Thursday, 25 June 2020

Slavonian Company Uses Farm Waste to Produce Electricity for Households

One Slavonian company has come up with an innovative idea that turns unwanted plant and animal waste, among other things, into something much more than useful for as many as 12000 households...

As Novac writes on the 24th of June, 2020, in Croatia, there are a total of 1230 solar power plants with an installed capacity of 53,434.24 kW and 40 biogas plants with a total installed capacity of 44,722.00 kW, and there are four biogas plants with a total capacity of 5,200.00 kW which aren't yet connected to the grid.

When it comes to biogas plants, the basis of energy production is primarily in the use of manure from farms, as well as silage and other organic residues, where the decomposition of organic matter produces biogas, whose combustion in a cogeneration plant produces electricity. Therefore, it's rather logical that a larger number of biogas plants are found as parts of companies in Baranja and Slavonia, where most of the country's domestic livestock is raised. One Slavonian company that has several biogas plants to its name is the Zito group, Glas Slavonije writes.

According to Ivan Pandurevic, Executive Director of the Investment, Development and IT Department of the Zito Group, the company has a large production and electrical energy has a larger share in total energy consumption.

Our goal is to increase the share of renewable energy sources in all locations of the group in order to reduce our dependence on significant changes in the price of electricity. Thus, the photovoltaic power plant is another source of electricity production in the Zito Group. We convert solar energy into electricity without polluting the environment. In energy conversion, we use the most modern and completely safe equipment available on the market, and we always give preference to Croatian contractors and equipment manufacturers. It's important to note that we have a peak consumption per day, so we consume the produced electricity when the greatest production need is, for example, for cooling, ventilation, or some other production process,'' explained Pandurevic, adding that when it comes to investments made by this Slavonian company, in 2020, they're primarily focused on rationalising their energy consumption.

"So far, we've produced more electricity from renewable energy sources than we've consumed. The overall proposal of the investment plan for 2020 at the group level stands at sixty million kuna,'' noted Pandurevic, adding that they are currently busy constructing two solar power plants of about 600 kW, and they're also designing several solar power plants with a total capacity of more than three MW, which contributes to sustainable development and meeting the set goals of the company.

''In addition to the two existing biogas plants - Novi Agrar and Mala Branjevina, the Orlovnjak biogas plant with an installed capacity of 1.7 MW was put into operation back in 2016, and the Klis biogas plant with a capacity of 1.4 MW was put into function in 2018, thus increasing the share of renewable sources of energy in electricity production, which also contributes to the national stability of the electricity system, as well as the implementation of the common European Union (EU) energy policy prescribed by the National Action Plan for RES 2020. Our plants produce almost 45 GWh of electricity per year, which provides electricity for twelve thousand households,'' concluded Pandurevic of this forward-thinking Slavonian company.

For more, follow our business page.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Slavonia Finally Gets Joint Platform for Tourism Promotion

Slavonia is one of the most overlooked parts of all of Croatia. This eastern part of the country, formerly the bread basket of the entire region, is now famed for its mass emigration. With all of the money pumped into the coast, the primary destination of tourists to Croatia, what this region has to offer has unfortunately been kept very much in the dark. Until now.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 7th of June, 2020, Feel, taste, meet/Osjeti, okusi, upoznaj, are the three key messages of the new digital platform, where for the very first time - the whole of Slavonia is presented to tourists in one place.

A new communication strategy based on the strategic marketing plan of Slavonia made by the Institute of Tourism, in cooperation with the tourist boards of five counties in Slavonia, was designed by the agency S.T.A.R. Digital, and the project was thought up and designed during Croatia's coronavirus lockdown period.

As the project associates pointed out at the presentation in Zagreb on Friday, the goal of the platform is to provide all the information about Slavonia in one place, jointly represented by the five county tourist boards, and this is the starting point for the eastern Croatian region's future promotion on the global market.

