Friday, 8 April 2022

Croatian Government to Send HRK 1.5m Worth of Emergency Aid to Ukraine

ZAGREB, 8 April (2022) - As a sign of solidarity, Croatia will send slightly over HRK 1.5 million (€200,000) worth of emergency aid to Ukraine at Ukraine's request, the government decided on Friday.

The aid comes from the available reserves and funds of the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry, that is, the Commodity Reserves Directorate, the Culture and Media Ministry, and the Ministry of the Interior, that is, the Civil Protection Directorate.

In light of constant danger to the moveable and immoveable cultural heritage of the city of Lviv, Ukrainian museum workers have asked for help in the form of equipment to protect and evacuate the heritage, and help has also been requested in the form of medical equipment (first aid kits).

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 1 April 2022

11,590 Ukrainian Refugees Arrive in Croatia to Date

ZAGREB, 1 April (2022) - A total of 11,590 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Croatia to date, including 202 in the last 24 hours, and all have been provided with the necessary care, the head of the Civil Protection Directorate, Damir Trut, said on Friday.

Speaking to the press after meeting with Osijek-County prefect Ivan Anušić and representatives of the County Civil Protection Service, Trut said that about 1,000 refugees have been accommodated in the eastern Slavonia region.

The executive director of the Croatian Red Cross, Robert Markt, said that this organisation was providing refugees with humanitarian aid and psychosocial support, helping them with family reunions and passing information between separated families. He said that Red Cross staff were visiting refugees staying in private accommodation on a weekly basis and those in collective accommodation on a daily basis.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Friday, 1 April 2022

Economy Minister Believes 2022 Will Be Year of Further Growth

ZAGREB, 1 April (2022) - Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Friday he believed the year 2022 would see a further growth of the national economy.

"I believe that the Croatian economy will show in 2022, just as it did in 2021, the kind of resilience that opened the door to convergence towards the EU average," Ćorić said at a meeting of exporters, organised by Lider business weekly.

Recalling Croatia's growth rate of more than 10% in 2021, the minister said that this year could be like that as well. "That is our goal and I believe that with good exporters, we can make it happen," he said.

Croatian exporters share the fate of all European exporters who are in any way connected with the Russian Federation, while the situation is somewhat easier for exporters with diversified portfolios, whose business is not predominantly oriented to Russia, he said.

Croatia does not have too many companies that are exposed to the Russian market, he said, adding that the current situation could be overcome by companies expanding their market to other European countries, while the government would help by facilitating competition, primarily by enabling greater energy efficiency and lower production costs.

Ćorić announced a HRK 1.9 billion tender to be published by the end of Q2 referring to energy efficiency, which should help the manufacturing industry increase its capacity.

Some of the exporters have liquidity problems due to a decline in business in the Russian Federation, he said, noting that the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) would step in.

DIV Group: Situation requires rapid response

Answering questions from the press, a member of the DIV Group Management Board, Darko Pappo, said that DIV was very much affected by the current situation because two major projects were financed by a Russian-owned bank, with EU sanctions against Russia having prevented the completion of the projects and their refinancing.

"We are talking about two loans amounting to €90 million, with our share totalling around €60 million. That is a huge amount of money and this has made us suspend production," he said, adding that he expected the government to make decisions fast to help the shipbuilding group overcome the situation.

He added that there were end-buyers for both projects, contracts on long-term lease and a repayment schedule, and that, even though state aid is not necessary, the situation requires a prompt government reaction.

The government should support DIV's proposal for the loans to be refinanced with HBOR funding under commercial terms, and one of the loans should be fully repaid by the end of the year while the other would be repaid over a longer period of time, he said.

"That would ensure the continuation of production and normal functioning," he said, adding that both the Brodosplit shipyard and DIV Group operate in the black and employ a large number of workers, which is why they believe the government and HBOR should step in.

Pappo recalled that the recent case of Sberbank showed that a prompt reaction by the government was possible.

AD Plastik focusing on new deals 

Marinko Došen, Management Board chair of plastic car parts manufacturer AD Plastik, said the revenue from the Russian market accounted for 20-25% of total revenue and that the company's two factories in Russia were currently not operating and there was no information on when they could resume operation.

AD Plastik is an export-oriented company, focusing on new deals and expanding to markets where it will be able to operate, Došen said.

As for the rise in energy costs, he said that the cost of energy products had gone up significantly for all businesses and that state aid would be welcome as it would also help them cover the cost of labour for markets that were currently inaccessible.

