Sunday, 16 January 2022

Croatian Exports to Slovenia Blow Up, 2019 Record Exceeded by 25%

January the 16th, 2022 - Croatian exports have done well despite the circumstances posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and exports to neighbouring Slovenia have exceeded pre-pandemic 2019's record by an impressive 25%.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, statistically speaking, ''last year'' isn't quite over yet, but it is already clear that 2021 was a record year in economic relations with Croatia's most important foreign trade partners, in which Italy returned to first place on the list of the main Croatian export markets.

Last year will also be recorded as a time when perhaps the strongest shift was achieved in relations with neighbouring Slovenia, especially when it comes to Croatian exports.

Economic relations between the two neighbouring nations are traditionally good, but in the first ten months of 2021, the Central Bureau of Statistics recorded that trade increased sharply and in absolute terms greatly exceeded the level of the pre-pandemic year of 2019, and if the trend did continue in November and December 2021 (which is yet to be confirmed), it is likely that the total exchange will exceed the results of the record year of 2019. In the case of Croatian exports, this has already happened.

From January to October 2021, as much as 1.808 billion euros worth of goods from Croatia were exported to Slovenia, 171 million euros more than during the whole of 2019, which was a record, and if you look at the same period in that year, the result is better by as much as 452 million euros.

Speaking in percentages, back in 2020, in the conditions of the then very slow and unstable economic life, Croatian exports to Slovenia stopped their growth for the first time in more than a decade and had a deficit on an annual basis (of about 6%), but last year, in that 10 month period, it grew by 42% on an annual basis), largely making up for lost time, so compared to the same period, Croatian exports to Slovenia were higher by 25%.

This result gains even more strength and weight if compare it with Croatian exports to Germany, the second market for domestic products, which in those first 10 months of 2021 amounted to only slightly more. The reason for the convergence of sales values ​​to these two markets should not be sought in the negative trend with Germany, since Croatian exports had a better performance here as well.

What was the generator of accelerated growth of foreign trade between Croatia and Slovenia, you may ask? The Croatian Chamber of Commerce assesses that the step forward in trade relations at the general level, and thus in relations with Slovenia, was greatly contributed to by the increasingly pronounced trend of rising global prices.

"According to the analysis of the structure of Croatian exports to Slovenia, the causes of this growth can be mostly attributed to the increased value of the exports of petroleum oils and oils derived from bituminous minerals and electricity, which is due to a significant increase in energy prices on the global market last year."

The CBS states that electricity worth 45.7 million euros was exported to Slovenia in 2019, as were petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, worth 15.5 million euros. In the first nine months of 2021, electricity was exported in the amount of 183.3 million euros, and petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals were exported in the amount of 67 million euros.

A different structure of exports

At the same time, there was a smaller increase in Croatian exports of aluminum products, various plates, sheets and strips, despite the strong rise in metal prices. They illustrate this with the fact that in the observed period of 2021, these goods were exported worth 118 million euros, while in the conditions of much lower prices back in 2019, the result is only slightly weaker, 110 million euros.

The value of Croatian exports of parts and accessories for motor vehicles, as well as glass products, they say, is declining. It's worth mentioning that in the structure of products in 2021, according to available data, electricity had the largest share (11.8%), and compared to the data on the structure from the previous year, in which it was not among the main export products, it exceeded the traditional main export products - aluminum plates and sheets (7.6%), and parts and accessories for motor vehicles (4.8%), and medicines and chocolates, which last year were not even among the top five products for the Slovenian market.

The automotive industry was going through a turbulent period last year, so Croatian manufacturers, the largest of which is AD Plastik, which cooperates with Revoz, slowed down its sales.

New jobs are now growing, especially in the services segment. Sasa Muminovic, President of the SLO-CRO Business Club, and a member of the Management Board of AquafilSLO and President of the Management Board of AquafilCRO in Oroslavje, a member company of the Italian group Aquafil, says the same. A survey conducted by this association among Slovenian and Croatian businessmen at the end of 2021 reveals a number of interesting things about how they see each other.

The characteristics of their neighbourly relationship

What characterises these relations is that Croatia is Slovenia's first country when they decide to enter foreign markets, and not, for example, Italy or Austria. Moore than half of the respondents estimated that they don't really see a difference in the business climate between these two countries, and as many as 62% of Slovenian businessmen believe that there are no obstacles to doing business in Croatia, while 26% find those obstacles in the country's infamous administration.

