Saturday, 11 June 2022

Conference Held on Untapped Slavonian Potential, Green/Digital Transition

June the 11th, 2022 - A recently held conference discussed untapped Slavonian potential, looking more deeply into this wrongly overlooked part of the country and exploring what the green and digital transition(s) could mean for it.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Agency for Sustainable Development of the Municipality of Antunovac held a conference on untapped Slavonian potential, organised by the International Network of Business Women and the Croatian Association of Employers of the Osijek Regional Office.

"This is a fantastic topic for Slavonia, but also for Croatia in general, because a lot of funds will be available. Digitalisation and the green transition is something that awaits us in the future and without which we can't move forward. Neither big nor small enterprises can turn a blind eye to this, because without it they won't be competitive and that's something they'll simply have to introduce,'' said Ivana Radic, President of the International Business Women's Network.

Milan Peterka, head of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, added that in addition to the tenders from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, for digitalisation and the green transition, it will be possible to withdraw funds from the European Union's multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, and as much as 7 billion kuna will be available.

The conference focused on two main topics: the green transition and digitalisation, as these are increasingly current topics that the European Commission has also emphasised in the new budget period. Here in Croatia, only 15% of business entities use green technology and we're still very much lagging behind in terms of the degree of digitalisation. Croatian companies are insufficiently prepared and insufficiently informed.

“The green transition is a strategic decision of every company and it's a process that requires a lot of financial resources, depending on the industry in question. If we talk, for example, about the chemical industry, those funds can be very significant,'' explained Mirjana Samardzic Novoselec.

She also referred to the recent research conducted by Apsolon related to digitalisation, in which Croatian companies continue to make insufficient use of digital technologies. "The coronavirus pandemic has pushed some processes forward, but this still isn't enough,'' he said.

However, there are some good examples of digitalisation and the green transition among businesses in Croatia. Blazenka Cisko Anic, the director of the Saponia Institute d.d., also spoke at the conference, at which she announced that in the coming period, Saponia plans to invest 20 million kuna in increasing its energy efficiency by using green energy through the installation of solar panels and the energy renovation of six production facilities and the company's headquarters.

"Saponia has long since recognised the need for a green transition and for products that are environmentally friendly. Within Saponia, great care is taken of the raw materials that are purchased, the production process and standards,'' said Cisko Anic.

On behalf of the Olimpias Group, their Wasatex project was presented, which enables water savings in the fabric production process, where 70 percent of the water is reused in the production process. The investment is worth a massive 1.2 million euros, half of which was obtained from EU funds, and the return on investment is two years.

Zvonko Popovic, the director of Kanaan, said that part of their planned activities when it comes to the green transition has already been implemented by Kanaan, and the next step is robotisation.

"We've done perhaps the most in agriculture. We bought software that now makes it much easier to control the situation out in the fields. The new equipment we bought consumes a lot less resources, both in the human and energy senses. We've invested almost 10 million euros in robotics, which may not be the most popular thing, and our goal in the next two years is to robotise all possible drives. The reason is that there isn't enough manpower, and labour is becoming more expensive and the quality is declining. I must say that the only thing that pays off for the future is the purchase of state-of-the-art technology and to have adequate people who will follow it,'' stated Popovic.

PlantOn CEO Mario Salai explained how their company helps farmers on the one hand and customers on the other because it allows them to nurture their remote garden through the app.

“Anyone can enter our system, apply, get 40 square metres of their plot and process what the customer wants. It may be surprising that most of the current users are family farms and companies that want to produce organic and healthy fruit and vegetables for themselves or their employees,'' concluded Salai.

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Saturday, 13 November 2021

All EU Countries Make Progress in Digitalisation, Croatia Ranks 19th

ZAGREB, 13 Nov, 2021 - Croatia has made slight progress in the digitalisation of its economy and society, moving up by one spot to 19th place in the European Commission's 2021 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI).

