Monday, 11 May 2020

Coronavirus: Slovenes Interested in Coming to Croatia, Prerequisite Missing

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of May, 2020, the Slovenes are very interested in travelling across the border into Croatia after the announcement of the relaxation of the anti-coronavirus measures due to the favourable epidemiological situation in both countries, but the Slovenian Government continues to emphasise that a bilateral agreement should first be reached between national public health institutes of both Slovenia and Croatia, as well as the police in both neighbouring nations.

As its coronavirus crisis spokesperson Jelko Kacin said at a government press conference on Monday, experts from the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Slovenian Institute of Public Health are holding a meeting today to reach an agreement on the possibility on the aforementioned issues and the necessary protocols that need to be put in place.

The consular department of the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been being flooded with phone calls from Slovenes who want to come to Croatia as soon as possible, especially owners of real estate, boats and caravans. They are primarily inquiring about the technical details of entering Croatia and returning back home to Slovenia after that, given that the provision on mandatory self-isolation (which is seven days in Slovenia's case) after returning from abroad is still in force, explained Kacin.

It was also added that the Slovenian side is considering the possibility that those who go to Croatia over the weekend, or for a shorter period lasting a maximum of 72 hours, can be allowed to return to Slovenia without having to immediately go into mandatory quarantine or self-isolation, if they adhere to all of the prescribed epidemiological measures on both sides of the Croatian-Slovenian border when travelling.

Kacin assessed Croatia's decision in principle to allow Slovenian citizens to enter as a welcome "political" message from the Croatian side, expressing the desire for as many Slovenian tourists as possible to come to Croatia, but warned that it was not yet operational, as an agreement between the two national institutes for public health and the police forces of both countries needs to be reached first.

''That could happen very quickly, so it is better to wait a few days before travelling,'' Kacin warned.

In addition to reaching an agreement at the level of the institutes of public health of both countries, it is also necessary to reach an agreement on protocols between the Croatian and the Slovenian police forces for the crossing of the border, in order to avoid possible differences in the interpretation of the agreement, said Kacin.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section. For more on travel, click here.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Croatian Shipping Company and Slovenian Iskra Join Forces

As Novac/Jozo Vrdoljak/ writes on the 7th of February, 2020, the Croatian shipping company Zadar Tankerska plovidba and the Slovenian company Iskra have jointly taken over the Dubrovnik shipping company GV Line and together they're set to enter the market of regular coastal transport. They believe that this is a challenging but still financially viable business model for both companies involved.

The contract on transferring business interests from the previous owner Lenko Garbin was signed on the 4th of February, 2020, in Zadar. The G&V line company owns the Nonna Anna catamaran that maintains the state line of Lastovo-Korcula-Mljet-Sipan-Dubrovnik and vice versa. The new owners plan to expand that here in Croatia, which they believe is necessary given the fact that the international eye is no longer solely focused on just Southern Dalmatia and that there is steady growth of tourist traffic in the Republic of Croatia as a whole.

It is well known that the fleet that maintains regular and tourist shipping lines is outdated, and Tankerska plovidba and Iskra will first and foremost take care of the quality of their service and respect the highest environmental standards when procuring their new ships.

Tankerska plovidba is the largest Croatian shipping company with a tradition of more than 60 years. It has 12 cargo ships in its fleet, and operates another 6 from the Tankerska Next Generation shipping company, in which Tankerska plovidba owns 51 percent of the shares.

The Slovenian Iskra Group is a leading regional provider of intelligent industrial solutions and state-of-the-art electrical products, with a long tradition (founded in 1946).

It is the largest Slovenian company dealing with process automation, communication and security systems for the distribution of electricity, transmission and network systems, communications through high voltage lines, the automation of railway and road transport, and software solutions in the field of energy and logistics.

A year ago, their company established in Croatia, Iskra Shipyard, took over a shipyard in Sibenik, which was bankrupt. In that short period, they have increased their workload by 20 percent and are creating new jobs.

Follow our business page for more.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Slovenian Company Petrol Not Hiding Investment Interest in Croatia

The new head of the Slovenian company Petrol confirmed that they are indeed looking at possible acquisitions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of January, 2020, the Slovenian company Petrol remains interested in investing and expanding into the markets of Southeastern Europe, including the Croatian market, even after the appointment of the new president of the board of directors, Nada Drobna Popovic, according to Slovenian media.

She confirmed to Slovenian Radio that the company is interested in growing in Slovenia and across into other markets where it has been present so far, the most important of which is its presence in the Republic of Croatia.

