Saturday, 6 March 2021

3 in 4 Croats Aged 20 to 64 to be in Work Under 2030 Employment Target

ZAGREB, 6 March, 2021 - Croatia's 2030 employment target is to have 75% of adults in work, and currently only two thirds  (66%) of the adult population are employed, the Večernji List daily reported on Saturday.

The current Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union is organising a summit meeting on social affairs in May, and the EU is supposed to endorse new goals in this sector which should be accomplished until the end of this decade.

One of the goals is that at least 78 of 100 people aged 20 to 64 should be in employment by the end of this decade.

Three of four Croats aged between 20-64 to be employed

It is up to each member state to define its targets, and Zagreb plans to have three fifths people in the 20-64 age cohort in employment until 2030. For this target to be met, the country should create new 200,000 jobs in the coming years.

Currently, only Greece and Italy fare worse than Croatia in this regard, where only three fifths of adults (60%) are employed.

Sweden tops the EU ranking with 82 out of 100 adults being employed, and Germany follows with 80%.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Croatia Scores Better Than USA On Global Freedom Rankings - Večernji List Daily

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Croatia ranks better than the USA, according to the criteria applied by Freedom House to measure global freedom, the Večernji List daily reported on Thursday.

Croatia's total score of 85 points places it in the category of free countries, and the total score of the USA is 83, according to the latest annual Freedom in the World report, in which Freedom House, a non-governmental organisation, rates people’s access to political rights and civil liberties in 210 countries and territories.

In the section Political Rights, Croatia's score is 36 out of the total 40 and in Civil Liberties it scores 49 points out of maximum 60 points.

The three Scandinavian countries -- Finland, Norway and Sweden -- top the ranking with the maximum 100 score.

Freedom House describes Croatia as "a parliamentary republic that regularly holds free elections. Civil and political rights are generally respected, though corruption in the public sector is a serious issue."

Concerning the European Union, of the 27 member states, Croatia fares better than Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Hungary, while it fares worse than the remaining members according to assessments made by this nongovernmental organisation.

As for the global developments in 2020, the NGO says that "as a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world, democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny."

Freedom House says in its latest report that "the countries experiencing deterioration outnumbered those with improvements by the largest margin recorded since the negative trend began in 2006. The long democratic recession is deepening."

"The impact of the long-term democratic decline has become increasingly global in nature, broad enough to be felt by those living under the cruelest dictatorships, as well as by citizens of long-standing democracies," it added.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Vecernji List: HRK 15.5bn in Time-Barred Tax Debt Written Off Since 2017

ZAGREB, Dec 20, 2020 - A total of HRK 15.5 billion in tax debt, including HRK 6.8 billion on account of principal and HRK 8.7 billion on account of interest, owed by 346,570 taxpayers, has been written off since 2017 because the debt became time-barred, the Vecernji List daily wrote on Sunday.

The fact that a large part of the written-off debt is on account of interest shows that these are debts for which the Tax Administration kept data in tax records but for which it was not possible to enforce debt collection due to lack of assets, it was said in response to the daily's question. The daily had asked the Tax Administration for data on the total number of time-barred tax debts, the amount that had been written off because of that, and whether there was a need for any normative or organisational intervention in the tax system.

The data submitted is from 2017 because as of 1 January that year an important systemic change has been in force. Since then the statute of limitations for the right to collect taxes has been monitored ex officio, so taxpayers no longer have to submit a request.

Any tax debt that was not collected after six years, through the taxpayer's application or a decision of the tax authority, is written off from tax records.

As of 2017, if a tax debt has not been collected using all available enforcement proceedings during six years or if the debt is not secured by a pledge or mortgage, the tax authority is obliged to write off the time-barred debt from tax records.

Based on this, the Tax Administration conducts a systemic debt write-off once a year for debts that fall under the statute of limitations on 1 January that year.

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Croats' Median Income Loss 10% in 2020 Due to Corona Crisis, Says Daily

ZAGREB, Dec 12, 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequential lockdown have led to an unprecedented rise in the number of workers absent from work and an increased number of jobs lost, according to Eurostat, while the Vecernji List daily said in its comment on Saturday that Croatian workers fared worst in the EU.

The Vecernji List daily says that the corona crisis reduced this year's income of Croatian workers by 10.6% compared to 2019.

The estimated loss for median employment income at EU level is -5.2% in 2020 compared with 2019, says Eurostat.

Considering the estimated loss for median employment income, apart from workers in Croatia, also workers in Greece, France and Cyprus were adversely affected. Thus, the loss for median employment income in their countries was above 7%.

