Monday, 30 August 2021

Croatian Company Mi-Plast has 5 Billion Euro Service for Market

August the 30th, 2021 - The Croatian company Mi-Plast has a five billion euro solution for plastic waste up its sleeve which could save the a lot of time and money in the future.

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes, Jelena Miketa from the Croatian company Mi-Plast, based in Rijeka, says that she considers it to only be a matter of time before this type of technology comes to life throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

This Rijeka company, with its close cooperation with Spanish partners, has developed a new technology for the decomposition of plastic - Ecometilal. Starting from the fact that within the European Union alone, a quarter of plastic waste ends up in landfills, these Croatian and Spanish partners launched the developmental phase of the Ecometilala project back in 2016 from European Union funds, which was all concluded back in March this year.

"The total research budget of Ecometilal stood at two million euros, and the results of the project showed that the combination of gasification and synthesis is sustainable for recycling plastic waste of a complex composition from different sources," said a report on the topic.

After the completion of the research, the next step is to offer this technology to the economy, and in support of the assessment from the beginning of the text, Jelena Miketa has cited some concrete examples of market interest in Ecometilal.

''Our Spanish partner in the project, Blue Plasma Power, the owner of the KHGP technology patent, is already in negotiations with European investors who see a lot of potential, so the plan is to construct an industrial space in Spain over the next few years, and there are also stakeholders from Saudi Arabia,'' revealed Mi-Plast's Jelena, which is otherwise a family company owned by Davorin Miketa Petek.

The Croatian company Mi-Plast was moved back in 1991 from Banja Luka to Rijeka, and since 1993, it has been engaged in the production, distribution and recycling of polyethylene packaging used in industry, households, construction, agriculture and tourism.

When asked if other Croatian companies are interested in Ecometilal technology, Jelena Miketa said that several companies in the country have expressed interest and support.

''Here in Croatia, support was given to the entire project team and the idea of ​​a new type of chemical recycling of waste, which results in the creation of a new eco-product for a wider purpose. However, Croatian companies still suspect that the initial investment is too expensive, and the procedure is too complicated, and that the initial incentive should come from government agencies that will recognise the long-term benefits for Croatia in the technology of the Ecometilala project,'' she explained.

The aforementioned interest of the state in encouraging the production and use of methyl for the decomposition of plastics stems, among other things, comes from the fact that back in January this year, the Council of the European Union began to apply the relevant EU directive on such waste in landfills.

According to Jelena Miketa, the aforementioned tax amounts to 800 euros per tonne of unrecycled plastic waste, and given the fact that here in Croatia, about 40 thousand tonnes of such packaging is disposed of in landfills, the tax liability of the country for non-recycled plastic waste would amount to a massive 32 million euros per year.

''The estimated value of the use of Ecometilal and the annual operating cost are approximately several times less than the amount by which the EU would additionally tax Croatia for its plastic waste,'' commented Jelena.

Given the additional taxation and other costs of disposing of non-recycled plastics, the estimate of a 5 billion euro market for the Croatian company Mi-Plast's Ecometilal technology seems quite reasonable indeed.

''The application of methyl is wide and diverse in the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and petroleum industries. These industries consume most of the methyl due to the low level of toxicity, the high dissolution power and low viscosity,'' explained Jelena, adding that this is applicable not only as a solvent, but also as a chemical reagent, a base material, as well as as a substitute for other types of solvents in various chemical processes.

''Methylal is also used as a special purpose fuel, as an additive to gasoline fuel. In any case, what's crucial is that the raw material from which this high-potential and widely applicable chemical product is obtained is waste, more precisely, that waste that can't really be recycled by conventional recycling methods, so such waste usually ends up in landfills,'' said Jelena.

Waste that can be used in plants developed by the Croatian company Mi-Plast and its Spanish partners includes, inter alia, multilayer food packaging, heavily soiled packaging, plastic from electrical and electronic devices containing inorganic materials for strength and insulating properties, and plastic from the automotive industry that comes combined with foam, sponge and other textiles.

