Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Croatians Stockpiling, Spending HRK 160 Million More Each Week

ZAGREB, 16 March 2022- Ever since the war in Ukraine started, Croatian citizens have been spending HRK 160 million more a week than prior to the war, the Večernji List daily reported on Wednesday.

Last week's fiscalised retail turnover was about HRK 2.7 billion as against HRK 2.54 billion a week in the weeks prior to the war. That is a jump of 6% on the week and such a sudden increase occurs only for public holidays or in extraordinary situations. The war that has shocked all of Europe is certainly one of those situations and it has aroused fear of shortages, which is why citizens have started stockpiling, doing so also in an attempt to avoid unwanted price hikes.

A consultant on agriculture and the food industry, Zvjezdana Blažić, says that the increased turnover is undoubtedly due to stockpiling but also due to consumers trying to avoid price hikes caused by disruptions on the domestic and foreign markets.

The prices of yearling beef has increased between 20% to 27% on the year while the price of beef has increased by 12.5%, that of lamb by 12% and of pork by about 10%. The price of poultry has increased by 8.5% to 30% while vegetable prices have increased by 20%, Blažić explained.

She underscored that it's difficult to keep tabs on prices as they are changing each week so the effect of the reduced VAT on some products is not quite clear, with some retailers having reduced VAT even before the set deadline of 1 April.

"Each EU member wants to increase its strategic stockpiles and retailers are probably increasing their orders, and speculation plays a big role in that. I don't see that the rush for goods is that noticeable for the time being as it was in the first ten days or so of the pandemic and lockdown. I haven't seen people overloading their shopping trolleys and we are yet to see what will happen in a week or two, nobody knows," the head of the Croatiastočar organisation representing livestock producers, Branko Bobetić, said.

Given that Croatia is not self-sufficient for any category of meat, further disruptions in supply chains will cause a further increase in prices of meat, and prices of fish have been going up as well, the Večernji List said.

 

Business: For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Finance Ministry Issues HRK 800M in Treasury Bills

ZAGREB, 22 Feb 2022 - Croatia's finance ministry on Tuesday issued HRK 800 million in treasury bills which mature in one year at the low interest rate is 0.01 per cent.

In advance of the maturity of treasury bills worth a billion kuna, the Ministry offered HRK 700 million for subscription. Financial institutions submitted bids totalling HRK 803 million and the Ministry accepted them all.

The balance of subscribed kuna treasury bills has now decreased by HRK 197 million to HRK 13.6 billion.

The next auction of treasury bills will be held on 1 March, said the ministry.

(€1 = HRK 7.532838)

Friday, 11 February 2022

The Kuna, Croatia's Future Euro Coin Design Explained

February 11, 2022 – Considerable controversy has arisen in Croatia this week after artist Stjepan Pranjković was accused of plagiarising a winning proposal for the country's future Euro coin design of the Kuna. 

The graphic designer became the object of public scrutiny when members of the public began pointing out similarities between his composition and a photo of a marten taken by British photographer Iain H Leach. Pranjković has since withdrawn the proposal, leaving officials with the task of selecting a new motif before the coins enter circulation in January of next year.

Squabbling aside, I want to seize this opportunity to draw your attention to the real star of this somewhat dramatic narrative, our fuzzy friend, the kuna.

Many people are familiar with this mischievous forest creature and maybe understand why he lends his name to the national currency. However, if you're like me, you may recognize that gaps remain in your kuna-knowledge. If so, keep reading.

In biologists' speak, kuna (martens) constitute the genus Martes within the family Mustelidae, a group that includes more familiar carnivores like weasels, otters, badgers, and wolverines. There are many species of marten, ranging throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. The star of the current coin debacle is most likely a European pine marten (Martes martes), a common species across Europe, including in Croatia and in Leach's native Great Britain.