For a start, Slavonia will be presenting itself to domestic guests in the campaign on social networks in the coming days, which already makes up about 90 percent of tourist traffic in Slavonia, and which boasts great potential for tourist traffic, especially in today's unpleasant circumstances.

"Slavonia is the right choice for all those who want to travel in times when budgets need to be taken into account and when social distancing still needs to be paid attention to, but on the other hand - it's also for all those who want to enjoy the freedom that travel provides. The new platform provides potential guests with key information about our unique destination that you should definitely feel, taste and meet. As a cluster, we've been conducting promotional activities together over recent years, but in digital times this communication platform is an extremely important place for travel inspiration and information about Slavonia as a destination,'' said Rujana Busic Srpak, the director of Vukovar-Srijem County Tourist Board.

As stated, the new platform is based on the new strategic marketing plan for Slavonia, which on the one hand included a homogeneous and complete space, and on the other, each of the five counties has its own specifics.

"We know that tourist products know no administrative boundaries, we tried to answer what binds the area, what unites it and what is the common denominator," said Snjezana Boranic Zivoder from the Institute of Tourism, commenting on tourism trends.

Green, ecologically preserved, undiscovered and honest, and in connection with the current situation, safety and destinations without crowds are important. In this context, Slavonia is on trend and perfectly respond to these demands.

For more, follow our travel page.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

PM: Over HRK 12 BN Contracted As Part Of Slavonia Project

ZAGREB, June 6, 2020 - Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenkovic said in Pozega on Saturday that in the July 5 parliamentary election citizens would choose whether to vote for those who had ensured health, jobs and economic growth or groups which were an end in themselves.

He said over HRK 12 billion had been contracted as part of the government's Slavonia Project.

"In the last campaign, we announced the Slavonia Project as a priority. Over HRK 12 billion has been contracted. We are realising projects. The government and the ministers are present in Slavonia. I think voters, having learned from the presidential election, will think carefully about who to vote for. The choice is whether you will go for those for whom you know who they are, who have ensured health, jobs, economic growth," Plenkovic said in the Slavonian city of Pozega where he started his tour of eastern Croatia.

"Last night Fitch upheld Croatia's credit rating. That means they trust us, they see resilience, know-how, and trust to return, with the economic recovery measures, to the previous level as soon as possible."

Speaking of coronavirus, he said "Croatia took a very good position, which was no accident. The economic measures we provided were no accident. Specifically, more than 8,000 people in Pozega-Slavonia County received wages for March and April and will receive them for May solely because of this government's political will and the way to find the money for that."

"We are counting on the safe vote for those you can seriously count on in the next four years. You have those with whom you don't know what you will get, those whose topics have nothing to do with the future," Plenkovic said, adding that choosing those who were rational should not be too difficult, especially in Slavonia.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

SDP Chief: After Election Victory, Ten-Year Revitalisation of Slavonia and Baranja

ZAGREB, May 20, 2020 - Social Democratic Party leader Davor Bernardic said on Wednesday that after the election victory of the SDP-led coalition, ten years of revitalizing Slavonia and Baranja would ensue.

"The people here do not deserve to live in poverty. Our task, through the Slavonia 2030 program is to revitalize Slavonia and Baranja in ten years, to increase agricultural productivity twofold, to ensure subsidies for the smallest. To ensure so that they can place their goods and not be racketeered by retail chains and to boost industry," Bernardic said in Vukovar during his election trail.

To show that that is possible, Bernardic pointed out the example of Nova Gradiska Mayor, Vinko Grgic of the SDP who, as he said, had provided the town with investments valued at HRK 2.5 billion.

"Nova Gradiska is becoming a leader in Slavonia and people elected Grgic not because he is good looking and capable but because they decided to vote for themselves," Bernardic underlined.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Large Slavonian Company Launches Production of Sought After Product

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of May, 2020, this large Slavonian company was motivated to launch a new product by the demand for protective equipment, but also by the fall in the market of front/entrance door panels in Croatia and in the surrounding countries.

