Wednesday, 13 July 2022

EC Rule of Law Report - Recommendations for Croatia

ZAGREB, 13 July 2022 - The European Commission recommended to Croatia in its annual rule of law report on Wednesday to reconsider security checks on judges, to regulate lobbying, to increase the transparency of state advertising in the media, and to address the issue of lawsuits against journalists.

"The process for appointing the President of the Croatian Supreme Court, a challenge raised in the 2021 Rule of Law Report, was concluded," the report says.

"Responding to findings of the past Rule of Law Reports, amendments strengthened the State Judicial Council’s and State Attorney’s Council’s role in the selection of judges and state attorneys, and, as committed in the context of the Croatian Recovery and Resilience Plan."

New laws introducing regular security checks on judges and state attorneys conducted by the National Security Agency raised concerns, the report notes.

One of the recommendations therefore is to reconsider "the newly introduced periodic security checks conducted by the National Security Agency on all judges and state attorneys by ensuring their integrity based on other existing mechanisms, taking into account European standards on judicial independence and autonomy of prosecutors and the opinion of the Venice Commission."

"Criminal proceedings concerning cases of alleged corruption among judges and disciplinary proceedings are ongoing. The level of perceived judicial independence remains very low," the report says, adding that the Supreme Court President disseminated a questionnaire for judges "which has raised concerns among them.

The questionnaire requested information on the external activities of judges and their income, their membership in associations, public appearances, the employment at courts of their family members/relatives, and any lawsuits brought by them against journalists.

Long criminal proceedings undermine the fight against corruption

"The justice system extended electronic communication tools and decreased backlogs at higher court instances, but significant efficiency and quality issues remain."

The Commission notes that a new Strategy on the Prevention of Corruption for 2021-2030 was adopted in October 2021 to strengthen the prevention of corruption and raise awareness about its harmfulness.

"While the effective investigation of corruption continued, including on high-level corruption, the number of indictments and final judgments for corruption decreased. The excessive length of criminal proceedings continues to undermine the effectiveness of the anti-corruption framework," the report says.

"The new Law on the Prevention of Conflicts of Interest has strengthened asset declarations and improved the framework on revolving doors."

A Code of Ethics was adopted for members of Government, however, a similar one for members of Parliament and detailed rules on lobbying activities remain to be introduced, the report says. "The new framework on the protection of whistleblowers entered into force  On the Government’s proposal, Parliament adopted amendments to remove immunity of members of Government for corruption crimes."

High number of cases of abusive litigation targeting journalists

"The legal framework for media pluralism and freedom guarantees the basic right of freedom of expression and the right to information. There are concerns about the political independence of the Council for Electronic Media and the management of the public service broadcaster HRT," the report says.

"The revised Electronic Media Act updated rules on the transparency of state advertising and media ownership, and on media concentration. However, a need remains to further strengthen the framework on state advertising, including the new public tender procedure, as concerns related to the economic dependence of certain media outlets on state advertising persist. The establishment of an independent, self-regulatory body for the media is being discussed."

The Commission recommends further strengthening "the framework for a fair and transparent allocation of state advertising, by establishing clear criteria, good practices and oversight measures to guarantee the effective functioning of the new public tender procedure for local and regional media."

"The professional environment for journalists is impacted by verbal aggressions against journalists, including by politicians. A high number of cases of abusive litigation targeting journalists remains a significant concern. Delays in the processing of requests for information from journalists remain an issue," the report says.

The Commission recommends addressing "the issue of strategic lawsuits against public participation targeted at journalists, including by addressing the abuse of legal provisions on defamation and encouraging awareness, taking into account European standards on the protection of journalists."

The Commission notes that the number and duration of public consultations increased, which resulted in more participants providing their comments, and that Parliament further decreased the use of emergency procedures.

The Constitutional Court reviewed some emergency measures and has accumulated backlog due to lack of resources, the report says, adding that a challenge exists regarding the follow-up of the Ombudsperson’s recommendations, and on access to information. "While some preparatory steps were taken, the Government has not progressed in adoption of the new National Plan for Creating an Enabling Environment for the Civil Society Development 2021-2027."

One of the recommendations is to ensure a more systematic follow-up to recommendations and information requests of the Ombudsperson.

Speaking at a press conference, Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova said that due to problems under the previous Slovenian government, primarily due to difficulties in financing the Slovenian STA news agency, the Commission started thinking about introducing mandatory rules for all member states in order to protect the media sphere as well as possible.