For more, check out our business section.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Most Ukrainian Refugees Arrive in Croatia via Goričan Border Crossing

ZAGREB, 30 March 2022 - The Civil Protection Directorate head Damir Trut and the Croatian Red Cross executive president Robert Markt on Wednesday visited the busiest reception and transit centre for Ukrainian refugees, set up at the Goričan border crossing through which 8,300 Ukrainians have passed lately.

After being escorted to the reception and transit centre by Goričan Mayor Emanuel Sinković, Trut and Markt met with Međimurje County Prefect Matija Posavec.

 After the talk, Trut said that all efforts should be made to make sure that displaced persons from Ukraine are accommodated in the best possible way.

"Međimurje County is a very good example. Cooperation at the national, regional and local level is functioning by exchanging all the information on the needs that have to be resolved, from entering the Goričan border crossing where more than 80% of the displaced persons are entering Croatia to accepting them at the border crossing itself," said Trut.

He added that a majority of Ukrainian refugees have been accommodated in private properties while a smaller portion (15%) are staying in collective accommodations.

"That is why it is essential to activate and stimulate an even better response to the public call that the Interior Ministry and Civil Protection Directorate advertised three days ago calling for anyone with vacant premises or the opportunity to take in refugees," said Trut.

Robert Markt also commended Međimurje County for well-organised reception of refugees.

"We are by no means in a pleasant situation considering that we do not know how many people are coming to Croatia. The system has to be at its highest level the entire time. With the support of counties and their prefects, we do our job smoothly and all refugees who come to Croatia are being treated with dignity," underscored Markt.

County Prefect Posavec said that more than 11,000 displaced persons from Ukraine have come to Croatia and 8,300 of them entered at the Goričan crossing.

"At the moment, we have 165 Ukrainians accommodated here, some privately and some in hotels. Reception centres were available too but they were not necessary for now," said Posavec. He added that about 30 Ukrainian children have been enrolled in schools in the county and 21 interpreters have been engaged.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Monday, 28 March 2022

Moscow Protests Over Croatian FM's "Insulting" Language

28 March 2022 - Russia has lodged a strong protest with Croatia after Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, the Russian Embassy in Zagreb said in a statement.  

Insulting language and unfounded accusations against the President of the Russian Federation are absolutely unacceptable, the statement said.

Russia also protested because Grlić Radman had referred to the Russian government as a regime and wished that it would not stay in power for long.

Such irresponsible behaviour of a representative of the Croatian leadership is destroying the tissue of Russian-Croatian relations, which are marking 30 years this year, the statement said.

The government in Zagreb was called upon to refrain from triggering negative consequences for relations between the two countries.

In conclusion, the Embassy stressed the need for adherence to the universal rules of international communication and diplomatic etiquette.

Last Wednesday, speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio, Grlić Radman said Putin was a war criminal and expressed hope that "the Russian autocratic regime" would not last for long.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Rally of Support for Ukraine Held in Osijek

ZAGREB, 27 March 2022 - A peaceful rally of support for Ukraine was held on Sunday in the eastern city of Osijek, and addressing it, Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Kyrylych said that genocide was underway against Ukrainians, but that in spite of that, Ukraine would defend itself.

Speaking at the rally in Osijek's central square, Kyrylych said that the rally was organised to "once again support Ukraine in the brutal war launched by the Russian Federation."

"What is happening in Ukraine is not only war, genocide is being committed against its people", he said, noting that city neighbourhoods, schools, hospitals and kindergartens were being destroyed and that so far 138 children had been killed in Ukraine.

"In this brutal war, there is on one side a cult of brute force, a cult of the dictator and tyrant and on the other truth and defence of one's country. We are on our own land and we are defending it", the ambassador said, thanking the Croatian government, Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Osijek for their strong support to Ukraine and for having taken in Ukrainian refugees. 

The president of the Association of Ukrainians in Croatia, Vlado Karešin, too, thanked Croatia for its support to Ukraine.

The rally was also attended by Osijek city officials and MPs Romana Nikolić and Domagoj Hajduković.

For more, check out our dedicated politics and lifestyle sections.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

10,409 Ukrainian Refugees Have arrived in Croatia

ZAGREB, 27 March 2022 - A total of 10,409 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Croatia so far, of whom 2,136 in the last seven days, the Ministry of the Interior has said on the Croatia for Ukraine website.

Of the 10,409 refugees, 5,064 are women, 3,996 children and 1,349 men.