The photo in question shows the kuna climbing on a branch. It comes as no surprise then that pine martens are arboreal, spending much of their time maneuvering amongst treetops. These agile predators use their semi-retractable claws to climb between branches, including those of the pines from which they take their name. These claws also come in handy when hunting and foraging their favourite foods: small mammals, birds, insects, fruits, and carrion… delicious! While not most appetizing to the average palate, scientists attribute the appetites of pine martens to a population reduction of the invasive grey squirrel in certain regions across Europe. While many view this fuzzy creature as a pest, this example demonstrates the valuable role pine martens play in their native habitat. Fortunately, despite pressure from deforestation and illegal hunting, the European pine marten is still classified as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

So, how did this tree climbing, squirrel eating, weasel cousin end up at the centre of a national debate on currency design? Well, like most things in Croatia, the kuna goes back several centuries and has a complicated but interesting backstory. To understand, we must go back to medieval Croatia, a time when marten pelts were traded as money. Flash to the 13th century, the Croatian Viceroys distributed marten-adorned silver coins called banovac. However, the currency did not last long. As Croatia lost its autonomy to its union with larger and more powerful Hungary, the banovac disappeared in the following century. But this would not be the last time the world would hear the word kuna.

As I'm sure you are all aware, Croatian's are a stubborn and traditionalistic people. (I say this out of love and from personal experience). Thus, it was only natural that upon independence, Croatian leaders designated the kuna as the state currency on May 30, 1994. Ever since, the kuna has served both practically and symbolically as an embodiment of Croatian custom, identity, and national pride.

As is so often the case, it appears that history is set to repeat itself. With the adoption of the Euro imminent, the renaissance of the kuna is coming to an end. I don't want to criticize the government as it moves to bring the country towards a more integrated future. Croatia has much to gain from establishing the Euro within its borders. Nevertheless, by dawning this historical perspective, one can glean additional insight into why so many are hesitant about the process.

For this reason, it truly is a shame that the coin depicting the kuna, a consecrated emblem of Croatian independence, has become ensnared in public dissension. Of course, the choice to withdraw the submission and protect intellectual property was correct. But, personally, I hope that officials can find a way to reincorporate the kuna into the Croatian Euro roster. That way, Croatians can continue to trade furs for beer and wine while sharing this tradition with the rest of the European community.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

 

Sunday, 6 February 2022

Croatian National Bank Investigating Stolen Croatian Euro Coin Kuna Design

February 6, 2022 - The Croatian National Bank is consulting with legal experts about the potentially stolen Croatian euro coin kuna design by Stjepan Pranjković, which is oddly similar to a photograph of a kuna animal found on the Internet by British photographer Iain H Leach.

The CNB will publish its comment on Monday, writes Večernji List.

The author of the photograph, Iain H. Leach, was not asked for permission to use his photograph.

"Yes, it looks like someone took my photo without my permission and used it to design a new Croatian coin. They told me it was a competition and that design won. I also heard that the winner received a cash prize. I didn't get anything. He's a thief. He took my photo and picked up the prize. I think that those who organized it should withdraw the cash prize and name the real author of the photo on which the Croatian coin was made," Leach told 24 Sata.

"I am amazed at the interest from Croatia. A lot of good people from Croatia contacted me about this, and I didn't hear anything about it until two days ago," stated Leach for N1

“I don’t mind the photo being used as a motif for the coin and I would be glad to see it there. However, I would like to be officially recognized as a photographer and receive a usage fee. Also, I don't think that the person who stole my photo should be rewarded with almost 10,000 euros for something that was copied," concluded the photographer for N1. 

The Government told N1 that the competition to select the winning designs was led by the CNB from the beginning to the end.

"The competition for selecting the design was led from the beginning to the end by the CNB, through the Selection Committee (with external members) and the CNB's Permanent Money Commission, which otherwise decides on the design of commemorative coins. All contestants had to submit a statement guaranteeing that they are the owners of the copyright of the artistic solution that they applied for," the Government said for N1.

Recall, earlier this week, the Croatian Government presented the winning designs for the new Croatian euro coins. Various motifs were chosen - the coat of arms (šahovnica), a map of Croatia, a kuna (marten), Nikola Tesla, and the Glagolitic alphabet.

Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.11.17.png

The kuna design, however, is familiar to a photograph of a kuna by a British photographer Iain H Leach. Many comments on social media pointed out the similarities between the kuna on the coin and the outline of the kuna in the photograph, primarily noticing the similar pose, the branch, but also smaller details, such as the position of the tail or the white color found on the animal's neck.

 

Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.11.06.png

Leach also joined the discussion on Twitter.

Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.11.52.png

"I hope the author of the Croatian euro coin design contacted you and paid you for the rights to the photo because the coin looks the same as your photo," one person wrote on Twitter, and he responded quickly. "Thanks for letting me know. Not sure what I can do, maybe they'll send me a free coin," Leach said. Twitter users soon began advising him to file a lawsuit.