"Rule of law remains a bedrock of democracy. Russia's war in Ukraine is another reminder of the importance of our work to uphold and promote rule of law in the EU and beyond. This year's report shows that the debate about rule of law in Europe is making progress as Member States make improvements and address rule of law matters. Unfortunately, concerns still remain in some Member States, especially when it comes to the independence of judiciary," she said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

EC Okays €500m Croatia Scheme to Help Companies Hit by Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

ZAGREB, 7 July 2022 - The European Commission on Thursday approved an up to €500 million Croatian scheme to support companies across sectors in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EC reported.

The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis Framework, adopted by the Commission on 23 March 2022, based on Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU'), recognizing that the EU economy is experiencing a serious disturbance.

The EC's Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy,  was quoted as saying that "in a period during which the functioning of the market is severely disturbed, this up to €500 million Croatian scheme will ensure that sufficient liquidity remains available to those companies affected by the current geopolitical crisis by incentivizing lending by private banks."

"We continue to stand with Ukraine and its people. At the same time, we continue working closely with the Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated, and effective way while protecting the level playing field in the Single Market," she said.

Support to companies across sectors active in Croatia

Croatia informed the EC under the Temporary Crisis Framework of an up to €500 million scheme to support companies across sectors active in Croatia in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The measure will be open to companies active in all sectors affected by the current crisis, except credit and financial institutions.

Measure to be administered by HBOR

Under this measure to be administered by the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), the aid will consist of limited amounts of aid or liquidity support in any of the following forms: (i) direct loans;(ii) subsidized loans; or (iii) interest rate subsidies, says the EC.

This measure is aimed at incentivizing lending by private banks to companies severely affected by the current geopolitical situation in a period during which the normal functioning of the market is significantly disturbed.

When it comes to limited amounts of aid, (i) the support will not exceed €35,000 per company active in the agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture sectors and €400,000 per company active in all other sectors; and (ii) the aid will be granted by 31 December 2022 at the latest, says the EC.

When it comes to liquidity support in the form of subsidized loans, the maximum amount per beneficiary will be equal to (i) 15% of its average total annual turnover over the last three closed accounting periods; or (ii) 50% of the energy costs incurred over a 12-month period preceding the application for aid.

Furthermore, (i) the maturity of the loans is limited to six years; (ii) the annual interest rates on the loans respect the minimum levels set out in the Temporary Crisis Framework; (iii) the loans relate to investment or working capital needs; and (iv) the loans contracts will be signed by 31 December 2022 at the latest.

Exceptionally, when the companies are active in sectors that are particularly affected by direct or indirect effects of the current geopolitical crisis and the related sanctions, the amount of the loan may be increased to cover their liquidity needs (i) for a 12-month period for SMEs; and (ii) for a 6 month-period for large enterprises.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Croatia Could Get Positive Assessment on Euro Introduction on 1 June

ZAGREB, 23 May 2022 - The European Commission plans to issue a convergence report on 1 June which could give Croatia a final assessment on its readiness to adopt the euro.

European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis on Monday confirmed that the Commission plans to release its convergence report on 1 June.

"In Croatia debt ratios have declined significantly over the years and show a strong downward trend. This sends an important signal ahead of the convergence report that we will present on 1 June. As you know, Croatia aims to adopt the euro as its currency on January 1, 2023," Dombovskis told a press conference.

In its analysis of the macroeconomic situation in Croatia, the Commission notes that the country has made progress in reducing private debt and net external liabilities. It underscores that public debt remains high but continues its downward trend towards the situation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The banking system remains stable and liquid and the share of bad loans is decreasing. The potential for production growth has increased and funds under the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism can help deal with other vulnerabilities, the Commission says.

The Commission publishes its convergence report every two years. According to the last report in June 2020, Croatia had fulfilled all the criteria to enter the euro area except for membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II).

Croatia soon met that criterion too, when it entered the ERM II on 10 July 2020.

The readiness to introduce the euro is determined according to convergence criteria, including price stability, regulated public finances, exchange rate stability, and convergence of long-term interest rates. National legislation is checked against the rules of the Economic Monetary Union (EMU).

Currently, the inflation rate is the only uncertain criterion at the moment. It must not exceed by more than 1.5 percentage points the average inflation rate of the three EU countries with the lowest annual inflation in the year preceding the assessment of the situation in the candidate country.

