Saturday, 21 May 2022

The Times Publishes Lucie Grace's List of "Must Go" Croatia Locations

May the 21st, 2022 - The highly respected British publication The Times has published a list compiled by writer Lucie Grace on eleven ''must see'' Croatian locations.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the British The Times has published an article by journalist Lucie Grace in which the author reveals eleven beautiful locations across the Republic of Croatia that guarantee an unforgettable and authentic holiday without the crowds, according to Darija Reic, the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Office in London.

These are locations and experiences which are quite popular among the local population. The potential and specifics of Samograd bay on the Central Dalmatian island of Korcula, the source of the Ombla river near Dubrovnik, the Stari Fijaker restaurant in Zagreb and the Kozlovic winery in Istria are highlighted, as is the beauty of the Krka National Park's stunning waterfalls and the islands of Sipan and Mljet. The ferry ride from Orebic to Korcula, a tour of the Zagreb Cathedral, the Dragon's Furrow in Motovun and the Cingrija villa in Dubrovnik are also all recommended, writes local Dubrovnik portal, Dubrovacki.

“The recent publication in the Sunday Times, which included Croatia in the list of the best and most favourable destinations that provide quality conditions and low living costs, also contributed to Croatia's visibility on the British market. This is a publication created as a result of the cooperation of the CNTB Office in London with journalist Liz Rowlinson and Michael Freer, the director of Digital Nomads Associations (DNA) for Croatia, who lives and works in Kastela and who compared costs and lifestyle in Croatia and the United Kingdom.

By being included in this list, Croatia is being ranked next to Spain, Portugal, France and Turkey, and the greatest advantage of Croatia, with its low living costs, is the beauty and preservation of nature within which you can lead a pleasant, active and dynamic life, they stated from the CNTB.

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

Monday, 9 May 2022

Can Brits Purchase Croatian Property? Yes They Can, Here's How

May the 9th, 2022 - Brexit resulted in more questions than it did answers, and whatever side of the fence you happen to be on, be it Bremain or Brexit, we can all likely agree on that. British nationals living across the EU ended up in strange and often unclear positions overnight, with very real legal and financial worries on their plates. With that being said, can Brits purchase Croatian property now Brexit is done, dusted and in the past? Yes.

''Can Brits purchase Croatian property?'' is a question that I see often, and the answers provided are somewhat vague. Given that the United Kingdom is no longer an EU member state, British citizens are no longer EU citizens, meaning that certain rights which were once afforded to them merely by being the holders of British passports no longer apply. Brits can no longer take up residence in Croatia with a quite registration and the flash of a UK passport like they once could, and only those Brits who were here before Brexit and who have acquired rights are still treated like EU citizens.

Up until February the 1st, 2020, ironically just before the global coronavirus pandemic reached Europe and caused havoc like we've never seen before, Brits could purchase property in Croatia as they were EU citizens. The same continued to be true between that aforementioned date and the 31st of December, 2020, during a transition period when all EU law continued to apply to the UK as it slowly made its way out of the bloc of which it had been a leading, powerful and wealthy member for over 40 years. 

During the UK's transition period out of the EU, British (and as such EU) nationals were free to purchase Croatian property without having to get any particular permissions and without having to engage in anything out of the ordinary. This applied to all property with the exception of what was classed as ''property and real estate in protected areas'' and agricultural land. Then came January the 1st, 2021, and everything changed for Britain. That was the real D-Day, when the UK ceased to be a member of any kind of the EU, the transition period ended at midnight (Central European Time) on the 31st of December, 2020.

The answer to the question of: Can Brits purchase Croatian property? was expected to change, but it didn't alter all that much. In short, yes they can, but that desired property absolutely needs to be classed as a residential property, and for that it must be in a certain ''zone''. This is all based on reciprocity agreements held between the Republic of Croatia and various other countries, and this functions in the British sense much like it did before Croatia joined the EU back in July 2013.

A tip for looking this sort of agreement up in Croatian would be to Google: Uzajamnost za stjecanje prava vlasnistva na nekretninama u Republici Hrvatskoj.

It sounds a little bit complicated, but in reality it isn't. If a Croatian citizen can buy property in a certain country, then the citizens of whatever country that might be can typically do the same in Croatia, with certain conditions attached in each specific case. You also do not need to registered as a resident of Croatia in order to buy a property here.

So, what needs to be done?

Consent for the acquisition of ownership rights over Croatian property by foreign citizens who aren't nationals of the EU/EEA or an EFTA country requires what everyone in Croatia just adores - an administrative procedure. I can hear you jumping for joy just reading that. A Brit intending to buy a property here must first make a request to the Ministry of Justice.

In the case of a British citizen who isn't protected by the Withdrawal Agreement wanting to purchase a property here, this procedure is conducted at their request to purchase real estate. Again, that real estate needs to be ''zoned'' as residential, and Brits cannot purchase agricultural land, nor can they buy property situated in a so-called protected area. 

An updated list of countries (aside from the UK) which comply with the reciprocity principle is available under Information on reciprocity in the acquisition of ownership rights of real estate between the Republic of Croatia and countries other than EU Member States, the Republic of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway or the Swiss Confederation.

