Saturday, 19 March 2022

Guide for Employers: Ukrainians Looking for Work in Croatia Don't Need Work Permit

March 19, 2022 - The Red Cross says that employers call them to offer jobs for Ukrainians. Maria Meleshko, from the Ukrainian community, warns about possible exploitation and violation of human rights. The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) gives more details, both for Ukrainian citizens and Croatian employers.

Since the arrival of Ukrainian refugees at the Plitvice Motel in Zagreb, where the reception center is located, many employers from Croatia have called and offered them jobs. At the same time, one of the first questions of Ukrainians after arriving at the reception center was whether there was any work for them. ''There are a lot of young people, people want to get a job'', said Nikolina Gotal, spokeswoman for the city society CK Zagreb to 24sata.

Most of them, she adds, are employers from service industries. 

''A man from Samobor called and asked for a chef and an assistant chef, a lady from Ukraine told us that she already had a job interview in Pula, so we called colleagues from the Red Cross there to find accommodation for her and her family. In the second week after the arrival of the refugees, two employees of the Croatian Employment Service started coming every day for two hours and talked to the Ukrainians and entered them in their records'', said Gotal.

In addition to employers, the reception center was also contacted by numerous owners of private kindergartens, offering children from Ukraine accommodation in their kindergartens. Finally, she told all employers interested in employing Ukrainians to contact the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) and coordinate everything through them.

Vlado Karešin, President of the Ukrainian Community of the Republic of Croatia, said to 24sata that they were looking for a job for a Ukrainian who arrived in Slavonski Brod with four children and is a ceramicist by profession. 

''Here in Slavonski Brod, except for him, there are all mothers with children, one mother said that she would like to start working as soon as possible, so we are looking for a job for her as well'', Karešin said.

Marija Meleško, from the Ukrainian community in Zagreb, said that she still does not know anyone who got a job and states that it was mostly mothers with children who came from Ukraine and they must first take care of them before they get a job.

''Those who do not have any family or friends here, will want to work immediately. Mothers must first place their child in kindergarten or school and then start working. I only hope and believe that Croatian employers will not abuse people who came to seek salvation in Croatia and that there will be no exploitation of people. People come traumatized, disoriented in time and space, and not ready to control everything because they are in such a psychological state. I hope that their human rights will not be violated for human trafficking so that someone picks them up at the border and ends up who knows where. I hope there will be no such cases. Mothers with children are a particularly vulnerable group and are still coming into the unknown. And of course, I absolutely trust the Croatian police. If that happens by chance, I expect an immediate police response, which I believe will do it all. So far, there are no such situations, they are just fears, but we should be careful'', she concluded.

So, what should be considered before looking for a job in Croatia as a Ukrainian citizen, or before offering a job as a Croatian employer to a Ukrainian citizen? The Croatian Employment Service (HZZ), through a Q&A, cleared up the doubts.

How can Croatian employers hire refugees from Ukraine?

All persons under temporary protection must first regulate their stay in Croatia, they must first go to the Ministry of the Interior, obtain an identity card and OIB. They can then be registered in our unemployment register, and we will refer them to the jobs of potential employers in accordance with their knowledge. The HZZ will work intensively to connect people interested in work and employers.

Should Ukrainians have a work permit?

Temporary protection is approved by the Ministry of the Interior for a period of one year, during which time persons under temporary protection can be employed without a residence and work permit, which must be required for third-country nationals. Since only a small number of refugees from Ukraine have achieved this, it is understandable that they are not yet registered in the unemployment register.

Does HZZ help Ukrainians get a job in Croatia?

Employees of the Croatian Employment Service are daily in reception centers and collective accommodation and in individual interviews record the interest and employment opportunities of individuals and provide basic information about employment and employment opportunities and support they can receive from the job search agency.

How is communication with them?

In order to facilitate communication and provide basic information, the HZZ produced a leaflet in the Ukrainian language and the Cyrillic alphabet. The leaflet can contain all the information on registration in the unemployment register as well as the rights that a person exercises after registration.

Do you expect a large number of Ukrainians to be employed in Croatia?

