Monday, 18 October 2021

Publication "Poverty - A Stain on the Conscience of the Mankind" Presented

ZAGREB, 18 Oct 2021 - On the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the MoSt association from Split on Monday presented the publication "Poverty - A Stain on the Conscience of the Mankind - Review of the Framework and Possibilities for Eradicating Poverty in Croatia."

The author of the book is Đordana Barbarić and the author of the photographs is Leo Lendić.

At the presentation, it was underscored that the publication is a record of our times, that it speaks loudly about a significant global social problem and aims to spotlight the issue of poverty and social exclusion and indicate all resources and opportunities that existed in Croatia providing help and support.

The main message of the book is that "infrastructure" exists for eradicating poverty in Croatia, but connectedness is lacking.

"Connecting, networking, cooperation, solidarity and effective policies for combating poverty are becoming imperative," said the author of the publication, Đordana Barbarić from the association MoSt.

The problem is, she said, that processes are very slow in Croatia -- reforms can last decades.

"No one in Croatia should stay hungry, without a roof over their head or without support. No child, individual or family should live without electricity, water, a hot meal...," said Barbarić.

She pointed out that Croatia has the Social Welfare Act, strategies, plans, protocols, funds. We have 555 local government units -- 428 municipalities and 127 cities, as well as 21 units of the regional government, which have social welfare departments, programs, measures, finances, and legal obligations. There are 80 social welfare centers in Croatia, 38 branches, and a large number of employed experts.

Barbarić also stressed, the Croatian Caritas charity has a large and significant network of social services in 17 archdioceses and dioceses and 1,500 parish communities that carry out charitable activities, and the Croatian Red Cross has 131 county, city, and municipal branches.

The Croatian Homeless Network has 15 active organizations, the Croatian Network of Social Supermarkets has 18 members and as many outside the Network, and the Food Network has over 10 members. There are also dozens of citizens' initiatives and civil society organizations in the field of the eradication of poverty.

At the presentation, it was said that 23.3% of persons in Croatia were at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Also, 43% of citizens live in families that can barely make ends meet.

It was also said that each person throws away 75 kg of food per year and that over 40,000 children depend on different forms of social assistance.

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Saturday, 16 October 2021

Trade Union Says 23.2% of Croatians at Risk of Poverty

ZAGREB, 16 Oct, 2021 - The poverty risk rate in Croatia in 2020 was 18.3%, 23.2% of Croatians were at risk of poverty and the rate of severe material deprivation was 6.9%, the NHS trade union federation warned on Saturday, on the occasion of the International Day to Eradicate Poverty, 17 October.

The minimum net pay in 2021 is HRK 3,400, the average net monthly pay in July was HRK 7,046 and the median wage was HRK 6,000. An average Croatian household is able to cover only three quarters of its regular expenses from its regular income, and most households are forced to reallocate their funds and borrow.

Data show that in June 2021 households' debt reached HRK 138.9 billion, 4.2 billion more than in the same month of 2020.

Data from the EU's statistical office Eurostat show that in 2019 as many as 19.1% of those whose income was less than 60% of the national median were unable to afford adequate heating.

Data from the European Trade Union Institute show that since 2009 Croatia has seen the highest, 16.5% increase of all EU members in the number of households unable to afford adequate heating. 5.1% of employed persons in Croatia are poor, with the unemployed, elderly people, families with several children, single-parent households as well as single-member households, households with the minimum wage and most pensioners being the most at risk of poverty.

The average pension in 2020 was HRK 2,537.15 and the average pension of a former office-holder was HRK 10,016.56.

Croatia has become a country whose citizens are emigrating in search of a better life, a country of unstable and insecure jobs. Data show that due to job insecurity and low wages, as many as 77% of young people still live with their parents.

Stable and secure jobs, jobs with high added value, much higher minimum and all other wages and higher pensions are the only way out of poverty and social exclusion. Without that, we can only state with sadness and resignation, again on this year's International Day to Eradicate Poverty, that Croatia is an increasingly socially stratified, poor country of even poorer citizens, the NHS said.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Friday, 15 October 2021

HSU: 600,000 Croatian Pensioners with Allowances Below Poverty Line

ZAGREB, 15 October 2021  - The Croatian Pensioners Party (HSU) warned on Friday that over 600,000 pensioners in Croatia received pensions below the poverty line, and that the ratio of the average pension to the average wage was never lower, amounting to 35.9 percent.