Vinkovci's Grad-Export, one of the leading European manufacturers of decorative panels for front doors, is a Slavonian company which reacted remarkably quickly to the current changes in the market caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Just under two weeks ago, the company placed a disinfection barrier for footwear on the market, which is supposed to be placed in front of the front door, Jutarnji list reports.

''The idea for the DS barrier is mine, it was developed by my associates in the company and, most importantly, it was well received by the market,'' explained Petar Simic, the founder, owner and director of this Slavonian company.

The placement of Grad-Export's new product was motivated by the demand for disinfection and protective equipment, but, as he pointed out, the market of front door panels in Croatia and in the surrounding countries also fell by about 50 percent.

''I had to do something, at the time when the coronavirus crisis broke out, I had to send fifty percent of the company's employees home because there was simply no work for them. However, I didn't fire any of the 186 employees who work for Grad-Export, and right now as we speak, we've started working on 160 DS barriers for clients. We won't be able to do everything today, so we'll work on Saturday as well,'' noted Simic, who has so far sold about 700 of his DS barriers, the application of which possible in almost all institutions, from shops and business premises to households.

The barrier consists of vacuumed and profiled PVC, steel infill, anti-slip EPDM rubber and fasteners. The Slavonian company Grad-Export is otherwise one of the largest companies in Eastern Croatia with an annual revenue of around 90 million kuna.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Slavonian Revival? 1467 New Companies Opened in 2019!

Could a Slavonian revival be on the cards? While the region continues to undergo its signature hardships, some encouraging business news emerged out of Eastern Croatia last year...

When you think of Slavonia, you likely think of what was once the bread basket of the entire country having now been left to rot, proverbially of course. The overlooked Eastern region of Croatia once fed the country, but is now struggling with its main export being man power and human labour heading off to other EU countries to try their luck at better lives and more economic stability.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of March, 2020, according to data published by the ( portal, 15,445 new companies were opened in Croatia last year, 1178 more than were opened back in 2018.

However, 10,814 enterprises were closed or deleted from the court registers, 623 more than in the previous year. This is evidenced by data from the court registry of the Ministry of Justice, which confirms the continuation of positive trends and the growth of entrepreneurship in Croatia, which, including 2017, saw the opening of more than 43,000 new companies and the closure of just over 33,000, according to Glas Slavonije.

Data on the number of companies opened has been summarised in the registers of the commercial courts at which they were registered, and the figures are such that five out of nine commercial courts in Croatia (noting that the one in Dubrovnik started operating only in September last year) show positive trends, ie growth in the number of companies opened.

The largest increase over the previous year was recorded by the Commercial Court in Bjelovar, which has taken numerous praiseworthy steps in being more transparent and citizen-friendly, followed by TS Osijek. Could this mean the beginning, albeit humble, of a desperately needed Slavonian revival?

The Osijek Commercial Court covers the territories of the Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties, and has a permanent service in Slavonski Brod with its jurisdiction, and for such a large territorial area, it should not be surprising that such a large increase in companies being opened.

However, the value of the figure 1467 should not be diminished at all, as it is almost a third (30.6 percent) more than the year before. In the two previous years, more than a thousand companies were founded. Much has been written about this kind of awakening of the local Slavonian economy, a Slavonian revival if you will, and the total income of the Osijek-Baranja economy for the last year stood at 28.5 billion kuna, which is an increase of 2.2 billion in just one year.

The incentive role of local self-government units must not be neglected. In the past two years, Osijek-Baranja County has doubled its support for entrepreneurship, from 4.2 million to 8.6 million kuna. In addition, the County participates in subsidising interest rates for loans to entrepreneurs, proactively participating in everything that, according to Mayor Ivan Anusic, will increase the competitiveness of local companies, but also create new businesses and companies, new values, professions and most importantly of all - new jobs.

