Thursday, 20 May 2021

Sisak-Moslavina County Has More Retirees Than Employed Residents

May the 20th, 2021 - It isn't new information, unless you've been living under a rock of course, that the Croatian demographic picture is far from ideal. Economic and demographic issues have reigned strong since long before the coronavirus pandemic struck, and some counties are far worse off than others. Sisak-Moslavina County currently being the most worrisome.

Croatia, like many Mediterranean countries, has an ageing population. With many members of the working age population leaving en masse to other European countries, taking advantage of the borders opening and the scrapping of work permits ever since Croatia joined the EU back in July 2013, this situation has only grown worse.

Traditionally, the Dalmatian coast has always fared better economically than more or less everywhere else in the country with the exception of Zagreb. With tourism providing for as much as 20 percent of Croatia's GDP, the summer months are employment-rich (in as much as is possible in the Croatian sense) and all about earning enough money to survive the winter before doing it all over again in Croatia's seasonal employment trap in which it has been stuck for years.

Continental Croatia, and particularly Eastern Croatia, have never had the God-given luxury of the Adriatic sea at their doorstep and as such have never been able to rest easily on their laurels in the same way Dubrovnik and Split do on an annual basis. The former bread basket of not only Croatia but the region, Slavonia and Baranja, have been experiencing a brain drain for very many years, with many other locations in Eastern and Central Croatia experiencing the same.

Sisak-Moslavina County, which was the victim of a devastating earthquake back at the very end of December last year, is among the most concerning of all. Now with more retired people than employed people, it's difficult to see how the future might look for this county. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Northern Croatia is a convincing national champion in terms of the ratio of total employees and pensioners, according to data from the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute.

According to this recently released data, Medjimurje County (1.66) and Varazdin County (1.54) have the highest ratio in favour of workers. By far the worst is the aforementioned Sisak-Moslavina County, which has more retirees than it does employees (the ratio is a troubling 0.95), followed by Sibenik and Karlovac (1.03) and Pozega County (1.04).

Among those cities which are also municipal county heads, Northern Croatia is again in the lead: in the top five in terms of the ratio of workers and pensioners there are three Northern Croatian cities, Varazdin (2.62), Cakovec (2.46) and Koprivnica (1.92). This data refets to figures recorded back the end of March this year, writes

The average for the Republic of Croatia is 1.25 (just over one employee per pensioner), which is a long-term unsustainable situation for every sort of economy. Croatia as a whole currently has about 1.55 million employees and about 1.24 million retirees.

For more on Croatian demographics, follow our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

"Invasive Species in Croatia" Mobile Application Launched

ZAGREB, 2 May 2021 - One of the biggest ecological challenges today are invasive alien species which will be possible to track by a mobile application called "Invasive species in Croatia", which was launched earlier this week in Krapje, a community in Sisak-Moslavina County.

The application, developed by the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry, was presented to rangers and other staff working in protected areas located by the River Sava.

"The information system for invasive alien species provides existing information on alien species in Croatia in a single, publicly available place. It will be updated, which is why the application has been developed, to enable citizens to report their observations," said Ana Ješovnik of the Office for Alien Species of the Institute for Environment and Nature Protection at the Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry. 

"This system will help monitor not only the number and appearance of invasive alien species but also trends in their expansion, and it will also improve management planning to prevent their harmful effect on biodiversity," she said.

Sandra Slivar of the Office for Alien Species underlined the importance of rangers who are among the first to spot the appearance and spreading of an invasive alien species. Their input, she said, helps plan the protection of protected species and habitats.

The European Union has compiled a list of invasive species, and on that list of 66 animal and plant species, 24 have been reported in Croatia.

Burdock, desert false indigo among invasive species in Lonjsko Polje

Among the dozen invasive species that have been identified in the Lonjsko Polje Nature Park, the most important ones are burdock, goldenrods, wild cucumber, and desert false indigo, which in the past 30 years or so has spread over most of the marshes in the park, or around 5,000 hectares of land, and the park management has so far revitalized around 600 hectares of land through donations.