For more on Croatian companies, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

EU Funds Absorbed by Croatia Exceed Payments Into EU Budget by HRK 43 Bn

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - The latest report on the absorption of funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) shows that since its EU entry in 2013 until 11 August 2021, Croatia absorbed HRK 43.15 million more from the EU budget than it paid into it, the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry has said.

In the 2014-2020 period, Croatia had €10.7 billion from ESIF at its disposal, the ministry said in a statement on the report presented by Minister Nataša Tramišak and adopted at a closed-door government session on Thursday.

Until 11 August 2021, contracts were signed for projects worth €13.12 billion or 122.22% of the allocated amount.

Payments were made in the amount of €6.32 billion or 58.89% of the allocation and €5.27 billion was verified, or 49.13% of the allocation.

In the period from 2013 to 11 August 2021 the difference between EU funds paid into Croatia's budget and national funds paid into the EU budget amounted to HRK 43.15 billion (€5.75bn) in Croatia's favour, the Ministry said.

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

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Croatian State Inspectors Can Use Secret Identities Under New Regulations

August the 19th, 2021 - Croatian state inspectors will be able to use secret identities under new rules and new powers as Croatia aligns itself with another new EU regulation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the bill that has just been put up for public consultation, Croatian state inspectors will be able to purchase samples, including under secret identities, when checking the technical requirements and assessing the conformity of industrial products out on the market, and the costs will be borne by the responsible companies.

This is part of the process of harmonising Croatian legislation with the new European regulations, which came into force this summer and which complements and strengthens product supervision on the European Union's single market.

As stated in the explanation of the proposal of the Croatian Law on Technical Requirements for Products and Conformity Assessment, the bill is set to regulate the manner of prescribing technical requirements for products, the obligations of economic operators, the prescribing of the requirements which need to be met by conformity assessment bodies, product contact points, single liaison office and cross-border mutual assistance, and inspection and misdemeanor provisions.

Its adoption is proposed by urgent procedure because EU Regulation 2019/1020 has been in full force since the 16th of July, and Croatia has an obligation to ensure the proper conditions for its implementation as soon as possible.

Of course, the inspection of products upon import for their placement on the EU market is performed by the Customs Administration of the Ministry of Finance, and the powers of the Croatian state inspectors themselves and the administrative measures related to them are prescribed in detail.

This European Union regulation provides for the granting of these powers to market surveillance authorities, and this is especially applicable, as has been stated, in cases where products are sold at a distance, ie via the Internet. The EU regulation itself enumerates a number of powers for market surveillance authorities, including the power to purchase product samples under a secret identity "in order to inspect those samples and reverse engineer them to establish non-conformities and gather evidence".

The misdemeanor provisions state that a fine of 50,000 kuna to 1 million kuna will be imposed in the case of violations carried out by manufacturers and authorised representatives if they place a product out onto the market that isn't designed and manufactured in accordance with the regulations, if they fail to test samples, if they don't provide the competent inspector with all data and documents, if they don't affix the prescribed CE marking or if they're marked with markings that are similar to the CE marking and may mislead consumers, as well as for a number of other infringements.

For them, the responsible person from the company will be fined from 20 to 50 thousand kuna. The importer will be fined from 25 to 500 thousand kuna, and the responsible person from 15 to 50 thousand kuna, writes Jutarnji list.

Penalties are also provided for distributors, and "order providers" are also listed. These are all those who offer warehousing, packaging, addressing and shipping services within the trade, excluding postal services.

For more, follow our business section.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Croatian Chamber of Notaries Involved in Wider European Union Project

August the 19th, 2021 - The Croatian Chamber of Notaries is involved in an international project called ''Undisputed Trials in Europe/ Nesporno sudovanje u Europi'', which is being co-financed by the European Commission (EC).

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the project the Croatian Chamber of Notaries is involved in has the purpose of studying and analysing the procedures within the jurisdiction(s) that Austria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia have all respectively entrusted to notaries.

In the first place, this refers to probate proceedings which in almost all of the aforementioned countries, to a greater or lesser extent, are carried out by public notaties as commissioners of the Municipal Courts in whose territory they have their seat.