The smallest loss was in Latvia, Hungary, Denmark and Sweden.

The loss stems from COVID-related absence from work or fewer working hours, says the Zagreb-based daily newspaper.

Broken down by sector, the hospitality and tourism sector experienced a 16.8% loss, while the arts, entertainment and creative industries registered 10.9% loss for median employment income due to the corona crisis.

"The current COVID-19 pandemic crisis and the economic shutdown due to sanitary measures have led to an unprecedented rise in the number of workers absent from work and an increased number of jobs lost," the EU statistical office has reported.

The Eurostat notes that these conclusions are based on "the first results of a nowcasting exercise focused on the estimation of employment income losses along the distribution. All figures provided are part of the experimental statistics produced by Eurostat in the frame of advanced estimates on income inequality and poverty indicators."

"The impact of the crisis is very unequally spread between Member States and is particularly strong for the most vulnerable sub-groups of the working population, with low wage earners having losses 3 to 6 times larger than high wage earners in half of the EU Member States," says Eurostat.

Croatia among members that contribute most to mitigate income loss 

National governments have put in place or activated short-term work schemes to address the COVID-19 economic challenges, in particular, policies to preserve jobs (wage compensation schemes). These contributed to mitigate the income loss in all EU countries with the overall income loss reduced by half, says Eurostat.

 According to Eurostat, Croatia, France, Austria, Slovakia and the Netherlands are member states in which their respective governments have done the most to mitigate the income loss of employees.

The Vecernji List comments that the loss in Croatian could not be completely offset since state schemes and grants did not fully covered the original income and compensatory measures did not reach those who were left out of work.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Croatia to Have Air Ambulances by Summer's Start, Says Daily

ZAGREB, Dec 11, 2020 - The Health Ministry plans to advertise the call for bids for medical helicopters on 10 March 2021 so that it will establish air ambulance services by the beginning of the next summer, the Vecernji List daily reported on Friday.

The establishment of the air ambulance services the acronym of which in Croatian is HHMS will be on 1 July, and the HHMS will have four bases: in Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Osijek.

The project is estimated at 18 million euros, and the contract for that purpose will be signed with the provider of of medical helicopters for next three years.

HHMS medical transport will be made available around the clock. The cost will be estimated based on 4,500 hours of flights.

The bidders are expected to provide the ministry with the appropriate medical helicopters and pilots, whereas the ministry will assign the medical staff, that is doctors, nurses and technicians for this service.

Helicopters are expected to have the state-of-the-art equipment, no older than two years.

Friday, 4 December 2020

Founders of Croatian IT Companies Nanobit and Infobip Win Businessmen of Year Award

December 4, 2020 – Founders of Croatian IT companies Nanobit and Infobip are this year's best businessmen in Croatia. According to the choice of the Večernji list and Poslovni dnevnik readers, the businessmen of the year are Silvio and Roberto Kutić and Izabel Jelenić from Infobip, while according to the choice of the expert jury, this award goes to the founders of Nanobit Alan Sumina and Zoran Vučinić.

As Več reports, the fifth selection for "Businessman and Economic Event of the Year" was held today, for the first time in the online edition.

The winners were chosen by the readers of Večernji list and Poslovni dnevnik, who decided to give this recognition to Silvija and Robert Kutić and Izabel Jelenić from the Croatian IT company Infobip, which is the first Croatian unicorn (worth more than a billion dollars).

'IT resistant to COVID'

At Infobip in Vodnjan, they are primarily engaged in mobile communication, and one of their clients is WhatsApp. It was founded in 2006, and the founders then had only two laptops and borrowed money from their parents. This year, a foreign investor invested 200 million dollars in Infobip, and today this company is the leader of the Croatian economy.

"We continue to work in order to develop as much as possible," said Silvio Kutić very briefly and clearly, and expressed satisfaction that he and other colleagues from the sector are a positive example from Croatia. Roberto Kutić added that this is an industry that was lucky because it is resistant to COVID, and Izabel Jelenić concluded that they still stick to their motto - they are just at the beginning and there is much more ahead of them.

Growth and competitiveness

For the best economic event of the year, readers chose the selling Nanobit's stake in the company to the Swedish giant Stillfront, and the founders of that company, Alan Sumina and Zoran Vučinić, were chosen as businessmen of the year by the expert jury. Nanobit is a gaming company that, like Infobip, was founded with only two laptops, but with a lot of will and perseverance.

