Friday, 20 August 2021

Iron Age Danube Route Recognised by European Council

August 20, 2021 - The Iron Age Danube Route is a new addition to the Croatian offer, relevant not just for tourism but for science, research, and education, and recognised by the European Council.

The Iron Age Danube Route addresses one of the most fragile, though imposing and attractive prehistoric archaeological phenomena, the Iron Age landscapes. Characterised by monumental structures, such as burial mound cemeteries, flat cemeteries, fortified hilltop settlements, and oppida, as well as elements indicating the complex organisation of space, Iron Age landscapes belong to the period between the 9th and the end of the 1st century BC, according to the official website of the Iron Age Danube Route Association (IADR).

This association was founded back in July 2020 with the goal of enhancing international scientific cooperation regarding the period of the Iron Age, as this is a period marked by an extraordinary corpus of movable and intangible heritage. The focus on the Danube region is, among other things, owing to this heritage being housed in numerous museums across the Danube region, including the most important regional and national institutions.

''Compiling the existing sources of knowledge and creating a strong interdisciplinary and international network of expert institutions from Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia in the fields of archaeology, cultural heritage protection, tourism, as well as local stakeholders, the Iron Age Danube Route Association was founded in July 2020 with the aim of the further development and management of the IADR,''

The Archaeological Museum in Zagreb is one of the founding partners of the association, and other institutions from Croatia include the Centre for Prehistoric Research, Kaptol County, Papuk Nature Park, and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Zagreb. Other partners include museums and faculties from Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia, all bringing their top experts in the field to the table for the association to work.

And that work paid off. As reported by the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb's website, the European Council granted the culture route certificate to the Iron Age Danube Route which stretches through Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and Slovenia.

''This is the first culture route of The European Council with its headquarters in Croatia“, said the Museum's website adding that the route is managed by the Association.

''The Iron Age Danube Route matched the criteria by the five priority fields of action by the European Council. These include cooperation in research and development, the progression of European heritage and history, educational exchanges, youth culture, engagement within the frame of the current cultural and artistic practices and sustainable cultural tourism development,'' explained the website.

The certificate is important as it enhances the overall visibility of the sight, allowing the public to become better informed about the area, and enriching the overall Croatian cultural and tourist offer, creating new opportunities both for business and for scientific and educational purposes.

Did you know Vukovar is located along the Danube river? Learn more in our TC guide.

For more about Croatian history, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Jankovics Re-Elected Head of Democratic Union of Hungarians of Croatia

ZAGREB, 26 June 2021 - The representative of the Hungarian minority in the Croatian Parliament, Robert Jankovics, was re-elected president of the Democratic Union of Hungarians of Croatia (DZMH), the umbrella organisation of the Hungarian minority in Croatia, at an election convention in the eastern town of Kopačevo on Saturday.

"To earn the confidence of the delegates of about 50 associations of the Hungarian minority in Croatia for a new four-year term as the head of the DZMH is an extraordinary responsibility for me and I hope that, together with my closes associates, I will be able to respond to the challenges in the years ahead," Jankovics said.

Jankovics pointed out that the leadership and members of the DZMH are the most responsible for the prosperity of the Hungarian community in the past years.

Oliver Matijević was elected executive president, and members of the national presidency and all committees were also chosen, the DZMH said in a statement.

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

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Croatia and Hungary Sign Programme of Cooperation in Education and Science

ZAGREB, 24 June 2021 - Croatian Minister of Science and Technology Radovan Fuchs and Hungary's Minister for Human Resources Miklós Kásler on Thursday signed a program of cooperation in education and science for the period 2021 to 2025. 

"The document additionally testifies to the exceptionally good, friendly, harmonic relations between Croatia and Hungary. The centuries-long history of our two peoples comes to full expression in cooperation and friendly relations," said Minister Fuchs.

He underscored that the way the issue of the Hungarian minority in Croatia and the Croatian minority in Hungary, all the rights that national minorities enjoy, is definitely an example of how relations between minorities could be resolved in other EU countries.

"This program opens further possibilities for cooperation, additional elements that will improve what we have been trying to do this entire time, to preserve the cultural and national identity of our national minorities," Fuchs said.