The procedure is laid down in the provisions of the Act on Ownership and Other Real Rights and the Act on General Administrative Procedure. A mouthful, I know. Any submitted application must be written and then be submitted to the Registry and Archives Department. This can be done by post to the following address:

Croatian: Ministarstvo pravosudja i uprave Republike Hrvatske, 

Uprava za gradjansko, trgovacko i upravno pravo

Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000, Zagreb, Grad Zagreb, Republika Hrvatska

English: The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration of the Republic of Croatia,

The Directorate for Civil, Commercial and Administrative Law

City of Vukovar Street 49, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia

The following documents must be enclosed along with your (written) application form:

- An acceptable legal basis for the acquisition of ownership (this can be a property purchase agreement, the deeds proving the property has been gifted to you, etc). These documents can be in their original form, or they can be certified copies.

- Proof of ownership from the seller of the property, such as a copy from the land register confirming their ownership.

- A certificate of the administrative body responsible for urban and physical planning, according to the location of the property, on the legal status of the property.

- Proof of the prospective owner's nationality (such as a certified copy of their passport showcasing their citizenship) or proof of legal entity status (evidence with a copy from the court register) if the prospective owner is a foreign legal entity.

- When the applicant is represented by an attorney-in-fact, the original power of attorney or a certified copy thereof must be submitted.

In certain cases, additional documentation will be sought from would-be buyers of Croatian property. It all depends on the individual request. 

So, in short, the answer to Can Brits purchase Croatian property? is a resounding YES, given that all of the requirements for reciprocity have long been met. This was of course helped not only by the UK's recent EU membership, but also by the fact that Croatia is the EU's youngest member state and that many bilateral agreements between the UK and Croatia before Croatian EU accession were long-standing and clear.

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

Monday, 25 April 2022

A Lot of Croatian Kuna Being Purchased on UK Market, Good Season Ahead

April the 25th, 2022 - A lot of Croatian kuna is being purchased in Britain, which signals a fantastic season ahead as Croatia's favourite Northern European visitors are set to arrive en masse in the hopes of some sunshine. With the United Kingdom having dropped all of its epidemiological measures some time ago now, Brits are hungry for travel.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Republic of Croatia and the Caribbean are at the top of the most desirable holiday destinations for Britons, according to a new quarterly edition of the analysis of currency sales by the Royal Mail's Travel Department.

The sales of a number of foreign currencies increased in the first three months of 2022 when compared to the first quarter of pandemic-dominated 2020, with strong growth in purchases for the Croatian kuna and the Caribbean currencies, suggesting that they will be popular destinations for tourists from the United Kingdom throughout 2022.

Namely, the purchase of Croatian kuna during the first quarter of this year in the United Kingdom increased by 137 percent when compared to the figures recorded two years earlier. Caribbean currencies also recorded high growth rates, mostly the Barbadian and Jamaican dollars, and the Mexican peso and the East Caribbean dollar also have a strong plus.

"We're used to seeing a spring increase in Croatian kuna sales, but the growth during the month of March was unprecedented, which indicates that the Republic of Croatia is facing another very successful tourist year," said Nick Boden, head of travel.

A review of food and beverage costs by destination showed that due to the weak Turkish lira, prices in Marmaris are by far the lowest - a three-course meal with a local bottle of wine costs around £16! The Republic of Croatia has the fifth highest prices of 11 destinations.

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

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Croatian Gin Takes to UK as Old Pilot's Enters British Market

December the 16th, 2021 - Croatian gin is extremely popular, and one of the most beloved of all is Old Pilot's, which has now taken to the largest island in all of Europe - the United Kingdom. The expansion of this Croatian gin to the demanding British market marks an important step forward for the brand.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes, the much loved Old Pilot’s Croatian gin, which is produced in Jankomir in Zagreb, has put its feet firmly on the ground of Great Britain, the northern European nation which is very well known for its love of a tipple (or ten).

The founders and owners of the distillery which makes this Croatian gin, Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac, both participated in the Boisdale Live Music Restaurants & Bars Cigar Awards, which is the world's most prestigious meeting of cigar lovers outside of the borders of Cuba.

Their gin was served at the dinner, and the duo also presented the Cigar Communicator of the Year award. The distillers are unsurprisingly very happy to have their products placed on this demanding market, and in London they found themselves at the ''Chairman’s Club'' at the wildly famous Reform Club.

"By entering into a business relationship with a new strategic partner, a significant increase in sales is planned through positioning in the premium segment of spirits," said Anadolac. This year the business results for the creators of this Croatian gin are good (revenues, according to earlier data, could be up to six million kuna), and they also launched a new product - vodka, and are working on the third - whiskey.

“We're recording sales growth of more than 30 percent, and we're proud to be able to open up to another new market in England and enter the most exclusive Boisdale restaurants. Our vodka was launched back in November and so far the sales results are higher than expected and the feedback from the market has truly been excellent. The whiskey is still in the aging phase and will be ready for the market in about two years or so,'' pointed out Anadolac.

However, next year should also be fruitful for them, given that the company received about 1.4 million kuna from EU non-refundable funds (a total of 3.8 million) for the digital and green transition project.