"The Lonjsko Polje Nature Park has been battling invasive alien species for years. Participation in the Sava TIES project in the past three years has helped do a lot in the field of research, improvement of the legislative framework as well as in raising the level of interdepartmental and cross-border cooperation," the park's director, Marija Kušmiš, said.

Invasive alien species have a negative effect on biodiversity and eco-systems and some of them jeopardize the economy as well as human health, she said.

The spreading of invasive alien species reduces the area of marsh habitats of many strictly protected animal and plant species, it was said.

For more news about everything made in Croatia, be sure to visit our dedicated section.

Monday, 19 April 2021

PM: Revitalisation to Lead to Development of Sisak-Moslavina County

ZAGREB, 19 April, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that a programme to revitalise Sisak-Moslavina County would enable its demographic revival, economic development, social inclusion and better transport connectivity, and he also supported a project to revive local spa tourism.

Plenković was visiting Topusko, a town in Sisak-Moslavina County, where he attended a meeting of the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December earthquake in the county.

He said that at the meeting a project was presented to build a smart spa town to help Topusko become of the centres of medical tourism in the country.

Plenković said that by reforming the financing of local and regional government units the government had secured an additional HRK 150 million in revenue for those units and that so far two billion kuna worth of EU-funded projects had been agreed.

He recalled that the government had granted around HRK 200 million in job-keeping support for more than 15,000 local workers.

"The government wants, and its expert team has already made a draft programme for the revitalisation of Sisak-Moslavina County, to ensure an integral approach that will enable both demographic revitalisation and economic development, social inclusion and better transport connectivity," he said, noting that the county was burdened by problems related to economic transition, socialist legacy, consequences of the 1990s Homeland War and most recently, the pandemic and earthquakes.

He said today's meeting also discussed a project for an expressway between Popovača and Ogulin to better connect Slavonia with the region of Lika and Karlovac County and help in the development of Sisak-Moslavina County.

The head of the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December 2020 earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County, War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, said that so far more than 4,000 requests for emergency repairs on earthquake-damaged properties had been submitted and that as of 1 May the reconstruction of nonstructural elements of the buildings would start so that conditions could be created until summer to make it possible for close to 20,000 families to return home.

Topusko Mayor Ivica Kuzmić said that he was happy about the project to restore Topusko's status of a continental tourism centre.

The project "Topusko - A smart spa town", worth HRK 600 million, envisages the renovation of existing spa facilities and reconstruction of facilities and infrastructure damaged in the 1990s war, and the construction of new spa facilities.

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

Friday, 2 April 2021

HRK 6.7m Welfare, Development Project Agreements Handed Over

ZAGREB, 2 April, 2021 - Two grant agreements worth HRK 6.7 million were handed over in Petrinja on Friday for projects by the local development agency PETRA and the Red Cross office in Sisak.

Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Minister Josip Aladrović said that the first agreement was financed with EU funds in the amount of HRK 2.5 million and was intended for the establishment of a centre for social entrepreneurship in Petrinja.

The other grant agreement, worth close to HRK 4.2 million, is intended to help alleviate poverty in the region of Banovina and northern Croatia, through donations of food and/or basic material assistance.

Attending the ceremony at which the grant agreements were handed over were also War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, who heads the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County, and local officials.

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

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Users of State-Owned Properties Damaged In Earthquake Exempt From Paying Rent

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Tenants and users of state-owned flats and business premises from Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac, Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje counties and the City of Zagreb will be exempt from the obligation to pay rent or fee for the use of state-owned flats and business premises.

The decision was made by the Croatian government on Thursday because of the consequences of the earthquakes that struck the four counties and Zagreb on 28 and 29 December last year.

Tenants and users of state-owned real estate will be exempt from payment starting from January 2021 until it becomes possible again to use business premises and flats damaged in the earthquake.

The Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property is authorised, Minister Darko Horvat explained, to exempt tenants and users of state-owned property from the obligation to pay rent or fee for the use of state-owned flats and business premises which are managed by the ministry and have been declared as unfit for use following examination.

Since some of the state-owned flats and business premises are managed by the Državne Nekretnine company, the company's assembly is in charge of making the necessary decisions and taking the necessary actions to grant the exemption.

