Monday, 27 June 2022

FINA World Championships: Croatia Beats Georgia for Quarterfinal Spot

June 27, 2022 - Croatia beat Georgia 13:7 in the FINA World Championships round of 16 in Hungary on Monday. They will face Serbia next in the quarterfinals. 

The Croatia water polo team met Georgia in the round of 16 at the FINA World Championships in Hungary on Monday. Croatia had no right to make a mistake, as a defeat would leave them without a fight for a medal. Winning this match would also mean a quarterfinal match against Serbia later this week.

Due to the suspension, coach Ivica Tucak could not count on Rino Burić. Georgia was also no easy opponent with several foreigners on the national team. Among them is one Croatian, Marko Jelača.

Match Report

1st quarter

Croatia won the sprint and the first attack of the match, which Bukic scored for 1:0. Georgia equalized for 1:1 with 6:49 on the clock. Kharkov put Croatia ahead for 2:1 30 seconds later. Georgia equalized for 2:2 with 3:20 on the clock. Zuvela made it 3:2 for Croatia with 1:42 to go, which is how the first quarter ended. 

2nd quarter 

Croatia won the sprint again for the first attack, but Georgia equalized for 3:3 with 6:47 left. Kragic put Croatia ahead for 4:3 in the next attack. Kharkov scored a rocket for 5:3 with 5:46 to go. Basic made it 6:3 for Croatia's biggest lead of the game with 3:03 to go. Georgia reduced Croatia's lead to 6:4 with 1:45 on the clock. Krapic scored for 7:4 with 0:27 on the clock, which is how the match went into halftime.

3rd quarter

Georgia won the sprint to start the third quarter but was unlucky in their first attack. Kharkov scored his third goal of the match for +4 Croatia with 6:26 to go (8:4). Kharkov scored a penalty for 9:4 with 5:44 to go. Kragic scored for 10:4 Croatia with 1:45 left in the quarter. Croatia went into the final quarter leading by 6 goals. 

4th quarter 

Croatia won the sprint but was unsuccessful in their first attack. Georgia scored in the next attack for 10:5 with 6:47 left in the game. Georgia scored again for -4 (10:6) with 4:51 left. Zuvela scored for 11:6 with 4:20 to go. Fatovic scored for 12:6 with 3:29 on the clock. Kragic scored a penalty for 13:6 with 2:09 to go. Georgia scored for 13:7 with 41 seconds left. 

Croatia and Serbia will meet in the quarterfinals later this week. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Thursday, 28 April 2022

FM Says Croatia Supports NATO Membership Of Finland, Sweden

ZAGREB, 28 April 2022 - Croatia supports Finland's and Sweden's potential NATO membership, which would strengthen Croatia's security and defence, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Thursday.

"We feel that the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden will only strengthen our security and our defence," he told the press at Zagreb airport after talks with his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, adding that all NATO member states have the same stand on that.

Grlić Radman said that his Finnish counterpart called him two days ago and his Swedish counterpart yesterday, and that he told them he supported "their future application as an important contribution to transatlantic security."

Croatian President Zoran Milanović has said that the Croatian parliament should not ratify the NATO accession of Finland and Sweden until the election law in Bosnia and Herzegovina is changed so that the more numerous Bosniaks do not elect the Croatian member of the Presidency and delegates to the House of Peoples.

According to him, Croatia must use this "historic" chance to fight for BiH Croats' rights and also solve a security issue.

Grlić Radman said today that by joining NATO, Croatia agreed to the open-door policy which envisaged that all countries that met the standards could join if they wanted to.

Szijjarto said Finland and Sweden had not yet applied for membership, but that Hungary would have a positive view if they did.

The two ministers discussed the situation in BiH, with Szijjarto saying that Hungary supported Croatia's position that the Presidency's Croat member must be elected by Croats.

He said that for BiH's stability, it was necessary to respect the will of all three constituent peoples and that Hungary did not support the political campaign and sanctions against the Presidency's Serb member Milorad Dodik.

Grlić Radman said national minorities were a strong link in Hungarian-Croatian relations and that the model of the protection of their rights in the two countries was exemplary.

Speaking of the energy situation in the wake of Russia's aggression on Ukraine, Szijjarto said energy supply was not a philosophical but a physical issue and that Hungary would pay Russian gas so that it reached Hungary.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 11 March 2022

Croatia Sending Up to 70 Troops to Hungary, Parliament Decides

ZAGREB, 11 March (2022) - Croatia will send up to 70 troops to Hungary as part of NATO's Enhanced Vigilance, parliament decided by majority vote on Friday.

