Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Less Than 1/3 of Citizens Think Croatia Ready to Introduce Euro, Survey Shows

ZAGREB, 25 May 2022 - Less than one third of citizens think Croatia is ready to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023 and a big majority, fears the introduction will lead to tacit price rises, according to the findings of a survey presented on Wednesday.

The survey was initiated by MEP Biljana Borzan and conducted by the Hendal agency in March and April, covering 805 respondents.

The findings show that 29.9% agree with the claim that Croatia is not ready to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023, while 45.5% do not agree and 24.7% neither agree nor disagree.

Also, 86.2% of respondents believe the introduction will be used to tacitly raise prices.

Borzan said the aim of the survey was not to create additional panic but to reassure citizens and give them clear data on why introducing the euro was good, and also to make the government eliminate the fears so that citizens would accept the euro without any problems.

She said that in Slovenia the gross pay went up by 46% and prices by 26% since the euro was introduced, and in Latvia by 67% and 10%, respectively.

Borzan said a minimum short-term rise in prices was a fact but that the long-term benefit was "very visible" for citizens and that she was sure it would happen in Croatia, too, "because entering the eurozone actually means economic profit."

She said Croatia's law on introducing the euro banned businesses from raising prices without justification but did not envisage sanctions.

The survey shows that 83.2% of respondents feel that businesses which convert prices unfairly should be publicly blacklisted.

Borzan said the government rejected such a proposal and that this was part of the problem. "The other is the non-inclusion of consumer associations and citizens so that we know what awaits us."

Furthermore, 83.8% of respondents feel the government's measures against price rises will be useless without good inspections, and over 50% feel that market inspectors are not doing a good job nor protecting citizens from higher prices.

Also, 81.4% of respondents feel that consumers in Croatia are insufficiently protected.

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

Monday, 9 May 2022

Finding Relevant Information As Protection Against Misinformation, Says Minister

ZAGREB, 9 May 2022 - Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek on Monday said it is exceptionally important to find relevant information and in that way protect oneself against misinformation, adding that the development of independent fact-checkersis the basis to resist misinformation.

The minister presented the results of a project held under the motto "Think with your head in the media labyrinth" as part of the 5th Media Literacy Days, held from 2 to 8 May and comprising more than 500 events in 155 cities around Croatia.

She underscored that technological development has brought positive changes to life but they have also created a labyrinth in some areas of life and "due to the quantity of available information, we sometimes feel like we are living in a parallel world."

Hence, it is exceptionally important to know how to find relevant information and be protected against misinformation, she said, adding that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan has ensured the funds to set up fact-checkers and a published data system.

Developing independent fact-checkers for information in the public sphere, in the media and on social networks and building a system are the foundation of strengthening a society's resilience to misinformation, underscored Obuljen Koržinek.

Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs underlined that media literacy is now being developed through a series of school subjects in elementary and secondary schools.

He stressed that media literacy includes a lot of know-how, skills and competencies and that the greatest value of media literacy is the ability to analyse, evaluate and put information into context.

Vice president of the Electronic Media Council Robert Tomljenović said the results of recent research indicate that it is necessary to create conditions for children and young people as well as all citizens to learn how the media function and create content and news so they can develop critical thinking.

The head of the UNICEF office for Croatia, Regina M. Castillo, said that research has shown that young people recognise the challenges of using the media, particularly digital media.

"Every third student has felt stress, loneliness, envy or lack of seld-confidence due to content on social networks. These are challenges that parents, teachers and other experts are faced with every day," she warned.

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


Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Pandemic Accelerates Digital Transformation in Croatia

ZAGREB, 26 April 2022 - The pandemic has accelerated Croatia's digital transformation and the situation in the economy in 2021 improved in that regard, with an average score of 2.59, a mild increase compared to 2020, when the average score was 2.52, the latest survey of the Croatian Digital Index (HDI) indicates.

This is the third year in a row that the survey has been conducted by the local Apsolon consulting company, which says that the HDI index gauges Croatia's digital transformation progress.

"The Croatian Digital Index (HDI) has once again this year shown that Croatian companies are recognising the importance of digital transformation more and more. However, the overall score is still unsatisfactory despite the positive trend, and the growth rate is slow and there is significant room for progress in the years to come," Aposolon said, adding that the survey included 273 Croatian companies, 56 of which were large and 217 were medium-sized companies.

