Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Cultural Identity of Vukovar: New Book Presented in Vukovar

June 9, 2021 - The fascinating question of the Cultural Identity of Vukovar is researched in a new book edited by Dr. Mateo Žanić and Petar Elez. However, as the editors stressed in the introduction, further research is needed to encompass all social groups in Vukovar and their contribution to the heritage of Vukovar.

After being published back in April this year, the book „Cultural Identity of Vukovar – Contribution to Investigating Heritage and Successors“, was presented this Wednesday in Vukovar. As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute writes on its website the book was published in cooperation with the Vukovar State Archive, so it was only suitable that the first book presentation was held in Vukovar at the videoconference hall of College Of Applied Sciences „Lavoslav Ružička“ (named after a famous Croatian chemist whose work is awarded a Nobel Prize). In addition, the event marked International Archive Day.

The book was edited by Dr. Mateo Žanić and Petar Elez, and the presentation, alongside editors, saw scientific experts Dr. Dražen Živić, Mirela Hutinec, and Dr. Domagoj Tomas talks about the book.

„Fast events triggered by globalization process and information revolution which paradoxically lead to today's societies being fiercely occupied with the meaning of past, and preserving its valuable traces. In that context, there is a spreading interest for heritage that holds an important component to understand the relationship between the past and present“, says the editorial introduction of the book.

The editors went on to explain how „the city proved to be futile to interpret the meaning of heritage and its contribution to cultural identity,“ and the editors wanted to present various aspects of Vukovar's cultural heritage.

Apart from editors Žanić (who wrote a chapter „Layers of memories and material heritage in modern-day Vukovar) and Elez (author of the chapter „State archive in Vukovar and development of archive service in Vukovar-Srijem County“), the book features eight more authors. Ivan Rogić (Whose Heritage? Who is the successor?), Dražen Živić (on Vukovar's feudalists), Vlasta Novinc („Danube, food, Corso“), Dragana Drašković (on the cultural life of Borovo Selo), and more by Dragan Damjanović, Toni Roca, Ivana Bendra and Ivan Hubalek.

With these broad presentations of culture and heritage in Vukovar, editors hope this book will encourage further research as they are aware this is certainly not the final word on these interesting questions and issues.

„As editors, we are aware that the book does not deal with topics that concern different social groups that left their trace in Vukovar end enrich the history of the city. We hope that future editions that will deal with this topic expand the reach of issues and help us to realize better what do we inherit from the past and why is that important“, concludes the introduction of the book.

So far, the book is available only in Croatian, and research that will, as editors say, deal with other social groups in Vukovar is yet to come. Keeping in mind the terrible aftermaths of the war in Vukovar in the 90s and inter-ethnic tensions, further findings on joint cultural contribution to Vukovar may indeed be the enlightenment needed for peaceful cohabitation and development of Vukovar as a perspective city in Croatia.

Speaking of heritage, learn more about UNESCO recognized heritage in Croatia on our TC page.

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

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.

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(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.

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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.

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‘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.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Croatian Company Based in Vukovar Experiences Continued Success

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 3rd of December, 2018, over the past five years, ENNA has become a regionally recognisable Croatian company, strongly positioned in the field of energy, logistics, distribution and infrastructure, making a name for itself as a very serious, integrated logistic operator unique in the region.

While news about the emigration from Croatia and especially from Slavonia continues to depress the masses everyday, for the Vukovar-based Energia naturalis group (ENNA) in 2018, positive news about new investments and good business results came about. Engaged in the energy sector, the company decided to take advantage of the plethora of benefits of the common European energy market which opened up to Croatia after joining the European Union. They spent years learning about other markets and were intensively preparing, and the results of trade on the aforementioned common European market came in 2017, and eventually reflected in some excellent business results.

The headquarters of ENNA lies in the Eastern Croatian city of Vukovar, and it continues to successfully operate through companies located in Hungary, Switzerland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Their success is based primarily on a wealth of knowledge, this young and ambitious team are oriented towards the digitalisation of the processes that take place within the company. In a way, ENNA represents a new generation on the Croatian business scene, recognising opportunities in a liberalised and growing integrated common European market. Thanks to this, this Croatian company achieved an incredibly impressive 1.2 billion euro in consolidated revenues last year.