The program adds a new element to that cooperation. Each country will send their teachers, not members of national minorities but native speakers, to improve and advance courses in their mother tongue. 

Fuchs thanked the Hungarian government for its aid to earthquake-struck areas in Croatia, particularly for the construction of a new elementary school in Petrinja.

Kásler: Both governments attach great importance to public education, the inclusion of minorities in education

Minister Kásler underscored that bother governments attach great importance to public education and the inclusion of national minorities in their own education and culture.

That cooperation exists equally between institutions, students, and teachers, he said.

"This is a beautiful and important station in development and cooperation. Just like Hungary has done for the Croatian minority, Croatia has expanded the possibilities in public education for the Hungarian minority. This is a symbolic step, but it is also very important because it enables that one country provides help for the other," said Minister Kásler.

In that context, he said that since 2010 Hungary has increased its financial investments by three and a half times, from the initial 1.8 billion forints (€5.1 million) to 10 billion (€28.5 million) now.

"We have to discuss material matters that will enable good functioning but I consider that content is just as important. We have 800 years of joint tradition and history, living in peace and allowing coexistence and survival in difficult times," he said.

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

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Croatia and Hungary Facilitate Tourist Travel Between Border

May 8, 2021 - As the season approaches, Croatia and Hungary have reached an agreement to lift restrictions on citizens crossing the border with a vaccination certificate.

The vaccination process is still underway and the cases of infections continue to decrease in Croatia, and it is thus that, as the summer season unfolds, Croatia and its neighbor to the east have reached a bilateral agreement recognizing each other's vaccination certificates with any COVID-19 vaccine.

As reports, this is an agreement which, with the presentation of a vaccination certificate, will enable unhindered travel of Croatian and Hungarian citizens between the two countries, and which will be able to cross borders without restrictions, such as mandatory self-isolation or negative test.

This is great news ahead of the main part of the tourist season, during which the highest intensity of tourist traffic is expected in Croatia.

As they point out from the CNTB, good trends from the Hungarian market are confirmed by today's virtual presentation and business workshop organized by the Representation of the Croatian Tourist Board in Budapest in cooperation with the Zadar County Tourist Board. This virtual event brought together more than 110 participants, and almost 300 individual meetings will be held during the day.

"The great interest of Hungarian partners for virtual presentations and business workshops is a good indicator for the tourist season. In addition to reminding all participants of the beauties of Croatia, and especially Zadar County, we informed them about the current travel conditions between the two countries. The news of concluding a bilateral agreement between Croatia and Hungary came at the right time, and a large number of Hungarians will surely choose Croatia as their destination", said Ivana Herceg, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in Budapest, adding that the first airline between Budapest and Zadar, which will operate twice a week from July, will also contribute to good trends.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Defence Minister Mario Banožić Meets With Hungarian Ambassador Csaba Demcsák

ZAGREB, 5 May, 2021 - Defence Minister Mario Banožić on Wednesday met Hungary's incoming Ambassador to Croatia, Csaba Demcsák, expressing satisfaction with Croatian-Hungarian friendly relations.

"Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the long-lasting friendly relations between the two countries while Minister Banožić said that the two countries have developed excellent bilateral military cooperation," a press release from the defence ministry notes.

Banožić spoke about Croatian-Hungarian cooperation within the RACVIAC centre for security cooperation and the Central European Defence Cooperation (CEDC) and at the Multinational Division Command Centre in Hungary, established jointly by Hungary and Croatia, as well as about their cooperation in the EU and NATO.

Ambassador Demcsák presented Hungary's current defence policy, underlining that he believes in the continuation of the two countries' good cooperation, the ministry's press release notes.

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


Saturday, 20 February 2021

INA-MOL Saga: Hungarians Seeking Far More Than Croatia is Offering

February the 20th, 2021 - The INA-MOL saga has oulived both the Agrokor (remember that?) and the fighter jet purchase sagas, and the Hungarians are now wanting much more than Croatia has to offer in that regard.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the Hungarian MOL confirmed recently that talks with the Croatian Government about the INA-MOL saga, more precisely on the sale of a controlling stake in INA are continuing, and Bloomberg and Hina both quoted MOL CEO Jozsef Molnar as saying that their views on the price of that stake were "quite far apart".