"All EU Member States have made progress in the area of digitalisation, but the overall picture across Member States is mixed, and despite some convergence, the gap between the EU's frontrunners and those with the lowest DESI scores remains large. Despite these improvements, all Member States will need to make concerted efforts to meet the 2030 targets as set out in Europe's Digital Decade," the Commission said in a press release.

The DESI tracks member states' progress in digital competitiveness, human capital, broadband connectivity, integration of digital technology, and digital public services.

The best performers are Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Croatia lags behind Slovenia, but is ahead of Italy, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria.

Although Croatia moved up to 20th place on connectivity, it still lags behind the EU average, with a score of 45.4 against 50.2. It scored best on integration of digital technology, ranking 13th with a score of 40 against the EU average of 37.6.

Croatia placed 16th on human capital, with a score of 46.7 against the EU average of 47.1. It performed worst on digital public services, ranking 24th with a score of 52 against the EU average of 68.1.

"While Croatia has good fast broadband coverage (86% national and 39% rural), its overall fixed broadband take-up is slightly below the EU average. One of the positive developments in connectivity is the assignment of harmonised spectrum for 5G in August 2021. This is a stepping stone for further acceleration of the digital transformation and is bringing benefits to both businesses and individuals," the report said.

"The level of at least basic digital skills remains slightly low compared with the EU average. In contrast, for above basic digital skills, Croatia comes in above the EU average. Croatia is progressing its successful implementation of the e-Schools programme, with all Croatian schools (1,320) included in the second phase of the programme," it added.

Croatian enterprises continued to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies, and there has been a sharp rise in popularity of e-invoices, with enterprises’ usage up from 12% in 2018 to 43% in 2020, following the amendment of the Public Procurement Act which made e-invoices mandatory for enterprises.

The report notes that the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development expects to finalise the 2021-2027 National Plan for the Digital Transformation of the Economy mid-2022. The 2021-2029 Smart Specialisation Strategy and the National Plan for the Development of Artificial Intelligence are also under development.

The Commission says that Croatia has taken several steps to provide more digital access to the public administration, for example through the eID notification platform for electronic payment of fees, and that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan lays out an ambitious roadmap, with reforms and investments touching on all dimensions of the Digital Economy and Society Index.

"While Croatia is making modest progress to reach the Gigabit Society objectives, significant improvements are still needed. High right-of way fees are an impediment to VHCN (very high capacity network) deployment. Efficient VHCN deployment could be further facilitated by absorption of EU funds, implementation of the connectivity toolbox and addressing the lack of coordination in permit granting between central and local government, in particular on permit granting and fees. The recent assignment of harmonised spectrum suitable for 5G usage is an important step towards digital transformation, enabling Croatia to take full advantage of a digitalised economy and society, both for households and businesses," the report concluded.

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Friday, 29 October 2021

McKinsey: 140,000 Croatian Workers Will Need to Change Occupations

October the 29th, 2021 - A huge amount of Croatian workers will need to consider changing their occupations as digitalisation and automation continues to leave the need for the human touch in the past, according to a recent analysis.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, approximately 340,000 jobs will disappear due to automation and trends fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, but rest assured, these will be replaced by almost the same number of new jobs in new occupations and growing industries and due to a general increase in productivity. While net labour demand will remain virtually unchanged, there will be significant changes in the structure of occupations on offer. Therefore, by the end of the decade, almost 140,000 Croatian workers will need to change their occupations in order to remain employed.

This is one of the conclusions of the analysis published by McKinsey & Company Adriatic in cooperation with McKinsey Global Institute entitled The Future of Work in Croatia - Transformation of the Croatian Workforce in the Age of Automation and Digitalisation, which examines the impact of automation, artificial intelligence and digital technologies on various sectors, occupations and jobs, and the combined impact of all this on the combination of skills that the Croatian workforce will need to have by 2030.