They will also invest in new technology and an environmentally friendly boiler (one without CO2 emissions) and thus be able to realise some very ambitious plans, one of which is to become one of the ten best manufacturers in the entire world in this particular segment. The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Tomislav Coric, also visited the Croatian gin plant yesterday, admitting that he was fascinated by what he saw at Jankomir.

“This successful entrepreneurial story starts from the moment when young people wanted to make a premium product and create the best giant of its kind in the world. It is really a great success to become number one in the world, especially with a product that has almost no tradition in Croatia. This success should serve as an inspiration to all future entrepreneurs,'' said the Minister.

"We plan to use EU funds to increase our production capacity, from the current 30,000 bottles per year to 500,000 over the next five years. We want to enter new markets and strengthen our position in existing markets. Of course, there are also new products involved in this story, but we'll talk about that when the time comes,'' Anadolac said.

It is known that he and Busic were trained as pilots at the Military Academy in Zadar, and realising that they share a passion for spirits, they founded a company with a distillery with a related name.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Resident Brits in Croatia: Wrongly Stamped Passport Won't Affect Rights

September the 1st, 2021 - We have been receiving many reports of resident Brits in Croatia having their UK passports stamped at the border when entering and/or exiting Croatia. While this shouldn't be happening, these stamps are just a meaningless little souvenir and will not have any effects on your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).

Brexit has been done and dusted, and while there are still growing pains, the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic has overshadowed most of the infighting and arguing between the bloc and the Northern European island nation. With the economic part of the new relationship between the bloc, of which the UK was a powerful member for 40 years, and the UK still finding its feet, the situation with citizens' rights which plagued those affected for years has all but been cleared up.

There are, just like with everything else, certain issues still. One issue is resident Brits in Croatia having their British passports stamped upon entry and exit. It is important to state that this isn't happening all the time, but it is still happening where it shouldn't be. Here's how you can try to avoid it, and if it does happen, don't sweat it.

If you are a resident Brit in Croatia covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, you'll already (hopefully anyway) have your new ID/residence card which documents that right under Paragraph 4, Article 18 of the Agreement. This protects you and your acquired rights as you had exercised them under the freedom of movement laws which once applied to you as an EU citizen.

When crossing the Croatian border (either entering or exiting), you should always show your Croatian ID/residence card along with your British passport to the border guard in order to avoid any questioning as to your reason for entry/your reason for having been in the country and to showcase your rights.

We've been receiving reports, as stated previously, from Brits who are covered by the WA, some of which had permanent residence before Brexit even happened, who are now having their passports stamped by Croatian border guards. Naturally, this makes them worry for their rights and wonder why they, as legal tax paying residents, are being lumped in with visiting British tourists.

We have investigated why this is happening and have been assured that although it shouldn't be, it isn't anything to be concerned about and it doesn't affect your rights in any way whatsoever. The stamps can be looked upon as a little souvenir which carry no weight. As long as you can evidence that you are a legal resident of Croatia, any stamps you might have collected on your trips in and out of Croatia are meaningless.

Hopefully, as the consequences of Brexit settle and the UK and the EU's new relationship becomes the norm, such situations will stop happening. In any case, there is no need to worry about Croatian passport stamps in the UK passports of resident Brits in Croatia.

If you're a serial stamp collector despite having shown the border guard your ID/residence card and this article fails in easing your concerns, you can contact the British Embassy in Zagreb and voice your worries by clicking here.

For more, make sure to follow our politics section.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Can Croatia Follow the British Model? Epidemiologist Bernard Kaic Weighs In

July the 25th, 2021 - Under what conditions exactly could Croatia afford to fully open up again? With all eyes on the enviable vaccination rate of the British population and the final, total opening up of that Northern European island nation's society on the 19th of July, questions are being asked. Croatian epidemiologist Bernard Kaic sought to answer some questions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, epidemiologist Bernard Kaic says that the number of older and potentially clinically vulnerable people who haven't yet been vaccinated is still much too high in Croatia. In his opinion, the response to vaccination in the last few weeks has been much more solid because between 5,000 and 10,000 people are being vaccinated with their first dose on a daily basis, and between 10,000 and 15,000 are receiving their second dose.

Over recent says, the whole world has been busy closely following the events in Great Britain, where, despite the growing number of coronavirus patients, almost all epidemiological measures have been abolished since Monday, Novi list writes. Concert halls, clubs and stadiums are open with almost no restrictions, but some scientists warn that this is a risky experiment to undertake with some uncertain consequences.

The British authorities estimated that, with the relatively high vaccination rate in that country, the time had come to open up and stop living in a world in which we do nothing but think about the novel coronavirus.

Epidemiologist Bernard Kaic, head of the CNIPH's Epidemiology Service, says that the British experience in the coming weeks, if their opening up proves justified, will be able to serve as an example to other countries, but only to those with high vaccination coverage. Croatia isn't in that club yet. The United Kingdom has vaccinated almost 70 percent of the population with the first dose, and 55 percent with the second. Among those who are older and more vulnerable, the vaccination rate in the UK is as high as 85 percent.

''I don't know what will happen in Great Britain, time will tell. This depends on how protected by vaccination those who are the main candidates for hospitalisation, primarily older people, actually are. As far as I understand, they've achieved great vaccination coverage among those people there and are counting on not filling hospital beds up because the elderly are protected and the young are suffering from milder forms of the disease they can cope with at home. Whether that will be the case or not will be revealed in a few weeks,'' stated Bernard Kaic.