If Croatia gets a positive assessment, the finance ministers of the 19 euro area countries need to adopt the Commission's recommendation with a qualified majority.

The formal decision is delivered by Ecofin, comprising all EU finance ministers, after consultations with the European Parliament and following the June summit of EU leaders.

For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 23 May 2022

EC: Croatia No Longer Experiencing Macroeconomic Imbalances

ZAGREB, 23 May 2022 - Croatia is no longer experiencing macroeconomic imbalances. Its debt ratios have declined significantly over the years and continue to display strong downward dynamics, the European Commission said on Monday.

As part of its 2022 European Semester Spring Package, the EC has published findings of an in-depth analysis of the macroeconomic situation in 12 EU countries that previously had macroeconomic imbalances.

Of those 12 countries, only Croatia and Ireland have been found to no longer experience macroeconomic imbalances.

In the previous analysis published in 2021 nine of the 12 countries were found to have macroeconomic imbalances - Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden, while Cyprus, Greece, and Italy were found to exhibit excessive macroeconomic imbalances.

"Ireland and Croatia are no longer experiencing imbalances," the EC says, noting that in both countries "debt ratios have declined significantly over the years and continue to display strong downward dynamics".

In the other 10 countries, the macroeconomic situation has remained unchanged.

As part of its European Semester Autumn Package in late November 2021, the EC said that it was necessary to make detailed analyses to reassess the existence of macroeconomic imbalances in 12 countries, including Croatia.

Croatia has been in the process of monitoring macroeconomic imbalances since 2014. Until 2019 it had excessive macroeconomic imbalances. In February 2019, the EC found no longer experiencing excessive macroeconomic imbalances but only macroeconomic imbalances.

The macroeconomic imbalance procedure was designed to complete the system of EU monitoring by monitoring member countries' performance on a number of macroeconomic indicators.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Croatian EC Request for Payment of First Tranche of €700m Still Not Sent

March the 9th, 2022 - The Croatian EC request for the payment of the first tranche of cash amounting to a massive 700 million euros still hasn't been sent, it has emerged.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, despite announcements from the government that it intended to get it sent out by the end of February, this Croatian EC request still hasn't been submitted. This cash would be paid out by the European Commission (EC) from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

This Croatian EC request should finally be submitted over the next few weeks, when some more technical details are polished up, but there are no major objections to be heard in regard to the first set of measures, as has since been learned from several informed sources.

The main precondition for the first Croatian EC request, a document that a member state can request the first payment of that sum with, was that the National Operational Arrangement had to be signed in early February. In essence, it is an accompanying technical document which elaborates in detail the key stages, timeline and values ​​of these individual planned measures.

In the first transitional period, Croatia undertook to complete a set of 31 reform measures and 3 investments, the successful implementation of which depends on each subsequent injection into the budget, following last year's advance.

The advance of 818 million euros, or 13 percent of the approved plan, is the only unconditional payment, and Croatia received it back at the end of September 2021. When it submits this new EC request, the European Commission should pay the money out in the next four months.

Transparency is imperative

Those familiar with the process close to the European Commission say that the details will be ironed out in the next few weeks, but that there are no major objections as yet. When asked, however, whether it means that they're satisfied with what has been presented, they're refraining from going so far as to say a resounding ''yes''. Among the details the European Commission insisted on was adapting the country's IT system.

Its base is the existing platform of EU funds, but a much higher level of transparency was required from Brussels. For example, that the name of the end user of the money can be found in the system in order to prevent potential conflicts of interest over time. Solutions in this direction are of crucial interest to the Croatian public, as the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is worth 47.5 billion kuna in total and is, at least relatively speaking, the largest in the European Union (EU).

The chance of a ''less than transparent'' way of spending this sum of money will be challenging for all member states, the Commission assures, and not only for Croatia, which is at the very bottom of the European Union in terms of corruption indicators and poorly functioning state institutions. Interlocutors also pointed out that this isn't an issue that only the European Commission insists on, but that it is also in the focus of the European Parliament.

Regular consultations on the Zagreb-Brussels route on the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which should bring with it several substantial reforms, already have some difficult topics on the agenda, such as the reorganisation of the healthcare system and greater efficiency of the judiciary.

Some details of the proposed healthcare reform, specifically the functional merging of hospitals and the transfer of authority over them to the national level, have already resulted in strong resistance at the local level.