According to Delo, a Slovenian publication, this statement from the Slovenian company Petrol comes as somewhat of a surprise since, at the initiative of the former supervisory board that Popovic chaired, Petrol director Tomaz Berlocnik had to resign three months ago as the new director felt that his plans for potential investment and acquisitions abroad were much too ambitious.

Popovic is expected to prepare a strategic plan for Petrol's development by 2025 this year, and as Delo states, they do not want to comment on the purchase of the Croatian company Crodux because of interest in its ninety fuel stations, which would boost the Slovenian company Petrol and its position in the sale of petroleum products here on the Croatian market.

The Croatian agency for the protection of market tenders (AZTN) approved the concentration of Petrol over part of Crodux Plina's (Crodux Gas) business last year, since Petrol's market share on the Croatian market for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) does not exceed twenty percent after the acquisition.

The aforementioned Croatian agency also previously allowed part of the acquisition of control of Petrol over a portion of Crodux Gas's electricity-related business.

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

Monday, 10 June 2019

Primark Opening in Ljubljana - Special Bus from Croatia to be Introduced

For a long time now, a trip to the wildly successful and ultra-cheap Primark meant heading to Graz, Austria, for people from Croatia. While a trip from let's say, Zagreb, to this Austrian city in particular isn't much of a hassle, it shouldn't take such a journey to grab a bargain or two, or ten.

For some time, talk of Primark opening its doors in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, which is much, much closer to the Croatian border and to the Croatian capital, has been milling its way around various media portals. Details of Primark taking to Ljubljana were always somewhat vague, with dates and times conveniently missing or being the subject of guesswork from journalists and readers.

Thankfully, the cloak of mystery surrounding Primark ''next door'' has finally been lifted and as Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of June, 2019, Slovenia's brand new store is set to open its doors on the 13th of June at 10:00. It seems that those drives to Graz from Zagreb are now over for most people.

As was noted by Toni Pugelj, Ljubljana's City Park director, the shopping centre which will include the much loved Primark, which is an Irish fashion retailer, is counting heavily on customers from both Croatia and Italy in addition to local, Slovenian customers. Primark can be found in many European countries, with the United Kingdom boasting the largest store in Europe and indeed the world (Birmingham).

It's worth remembering the long and boring drives to the biggest Primark in Croatia's nearer vicinity, in the charming town of Graz, and now, in all likelihood, many bargain-hungry Croats will just take a quick trip across the border to satisfy their lust for cheaper fashion, something which Croatia lacks enormously.

But that's not all, a Croatian bus operator has already announced a special bus line that will depart from Dugo Selo and Zagreb to Ljubljana, which will cost 100 kuna. The line will begin operations on June the 22nd, just a few days after Primark's opening.

Follow our news page for more.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Kids and Divers from Croatia and Slovenia to Clean Savudrija Bay's Seabed

As Andrea Vedrina/Morski writes on the 4th of June, 2019, more than two hundred divers from Croatia and Slovenia will be included in the ecological action ''Clean-up without borders'', in which they will work to clean the seabed of Savudrija bay on Sunday, June the 9th.

The divers will clear both sides of the bay, both the Slovenian and the Croatian side. The divers will remove large scraps in front of Piran and in Savudrija near Veli Jože camp and in the harbour.

The children will provide a valuable contribution to this action in Savudrija. Under the guidance of their diving instructor, participants from The International Children's Diving Eco Patrol will help purge the sea along the coast of Veli Jože camp and learn about building a better relationship with the sea in the future.

The main goal of the action, along with the obvious cleaning of the area's seabed, is to raise awareness of the importance of conservation of the plant and animal world in the Adriatic sea. In order to do this, it is necessary to connect citizens of all generations and neighbouring countries, and since environmental concerns know no boundaries, divers from more than thirty clubs and associations from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina will also take part along with Croatian and Slovene divers.

The event is organised with the support of no less than Electrolux, which donated part of the money made from vacuum cleaner sales during the spring to cleaning Savudrija bay's seabed.

The co-organisers are the HRVI Nemo-Adriatic diving club, PGD Piran, Zagreb Holding and its subsidiary Vladimir Nazor.