The number of poor people in Croatia is growing by the day, and according to Eurostat, the poverty line is currently HRK 2,927, while the risk of poverty rate is higher than ever before, HSU leader Veselko Gabričević told a press conference, held to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, observed on 17 October.

"We are seeing a surge in energy prices, notably in prices of petroleum products, which is having a direct impact on prices of all staples. The last pension adjustment of HRK 68 is almost next to nothing. Regardless of the legal requirement for pensions to be adjusted twice a year, pensioners' purchasing power is decreasing and their lives are becoming harder," Gabričević said. 

The HSU is dissatisfied with the present pension indexation formula, saying that it leads pensioners into even greater poverty. It says that this issue has been raised with the National Council for Pensioners to stop a further decline of pensions in relation to wages. The party is calling for a comprehensive pension reform to increase the lowest pensions.

According to the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, 1,113,522 pensions were paid out this September, and 722,644 pensioners have pensions ranging between HRK 500 and 3,000.

Gabričević noted that 9,195 pensions paid out in September exceeded HRK 8,000, including those of members of Parliament. 

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Friday, 8 October 2021

Croatia Sets Aside €2.7 bn to Combat Poverty

ZAGREB, 8 Oct 2021 - The Labour, Family and Social Policy Ministry's state secretary, Marija Pletikosa, on Friday told a conference on homelessness in Split that Croatia had allocated almost HRK 20 billion in the period from 2021 to 2027 to combat poverty and social exclusion.

"The National Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion in Croatia for the period from 2021 to 2027 foresees and allocation of almost HRK 20 billion," Pletikosa said at the 15th national conference on homelessness.

According to Pletikosa, that money will be disbursed to implement several measures and services that will be provided for the purpose of combatting poverty in Croatia. She added that the measures also include providing assistance to  the homeless.

"Given that homelessness has been recognised on the global level as a growing problem, in the coming period the Ministry will continue to work in synergy in cooperation with other key stakeholders to improve policies directed towards protecting the homeless," she said.

She added that in the coming period homeless people will be accommodated during "extreme winter conditions" in premises that will be ensured by large cities and county centre cities.

Drago Lelas from the Split-based MoST NGO said that there were currently 45 homeless people in Split and 35 were accommodated in homeless shelter centres, however, ten addicts or those suffering from grave mental issues refused help.

"There are about 2,000 people in Croatia who are considered to be homeless as defined by the law and of that number 400 are accommodated in shelters, which is the capacity of the 14 shelters that exist in Croatia. The rest are out in the street," said Lelas.

He added that Croatia has still not taken over a typology relating to the homeless, which describes living in inappropriate housing conditions without electricity and water, in sheds, caravans and the like. Based on that typology, Lelas underscored, Croatia would have about ten thousand homeless people.

He also underscored that since the outbreak of the pandemic, all 14 homeless shelters in Croatia had registered only one case of being positive with coronavirus, and that being in Zagreb.

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Wednesday, 6 October 2021

2,000 People in Croatia Live in Abject Poverty

ZAGREB, 6 Oct, 2021 - The World Homeless Day (observed on 10 October) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and Social Exclusion (observed on 17 October) will be marked in Zagreb on Monday, 11 October, to draw attention to the problems faced by 2,000 people in Croatia who live in abject poverty.

The data on the number of homeless persons in Croatia vary. The Croatian Homeless Network estimates that about 2,000 people live in abject poverty, or without a roof over their heads. However, if persons with insecure and inappropriate housing are taken into account, their number rises to 10,000, the Pet Plus association said on Wednesday.

The associations Pet Plus, Dom Nade and Stijena Resoc will gather together at Zagreb's central train station at 2 pm on Monday to raise public awareness of the needs of homeless people and the reasons why people sometimes end up on the street. 

The associations say that poverty is the reason for homelessness in 69 percent of cases, and that as many as 88 percent of registered homeless people are of a working age. That is why they are calling for their employment as a way of helping them out of homelessness.

The associations highlighted the problem of getting identification documents, saying that homeless people often cannot get them and that that is why the number of registered homeless people in Croatia is much lower than their actual number.