Signals from Brussels make it clear that this is an issue that will be insisted on, arguing that there is no alternative to improving access to and efficiency of the Croatian healthcare system, cutting waiting lists, and also cutting costs such as unifying the (now dispersed) public procurement process.

The same goes for the integration of local water companies; the reform of the water utility system envisages cutting their number from 200 all the way down to a much less 43. This idea has also angered local leaders, but more than 5 billion kuna in investment totally depends on it.

Finally, Russia's invasion of Ukraine raised questions about whether the European Commission would give in and give member states a little bit of room for maneuver in order to redirect some of that money to mitigate the indirect damage from the war. The answer to that question, at least at this point, is no. The national plans set out the necessary reforms to strengthen the resilience of economies to the specific recommendations for each member state.

For more information on this Croatian EC request and much more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 28 February 2022

Croatian Heartbeat in Brussels: TCN Meets FC Croatia BXL

February 28, 2022 - FC Croatia BXL is the only Croatian football team in the European capital that has already participated in the BXL Euroleague tournament in Brussels for eight years.

Croatian amateur sports clubs are one of the most recognizable symbols of Croatian identity. Today, there are about 200 Croatian football clubs globally, most of which are in countries with sizeable Croatian emigrant communities such as Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Australia. There is not a big Croatian community in Belgium, but it is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic.

Brussels is a lively city that attracts many young talents, being the centre of European institutions. There are also national delegations and the leading European headquarters of the most important international NGOs. With the entry into the European Union, Croatia has also been able to spread its talents and allow many qualified Croatians to start their professional growth here in Brussels. Being surrounded by a favourable environment makes, of course, the difference; that’s why new job opportunities are not enough to be happy.

To settle in, someone must also feel welcomed, find a place where to pursue one’s own interests and passions. And it is precisely from this idea that in 2014 Leon Leskovec (EU Parliament employee) decided to organise a football team that could bring together and welcome Croatian sportspeople. A place where to breathe some homeland spirit. As a result of this call, a weekly meeting point was gradually established, which helped develop friendships and relationships between the participants.


Photo: Archive FC Croatia BXL

We met Diego Antoncic (who works for an Austrian consulting firm) and Oskar Whyte (EU Commission employee), who play a big part in the club.

Tell us a bit more about how you have organised yourselves?

Since 2014 we have regularly participated in the BXL Euroleague with 17 other international teams. FC Croatia BXL is the first Croatian football team in Brussels to participate in this competition. The team consists of about 32 players, of which 70% are Croats (at least of origin), and the remaining are "foreigners" from Bulgaria, Greece and Arab countries, etc. Therefore, we also have our "foreigners”! The age group is between 25 and 35 years old. We train on a weekly basis, and the official matches are held during the weekend at the Stade Chazal, owned by Schaerbeek, one of the Brussels communes. The Schaerbeek commune and all of their employees have been supporting the club for years and providing the necessary football pitch to compete in the league. We are currently in the middle of the rankings, but we hold on and plan to do great things this year: the spirit keeps us motivated!

You don’t have an official coach, but you have created a technical board and consult before each game. Do you get along?

Besides being a team, we are also friends who meet outside the matches, even after work. Those who move here soon start looking for an activity that makes them feel "at home”. Usually, football among us guys is a significant motivational boost. Mladen Mlinaric has been our coach for a long time, but two years ago he went back to Croatia. Since then, we have gotten along well as a team of coaches. A proof of this is that we also organised our first Team Building last year in Bosnia and this year we will do it in Bulgaria to pay homage to one of the "foreigners" in our team. We believe it is a positive gesture and a sign of good integration.


Photo: Archive FC Croatia BXL - First Team Building

And how do you organise when our national team plays?

Since we enjoy and play football ourselves and have a good audience that follows us, we regularly organise watching the matches of our national team at the Stade Chazal. During the Euros and World Cup, the city of Brussels also sets up mega screens in strategic points, such as the Cinquantenaire Park. We usually book a whole side of the lawn under the big screens to enthusiastically support our “Vatreni”, contacting all our followers and spreading the word to be as numerous as possible.