The ''Clean-up without borders'' action, along with the help of the International Children's Diving Eco Patrol is held under the auspices of President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor, as well as the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, the Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, the Environmental Protection and Energy Fund, the City of Umag, and the City of Piran.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If you're interested in how Croatia takes care of its environment, give Total Eco Croatia a follow.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Zagreb and Ljubljana Stock Exchanges Presented in New York

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of April, 2019, more than sixty meetings with investors were held by five Croatian and three Slovenian issuers as the Zagreb and Ljubljana stock exchanges presented their markets and issuers in New York on Monday, at the second largest international stock market - Nasdaqu, in cooperation with the Auerbach Grayson investment company and with a very good response from American investors, as the Zagreb Stock Exchange announced on Tuesday.

Although the Zagreb and Ljubljana stock exchanges have repeatedly presented their markets and issuers at local and regional investment conferences and on other similar occasions, this was the first time that such an event was organised outside of Europe, the statement said.

With the management bodies of both the Zagreb and the Ljubljana stock exchanges, investors were introduced to the Croatian companies AD Plastik, Arena Hospitality Group, Atlantic Group, Podravka and Valamar Riviera, as well as the Slovenian companies Krka, Petrol and Triglav Group. The Croatian investment association, Intercapital, presented the Croatian and Slovenian market and its potential, and, as previously mentioned, the companies held more than sixty individual meetings with US investors.

"For the first time in the history of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, we're organising the presentation of our most prominent issuers who have voluntarily accepted the highest standards of corporate governance and reporting to US investors.

We are very pleased with the level of interest and we hope that acquainting US investors with our companies and the potential of our regional market will result in their interest in investing in Croatian and Slovenian companies,'' said the director of the Zagreb Stock Exchange, Ivan Gažić, the president of AD Plastik, Marinko Došen, added that he hopes that the New York presentation will help attract new investors to Croatia.

"We support all the activities of the [Zagreb] exchange, which will enable us to revive the Croatian capital market with joint forces, we're pleased with the level of interest of American investors in AD Plastik, and I believe that the potential of our shares and business will be recognised on that market as well,'' Došen stated.

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

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Shopping in Slovenia or Croatia - Which Country Pays Off?

Croatia's infamous VAT is throwing prices around much more than one might expect at first when shopping in Lidl or Spar. Just how does your weekly shop in Croatia compare to a weekly shop in neighbouring Slovenia?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2019, when taking a walk through six Slovenian and Croatian shops, it didn't take long to realise that retailers are struggling with their own branded goods, which are already sold at relatively low prices, and they could actually save well on them.

The popular Italian retail chain Eurospin, known for its discount prices, hasn't yet opened its doors in Croatia, but it can be revealed that the retail companty is indeed looking for locations for its stores across the country. It also has its own website in Croatian language on which the following has been published: "Still a little more patience ... We're coming."

A group of 24sata journalists from Croatia visited their store in Laško in neighbouring Slovenia to check if their prices really are lower than their competitors, and what prices were in comparison to the Croatian market.

They selected a basket of fourteen different products and compared then - Eurospin was cheaper than the first competitor in Slovenia by just a few lipa.

They also compared the prices in Slovenian stores with those in Croatia - some shopping baskets are very much the same, and the difference between the cheapest Slovenian product and the most expensive Croatian one is 22 kuna. However, it should be borne in mind that Slovenians have two tax rates applied when it comes to retail - 22 and 9.5 percent, and they also have a lower VAT rate (surprise, surprise) than is applied in Croatia, of 25 and 13 percent.

Eurospin appears very similar to the already popular Lidl.

When comparing the cheapest Slovenian and cheapest Croatian basket, the difference is 10.82 kuna. There were, as stated, forteen different products in the basket. When looking around on February the 25th of this year, the group of Croatian journalists visited the popular Slovenian shops including Eurospin, Lidl, Spar, and Mercator, the majority owner of which is Croatia's formerly ailing Agrokor.

They tried to find the cheapest products (flour, oil, butter...). When comparing detergents and softeners, they looked for products that were cheaper per litre, regardless of the size of the packaging, ie, whether the product volume is one, two, four litres...

Their cart showed that Eurospin was actually slightly more expensive than Croatia's beloved Lidl, at least on that day - by 2.30 kuna, Spar was cheaper by 3.60 kuna, and Mercator was cheaper by a not so insignificant 21.53 kuna.

Eurospin and Lidl have been shown to have relatively similar prices, and according to their trade concept, each reminds one of the other. Spar, which had the biggest store in Laško, had similar and sometimes identical prices as those in Eurospin. Only Mercator was considerably more expensive than the others, but their overall offer, just like at Spar, was much richer than that of Lidl and Eurospin.

The Italian discount store, just like Lidl, often only offers its own brands on it shelves, or products made by only one manufacturer - for example, only one type of oil, one type of sugar, one type of flour, etc.