All persons who express an interest in registering with the HZZ with the counselor will determine with which counselor they can and want to work, which languages ​​and other special skills they use, and the counselor will therefore refer them to the jobs of potential employers. We expect that in the future we will work intensively on connecting people interested in work and employers. Once again, we note that persons must regulate their status in the Ministry of the Interior in order to be able to register in the unemployment register and then be employed.

You can find the list and locations of all HZZ regional offices and their branches HERE.

Source: 24sata.hr

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

340 Ukrainian Refugees Entered Croatia in Last 24 Hours

March 15, 2022 - Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees from the ongoing Russian invasion have been taken care of in the three northern Croatian counties: Varaždin, Međimurje, and Krapina-Zagorje, and more and more are arriving every day. Here are the official numbers in the northern counties.

On Tuesday, the head of the Varaždin Civil Protection Service, Ivica Matošić, confirmed that 16 people from Ukraine are currently accommodated in the reception center in the Varaždin Arena, while 37 of them are in collective accommodation at the Turist Hotel, reports Index.hr. According to him, there are currently 106 Ukrainian refugees in Varaždin County.

He emphasized that they are doing everything in the county to provide the necessary accommodation capacities for the reception of a larger number of refugees.

In Varaždin County, private accommodation with 1200 beds

"At the moment we are talking to the owners of private accommodation and those with whom we reach an agreement will sign an agreement on the use of their accommodation facilities for so-called collective accommodation. We think we have enough capacity and will be able to respond to all needs," said Matošić, who added that private accommodations have about 1,200 beds.

PXL_100322_92423881.jpg

The small hall of the Varaždin Arena is ready to receive Ukrainian refugees. (Photo: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / PIXSELL)

Twelve refugees who arrived in Lovrečan in Varaždin County last night are housed in the Druškovec parish court in the Maruševec municipality. 

This was stated by the pastor of the parish of St. Juraj Maruševec, Krunoslav Milovec. According to him, it is mostly women and children and one elderly person, emphasizing that refugees are "traumatized by everything."

"With them came two animals that we allowed to be temporarily housed in the parish court until we find a way to adequately care for them," he said.

The parish court currently has the capacity to receive three more people from war-torn Ukraine, and as Milovec pointed out, the locals and everyone else are ready to help them.

"Refugees can stay with us as long as they want. At the moment, they have everything they need, and we will get them anything missing," the pastor said.

In the last 24 hours, 340 Ukrainian refugees entered Croatia

According to the latest information, in the past 24 hours, 340 Ukrainian refugees entered Croatia through the Goričan border crossing, confirmed the Chief of the Civil Protection Headquarters of Međimurje County, Josip Grivec.

85 of them are continuing their journey to other countries, and 15 of them have stated that they will stay in the area of ​​Međimurje County, said Grivec and explained that, as a rule, women with children arrive and are mostly accommodated in private accommodation.

"Međimurje serves as a passing point for refreshments, charging mobile phones and the like, in which the county, municipalities, and citizens help. The first shipment of the Directorate with 'lunch packages'' has arrived. They are adequately taken care of and they do not lack anything, so everything that is needed is still being collected," said Grivec.

There are currently 27 Ukrainian refugees in Krapina-Zagorje County, said Stjepan Skuliber, head of the county's Civil Protection Headquarters. Given that a reception center has not yet been registered in the county, he said, people from war-torn Ukraine are in private accommodations.

"We have sent a proposal to the Directorate of Civil Protection to form a reception center in the sports hall of the High School in Krapina, although we believe that due to the proximity of reception centers organized in Rakitje and Hotel Plitvice we may not need another in our county," said Skuliber.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Intellias: Ukrainian IT Company in Zagreb Begins Hiring Process in Balkans

March the 15th, 2022 - We recently wrote about the Ukrainian company Intellias choosing to move their planned Novi Sad development centre to Zagreb, citing pro-Russian views of the Serbian Government that they could naturally never support. They're now going to be employing people from across the Balkans from right here in Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, one of the largest Ukrainian IT companies, Intellias, recently announced that it was giving up on opening a development centre in Novi Sad, Serbia this spring, and moving it instead to Zagreb.

Although the company's decision to relocate is fresh, they have already registered a company here in Zagreb and are currently looking for an office that, according to the company, will meet all the company's criteria and principles of "smart comfort".