FC Croatia BXL self-finances all expenses (from stadium rental to membership fees). They have only two sponsors: the Mexican restaurant “El Sombrero” in Leuven (the owner is Croatian and their long-time player Adrian) and Access Advisors, a consultancy owned by one of our strikers. The Croatian National Football Federation has twice given them the uniforms to play and as of a few weeks ago, they are expecting a new self-funded delivery. They would also like to play with other "Croatian" teams in Europe or even host teams directly from Croatia. In June, they usually organise a tournament between Croatian teams from neighbouring countries (Holland, Luxembourg, Germany) to celebrate the Croatian national day together. In 2016 they were also candidates for the Večernjakova Domovnica for the sports category.


Photo: Archive FC Croatia BXL

We look forward to seeing how they will organise for next autumn with the World Cup in Qatar. Still, given their overwhelming enthusiasm and excellent organisation, I would advise Croats in Brussels to follow their Facebook page not to miss any opportunity to support and cheer on Croatian sport, starting from the local one.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Agriculture Minister Talks Bluefin Tuna Farms After European Commission Letter of Notice

ZAGREB, 10 Feb 2022 - Farm Minister Marija Vučković said on Thursday the European Commission's call on Croatia to ensure an effective monitoring, control and inspection of bluefin tuna farms referred to audits from 2017-19 and that Croatia had since significantly improved its agriculture legislation.

"Croatia has two months to prepare a response. We'll see if the Commission will recognise all that we have done. I think we have done plenty," the minister told the press in Sveti Đurđ in Varaždin County.

As part of this month's infringements package, Croatia received a letter of formal notice after an audit and verification by the Commission "identified serious shortcomings in monitoring the transfer and caging operations of bluefin tuna."

"National authorities should ensure that data are cross-checked, accurate and validated, and should investigate potential non-compliance cases and take administrative or criminal measures against those responsible for infringing EU law," the Commission said, adding that Croatia "has not taken the necessary steps to address these deficiencies."

Croatia has two months to respond to the letter and take the necessary measures, the Commission said, adding, "In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion."

The press asked Vučković to comment on fisheries inspector Marko Pupić Bakrač's statement after the letter of notice, that she should resign or the prime minister should replace her.

The minister is meddling in the work of the inspectorate and telling us what to do, while documents on tuna imports in Croatia are being falsified, he said.

As reported by Slobodna Dalmacija daily, Pupić Bakrač said Croatian tuna farmers were being favored by being made to register tuna imported from Libya only after they exported it to Japan.

Meetings on that are held at the Agriculture Ministry, attended by a dozen ministry employees, and the minister, in agreement with farmers, tells inspectors how to act, he said, calling it abuse of office. He also warned about suspicious activities in the unloading of forage fish intended for tuna farms.

Vučković said Pupić Bakrač was "lying incredibly. He claims that I regularly met with farmers and fisheries inspectors to instruct them on how to conduct fisheries inspections. He's lying... I have never done it. Let him find one inspector or one farmer who will back him up."

She also said proceedings had been instigated against Pupić Bakrač at the Civil Service Tribunal "for violating regulations" and that this was not the first time.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Croatia Receives Two Letters of Formal Notice for Breaking EU Law

ZAGREB, 12 Nov 2021- Croatia on Friday received two letters of formal notice from the European Commission as part of its regular package of infringement decisions, and one concerns waste disposal  while the other relates to the transposition of new EU-wide rules for VAT on e-commerce.


The Commission called on Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Slovakia to correctly apply the Landfill Directive and the Waste Framework Directive.

The Landfill Directive sets standards for landfills to prevent adverse effects on human health, water, soil and air. Under this Directive, Member States must take measures to ensure that only waste that has been subject to treatment is landfilled.

The European Green Deal and the Zero Pollution Action Plan set a zero pollution ambition for the EU, which benefits public health, the environment and climate neutrality.

In its judgment of 15 October 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that, before landfilling, waste must be treated in the most appropriate way to reduce negative impacts on the environment and human health as far as possible. Following this ruling, in 2015, the Commission launched a study to investigate the landfilling of untreated non-hazardous municipal solid waste in Member States.

In Croatia, the study analysed five landfills of non-hazardous waste in five different counties. The study revealed shortcomings in all visited sites and that municipal waste is being landfilled without any treatment. The landfills subject to investigation are lacking infrastructure capacities and so are the counties where these landfills are located.


Croatia, Denmark and Lithuania were called upon to explain how they transposed the VAT e-commerce package into national law.

The Commission has decided to open infringement proceedings against Denmark, Croatia and Lithuania for non-communication of the explanatory documents in relation to the transposition of new EU-wide rules for VAT on e-commerce.