The main condition for the introduction of the British model in another country is a high vaccination coverage of the population, until Croatia manages to join that club, it doesn't seem like a British-style grand opening is on the cards.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, testing and quarantine rules, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Croatian Surf n Fries Opening in New European Locations: Croatia and UK

July the 8th, 2021 - The Croatian Surf n Fries company, which has since expanded to numerous locations across the Republic of Croatia, Europe and the rest of the world, is set to open its doors in more locations across the country and in the United Kingdom.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although a good part of the total of 54 locations in the world where the Croatian Surf n Fries fast food chain franchises operate couldn't even be opened due to the measures put in place owing to the pandemic, Andrija Colak's project has far from gone stagnant.

In the meantime, a mobile facility has been opened on the island of Rab, a fixed store is being opened in Osijek, and a contract has been signed for opening a location in Brighton, UK, and it will be the Croatian Surf n Fries' first fixed location in the UK, Colak revealed on Tuesday.

"Throughout the pandemic, the number of franchises didn't fall, but there was no significant growth, and the biggest challenge is that due to the closures and lockdowns we couldn't realise the contract we had at bars at stadiums in France and the UK, which was signed almost a year ago," said Colak.

As is already known, back in September 2020, a contract was signed with the company Rapid Retail, and Croatian Surf n Fries food was set to be eaten at famous European stadiums, from Old Trafford in Manchester to the Stade de France, the French national stadium in Paris.

As the pandemic has so far banned gatherings in stadiums, the deal sadly hasn't come to fruition. Meanwhile, the Croatian Surf n Fries team is still developing its innovation of a machine that throws fresh french fries out into a cardboard box. So far, the only vending machine of the sort has been installed in Plodine in Rijeka.

"In addition to all of the above, we're working on the transformation of the menu, we're strengthening our chicken segment, which is increasingly popular in the fast food business, with the stagnation of beef. In addition, we're expanding the menu from "snack" to "full menu", introducing breakfast, while our focus is still on quality ingredients and local suppliers. We're also working on the introduction of retail products in the offer such as crisps, which will do well on the back of the already well-known brand of our fries,'' pointed out Andrija Colak.

For more, follow our business section.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Brits Living in Croatia Have Until June 30 to Register for New Status

June the 5th, 2021 - 2021 has so far flown by in the blink of an eye and summer is knocking at Croatia's door. Brits living in Croatia must make sure to register for their new status via the declaratory system MUP has set up before the 30th of June this year in order to have a carefree summer.

The UK's Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union guarantees the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU. The UK opted for something called Pre-settled and Settled status.

Different EU countries opted for different approaches to enshrining the rights of their resident British nationals following the UK's withdrawal from the bloc, and Croatia chose a declaratory system by which legally resident Brits simply register for a new residence card/document which evidences their acquired rights.

Instead of writing in full what needs to be done again for those who missed the last article, I'll simply link it here.

Brits living in Croatia need to follow the instructions provided in the above link for their specific situation. If you're a temporary resident and haven't yet gained permanent residence in Croatia, the procedure will be slightly different for you as in some cases you might (or you might not) be asked to provide more documents in order to determine your basis for continuing to live in Croatia.

In any case, be ready to have more documents on hand in case you're asked for them.

If you're a permanent resident already and became one before the UK's transition period ended on December the 31st, 2020, you are no longer subject to any requirements and the system of declaration will be very simple.

More information about what might be asked of you and what you'll need to provide, as well as the corresponding forms you need to fill in when submitting your documents depending on your current status (temporary or permanent resident) are provided in the link above. The email addresses of each administrative police station are also provided, as your registration must go to the police station responsible for your area of registered residence.

A quick jargon buster:

This is a declaration system to evidence your acquired rights, this isn't a new application for a new status.

You need to have been legally registered as living in Croatia in order to fall into the scope of protection offered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

The registration procedure is free, you only need to pay for new photos (if you don't already have some on hand) and just under 80 kuna as an admin fee for the new card to be made.

If Brits living in Croatia fail to submit their documents for registration for their new residence cards, they will not lose their rights, but may face an administrative fine and potential complications which aren't worth the hassle. Make sure to register for your new cards and before the end of this month. Don't risk your rights.

For more, make sure to follow our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Friends of Croatia: British Embassy - Brexit an Opportunity to Deepen Already Good Relationship

May 20, 2021 - The fifth article in the series "Friends of Croatia: British Embassy", saw TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac sit down with the UK Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish and discuss all things regarding diplomatic relations between the UK and Croatia. Diplomatic relations are, overall, really good and developing well, with Brexit being a challenge, but also an opportunity for deeper bilateral cooperation between the two European nations.

The diplomatic relations between the UK and the Republic of Croatia were formally established on June the 24th, 1992.

Almost 29 years later, I found myself in front of the Ambassador's residence and being warmly greeted by Snježana Vukić, the British Ambassador's advisor for communications. If you're inclined to think in stereotypes, you would expect a cup of tea, but instead, the cup of coffee with the creamy flat white texture turned out to be a much better beverage during the interview—both for me and for the Ambassador.

