Monday, 21 June 2021

Milanović: We Need To Utilise EU Grants To The Maximum

June 21st, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović visited the town of Popovača on Monday and attended a special City Assembly meeting on the occasion of the town's day, where he welcomed efforts by local authorities to absorb EU grants to the maximum in order to realize essential projects for economic and demographic revival.

We have to utilize the benefits of membership in the European Union, he underscored.

"That is why for me, the only criterion for any city, municipality, and the state is to absorb the last euro possible. But for each one that we didn't, I want to see who was responsible and not just as the president of this country, but as a citizen," said Milanović.

We owe that to ourselves. Otherwise, we will once again be in some large conglomeration where we have no influence, he underscored.

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

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.

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

Thursday, 17 June 2021

European Union Annual Inflation Accelerates in May, Highest in Croatia Since Joining EU

ZAGREB, 17 June 2021 - Annual inflation in the European Union and the euro area in May reached its highest level in nearly two and a half years, while consumer prices in Croatia increased the strongest since the country joined the EU, according to a report released on Thursday by the EU statistical office, Eurostat.

The EU inflation rate rose to 2.3% in May, its highest level since October 2018, from 2.0% in April.

In the euro area, the inflation rate was 2.0%, up from 1.6% in April, also its strongest increase since October 2018.

In May 2020, when economic activities and social life virtually came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation amounted to 0.6% in the EU  and 0.1% in the euro area.

Croatia alongside Germany, Spain, and Sweden

The highest annual rates were recorded in Hungary (5.3%), Poland (4.6%), and Luxembourg (4.0%).

Croatia ranked alongside Germany, Spain, and Sweden with an annual inflation rate of 2.4%, the highest increase since August 2013. In April the annual inflation rate in Croatia was 2.1%.

In May last year, prices in Croatia fell by 0.7% on the year.

The lowest inflation in May was registered in Portugal and Malta at 0.5% and 0.2% respectively.

The only country to register a decrease in prices was Greece (-1.2%).

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

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman Calls on Remaining EU Countries to Recognise Kosovo

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - Croatia encourages the remaining EU countries who have not done so to recognise Kosovo's independence, Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday, which is a move that Serbia certainly will not be pleased with as it does not recognise the sovereignty of its former southern province.

Kosovo declared its independence in 2008 and it has been recognised by about one hundred countries, including all EU member states with the exception of Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Spain and Slovakia.

"Croatia encourages the remaining five EU member states to recognise Kosovo because that would contribute to stabilising the region and Kosovo itself," Grlić Radman told reporters.

Today Grlić Radman is participating at the international GLOBSEC conference in Bratislava, convened to discuss also the situation in the western Balkans.

Croatia's foreign minister said that three things were key to the region's stability: respecting countries' territorial integrity, equal constitutional rights of Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the establishment of mutual trust after the 1990s wars.

"The territorial integrity of Balkan countries needs to be preserved and respected, hence without changing borders like we heard over the past few months in some much-vaunted non-papers that were heading in that direction," said Grlić Radman.

He believes that trust can be achieved through sincere talks, by resolving the issue of the war missing, processing war crimes and providing justice for the victims.

Speaking about BiH, he said the country is trapped between two political tendencies - centralism, or rather unitarism, and separatism.

"That undermines the foundations of a stable BiH and negatively reflects on the status of the Croat people in BiH," he underscored.

He reiterated Croatia's stance that the multi-ethnic BiH needs to reforms the election law to eliminate any form of discrimination and violation of equal rights.

Grlić Radman said that Croatia is a "sincere advocate" of BiH's Euro-Atlantic pathway and that at all international forums it keeps that country in the limelight because it is in its interest to have a stable, functioning and prosperous country in its neighbourhood.

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

Monday, 14 June 2021

Government Denies Report On One Billion Kunas Less For Croatia from EU

June 14th, 2021 - The government on Monday refuted as untrue the allegations by the Jutarnji List that after the European Commission perused through its National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO), imprecision detected in relations to the costs have resulted in one billion kunas less for Croatia from the EU.

The amount of grants set aside for Croatia under the Recovery and Resilience Facility is €6.3 billion (approximately 47.5 billion), as also carried in the relevant regulation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council establishing a Recovery and Resilience Facility on 18 February. The mentioned amount has never been questioned since the adoption of the said regulation, the government says.

In the same vein, the elaboration of the 2021-2026 National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) was conducted so that the total value of the reforms and investments set out in the plan should not be below the target of HRK 47.5 billion, the government says.

The government's decision on defining the draft national recovery and resilience plan 2021-2026, prepared for the fine-tuning with the European Commission on 29 April, defined the draft in the amount of HRK 48.7 billion, which was above the allocation of HRK 47.5 billion set aside for Croatia.