The HDI analyses the preparedness of Croatia's economy to face the challenges in light of exceptionally fast growth and development of new digital technology, which significantly changes traditional business organisation. The survey is aimed at preparing proposals, recommendations and guidelines to expand digital capacities in Croatian companies and the economy overall.

Better score for availability of e-services 

The survey showed a somewhat better than average score of 2.78 related to the availability of e-services, which also improved slightly from the score of 2.73 in 2020.

The survey further showed that 24.2% of companies have developed a digital transformation strategy while in 2020 only 17.7% did. The majority of companies said that digital transformation did not affect the number of people employed in their companies.

Half of them expect digital transformation to have a positive effect on their revenue. However, only 3.7% consider it to be their main priority while 31.5% consider it to be one of their three main priorities.

More than 75% of respondents said that they do not have a structured path toward digitisation, 62% allocate less than 25% for staff training and development of digital skills while 51% use outsourcing.

The government and companies need to do more

The survey further showed that 92.3% of companies view digital transformation as an opportunity for their own development. However, Apsolon believes that Croatia needs to achieve better results in this area in order to improve its competitiveness and for it not to lag behind other EU member states.

Croatia has never achieved an above-average result for the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) conducted by the European Commission.

In 2021 Croatia ranked 19th of the 27 EU member states with regard to the DESI index, moving up one place from 2020.

Apsolon believes the government needs to set the foundations for Croatia's digital future which will then positively impact business and facilitate more efficient communication with the government for citizens and companies.

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

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Croatia Ranks Third In Region For Quality Of Customer Service - Survey

ZAGREB, Sept 2, 2020 - Croatia once again ranks third in the region for the quality of customer service, behind Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia, the "GUEST-Regional Services" survey showed on Wednesday.

This is the twelfth survey testing the quality of customer service in the region, conducted between 15 June and 15 July by the Heraklea mystery shoppers agency in cooperation with similar agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia.

"Mystery shoppers" visited a total of 800 retail outlets in those countries - car dealerships, banks, petrol stations, small stores, supermarkets, telecommunication retail outlets, tourism-hospitality venues, and other services.

The criteria to measure customer service included greetings, identifying shoppers' needs, knowledge of the product being offered, offering additional products, and thanking shoppers for stopping by, based on the acronym GUEST that stands for Greet, Understand, Explain, Suggest and Thanks.

Croatia scored 75.1% and ranked third, the same result as last year.

Croatia again scored best on knowing the product on offer. Croatian retailers were also good when it comes to greeting shoppers and thanking them for stopping by. Their weaknesses included not identifying the need for shoppers and offering additional products.

Bosnia and Herzegovina tops the list this year

The best result this year was achieved by Bosnia and Herzegovina (86.7%), followed by North Macedonia (82.5%), Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Montenegro.

The best customer service in the region was experienced in car dealerships (97.2%), while supermarkets scored 58%, recording the greatest fall in quality compared to last year.

The biggest improvement in the quality of customer service was achieved by banks, increasing by 10.3 percentage points to 78.53%.

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Sunday, 28 June 2020

Croatians Increasingly Drink Beer, Survey Shows

ZAGREB, June 28, 2020 - A total of 84.5% of Croatians drink beer and 8.8% do it every day, which is 3.7% more than two years ago, a survey shows. 

The survey was conducted in May 2020 by Ja Trgovac magazine and the Hendal market research agency on a representative sample of citizens aged 16 years and over.

It showed that 84.5% of the respondents drink beer, 2.8% fewer compared with a survey carried out two years ago before the world football championship in Russia. However, the number of those who drink beer every day increased from 5.1% to 8.8%.

Some 36% of those interviewed said that they drink beer several times a week, an increase of 6.3% from the previous survey, while 18.8% said they do so once a week, up from 12% two years ago. Slightly over 24% consume beer several times monthly, 7% once a month, and 4.8% several times a year, markedly down from 17.3% in 2018. Only 0.1% drink beer fewer than several times a year, compared with 5.5% two years ago.