One MP voted against and 118 for the decision to send troops to Hungary, where they can be deployed this year and the next, with the possibility of rotation.

The decision was tabled by the government whose representative, Defence Ministry state secretary Zdravko Jakop, told MPs that Russia's invasion of Ukraine represented one of the most serious threats to European security in decades.

"The attack on an independent, peace-loving, democratic state is a bitter reminder that freedom, peace, security and stability can't exist if we are not ready to defend them," he said.

Jakop said NATO enhanced its rapid response force in recent months, deploying additional forces on its eastern flank, reinforcing forces in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and organising new battle groups in Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania.

HRK 38 million has been set aside in the state budget to send Croatian troops to Hungary.

Currently, 181 Croatian troops are deployed in UN and NATO missions, the most, 141, in Kosovo.

Also today, parliament unanimously voted for the participation of five Croatian troops in the EU's Cyber Rapid Response Teams and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 4 March 2022

Sabor to Debate Deployment of 70 Soldiers in Hungary

ZAGREB, 4 March (2022) - The Sabor has included on its agenda a motion regarding the deployment of 70 Croatian troops as part of NATO's enhanced forward presence in Hungary.

The parliament also put on its agenda the motion for up to five Croatian Armed Forces' members in the European Union's Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRTs).

Lawmakers are expected to debate the motions next week.

The government made a recommendation to the Sabor on Thursday for Croatian troops to participate in the forward presence mission.

Defence Minister Mario Banožić has said that a NATO meeting of defence ministers in February and an extraordinary NATO summit determined that the current situation in Eastern Europe and particularly in Ukraine represents one of the gravest threats to European security in the past decade, adding that all NATO members are dedicated to continuing diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Commemoration Held for 20 Ethnic Hungarians Killed in 1991

ZAGREB, 28 Nov, 2021 - The Democratic Union of Hungarians of Croatia on Sunday held a commemoration in Dalj Planina in tribute to 20 ethnic Hungarian civilians killed by Serb paramilitaries in November and December 1991 during the occupation of that Slavonian village.

The civilians were killed by Serb paramilitaries led by Željko Ražnatović Arkan from the then Territorial Defence Training Centre in Erdut.

Hungarian minority MP Robert Jankovics said the crimes committed in Dalj Planina had characteristics of genocide because entire families were killed there.

Asked about the perpetrators of the atrocity, Jankovics said that in June 2020 the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague convicted Serbian security service members Franko Simatović and Jovica Stanišić for the crime.

As far as I know, also indicted were Slobodan Milošević, Željko Ražnatović Arkan and Goran Hadžić but, unfortunately, they died before the verdict was delivered, Jankovics said.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Budapest, Innsbruck, Grenoble Mayors Support Tomislav Tomašević For Zagreb Mayor

ZAGREB, 12 May, 2021 - The mayors of Budapest, Innsbruck and Grenoble have sent video messages of support to Tomislav Tomašević, the green-left coalition's candidate for the mayor of Zagreb, the We Can! political platform said on Wednesday.

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony says in his message that Zagreb and Budapest are not only geographically close but also friendly cities with many links, underlining how important it is for the progressive green agenda to strengthen its position in the region and to act together to achieve a viable, democratic future.

Karácsony says the policies Tomašević advocates, such as green public transport and recycling, are the key issues on which he is working as mayor too, and calls on the people of Zagreb to vote for Tomašević

Innsbruck Mayor Georg Willi says the challenge today is to find the right response to climate change and that green changes will primarily occur in European cities. That's why Zagreb needs strong advocates of those changes under Tomašević's leadership as mayor, Willi adds.

Grenoble Mayor Éric Piolle says he is looking forward to cooperating with Tomašević in the network of ecological cities flourishing across Europe, from Innsbruck and Amsterdam to Bonn and Hannover as well as many cities in France.

Piolle says Tomašević has been fighting for the environment for years, working on transparent policies and including citizens in shaping their city.

By electing Tomašević as mayor, Zagreb has a chance to join the increasing number of European cities governed by progressive green-left political forces which are making important steps forward in improving quality of life by taking account of climate change and other challenges of the 21st century, Piolle says in his video message.

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

Monday, 4 May 2020

HTZ Hungary Director: Croatia is Top Pick for Hungarians Wanting to Travel Abroad

May 4, 2020 - Ivana Herceg of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Office in Hungary talks about the potential of Hungarian tourists this summer.

