers.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, not even ten days before being sent to Brussels, criticism of the Croatian Recovery and Resilience Programme, the key to the 6.3 billion euro grant to try to drag us up and out of the ongoing pandemic crisis, hasn't stopped.

Those to whom it should refer didn't participate in the programme's creation, only about eighty pages of the summary were released to the public and it included projects that have nothing to do with reforms.

Disappointment with the plan, which the prime minister calls a "generational opportunity", is shared by the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), who demand that the document be changed in such a way as to direct more money to the real sector.

At a recently held conference, which dissected the plan with the specific question of what kind of investments can get us out of the crisis, chief economist Iva Tomic pointed out that in terms of GDP per capita, Croatia is at the very bottom of the EU, at 65 percent of the European Union average.

If we want to get closer to 75 percent then we need to grow faster than others in as much as is possible by boosting merchandise exports and private investments with a quick return, rather than repeating the mistake we made back in 2008 when public investment and infrastructure were favoured.

''We need bold growth rates’'

"The patient is now in the terminal phase, and we're treating him with aspirin, so in five years we'll be sitting, scratching our heads and again wondering why we're lagging behind. We need bolder growth rates, and we can only achieve that by direct investments in entrepreneurship,'' HUP's Igor Skrgatic, from the company BE-ON, stated.

"I really don't understand how we can allocate 7.5 billion kuna for the renovation of buildings and facades, and only 2.5 billion kuna for healthcare, which is less than a dozen annual investments in the sector," asked HUP president and Pliva's main man, Mihael Furjan. He noted that productivity must be increased, but "we don't see how the plan is planned to be used in the right way, in order to increase efficiency."

He added that investments in equipment are welcomed because in healthcare it can increase disease prevention and bring savings, but that it should be used to the maximum with accompanying investments in people. “In healthcare, we have great doctors and pockets of excellence. For example, efficiency already exists in dental tourism and transplant medicine,'' Furjan pointed out, highlighting brighter Croatian examples.

Skrgatic emphasised that there is too much allocation in the public sector already, which doesn't have the capacity to absorb money in the short term, instead of in the private sector, where one kuna of investment would create a new 3-4 kuna. "There is a thesis that we're asking for helicopter money. No, we're asking for money for projects in a high stage of development, to make programmes in accordance with the pillars of the EC, to which entrepreneurs will apply,'' said Skrgatic.

Mislav Balkovic, the Dean of the Algebra University College, believes that the Croatian Recovery and Resilience Programme and its plan shouldn't be viewed only from the perspective of cash but also the creation of jobs. He stated that education is the foundation of competitiveness, and Croatia is in the company of the Philippines and Costa Rica in this regard, which isn't much to shout about.

"Investments in infrastructure aren't going to work to create new jobs, and we aren't going to be able to maintain the existing system of intergenerational solidarity for long. Key reforms must emerge. That's why it's much better for the changes to be designed after the local elections when the pressure for investments in local infrastructure is reduced,'' said Balkovic.

The age old Croatian mentality of helplessness

“The Rimac Campus and the Sisak Refinery are very potent projects. But why don’t we have 200 projects in the catalog? We can't even get anywhere close to that if the person compiling the catalog doesn't come and talk to us,'' stated Atlantic Group CEO Emil Tedeschi.

He pointed out that he opposes the stereotyping that projects are divided into the private and public sectors, but that it's important to see how to allocate money to create a multiplier effect. He also pointed his arrow to the address of the private sector and discussed the role, or lack of, of the state in that field.

"If Infobip had waited for the Government, it wouldn't have become a unicorn, if Rimac had waited, he wouldn't have attracted investments from Porsche and Hyundai"

We've unfortunately got a mentality which is a combination of rentiership and helplessness, and there's still an awful lot of work which needs to be done. But that doesn't simply get the Croatian Government out of its duties of taking some responsibility,'' Emil Tedeschi concluded when discussing the Croatian Recovery and Resilience Programme and its content.

For more, make sure to follow our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Has New Position

March the 4th, 2021 - Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has always been known for her diversity when it comes to turning her hand to various things, and she has stepped outside of the political box once again with her newest role.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM), the oldest business school in all of Croatia, leads the Olympic committees of four countries and two elite European universities in creating an educational programme for professionals, which will enable them to follow new business careers after finishing with the sporting world.