The 24sata journalists compared the products purchased over in Slovenia to those in Lidl and Spar in Zagreb the following day, once again searching for the cheapest of all.

The most expensive shopping basket in Zagreb was from Lidl and it was 13.67 kuna more expensive than Eurospin in Slovenia. Let's remember, it should be taken into account that VAT in Croatia is higher certainly has a big influence over Croatian prices. The cheapest basket was from Spar in Zagreb, but when compared to Eurospin in Slovenia, it was still more expensive - by 8.52 kuna.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business page.


Click here for the original article by Ivancica Ladisic and Katarina Dimitrijevic Hrnjkas for 24sata

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Rijeka Port Made 10 Times Less Than Slovenia's Koper Port in 2018

What with the playground-like rivalry between neighbours Croatia and Slovenia still going on, however less loudly, one has to wonder just where Croatia might be going wrong in relation to its much smaller neighbour to the north. Slovenia's Koper Port made ten times more money than the not so far away Rijeka Port in Croatia did in 2018.

While Slovenia has indeed attracted more and more tourists over the last few years, Croatia still undoubtedly takes the cake when it comes to making huge income from tourism. Croatia's ports, especially in Dalmatia, can be hectic and chaotic places, with cruise ships coming and going on an almost constant basis and local people's lives disrupted heavily during the tourist season. Rijeka Port, however, while having seen a rise in the number of cruise ships arriving, seems to be losing out quite significantly to the far less ''touristy'' Koper Port.

As Morski writes on the 3rd of March, 2019, the Slovenian Port of Koper enjoyed some very handsome revenues of 226 million euros, equal to one billion and 695 million kuna last year, which is seven percent more than was recorded by the major Slovenian port back in 2017.

Koper Port's net profit rose by a massive 71 percent to an impressive sixty million euros, according to a report from SEEbiz.

At the same time, the largest Croatian port, Rijeka Port, doesn't seem to be doing all that well, at least when compared to Koper. In 2018, according to the available financial report(s), Rijeka Port concluded last year with a total revenue of 171 million kuna, or 22.8 million euros, which is a rather concerning ten times less than the Slovenian Port of Koper. When Rijeka Port deducts some of that amount from its expenditures, a profit of just 848,000 kuna remains.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated business page.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Croatia's Bureaucracy and Slow Legal System Hampering Investment

What can Croatia do to up its currently extremely poor investment game? With non-EU countries like Macedonia and Serbia, which are typically considered to be less developed than Croatia, making things far easier for entrepreneurs than Croatia, and our neighbour to the north, Slovenia, pulling huge sums of cash for investment from Europe, just where is Croatia going wrong?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 22nd of February, 2019, Croatia has one of the most incentive boosting legal frameworks for investment in Europe, which is openly recognised by everyone in the EU, but there is a problem in implementing these investments, as there is in the projected image of Croatia as a tourist destination rather than an investment destination. This was stated at the opening of the recent conference " InvestCro - Is Croatia Ready for New Investments'' which was organised in Zagreb, it is held as a year-round multimedia project jointly organised by Poslovni Dnevnik, Večernji list and 24sata.

Darko Horvat, Minister of Economy, addressed the conference:

"Everyone sitting here today has the same desire: If we can't make Croatia more desirable for investments, we at least should become aware that we're not that bad either. We have to work on our own confidence, because if we don't believe in ourselves, how will those who come here to invest feel when they encounter problems. It's especially important that people from the field - mayors and entrepreneurs, who can share the problems they encounter on a daily basis - also participate in the conference.

When you analyse today's renowned global and Croatian TV stations, portals, newspapers... you'll see that Croatia is a country offering the sun and the sea. To sum up how much Croatia has invested into being recognised as a tourist destination, it's clear why we're not seen as an investment Mecca. We don't have any marketing that would allow investors to see and recognise our country as being desirable for investment.

Our only "marketing" is a negative one through investors who did come to Croatia and haven't managed to succeed, and are talking about that abroad. Those who succeeded and didn't encounter any serious problems, and that's the majority, are generally silent and just do their work because nobody else asks them anything,'' Horvat said.

He added that the huge problem Croatia has is that during the accession period for EU membership, negotiations were carried out and the EU's laws were taken on without question, and they weren't "localised'' through the implementing of acts, which is why the bureaucracy and the judiciary system are so slow and dysfunctional today.