Over the past two years, ENNA has invested more than 78 million euro into its business, strategically deciding on investments which make the most out of the synergistic potential within their own company portfolio. This year, they have continued to invest in rail freight and in the Port of Ploče, ESCO, various renewable energy sources, and energy trading, in which they remain the most successful. The ENNA ESCO company is currently completing the energetic reconstruction of a general hospital in Varaždin, and the energetic renewal of the police academy building in Zagreb is still ongoing. At the same time, in the Vukovar economic zone, the cogeneration plant for the production of electricity for biomass - ENNA biomass Vukovar and the new PPD business building, are now being completed.

The confirmation of their serious position is certainly proven by the collaboration with globally successful foreign partners. This Vukovar-based Croatian company has cooperated with VTTI, one of the largest operators and owners of oil storage terminals in the world, with Gazprom in the natural gas trade, and with INA, they're developing a strategic partnership in the Petrokemija recapitalisation project.

The ENNA Group is in an intense digitalization process, with particular attention being paid to the education of its employees, through its own education and training system.

The real core of Energia naturalis is a PPD group that deals with the import, sale, supply and continued distribution of natural gas, and that story is one of seventeen long years of unwavering persistence.

As stated, that story started about seventeen years ago, PPD has been operating since 2001 and its beginnings are related to obtaining gas concessions in the town of Vukovar and nine municipalities in the wider area of Vukovar-Srijem County. The result is them becoming the 100 percent owner(s) of this high quality distribution network in a country that is entirely built on private investment.

Their capital was already over 100 million kuna, while their annual income was 50 million kuna. Over the last ten years, the company has managed to gain more than 13,000 permanent customers. The opening of the gas market, marked up as one of the conditions for Croatia's accession to the European Union, finally occurred in 2012, with Croatia joining the bloc the following year. PPD welcomed the move, armed with the knowledge and experience of the neighbouring Hungarian market which they had been constantly visiting and studying for years before.

Since then, their revenue has increased significantly, and their interest has increased alongside that revenue growth. In the ENNA group, which is the owner of PPD and twenty other companies, 300 people are employed, and that is a figure which continues to rise.

Special engagement in the Vukovar region is considered a socially responsible business, in which ENNA and PPD participate through the continuous training of their employees and the New tomorrow (Novo sutra) foundation, which invests in socially useful projects in Slavonia and in scholarships for Slavonian students.

In addition to investing back into their own business and employees, they also invest in sport - and are the proud sponsors of successful clubs such as RK PPD Zagreb and the ENNA Vukovar women's volleyball club. Thus, in addition to achieving excellent results, this Croatian company can also boast of investing in children and young people through some of the things that mean the most to them.

Make sure to follow our business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Croatian companies, Croatian products, and doing business in Croatia.

Friday, 16 November 2018

After Šibenik, 'Srijem Breakfast' Showcased in Zagreb

The Srijem Breakfast, which TCN introduced to our readers a few months ago, has made its way to the center of Zagreb. The now popular breakfast arrived to the Croatian capital straight from Ilok, from the well-known Danube hotel, which is the proud owner of a Michelin recommendation.

Friday, 26 October 2018

10 Million Euro Investment Set to Bring Work to Eastern Croatia?

Is Eastern Croatia in for an economic boost thanks to a massive investment from a big company located just over the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Town of Otok Preparing Three Million Euro Project

The project is currently in the process of conceptual solution drafting.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Gourmet Week in Slavonia, Baranja, and Srijem to Promote Croatia's Eastern Cuisine

The flavors of Eastern Croatia will be highlighted through a special gourmet week from October 17th to 28th.

Friday, 21 September 2018

''Croatia is Successful in Using Most Important EU Programs''

Minister Gabrijela Žalac and Commissioner Corina Creţa held a dialogue with citizens.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Property Remains Most Expensive in Southern Dalmatia

It doesn't come as much of a surprise...

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Small Croatian Municipality Scraps Work on Sundays and Holidays

"With this decision, we've showed our strength, our fellowship, and expressed our identity."

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