Realising the full economic potential of automation and digitalisation, but also maintaining the existing level of employment will require the cooperation of all stakeholders to find ways to enable Croatian workers to transform and acquire the skills that will be required in the future.

"This isn't just going to happen by itself - all private organisations, public institutions and educational institutions will have to work together during the transition period to realise this potential," said Tomislav Brezinscak, CEO of McKinsey & Company Adriatic.

By 2030, six percent of the total number of working hours in Croatia will move from jobs that require physical skills to solve work tasks to jobs that require cognitive, social, emotional and technological skills. Specific skills, such as those needed to manage devices and equipment and to easily enter and process data, are likely to experience the largest drop in demand in the share of employees by 2030. This is to be expected, as activities that require physical strength and skill as well as data collection and processing skills are something that can be very easily automated now.

The analyses described in this report take into account the composition of the workforce throughout the country, combined with the expected rate of the adoption of automation, based on available technologies and the economic feasibility of their implementation. When looking at the potential speed of automation from the perspective of trends fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, Croatia will achieve an automation adoption rate of around 22 percent by 2030.

In other words, the activities that currently account for about 22 percent of the total number of working hours of employees in Croatia will be automated by the end of the decade. The adoption of automation will vary from sector to sector - manufacturing, wholesale, business functions that serve to support the administration, and public administration - will be the areas with the highest rate of automation adoption.

Croatia needs to improve its productivity in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and income growth in all segments of the population. This is especially important because the population of Croatia is only getting older. Automation is also an opportunity to realise Croatian national interests. Companies, if supported by the appropriate policies and investment in skills development, can develop new services and products, increase their productivity and create new and better paid jobs. By embracing the changes that will take place in the world of work over the current decade, Croatia can avoid structural unemployment and create new national wealth in a way that promotes social inclusion.

Accelerated digitisation may be the most important new driver of growth, and Croatia's digital economy, which encompasses all digital activities in all economic sectors, now accounts for approximately five percent of GDP, equivalent to 2.4 billion euros. By 2025, the digital economy in Croatia can reach 11 percent of GDP, which means that it will contribute to the value of the overall economy with 8.3 billion euros.

Although automation and digitalisation provide an opportunity to create a more productive and competitive Croatian workforce, they also bring several challenges - especially in terms of losing existing jobs and developing future skills. Like stakeholders in other EU countries, all stakeholders in Croatia must balance the pace of automation and the acquisition of new skills if they want the country to benefit from automation and the introduction of new technologies.

If automation and digitisation happen too quickly, it may happen that the new jobs that will be created will remain unfilled by Croatian workers, and that, potentially, could lead to worsening income inequality. On the other hand, if automation and digitalisation happen too slowly, it could harm Croatia's competitiveness and prevent economic growth.

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Monday, 21 June 2021

Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) to be First Nearly Zero Energy Building in Croatia

June 21, 2021 - An exciting new step for Croatian energy efficiency is happening at the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP), as the Institute makes significant changes to its building which will also help to educate other experts for energy efficiency.

As the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) gave great support and input in REPLACE Project that brings energy efficiency to Rijeka and Kvarner region, just put a new log in Croatian energetic efficiency. The start of June saw the contract for granting non-returnable funds for founding nZEB- the National Training Center on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, EIHP reported on its website. The project is financed from the „Energy and Climate Change“ Fund, part of the Financial Mechanisms 2014 – 2021 in Croatia, courtesy of the European Economic Area (EEA).

1,600,000 Euros is the total value of this project on which EIHP collaborates with the Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Zagreb. The goal is to empower all the actors in reconstructing buildings to meet the nZEB standard.

With the center being established in the building of the Požar Institute undergoing reconstruction at the moment, it will be a vivid example of the modern technologies that are implemented in nZEB design.