More than half of the respondents, namely 56.2% (up 5.3%), drink beer at home or at friends' or relatives', while the number of those who enjoy a pint in a pub or a restaurant fell by 5.4% to 28.1%. The number of people who equally drink beer at home and in a pub remained unchanged at 15.6%.

The number of people who like industrially-brewed beer rose from 70.8% to 76.2%, while the number of those who prefer craft beer increased from 8.9% to 9.4%.

By far the most popular type of beer among Croatians is lager or pilsner (76.9%), ahead of fruit-flavored lagers (7.9%), ale (6.5%), wheat beer (3.9%), stout (2.8%) and alcohol-free beers (2%).

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Results Of European Survey Of Employability Of University Graduates

ZAGREB, June 28, 2020 - Whether university graduates will find a job that matches their education level and field mostly depends on their country's labour market, whether they studied STEM-related fields and whether they have study-related work experience, a European survey of the employability of university graduates shows.

The results of the Eurograduate project were released by the European Commission early this month, and the Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education communicated them this past week.

The survey was conducted in eight countries: Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, and Norway. It covered 21,000 higher education graduates from the academic years of 2012/2013 and 2016/2017, which is one year and five years after graduation. In Croatia, the survey was carried out by the Agency for Science and Higher Education and the Zagreb School of Law between October and December 2018.

The survey found that the youth unemployment rate was highest in Greece (40%) and Croatia (23.8%) and lowest in Germany (6.2%).

Some of the findings indicate that the experience gained abroad during the study period increases problem-solving skills and that an activating learning environment ensures a better preparation for the labour market.

Four in five graduates in each country have a permanent contract five years after graduation, with male graduates being more likely to have permanent contracts than female graduates.

Earnings differ significantly by country, with graduates working in Germany and Norway registering double the gross earnings than those in Croatia. The highest earnings are paid to technology and engineering graduates and the lowest to education, arts and humanities graduates, the survey found.

The highest job satisfaction was observed in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Some 13% of the respondents had a study abroad experience, mostly through participation in an EU mobility program. The lowest participation in any mobility program was in Greece and Croatia. However, moving to study abroad for another degree, after acquiring a Bachelor's degree, was highest for Croatian and Greek graduates. 

The survey also found that activating learning environments and international mobility is associated with more political participation and higher levels of trust in democratic values.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Croatia Life Satisfaction: Second from Bottom of EU

“It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there,” so the saying goes, and that appears to apply to life for some in present-day Croatia. Recent research shows that Croats are extremely unhappy people.

As Gordan Duhaček/Index reveals on November 29, 2019; EUROSTAT has published data on life satisfaction in the European Union, and Croatia is again at the bottom of the chart. On the other hand, the citizens of Finland are most satisfied with their lives.

“Generally speaking; how satisfied are you with your life right now?" That is the question Eurostat asked thousands of Europeans in 2018, offering them the opportunity to answer on a scale from 0 ("not at all satisfied") to 10 ("completely satisfied"). The EU average in terms of satisfaction with one's life for 2018 is 7.3, which is a 0.3-point increase over 2013, when the survey began.


EU Life Satisfaction Increase

In five years, satisfaction with one's own financial situation has increased (in 2013 the average was 6, and in 2018 it was 6.5), as well as satisfaction with personal relationships (in 2013 the average was 7.8 and now 7.9).

But a more complex picture emerges by reviewing results across European Union countries. Finns rated their life satisfaction an impressive 8.1, while Bulgarians, who are least satisfied with their lives, gave their life satisfaction a 5.4 rating. Croats are second from the bottom of the rankings, with a reported life satisfaction rating of 6.3, which is below the EU average.

Lithuania, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia, Romania, France and Spain all reported below-average ratings, while the Finns, Austrians, Danes, Poles, Swedes and Dutch are most satisfied with their lives.

From 2013 to 2018, life satisfaction increased among citizens of all 19 EU Member States, with Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic enjoying the largest leap. And although Bulgarians are the least satisfied with their lives of all EU member states, they have grown more satisfied in the past five years. However, the same cannot be said for Croats.