''We can sit wherever you like'', said Ambassador Andrew Stuart Dalgleish as he welcomed me inside the premises. A warm, kind, competent communicator that evened out the serious conversation about diplomatic topics with occasional humorous remarks to ensure both had an enjoyable and informative talk. The pins of both British and Croatian flags on his left coat lapel turned out to be a visual clue to the notion the friendship the UK and Croatia has long since held is still going well.

 

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TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac with Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish © British Embassy Zagreb

Croatia and UK sharing western values

Andrew Dalgleish has served the UK as the Ambassador in Croatia since July 2016. He graduated with First Class Honours Degree in European Law at the University of Warwick, which included a year at Bordeaux University IV studying French Law. From 1998-1999 he worked in the Department of Social Security. His extensive knowledge of European law saw him work in UKREP (the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union) from 1999 to 2004, firstly as the Second Secretary for Social Affairs, and from May 2001 as a First Secretary for the Environment.

That same passion for the environment led him to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), where he was the Project Manager for the Climate Change effort during the UK Presidency of the EU, and he also represented the EU in UNFCCC plenary meetings. In his service to DEFRA from 2006 to 2008, he participated in the creation of the Office of Climate Change (2006), and moved to be the Deputy Head of Group, in Environmental Land Management too. From 2008 to 2011, Dalgleish continued working as the Head of the European Union Strategy Department, where he held preparations ahead of the Prime Minister’s European Council briefings and assisting other ministries in shaping deliverable policies; coordinating influencing strategies and lobbying efforts within the EU.

''I should tell you, I'd never been to Croatia before I arrived here professionally, and I'm one of those rare British people who hasn't been here on holiday“, Dalgleish began as I asked him about his impressions of the country, and of course, of Croats.

''What struck me the most was the warmth of the people, the welcome, general sense of friendliness. Croats are really proud of their country, and quite rightly so, and they also really want you to love the country too,'' said the Ambassador, adding that the Croats he met took him to lots of places and restaurants where he discovered various new dishes.

He continued that one of the delights of Croatia in his opinion is its variety, and he finds it impossible to pick one location that fascinated him the most.

''I remember going to Vučedol near Vukovar, and it was mindblowing. The walking that I can do in Žumberak, not far from Zagreb is fantastic. You go to Brijuni and you have Roman ruins, or you go to Poreč and you've got the basilica there, or Vis, which is a paradise,'' he stated in his list.

His description of Croats as warm and friendly seems to demonstrate to what we could call Croatian values. But, what are British values? When asked this question, Dalgleish argued that these are habits we may consider to be national characteristics, but they aren't values, per-se.

''Brits are very proud of the idea that we believe in fair play, that will we do the right thing even if we lose the game. Maybe that's why we're terrible at sports,'' the Ambassador said with a touch of humour as he was describing the national characteristics of British citizens.

While stating that Croats should be asked what the UK is most famous for in Croatia, as an Smbassador who frequently talks to Croats, he did manage to come up with some conclusions on the issue.

''Football, clubs such as Chelsea or Manchester City, but also the British sense of humour. Croats laugh at similar things as we do. So much British TV is here, and the cultural exchange is really, really important as well,'' said the Ambassado,r referring to cult shows such as Only Fools and Horses (Croatian: Mucke).

''The Royal Family is very recognisable here, too. I think lots of interest and affection is shown for the Royal Family, and of course our brilliant 'weather' “, the Ambassador added.

When it comes to joint values, the Ambassador noticed that Croatia and the United Kingdom share many opinions that are neither Croatian nor British values, but rather a Western, European, or even Transatlantic view of the world.

''This encompasses a wide range of things that we very often take for granted but which are the foundations of our societies", explained the Ambassador, citing examples the freedom of the media or the rule of law.

''The democracies we live in, embrace and find to be a really important foundation are what we need to protect and defend for the sake of our societies.''

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 Zagreb Pride, Ambassador Dalgleish with other diplomatic colleagues during Zagreb Pride © British Embassy Zagreb 

Things could be better at the commercial level, but there have been improvements...

The values ambassador Dalgeish described are the basis of diplomatic relations between Britain and Croatia, but how good is this relationship, actually? Where is it at its best, and where is it at its worst, where can things be better?

''The starting point is that diplomatic relations are really, really good, and I feel lucky that the cooperation our two countries enjoy is overwhelmingly positive,'' said the Ambassador. He added that as in any close relationship, two countries might disagree about something, but to the British Ambassador, being able to disagree and be fine with that is also a sign of a strong relationship.

''One great expression of our cooperation is NATO where we're really good, very close partners,'' continued the Ambassador, even referring to the recent DEFENDER-Europe-21 exercise in Zadar.

In addition to that, the recent visit of Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team to Croatia's Krila Oluje Pilots is also a good sign of cooperation and mutual friendship. 

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The Royal Airforce Aerobatic Team and the Ambassador © British Embassy Zagreb

''Croatia occupies an almost unique position in terms of expertise that it can give on Southeastern Europe, as well as comprehensive understanding of what is a very complicated situation in this region,'' he said.

''All of this is very good, strong and positive, and it makes a global impact, and it's not just about how our two countries get along,'' he said.