The subsequent contacts with the European Commission aimed at hammering out the document resulted in the amount of HRK 48.2 billion, which is still above Croatia's allocation defined by the above-mentioned regulation adopted by the EP and the Council, the Plenković cabinet says.

The reduction of sums "is a consequence of hammering out the assessed costs for certain investments, such as adjustment of VAT treatment and adjustment of eligibility of costs."

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more, follow our business section.

Monday, 14 June 2021

After Revision Of NPOO, Croatia To Get HRK 1 Bn Less From EU

June 14th, 2021 - The European Commission has revised Croatia's National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO), and for now, no items have been deleted. However, imprecision and errors related to the costs shown are being corrected, which has resulted in one billion kunas less for Croatia from the EU.

A brief analysis shows that Croatia set the cost of its recovery and resilience plan at HRK 49 billion to be used for reforms and investments. After the EC went through individual items, the amount was slashed by around HRK 1 billion, the Jutarnji List daily says in its issue of Monday.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan have adjusted to the situation because the EU has made Croatia around €6.3 billion or HRK 47.5 billion as part of its Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The prime minister's advisor on the NPOO and its coordinator, Zvonimir Savić, said the government was satisfied with the evaluation of national recovery and resilience plans so far because even though the total amount had been reduced, "the plan's concept, its thematic units, and reforms have been preserved to a large extent," which, he said, was not the case with some other countries.

Asked what specifically had been reduced or changed, Savić said that none of the envisaged investments was removed from the plan but that there had been technical errors in the costs shown, resulting in the reduction of the total amount for the sub-component for a resilient, green and digital economy, which is particularly interesting to entrepreneurs, by around HRK 500 million.

Croatia originally envisaged around six billion kunas for that purpose, to be obtained through various financial instruments. Still, after the costs were reviewed with EC experts, the cost was set at HRK 5.5 billion.

Savić said that the reduction of funds referred mostly to various financial instruments but that the amount to be made available in the form of grants had, in fact, been increased.

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

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Interior Minister Davor Božinović: Clear Link Between Croatia's Schengen Membership And EU Security

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - The Strategy for the Schengen Area for the first time clearly articulates the link between Croatia's membership of the Schengen Area and the EU's security, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

“The debate today on the Strategy for the Schengen Area is especially significant for us because for the first time it has identified a clear link between Croatia's membership of the Schengen Area and security for the EU as a whole," Božinović said ahead of a meeting of the EU's Home Affairs Council.

The interior ministers of EU member states met in Luxembourg on Tuesday for an initial discussion on the Schengen strategy that was presented by the European Commission last week. The agenda also includes the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fight against organised crime, the internal security outlook in terms of artificial intelligence, cooperation in the fight against terrorism and exchanging opinions on the current status in the discussion on the new migration and asylum pact.

Last week the Commission presented the strategy towards a "stronger and more resilient" Schengen Area, which includes enlargement to EU member states that are still not part of the area, and called for Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania to be admitted into the Schengen Area as they had met the technical criteria for the application of the Schengen acquis. 

Božinović said that it was becoming more and more clear that Europe's security was not the sum of security capacities of member states but that it was cooperation, interoperability and solidarity.

"These are the principles that Croatia has insisted upon in European forums for years," said Božinović.

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

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO): 7% of Croatians Misled Into Buying Counterfeits

ZAGREB, 8 June, 2021 - Nine percent of Europeans and seven percent of Croatians have been misled into buying counterfeit products, according to a survey released by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on Tuesday.

The study, entitled "European Citizens and Intellectual Property", shows that consumers find it difficult to distinguish between genuine and fake products.

Nearly one in ten Europeans claimed that they were misled into buying counterfeits, but there were considerable differences between EU member states. 19% of Bulgarians, 16% of Romanians and 15% of Hungarians said they were deceived, compared to 2% of Swedes and 3% of Danes.

Croatia was below the EU average, with 7% of its citizens saying they were misled into buying counterfeit products.

According to Eurostat, over 70% of Europeans shopped online in 2020, and uncertainty regarding counterfeit products has become a growing concern for consumer protection, the study showed.

Counterfeit products represent 6.8 % of EU imports worth €121 billion and impact every sector, from cosmetics and toys, wine and beverages, electronics and clothing to pesticides and pharmaceutical products. They pose serious risks to the health and safety of citizens as they usually do not comply with quality and safety standards.

The study says that the worldwide trade in counterfeit pharmaceutical products has been estimated at €4 billion. Digital piracy also represents a highly lucrative market for infringers. Just in the area of internet protocol television (IPTV), €1 billion of unlawful revenue is generated every year by the
supply and consumption of copyright-infringing digital content in the EU, harming creators and
legitimate businesses.

Counterfeiting affects not only consumers, but it also causes considerable damage to the EU
economy, notably small and medium enterprises (SMEs). One in four SMEs and 21.7% of SMEs in Croatia said they suffered damage on account of intellectual property rights infringement, according to the study.