The project also includes CNUE - Council of Notaries of the European Union, which has developed the European Notary Network (ENN), a platform that serves notaries public in 22 European Union member states (which have a public notary services available in them) for mutual communication and assistance in all situations when working on cases with an element of foreignness to them.

In addition to the above, they were also involved in the project "Inheritance in Europe/Nasljedjivanje u Europi'', and the purpose of that was to analyse the application of the EU Inheritance Regulation over the past five years in the territory of 22 EU member states and to identify the European Commission's recommendations for the procedure of future amendments to that same regulation.

The results of the analysis are expected in the second half of 2022, and the application of this regulation through one procedure for all assets avoids the implementation of special probate procedures in all member states of the bloc.

The transfer of ownership of property to heirs under a decision on inheritance from another country is carried out according to the European Certificate of Inheritance (EPN), which was also introduced by the same regulation.

Here in the Republic of Croatia, it is issued by a public notary who issues a decision on inheritance and it isn't necessary to conduct long and expensive procedures for recognising a foreign court decision, which speeds up the process and reduces the costs of claiming inheritance.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

GLAS Party: Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Should Advocate Active Role of EU in Taking Care of Refugees

ZAGREB, 17 Aug, 2021 - The GLAS party on Tuesday requested that at today's extraordinary meeting of European foreign ministers, Gordan Grlić Radman of Croatia advocate a proactive role of the EU in taking care of refugees and protecting the human rights of Afghan citizens, especially women and girls.

"The images from Afghanistan must not leave us indifferent, nor can we pretend that is not our concern," GLAS said in the press release and requested that Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Grlić Radman openly advocate a proactive role of the EU in taking care of refugees.

"In its foreign policy and action within the EU, Croatia must build recognizability on the promotion and protection of human rights as well as on empathy and advocacy of human life as the highest value. Our experience of war destruction and suffering gives us not only an additional moral obligation to always be the first to advocate these values, but in such traumatic situations it can also be an important contribution to the EU policy and activities it plans to take," the opposition party said in the press release.

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

Friday, 13 August 2021

Original Croatian Products Positioned on Brand New EU Portal

August the 13th, 2021 - Original Croatian products have been placed on a brand new European Union (EU) portal, putting a spring in the step of the many much loved domestic products this country traditionally produces.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the European Commission (EU) has created an online portal on products with special geographical labels called GIview, which provides an overview of these products protected by and across the European Union, including designations in the process of protection and geographical indications of non-EU countries.

It is brand new a portal where product information is presented in the form of what's known as a GI card containing the contact details of groups of manufacturers of geographical labels and their control bodies, the product's production area shown on the map, photos and the product's description, the geographical area and any sustainability statements.

As the youngest member state of the European Union, the Republic of Croatia and as such original Croatian products are currently in ninth place in terms of the number of registered names of agricultural and food products, and the first on the list of products with this sought after label was prosciutto from Krk.

Croatian producers of these products, in addition to recording an increasing trend in sales on both domestic and European markets, point out that protected geographical labels and authenticity are not only important for product recognition, but also have the function of protection from the threat of the grey market.

Today, there are 31 protected original Croatian products, 21 more name protection procedures are underway, and the last to be registered as far as Croatian wine goes was Muskat Momjanski, which has been labelled since the beginning of August.

For more information on original Croatian products, special European Union labels and much more, make sure to check out our Made in Croatia section.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Croatian President Zoran Milanović Meets With EU Military Committee Chairman

ZAGREB, 27 July, 2021 - Croatian President and Armed Forces Commander in Chief Zoran Milanović met on Tuesday with General Claudio Graziano, the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, the President's Office said in a press release.

Graziano thanked Milanović for the participation of the Croatian Armed Forces in EU-led missions and operations.

They talked about the Strategic Compass document which is expected to give the EU clear security and defence guidelines in the coming period.

The talks also focused on battle groups, operations and missions led by the EU, cooperation between the EU and NATO, and the development of the Union's defence and security capabilities, the press release said.