This photo can be found in the photographer's kuna gallery on his website and around the Internet. This photograph is also provided by Google if "pine marten side view" is entered in the search engine. Pine marten is the English name for the kuna. 

The author of the Croatian euro coin design received HRK 70,000

The kuna motif will be on the 1 euro coin, and next to it will be the word "Croatia," and the year they introduced the euro - 2023. The author of the best design for this coin is Stjepan Pranjković, Master of Applied Arts.

Pranjković received HRK 70,000 for his winning design. His other two solutions won second place, receiving HRK 35,000. In total, he received HRK 140,000.

There are also posts on the Internet in which Pranjković asked for help in a group on Facebook on how to process a photo for a coin.


Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.15.30.png

By the way, 295 design proposals were accepted for the kuna coin. The Croatian Commission for the Selection of Artistic Design Proposals selected the nine most successful proposals and submitted them to the CNB. Finally, in the second round of the tender, the CNB's Money Commission selected the three most successful design proposals.

The CNB published a document in which they explained the awarded works. Among them, they explained the motif of the kuna that will adorn the 1 euro coin, which is identical to the British photographer's image.

"The author of the award-winning work decided on a realistic depiction of the kuna animal. He very successfully graphically highlighted the figure of the kuna using a different surface texture, which contributed to the realistic depiction.

The author skillfully used the relationship between the given elements, so he uses straight and sharp chessboard lines as a frame of motifs and contrasts them with wavy lines in depicting the marten animal and the branch on which it stands. The position of the obligatory elements, which are placed along the edge of the inner part of the coin, additionally frames the motif and emphasizes its position," explains the CNB.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

Stolen Croatian Euro Coin Design? Kuna Image Copies British Photographer

February 6, 2022 - Is the kuna image on the new Croatian euro coin design stolen from a British photographer? A closer look. 

Earlier this week, the Croatian Government presented the winning designs for the new Croatian euro coins. Various motifs were chosen - the coat of arms (šahovnica), a map of Croatia, a kuna (marten), Nikola Tesla, and the Glagolitic alphabet.

Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.11.17.png

The kuna design, however, has caused a bit of controversy. Namely, the kuna on the euro coin looks oddly familiar to a photograph of a kuna published on the Internet. It didn't take long to cause a social media storm, reports Index.hr.

Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.11.06.png

Many comments mostly point out the similarities between the kuna on the coin and the outline of the kuna in the photograph, primarily noticing the similar pose, the branch, but also smaller details, such as the position of the tail or the white color found on the animal's neck.

"Are you contacting me about stealing my photo?"

Index.hr contacted the author of the photograph, Iain H Leach, who has only briefly answered with a counter-question.

"Are you contacting me about the new coin stealing my photo?" said Leach. Judging by his statement, he did not seem to be aware that anyone was using his photograph for these purposes, and no one asked him for permission.

Leach also joined the discussion on Twitter.

Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.11.52.png

"I hope the author of the Croatian euro coin design contacted you and paid you for the rights to the photo because the coin looks the same as your photo," one person wrote on Twitter, and he responded quickly. "Thanks for letting me know. Not sure what I can do, maybe they'll send me a free coin," Leach said. Twitter users soon began advising him to file a lawsuit.

This photo can be found in the photographer's kuna gallery on his website and around the Internet. This photograph is also provided by Google if "pine marten side view" is entered in the search engine. Pine marten is the English name for the kuna. 

The author of the design received HRK 70,000

Recall, the motif of the kuna will be on the 1 euro coin, and next to it will be the word "Croatia," and the year they introduced the euro - 2023. The author of the best design for this coin is Stjepan Pranjković, Master of Applied Arts.

Pranjković received HRK 70,000 for his winning design. His other two solutions won second place, receiving HRK 35,000. In total, he received HRK 140,000. Index.hr has sent a message to Pranjković through social media, but he has yet to answer. Should he reply, Index will publish the response. 

There are also posts on the Internet in which Pranjković asked for help in a group on Facebook on how to process a photo for a coin.


Screenshot_2022-02-06_at_09.15.30.png

Index.hr also contacted the Government to comment on this potentially embarrassing situation, but they have not yet responded.

By the way, 295 design proposals were accepted for the kuna coin. The Croatian Commission for the Selection of Artistic Design Proposals selected the nine most successful proposals and submitted them to the CNB. Finally, in the second round of the tender, the CNB's Money Commission selected the three most successful design proposals.

