Thursday, 24 March 2022

Croatian Foreign Trade of Goods With Russia and Ukraine

24th March 2022 – An overview of the Croatian foreign trade of goods with Russia and Ukraine in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the imposed economic sanctions on Russia.

It has been exactly one month since Russia has invaded Ukraine. Nobody knows how much more the war is going to last and we can only hope it will end soon. This is certainly one of the biggest humanitarian crises the European continent has seen in a long time. The West reacted rather promptly to the Russian invasion by imposing severe economic sanctions on the Russian Federation in an effort to persuade Russian leadership to stop the war.

Since the invasion has started, the European Union has adopted four packages of economic sanctions. Even though these sanctions still do not include all parts of the Russian economy, consumers and corporations are often choosing not to do business with Russia and Russian companies on their own initiative. I will provide an overview of the Croatian foreign trade of goods with Russia and Ukraine which will give us a better approximation of the Croatian position in these extreme circumstances.


In 2021 Croatia exported 204 million Euros of goods to Russia which represents 1.1% of the total Croatian export of goods. In the last few years, Croatian export of goods to Russia has been on the rise, but they are still 28% lower than the level in 2013. In the same period, the relative share of exports to Russia has fallen from 2.9% to 1.1%.

On the other hand, Croatia has exported 58 million Euros worth of goods to Ukraine in 2021 which represents 0.3% of the total Croatian export of goods. In the observed period exports to Ukraine have been rising in absolute terms by 157% beating the total exports growth of 99%. In relative terms exports to Ukraine were fluctuating between 0.1% and 0.4%.


When comparing exports to Russia and Ukraine to other markets we can see that their relative importance in terms of total Croatian exports is very small. The biggest Croatian trade partner is the European Union with 69.2% of exports, followed by CEFTA countries and other countries in America with 16.3% and 3.6% respectively. What is more Russian market does not come even close to the top ten exporting countries and is far behind the Croatian traditional trade partners such as Slovenia with 13%, Italy 12%, Germany 12%, and Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina both with 9%.


In order to dig deeper into the structure of the Croatian exports of goods to Russia and Ukraine, I have used the official Combined Nomenclature (CN) from the European Union. The breakdown of the exports by the CN is provided by the DZS and the provided data is from 2020. In the case of both Russia and Ukraine, we can see that pharmaceutical products hold the largest share of exports with 39% and 32,2% respectively. The combined export of pharmaceutical products to Russia and Ukraine account for 8.62% of total Croatian export of the same category of products. Additionally, categories (85) and (12) can be found in both Russian and Ukrainian top 5 export categories and they make up 0.64% and 17.32% of the Croatian exports in those categories, respectively.




Croatian imports from Russia have amounted to 463 million Euros worth of goods in 2021, which was a rise of almost 100% compared to 2020. Despite the steep rise imports from Russia are still lower by 38% compared to 2013. The relative share of Russian imports in the total Croatian imports has fallen from 4,5% in 2013 to 1,6% in 2021.

In 2021 Croatia has imported 44 million Euros worth of goods from Ukraine which is a drop of 67% from the peak in 2013. The relative share of Ukrainian imports also fell in 2014 and is around 0.2% since then.


Again, as with the exports, to put it into perspective we can observe the relative share of the Russian and Ukrainian imports compared to other markets. Not surprisingly, EU markets make up the largest share of Croatian imports with 76.5%, followed by CEFTA countries and other countries in Asia with 6.8% and 7.7% respectively. Here we see the same pattern as we did with exports, the Croatian economy is not very reliant on neither Russian nor Ukrainian imports. Moreover, Russia is not even close to Croatia’s biggest importers such as Germany 15%, Italy 13%, Slovenia 11%, Hungary 7%, and Austria 6%.


When observing the CN categories, we can see that imports from Russia are dominated by mineral fuels and oils which make up 55.8% of total imports from Russia. However, the relative share of mineral fuels and oils from Russia makes up just 6.6% of total Croatian imports of the same category.  Not surprisingly other important categories are metals such as aluminum and copper as well as fertilizers.


Croatian imports from Ukraine are more evenly distributed and two main categories are (84) and (85) which together account for 1/3 of imports and these are both important export categories to Ukraine as well.



As seen on the graph below, Croatia ended 2021 with a positive trade balance with Ukraine in the amount of 14 million Euros. Since 2017 Croatia has maintained a trade surplus with Ukraine. On the other side, the Croatian trade balance with Russia was negative throughout the whole observed period. In 2021 Croatia had a trade deficit in the amount of 259 million Euros.