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

Monday, 26 July 2021

Croatian National Bank Answers Important Question About Eurozone Entry

July the 26th, 2021 - The Croatian National Bank has revealed just how long we'll be able to make payments in both Croatian kuna and in euros as the country prepares to join the Eurozone at the beginning of 2023, as is currently planned.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to previous announcements, Croatia should enter the Eurozone and as such finally adopt the on January the 1st, 2023, and before the euro officially becomes the country's official currency in replacement of the kuna, many preparations will have to be made.

When it comes to just who will be in charge of the technical realisation of some important things about the introduction of the euro and how the euro will work at the very beginning, the Croatian National Bank confirmed for that the new euro coins of the Republic of Croatia will be made at the Croatian Monetary Institute.

"The production of euro circulation coins with the Croatian national symbols will begin at the earliest six months before the day of the introduction of the euro, ie after the EU Council Decision that Croatia will introduce the euro," the Croatian National Bank explained.

With the day of the introduction of the euro as the national currency of the Republic of Croatia approaching, a sufficient amount of euro coins will be prepared for circulation to meet the needs of all people and business entities, the national bank added. What everyone is interested in at the moment, however, is just how long it will be possible to use both kuna and euro in parallel before the kuna is phased out and placed in this history books entirely.

"During the first two weeks from the day of the introduction of the euro, kuna and euros will remain in circulation at the same time, and traders should return the rest of the money to customers which have paid in kuna exclusively in euros," the Croatian National Bank explainsed After that period, the euro will be the only legal tender allowed in the country, they added.

"In order to ensure a smooth transition to the new currency, in a short transition period, the kuna and the euro will have the status of legal tender at the same time. In other words, people will be able to pay in both currencies in the first two weeks starting from the day the euro is introduced in stores. After two weeks from the day of the introduction of the euro, the euro will be the only legal tender in the Republic of Croatia,'' they stated from the Croatian National Bank.

Money, meaning Croatian kuna, can be exchanged for euros free of charge for the first six months of the euro being in use in the country. However, if someone does forget to exchange any kuna cash they have into euros after that deadline, it will still be possible. Namely, in the first six months from the day of the introduction of the euro by the bank, Fina and Hrvatska posta d.d. will allow kuna cash to be exchanged for euros in all branches free of charge, and in the next six months they will be entitled to charge a fee for this service.

For more, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Economy Minister Ćorić on EC Plan to Reduce Gas Emissions

ZAGREB, 21 July, 2021 - Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić on Wednesday spoke of an informal EU meeting of environment ministers in Slovenia on new legislation on climate and the European Commission's recommendation to reduce greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990.

He explained at a press conference that this refers to 12 legislative proposals from various areas that are being considered by EU member states in reference to the set objectives.

Ćorić said that this was an important step towards strengthening the EU as a leader in the fight against climate change.

Tax on carbon is a novelty - legislation is very ambitious

Ćorić explained that the new legislation envisages a carbon tax that should protect production in the EU compared to countries that export to the EU but are not encompassed by EU standards and mechanisms.

We are aware that if nothing is done in the next ten years, the potential costs of the damage could be much higher than the costs of transforming economies, he said.

With reference to financing that transformation, Ćorić said that Croatia has more than HRK 60 billion available over the next ten years to be spent in various commercial segments to reduce carbon emissions.

He underscored that the new legislation is very ambitious and a step towards Europe's economic transformation.

Price hikes to be eased with absorbed funds

He said that transition is a huge challenge and is being disputed by some but that it is also a huge opportunity for economies like Croatia through generous allocations of EU funds.

He recalled that Croatia's energy sector has a very small portion reliant on carbon, considering the significant share of hydro-power and potential for renewable sources.

Referring to the announcement for the construction of a new block at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) in Slovenia, Ćorić said that that project could take up to a decade to be achieved, adding that Croatia has still not been officially informed of that project.

He recalled that obligations existed under international conventions for projects of that nature with a cross-border impact. Croatia has been advised of extending the lifespan of NEK to 2043.