Similar trends exist in the City of Osijek itself, where an encouraging 427 companies were founded last year. Entrepreneurship grants from the City of Osijek budget have increased to almost seven million kuna now, and Mayor Ivan Vrkic points out that there have been 2.5 thousand new employees in Osijek. The model in which the City of Osijek subsidises the cost of two gross salaries for each new employee is one excellent example. Conditions, however, are local-patriotic - the company must be based in Osijek, and the (newly) employed person must be an Osijek resident.

However, the biggest boom in entrepreneurship took place in Bjelovar. Last year, 654 new companies were registered with the Commercial Court, which is a massive 71.65 percent more than the year before, and 93.49 percent more than in 2017, when Dario Hrebak took over the management of the city and launched a series of measures to encourage entrepreneurship, about which we have written extensively.

''We want to show that one can succeed if one thinks of the common good rather than the individual good. The real indicators of this work, which I expect to see, are yet to be seen and that will take a few years. It's important that we've shown that this model of managing public resources can be changed and that we've shown that its redesign is very possible,'' Bjelovar Mayor Dario Hrebak said for

After Bjelovar and Osijek and away from the deeply desired Slavonian revival, the Dalmatian city of Zadar recorded the highest growth. Mayor Branko Dukic pointed out that this is the fourth consecutive year in which all economic indicators have been continuously and significantly growing, and that Zadar today is a city of dynamic and agile entrepreneurship.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Zagreb Homeless Shelter to Close Because of Croatia Government Inaction

March 2, 2020 - Zagreb's homeless population could soon lose the roof over their heads. The only homeless shelter in Zagreb, which offers various forms of practical help and advice, is about to be closed permanently unless the Croatia government acts soon.


Homeless in Zagreb | HMB Facebook

Most Homeless Shelter Users Come from Slavonia

"This is the only place I can come without money and have coffee, get on the computer if I need to, or just warm up when it's cold… it’s the only place,” explains a younger user regarding his visit to the Homeless Assistance and Support Centre on Branimirova Ulica 53 in Zagreb. He is originally from Slavonia and, as he pointed out, would not know how to survive in Zagreb without this shelter, which is part of the Hrvatske mreže za beskućnike (Croatian Homeless Network).

"Because it's a relief to know that I can always come in from off the street if I need to or want to. Besides, we can also borrow a sleeping bag here or seek advice. It would be a big blow if they close the centre – for myself and many others,” he added.

Zagreb Shelter Will Close in Three Months: Contract Expires

As reported by Igor Lasić/DW on March 2, 2020; the Zagreb shelter's three-year contract with the government expires in three months. Therefore, by law, they will have to move out of their rented space. A new competition for a grant has not yet been announced. Even if it occurs in the meantime, it will be almost impossible for the rest of the procedure to be completed before that deadline. In reality, the work of the shelter can only be sustained by a gesture of extraordinary grace by the Government of Croatia, or the competent Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy.

"I found out about this shelter through Facebook. I’m from Slavonia and could not exercise my rights as a child of a war veteran, so I had to leave. The biggest advantage of this shelter is that it helps people find jobs. There is also a housing community, so that some people can find temporary accommodation here as well," the Slavonian continued.

The homeless young man has worked several jobs since, like food delivery and similar, but never for long. He has also worked abroad in entry-level construction jobs but said that he has faced various setbacks. He does not speak any foreign languages, so he cannot not even seek protection or better opportunities.


About 50 to 70 homeless live in abandoned railroad cars at the Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor according to HMB | Index YouTube

Thirty Visitors Per Day in Winter, 352 Registered Users

"Over twenty people come to our shelter daily, on average, and more than thirty in the winter, but we have a total of 352 registered users. Some just come for coffee, some for legal or other advice and some participate in our educational workshops. We also help users with finding a job, which is extremely important for re-socializing the excluded members of our society. But our best program is the residential community. In one apartment we have enabled a total of 32 younger users to become more independent over time and resume life from a more stable starting point. It is difficult for us, who have always had housing, to understand how important this is,” Slavko Mađor, manager of the shelter, revealed.