"Now that we're a full member [of the EU], we have to work harder to purge the regulatory framework that hampers us and prevents us from developing. With all the problems we have, Croatia has been growing steadily by 2-3 percent, but the problem is that those around us are growing 2-3 times faster than we are. Therefore, we must implement processes that will accelerate investment and the ease of doing business. When it comes to opening a company, we have seven steps and the whole process for the company to start doing business lasts longer than 30-40 days, although the registration itself lasts just fifteen minutes. We must take for example Estonia or Macedonia, which are at the top of the competitiveness ladder, and not be 150 places behind,'' noted Minister Horvat.

He also pointed out that the issue of the speed of issuing building permits is the biggest problem in big cities, primarily in Zagreb.

"Things are happening and they just need to be promoted. If the Slovenes have managed to attract 14 billion euros in investment from Western Europe, and we've only had 3.8 billion, then it's clear to see that we have some serious problems," said Minister Darko Horvat.

Zdenko Adrović, Director of the Croatian Association of Banks (HUB), highlighted the importance of public debate on the challenges of investing in Croatia.

"The aim of this project is to open up a series of investment issues in Croatia, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of HUB, and this year we want to stimulate the discussion about investments and the role of the banking sector in it. The IMF concluded that there is a need to alleviate bureaucratic obstacles and that would be very welcome, as would providing stronger legal certainty involving a fast and efficient justice system. Without a proper justice system there's little hope in expecting any sort of investment wave, we're not even among the top thirty [countries for investment]. A very well-known British business paper recently concluded that the sun and the sea  aren't enough,'' Adrović warned.

He also added that the establishment of a company in Croatia lasts several times longer than it does in our immediate neighborhood, including in countries like Serbia and Macedonia, both of which are outside of the EU, and which we usually consider to be considerably less developed than Croatia. Vladimir Nišević, editor-in-chief of Poslovni Dnevnik, stressed the importance of the media in promoting important social values, and Croatia's investment climate is certainly one of them.

"Without healthy investment and economic development there will be no other social advances such as curricular reform and the like, although the current Uljanik problem is one of the burning issues of the Croatian economy and society, it's much more important to look at how our country and our society will look in twenty years,'' Nišević rightly concluded.

Make sure to stay up to date with news on Croatia's investment and business climate and everything you need to know by following our dedicated business and politics pages.


Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Happy Ending: Croatian and Slovenian Surfers Found Safe

What could have very easily been a potentially devastating story of two Croatian and Slovenian surfers who decided to take to the extremely rough and dangerous waves on the Adriatic sea a few days ago have miraculously been found safe and well. While one of the surfers, a Croatian citizen, managed to somehow reach the shore in Croatia, his Slovenian counterpart went missing, only to have managed, rather incredulously, to have survived the high seas and end up on the shore not too far from Trieste, Italy.

As we reported yesterday, the waves recorded in certain parts of the Adriatic, more specifically around Palagruža, Croatia's most remote lighthouse island, were the highest they have been since back in 2004, reaching over seven metres in height, and when the news broke that a search for the missing surfer had begun, nobody could have imagined a happy ending. Incredibly, a happy ending came.

As Index writes on the 31st of October, 2018, the alarming story of the two missing people, Croatian and Slovenian surfers, broke yesterday. As stated, things looked far from promising that afternoon, when the two surfers disappeared in the stormy sea near Umag in Istria. Almost immediately,  the search began, which was largely limited due to dangerous weather conditions wreaking havoc on both the Croatian and the Italian sides of the Adriatic sea.

Despite the fact that the situation looked dire, that very same day, after several hours of searching, the Croatian surfer was found. He managed to battle the waves, and swim to the shore, saving himself.

The search for the Slovenian surfer, 47-year-old Goran Jablanov, had to be cut short due to darkness and terrible weather conditions out at sea. The search continued yesterday morning, but ended with no results, leaving everyone naturally expecting the worst. In the afternoon, however, some truly incredible news arrived from Italy. The Slovenian surfer, after more than 24 hours stuck in the stormy sea, managed to get to the shore not far from Trieste.

During these incomprehensible 24 hours spent in a stormy sea, he managed to cover about forty kilometres, according to a report from the Italian portal Il Piccolo, which brings about some new details about the rescue of this amazingly lucky Slovenian surfer.

As the Slovenian media also writes, the surfer came out of the sea himself, arriving on the beach of Costa dei Barbari, which is located about twenty kilometres from Trieste. He simply went into a nearby cafe and called for help there. He was quickly hospitalised, but was given the okay and released that same night.

''Lucky'' doesn't quite do this situation justice!

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