„We will show and share with the widest professional community the solutions that will be developed through this project. The whole process of reconstruction will be followed and documented, and detailed, and serve as an example in the training program as the Institute becomes the first public building in Croatia reconstructed in such a manner. With the appliance of green energy technologies (electrification of heating and cooling systems with a crane that uses shallow geothermal source, integrated photo charged electric plant on the roof, energy containers, efficient lighting), we also wish to include E-mobility, which is certainly the future of traffic as well as accomplish complete digitalization of all technical systems the building is using. That way, the building will be the showcase example of the double transition – green and digital“; said the EIHP headmaster, Dražen Jakšić.

Jakšić attended the signing of the contract, along with the regional development Minister Nataša Tramišak, Norwegian Ambassador Haakon Blankenburg (as Norway also supports the Financial Mechanisms 2014 – 2021), Ministry secretary of economy and sustainable growth dr. Mario šiljeg, and the Faculty of Civil Engineering dean dr. Stjepan Lakušić.

„After this pandemic, we will not develop by repeating the things from before. A historical change is afoot, and we will meet it with green development and with new 'Green Deal'“, concluded Jakšić while Minister Tramišak also pointed out that securing financial mechanisms for advanced technologies and energy renewal.

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

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Thursday, 8 April 2021

Digitalisation of Nautical Fees, Payments in Person Suspended

April 8, 2021 - Nautical tourists will now be able to pay the fees related to their stay online thanks to the digitalisation of nautical fees as Croatia continues dragging itself into the modern era.

Tourist fees for nautical tourists in Croatia can now be paid online, reports Goran Rihelj for Hrturizam. The website Nautika E-visitor, available in English, Croatian, German and Italian, offers the ability to accept payments according to the size of the vessel, which can stretch from 7 to over 20 metres in length, as well as by the number of people. These options are aligned with the Tourist Tax Act.

The site was launched last year as a service of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport, and Infrastructure and allowed tourists to pay and download an electronic confirmation of payment of navigation safety fees online. The entire system has been updated in regard to the digitalisation of nautical fees, and there is no longer an option to pay the fee in person, which was the only way to do it previously.

''Croatia has a fleet of 4,300 vessels, more than 140 nautical tourism ports with over 17,000 berths and over a million cruise passengers. The average consumption of nautical tourists is 126 euros per day, and in the charter sector, 183 euros per day. More than 30 percent of that money is spent on other forms of tourism, from cultural content to wine and gastronomy,'' reads the article on HRturizam.


port, pixabay

It goes on to remind readers that, the main website for information on tourism owned and run by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), also has a subsite for nautical tourits. The subsite, just like the main site, is available to view in Croatian, English, German, Italian, Czech, French, Japanese, Hungarian, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, and the Swedish language.

An important step in digitalisation development of Croatia has proven and continues to prove especially useful during the ongoing global pandemic, which makes frequent physical contact with other people risky.

As such, nautical tourists generally have an edge when it comes to being able to self-isolate and enjoy their holidays safely with a chosen group of friends or family on their private vessel. This is yet another argument for them to visit Croatia, along with the breath-taking coastal landscape accompanying clear Adriatic sea.

Learn more about sailing in Croatia on our TC Page.  

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Friday, 28 August 2020

How To Join The New Electronic Court Registry - Apply By Mail!

August 28, 2020 - From September 1, 2020, every company needs an email address entered in the court registry. The digitalization of Croatia is just around a corner. But, in order to join, you'll first need to print out the forms and then return them. Via mail.

If you own a company in Croatia, you need to join the court registry, writes The only thing they need from you is an email address. After applying, you'll be able to gain access to the so-called electronic mailbox to which the courts will send all letters. This is finally a step to digitalizing all correspondence between legal authorities and every business in the land. Although to join the new electronic system, you will first need to apply. By mail.

Registration mail address in the court register

The obligation to enter an email address and access the electronic mailbox exists for all companies, regardless of whether or not they are involved in disputes which require the services of the courts. The registration of the email address is free of charge. But first, you'll need the form. You need to print this out, complete it, and then return it by registered mail. The form must be signed and have the seal of the company, and if the company has more than one board member, all must sign it. Three days after sending, you must check if your email address is in the court registry. Remember to check the email address is spelled correctly.