Slavko Mađor | DW Igor Lasic

"It is difficult for us to understand what it’s like when someone has to sleep in a public booth and then goes to work every day from there. Or how a person becomes homeless. Well, even my mother was surprised and asked me how this could be," explained Mađor.

Another user was from Zagreb. He did not want to be photographed or have his name published. With their permission, two other users were photographed at computers while working, but only from the back. It's not hard to grasp the backlash from publicity. An elderly lady sat in the entry, avoiding eye contact. Another entered the shelter and spoke to Slavko Mađor in English. She's French and has been coming for a while, and nobody knows what kinds of challenges she’s dealing with.


Zagreb Shelter Users | DW Igor Lasic

Shelter Offers Help, Food and Accommodation

"In a situation like this, it means a lot when people know that someone is available and willing to pay attention to them, let alone help with something else. This is more meaningful than just food and accommodation," summed up the man from Zagreb. He claimed to be 42 years old and is looking for a job after a temporary one ended, which he obtained through the shelter.

"In any case, I am not officially registered as a homeless person, but that is only because I can sleep with a friend in Velika Gorica right now," he explained.

"I used to be a waiter but now I’ll take any job I'm offered. And while I’m waiting, I’ll stop here and warm up, eat a sandwich, spend time at the computer and talk to people. We can talk like real people without fearing that someone will judge us because we are in a situation like this,” he added.


HMB Facebook

Only Homeless Shelter in Zagreb

The Homeless Help and Support Centre is just that: a place where the homeless can obtain help and necessities beyond just a meal or shelter. There aren’t any other facilities like this in Zagreb. And this is where the existentially afflicted from all over Croatia wind up. Most of them come from Slavonia because not only does Slavonia have the lowest standard of living and the weakest labour market; it also have the weakest social welfare system. But now the survival of this lone refuge is endangered, or at least extremely uncertain, until the government is willing to act.

Those who rely on this shelter to meet their essential needs and better their situation need not be left with a parting courtesy of hoping to meet again one day in the same place. In any event, upon vacating the building at Branimirova Ulica 53, at least the shelter will not have to remove their sign from the facade near the entrance, even if they must move out. It has already been removed, at the request of the occupants of the building, who own their homes.

Index Profiles Zagreb Homeless Man

Follow our Politics page for updates on this story and the challenges of the homeless population in Croatia. More information about the Hrvatske mreže za beskućnike (Croatian Homeless Network) can be found on their website here and Facebook page here.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Croatia Border Town Shaken By Migrant Burglaries: Ilok Locals Live in Fear

While EU politicians, leaders, foreign journalists and human rights organizations play political football, assign blame and discuss solutions for the migrant crisis along the Balkan Route; frightened residents of Croatia border towns, like the town of Ilok, are locking themselves in their homes at night out of fear of burglaries and much worse.

“We are scared! In the middle of the night, we caught migrant burglars circling our house. I thought my son was going to work, but sensed something suspicious and saw two masked people at our front door,” reported one shaken Ilok local.


(Note that Hungary has built an electric fence spanning its border, which has halted migration.)

Croatia Police Not Publicly Reporting Ilok Migrant Burglaries

In the Fall of 2015, during the great migrant crisis, more than half a million migrants passed through Eastern Croatia on their way to more economically desirable Western European countries. Not a single major incident, or even any minor incidents, were reported during the entire relocation process. However, four years later, locals in some border towns in the same part of Eastern Croatia are living in fear, according to Branimir Bradarić/Večernji List on January 25, 2020. Migrants are entering their towns and villages and burglarizing shops, and a recent attempt was even made to break into a house. There have been also reports of car theft and one incident ended with a car accident in which several migrants were injured while trying to escape authorities in a stolen vehicle.

All this has happened over the last half year but there were signs of trouble even before then. However the police have avoided discussing these burglaries in their regular reports the media. Therefore, frightened residents have decided to go public with these incidents on their own. The situation has deteriorated most notably in the Eastern Croatia city of Ilok, where residents are no longer willing to remain silent about their fears for safety in their own homes.