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

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Brits Living in Croatia Have Until June 30 to Register for New Status

June the 5th, 2021 - 2021 has so far flown by in the blink of an eye and summer is knocking at Croatia's door. Brits living in Croatia must make sure to register for their new status via the declaratory system MUP has set up before the 30th of June this year in order to have a carefree summer.

The UK's Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU. The UK opted for something called Pre-settled and Settled status.

Different EU countries opted for different approaches to enshrining the rights of their resident British nationals following the UK's withdrawal from the bloc, and Croatia chose a declaratory system by which legally resident Brits simply register for a new residence card/document which evidences their acquired rights.

Instead of writing in full what needs to be done again for those who missed the last article, I'll simply link it here.

Brits living in Croatia need to follow the instructions provided in the above link for their specific situation. If you're a temporary resident and haven't yet gained permanent residence in Croatia, the procedure will be slightly different for you as in some cases you might (or you might not) be asked to provide more documents in order to determine your basis for continuing to live in Croatia.

In any case, be ready to have more documents on hand in case you're asked for them.

If you're a permanent resident already and became one before the UK's transition period ended on December the 31st, 2020, you are no longer subject to any requirements and the system of declaration will be very simple.

More information about what might be asked of you and what you'll need to provide, as well as the corresponding forms you need to fill in when submitting your documents depending on your current status (temporary or permanent resident) are provided in the link above. The email addresses of each administrative police station are also provided, as your registration must go to the police station responsible for your area of registered residence.

A quick jargon buster:

This is a declaration system to evidence your acquired rights, this isn't a new application for a new status.

You need to have been legally registered as living in Croatia in order to fall into the scope of protection offered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

The registration procedure is free, you only need to pay for new photos (if you don't already have some on hand) and just under 80 kuna as an admin fee for the new card to be made.

If Brits living in Croatia fail to submit their documents for registration for their new residence cards, they will not lose their rights, but may face an administrative fine and potential complications which aren't worth the hassle. Make sure to register for your new cards and before the end of this month. Don't risk your rights.

For more, make sure to follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 4 June 2021

CASCADE Project: Italy and Croatia Collaborating on Ecosystems Monitoring

June 4, 2021 - With the scientific community in Croatia busy and involved in international projects, meet the CASCADE Project. Learn how Italian and Croatian scientists are working together in monitoring ecosystems.

Croatian scientists in Croatia are running various projects which either don't get reported on by journalists, or if they are reported on, they sadly don't get too much attention from the public.

One such project is the Projekt CASCADE which started back on January first, 2020, and will continue until the very end of 2022.
As reported on the website of The Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOR), the 5,817,547 euros, 85 % of that capital (4,944,914.95 euros) is secured by The European Regional Development Fund (ERFD).

CASCADE is short for „CoaStal and marine waters integrated monitoring systems for ecosystems protection and management“, and is part of the Interreg Italy-Croatia 2014-2020 strategic program. Assess the quality of coastal marine ecosystems in order to restore the habitats of endangered species and provide support for integrated management is the main goal set by 2022.

For the next three years, the project team from the Laboratory for Plankton and Shell Toxicity and the Laboratory for Chemical Oceanography and Sedimentology will work on monitoring, gathering knowledge about habitat and ecosystem biodiversity in the field of project cooperation (Adriatic Sea). It will participate in the establishment of new, as well as the improvement, of existing coastal systems for monitoring and management of coastal and open water ecosystems. Joint actions will assess and protect coastal and marine biodiversity and establish restoration actions. The pilot area of ​​the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (IOR) within the EU CASCADE project is the mouth of the Neretva River“, explains the IOR website.

There are eleven pilot areas in Croatia and Italy where the researches will be conducted: lagoon Grado and Marano and Gulf of Trieste, coastal belt of the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, marine protected area Torre Guaceto (natural reef), Punta Della Contessa, Melendugno in the Italian region of Puglia, the mouth of the Neretva river, the coastal zone of the Italian region of Veneto, mouth of the river Miljašić Jaruga, coastal belt of the Italian region of Molise, the northeastern part of the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, mouth of the river Cetina, Torre del Cerrano and Pineto Marine Park on the Abruzzo coast, and finally, the coastal zone of the Italian Marche region.

„At the mouth of the Neretva River (P4 pilot area), the IOR team members will sample sediment, shells, and seawater, depending on the type of matrix, they will analyze various parameters such as salinity, oxygen concentrations, heavy metals, and nutrients, with the aim of establishing an optimal system of observation of coastal and open waters“, added IOR.

The head of the projects within the IOR side is Dr. Sc. Ivana Ujević and various Italian and Croatian regions/counties, regional development agencies, scientific institutes, and two ministries from Italy and Croatia are included as associated partners.

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

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

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