Now they're here in Zagreb, they are looking not only for an office, but also for Croatian experts in the so-called Balkan IT hub, where they'll bring their international clients and handle large projects.

Quality solutions

"We're creating a southern European IT hub in which engineers from all over the region will be able to work. We expect that the centre of this IT hub will be in the new office in Zagreb. Croatia is home to a strong IT community and a very well-developed infrastructure where more than 60,000 IT professionals work. We firmly believe that together we will be able to provide our customers with quality technological solutions and services. We plan to hire Croatian experts and talent from across the entire region who are eager to work with us.

Despite the relocation of the office to Zagreb, we may work with some contractors in Serbia, from project to project, because we understand that they also have talented engineers,'' they explained from Intellias.

They evacuated their employees from dangerous parts of Ukraine, which has been under Russian invasion for more than two weeks now. They have already restored 97 percent of their service delivery capacities, and point out that their clients have shown understanding and support during this tumultuous period.

Croatian support

Intelligence leader Vitaly Sedler said in a post on social media that they chose Croatia "because of its consistent pro-Ukrainian position, support for Ukraine's EU bid, and its closing of its skies to all Russian air traffic,'' but also because of the support of Croatian political leadership for displaced Ukrainians fleeing their country. Not to mention the ready and willing Croatian volunteers who have already travelled to Ukraine to help the Ukrainian army in their defence of their homeland against Russian aggression.

Intellias is otherwise one of the largest Ukrainian IT companies with more than 2,500 professionals, which has already received numerous international awards for its work and for being the best IT employer.

Their company development centres are located in Ukraine, Poland, and now right here in Croatia. They also have offices in Germany, Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Intellias develops complex software solutions and provides professional services, specialises in the automotive industry, navigation systems, finance and telecommunications technologies, and their products are used by more than two billion people worldwide.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 14 March 2022

PM: Explosive, a Sort of Bomb, Was in Military Drone

14 March 2022 - PM Andrej Plenković said on Monday the unmanned aerial vehicle that had flown in from Ukraine and crashed in Zagreb last Thursday carried explosive, a sort of bomb, and the ongoing investigation was aimed at establishing who had launched the drone and how, and if it had been a mistake, sabotage or plan.

Speaking to reporters after a session of his HDZ party leadership, Plenković thus corroborated claims previously presented by Defence Minister Mario Banožić.

"We held a meeting today with all the relevant bodies that are together investigating what happened. We have obtained preliminary information on the type of the military drone in question. For the sake of informing the public, I want to say that what Minister Banožić has said is true, the drone carried explosive, a sort of bomb. The investigation will determine the exact type."

Plenković stressed that "the information published so far by numerous experts is wrong."

"What is correct is that the drone carried explosive. The good thing is that there were no serious consequences, there were no casualties," he said.

The ongoing investigation is aimed at determining who had launched the drone towards Croatia and how, he said.

"Was it a mistake, sabotage or plan? We do not have answers to those questions and we are looking for them together with our partners and allies, with the other countries over whose territory the drone flew," the PM said. 

The drone, a Soviet-made Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh, crashed near a student dorm in the Jarun district of southwest Zagreb shortly after 11 pm on Thursday, damaging about 40 cars in a nearby car park. No one was hurt.

It came from Ukraine, flying over Romania and Hungary, both NATO members, at a speed of 700 km/h at an altitude of 1,300 m, before entering Croatia's air space and crashing down in Zagreb.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Refugee Crisis: Slavonian Heart for Ukrainian Families Initiative Doing Well

March the 14th, 2022 - With the Russian invasion of Ukraine having occurred just over two weeks ago now, Croatia has well and truly stepped up when it comes to handling the ongoing refugee crisis as people flee the war-torn Eastern European country. The Osijek-based Slavonian heart for Ukrainian families action plan is just one praiseworthy initiative.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Nikola Patkovic writes, just over two weeks have passed since the beginning of the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, and quite a significant number of people from this war-torn country have fled in the Ukrainian refugee crisis to Osijek-Baranja County in Eastern Croatia. Their hosts have been organising for their reception since the beginning of the unjustified Russian invasion in order to alleviate the traumas they'll be bringing with them as much as possible, and now a step further has been taken.

