Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Business Owners Want Croatian Cafes, Restaurants Open from February 1st

January the 12th, 2021 - Croatian cafes, restaurants and other such facilities, as well as gyms and fitness/sports centres have been closed for a while now, and many in the business world are growing concerned as to what the plans are as Croatia’s epidemiological picture continues to improve.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, there is still a lot of uncertainty as to whether catering and hospitality facilities, gyms and sports clubs will start opening up and operating again on February the 1st, but Hrvoje Bujas, president of the Voice of Entrepreneurs association, is calling for just such a scenario, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

The existing measures that put the keys in the locks for a good part of business owners, particularly those who own Croatian cafes and restaurants, have been extended until January the 31st. There is speculation on the sidelines that this situation could remain in force until March the 1st, possibly even dragging out until April. This could happen primarily to improve the epidemiological situation across the country in order to welcome 2021’s tourist season on which many rely.

Several Split-based catering and hospitality business owners have confirmed to us that, according to their plans and information, they don’t believe that they will start working for at least another thirty to fifty days.

It is true that March and April, during these unpredictable circumstances, don’t make sense to discuss excessively, but Croatian cafe and restaurant owners, among others whose facilities are closed, would still like to know at least the outline plans of the National Civil Protection Headquarters and the Government. Their very survival depends on it.

''What we propose, that is, what we demand from the Government, ie the Headquarters, is that if such positive trends continue, ie with the reduction of the number of infected, hospitalised and dead people, is to start gradually opening up catering facilities, gyms, fitness centres and the like from the first day of February. Of course, this would go hand in hand with respecting all the prescribed epidemiological measures on maintaining social distancing and the necessary disinfection procedures,’’ Bujas confirmed.

He says that their association has 15 thousand members, of which 35 percent are those who have jobs in the hospitality industry, so at the moment they are doing little and nothing.

‘’It’s clear to us that the next two weeks are crucial again. However, as vaccination has started, and a large number of people have already overcome the coronavirus, Croatian cafe and restaurant owners, as well as other business owners, are asking the ruling party to give them some opportunities to do business again. It’s also clear to us that not everything will go well with the opening in the business plan, in fact. It takes some time to get work started, and this is especially important when it comes to preparation for the tourist season. It takes time for business to turn over, so doing business in February is very important to us.

‘’There have already been dismissals, and there will certainly be more of them, we currently have 160 thousand unemployed people, we hope that number will not exceed 200 thousand. But it seems to us that nothing can be ruled out. The situation is really difficult, help is arriving late, only one quarter of those who applied and were accepted actually received grants for November, and only a few of our members got theirs for the month of December.

We also believe that now is the time for a 13 percent VAT reduction for everyone in the tourism sector, which should, for example, include travel agencies that have recorded a drop in traffic of as much as 80 percent, many are closed, and those trying to survive are doing very poorly’’ Bujas warned.

‘’We also touched on the double standards when it comes to Croatian business owners helping in Banovina, where they’ve been tirelessly cooking and giving out meals for the earthquake victims for days now. There are currently about 150 chefs and workers of other catering profiles in the quake-affected area, who are engaged in delivering thousands of hot meals a day. About a hundred of them are also engaged in restaurants, from where up to 5,000 meals are delivered to the victims every day.

‘’They’re doing all this for free, with their own money, their own employees, their own savings and they’re not complaining. But the key word is that they’re working. Unfortunately, the same kind of work in controlled conditions is not allowed for these people,’’ concluded Hrvoje Bujas.

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Thursday, 3 December 2020

'Voice of Entrepreneurs' Writes to PM, Seeks Immediate Dismissal of Minister Coric

December 3, 2020 - A letter to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic from Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs), seeking the immediate dismissal of Minister Coric. 

Dear Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister,

Glas poduzetnika Association considers it inadmissible that Mr. Ćorić is still the Minister of Economy. Namely, the Minister has already shown several times that he does not care that the Croatian economy is failing, that many companies will close their doors and that tens of thousands of workers will lose their jobs. We believe that it is unfitting for the Minister of the Government of the Republic of Croatia to avoid taking responsibility. Also, we have expected of Mr. Ćorić to offer specific solutions and initiate the necessary systematic reforms that would enable the survival of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Many entrepreneurs in recent weeks have been shocked by Minister Ćorić's statements about the situation in our economy and the seriousness of the situation. We are surprised by the lack of tangible assistance and compensation for companies that are facing a large drop in revenue and are not formally closed. We must also point out that the Ministry of Economy ignores all our inquiries, requests and suggestions. Minister Ćorić allows the destruction of micro, small and medium-sized companies and acts as if it does not concern him. In a hopeless situation in which many entrepreneurs found themselves, the minister showed frivolity and nonchalant behavior, and the last straw was the statement "that not all businesses will fail without more generous help from the state, as the entrepreneurs themselves claim."

We believe that Minister Ćorić's behavior in this situation is inappropriate, and we see his unwillingness of dialogue, lack of understanding of the economic issues and lack of experience in the private sector as the main problems. We have a very unusual situation in which the Minister of Economy has not worked a single day in the private sector. In addition, we have to point out that Mr. Ćorić is related to numerous current scandals in which Croatian taxpayers' money has been stolen.

UGP believes that Croatia can offer a much better and more competent person to lead the Ministry of Economy. In a sea of ​​bad predecessors, entrepreneurs cannot think of a worse minister than the one we have today.

We hereby plead with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to urgently relieve Minister Ćorić of his duties and appoint a Minister of Economy who will be competent for the said position. Also, we insist on behalf of all entrepreneurs in Croatia that the next minister should be someone who has experience in the private sector. We believe that only such a person will be able to understand the specific problems of entrepreneurs and that they will be open to dialogue and cooperation.


Hrvoje Bujas

President of the Glas poduzetnika Association

For more on the Glas Poduzetnika movement, follow the dedicated TCN section