Frightened Ilok Residents Reporting Migrant Burglaries Directly to Media

The last in a series of frightening events occurred ten days ago when two migrants, dressed in dark hooded jackets, tried to break into the home of the Lončar family in Ilok. Remembering that day, Irjana Lončar recalls hearing noises around 4:30am.

“We were sleeping when I heard noises in the yard and by the door. It sounded like someone was walking nearby and I thought it was my son leaving for work. But the lights were off, which was strange, so I got up to see what was happening. At that moment, I saw two unfamiliar masked people at our front door. They were trying to force our door open by destroying the lock with a device, which I think was a drill. I started screaming and yelled for my husband, but the two burglars had escaped by then,” recalls Lončar, who was still trembling with fear.

Since the lock was destroyed, her husband could not get the front door open immediately. After succeeding, he jumped into their car and tried to follow the migrant burglars. Irjana watched from the window as the pair fled down the road. Later, she discovered that the burglars had also been trespassing in their yard and had broken into their attic, where they stole two knives and a knife sharpener. They swiped the Lončar’s New Year's light decorations and made off with her husband's hunting backpack. Then she discovered that the pair had tried to open the kitchen window with a sharp object to enter the house from there. Police responded to her call for help very quickly, but by that time the migrants had long vanished into the darkness.


Ilok Residents Concerned for Safety and Property

“I'm really scared now. From that day, my life has not been the same. I have a difficult time sleeping and am always on the alert for unusual noises. Every little noise will jolt me wide awake as does the sound of barking dogs. I'm afraid that they'll try to break into my house again. And, I'm particularly scared because nobody knows what these people are prepared to do. Nor does anyone know what they would have done if they had entered our house, or how it all could have ended. We just want to feel safe in our town again, and especially safe in our own home. Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore,” Lončar admits.

She adds that, after their burglary, they started hearing about several similar break-ins throughout town – and other locals have witnessed migrants breaking into homes. She claims that there are currently several unoccupied houses in Ilok, and migrants are breaking into them so they can hide temporarily before continuing their journey further into the interior of Croatia and the rest of Europe.

The Ilok locals have also reported finding discarded clothing all over town as migrants change their clothes before continuing their journey westward. There have also been reports of migrants crossing the border and continuing down the road before they are caught by police.

Ilok Break Ins and Burglaries Widespread

Jadranka Tomašić’s shop has also been hit by migrants. They have succeeded in burglarizing her shop in two out of three attempts. In both of those cases, according to Tomašić, they stole certain brands of cigarettes, some alcohol and Nescafé. About 20,000 HRK (2687 EUR) of merchandise has been stolen from her shop, and the front door of her store was damaged too. They also ran off with all the cash they found.

“I do not feel safe here anymore, and I am not the only one. Other Ilok residents don’t feel safe in their town either. In addition to everything else, you can see the effects of fear in front of elementary schools at the end of the school day. Parents are now coming to school in cars to pick up their children. People are locking themselves in their homes before dark and are avoiding going out in the evening. No matter how you look at it, the situation is not at all simple or straightforward,” Tomašić reveals with concern.

She adds that in addition to the burglaries in her shop, there have been burglaries in the suburban settlements of Bapska and Šarengrad. After the burglary in Šarengrad, the perpetrators were apprehended. After one of the burglaries at her store, a large knife was found, which was to be believed to have belonged to migrants. She also recalls a situation that occurred last summer when a migrant tent was found in a corn field across the street from her store, during the corn harvest. It was in a populated part of Ilok and nobody aware of that it was there until the harvest.


‘We just want to live and work normally’

“We just want to live and work normally, but that's not the case now. The worst part is that feeling of insecurity. These people have shown no fear, and that is why we are very afraid. It really bothers me that nobody is talking about this. I have no objection to the job the police are doing and do not expect that they, or the mayor, will be able do something overnight. They cannot do anything because they do not have the necessary tools, but this problem must be addressed in a systematic way,” Tomašić points out. She adds that many locals have been reporting burglaries, including those who have had their safes broken into and contents stolen.