More than half of the Hungarian population are preparing to travel, according to a survey commissioned by the Hungarian Travel Agency, which was sent to HRTurizam by the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Representative Office in Budapest.

The survey was conducted between April 8 and 15 on a sample of more than two thousand people and asked if they planned to travel after the coronavirus pandemic, and if so, where.

Survey data revealed that after the virus disappears, 51 percent of Hungarians plan to travel within Hungary, and 12 percent of those surveyed plan to travel abroad.

When it comes to traveling abroad, the most popular destinations are Croatia and Greece, while in Hungary, Hungarians would travel an average of 227 kilometers and would like an active vacation.

Two-thirds of those surveyed currently plan to avoid organized travel after the pandemic. Also, another factor that can help Croatia, is that according to the poll, 61% of respondents will consider which countries were most affected by the virus for their future trip.

On this topic, as well as expectations for this summer season with the Hungarian market, Goran Rihelj of HRTurizam spoke with Ivana Herceg, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Representative Office in Hungary, who points out that Croatia, in the eyes of the Hungarians, is justifiably one of the safest destinations. In these special circumstances, our advantages are even more pronounced over the competition.

The fact that Hungarians know our country well and that many of them are "permanent guests" of certain accommodation providers will surely play an important role in choosing this year's destination for their vacation, Herceg points out, adding that the Hungarian media monitors the situation in neighboring countries. "Croatia is always mentioned as a positive example and in case travel is possible we believe that a part of the Hungarian population will traditionally choose Croatia.”

According to currently available data, the situation in Hungary (2942 cases and 335 fatalities) is slightly worse than in Croatia. Asked what the current epidemiological situation in Hungary is "from the inside" and what are the announcements regarding loosening measures in Hungary, Herceg points out that Hungary is lower than the European average for the number of patients.

"Given a population more than double than in Croatia, it is expected that there will be more infected people. Hungary has tested more than 70,000 people and at the moment, the death toll is 31 per million inhabitants. This number is higher than in Croatia, and compared to the rest of the world, it is the average number of deaths. According to the Hungarian map of the number of infections, the majority are in Budapest. Still, the western and southern parts of Hungary, along the border with Croatia, are below average in terms of the number of patients. Contrary to the situation in other European countries, the measures are still in force in Hungary, even being tightened, making it mandatory to wear a mask on public transport and shops, in markets and on visits to institutions from Monday, April 27. The Prime Minister announced a new security situation on May 3, and until that date, you could only leave homes for shopping and personal needs and going to work. However, you were not allowed to leave your place of residence."

As far as travel is concerned, the entire tourism sector is eagerly awaiting new information, especially after the first signings on the so-called "Tourist corridors". It is not yet known when the borders will open and which protocol will be in place when entering another country. However, it is a European Union level travel protocol, and each country will negotiate independently with its neighbors through bilateral relations. So too is Croatia, and talks have already begun with Slovenia, the Czech Republic and other countries.

There is interest in Croatia in Hungary, both according to the above survey and according to Herceg. "In contact with partners in the tourism sector, but also in the interest of the media, we can conclude that there is an interest in Croatia, as indicated by a survey commissioned by the Hungarian Tourism Organization (MTÜ). According to the survey, 51 percent of Hungarians will travel after the pandemic within Hungary, and 12 percent of respondents will travel abroad. Among foreign destinations, Croatia was the most frequent answer, along with Greece. The results of some other studies show even greater interest in Croatian destinations, which is expected because Hungarians are incredibly fond of Croatia, which is easily accessible by car, and because a large number of Hungarians own real estate and ships in Croatia."

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year, the interest of Hungarians in Croatia increased, which is certainly a good indicator of Croatia's position in Hungary.

“At the beginning of the year, it seemed that this would be another record year for Croatian tourism. In January and February, we achieved growth from the Hungarian market, after many years Croatia and Hungary had to be connected by airline and new itineraries of the largest Hungarian tour operators were in preparation. During April and May, we planned to implement several prepared activities, which we had to cancel, which were to promote different products and different parts of Croatia. Travel agencies still mainly deal with cancellations and refunds, but according to some partners, bookings for Croatia are canceled less than in other countries."

Although it is difficult to predict, in the event this slows down and borders open in the next two months, Herceg believes that Croatia could still be the first choice of most Hungarians.