The government also authorised the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing to exempt users of state-owned housing units in Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties from paying rent due to the consequences of the earthquakes after 28 December last year.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Zagreb, Karlovac, Sisak Counties Sign Letter of Intent for Common Development

ZAGREB, 26 February, 2021 - Zagreb, Karlovac and Sisak-Moslavina counties have, by signing a letter of intent on Thursday night, shown interest in common development and in that regard, a development agreement is being prepared for signing for about ten projects valued at €50 million and more, the Karlovac County administration said.

On Thursday evening the three county prefects and heads of their development agencies met with Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved and Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak, and during the meeting it was said that the Regional Development Act enables strategic objectives to be achieved faster through common areas of cooperation and by financing joint projects from EU and national sources.

Tramišak described the development agreement as a "tool to achieve strategic development" and one of the preconditions is to select with the ministry about 10 strategic projects, each with an individual value of €50 million or more, that will require the support of several ministries and guarantee the development of the counties.

Medved offered his full support to the efforts for a joint development agreement between the three counties to be signed because that will enable an equal regional development and broader support from the government and relevant ministries for individual projects.

County prefects Martina Furdek Hajdin, Ivo Žinić and Stjepan Kožić agreed that the problems encountered by all three counties are very similar, from floods to a poor demographic situation and sparsely settled rural areas that cannot compete with developed European regions.

Žinić believes that development would benefit from projects for transport infrastructure and religious, health and conference tourism, while Kožić believes that the urgent repairs in the aftermath of the earthquakes are a priority as that would prevent migration. Kožić also believes that one of the most urgent priorities is broadband Internet.

Furdek Hajdin cited agriculture and tourism as possible projects for cooperation.

"It is up to us how we will prioritise the development of our counties, and European funds will contribute towards achieving the set objectives in the National Development Strategy until 2030. In that regard, the support of the government and its ministries is of exceptional importance," Furdek Hajdin said.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake Hit Petrinja and Sisak Area, Felt in Zagreb

February 18, 2021 – A rather strong earthquake hit the Petrinja and Sisak area today at around 1:08 pm. It was also felt in other parts of Central Croatia, mostly in Zagreb.

Today, February 18, 2021, at 1:08 pm, seismologists from the Croatian Seismological Service recorded a relatively strong earthquake with the epicenter not far from Petrinja, near Glinska Poljana. The magnitude of the quake was 4.0 according to Richter and the intensity in the epicenter of the 5th degree of the EMS scale.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) estimates the earthquake's magnitude was 4.2. The epicenter was 17 km northwest of Sisak and 45 km from Zagreb, at a depth of 2 km.

Citizens from all over central Croatia report they felt the earthquake – from Zagreb, Karlovac, Velika Gorica, Sisak, Petrinja, Varaždin – and even from Ptuj in Slovenia. In just a few minutes, the EMSC collected thousands of earthquake reports. According to citizens' reports, the earthquake was a short but strong blow and waving.

"At first, it seemed to rumble, and then it shook for a few seconds," said one witness.

"About five seconds of good shaking in the Maksimir area. Another intensive aftershock," said another witness.

"A hit, then prolonged rocking, six to seven seconds duration," are some more of the comments from witnesses.

As Index reports, the earthquake was felt even during the Government session in the National and University Library in Zagreb.

"Here, we have just felt an earthquake in the National and University Library," Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during the session.

After this first blow, two more slight tremors hit Sisak and its surroundings, magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale. The EMSC reports that these are all aftershocks of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Petrinja and Sisak-Moslavina County on December 29, 2020, and left many damages.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Sisak-Moslavina Development Agency SIMORA Named Best in Europe!

February 18, 2021 – After so much bad news from Sisak-Moslavina County recently due to earthquakes, there finally comes some positive news. Thanks to best practices in regional development, the Sisak-Moslavina development agency SIMORA was named the best in the whole of Europe.

To identify best regional development practices, EURADA, the European Association of Development Agencies based in Brussels, evaluates the best development agencies through their projects. In the sea of numerous and successful European projects, as well as the agencies that design and implement them, it is difficult to find the best on the list of those chosen by the EURADA expert jury. However, for 2020, the Sisak-Moslavina development agency SIMORA, which is also the first award winner from Croatia ever, succeeded.