The Ambassador also added that both Croatia and the UK are members of the Global Media Freedom Pledge and stand for freedom in the media. He also works very closely with both the Croatian Government and Croatian president Zoran Milanović to promote awareness of the threat of climate change.

''You'd expect me to say I communicate the most with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and it would be true, it's where diplomatic relations are grown in a formal way. But I also communicate with all branches of the Government, with Parliament and with Pantovčak. Just today, I've been to the ''Dr Fran Mihaljević'' Clinic for Infectious Disease in Zagreb where I talked with its director, Professor Alemka Markotić, about what we can do about COVID-19“, added the Ambassador.

However, as expected, there are areas in which British-Croatian cooperation could be much better.

''Where I'd like things to be better, speaking very frankly, is in commercial relations. The UK has been less present on Croatian market and less accessible due to simple geography, especially when compared to the likes of Austria or Germany. When I arrived here, this is where I said I'd want to try to make a difference. I have made a difference, I hope. A small difference, but its a difference in the right direction, and the commercial relationship is better for that today,'' said the Ambassador.

These small steps saw trade in goods between the United Kingdom and Croatia increase by about 10% in the past few years, a good indicator of how things have been advancing, regardless of the concerns in the past that Brexit might affect it negatively.

''We've also seen investments from the Croatian side into the UK increase in the past few years – for example, Mate Rimac has just opened his research & development centre in the UK – we did help facilitate that through our Department for International Trade (DIT)“, added Ambassador.

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UK Minister Greg Hands and Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish with Mate Rimac in Rimac Automobili © British Embassy Zagreb

In addition, the Ambassador used every opportunity to facilitate business and trade contacts between the UK and Croatia. When UK State Secretary in the Ministry of International Trade, Greg Hands, visited Croatia last month, the Ambassador hosted a dinner for him with several leading Croatian business figures for both sides to explore how they might further improve business connections between the two countries.

On top of that, the recent confirmation from the Justice Ministry that British citizens may purchase property in Croatia only further benefited the development of trading between the two European countries.

Leaving the table for face to face conversation

The cooperation Ambassador Dalgeish described sounds great, but when it comes to diplomatic relations with the UK, the elephant in the room screams out in need of a special mention. Brexit remains a hot topic for the British public, and as Croatia is a member of the EU, what changes can Croatia expect in diplomatic relations with the UK as the European island nation which chose to step away from the bloc?

Dalgleish sees Brexit both as a challenge and as an opportunity to deepen diplomatic relations between the UK and Croatia.

''With 28 members states as it was before, you had so many people around the table that when ministers came together for a council meeting, there were just too many people to have a meaningful conversation one on one. So you'd say ''see you in Brussels'', and you would, and you'd wave, and you'd smile, and you might even say hello. But you don't have a meaningful conversation all the time,'' said Ambassador Dalgeish from his own recollection as he spent a lot of time in Brussels.

''We aren't at that table anymore. That means we're going to have to make more of an effort but also that we will have the opportunity to build a more meaningful relationship with Croatia and I think that's quite exciting for me in the job that I do,'' said ambassador Dalgleish calmly but optimistically.

''Whereas before, our bilateral business might have been conducted during these convenient moments in Brussels at these meetings, that doesn't happen anymore. Now, we will hold them in London, and we will hold them in Zagreb. I think that's quite the opportunity to build something more meaningful than what we had in Brussels,'' stated the Ambassador.

As the UK has a massive impact on the world and can boast of very strong diplomatic relations with other big players on the geopolitical stage, I wondered how important the relationship with Croatia actually is, from the UK's point of view, and in regards to the country's interest in global affairs. 

''We look at Croatia as a global partner, and not just from the point of what we get from this bilaterally, but in what we're doing together to make a difference; Croatia sits as a partner,'' the Ambassador pointed out.

Already having mentioned the importance of Croatia's knowledge on Southeastern Europe and the instances of good cooperation through NATO, and issues such as climate change or COVID-19, the British Ambassador's claims are evidently backed up.

''I was sent here by the Foreign Secretary with a very serious mission to deepen the strength of the cooperation that we enjoy. It's a very important mission for me, and I think that's a reflection of how seriously we take the relationship with Croatia,'' confirmed the Ambassador.

The British Royal Family has always been very welcome in Croatia

The Ambassador already mentioned cultural exchange, and the British Embassy as an institution plays a significant role in the cultural promotion of the country. But, given the UK consists of four nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is it possible to represent all these cultures equally? Being Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II's Ambassador and representing the United Kingdom of Great Britain And Northern Ireland, Dalgeish shows his dedication to the job by equally representing all of the UK's four nations.

''We will proudly fly the St. George's Cross when it's St George's Day for England, but also the Saltire (Scottish flag), when it's St. Andrew's Day. I wouldn't say there is one element of the four nations that is dominant,'' said the Ambassador.

Culture is heavily linked with history, and the UK has been known in the past as a vast empire with colonies that are sovereign independent countries today. As Croatia was never colonised by the UK, are there any differences between the UK's relations with Croatia compared to other countries?