To conclude Croatian foreign trade of goods is not very reliant on the Russian and Ukrainian markets, but the Croatian economy will still suffer the consequences of the imposed sanctions on Russia and from the resulting crisis. Some industries and even more companies are more exposed to these markets and they will hopefully manage this crisis in the best way they can. On the contrary, even though the trade relation with Russia and Ukraine is relatively insignificant, Croatia’s biggest trade partners are mostly European countries which are all impacted to a large extent and the spill-over effect is unfortunately unavoidable.

If you want to find out how the Russian Invasion of Ukraine has impacted the Croatian equity market click here.

All the information provided in this article is taken from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics. 

For more, check out our business section.


Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Prime Minister: 9,357 Ukrainian Refugees in Croatia, Accommodation, Costs to be Resolved

ZAGREB, 23 March 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that so far 9,357 Ukrainian refugees had entered Croatia, telling representatives of county and city authorities that the most important thing was to resolve the issue of accommodation for the refugees and to cover those costs.

During a meeting with county heads, representatives of the Association of Cities and the Association of Municipalities, as well as an inter-departmental task force dealing with the reception and accommodation of Ukrainian refugees, Plenković said that by Wednesday morning 9,357 refugees had entered Croatia, 4,556 of whom were women (48.7%), 1,172 were men (12.5%) and 3,629 were children (38.8%).

The prime minister said the purpose of the meeting was to improve coordination between the state and county governments.

"The issue of accommodation and covering the cost of accommodation, as well as a comprehensive policy towards refugees are particularly important. That is a policy of welcome, solidarity and acceptance of Ukrainian refugees. That is our duty and we want to do that," he said.

"We will continue to help with all available resources, particularly humanitarian aid. At this time, Croatia is on the right side of history and international law but also on the side of the values enshrined in our Constitution", the PM said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Up to €480 a Month to be Granted for Accommodation of Ukrainian Refugees

ZAGREB, 23 March 2022 - Croatia's government adopted a decision on Wednesday to cover the cost of accommodation for displaced persons from Ukraine, where the government will pay up to HRK 3,600 (€480) a month to property owners providing accommodation for refugees.

During a cabinet meeting, the government decided that the costs would be reimbursed pursuant to a rental contract with the Interior Ministry (Civil Protection Administration) for a period of six months, with the possibility of extending contracts up to one year.

Providers of accommodation will be paid monthly to cover the cost of accommodation and utility bills.

Expenses will be paid in the amount of HRK 50 a day for single persons, families with more members will receive HRK 40 a day for the first person, HRK 30 for a second member, HRK 20 for a third member and HRK 10 a day for each member after that.

Housing units have to have to be of a minimum of 30 square metres for one person and an additional 5m2 for each family member after that.

The premises must include a kitchen and bathroom with a lavatory. It must also be furnished and have the necessary appliances and utility infrastructure.

"The money for this will be ensured from the state budget from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development", Interior Minister Davor Božinović explained.

The government has authorised the Interior Ministry, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family, and Social Policy and the Civil Protection Administration to implement this decision.

The Interior Ministry will advertise a call on its website, appealing for available premises to be offered to accommodate displaced persons from Ukraine.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Drone That Crashed in Zagreb was Aerial Bomb With Fuse - Ballistics Report

ZAGREB, 23 March 2022 - A ballistic examination of metal fragments of a military drone that crashed in Zagreb two weeks ago has found that it was an aerial bomb with a fuse, but no final conclusion could be made as regards traces of explosive, the Zagreb County Prosecutor's Office said on Wednesday.

Nova TV reported on Tuesday evening, citing sources close to the investigation, that no traces of explosive had been found on the parts of the unmanned aerial vehicle that had been examined.

The Prosecutor's Office said it had received the results of the ballistic examination and only partial results of the chemical and physical examination, adding that the results of the examinations conducted so far were not sufficient for a final conclusion.

The Prosecutor's Office said it was continuing the investigation in coordination with the Ivan Vučetić Forensic Science Centre, the Criminal Investigation Department, the Military Police and intelligence agencies.

The Soviet-era military drone crashed near a student dorm in the Jarun district of southwest Zagreb shortly after 11 pm on 10 March, damaging about 40 cars in a nearby car park, but injuring no one. It came from Ukraine, having flown over NATO members Romania and Hungary before crashing in the Croatian capital after running out of fuel.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said last week the government had reliable and verified information that the unmanned aerial vehicle was armed with a bomb that had mostly likely exploded underground.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Grlić Radman: Putin is a War Criminal

ZAGREB, 23 March 2022 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a war criminal, hopeful that "the Russian autocratic regime" would not last long and claiming that Croatia "would know how to respond" if Russian threats were to become a reality.

Speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio, Grlić Radman said that he did not consider threats by the Russian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor Kalabukhov, as realistic, describing them as a form of intimidation.