The answers are similar on the Croatian side, but both sides, which Muminovic points out are important, believe that economic relations are not disturbed by politics (only 6.7% of Slovenian and 2.6% of Croatian businessmen think differently).

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

France Takes Over Presidency of Council of EU from Slovenia

ZAGREB, 1 Jan 2021 - France took the six-month rotating EU presidency from Slovenia on Saturday.

The French chairmanship comes during a key period for French President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to run for reelection in April. Recently, Macron unveiled Paris' priorities for the French EU presidency: sovereignty, the defense policy, the Western Balkans, economic growth. The EU presidential trio led by France includes also the Czech Republic that will preside over the EU in the second half of 2022, and Sweden in the first half of 2023.

Slovenia's achievements

A few days ago, just before the completion of Slovenia's chairmanship, Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said that the agreed conclusion of all EU member states that Croatia is ready to join the Schengen zone was one of the two biggest achievements of his country's presidency of the Council of the EU.

Speaking at a press conference about the results of the Slovenian presidency of the EU, Hojs said that the second important achievement was the adoption of a joint statement on Afghanistan after the Taliban again took power in that country.

The statement reaffirmed Slovenia's position that another mass wave of migrants into Europe, similar to one that followed the outbreak of war in Syria, must not be allowed again, that the migration problem should be tackled in countries adjacent to Afghanistan, and that the families of Afghans who had cooperated with the EU and its institutions should be transferred to Europe.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Slovenian National Spends Months Living in Someone Else's Silba Apartment

December the 12th, 2021 - A strange story has emerged on an island in northern Dalmatia following the discovery of a Slovenian national living in someone else's Silba apartment. He'd been there for six months.

As Morski writes, since back in December 2018, the defendant, entirely without the knowledge and permission of the owner of another Slovenian national who owns this Silba apartment, physically broke down the door of the property on the ground floor and used it repeatedly for his stay until May the 4th, 2019. This odd saga was found out about by police officers of the Zadar Police Department, as reported by 057.info.

The whole story surrounding this Silba apartment got its property-legal context when the defendant, presenting his defense before the Zadar police, stated that he bought the plots on which the building with the disputed apartment was built.

After the apartments were built, he was absent, and when he returned to Silba he realised that the owner had registered the injured party who had falsified the new sales contract. In the end, he stated in his defense before the court that he left the apartment in question after the court ordered him to move out during civil proceedings, which occurred two months ago.

However, the 47-year-old Slovenian citizen failed to prove his claims before the Zadar court claiming ownership of the Silba apartment. Had he been able to actually prove all that he was claiming, his actions surrounding the Silba apartment wouldn't have been in any way unauthorised.

During the sentencing, the court took the defendant's previous conviction as a mitigation, while no aggravating circumstances were found. This Slovenian national will get to remain outside of prison walls as long as he doesn't commit another crime over the next three years.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Two Charming Model Jadrolinija Ferries Sail into Slovenian Lake Near Kranj

December the 5th, 2021 - Two Jadrolinija ferries have ventured outside of the realms of the Croatian Adriatic sea to no less than a Slovenian lake located close to Kranj. But how?

As Jurica Gaspar/Morski writes, Krcanka and Kacjak are two Jadrolinija ferries from the wider fleet that sailed on a Slovenian lake in a small village near Kranj. How did they manage that, you might ask? Well, very simply, these models of real Jadrolinija ferries have been lovingly made by Klemen Peric and so far he has made three of them.

Kacjak was made back in March this year, and it took Klemen eight months to make it. The original ferry was built in Uljanik back in 1952 as a landing ship for the then Yugoslav Navy, and from 1963 until 1971 it was a Jadroinija ferry, after which, it ended its days in the Viktor Lenac shipyard. Krcanka had otherwise been in Jadrolinija's fleet since 1970, and at the end of 2015, it ''retired'' from function in Kraljevica.

All of Peric's ferries sail independently, they can dock at a port, which he also made especially for them, and they even raise and lower their ramps.