"This is supported by its proximity, possibility to travel by car, and a quick return in case of any problems, but also the fact that the Hungarians know our country well, consider it safe and feel welcome. The fact that a large number of Hungarians stay in private accommodation during their stay is also positive in this situation, compared to competing countries, which mainly offer accommodation in hotels. We also support information from individual partners who have informed us that guests are looking to change destinations and that instead of Greece, for which they have already paid, they want to swap for Croatia," Herceg concludes.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Croatia's Arena Hospitality Group Takes Over Belgrade Hotel

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 26th of April, 2019, through its subsidiary Sugarhill Investments B.V., the Croatian hotel group Arena Hospitality Group d.d. from Pula has concluded a framework agreement with MK Aviation Services d.o.o. to take over the "88 Rooms" hotel, a four star hotel in Belgrade, Serbia.

The completion of this transaction is of course still subject to certain steps and to the fulfillment of certain conditions, as they have stated from the aforementioned Croatian company.

"88 Rooms" is a modern, four-star hotel situated in a prime location on Takovska Street in Belgrade, close to the business district and close to the cultural attractions of the old part of Belgrade, including Knez Mihailova Street and Kalemegdan Park. The hotel boasts 88 modern and comfortable rooms and suites decorated according to Feng Shui rules, and other facilities include a bar, a restaurant, a fitness room, a massage room and four meeting rooms with a capacity of up to 200 participants.

With this acquisition, Pula's Arena Hospitality Group continues to expand overseas following its already established business model with the management of seven international hotels in Germany and Hungary, more specifically in Berlin, Nuremberg, Cologne and Budapest.

On this occasion, the CEO of Arena Hospitality Group d.d., Reuel Slonim, said: "It's a great pleasure to be able to present this acquisition, which, with the momentum of our current investments in our existing accommodation facilities, continues our [already] announced further expansion of our business to new areas in the major cities of the region of Central and Eastern Europe. By entering this new market and strengthening our hotel portfolio throughout the year, we're able to add more worth to the group's value and at the same time create additional long-term value for our customers and for our shareholders. With such moves, we're rapidly changing the existing high seasonality of business and we're growing into a dynamic, international hotel group with year-round business.''

The Arena Hospitality Group expects that the conditions required for completing the transaction will be met by the end of this year, after which, Belgrade's 88 Rooms Hotel will become part of the Arena Hospitality Group famiily and continue its business under the brand name "Arena Hotels & Apartments" under the new name of "Arena Hotel 88" .

The value of the transaction stands at 47 million kuna, which, together with the entire investment cycle, started after a public offer in mid-2017 exceeding a hefty price tag of 500 million kuna.

Slonim continued: "More than half a billion kuna's worth of investment after the public offer is underway, starting with an investment of 70 million kuna in the first Croatian luxury glamorous resort Arena One 99 Glamping in Pomer, the current investment of 128 million kuna in the Arena Kažela camp in Medulin, 53 million kuna in the reconstruction of the Art'otel Berlin Kudamm hotel in Berlin, 60 million kuna in the renovation of the Verudela Beach resort in Pula, and 190 million kuna in the complete reconstruction of Brioni in Pula, which will carry the Park Plaza brand and be positioned among the best hotels that hotel chain.''

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

Friday, 5 April 2019

World Bank Foresees Croatian Economic Growth in Next Three Years

Economic growth in Europe and Central Asia slowed down to 3.1 percent in 2018, and it is predicted to fall to 2.1 percent in 2019 due to a slower rate of global growth and uncertain prospects.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of April, 2019, the Croatian economy continued to grow at a rate of 2.6 percent in 2018, while in the forthcoming period from 2019-2021 moderate growth is expected at an average rate of 2.5 percent, according to the World Bank's most recent report on the latest economic trends in Europe and Central Asia (N1).

The countries of the region recorded different rates of growth. Growth at the regional level has greatly contributed to positive developments in the GDP data of Russia as the largest economy in the region, just as the accelerated growth did in Albania, Hungary, Poland, and Serbia. On the other hand, Turkey has experienced a significant slowdown in growth due to the pressure of the financial market and currency issues. Namely, in 2019, it is expected to grow by 1.0 percent, which is a significant drop compared to 7.4 percent back in 2017.

"Europe and Central Asia are vulnerable to global uncertainty and are faced with serious long-term challenges such as aging populations, a decline in productivity, a decline in investment, and climate change. It is good that there are a whole range of possible solutions available when public policies are geared towards mitigating these challenges,'' stated Cyril Muller, Vice President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia.

"Countries should work harder to attract investment, enhance their participation in global value chains, and ensure that more people are able to access financial services such as bank accounts and electronic payments."