"I am especially pleased to see in whose company we are today. Neither Infinum, nor Infobip, nor Rimac Automobili, nor we did not exist 10-15 years ago or we were so small that we were not interesting to anyone. And today we are representatives not only of the IT industry but of the economy in Croatia in general. Moreover, we show that this is the 'healthiest' part of the Croatian industry that can grow at a rapid pace and be competitive in the global market," said Alan Sumina.

Nanobit made their first million on a fitness app and then started developing games. Today, after 12 years, it has 125 highly educated employees and their games are played monthly by more than 10 million active players worldwide.

"The gaming industry in Croatia is just beginning to develop and although it has experienced great changes in recent years, many times they have experienced it a bit frivolously. If nothing else, now at least that dilemma has been removed and the value of companies like Nanobit has been confirmed, but apart from us, there are many other companies and I think that in the next few years some of them will achieve greater success than us," said Alan Sumina.

Helping the private sector

For the economic event of the year, renowned journalists and editors who cover the economy, as well as leading economists and scientists from the field of economics, who formed the expert jury, evaluated the state aid for job preservation.

This year, the Croatian government will direct about 10 billion kunas to preserve jobs, which was one of the first and most concrete state measures aimed at companies and employees. One or more months of support were used by more than a hundred thousand employers for almost 600 thousand workers, and if there were no measures, tens of thousands of people would lose their jobs.

Andrej Plenković stated that they reacted quickly and decisively in this crisis. They showed how much state intervention was necessary in these circumstances, to help the private sector in the first place, and they will continue with the measures.

Building big world brands in Croatia

Mate Rimac, the founder of Rimac cars, Tomislav Car from Infinum, and Marin Pucar, the President of the Management Board of Podravka, were also nominated in the category for the businessman of the year. In the category of the economic event of the year, Croatia's entry into the European exchange rate mechanism, the growth of Infobip into the category of the unicorn, and the agreement on a new EU financial envelope were also in competition.

Although 2020 was full of challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, there were many achievements and inspirational stories.

"When it comes to this competition, we can conclude that this is a year in which there has been a big turn in the selection of the 'most successful'. These are no longer companies that started in the former state or the 90s. This is a year marked by 'some new kids', kids who started businesses with only two laptops, and today have multinational companies whose revenues are dizzying billions," said the editor-in-chief of Večernji list Dražen Klarić.

He concluded that 2020 showed that there are new, inspiring, and young entrepreneurs who are ready to invest here and build big world brands from Croatia.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Best Economic Examples in Croatia in 2020 Are Being Selected

November 4, 2020 – The best economic examples in Croatia will be awarded in early December, which will be decided by an expert jury, but also by the general public.

As Večernji list/Stela Lechpammer reports, one of the main reasons why Večernji list and Poslovni Dnevnik launched the selection of Businessman of the Year and Economic Event of the Year four years ago is to divert attention from negativity and trivia to positive and successful stories from the economy.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is even more important now, and this autumn the manifestation continues. The expert jury and readers will select new, and perhaps some already known companies, names, and events that marked the Croatian economy this year.

Despite the often negative and uninspiring political and social environment, Večernji list and Poslovni Dnevnik have recognized Croatian businessmen as promoters of excellence, innovation, and successful business ventures. By highlighting positive examples such as business excellence, export success, the opening of new plants, and thus jobs, they want to open a new perspective on life in Croatia.

"Economic successes are an incentive for many small and medium-sized enterprises and a message to young people not to leave Croatia, which has been a particularly painful topic for several years now," said the organizers.

The winners will be decided by the general public and an expert jury composed of leading Croatian journalists and editors who cover the economy, as well as the professionals and scientists. The winners will be awarded in early December in four categories.

"The selection of businessmen and the economic event of the year is of great importance, and at the same time, it is very important that the selection is carried out according to objective criteria and that the recognition goes into the right hands. We need to look at the placement and quality of products, indebtedness," says a well-known Croatian entrepreneur and one of the richest Croats, Branko Roglić.

Based on objective criteria, the expert jury will select the businessman of the year, and the criteria are business excellence, above-average business results, a successful investment project, job creation, and export success. On the other hand, readers will make decisions based on the reputation that each company and entrepreneur have in public.

"The popularization of entrepreneurship in Croatia is very important and that is why this is an important event. Most entrepreneurs in Croatia are very hard-working people who run the economy and take care of their employees, but often the public has a wrong image, both because of the past and because there are always exceptions in every business that ruins the reputation. I would like, when someone in Croatia mentions an entrepreneur, to think of a team from Infinum, Nanobit, Infobip," said the two-time winner of this competition Mate Rimac.