''I have three sailing ferries in my fleet so far. The first was Sveti Marin, then Krcanka. They were built around 2005, and I'm working on the details on Krcanka right now. Saint Marin is still waiting for details to be made. And as for Kacjak, you know I built it this year, the first voyage was in the spring, then everything stopped with the details, because I didn't get anything concrete from Jadrolinija. Then the son of the captain of the real ship, Mateo Rudan, called me himself. His father Jerry was the commander on the Kacjak and only they helped me with some old paintings, in addition to what I already had from my own photographs. After that, I made a model, because everything works like it would on a real ship,'' Peric explained.

He went into so much detail with these Jadrolinija ferries that he adapted small buses that could also board the ferries that would take them to the other side of the lake.

''Both of the two ramps on Kacjak can be lowered and raised with two servomotors and each ramp has its own power steering system, but they of course needed to be modified. To imitate the smoke, I bought a small "smoke generator", which runs on paraffin oil and 7.4V. It also has all the lamps like a real ship and everything runs on command. The bus is also remote, it's just a cheap toy, just enough to make the ferry boarding as realistic as possible. And I decorated it a bit, I painted it in the colour of Alpetour, because my late dad drove a similar coloured bus when he worked for this company,'' Klemen Peric added.

He received inquiries for the sale of these Jadrolinija ferries, some even said that the price is not a problem, but Klemen doesn't sell them.

''Yes, many people sent me messages about where to buy them or if I could make such a model for them, but I only do this for me, because this is a hobby I have only for myself and I work on it when I have some time,'' concluded the talented Peric.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Slovenian Minister Says Croatia Should Join Schengen, Supports Border Fences

ZAGREB, 18 Nov 2021 - Croatia's admission to the Schengen Area will significantly contribute to the control of illegal migration in the region, and Slovenia continues to firmly support that goal, Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said on Thursday.

The minister is convinced that the problem of illegal migration should be addressed with all resources, including border fences.

We are a strong advocate of Croatia joining the Schengen Area, all technical conditions have mostly been met and we are waiting for a political decision, Hojs told reporters in Sarajevo at an international conference on illegal migration management.

The decision on Croatia's Schengen Area membership is expected to be made by summer 2022.

I don't think the final decision will be made before June or July next year, said Hojs.

According to him, shifting the external Schengen border to the south will contribute to better control of illegal migration, and it would be best if an effective control mechanism were established on the Greek borders to shut the Western Balkans route.

Hojs stressed that the situation had deteriorated with the hybrid war of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko against the European Union and the collapse of the Afghan government.

All of that is an additional reason why a large number of irregular migrants are again directed towards Europe and thus destabilize the entire EU, said Hojs, warning that the situation was considerably different than in 2015 because they were no longer welcome in the EU.

He pointed out that everything Lukashenko was doing by pushing migrants toward Poland was undoubtedly a hybrid war and he believes that the EU will not allow the use of migrants as a political tool or weapon.

Hojs warns that a political agreement with Belarus is not working.

Although he believes there is still plenty of room for talks, he considers that EU borders must be secured at all costs, even if it is necessary to raise fences.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Slovenian Petrol Not Interested in Croatian Oil and Gas Exploration

November the 9th, 2021 - Croatian oil and gas exploration isn't of particular interest to Petrol from neighbouring Slovenia following the postponement of the conclusion of an exploration contract.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, before the Slovenian Petrol completed their acquisition of Crodux Derivati Dva (2), the company informed the Croatian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development this summer that it was giving up on its exploration mission on two onshore fields, namely S11 and S12, for which it received a concession back in the August of 2019.

According to the official explanation as to why Croatian oil and gas exploration was being put back on the shelf, Crodux first asked for a postponement of the conclusion of the exploration contract and the division of hydrocarbon exploitation, and then reported that they were giving up on the exploration entirely. The exploration period for the above-mentioned fields was set to last five years, and in the event that gas or oil did end up being found, a 25-year period of its subsequent exploitation would have followed.

The Croatian Government's explicit permission for this was a precondition for opening a contract negotiation procedure, followed by the signing of the said contract, but Crodux first cited various difficulties due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and asked for a postponement of the conclusion of the contract, before giving up on it entirely.