He underscored that NEK is a stable source of energy and believes that it will continue to be so. He added that his ministry is interested in seeing more formal proposals to see whether Croatia would enter into a partnership with Slovenia regarding the construction of a new block at the Krško plant.

He added that Croatia was monitoring the situation with the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary because Croatia imports 30 to 45% of energy needs from abroad, depending on the hydrological situation.

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

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

European Comission Publishes Rule of Law Report on Croatia

ZAGREB, 20 July, 2021 - A series of alleged ethical breaches and disciplinary violations by judges led to proceedings against them, public procurement procedures remain a high-risk area for corruption, and lawsuits against journalists give rise to concern, the European Commission says in a report on the rule of law in Croatia.

The Commission on Tuesday published its second annual report on the rule of law in the EU member states, a new instrument that should help in early detection and prevention of problems relating to the rule of law.

The report covers four key areas: the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media freedom and pluralism, and institutional issues relating to checks and balances.

The Commission noted that the report only provides a description of the situation without giving any recommendations and is not designed as a ranking. Its purpose is to raise public awareness and promote open discussion between the member states on rule of law issues both at national and at EU level.

The justice system

The Commission says that the Croatian justice system has seen improvements in reducing length of proceedings and backlogs, but that further improvements are still needed to address serious efficiency and quality challenges.

"The ongoing process for appointing the new Supreme Court President has given rise to controversy and to repeated disparaging public statements against judges", and "the Constitutional Court stressed the importance of cooperation between state authorities" in addressing different views on the appointment of the Supreme Court President.

"The State Judicial Council made proposals to strengthen its role in selecting judges – an issue already raised in the 2020 Rule of Law Report."

Without naming any names, the report says that "a series of alleged ethical breaches and disciplinary violations by judges led to proceedings before the State Judicial Council and Judges’ Councils, as well as to a criminal investigation."

"The level of perceived judicial independence remains very low. Shortages in human resources of the State Judicial Council and the State Attorney’s Councils remain, even if some limited reinforcements have been allocated to verify the newly published asset declarations of judges and state attorneys," the Commission says.

The anti-corruption framework

The reports notes that a new Strategy on the Prevention of Corruption for 2021-2030 is in the public consultation process, envisaging the strengthening of the legal framework on prevention of conflict of interest, which is currently being drafted. Codes of Ethics for members of the Government and for members of Parliament are still missing, while “revolving doors” are only partially regulated.

"Detailed rules on lobbying activities remain to be introduced. While changes to the framework of political immunity of the members of Government were announced, the legislative action has yet to follow. Public procurement procedures remain a high-risk area for corruption, and several cases have been discovered due to reporting by whistleblowers. The prosecution and investigation of high-level corruption continues, but due to protracted proceedings convictions are often delayed."

Media freedom

"Croatia is updating its media legislation to transpose the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, with the revision of the Electronic Media Act to be adopted still in 2021. Concerns about the political independence of the Agency for Electronic Media persist," the Commission says.

"Croatia has a solid framework on transparency of media ownership information and envisages further improvements. While state advertising is partly regulated by the Electronic Media Act, stakeholders report it often undermines the political independence of media outlets which are economically dependent on such funding, notably at local level.

"A legal framework for the protection of journalists is in place, but they continue to face threats. In particular, the high number of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) targeting journalists continues to be a serious concern. Access to information is ensured by law, but delays in the processing of requests from journalists persist."

Checks and balances

The Commission says that although public consultations are embedded in legislative procedures, stakeholders perceive citizen participation to be rather formalistic than substantive.

It notes that Croatia did not declare a state of emergency, and COVID-19 pandemic measures were based on the twice-mended law regarding infectious diseases. "The Constitutional Court has reviewed these measures, finding that they were compatible with the Constitution and also ruled that Parliament should find ways to guarantee its functions during the pandemic."

"The People’s Ombudsperson’s access to the information required to undertake investigations
needs further improvement. The National Plan for Creating and Enabling Environment for
the Civil Society Development 2021-2027 remains in drafting phase since 2016 – an issue
raised in the 2020 Rule of law Report," the Commission says.

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

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