Regional growth is expected to recover its power in 2020 and 2021, as it is predicted that the gradual recovery of Turkey will serve as a counterweight to the restrained activity in Central Europe as a whole. However, the long-term challenges of the region are still substantial.

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

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Pula's Arena Hospitality Group Announces 500 Million Kuna Investment

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes on the 19th of March, 2019, Pula's biggest hotel group, the Arena Hospitality Group announced the continuation of its large investment cycle yesterday, the amount of which will be about half a billion kuna. These are investments in the hotel Brioni (Brijuni) and the apartment resort of Verudela Beach in Pula, the Kažela camp in Medulin, and the doing up of the Art'otel Berlin Kudamm over in Berlin, Germany.

Namely, this Pula hotel company is the only one which owns hotels in Germany and Hungary at the moment. The Arena Hospitality Group recalled that by mid-2017, via a public offer on the Zagreb Stock Exchange, they raised about 750 million kuna to continue their investment cycle.

''We're continuing with our investment cycle, which will be around half a billion kuna from 2018 to 2022. Some of the investments have already been done, some have started, and some are just beginning. Last year we renewed camp Pomer, which became the first glamping site in the country, and we believe it's one of the best in the world. That investment stood at 70 million kuna,'' said the Arena Hospitality Group's Reli Slonim.

With that move, the path to rejuvenating their camps is definitely wide open, which is a sector of theirs which they haven't invested significantly in before last year, as they devoted themselves to raising the quality of their hotels and apartment resorts, as well as their numerous acquisitions in Europe. Part of their facilities are also branded as Park Plaza.

''This year we started with the complete doing up of the Kažela camp in Medulin, and this investment is worth 128 million kuna, which is our biggest investment in the camps. After the completion of the investment, the camp will offer its guests 1,300 spacious places and 164 new luxury mobile homes. In addition, the camp will get a new entrance and reception, new beach bars, and entertainment and sports facilities,'' Arena Hospitality Group's Reli Slonim said.

It is interesting to note that mobile homes in this camp will be made up of ecological and recycled materials, and each of them will be about 40 square metres in size. This will be one of the biggest investments in camps this year in the country, and it should be finished by this [tourist] season.

A member of the management of the Arena Hospitality Group, Manuela Kraljević, also added that along with all of their current investments, they are preparing for the renovation of the Verudela Beach apartment complex too, which will begin in autumn this year. As of now, they have refurbished a ten-unit building, which is an example of how the other apartments will look when finished.

In the tourist resort of Verudela Beach, the plans are to invest about 60 million kuna during the second half of 2019. Ten accommodation units will be upgraded by this season, while the remaining 146 units and 20 villas will be renewed in time for the 2020 summer season. After the completion of the investment, the resort will be under the brand of Arena Hotels & Apartments, Kraljević said.

They also announced the reconstruction of Hotel Brioni, which for the time being, remains the only hotel in Punta Verudela that hasn't been given a ''fresh face''. It is a cult hotel which was built back in the 1970s, primarily for American guests. So far, only two showrooms have been done up, which will be somewhat larger than the existing ones, but this won't change the number of rooms.

''We have decided that we're not going to change the size of this hotel, but we will rebuild it as it is, and the room sizes will be about the same. We will invest 190 million kuna into it, and we'll start doing it up in 2020 after the [tourist] season. The hotel will be finished in one year and [everything] will be completed by 2022,'' Slonim said. In addition to investments in Croatia, this year the Pula hotel group is also renovating its hotel in Berlin, investing the equivalent of 53 million kuna into it. The hotel is located in Berlin's famous Charlottenburg district and is dedicated to the works of the famous pop art artist Andy Warhol. The investment will include a total accommodation capacity of of 152 rooms, as well as all of the other hotel facilities one might expect.

As Luka Cvitan said, the German part of the portfolio is extremely important to the Arena Hospitality Group because it gives them stability and doesn't depend solely on tourism flows in Croatia. Last year, hotels in Germany saw the largest growth, while in Croatia, things unfortunately stagnated somewhat. Business last year amounted to 758 million kuna, and was higher than last year's gain by 30 percent. That is why the Arena Hospitality Group is also thinking about further acquisitions in Belgrade in Serbia, as well as in other countries in the region.

''Also, since we have a portfolio abroad, we can offer our employees full-time employment,'' said Cvitan.

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


Click here for the original article by Barbara Ban for Novac/Jutarnji

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