Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Mass-Scale Emigration From Croatia Has Led To Rise in Corruption - Study Finds

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - The emigration of Croatian citizens, in addition to having incalculable implications for the country's pension, education and health care system, has also lead to a rise in corruption in Croatia, Večernji List newspaper said on Tuesday, citing a study by Tado Jurić, a political scientist and historian from the Croatian Catholic University.

The study showed that corruption and emigration were interrelated.

Jurić compared corruption and migration trends from 2012 to 2020, notably the number of Croatians who emigrated to Germany, the country where most Croatians go to in search of work and a better livelihood, and the ranking of Croatia in the global corruption index, and found that corruption was more pronounced when the number of people who left the country was higher. Croatia ranked 63rd among 180 countries included in the corruption index in 2019 and 2020, and 50th before the emigration wave reached its peak.

"Common sense says that if people who are not involved in corruption networks emigrate and those who stay are involved in such networks, corruption activities will be even easier to carry out and more frequent. If critics leave, all the better and easier for those criticised," Jurić says, adding that corruption is deeply rooted in Croatian society and has become a parallel system that undermines the economy.

"Corruption has done even more damage to the Croatian national identity, the sense of unity and solidarity, and to Croatian culture in general than it has done to the economy, which is unquestionably enormous. The main negative effect of corruption affected the country's human resources and political stability. In Croatian society, corruption has become a privilege of the elites, but so-called major corruption, political corruption and clientelism should not be confused with so-called civil corruption.

"So-called elite corruption has given rise to a special phenomenon in society which could be called 'a revolt of the elites'. It is the elites that use the media for their everyday protests against the media, citizens and institutions, making citizens accustomed to the practice that they should not express their dissatisfaction with politicians, but that politicians should express their dissatisfaction with them," Jurić said.

The study shows that 65.3 percent of 178 small, medium and large companies polled said that corruption has been on the rise in the last five years, while 32.4 percent believe that there has been no significant change.

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

 

Monday, 29 March 2021

Despite Pandemic, 26,000 Croatians Moved to Germany in 2020

ZAGREB, 29 March, 2021 - In 2020 Germany saw the lowest increase in the number of foreigners in the last ten years, however, despite the pandemic, more than 26,000 Croatians emigrated to Germany last year, show statistics published by the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden on Monday.

The net increase in the number of Croatian citizens with residency in Germany in 2020 was 11,955 to 426,845.

From 1 January to 31 December 2020, 26,335 Croatian nationals emigrated to Germany while 10,305 Croatians moved out. Around 1,000 Croatian citizens obtained German citizenship and were consequently removed from the register of foreigners.

Croatians are the sixth most numerous foreign community in Germany, after Turks, Poles, Syrians, Romanians and Italians.

The number of Croatians with residency in Germany has almost doubled since Croatia joined the EU in 2013.

In 2012, the last year before Croatia's accession to the EU, there were 224,971 Croatians in Germany.

In 2020, the number of people with a foreign passport in Germany rose by 262,000 while in 2019 it grew by 376,000.

Statistics for 2020 show that immigration from EU countries remained stable but immigration from third countries slowed down significantly, which is associated with difficulties related to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of 2020, roughly 11.4 million foreigners lived in Germany.

The number of residents from the Western Balkans grew last year as well.

Currently 211,000 nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina live in Germany, which is around 7,000 more than in the previous year, as do 242,000 Serbians, around 5,000 more than in 2019.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 20 May 2019

National Action to Keep Educated Youth in Croatia Held in Zagreb

As VLM/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of May, 2019, two respected Croatian newspapers, Večernji list and Poslovni dnevnik, in cooperation with the University of Zagreb and the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, are set to organise a round table entitled Future in Croatia and a ''time travelling'' exhibition through Večernji list's history.

After successful events already held in Osijek, Koprivnica, Rijeka, Zadar and Split, Zagreb will now play host to this national action launched by the Vecernji list group with the ultimate goal of retaining young educated people here in Croatia in the face of continuing and concerning negative demographic trends.

The event will be opened by Večernji list's Andrea Borošić, Prof. dr. sc. Lorena Škuflić and Prof. dr. sc. Damir Boras.

The Zagreb roundtable will discuss the vital importance of the retention of young and educated people here in the Republic of Croatia, and will be attended by numerous significant figures from across the spectrum of both politics and science in Croatia who have succeeded in standing out in their respective fields.

The first part of the program will conclude with the official opening of Večernji list's exhibition "We've been together for 60 years", which, through interesting and interactive content, will present the rich history of Croatia's media leader, along with an introductory speech from the curator.

At the very end of the program, an interactive forum will be held during which a student contest in writing projects will presented, and the present Večernji list group will reward the excellence of Croatian students.