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Wednesday, 30 June 2021

132,000 Employed Croatian Residents Still Considered Poor

June the 30th, 2021 - As many as 132,000 Croatian residents who work, pay their contributions and taxes, are considered to be poor. These alarming figures raise many questions which have plagued the Croatian labour system for a long time.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, every tenth Croatian resident with employment, so a total of 132,000 of them, received a salary of less than 3,800 kuna for their work during the month of April this year.

The average salary of all 1.3 million employees in legal entities in April amounted to 7,082 kuna, but more than 60 percent of people, or 792 thousand of them, earn far less than that. Every other employee, 660,000 of them, receives less than 5,956 kuna, which is the median salary, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

Back in April 2021, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) published data on the structure of employees by salary for March last year. It publishes this type of data once a year, and according to the latest data, 5.9 percent of full-time employees, or 64,810 of them, earned less than 3,400 kuna, which is this year's minimum wage, and their share is probably similar this year.

It is expected that Croatian residents earning such a salary should somehow be able to juggle living, eating, and paying for utilities, and those who have a family have more expenses to consider. According to the 2019 Household Budget Survey, average consumption expenditures amounted to 93,522 kuna per household, or 7,793 kuna per month. Even the current average salary of 7,082 kuna can't cover this level of consumption, in which food is the most expensive item.

Food accounts for 26 percent of total household consumption, or 24,538 kuna, which is 2,044 kuna in monthly costs for food and soft drinks. Costs for electricity, water, waste collection, repairs and the maintenance of apartments stand at around 704 kuna per month on average, and 410 kuna is the average monthly cost for subscriptions for TV, internet and phones.

When the food, utilities and communication costs are settled, the salary of 3,158 kuna has already disappeared. If the salary is 4000 kuna, there is a mere 842 kuna left for everything else, including transport, fuel, clothes, shoes, medicines, apartment maintenance, recreation, travel, morning coffees...

In order for someone to be statistically at risk of poverty, they need to have lower incomes than those set as the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, and in Croatia there were 742,644 such people registered in 2019.

The last published data on the risk of poverty are from 2019, in which the risk threshold for singles was 2,710 kuna per month, and for households with two adults and two children, 5,691 kuna per month. The median salary in 2019 was 5569 kuna, and the current medial salary for April this year was still 5956 kuna.

The average workers' pension received by one million pensioners is currently 2,635 kuna. Because of such incomes, people have problems surviving: 1.44 million Croatian residents, or more than a third, live in households that find it very difficult to make ends meet at the end of each month.

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Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Poverty in Croatia: Every Nineteenth Employed Person at Risk of Poverty

Poverty is an enormous issue across the territory of the European Union and Europe as a whole, but just how does Croatia fare? While taxpayers and the government argue over tax breaks and the raising of the living wage, poverty in Croatia is climbing.

As Adriano Milovan/Novac writes on the 3rd of February, 2020, although this data doesn't regard mere small numbers of people in Croatia who are working and who are still at risk of poverty, Croatia still managed to rank fairly well on the European Union's list with this indicator.

Namely, with a 5.2 percent poverty rate back in 2018, the Republic of Croatia was among the best placed EU member states, since only those who are employed in Ireland, the Czech Republic and Finland have a lower risk of falling into poverty in the EU, with it threatening just about every 33rd employee, which is a real threat to only 3.1 percent of people who have a job. In addition, according to Eurostat, Belgium has the same at-risk-of-poverty rate as Croatia.

Eurostat's data also show that Slovenia's employees have a slightly higher risk of falling into poverty, where poverty is a real threat to six percent of employees. The EU average is 9.5 percent, which means that almost every 10th employee in the EU is at risk of falling into poverty. Romanians are most at risk of falling into poverty: and as many as 15.3 percent of Romanian employees face that particular threat.

Among EU member state candidates for which Eurostat has published data, the highest risk of falling into poverty lies with employees in neighbouring Serbia, where every 10th employee is faced with a real threat of poverty. This is almost twice as high as in Croatia and is at the EU average. In Northern Macedonia, poverty is a threat to 8.8 percent of employees, Eurostat figures show.

Eurostat's analysis shows that employed men are more at risk of falling into poverty than employed women are, both in terms of poverty in Croatia and across the EU as a whole. Poverty is more of a threat to part-time employees or other similar, ''less sturdy'' forms of work than to those with permanent contracts, Eurostat concludes. They also add that the risk of falling into poverty in the EU is increasing, making poverty a real threat to 8.6 per cent of European Union employees in 2008, rising to a concerning 9.5 per cent in 2018.

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