The aforementioned ministry received the notification back on June the 7th, and Ivan Cermak withdrew from the position of President of the Management Board of Crodux, which was in the process of taking over from Petrol slightly earlier on, more precisely on June the 1st, meaning that it can be concluded that the new owner of Crodux has no interest in continuing Croatian oil and gas exploration, at least at the moment.

After the withdrawal, a bank guarantee was activated, which pumped a massive 3.75 million kuna into the Croatian state budget.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Milanović and Pahor Unveil Monument to Slovenian Poet Prešern in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 18 Oct 2021 - Croatian and Slovenian Presidents, Zoran Milanović and Borut Pahor, unveiled a monument to a Slovenian poet, France Prešeren in Zagreb's Bundek Park, on Monday after they had unveiled a bust to one of the leaders of the Croatian National Revival, Ljudevit Gaj in Ljubljana earlier in the day.

The monument to Peršen is situated in Bundek Park's Alley of Poets, thus joining monuments to the Russian writers Aleksandr Pushkin and Sergei Yesenin, the Hungarian writer Mór Jókai and the father of Bulgarian literature, Ivan Minchev Vazov.

Prešern's poem Zdravljica (A Toast) is the text of the Slovenian national anthem.

Addressing the public, Milanović said that Croatian and Slovenian anthems were created during the same period and they also have in common the fact that that they are peaceful.

"What it (the Slovenian anthem) has in common with the Croatian anthem, besides being written at nearly the same time, is that it is very peaceful”, President Milanović stated at the unveiling of the bust of France Prešeren.

Milanović added that both Gaj and Prešern were "lawyers by profession, but unsuccessful ones."

"It was at the time when the national word and language, without which there is no nation, were formed, built, measured, and designed by lawyers. Today this is unthinkable. Such were the times, today we live in the time of a bureaucratized, but common European Union. A most beautiful day, this morning Gaj in Ljubljana, and this afternoon Prešeren – let us continue this way. Croatian-Slovenian relations are becoming a more and more beautiful story, and there is no reason for it not to remain as such," President Milanović said in concluding his address during the bust-unveiling ceremony at Bundek.

Pahor described Prešeren as "a key figure in Slovenian history," and that his poetry "promotes European values like good neighborly relations, coexistence and fostering differences."

He underscored that today great divisions exist in Slovenia, Europe, and the world and that in that context Zagreb and Ljubljana are capitals that are showing "Europe as their joint home" how to celebrate their own and European identities based on values that bring peace and security.

"I want this day to be a holiday of good neighborly relations, coexistence, friendship, and trust between two nations," said Pahor.

The idea for the monument to France Prešeren was initiated by Slovenia's Embassy and the Slovenian House in Zagreb whereby the Slovenian community in Croatia is celebrating 30 years of Slovenia's independence.

The City of Zagreb prepared the site for the monument and Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said today that he was happy to support the project.

"This monument is an expression of respect for and friendship with the Slovenian people," said Tomašević during the ceremony.

France Prešeren, who was born on 3 December 1800 and died on 8 February 1849, is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest Slovenian poets.

For more on politics, click here.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Croatian Agency and Sparkling Wine Idea Win Prestigious Cresta Award

October the 14th, 2021 - The Croatian agency, Bruketa&Zinic&Grey, and the Untouched by Light sparkling wine from Slovenia's Radgonske gorice won the prestigious Cresta award recently.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, Cresta is an international award for creativity in marketing communications, which has been awarded since back in 1993 and for which many of the most respected international creative companies compete. It is considered to be a real global benchmark for and of creative standards.

The award-winning project of Croatian creators Untouched by Light, is the first sparkling wine in the world to be produced, sold and tasted in full, and was created in response to scientific research that confirms the negative impact of light on wine aromas, especially when it comes to sparkling wine.

With it, the Bruketa&Zinic&Grey agency and the Slovenian winery Radgonske gorice created a completely new product instead of the traditional advertising, with the aim of positioning this winery on the global market. Winning the Cresta Award, this creative idea found itself side by side with major global brands such as Adidas, Pepsi or Xbox. Unlike similar competitions, here the winners are chosen by the sum of the points of the 120 members of the jury, without their mutual discussions which may influence the scoring.

Some of the jury members were Marco Cremona from Google, Oriel Davis-Lyons from Spotify, James Hirst from Pinterest and various other representatives of some of the world's strongest creative agencies. Since back in 2018, the Cresta platform has been led by Lewis Blackwell, who was previously the creative director of Getty Images and the publisher of Creative Review magazine, and Alan Page, an award-winning creative director and songwriter.