Guests will be Podravka's dr. Sc. Jasmina Ranilović, PLIVA's Blagica Petrovac Šikić, UVI eSports d.o.o.'s Marko Komerički and the directors and founders of the company Hodajuće reklama Tino Vrbanović and Ante Starčević, who will present their encouraging and successful business ventures and projects which have been realised here in Croatia to all those gathered there.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and lifestyle pages for much more. If it's just Zagreb and what's going on in the capital you're interested in, follow Total Zagreb or check out Zagreb in a Page.

 

Click here for the original article by VLM on Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 28 April 2019

''Don't Leave Croatia, I Thought it Would be Easier in Time, I was Wrong''

The economic situation in Croatia is far from promising, and with more and more Croats flocking to Western European countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, it seems that the country's massive staff shortages and concerning demographic crisis aren't about to be over any time soon. 

However, just how much milk and honey really flows through the rivers of Western Europe, or is it all just a myth? Having been raised in the UK and having lived in Croatia for years now, I can quite confidently state that neither milk nor honey can be found at least in the British isles, and while the economic conditions are indeed more stable and safe, the idea that huge wage packets and a perfect life are waiting for you when you step off the plane in London is farfetched, to say the very least.

Wages typically (not always, of course) match the cost of living, and when you need to pay over £100 for council tax per month and have your heating turned on for several months per year to cope with the cold temperatures and miserable weather, suddenly that fatter pay packet doesn't seem as appealing as it did at first.

As Croats from all corners of the country continue to go and try their hand abroad, thanks to Croatia's accession to the EU and the freedom of labour, many are faced with shocks which only longer than three months in their newly adopted Western European countries can show up.

As Novac writes on the 27th of April, 2019, Marko Mihaljević, a 27-year old Croat with a Masters degree, went from Babina Greda in Vukovar-Srijem County (Eastern Croatia) to the bustling German city of Frankfurt seven months ago, and managed to get a job in construction. He is one of the very many young Croats who haven't been able to find a job in Croatia, so they placed their hopes and dreams for a better future in the hands of one of the Croats' favourite countries to go and seek work - Germany.

However, just like in the United Kingdom, there are no rivers flowing with milk and honey in Germany either, and Marko soon found that out for himself.

"I thought it would get easier in time, but everything's harder," Mihaljević explains in a short Facebook video he posted in which he discusses the matter.

He shared his experiences of leaving Croatia and working in Germany via the aforementioned Facebook video, and told his fellow young Croats still in Croatia not to go abroad if they weren't absolutely sure of everything, because he himself thought things would be very different.

''I'm spending my days doing this job. I'm not trying to throw anyone under the bus, nor am I trying to talk badly about any job, because I've never underestimated anyone in my life, but I'm doing a job for which I don't even need a primary school education. Having a Master's degree sounds nice, but I've got to break my back here from morning til night for my bare existence because that's [gaining respectable employment with a Master's degree] not allowed in Croatia. Why is it not allowed? Because I'm not in any political party,'' Marko stated bluntly.

He says he's angry that as a man with a Master's degree, he has to work in the construction industry, but he currently has no choice,'' writes Fenix ​​Magazine.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle  page for much more on the Croatian demographic crisis and the mass exodus of Croats to Western Europe.

Monday, 22 April 2019

600,000 Residents in Croatia Were Born Abroad, Where Are They Located?

The unemployment rate for young people up to 29 years of age is the highest among Croatia's domestic population, and the lowest among young people from third countries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of April, 2019, the Republic of Croatia is among the countries of the EU with the best integrated immigrants from third countries, which can only be met with surprise by those people who do not know that these ''immigrants'' are actually mostly just Croats born in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by a few immigrants from Serbia, Germany, Slovenia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

According to the latest census, 584,947 (13.7 percent) of the population of Croatia were born abroad. The number of migrants are as follows: Serbia (9 percent), Germany (5.8 percent), Kosovo (3.5 percent), Slovenia (3.4 percent), Macedonia ( 1.7 percent). Immigrants to Croatia, predominantly from Bosnia and Herzegovina, are doing much better in terms of the employment rate of young people up to 29 years of age, meaning that they're significantly better integrated into the Croatian labour market than those born in Croatia and those from other EU countries.

This data were presented by sociologists Snježana Gregurević and Sonja Podgorelec, and social geographer Sanja Klempić Bogadi from the Institute for Migration and Ethnicity in the presentation "The Influence of Immigrant Groups on the Social Cohesion of the Receiving Society - the case of Croatia".

A large number of Croatian residents born in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the result of labour migration during the socialist period of Yugoslavia and immigration during the Bosnian war. Most immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina live in Zagreb (98,579), Split-Dalmatia County (36,864), Zagreb County (35,427), Brod- Posavina (29,537) and Osijek-Baranja County (28,051), these are the "entrance" Croatian counties, those closest to the border regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the exception of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, from which emigration towards Croatia was the most intensive,'' stated Klempić Bogadi.