A few days ago, Kalabukhov warned that Moscow had the right to respond to Bosnia and Herzegovina's potential membership in NATO, asking the interviewer: "How do you know we do not have plans also against Croatia, Poland and Bulgaria as NATO members?"

In an unlikely scenario of the threats becoming a reality, Croatia "would know how to respond" with its allies, said Grlić Radman.

"The ambassador's threat concerns not only Croatia but the entire EU, and if it were to become a reality, it would activate Article 5" of the North Atlantic Treaty, which says that an armed attack against one member state is considered an armed attack against them all, Grlić Radman said.

"That would cause a new escalation of the conflict, which is in no one's interest and I am certain it will be avoided, and ways would be found to negotiate with the Russian president", the minister said.

He added that Putin "has already committed war crimes, but one must negotiate in war."

Putin will "not have any choice because he has not accomplished what he wanted - to conquer Ukraine," said Grlić Radman.

Regime, people not the same thing

Two months after his official visit to Moscow, where he said that "good relations with Ukraine really do not rule out good relations with Russia," Grlić Radman said that he was referring to the Russian people.

"There is no equal sign between a regime and a people. Peoples stay, policies change. I hope this autocratic regime will not last long," he stressed.

The minister said that the EU had pursued a two-track policy towards Russia, with sanctions as well as an open diplomatic channel with Moscow, and that a number of EU ministers had visited Russia before the invasion of Ukraine to advocate de-escalation.

He said that five Croatian nationals were still in Ukraine, and anyone who wanted to leave the country had done so.

More than 9,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Croatia and the number keeps changing, he said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Božinović: Higher Influx of Refugees From Ukraine Can be Expected

ZAGREB, 20 March 2022 - Since the start of the war in Ukraine, over 8,300 refugees have arrived in Croatia, and Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Sunday that Europe was braced for the growing pressure on three fronts: energy security, defence costs and accommodation of refugees.

"This is an unprecedented humanitarian issue in Europe. Thousands, tens of thousands of people are leaving Ukraine. We can expect an influx of refugees in all EU member-states, including Croatia", Božinović noted.

"The United Nations' recent projections about up to four million people fleeing Ukraine seems today as a conservative scenario, since the numbers of refugees are already coming close to that figure" the minister told the press after a meeting of the Croatian interdepartmental task force for providing protection for refugees from Ukraine.

"The talks are being conducted at the European level to coordinate the response to many issues stemming from the war in Ukraine", he said adding that one of the issues is how to finance the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees.

Currently, the EU is offering assistance to the countries neighbouring Ukraine that are the first to receive Ukrainians when they leave their homeland.

Croatia is not among those first-stop countries, however, it is one of the countries where Ukrainians seek shelter, and it is ready to take in roughly 20,000 Ukrainians. However, this figure could go up depending on the developments in Ukraine.

Large majority accommodated individually in private homes

"Of those 8,300 refugees, as many as 7,421 are now covered by individual reception initiatives, and 827 are in collective accommodation", said the minister.

The aim is to ensure as many individual accommodation options as possible throughout Croatia.

"The reception centres are operating well, refugees come there upon their arrival and after that they are transferred to properties where they can stay longer", the minister said.

We have published a public call for 10,000 accommodation units throughout Croatia, and all steps we take will be transparent, he said.

Božinović expressed satisfaction with the organisation of the reception of the refugees from Ukraine and explained that the plans were made to be prepared for possible challenges financially, logistics-like and organisationally.

"Croatia wants to provide the best care and sympathy to those people who have experienced the calamities. The help includes not only accommodation and food but also access to education and the labour market as well as to social welfare services", the minister said recalling that the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive.

Economic and Social Council on including refugees in labour market

Božinović said that the possibility of giving refugees access to the labour market would be on the agenda of the Economic and Social Council (GSV) on Monday.

The fast integration of displaced persons is the best way to provide them with a feeling of stability.

Broken down by the age and gender, a mere 12% of the refugees who have arrived in Croatia from Ukraine are men, 48%  are women and children account for 40%, Božinović said.

He also informed the press conference that in the scenario that Croatia should care for 20,000 refugees, this would cost HRK 1.3 billion provided that the refugees exercise all the rights they are entitled to.

According to some estimates, the daily healthcare costs for a refugee is HRK 15, and 30 kuna for education.

Remuneration for the properties which their owners have put at the disposal to refugees is also being considered, and the minister cited the experiences of other countries where the rental per day ranges between €5-8 per person, however, the figure is reduced for every next member in the family accommodated.

Croatian-Ukrainian web portal

The interior ministry has also developed a website with the data in both the Croatian and Ukrainian language concerning the refugees, their rights and entitlements and information for prospective volunteers. The website will be updated regularly on a daily basis.