''The UK has a very long list of diplomatic relations, both with the countries who are part of Commonwealth, who were previously colonies, and with countries who were not colonised. So, there's no difference in forming a relationship with Croatia in comparison to such countries. There's nothing I can do about what happened in 1600's or 1700's, but I want to see what we can do in 2021,'' said the Ambassador, stating that the Ambassador's job is to look ahead, not backwards, to work on building the future, while acknowledging all the sensitivities of the past.

As the Ambassador already mentioned, his regular cooperation with the official bodies of the Republic of Croatia is the formal level of communication, while cultural exchange also has a key element in non-formal communication, particularly in education.

''I love going to schools. Talking to the kids about what they think about the UK, and what can they teach me about Croatia, and going to English lessons and causing chaos,'' said the Ambassador on his experiences with the school system in Croatia.

With the mention of the school system in Croatia, I couldn't help but recall my experience in education. Croatians seem to be quite talented when it comes English, but it is mostly pushed towards the American version of English.

''Oh yes I know, it's tragic,'' Ambassador Dalgleish joked in response when I shared my recollections.

He continued by saying that he is happy to see Croats speaking English so excellently, and he doesn't mind what version they learned, nor does he have any intention to have British English compete with American English.

''I don't hear too many American accents when talking to Croats, maybe it has something to do with British TV shows, maybe it doesn't, I don't know. But either way Croats should be very proud of how well they speak English,'' he concluded.

Ambassador_on_Royal_wedding_party_in_Split.jpg

Ambassador Dalgleish on the Royal Wedding Party in Split © British Embassy Zagreb

As also already mentioned, the Royal Family is a big part of the of the fabric of Britain as it is a parliamentary monarchy.

The Royal family, particularly Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla seem to be very fond of Croatia indeed. Their last visit back in 2016 (following the Prince's earlier visit in 1996) saw the meeting with former Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković, former President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, for whom Prince Charles highlighted his particular interest in the Croatian economy, as well as an interest in investing in Croatian youth. They also attended the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous English writer and poet William Shakespeare at the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Zagreb.

''Their Christmas card even had a photo of them with the members of a folk band from Osijek“, said Ambassador Dalgleish referring to the photo the British Royals took with the dancers of the HKUD 1862 ensemble.

And as Glas Slavonije reported, Osijek is very special to Prince Charles as his Great Grandfather Franz von Teck was born there.

Most recently, however, the Royal Family suffered a tragic loss as the much-loved Prince Philip passed away. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković expressed his deep condolences to Queen Elizabeth II publicly on Twitter, but as the Ambassador pointed out, he also sent condolences through official channels. Social media and overall technological progress now allows world leaders to communicate more directly, but it doesn't diminish the role of the British Embassy.

''Everyone who wanted to express their condolences, expressed them, from Pantovčak, to Parliament and the Government. Social media is an additional tool for us regarding public statements, but of course, embassies remain here for those sensitive issues that need to be discussed Government to Government, not over social media. We're also here for our citizens, and we can't be present in the whole country, so travelling, but also social media, are also very important here,'' explained the Ambassador.

The always attractive Dubrovnik was found to be the best example when it comes to culture in the country, as Game of Thrones and Star Wars were filmed there.

In the UK, the film industry, in addition to private incentives, gets financial support from the state, as the British Film Institute (BFI) is sponsored by a Government department. Following the examples of Star Wars and GoT, could there be more promotion from the BFI of Dubrovnik or Croatia in general as a good filming location?

''I don't really need to say anything about Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik speaks for itself, and more Brits visit Dubrovnik annually than anyone else,'' said the Ambassador with delight.

But if Dubrovnik did happen to need a good word or two; the Ambassador stated that he is not the tourist bord, and promoting Dubrovnik is not part of his duties.

''If someone from the UK contacts me and says that wants to film anywhere in Croatia, but is facing problems, then I'm here. But in general, the less I need to intervene, the better“, said the Ambassador adding that he found out about UK film producers filming in Croatia after it had already happened. One of the more recent examples of that was the filming of the ''The Ipcress File'' series in Zagreb, and the fact that the ambassador didn't need to intervene again only proves the steady and good relations between the nations.

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Ambassador Dalgleish, other Ambassadors and Croatian officials attending a Mass for all victims of WW2 at the Zagreb cathedral © British Embassy Zagreb

British and Croatian Ambassadors: Swapping countries but closely talking and cooperating

Foreign embassies, of course, are in Croatia for foreign citizens, and the British Embassy is no exception to that rule.

In addition to the British Embassy and a consul in Zagreb, the UK has two additional consuls: in Split and Dubrovnik, to make sure it is present for UK citizens, not just visitors, but also for Brits who work and live in Croatia.

''We have an honorary consul in Dubrovnik, which isn't officially part of the embassy, but is there to assist our citizens visiting Dubrovnik,'' pointed out Ambassador Dalgleish praising honorary consul Mark Thomas for doing a great job.

When it comes to Croats, visas to visit the UK are luckily not needed, but Croatian citizens can contact the embassy to get more information about Great Britain should they need to.

''When it comes to trying to invest in the British market or getting their products or expertise into the UK, Croats need to contact the Croatian Embassy in London. I'm frequently in contact with the Croatian Ambassador there, Igor Pokaz, who is doing a brilliant job for our two countries to fund and nurture different ways of cooperation,'' explained the Ambassador when discussing his relationship with the Croatian Ambassador in London, Igor Pokaz.