The well-known Ilok agronomist and winemaker Ivan Buhač was also hit by migrants, but he managed to avoid burglary. He left his unlocked vehicle parked outside his house. Someone entered it and wanted to start it up and drive off. As the keys were not inside; they emptied the vehicle in search for the keys. However, the car itself was undamaged.

“The fact is that these incidents, which are extremely unusual for Ilok, happen regularly now and so it's not surprising that people do not to feel safe. Recently, burglaries and attempted burglaries have been reported in people’s homes. We all hope that this will all end soon and that we can go back to living normally, because this is not definitely the case now,” Buhač admits.

Commenting on recent events, Ilok Mayor Marina Budimir says the city authorities are aware of the problem and are in constant contact with the Croatia Interior Ministry and police in Ilok.

Ilok Police and Mayor: No Reason to Panic

“Everyone is working as hard as they can to resolve this problem, but I don't think there is any reason to panic. The problem is very present, and it’s important to compare how our residents live now as opposed to before: how they move about in town and go to work and school. Unfortunately, this problem in Ilok will continue since we are right on migrant route through Croatia from Serbia and beyond. Another problem is that the migrant camp in Serbia is located near the border crossing. Migrants are housed there, but they can leave the camp freely. That's why this is happening,” says the frustrated mayor.

She is also quick to point out that she has demanded increased police surveillance of the border and adds that there haven’t been any reported attacks on residents so far. The mayor also indicates that movement over the eastern border will be harder to detect as vegetation begins to grow again, which will make monitoring more difficult. Nevertheless, police have surveillance equipment in place. Indeed,  police patrols are more visible in Ilok and the surrounding area. Unofficial reports from the police indicate that the border has been steadily monitored for months, and that the burglaries and break-ins in Ilok are indeed a problem, but they do not consider this problem dangerous because there haven't been any reports of violence or threats.

Croatia Police Point Out Two Types of Migrants

They also explain that the two types of migrants should be distinguished. There are passers-by who are trying to somehow cross the border illegally and move on. The others, who are thought to be causing the problems in Ilok, are located along the border crossing at the camp in Principovac, which they consider to be the main issue. They can move freely in that camp, and illegally cross the Croatian border to steal from locals so that they can raise money for travel to the West.

The stolen goods are then resold at the migrant camp, which was confirmed by the recent case of two migrants who were arrested after breaking into a shop in Šarengrad. After that, police claim, the burglary indicents stopped. Officers understand the Ilok residents’ sense of insecurity but say that there is absolutely no reason to panic and that the police are on the ground doing their job.

Follow our Politics page for updates on the migrant crisis in Croatia.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Could Croatian Industrial Hemp Help to Brand Parts of Slavonia?

Slavonia is constantly overlooked in favour of either the rest of continental Croatia, the City of Zagreb, and of course, the glorious Adriatic coast, which, with its glitz, glam and fancy yachts is a far cry from the often harsh and sad realities of life in the Eastern Croatian region of Slavonia. It isn't just tourism that is lacking, but industry. With people abandoning this part of Croatia in their droves, could Croatian industrial hemp perhaps revitalise production in the east?

As Novac writes on the 11th of January, 2020, Marinko Marušić, director and one of the founders and owners of a company from Donji Miholjac which grows and processes Croatian industrial hemp and sells food and cosmetics from this valuable plant stated that his story began ten years ago.

''Our story began a decade ago when Croatia revitalised the cultivation, processing and sale of Croatian industrial hemp, which has long been in disrepute. Initially, we went ahead rather intensively with our research. After seven years of learning in collaboration with the profession, as of last year we began to develop the brand Miholjačka hemp, because, analysing the microclimatic position, we realised that the area along the Drava river is a godsend for growing high quality hemp,'' pointed out Marušić.

In addition to oil, seeds, protein flour and teas sold under the brand Miholjačka hemp, they also sell other products such as chips, candies, chocolates, and other types of snacks.