Osijek-Baranja County, in cooperation with the non-governmental organisation Centre for Missing and Abused Children Osijek, has prepared an action plan called "Slavonian Heart for Ukrainian Families".

"During the first few days, the most important thing was to ensure the quality reception of Ukrainian refugees, provide them with accommodation, healthcare... and this has now become a routine. However, in parallel with the Centre for Missing and Abused Children, we launched an action plan with the aim of the faster and better integration of people from Ukraine, especially children, into the Croatian system. It's a plan for the integration of refugees based on the Croatian Government's decision to introduce temporary protection for displaced persons from Ukraine. Numerous institutions, civil society associations and healthcare institutions are involved,'' said Mato Lukic, Osijek-Baranja County's Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff of the Civil Protection Directorate there.

On behalf of the Centre for Missing and Abused Children, their president Tomislav Ramljak emphasised that the Centre brings together a large number of experts, primarily psychologists, who have extensive experience from the migrant crisis which took place back in 2015.

"Back then, we put a lot of effort into working with children on their integration into society and providing psychosocial assistance, and we'll apply this to an even greater extent in this refugee crisis. The emphasis is being primarily placed on working with children. So, on Monday at the Cultural Centre in Osijek, we'll start with something called children's corner, where the needs and condition of the children will be assessed, and they'll also start learning Croatian. Our wish is to be able to include these children in educational processes as soon as possible. Recovery and integration into our environment are the basic tasks. We want them to enter into a routine, because in times of crisis, routine means security,'' said Ramljak, while Osijek Deputy Mayor Dragan Vulin stressed that Osijek has readily made all of its resources available as the refugee crisis continues.

Some Ukrainian children have already started attending school, the refugees are provided with free public transport, theatre performances will be organised for them, and it is planned to soon enable the integration of these displaced Ukrainian children into local kindergartens and sports clubs.

Lukic made sure to thank the residents of Osijek-Baranja County who offered up their accommodation for refugees in vacant facilities, as well as those in which they live. He also thanked the many companies, banks included, that were involved in providing assistance, such as Saponia, which provided storage space with equipment and NK Osijek, which offered to pay for accommodation for Ukrainian refugee families.

For more on the ongoing Ukrainian conflict and refugee crisis, make sure to keep up with our politics section.

Friday, 11 March 2022

Ukrainian Artists Invited to Perform in New Production of Tosca in National Theatre in Zagreb

March 11th, 2022 - An announcement from the theatre states that they stand in solidarity with artists from Ukraine and consider it an obligation to provide an opportunity to Ukrainian colleagues to continue their artistic work.

The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb recently cancelled a production of Eugene Onegin, an opera by Tchaikovsky whose premiere was scheduled for May 2022. Instead, the theatre will stage one of the most famous operas in history, Puccini’s Tosca, directed by Mario Pontiggio. The premiere is scheduled for May 27th, writes Jutarnji list.

Ukrainian conductor Alla Kulbaba from the National Opera in Kiev has been invited to orchestrate the performances in Tosca, and Ukrainian soloist Oksana Kramareva is also expected to perform. The Croatian National Theatre stated in their announcement that they ‘stand in solidarity with artists from Ukraine and consider it an obligation to provide an opportunity to Ukrainian colleagues to continue their artistic work’.

Widely known as one of the most spectacular operas ever written, the new production of Tosca will feature performances of opera singers Tomislav Mužek, Luciano Batinić and Valentina Fijačko Kobić of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, and Kristina Kolar of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc in Rijeka.

The Zagreb theatre originally planned for the opera Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky to be produced by a creative team from Russia, namely Mikhail Sinkevich, conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre, and director Yuri Laptev, Putin's former cultural adviser and holder of the title of People's Artist of the Russian Federation. In view of the war in Ukraine, the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb cancelled the plans they’ve been working on for the last year, envisaged as a project bringing renowned Russian artists to stage Pushkin's famous work in Zagreb. 