Since 25 February the Civil Protection Directorate has mobilised 36 facilities to accommodate the refugees, three reception centres and 33 facilities for collective accommodation, one catering company and one transport company.

Currently 29 persons are staying in privately-owned properties, 1,338 have been provided with collective accommodation and 9,042 have been provided with accommodation on an individual basis.

The Ministry of the Interior on 20 March launched a bilingual website that provides daily information of relevance for Ukrainian refugees and for Croatians offering assistance to them.

The website Hrvatska za Ukrajinu (Croatia for Ukraine) contains information on the number of refugees arriving in Croatia, accommodation capacity, ways to help the refugees and information for Croatians who have taken in the refugees.

The section of the website in the Ukrainian language provides answers to the most frequently asked questions.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 25 March 2022

UNICEF Croatia Raises €400,000 in Donations for Children in Ukraine

ZAGREB, 25 March (2022) - UNICEF's Croatia Office has raised over HRK 3 million (€400,000) in donations for children in war-torn Ukraine, as well as for children in neighbouring countries and Croatia, the organisation said on Friday.

UNICEF Croatia said it has made itself available to the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate to work together with other institutions and organisations in providing support to children and families from Ukraine.

It said it was ready to provide psychosocial and other forms of support to children separated from their parents and help in strengthening the competencies of schools in Croatia that have accepted Ukrainian pupils.

Strengthening socioemotional competencies has proved very successful in Sisak-Moslavina County following an earthquake in late 2020, UNICEF Croatia said, adding that it has expertise in crisis situations and has dispatched its own experts to Poland and Romania to help with the biggest migrant crisis in recent history.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine a month ago, over 1.5 million children have left Ukraine and most of them, together with their families, have found refuge in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania.

Ukrainian children arriving in neighbouring countries are facing great risks, such as separation from their families, violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking, UNICEF warned.

By 17 March, UNICEF had delivered 85 trucks with 858 tonnes of relief supplies for children and their families in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

For more news about Croatia, click here.


Friday, 25 March 2022

Croatian National Bank Governor: Ukraine War to Slow Croatia's GDP Growth and Push up Inflation

ZAGREB, 25 March (2022) - The war in Ukraine will certainly lead to an economic slowdown in Croatia this year and push up inflation, largely due to increases in energy and cereal prices, Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić said on Friday.

"The direct impact on our economy comes from the spillover of economic effects of the war in Ukraine. At this moment we do not have direct consequences of the war, but we can quite certainly expect that the war in Ukraine will slow our GDP growth this year and increase inflation, primarily because of increased prices of energy and cereals that are largely produced in Russia and Ukraine," Vujčić told a press conference.

He added that the scale of the impact would depend on developments in Ukraine, "which at this point are hard to predict."

Rush for euro

Asked to comment on "the rush for euro", after exchange offices have been reported by the media as saying that they sell all the euros they get, Vujčić said this was nothing of significance.

He said there had been an increased demand for euro since the second half of last year due to last year's much better tourist season and the nearing of the date of euro adoption by Croatia.

According to the central bank, there was a strong increase in foreign currency deposits with commercial banks in January, picking up from 2.2 to 6.6 per cent at an annual level.

"This trend shows a strong net inflow of foreign currency into the banking system," Vujčić said.

For more, check out our business section.

Friday, 25 March 2022

139 Ukrainian Refugee Children Enrolled in Croatian Schools

ZAGREB, 25 March (2022) - So far, 139 Ukrainian refugee children have resumed schooling in Croatia, and of them, 124 are integrated in primary schools and 15 in secondary schools.

In order to facilitate their integration in schools, Ukrainian school-age refugees are provided with additional classes to learn the Croatian language.

Broken down by county, the highest number of Ukrainian refugee children who are already back to school is in Split-Dalmatia where 22 are integrated in primary schools.

There are 15 Ukrainian children in primary schools in the City of Zagreb and Požega-Slavonia County each. Also, 13 Ukrainian kids have resumed schooling in primary schools in both Međimurje and Primorje-Gorski Kotar Counties, and 10 are integrated in primary schools in Lika- Senj County.

In the other counties that have enabled education for primary school students from Ukraine, the numbers are fewer than 10.

When it comes to secondary education, of those 15 children, six are attending school in the City of Zagreb, three in Osijek-Baranja County and two are back to school in Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar Counties each, and Split and Vukovar counties have one secondary-school Ukrainian refugee, according to the data which the Croatian ministry of education gave to Hina.

For more, check out our business section.



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