By the year 2015, Croatia, along with Serbia, Germany and Austria, was the most common destination for immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, since 2016, the trend is for the Bosnian population to migrate to Germany and Austria, and the number of such persons in Croatia and Serbia is steadily decreasing.

"According to Eurostat's data, immigrants from third countries, predominantly immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, are better involved in the Croatian labour market than the domestic population and immigrants from other EU countries in terms of the employment rate of young people aged from 15 to 29. The employment rate of young people from third countries in Croatia is higher by 18 percent when compared to the employment of domestic youth,'' said Snježana Gregurović.

As stated, the unemployment rate for young people up to 29 years of age is highest among the domestic Croatian population, and is actually the lowest among young people from third countries.

"Because of their small share of the total population of Croatia, immigrants haven't endangered or undermined the country's social cohesion. Because of the modest share of the immigrant population in Croatia who do not have Croatian ethnic origin, and the large share of those who do have it, the integration challenges are not yet posing any sort of significant cost to the state, or a threat to the domestic population,'' says Podgorelec.

In Zagreb, the largest concentration of immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina live in Sesvete, where the research "Influence of immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina on the socio-demographic development of Croatian urban regions" was conducted on a sample of 301 people aged 18 and over born in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Most of them (93.4 percent) were ethnic Croats, ethnic Serbs made up 3.7 percent of them, Bosniaks made uo 2.3 percent, and 0.7 percent was made up of others. Otherwise, 85.2 percent of Croats born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and living in Croatia are actually Croats, 6.3 percent of them are actually Serbs, and just 6 percent are Bosniaks.

A third of respondents hold dual citizenship, (Croatian and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Almost half of them work, of which 68 percent are mostly in trade or the construction industry. 14.6 percent are unemployed, those who stay at home make up 6.6 percent, pensioners make up 29.2 percent, and students and pupils in education make up 2.7 percent. The largest number of immigrants from Bosnia and Herzegovina living in Sesvete have secondary education, and 6,3 percent have higher education.

"Most respondents feel very welcome in the local community, they have a strong sense of belonging to the Croatian society, and they vote in large numbers during elections in the Republic of Croatia, but are exceptionally poorly involved in any organisation and/or civil society. Given the fact that many of them also have Croatian citizenship and therefore they vote in the elections in the Republic of Croatia, many are significantly less interested in political developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which shows a high level of political integration,'' concluded Podgorelec, reports Večernji list.

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

Friday, 19 April 2019

Croat in Germany Reveals Whether or Not Life Really is Cheaper There

A Croatian YouTuber in Germany reveals all about double standards when it comes to your weekly shop...

All too often the Croatian media is plagued by depressing stories of Croats fleeing the country in search of better lives elsewhere. Since Croatia's accession to the European Union, this trend has only grown worse and the level at which emigration from Croatia has been is hardly sustainable for the country these people are leaving behind. 

Many people leave realising that hard work and a difficult adjustment period awaits them, however many assume Western European nations like the UK, Ireland and Germany boast rivers of milk and honey and that everyone earns a huge amount for doing very little, and well, the basic fact that higher wages are typically designed to manage the high cost of living seems to bypass many in their lust for a better economic situation. Some stay, and some return with a stark realisation that life abroad isn't quite as easy as they expected.

With all that said, just how much difference is there in the general price of things between Croatia and Germany? One Croatian YouTuber who moved to Germany back in 2014, just one year after Croatia's accession to the EU, made a video for all those would-be Croatian emigrants.

As Novac writes on the 18th of April, 2019, Ivan Lovric, the oner of the YouTube channel Lovra who moved to Germany with his family in 2014, compared some basic food prices in Germany to those in Croatia in his new video.

''I thought it would be a really good idea to buy some stuff in a shop in Germany, and get my wife to buy the same things over in Croatia. To make a comparison and check whether or not it's really, as it's often said, that it's cheaper in Germany,'' explains Lovra in his video's introduction, which is in Croatian.

They arranged for Ivan's wife to visit the exact same store, a German merchant which has their own stores in Croatia, and buy the same basic foods like bread, milk, eggs, and flour. Although Ivan didn't want to name the store in his video for various reasons, he says that it will not be difficult for people to realise which store it is when they see the branded products.