Once your email address is entered in the registry, you need to send a short letter to the email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in which you will write:

"Please, join the company XXXXX d.o.o. to the e-communication system."

In the letter, you must supply the OIB, company name, e-mail, and the name of the person or persons representing the company, with the personal data (OIB, address) of each.

You should also check with your bank or FINA that you have the technical prerequisites to receive letters electronically. The so-called 'level 3' credential is required, and it is held by larger banks, FINA, and other institutions. Here is a list of all institutions that carry this credential, so choose one of these services to enable electronic communication.

In addition to the credential, you'll also need to obtain a signed certificate. This is a certificate that is used to legally sign documents with an electronic signature - it has the same legal effect as a handwritten signature. The issuers of the certificate are FINA, AKD and the Ministry of the Interior, with FINA and AKD having both a credential and a signature certificate.

Once you’ve done all this, you can access your email inbox at the email address here. If the company receives correspondence from the court, a notification will arrive at the email address. 

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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Croatian City Following Digital Estonia and Denmark's Fine Example

How can not only the budget but the administrative mess in Croatia be overturned and managed rationally and sparingly so that it works for everyone, without us having to go to Estonia or Denmark? Believe it or not, there are some good examples in our own backyard. One Croatian city in particular is leading the way to change that is so desperately needed in this paperwork, tax stamp and queue loving little country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of October, 2019, the continental Croatian city of Bjelovar saved one and a half million on the salaries of its employees last year, and they plan to save a further 2.5 million kuna this year.

We've rrpoted on Bjelovar's impressive and encouraging digital moves several times before, and now they are also working on the full digitisation of the city administration, making it the first Croatian paperless city. This small Croatian city also has a plan to make all entrepreneurs totally exempt from all taxes, levies and contributions, so as to encourage more people in that direction. Mayor Dario Hrebak, revealed to RTL Direkt the secret of the successful functioning of something that the majority in draconian Croatia cannot begin to comprehend.

"We reduced the wage bill by 1,150 million kuna. Today, there are ten less people working because they've retired. We digitised fifteen workflows, and we're planning for eighty. So, we balanced the work out with the people who stayed. We saved 1.5 million kuna. Maybe ten employees doesn't sound like much, but that's more than 10 percent in our city administration,'' explained Mayor Hrebak.

He added that in the City of Bjelovar they want to do more with the same amount of money because the modern economy cannot be based on such old and outdates systems. Ironically the ones Croatia loves and masochistically clings to so much despite all.

"People in Croatia have a wrong perception of digitisation. How much you save on toner and paper. We want to rationalise it all, we're standardising the processes. We've introduced an e-newborn system so that when a child is born, an e-citizen can collect all the documents and send them digitally to the city government,'' the mayor said. Such a move might not sound like much to those outside of Croatia, where the majority of paperwork is done online, but in the land of lining up for hours to be abused by an uljhe... sorry, I mean ''civil servant'', and told you're missing meaningless papers, this is a revalation.

Several similar processes are planned by the end of the year, which include enrolling children in kindergartens or applying for grants. Entrepreneurs will also be able to look online at the status of a building permit or similar permits for which they have applied.

"In Croatia, everyone wants to solve the problems that have been piling up for thirty years overnight. In Bjelovar in particular, for eighteen years, nobody dared to touch the surtax. Nothing gets altered overnight. We have now taken it down by 25 percent, by the end of our term, we will have no surtax in the city,'' Hrebak told RTL Direkt proudly.

He said that everyone needed the political will to see this through. He believes that total transparency is important and that every citizen must know where each kuna from the city goes. He added that politicians today have no vision and plan everything for one term, while he intends to hold at least two terms in office in this small but smart Croatian city.

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