How the design is explained on the CNB's website

The CNB published a document in which they explained the awarded works. Among them, they explained the motif of the kuna that will adorn the 1 euro coin, which is identical to the British photographer's image.

"The author of the award-winning work decided on a realistic depiction of the kuna animal. He very successfully graphically highlighted the figure of the kuna using a different surface texture, which contributed to the realistic depiction.

The author skillfully used the relationship between the given elements, so he uses straight and sharp chessboard lines as a frame of motifs and contrasts them with wavy lines in depicting the marten animal and the branch on which it stands. The position of the obligatory elements, which are placed along the edge of the inner part of the coin, additionally frames the motif and emphasizes its position," explains the CNB.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 28 October 2021

President: Euro Adoption Will Have More Pluses Than Minuses for Croatia

ZAGREB, 28 Oct 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday that Croatia would have more benefits than disadvantages from the euro adoption and that Malta could help Zagreb with its experience in the euro area.

Malta has been in the euro area since 1 January 2008, and today when Milanović met with his Maltese counterpart George Vella, he said that he believes that country can help Croatia with its experience.

"This is a country which has been inside for a long time, it has the experience and that experience is good," said Milanović and added that the Maltese economy is "exposed to the services sector and in particular to tourism," and has several common points with Croatia's economy.

"Our economy, unfortunately, or luckily, or just as a point - is not exceptionally export-orientated. We are a service-based economy and that is one of the reasons why I think the euro would be better for Croatia than it would be worse," said Milanović.

The president underscored that introducing the euro "isn't pittance" and that "it seems we will relinquish our national currency forever."

"That is not done with an excited heart, but with a sober head."

Milanović asked Malta to support Croatia, as the youngest EU member state, and its accession to the Schengen Area and criticized the Union for "procrastination and delay."

Romania and Bulgaria have been members of the EU since 2007 and are still waiting for a green light to access that area.

The time has already ripened for them to join the Schengen Area, however, political mainstream in the largest countries simply have a problem, which I understand, and that is the problem of right-wing voters hence they need "to tread on eggs cautiously," as the saying goes, he said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Switching Kuna Cash for Euros - Time Limits Vary for Coins and Notes

September the 14th, 2021 - As Croatia prepares to adopt the euro as its national currency and send the kuna to the history books, just how much time do we actually have to switch any kuna cash to euros?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, last Friday, at a Eurogroup meeting in the Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana, a "Memorandum of Understanding" was signed between the European Central Bank, the Croatian National Bank and the European Commission. Tihomir Mavricek, Executive Director of the CNB's Cash Department, spoke about the bureaucratic phrase (memorandum of understanding) regarding the issuance and production of euro coins in Croatia on HRT's Studio 4 show.

Mavricek simplified the memorandum, why it is important and whether it means that Croatia can mint the euro itself.

The memorandum signed has its own symbolism and practical side. It is symbolic because it is the first official document signed between the three parties, and practical because it completes all of Croatia's preparations for accession to the Eurozone.

How much does it cost to mint the euro?

When asked who will do it in Croatia and how much it will cost, Mavricek said that it will be minted by the Croatian Monetary Institute.

''They've already started their preparations, and the real minting of euro banknotes is possible only after the Council of the European Union makes a decision on Croatia's accession to the Eurozone,'' said Mavricek.

''Based on the memorandum, we can make one million test pieces of each of the eight denominations of euro coins. We can test how ready we'd be to mint all the necessary quantities of euro coins after the Council's decision,'' he said, adding that the cost of making one euro coin costs about 10 cents on average.

Kuna cash and its storage

As for the storage of the Croatian kuna, which will soon be replaced by the euro, he said that since the beginning of the introduction of the kuna, the CNB has produced 2.8 billion pieces of kuna coins.

''If we lined them up next to each other and vertically, we'd get 4500 km of coins, which is from Zagreb to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. They weigh about 10,000 tonnes. Based on the experience of other countries, we expect that about 35 percent of those coins will be returned, or 1.13 billion pieces. That's about 5200 tonnes, which corresponds to the weight of 124 new Zagreb trams. If a truck can load 20 tonnes of coins, we're talking about about 260 trucks of kuna coins,'' Mavricek illustrated.

He said that there would be fewer euro coins, but not because of the exchange rate or the ratio of approximately 7.5: 1.