The first product that the pair checked was bread, more precisely ciabatta. Ivan bought it in Germany and paid the equivalent of 5.13 kuna, and his wife spent 5.99 kuna for the exact same thing here in Croatia. The difference is a mere 86 lipa, less than 1 kuna, so Lovra concluded that that's not so terrible. Once again, the next difference is very small, but again, it leans in favour of Germany when compared to the Croatian price of milk. One litre of milk in Croatia stands at 4.99 kuna, and in Germany, at a lower price of what would be 4.61 kuna. A packet of toast and and a kilograms of fries (chips) in Germany, is cheaper by about 1.50 kuna when compared to Croatia, while sour cream is cheaper in Croatia, sold at 2.99 kuna, whereas in Germany it costs 3.64 kuna.

Still, the biggest surprise, and not in a positive way, are eggs. A box of ten eggs for which Lovro gave 8.85 kuna, his wife paid a significantly higher 13.49 kuna here in Croatia, almost five kuna more. The difference is almost 3 kuna more when comparing the prices of Nutella, a favourite of many. Over in Germany, a 400g pack costs 20.75 kuna, and in Croatia it costs 23.49 kuna.

In the end, Lovra paid a total of 131.54 kuna for his basket, and the exact same basket from the exact same German store, but in Croatia, was almost 20 kuna more, or 150.03 kuna.

''Yes, I unfortunately have to say that in Germany it's cheaper than it is in Croatia. There's not a big difference, but I believe that when everything is calculated at an annual level, the difference is a lot bigger,'' concluded Lovra.

He also added the fact that the average wage in Croatia is considerably lower than in Germany, and thus Croats have a lower standard of living than the Germans.

If you're able to understand Croatian, watch Ivan's video here:

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

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Above Board or Below Board, Croatia's Employment Issues Continue

Croatia's employment issues are somewhat perplexing to many, and although there has apparently been a massive drop in unemployment, there's only been a very slight jump in those registering as newly employed. The maths doesn't always really add up, but unfortunately the demographic picture of the country explains it all.

As Jadranka Dozan/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of April, 2019, at this time of year, official data on employment levels tends to heavily reflect the huge levels of seasonality Croatia's labour market is affected by with every passing year, of course, this is primarily owing to the increased employment levels of seasonal workers before the start of the main tourist season in summer. The latest figures from HZMO (Croatian Pension Insurance Fund) from March show some growth in the number of insured persons, both on a monthly and an annual basis, with positive annual rates having continued to some degree or another since March 2015, while monthly growth began in only in February, according to analysts from Raiffeisen Bank (RBA).

Last month, the number of insured persons increased by 14,000, to a total of 1.52 million people, and it is realistic to expect that the number of insured persons will increase even more owing to the opening up of seasonal positions in preparation for the tourist season, an economic trend which could easily continue until September. When compared to March last year, the number of insured persons more than 32,000 or 2.2 percent higher.

Along with the pretty positive indicators from HZMO's labour market information, the Croatian Bureau of Statistic's labour force surveys are more in line with the process of the huge problem of the mass emigration of Croatia's fit, healthy, working-age population and the demographic of an aging general population. The latest survey, in which the last quarter of 2018 was included, indicates an annual drop in Croatia's working-age population from 3.54 to 3.52 million.

Those who are economically active in Croatia, whether they're already working or actively looking for a job, numbered just 1.8 million at the end of 2018, which is 42,000 people or 2.3 percent less than the year before. Despite the positive economic data, the activity rate dropped from 52 to 51 percent. Activity and employment rates have, at least for some time now, been indicative of much more than just the general rate of unemployment. This applies in particular to activities that are needed in more economically developed EU countries, and jobs that tend to be given to (highly) skilled staff.

Economists have been warning for a long time that recent developments in reduce the potential for growth in Croatia in the long term. The number of unemployed people in Croatia in the last quarter of the year, according to the results of the survey conducted in the last quarter of 2018, dropped when compared to the previous year by 46,000 people, or 23 percent, to 154,000 people. At the same time, however, the number of employees increased only very slightly, by 0.3 percent, meaning just 5,000 people more, to 1.64 million. In the fourth quarter, the activity rate and the employment rate recorded lower values ​​(51 percent and 46.6 percent), according to RBA.

In the last quarter of 2018, the numbers of economically inactive people older than fifteen increased by just one percent. Finally, the year ended with the fall of Croatia's unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, which is also the first drop below 10 percent since 2009, the year which followed the 2008 recession, but unfortunately this is partly a consequence of Croatia's negative demographic trend.

Although Croatia's growth in employment is of course very encouraging, analysts warn that it should be noted that the number of employees has been growing at a mild rate for the last five years, and that the average number of employees is still 6.5 percent lower than in before the crisis back in 2008. Overall, they conclude, Croatia's labour market remains very fragile and is burdened with some extremely serious structural problems, especially in terms of the total mismatch of supply and demand, long-term unemployment, and the falling number of working-age people for the ninth year in a row.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics and business pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Jadranka Dozan for Poslovni Dnevnik

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