Among the winners in recent years were Ante Vlahović from the Adris group, Željko Kukurin from the tourist company Valamar, and Marin Pucar, the leader of Podravka.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Companies Borrowed Record HRK 10 Bn in April

ZAGREB, Aug 25, 2020 - In April 2020, companies in Croatia borrowed HRK 10 billion to finance overheads or rollover loans, which was a record high borrowing in the last five years, Vecernji List daily said on Tuesday.

At that time the COVID-19 pandemic halted the operations of almost one in five companies, notably those affected the most by social distancing, as a result of which their revenues in the first month of quarantine dropped over 90%.

Due to the latent danger of the reactivation of the same or similar viruses, companies whose business requires close contact with clients will have to restructure their business models, the Croatian National Bank (HNB) says in an analysis.

Borrowing in 2019 was dominated by new loans for current assets and investment, but since the epidemic outbreak, there have been virtually no investment loans. In March, April, and June, between 85,000 and 100,000 legal entities with nearly 600,000 employees in total received HRK 6 billion in job-retention aid. Over 90% of those entities were micro-enterprises.

The aid helped them to survive and swiftly adapt their operations, the HNB says, warning that extending non-selective aid in the long term could keep companies with untenable business models on the market as well, slowing down the redirecting of funds to healthy companies expected to help with economic recovery.

Zeljko Lovrincevic of the Zagreb Institute of Economics believes the demand for borrowing will increase because tax payment deferrals are no longer in force.

The HNB notes that many companies have swiftly adapted their business models through digitalisation and by relying on delivery channels for their goods and services. Some sectors have additionally profited such as IT solutions providers and courier services, the daily said.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Thursday, 13 August 2020

Mere 41% of This Year's Work Permits for Foreigners Used - Daily

ZAGREB, Aug 13, 2020 - According to data provided by the Interior Ministry, only 41% of the quota for foreign workers was claimed until 31 July, the Vecernji List daily reported on Thursday.

In late 2019, the Croatian government decided that it would be possible to issue 78,470 work permits for foreigners in 2020. The quota includes new employment of foreigners, seasonal employment, transfer of workers within a company, and employment for strategical investment projects.

This quota was set before the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. In the meantime, the COVID pandemic led to an economic downturn globally.

The tourist sector has been hit hard, and while Croatia's tourism and hospitality service could count on 18,370 permits for foreign workers, eventually, 30% of those permits were used.

According to the data provided by the ministry, a mere 24,539 work permits for foreigners were claimed in the construction and tourism sectors until 31 July. If the number of requests for permits that are currently being processed are added, the tally stands at 32,195 permits, which is 41% of the total quota.

In recent years, Croatia's authorities have raised quotas following the emigration of local employees as well as because of economic growth which has increased the demand for workers.

For instance, during the peak of the tourist season in 2019, 84% of work permits for foreigners were used, out of the quota of 53,600. All the permits allotted for the employment of foreigners in construction and tourist trade were claimed until the end of July that year.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Daily Warns of Shortage of Primary Care Physicians

ZAGREB, Aug 12, 2020 - An average primary care physician in Croatia is in their fifties, some of them are already opting for early retirement and around 160 who still work are older than 65 and can close their practices any time, the Wednesday issue of the Vecernji List daily says.

According to data from the Croatian Medical Chamber, there are 2,215 family doctors in Croatia, but that figure is disputable, says Vikica Krolo, who heads the KOHOM association of family doctors.

"Around 160 active doctors are older than 65, 200 primary care teams do not include a doctor, and around 660 doctors are about to retire," she says.

The situation with primary gynecology and pediatrics is also unfavourable, the average age of a gynecologist or pediatrician is 54 and 55 respectively, with 30% of active gynecologists being older than 60 and as many as 38% of primary care pediatricians being above that age.

The state has been trying to make up for the lack of young specialists with a specialisation plan that focuses on primary health care in the next five years, Krolo says, but warns that one should provide good work conditions, notably salaries, to attract young doctors to those branches of medicine.

She warns that family doctors opt for early retirement also because they lack motivation.

The administrative part of the job, phone calls, patients' emails, etc. are a daily routine that will become more demanding in the autumn, while patients will have more difficulty accessing primary health care, KOHOM has warned, noting that in addition to work related to the coronavirus epidemic, tourists and refugees, the health system will also have to deal with flu season in the autumn as well as with new prevention programmes.

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