In a recent conversation with analysts, held after the announcement of MOL's business results for last year, it was said that MOL was never against the agreement, but that wanted to sell its stake in INA at a price that would properly compensate it for its investments in the Croatian company.

If you haven't followed the INA-MOL saga in detail, the Hungarian MOL is otherwise the largest individual shareholder of INA, as it holds 49.1 percent of INA shares (4,908,207 shares), while the Croatian state holds 44.8 percent (4,483,552 shares), and private and institutional shareholders hold 6.1 percent of shares (608,241 shares).

Back in early February this year, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Coric said that talks were underway with MOL to buy out its stake in INA and that the whole story about the Croatian oil company should not be prolonged beyond the second half of this year.

At a press briefing held on February the 10th, he said that a series of meetings had been held to buy MOL's stake in INA and that the government had made its offer to buy MOL's stake in INA back in November last year, without providing any further details about the offer.

“Over the next few months, let's say over four to five months, we're going to have to know exactly which direction has been chosen. If the transaction is needed after that, it will all take some time,'' said Coric.

Coric also said that the direction that the Croatian Government doesn't support and which is not optimal for Croatia is to maintain the status quo, while from the beginning they've wanted an agreement to be reached between the Croatian Government and the Hungarian side on the purchase of shares in INA.

The latter direction potentially includes a third party, in the sense that the Hungarian side leaves the ownership of INA entirely and is replaced by someone else. In addition, if the Hungarian side is ready to sell its shares in INA, there is an option for Croatia to buy them itself, ie through an arrangement of legal entities from Croatia, which would certainly, at least in one sense, affect the increase of public debt, which was not the Government's wish.

As a third option, if no agreement is reached on the purchase price in the INA-MOL saga, he stated that the agreement would then in the direction of redefining the relationship between the partners within INA, in a way that would see a balanced relationship between the two shareholders, including positions in the company's management, with all of the accompanying obligations and rights implied.

It's worth mentioning that back at the end of 2016, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced that the Croatia Government had decided to buy MOL's entire stake in INA, after Croatia lost the lawsuit against MOL before the arbitration court of the United Nations  UN) Commission for International Trade Law in Geneva.

An investment advisor in that transaction, the consulting company Lazard, presented a preliminary report on the in-depth survey of INA's business and its value in June last year, and in September 2020, a final report on the assessment of INA's value was made.

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Thursday, 24 September 2020

Croatian and Hungarian Ministers Talk Impact of Pandemic on Education System

ZAGREB, Sept 24, 2020 - Croatian Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs on Thursday met with Hungary's Minister for Human Resources Miklos Kasler to talk about impact of pandemic on education system.

The two ministers discussed the challenges in education as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry said in a press release.

Minister Fuchs presented Croatia's experience in planning the new school year and the option of three models to conduct classes based on epidemiological circumstances, the ministry said and added that they also discussed continuing cooperation and defining new cooperation programmes in the field of education and science.

The ministry notes that the two ministers discussed possible joint science projects, particularly as part of European research programmes.

The ministers agreed that all countries are faced with similar challenges as a consequence of the pandemic which require common responses to this crisis, and concluded that it is essential  to continue close cooperation in the coming period.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2020

HAK: Only Three Border Crossings between Hungary and Croatia Are Open

Zagreb, September 1, 2020 – As reported by Hina, as of September 1, due to the coronavirus crisis, only three border crossings between Hungary and Croatia are open: Duboševica-Udvar, Terezino Polje-Barcs (only for Croatian and Hungarian citizens) and Goričan-Leteneye, the Croatian Auto Club (HAK) reported on Tuesday morning.

Hungary closes the borders for all passengers who don't have a residential address in that country. The entry is only allowed for so-called justified cases.

Strong winds slow down the traffic on an A6 Rijeka-Zagreb motorway between Kikovica and Tuhobić Tunnel. On the part of section A1 between the Bristovac Tunnel and the Sveti Rok Tunnel, there is a speed limit of 60 kilometers per hour due to fog.