 

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Branko Roglic Doesn't Know How Russia Will Survive, Hopes They Go Bankrupt

March the 10th, 2022 - Branko Roglic is very well known name among business and investment circles across the Republic of Croatia, and he, one of the most wealthy Croats at the moment, has stated that he has no idea how Russia will survive the harsh sanctions placed on it, and that he hopes the country goes bankrupt.

As Jutarnji list/Novac HR writes, Branko Roglic, one of the most well off Croats who owns a company that operates in about 20 countries across Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, was a recent guest on Dnevnik Nova TV.

"We have 50 people over in Ukraine. We have 150 people in Russia, as that's a bigger company. At the moment we know that our employees have spoken out against the war and we paid those in Ukraine two salaries as soon as the Russian aggression against that country started, we also offered them relocation to Poland, to which they all said no and instead chose to remain in their homeland,'' Branko Roglic said at the beginning of the conversation.

"At the moment, almost all distribution chains have been cut off and this will affect product prices in every country and when it comes to Russia... I don't know how it will survive that," Branko Roglic said.

The biggest price increase, he said, will be for food products. Last year, a 30 percent increase in inflation was announced, and now he thinks that figure will be even higher. "The government is currently between a rock and a hard place. It can't help the economy much because it has to pay its own costs, it's not easy. No one has experienced blows to the government like Prime Minister Plenkovic has," Roglic commented.

He believes Putin will go on to ban exports to Europe. "They'll certainly do that. We're waiting for counter-sanctions. It isn't easy for the European Union either. Russia cannot last long," he said.

Russia's bankruptcy is predicted by some to occur on April the 15th, when they must repay their first loan to international institutions. "It would be good to get rid of another dictator and get another democratic country that will be a partner for Europe," Branko Roglic firmly believes.

"They thought they would just be able to walk easily through Ukraine and behave in such a way. That they would bring their man to the helm there - that didn't happen. It turned out that the Ukrainians are a much stronger opponent than they could have ever expected. This is a great advantage and opportunity for Europe to unite. I think that the war should end with negotiations and that the Russians should return to the borders of their own country," Branko Roglic added.

As for the question of the sensitivity of the Croatian economy to the ongoing war in Ukraine following Russia's recent unjustified invasion, Roglic believes we're very lucky to have Slavonia and the agricultural richness of that Easternmost part of the country.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Ukrainian Veterinary Students Can Complete Their Studies For Free in Zagreb

March 9, 2022 - In a huge gesture of solidarity with Ukrainian veterinary students, the Zagreb Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has arranged for Ukrainian students to complete their clinical practices and studies in Croatia free of charge.

Tomorrow will be two weeks since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The result is a nearly 14-day war that has claimed the lives of 3,393 Ukrainian civilians and injured 9,000 others. Additionally, it is reported that as of yesterday, more than two million Ukrainians have fled their country because of the war. Some, especially in the first days of the Russian invasion, crossed the borders by car, but the vast majority are women, children, and the elderly on foot. It is estimated that 1,204,000 Ukrainian civilians have arrived in Poland, 191,000 in Hungary, 141,000 in Slovakia, 83,000 in Moldova, 82,000 in Romania, 453 in Belarus, 99,000 in Russia, and 210,000 in other European countries. And the numbers of Ukrainian refugees, as well as dead and wounded, continue to rise as the Russian army advances.

With reduced or ruled out chances of intervention by other countries in the conflict, for fear of a world war, the rest of the world has chosen to isolate Russia with a large number of political and economic sanctions, which range from severe financial blockade, cutting off diplomatic ties, cancellation of cultural events in the country, and even the suspension of their sports teams or athletes in international or continental competitions.

But in addition to the sanctions against Russia, in these two weeks, a large number of efforts and gestures of solidarity to assist Ukrainian refugees were registered throughout the continent. Countless civilians have appeared at the borders to welcome Ukrainian refugees with food, clothing, and transportation. Some have even entered Ukraine to pick up those who are still walking, making it easier for them to reach the border.

In Croatia, centers have been set up that serve as temporary accommodation for refugees in cities such as Zagreb, Varaždin, Osijek, or Vukovar. Likewise, throughout the country, a large number of citizens have organized themselves to receive donations and coordinate their transportation to the border. Also noteworthy are the marches in support and solidarity towards Ukraine, which also call for peace and the end of the Russian invasion. Most notably, the one that took place on Saturday at Ban Jelačić square in Zagreb.