36 start-ups in the gaming industry

Namely, with numerous projects in entrepreneurship, rural development, strategic planning, social funds, and EU funds, development agency SIMORA created 217 new jobs and preserved over 1000 of them. The EURADA thus recognized it for improving life in Sisak-Moslavina County.

"The European Association of Development Agencies has informed us about the selection, and we expect an invitation to take over the award soon. We were already in the top five European development agencies in 2017, but the first place is really great news for us!" said Mario Čelan, the director of SIMORA.

In selecting SIMORA as the best European development agency, the EURADA jury particularly emphasized the concept of how to develop the region and how to employ young people. It was also important how to educate young people to make video games, mentor them to become entrepreneurs as easily as possible, support their start-ups, and use state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in the PISMO business incubator in Novska.

"Becoming gaming expert-capacities upskilling" is the name of the practice, which was awarded thanks to SIMORA. Ultimately, it resulted in the opening of 36 start-ups and solved the problem of youth employment in a specialized and fastest-growing industry – the gaming industry.

SIMORA also has the best Croatian EU project

"It is a great recognition to receive the status of the best European development agency,' especially since we are the first agency from Croatia that managed to get this title. The year 2020 brought us a lot of written and approved projects, and this award is just the crown of the entire work of SIMORA, which this year celebrates 15 years of work," said Čelan.

On this occasion, he commended all employees who work on all projects, as well as ministries and public administrations from state, regional, and local levels. Without them, he said, SIMORA's projects would not come to life. He also thanked all clients and partners for recognizing SIMORA.

The EURADA award is prestigious because it is not only awarded to members of the association but also all other development agencies based in Europe. In addition to being the best European development agency in 2020, SIMORA also got an award for the best Croatian EU project – the PISMO business incubator in Novska.

Source: Simora

To read more good news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Medved: 1,337 Housing Containers and Mobile Homes Have Been Set Up So Far

ZAGREB, 11 February, 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved said on Thursday that 1,377 housing containers and mobile homes had been set up in Sisak-Moslavina County so far, and 391 more containers would arrive soon.

Medved said in today's cabinet meeting that the construction of the container settlement in Petrinja was progressing faster than expected.

"By Thursday, 81 housing containers will be set up, and the first containers will be ready to move in by the weekend," he said, adding that preparations for setting up container settlements in Glina were in progress.

To date, HRK 73 million has been spent on the payment of cash benefits to citizens, and an additional HRK 8.2 million has been paid to war veterans in the form of one-time assistance.

After the adoption of the Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Act, the task force dealing with the earthquake aftermath has been working on assembling mobile teams of experts who will help citizens in preparing documentation for submitting applications for reconstruction, and they are also preparing a mobile office.

Six companies have been mobilised so far to work on the demolition of dangerous buildings, and 39 buildings in the quake-hit area have been marked for demolition. The state has allocated land to Sisak, Petrinja and Glina which will be used for the collection and disposal of construction waste.

To date, 28,780 buildings damaged in the earthquake have been inspected, and 3,537 are unusable, while 6,224 are temporarily unusable, Medved said.

Monday, 1 February 2021

Task Force Head: Reconstruction in Earthquake-Hit Area Could Start in March, April

ZAGREB, 1 February, 2021 - The head of the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County, Tomo Medved, said on Sunday that the reconstruction of the area could start in March or April.

"I believe that it is realistic to expect that the reconstruction process will be launched in March or April," Medved told the HRT public broadcaster, stressing that one had to take into account aftershocks that still happened on a daily basis.

"We have to be patient, wait for aftershocks to calm but until then we will complete all preparations - the law (on post-earthquake reconstruction), damage assessment, reconstruction plan," said Medved.

He noted that three companies currently worked on demolishing buildings in the county that had been damaged beyond repair.

"More than 3,000 buildings have been found unfit for use and they are now being thoroughly inspected. The removal of those buildings which structural engineers eventually find unfit for reconstruction... will be given priority," he said.

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