"Despite the fact that more than a year has passed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, or perhaps because of it, we have seen a good cross-section of fresh innovation and deep feelings in a lot of works that have really impressed the jury," said Alan Page at the awards ceremony.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Croatian and Slovenian Companies to Form Security and Defence Consortium

ZAGREB, 24 Sept 2021 - The Croatian DOK-ING company on Friday signed a letter of intent with the Croatian Orqa and Slovenian MIL Sistemika, Bijol and Defensphere OU companies on forming a consortium of complementary companies in the field of security and defence.

An agreement was signed at the same time between Croatian and Slovenian defence industry competitiveness clusters with the aim of supporting the two countries' defence industries in absorbing available EU funds.

The signing ceremony was held at the 8th International SOBRA Defence, Security, Protection and Rescue fair, which is being held from 23 to 25 September in Gornja Radgona, Slovenia, DOK-ING said on Friday.

The new Croatian-Slovenian consortium comprises members of the two countries' defence industry competitiveness clusters and opens opportunities for joint applications to the future European Defence Fund and use of EU funds for defence.

The consortium is a result of years of promoting the connecting of companies which, through the transfer of know-how and joint action, strengthen their capacity to develop high-tech products and position themselves on the international market.

For more on business, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Croatian World War 1 Memory: Research Project Investigating Memory and Heritage

September 7, 2021 - In a pool filled with social research supported by the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute, Liljana Dobrovšak leads a project to explore the Croatian World War 1 Memory. The heritage and sites of memory of this horrible historical event as well as political and social background interpreting those events will be displayed on an international round table on September the 9th and 10th, 2021.

As the past always keeps inviting us back to learn something new the history books overlook, events such as World War 1 require revisiting.

Enter ''The First World War in the Culture of Memory. Forgotten Heritage'', a scientific project led by Ljiljana Dobrovšak to dig deeper into the collective memory of this dreadful war.

''The aim of the research is to initiate a scholarly debate on the ''cultural memory'' of WW1 in Croatia based on newly acquired knowledge in order to determine its causes and why it contributed to the contemporary social phenomenon of ''forgetfulness'' related to WW1 in Croatia.

The objective of this research is to examine WW1's ''cultural memory'' in Croatia back during the time of the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs/Yugoslavia (and in relation to the wider region and the rest of Europe) through the systematic investigation of ''memory politics'' (legal framework), ''sites of memory'' marking practices and ''commemorative practices’' ''during the war and in the interwar period,'' explains the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute on its website.

This piece of research had two goals. The first is concerned with investigating and recording what the research calls ''sites of memory'', and to fully determine circumstances of their creation, establishment or even, in some cases, the disappearance of those places. This was done by analysing and studying actions and/or attitudes of the Croatian institutions, military and civilian associations next to the central Belgrade institutions, military and civilian organisations towards ''sites of memory'' related to the WW1 in Croatia.

The second goal concerns situating these ''sites of memory'' in a wider socio-political context. This way, researchers can investigate how, at the time, the Yugoslav legal framework of memory politics is developed towards its formation through commemorative practices on its territory, as well as, attitudes of the Yugoslav state and central institutions in Belgrade towards Croatian citizens as members of the Austro-Hungarian Army who died fighting for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

''The overall result of this predominantly historical research project which is multidisciplinary in character is not only expanded knowledge about neglected and insufficiently researched Croatian cultural and historical heritage but more importantly; the acquired knowledge which enables the scientific and cultural integration of the Croatian WW1 memory, more precisely cultural memory, and its valorised historical heritage into the wider socio-historical European context,'' concludes the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

The project started in 2020 and will last until 2023. However, even now, the research has moved far enough to hold an international scientific round table regarding the matter.
The round table lasting from September 9-10 will see lectures from scientists from Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and Croatia.

The event will be held at Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute's multimedia hall in Zagreb, at Marko Marulić Square 19. However, due to the current epidemiological measures, the number of seats at the hall is limited. But never fear, as you can follow the discussions and lectures live via a Zoom meeting (Meeting ID: 892 6457 0158 Passcode: 316547).

Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.

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

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