But one gesture, in particular, deserves recognition, not only for the gesture itself but because it opens the door to other ways of assisting the victims and those affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And it is that, among the millions of Ukrainians who have had to leave their homes and their country, many are university students who have been forced to stop their studies. Thus, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb has provided that Ukrainian veterinary students can complete their studies, validate their courses, and complete their clinical practices in the Croatian capital, free of charge and covering food expenses, and more.

Yesterday, in a public statement shared on its official website, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine announced:

''The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb expresses its sincere support to the Ukrainian people in light of the aggression against the sovereign Republic of Ukraine. With great concern, we are following the news about the events of the war in our friendly country Ukraine and express our deep sorrow for the suffering of the Ukrainian people. We feel sincere sympathy for all Ukrainian students, fellow teachers, and the entire Ukrainian nation, and we wish for an end to all aggression on the territory of the Republic of Ukraine.

We would like to help the suffering Ukrainian people and offer Ukrainian veterinary students the possibility of continuing their studies at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb.

This includes:

  1. Continuation of their education free of charge from the first to the sixth year, in Croatian or English.
  2. The possibility of completing parts of their course at our Faculty, as part of the student exchange program.
  3. Completion of clinical practice at our Faculty’s clinics including professional fieldwork.
  4. Free meals in the form of lunch and evening meals in the student restaurants.
  5. Provision of continuous support to the development of their careers, with academic and psychological counseling (Office for Career Development and Academic and Psychological Counselling +385 1 2390 330; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  6. An individual approach to resolving problems and classes missed as a result of the current situation.

Ukrainian veterinary students who would like to continue their studies at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb should send an e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for further details.

For more on the Ukraine crisis and Croatia, as well as breaking news, follow our news section.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Housing Ukrainian Refugees Could Alter Pre-Bankruptcy Saga for Motel Plitvice

March the 7th, 2022 - Motel Plitvice was in the news for its pre-bankruptcy saga until recent events began to unfold and the facility became a quarantine ''home'' for truck drivers infected with coronavirus, and now it has provided housing for Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country following the recent Russian invasion. Could these new-found roles go in its favour in the legal sense? Maybe.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, precisely how the state will react to the new restructuring plan as a way out of the difficulties of the company owned by Motel Plitvice will soon be shown through the debtor's pre-bankruptcy proceedings.

That said, after the decision to mobilise Motel Plitvice and employees of the company in the function of accepting refugees from Ukraine (as a checkpoint), it's possible that it could become a new precedent in typical Croatian pre-bankruptcy practice.

This remains an open option due to the legal deadlines that threaten to form a break in the continuation of the procedure and in the context of the currently extraordinary circumstances due to Russia's aggression in Ukraine. These dire circumstances called for the mobilisation of Motel Plitvice in a period when the financial and operational restructuring plan was being made. None of the above could have been predicted, and it turns out that these unfolding circumstances are already affecting the normal procedure and the plan, as well as the debtor's financial status.

New ''dice'' are now being rolled in the pre-bankruptcy mosaic and they have erupted at a stage when the EU and Croatia are preparing a comprehensive response to the upcoming exodus of refugees from Ukraine. According to Crisis Commissioner Janez Lenarcic, the number of Ukrainian refugees, if we're to go by UN estimates, could exceed 10 million individuals.

The Republic of Croatia, in resolving the great humanitarian crisis, should accept 35-70,000 of these people and, by activating a temporary mechanism, ensure their proper and organised reception for a longer period, which includes integration into social and educational systems, as well as the labour market. One of the first checkpoints which was immediately activated as a transit solution is Motel Plitvice with about 40 employees, all of whom have now been made available to the state.

Croatian Motorways (HAC) has confirmed that they received information on the Order for the mobilisation of Motel Plitvice to organise the accommodation of refugees from Ukraine, which, among other things, stipulates that the implementation money is being provided from the state budget for 2022.

They pointed out that therefore, any legal activities regarding Motel Plitvice will not be performed as long as this mobilisation remains in force. However, they added that after this situation is dealt with, the activities on the reconstruction of the rest area will be continued.