For more on this, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Over 8,300 Ukrainian Refugees Have Arrived in Croatia to Date

ZAGREB, 20 March 2022 - To date, over 8,300 Ukrainians fleeing the war have found refugee in Croatia, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said on Sunday.

"Croatia has very well responded to the developments so far. However, watching what is going on, we can see that we will have to be braced for various consequences even for the ordinary citizens, and unfortunately, the worst stage of the war is about to happen", he said after a meeting of the interdepartmental task force for providing protection for refugees from Ukraine.

"This is an unprecedented humanitarian issue in Europe. Thousands, tens of thousands of people are leaving Ukraine. We can expect an influx of refugees in all EU member-states, including Croatia", Božinović noted.

On Sunday, the number of Ukrainians seeking shelter in Croatia exceeded 8,300.

"The numbers are rising, and we also insist on transparency in efforts to provide them with help", the minister said, pointing out to a comprehensive approach to this issue.

We have published a public call for 10,000 accommodation units throughout Croatia, and all steps we take will be transparent, he said.

"Croatia wants to provide the best care and sympathy to those people who have experienced the calamities. The help includes not only accommodation and food but also access to education and the labour market as well as to social welfare services", the minister said recalling that the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive.

Broken down by gender and age, about 40% of the refugees are women and 40% are children, he said adding that all of them will be eligible to receive one-off aid of HRK 2,500 (roughly €333).

For more on this, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

NGO: Croatia Provides Free Vaccination, Registration for Animals From Ukraine

ZAGREB, 20 March 2022 - Animals and family pets that arrive from Ukraine with their owners fleeing the war, will be eligible to free-of-charge vaccination and registration in Croatia, the association "Animal Friends Croatia" stated on Sunday.

The association recalls that the administration of Veterinary and Food Safety of the Ministry of Agriculture has issued detailed instructions and a list of veterinary organisations and vet clinics that conduct free-of charge rabies vaccination, preventive dehelmintization and microchipping.

The NGO also stated on 18 March on its web site that "the administration of Veterinary and Food Safety of the Ministry of Agriculture has published a form to be completed for each animal that came from Ukraine."

Animal Friends Croatia posted a notice in Ukrainian and Croatian language on their website and asked everyone to spread the word about this obligation, which is also a prerequisite for microchipping and vaccination.

"It is important that each arriving animal is recorded as soon as possible. The Administration noted that the order regarding the free arrival of animals from Ukraine applies exclusively to animals that come with their owners. Abandoned animals from Ukraine must not be brought to Croatia, but they can help them in other ways."

For more on this and politics in Croatia, check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 18 March 2022

Retailers State That They Have Sufficient Quantities of Products in Stock

ZAGREB, 18 March (2022) - Leading retail chains in Croatia said on Friday they have sufficient quantities of products in stock and that there is no reason for concern regarding supply.

"There are no product shortages at Lidl Croatia because we have secured sufficient supplies thanks to our good cooperation with partners and suppliers," Lidl said in response to Hina's query.

Spar Croatia, too, said it does not have any problems in the supply chain, that it has sufficient supplies and that it cooperates with domestic suppliers who have secured raw materials in Croatia.

It noted that if there are cases of increased demand, it could be attributed to the interest of possible profiteers or as a consequence of unfounded speculation that has appeared in public, which possibly causes insecurity in some consumers.

Earlier today, the Konzum retailer said that its shops and warehouses were well supplied, that sufficient quantities of all products had been secured and that it would not impose any limits on purchases.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Friday, 18 March 2022

Prime Minister Believes Opposition Satisfied With Talks on Situation in Ukraine and Drone Crash

ZAGREB, 18 March (2022) - PM Andrej Plenković said on Friday after talks with opposition MPs on the situation in Ukraine and last week's crash of an unmanned aerial vehicle in Zagreb that they seemed to be satisfied with the information presented at the meeting, and that he suggested holding such meetings on an as-needed basis.

A special item on the agenda of the meeting, held in the government offices, was information on last week's crash of an unmanned aerial vehicle near a student dorm in Zagreb.

"We believe our colleagues from the Opposition have obtained valuable new information that will help them take a position when making comments, in political debates and when assessing the seriousness of the situation," Plenković told reporters after the talks.

He said that opposition politicians were mostly satisfied and that the information they obtained today would be useful to them when making public statements.

"(We need) the greatest possible amount of responsible behaviour, responsible statements, politics that is on the right side of both law and history... in the circumstances that have been anything but normal since 24 February," he said.

The PM said the opposition MPs were provided with reliable and verified information that the drone was armed, that an explosion occurred and that the device in question was most probably an aerial bomb that exploded on impact.

A fuse and bomb fragments have been found and it has been established beyond doubt that the drone, normally intended for reconnaissance, was adapted to carry a weapon, he said.

For more, check out our politics section.

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