The roads are wet and slippery in most parts of Croatia.

The Croatian Auto Club (HAK) warns drivers to adjust their speed and driving style to the conditions on the road.

From August 15, Croatian citizens must have a negative PCR test, not older than 48 hours, to enter Serbia, unless they are only transiting through Serbia.

All persons traveling from the Republic of Croatia to Italy (from August 13) and Austria (from August 18), at the entrance, must have a negative Covid-19 test, not older than 72 hours, or they must be tested within 48 hours of entry.

The decision applies to the citizens of the Republic of Croatia, as well as to the persons who have resided in the Republic of Croatia. The transit through Italy and Austria is currently not restricted and does not require a negative test.

The catamaran line Ubli - Vela Luka - Hvar - Split is interrupted.

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Monday, 24 August 2020

Viktor Orbán: From September 1, No More Trips to Sea in Croatia

Zagreb, August 24, 2020 – Croatia is trying to save its tourist season, so they are regularly sending us their data, and it doesn't look much better than the articles in the media, said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Monday.

As Večernji writes, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said there are only a few more days of summer holidays left, so he advised everyone who wants and has an opportunity to go to the sea, to do so immediately, because, from September 1, restrictions on travel to countries south of Hungary will be introduced again.

The Hungarian Prime Minister revealed this in today's interview for Hungarian radio. Thus, without explicitly mentioning Croatia, he indirectly announced putting our country on the red list before the beginning of the school year.

"I don't want to interfere in personal lifestyle choices, habits and plans of Hungarians, but with due respect and caution, I ask everyone to not organize trips or book holidays in countries south of Hungary and not to consider themselves as tourists because it would be contrary to the protective measures at the borders," said Orbán. He added that in assessing the situation in some countries, including Croatia, they are not guided by the media, but have established direct contact with Austrians and Croats.

"The situation in most countries is getting worse compared to Hungary. The warning that the import of the infection poses the biggest threat to Hungary is not only valid but also more valid than before. The summer indeed lasts and people are on vacation, but soon it will be over and the school will start. For the families, it is the most important that schools and kindergartens function normally", said the Hungarian Prime Minister.

Orbán, as well as the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, was seen spending his vacation on a yacht in Croatia.


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Friday, 21 February 2020

Hungarians Want to Build Luxury Complexes on Smokvica Island

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes on the 19th of February, 2020, a year and a half after they rented the summer residence on Smokvica island from the state, which had been used by former Agrokor boss Ivica Todoric and his family for years, the Zelena nekretnina (Green real estate) company knocked on the door of the Ministry of State Property with the idea of ​​allowing it to build new, luxury facilities.

Such an option was not foreseen in the tender and bidding process, in which the real estate investment fund Balansz Zártkörű Nyíltvégű Intézményi Ingatlan Alap, founded by OTP Banka, was selected. More specifically, the tender explicitly provided for the use of existing facilities on Smokvica island for their own purposes or for use in the hospitality and tourism industry.

If we're focusing on the latter case, the tender stated that the adaptation of existing buildings, such as transforming them into some sort of tourist resort or hotel is possible if done within four-star standards. It is also possible to install easily removable prefabricated objects on the beach, in order to make it more desirable for tourists. But new construction on the island wasn't an option.

However, the tenant who agreed to the annual price of 6.1 million kuna now wants to construct new luxury buildings, villas and common facilities, and presented his project to representatives of the Ministries of State Property, Defense and Construction and the Prefect of Sibenik-Knin, Goran Pauk.

The participants stated that the question of just how much they are actually willing to invest is totally irrelevant because the project presented is beyond the legal possible dimensions.

"Smokvica island is still a special purpose island belonging to the MOD (Ministry of Defense) and for as long as that remains the case, then no construction is possible. We explained to them that it was possible to make some changes, but firstly to the MOD, and then there could be a change in the municipal and county spatial plan,'' said Pauk, adding that the plan presented by the tenants is still not feasible in the dimensions that they're looking for, among other things, because of the size of Smokvica island and because of the prescribed minimum distance of structures needing to be 100 metres away from the coastline.

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