Through HAC's evaluation of these new circumstances, the debtor can obviously hope for a break to resolve the pre-bankruptcy issues in which the creditors seem to be able to settle successfully based on extra income. In this procedure, out of 39 million kuna in the claims of unsecured creditors (there are no secured ones), about 33 million fall on the claim of HAC and close to 4 million on Plitvice National Park.

Time is running out despite these unprecedented circumstances because the deadline approved for the extension of the procedure expires on April the 11th, but according to the director of Motel Plitvice, Hrvoje Bilic, a solution will obviously be found in extraordinary circumstances when it comes to extending it further.

"According to the agreement, a legal solution is now being sought for a model that would ensure the continuation of business for some time," explained Bilic, adding that the workers were relieved because of it. The head of the Trade Union of Tourism and Services of Croatia, Eduard Andric, noted that the aim is to keep hold of staff regardless of the outcome of the pre-bankruptcy proceedings.

The next step is to expect a new intervention in the restructuring plan, and it was confirmed that a very generous offer will remain on the table to settle creditors in the amount of 60 percent (with a proposal to write off 40 percent) in 48 installments, with a one year grace period.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Russian-Owned Croatian Villas Line Adriatic Coast, What's Next For Them?

March the 7th, 2022 - Russian-owned Croatian villas are dotted all along the Croatian coastline, but with harsh sanctions in place and Croatia freezing all such properties related to the Russian regime, what's going to happen next with these luxurious properties?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the fact that Kvarner has been very interesting for rich Russian nationals for years now when it comes to buying real estate is proved by the fact that some of the most beautiful villas there are owned by Russians. Opatija, meaning the entire Opatija Riviera, is truly one of the most sought-after destinations for Russians in Croatia to buy luxury apartments and houses in attractive positions. This was confirmed by some of the large property agencies that have been doing business with Russian buyers for years, Novi list writes.

"When we talk about the number of Russian-owned Croatian villas and other properties, as far as foreign buyers are concerned, Russians aren't in the majority here, but they're in the majority in terms of the number of the most exclusive properties owned. We can say that in the period until 2015, there was a craze of wealthy Russian people coming for the most expensive villas in this part of Kvarner, along the stretch from Volosko to Medveja. In that period, they bought property as residential buyers, namely the most exclusive real estate, which was often located along the first row to the sea or with a beautiful view of all of Kvarner,'' said Vjeran Saina, senior agent of the Remax Real Estate Centre.

He explained that Russian citizens could initially buy real property only if they set up a company here in Croatia, but later the situation was simplified and today they can acquire ownership of property defined by the law of reciprocity, ie reciprocity between Croatia and Russia as individual buyers.

Speaking about buyers from the Russian market, Saina said that in fact, after making a purchase, the Russians, as a rule, did not stay long in their newly acquired villas. In conversations they often mentioned that there is a lack of quality content in the Kvarner area, such as shopping and nightlife, which forces them to spend their money, for example, in neighbouring Italy.

As for the interests of Russian buyers, this real estate agent explained that after 2015, the wave of them buying residential real estate in Croatia subsided.

"Competing countries such as Montenegro, Cyprus, Spain, allowed Russians to enter the country without hindrance, but also through other benefits. For example, when buying real estate in Montenegro above the value of 500,000 euros, buyers from the Russian market get the right to permanent residence. Over recent years we've noticed an increase in the interest of Russian buyers in investing. They're interested in large investments in the area of ​​Liburnia. Several projects were successful, but we could also notice some not so successful investments, which were still too big for our area in terms of planning and implementation, and they were simply not well received by the market. Given the current political situation, we haven't noticed that the Russians are turning to Croatia for the sale of the real estate they own in Kvarner. That property has not been frozen and the Russians aren't expressing concern,'' Saina told Novi list, adding that several Russian investors have been operating in Croatia for many years now and said recently that they were doing business as before.

"As agents who are part of the international brand Remax, we're in constant communication with our colleagues, but also sellers and investors from abroad, and we are waiting for the situation to unfold further," concluded Vjeran Sain in reference to Russian-owned Croatian villas and more.

For more, check out our politics section.

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