In addition to ZSEM, the consortium consists of the Olympic Committees of Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Institute of Sports in Slovenia and two elite universities - the Stockholm School of Economics from Sweden whose professors participate in selecting Nobel Prize winners and the German WHU - the Otto Beisheim School of Management & Euromasters, whose master's programme in management was ranked among the top three in the entire world by the prestigious Financial Times (FT) magazine.

As stated, the MLEA (Micro Learning Entrepreneurship for Athletes) project will develop specialised, "tailor made" programmes to enable current and former athletes in the region to acquire the necessary business knowledge and skills to facilitate their often difficult and confusing transition from the sporting world to business and entrepreneurial careers. The project will also include elements of gamification and the employment of micro-learning methodology.

The business schools of Sweden and Germany involved in the project have been developing their world-renowned sports and management centres for years now, functioning as interdisciplinary research centres boasting expertise in a wide range of areas from management and marketing to international business and finance. Through this project, ZSEM intends to lay the foundations for the creation of a similar sports centre here in Southeastern Europe.

The former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic will more than likely succeed in her new position of ZSEM Advisor for International Affairs

The project will, as touched on, also include the former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic as the new advisor of ZSEM for international affairs. She otherwise became a member of the International Olympic Committee last year. In her new position, the former Croatian president will support ZSEM's ambition to further expand in terms of international cooperation and even more actively engage in international projects.

"Since its establishment, ZSEM has been internationally oriented and we are continuously working on strengthening ties with those who are similar and the best business schools and universities around the world. We believe that this global networking is one of our greatest qualities and unique values ​​that we can provide to our students. Therefore, we want to continue to strengthen our international cooperation and our global recognition and position in the coming years. The arrival of Ms. Grabar-Kitarovic in our team can undoubtedly help us significantly. We´re glad that she will share her rich and valuable life and professional experience she gained in her previous positions with us and our students,¨ said dr.sc. Mato Njavro Dean of ZSEM.

Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, a member of the International Olympic Committee and the Croatian Club of Olympians, pointed out that former presidents across the world are engaged in education after the end of their political careers, and that she is glad that she got such an opportunity.

"The way ZSEM works and its ambitions for further development and international positioning have opened space for our cooperation. It started with a project related to sports and ZSEM's desire to position itself as a regional centre for athlete education in the future. It is well known that sporting careers typically end when an individual is still young, and very often they do not have adequate skills and knowledge that would enable them to develop equally successful business careers, so their potential often remains underused, which is a missed opportunity for them as individuals and for the community as a whole,¨ pointed out the former president.

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Sunday, 19 July 2020

HDZ: SDP's Grbin Resorts to Aggressive Rhetoric to Conceal Lack of Vision

July 19, 2020 - The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Saturday said that the rhetoric used by Social Democrat official Peđa Grbin who had called HDZ members thieves "is futile rhetoric of marked by aggressive behavior and lies which the SDP used in the run-up to the parliamentary elections."

Instead of presenting the SDP's vision of the future or programs for the challenges which Croatia is faced with, Grbin is again trying to label HDZ members as "thieves", resorting to the futile rhetoric of aggressive behavior and lies which the SDP kept promotion, including also during the election campaigning, HDZ said on its Facebook account after Grbin's statements earlier on Saturday.

Peđa Grbin, who has been the only one to explicitly express his intention to take the helm of the SDP so far, since the SDP leader Davor Bernardić resigned due to the party's poor election results, said on Saturday that he would support the Možemo! platform leader's candidacy for Zagreb Mayor if that would mean Milan Bandić's ouster. Grbin admitted that he saw no problem to support Tomislav Tomašević of the Možemo! platform as a joint mayoral candidate of several parties in the capital city, if that will mean the ouster of the current Mayor Milan Bandić whom he called "a thief" and if that will mean "that we will not let thieves from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) succeed him (Bandić)."

HDZ says that this statement made by Grbin, who "is trying to introduce himself as a leader of the new SDP after that party's election defeat" on 5 July, proves that nothing new could be expected from the SDP-led coalition. HDZ says that SDP representatives use false accusations about thieves only to disguise their own incompetence and lack of the party's program and vision, which was the reason why the SDP "experienced one of the worst election results" in its history.

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