According to Marusic, who spoke with local portal Glas Slavonije, Miholjačka hemp was created as a project of many years of research by enthusiasts whose goal has been to return top quality products from plant and Croatian industrial hemp seeds to Slavonian fields and to promote both nutritional and health values.

''The profession has been following us from the beginning. We cooperate with the faculties of agriculture in Osijek and Zagreb, the companies Saponia and Kandit in Osijek, Kanaan from Donji Miholjac and Meden from Sveti Đurđ. We can produce top quality raw materials, but food and cosmetics require certain standards,'' he explains.

In addition, their company brings together several subcontractors, with whom they sow Croatian industrial hemp on about thirty hectares of land in the area of ​​Donji Miholjac and its immediate surroundings.

''We're constantly working on developing new products, increasing their quality and expanding our sales here in Croatia. We've also dipped our toes into cooperation with companies from America, Portugal, Spain and Brazil. In addition, Saponia is accompanying us in its research laboratory to develop new formulas for obtaining hemp-containing products.

Generally speaking, our idea is first of all to brand Eastern Croatia as a centre for hemp, which in itself will allow us and all other growers to have a much easier time on foreign markets. I think that hemp can revive neglected land resources in the area,'' concluded Marušić.

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Monday, 16 December 2019

Five Slavonian Tourist Boards Come Together for First Time to Promote Region

December 16, 2019 - Five Slavonian tourist boards have teamed up for the first time to promote the beauties and tourist offer of Slavonia.

HRTurizam writes that under the symbolic name "Divani", a presentation of this unique region was held at Procaffe Cafe in the heart of Zagreb, with premium Slavonian wines and the finest dishes signed by the Danube hotel in Ilok, the first to boast a Michelin recommendation in that part of Croatia.

Martina Jakelic, director of the Virovitica-Podravina County Tourist Board, Maja Jakobovic Vukusic, director of the Pozega-Slavonia County Tourist Board, Ruzica Vidakovic, director of the Brod-Posavina County Tourist Board, Mislav Matisic, Assistant Director of the Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board, and Rujana Busic Srpak, director of the Vukovar-Srijem Tourist Board, who is also the coordinator of the Slavonia Cluster, presented the tourist attractions of the easternmost Croatian region.

This is a strong and concrete step in promoting and presenting Slavonia as a Croatian tourist destination, pointed out Rujana Busic Srpak, and added: 

“With the cooperation agreement in creating and promoting the Slavonia tourism brand, signed last year by all five county tourist boards, the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism, we have defined the frameworks and activities that we want to achieve our ultimate goal - product development and promotion as a generator for increasing tourism results. None of the signatories can achieve this goal alone, and therefore togetherness in readiness to accomplish all that Slavonia can do in tourism is a key success factor. We still have a lot to boast. As a new approach to promotion, the first step was to develop a strategic marketing plan for Slavonia tourism with a branding plan for 2019-2025, which will soon be adopted, the Slavonia brochure came out of the press this year, and joint appearances at fairs and special presentations have already yielded first results,” points out Rujana Busic Srpak.

Slavonia is a destination that has everything to offer 365 days a year, said Mislav Matisic, Assistant Director of the County of Osijek-Baranja Tourist Board, and added: 

“One of the main motives for arrivals is gastronomy, and we also have the Kopacki rit and Papuk nature parks which are divine in every season. Slavonia offers the most beautiful blend of tradition and urban life, and all who come for the first time are delighted when they taste the colors and scents, experience the mighty Danube, but also the Sava and Drava, the vast vineyards, the Golden Valley, the Noble Route and discover that Slavonia is not just an endless plain. Just look at Pozeska gora, Psunj and Papuk, Erdut and Bansko Brdo. With us, you can ride a bicycle, quads, kayak, climb in adrenaline parks in Zlatna Gora and Papuk…” said Matic.

Although there is still a long way to go to define a well-rounded Slavonia tourism brand, this first historic step towards joint promotion and synergy should be commended.

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