''There's a conversion methodology developed by the European Monetary Institute, which is based on the fact that we have the same number of coins and banknotes as we had for our national currency. According to the budget formula, we'll get approximately the same number of coins and banknotes, but it will still be a little less,'' Mavricek explained.

He added that according to information from the Deutsche Bundesbank, a huge amount of German marks remained everywhere, and still do. According to some estimates, it amounts to almost 6 billion marks. Even today, stamps can be converted into euros.

''The CNB is preparing for the safe storage of both kuna cash (banknotes) and coins. Banknote issues have already been resolved, and for coins it is currently being resolved. It will be in a safe location that will be guarded non-stop,'' Mavricek said.

Deadlines for exchange of kuna cash and coins

-''Unlike kuna banknotes that will be exchanged for euros indefinitely, kuna coins will only be able to be exchanged for a period of three years. The first year will see all banks take responsibility for that, and then the following two will be dealt with solely by the CNB,'' Mavricek explained, adding that the returned kuna cash will be stored on an area of ​​about 2,000 m2.

He believes that minting euros in Croatia will be cheaper than having them done for the country elsewhere and by someone else.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Croatian Sovereignists Launching Campaign for Referendum Against Euro Introduction

ZAGREB, 28 Aug, 2021 - A member of parliament from the Croatian Sovereignists party, Marko Milanović Litre, said on Saturday that his party was launching a campaign for a referendum on the introduction of the euro, criticising the government for ignoring citizens' opinion on the matter.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Croatian National Bank Governor Boris Vujčić and a whole set of Brussels bureaucrats have decided on their own that Croatia should join the euro area, Milanović Litre said in a Facebook post, noting that his party had launched a campaign to protect the national currency, the kuna.

"Referendum is the only way to accomplish that," he said.

Criticising Plenković and his government's attitude to referendum initiatives and what he called disregard for citizens' role in them, Milanović Litre said that that attitude was evidenced by Plenković's recent statement that "from a formal and legal point of view, a referendum on the introduction of the euro was already held in 2012 and a new one is not necessary."

The MP said that ballots for the 2012 referendum on Croatia's accession to the EU, to which Plenković was referring, featured only one question: "Are you in favour of Croatia's accession to the European Union?" and that the referendum campaign made no mention of accession to the euro area.

The Croatian people have the right to state their opinion on all important topics that affect their lives, notably decisions whereby a part of their hard-won sovereignty is ceded to Brussels, said Milanović Litre, adding that Croatia was poorly prepared for EU membership.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

CNB Removes Certain Croatian Banknotes From Circulation

June the 20th, 2021 - Have you checked your jacket pockets and old wallets lately? If you've got any of these Croatian banknotes lying around, you've only got a certain amount of time to get them exchanged as the Croatian National Banks begin removing them from circulation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian National Bank has so far withdrawn seven series of 5, 10, 50, 100 and 200 kuna banknotes, six of which were issued back in 1993 and one two years later. To date, however, 9.5 million such invalid Croatian banknotes, out of a total of more than three hundred million printed, are still in circulation.

The highest number of invalid banknotes (11 percent) in denominations of five kuna each were issued back in 1993. This banknote is primarily green with the image of Petar Zrinski and Fran Frankopan. The nominal value of this most invalid banknote stands at around 17 million kuna, writes Vecernji list.

The CNB pointed out that 750 of these oldest paper Croatian banknotes have been returned to them over the last year, and they have been exchanged for the same value. In the last year alone, the CNB received a total of 17,706 invalid Croatian banknotes, including 3,923 200 kuna banknotes bearing the image of Stjepan Radic.

In the year dominated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many people seemed entirely unaware that you haven't been able to spend some of these notes for as long as ten years now. The value of the old 200 kuna note in the last year stood at as much as 784,600 kuna. The total value of all returned Croatian banknotes exchanged from May 2020 to the end of May this year was around 1.44 million kuna in total!

A year ago, about 2,800 ten kuna banknotes, 1,707 20 kuna banknotes, a little more than five thousand old 50 kuna banknotes and a little more than three thousand old one hundred kuna banknotes were ''dusted off'' and returned.

The Croatian National Bank will replace all invalid kuna banknotes free of charge and without a time limit to anyone who brings them in person to the CNB box office at 5 Franjo Racki in Zagreb, or sends them in by mail.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Search