The new rules are intended to simplify VAT for companies and consumers involved in cross-border online sales within the EU and to create a fairer environment for EU sellers by removing the VAT exemption for low-value imports from outside the European Union.

In line with Court of Justice case law, Member States must indicate in a sufficiently clear and precise manner the national measures by which they transposed obligations imposed by an EU Directive. Since Denmark, Croatia and Lithuania have failed to provide clear explanations on the way they have transposed these directives, the Commission cannot check that these Member States have completely and correctly transposed the relevant provisions into national law. Denmark, Croatia and Lithuania now have two months to act. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send reasoned opinions.

A letter of formal notice is the first step in the infringement procedure, launched by the Commission against Member States deemed to be in contravention of EU law. If the matter is not resolved, the Commission sends a reasoned opinion, and if that also fails, it refers the matter to the Court of Justice. 

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Expectations For Croatia's Economy Close to Pre-Pandemic Level

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - Expectations for Croatia's economy in September 2021 came close to the pre-pandemic level, supported by confidence in services and retail trade, while consumer confidence was down, a European Commission report said on Wednesday.

In September 2021, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) in Croatia went up 0.7 points on the month to 112.7, its highest level since February 2020, just before the pandemic broke out, when it was  at 113 points.

Services and retail trade confidence saw the highest increases, by 3.3 and 3 points, respectively, while industry confidence increased by 0.4 points.

Construction confidence decreased by 0.8 points and consumer confidence by 1.6.

Business leaders said they planned to intensify hiring in the coming period, resulting in a 0.9 point increase of the Employment Expectations Indicator (EEI) to 111.5, a record high since 2019.

Optimistic European consumers

In September 2021, the ESI remained unchanged in the EU (at 116.6) and broadly stable in the euro area (+0.2 points to 117.8).

Construction confidence went up by 1.8 points in the EU and by 2 points in the euro area, while consumer confidence went up by 1.1 points in the EU and by 1.3 in the euro area.

Industry confidence remained unchanged in the EU and marginally improved in the euro area.

Retail trade confidence decreased by 2.8 points in the EU and by 3.3 in the euro area, while services confidence decreased by 1.4 points in the EU and by 1.7 in the euro area.

The EEI increased further (+1.0 point to 113.6 in the EU and +0.8 points to 113.6 in the euro area).

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

Monday, 6 September 2021

New Croatian Energy Label: More Transparence for Light Source Efficiency

September 6, 2021 - A new Croatian energy label with more arranged levels of energetic efficiency and a QR code that connects buyers directly to the European Commission database offers more transparency to Croatian buyers.

Noted for promoting energy efficiency, particularly within the REPLACE Project, the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (EIHP) is also involved in the Label 2020 project. As EIHP reported, since September 1, 2021, a new energy label has been providing more information on the energy efficiency of light source products.

The Label 2020 website explains that this new Croatian energy label developed better information for customers to educate them further on product efficiency.

This includes levels A-G (With A being the most energy efficient and G being the least efficient), with QR codes on the top of the label that provide a direct link to the European Commission's database for transparency and easier market control from the national government. In addition, energy spending is portrayed in a more express way in the middle of the energy label, while the bottom of the label has various pictograms which provide information on the selected features of the product.

''Several pictograms are the same as in the old label, some have been reviewed, and others are completely new,'' pointed out Label 2020.

''The EU energy tag for devices has remained a crucial starter for innovation and the market development of energy efficient technologies over the last 20 years. The energy label plays a two-part role in innovation stimulation for manufacturers and demanding efficient devices for buyers,'' explained Label 2020.

The new energy Croatian label aims to support all branches of the energy sale on the consumption market. From consumers and (professional) buyers through an information campaign, services and tools, to distributers (with the implementation of the label at the stores and for online purchase), manufacturers (by delivering the correct labels and product info), as well as for others.

With the new Croatian energy label having been a staple for the past 20 years, the change was triggered by the previous A level having three sublevels which opens doors for the incorrect advertising of products that weren't really energy efficient.

''Therefore, the European Union changed and optimised the label in line with the needs of the users. The new label was presented to buyers in physical stores and online on March 1, 2021, and includes energy classes from A to G. These scales will be updated regularly,'' said the website.

With the aforementioned QR code link being the strongest and most innovative demonstration of transparency of the updated system, the sparks of electricity will hopefully be greener than last month as Croatian buyers now have more options to make an informed purchase.

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

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

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