Overall, British-Croatian diplomatic relations are good in general, and the Ambassador's assurance that Brexit can be an opportunity to deepen the already good relationship is a promise to the bright future of friendship. But, as it takes two to have a combo as good as fish & chips, Croatia also has to show that it is willing to continue to develop a good friendship with the UK.

If you're a British citizen or a Croatian citizen in need of information, here is how you can reach a British diplomatic mission in Croatia:

In Zagreb:

British Embassy

Adress: Ivana Lučića 4

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone number: +385 1 60 09 100

British Council (for cultural realations):

Adress: Savska 32

Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone number: +385 1 48 99 504

More info on British Council official website.

In Split:

British Consulate

Adress: Obala Hrvatskog narodnog preporoda 10/III

Phone number: +385 1 60 09 100

In Dubrovnik:

British Honourary Consulate

Address: PP 454

Phone number: + 385 1 60 09 100

For all the latest news about the British Embassy straight from the source, visit their official website. You can also follow them on Facebook, Youtube, FlickrInstagram and Twitter (the British Ambassador is on Twitter and Instagram too).

To read more from the series "Friends of Croatia", follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about UK - Croatia relations, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Justice Ministry Confirms: Brits Can Purchase Croatian Property

May the 11th, 2021 - With Brexit finally over after what seemed like an endless period of news headlines about the 2016 referendum which caused a deep rift for the British public with the question of all questions - mopping up and tying up loose ends has begun. The Justice Ministry has just confirmed that Brits may purchase Croatian property.

As UK in Croatia, the British Embassy in Croatia's platform announced on Twitter, British nationals are free to purchase Croatian property despite no longer being citizens of the EU. 

As the Ministry of Justice writes, if you're a citizen or a legal entity from any of the EU member states, you acquire the right of ownership of property in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions valid for the acquisition of ownership for Croatian citizens and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia. In this case, you do not need the consent of the Minister of Justice and Administration in order to acquire Croatian property rights.

If you're a citizen of the Swiss Confederation, you acquire the right of ownership of real estate in the Republic of Croatia under the preconditions that apply to the acquisition of property rights for citizens of the Republic of Croatia and legal entities based in the Republic of Croatia, except in the case of property in what are listed as exempt locations, and again, the consent of the Minister of Justice is not required to purchase Croatian property. When submitting a proposal for registration of ownership to the competent land registry court, you should enclose with other documentation a confirmation of your application for temporary residence.

Foreign nationals from outside the EU and the Swiss Confederation

Giving consent for the acquisition of property rights of foreign persons in the Republic of Croatia is decided in administrative proceedings at the request of a foreign person intending to puchase Croatian property or otherwise acquire ownership of a property, if you're a citizen of a country with which there is reciprocity with Croatia in this regard.

The procedure is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Property and the Law on General Administrative Procedure. The request (which must be written) must be submitted directly to the competent office or sent by mail to the following address:

Ministry of Justice and Administration of the Republic of Croatia
Directorate for Civil, Commercial and Administrative Law
Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000 Zagreb

The written request must be accompanied by:

- The legal basis for the acquisition of ownership (a purchase contract, a gift contract, a maintenance contract, etc.) in the original or a certified copy,

- Proof of ownership of the seller of the property in question, ie an excerpt from the land register,

- A certificate of the administrative body responsible for urban planning and physical planning, according to the place where the property is located, on the legal status of the property (example: whether or not the property is located within the construction area provided by the urban plan), 

- Proof of citizenship of the acquirer (a certified copy of their passport, etc.) or proof of the status of a legal entity (such as an excerpt from the court register), if the acquirer is a foreign legal entity,

- In the case of the applicant being represented by a proxy, it is then necessary to submit proof of the handing over og power of attorney in an original or a certified copy,

- If the applicant hasn't appointed a proxy to represent them, and is located abroad, then they're obliged to appoint a proxy to receive letters of residence in the Republic of Croatia,
proof of a paid administrative fee in the amount of 35.00 kuna in accordance with Tar. no. 88 item 1 of the Regulation on the Tariff of Administrative Fees.

An administrative fee also needs to be paid for the decision on the application for approval to acquire property ownership rights in the Republic of Croatia in the amount of 70.00 kuna, and for any possible supplement to the application (in case certain documents are missing, etc) in the amount of 15.00 kuna.

A quick remark:

The party shall be invited to submit, within a reasonable period of time implied, other documents, if they are deemed necessary in the proceedings.

Administrative fees in the amount of up to 100.00 kuna can end up needing to be paid, and regardless of the amount, fees can be paid through the e-fee system and to the prescribed account, or through a universal payment order to the account of the State Budget of the Republic of Croatia, the details of which are as follows:

IBAN HR1210010051863000160
Enter the number 64 (model) in the first box of the universal order
Enter (in the second field) the universal order number 5002

In the case of the payment being made by a Croatian citizen, their OIB must be entered next to the number 5002, and in the case when the foreseen amount is paid by a foreigner, then the number 721 and their OIB must be entered after the number 5002.

Proof of payment of the administrative fee must be attached by the person submitting the request, or by their proxy, together with all other necessary documentation.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

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