Croatia Not Satisfied

Specifically, Croats were equally (un) satisfied with their lives in 2013 and 2018, and only Belgians expressed the same level of satisfaction, but their satisfaction level is significantly above that of Croatia. Interestingly, in 2018, only four EU Member States performed worse, namely Lithuania (-0.3), Denmark (-0.2), the Netherlands (-0.1) and Sweden (-0.1). However, it shouldn’t be assumed that Lithuanians and the Dutch are equally dissatisfied, given that Lithuania is at the bottom of the ladder and the Netherlands is at the top. In other words, the decline in life satisfaction in the Netherlands by 0.2 percent is almost negligible, while the overall poor positioning of Lithuania is a much bigger challenge for its citizens.

Croats are also among the least satisfied with their financial situation (only Bulgarians and Lithuanians submitted worse ratings) and are well below the EU average, which garnered a 6.5 rating on a scale from 1 to 10 in 2018. Croats, however, rated their financial satisfaction at 5.1.

Citizens of Denmark, Finland and Sweden are most satisfied with their financial situation, with the largest increases in financial satisfaction from 2013 to 2018 were reported in Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Italy and Slovenia.


Croatian Relationships Lacking

The results in the category of personal relationships are particularly interesting. Malta is most satisfied (8.6 rating), followed by Austria, Slovenia, Cyprus and Sweden. This suggests that satisfaction with financial situation is not crucial to fostering good interpersonal relationships.

The Croats are at the bottom again, unfortunately. Only Bulgarians (6.6) and Greeks (7.1) are more dissatisfied with their personal relationships, while Croats with a score of 7.5, are now third in the EU. It is worth noting that this rating is only slightly higher than 2013, which suggests that Croats should be working on their interpersonal relationships.

In any case, Eurostat has demonstrated what some of us experience every day: Croats are a deeply dissatisfied nation, both in their lives and in their relationships with other people.

A detailed article is available on the Eurostat website here. For more information on life in Croatia, follow our Lifestyle page here.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Hendal Survey: 56.8% of 25 Year Olds Work, Most Want to Stay in Croatia?

Does the Zagreb-based Hendal agency's survey reveal anything new?

A lot can be said of the Croatian domestic economic situation, and even more can be said about the level of young people leaving the country in their droves in search of higher standards, more job security and a better wage in other European countries, with those further west like Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom among the most attractive of all.

Potential staff can't find employers, and potential employers can't find staff. It's a bit like Where's Waldo but with serious consequences. As the buses and planes continue to leave and the situation gets more and more pressing, it's difficult to know just how one can manage to get to the raw truth lying behind the sensational journalism, the shocking headlines and the apparently welcome trends of negativity.

The situation is a dire one, and it shows no immediate signs of recovery, or does it?

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 7th of November, 2018, the Hendal market research agency, based in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, explored the habits of young people for the very first time in the Republic of Croatia.

The Zagreb-based Hendal agency has been investigating the habits and attitudes of the country's 25-year-olds. The first such survey conducted by the research agency here in Croatia shows that as many as 56.8 percent of the respondents do work, 25.9 percent are in some sort of education, and just 16 percent of those contacted are unemployed or seeking a job.

58.7 percent of young people are currently working in some sort of profession, and 21.7 percent claim that they aren't working in what would be termed as a profession by their own choice. Those people are budding entrepreneurs, and explain that they're taking that route in particular because as many as 50 percent of them are seriously considering starting their own business, while only 16 percent of them say they're definitely going to leave Croatia.

Croatia's young people, according to Hendal's research, aren't interested in politics, although 48.8 percent of them confirm that they do always go to the polls to vote.

Hendal's research reveals that most of them spend their free time cooking more than going out, encouragingly, most do not smoke, and in a somewhat lighter survey, 47.5 percent of them would choose to take their phones with them should they end up on a desert island, with more than six hours a day spent using a phone spent by 42.6 percent of the respondents.

Today, young people up to 25 years of age, of which there are about 49,000, don't see property and real estate as a priority.

Only 28.4 percent of them are sure they'll marry, and children are eventually planned by 69.8 percent of young people in Croatia.

Interested in keeping up with more news like this? Make sure to follow our lifestyle page to stay up to date.


Click here for the original article by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

2 in 3 Croats Don't Have a Love of Culture

Here's a question: do you have a habit of attending cultural events (cinema, theatre, museum, gallery, historical site, live performances) at least once a year?