Wednesday, 24 November 2021

1.58 Million Officially Employed Croatian Residents at End of October 2021

November the 24th, 2021 - The end of October this year saw 1.58 million officially employed Croatian residents as the domestic economy continues to grow steadily as we emerge delicately from the global pandemic.

The rocky situation with the global economy has made sure that no country could easily escape the dire economic consequences that this truly unprecedented situation has caused, and countries like Croatia, which relies very heavily on tourism, took a very heavy blow indeed. It seems however, that things are on the up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, at the end of October this year, there were 1.58 million officially employed Croatian residents, which is 0.2 percent more than in September and two percent more than in October last year, while the registered unemployment rate in October stood at 7.2 percent, which is an increase by 0.2 percentage points on a monthly level, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

According to the CBS, there were 1,581,743 officially Croatian residents during the month of October, which is 3,599 or 0.2 percent more than at the end of September this year. At the annual level, the number of total employees in the country increased by two percent.

1,368,324 persons were employed within legal entities, which is 11,746 persons or 0.9 percent more than a month before. Compared to the same month last year, this growth was stronger and amounted to 1.8 percent.

According to the data that the CBS takes from the records of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, there were 194,810 employees in crafts and trades at the end of October, which is 8,165 or four percent less than in September 2021. At the annual level, the number of officially employed Croatian residents in crafts and trades was higher by four percent.

More detailed statistics on the number of employees in legal entities show an increase on a monthly basis in most activities, with the largest increase in the number of employees in the education sector, by 8.2 percent, to 121,331 persons.

For more on working in Croatia, and employment, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Import of Foreign Workers Hampered by Croatian Bureaucracy

November the 16th, 2021 - The import of foreign labour from outside the EEA into Croatia, typically from neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, is proving cumbersome with the infamously slow and arduous Croatian bureaucracy.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Dario Knezevic writes, with the stil impaired liquidity due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ''getting the staff'' and having a qualified workforce is still the biggest problem of the Croatian hospitality and catering industry, especially since wages in the sector are still low and workers prefer to choose other occupations or instead opt for emigration.

Importing workers is currently an inevitable solution as the situation grows more tense, but there are a lot of problems in this regard as well, because there is a long procedure for obtaining work permits for foreigners and Croatian bureaucracy is still running at a snail's pace, hampered by draconian laws and what often seem to be senseless rules.

The sector is still plagued by high tax burdens, and the biggest problems are being faced cafes and nightclubs who suffered tremendously during lockdowns, warned participants in the Zagreb Caterers' Forum, held on Friday and organised by the Zagreb Caterers' Association and the Independent Caterers' Association.

Cafes are on the brink of survival

"Coffee bars and nightclubs have had and continue to have a very hard time surviving, when they have little or no traffic, restaurants are doing a little better because they haven't been closed for as long as bars and clubs were, and their traffic drop is around 30 percent when compared to 2019. If we fail to make more money during the advent season, we will have a very harsh winter and the number of 1,100 closed restaurants in Zagreb could increase in relation to the very beginning of the pandemic,'' warned Zakline Troskot, president of the Independent Association of Caterers.

Officially, three requests were sent from the Forum of Caterers to the City of Zagreb. They're looking for resolutions to the problem of being allowed to operate as normal in open spaces and on outdoor terraces. They are also seeking the lowering the coefficient of utility fees for these companies from 10 down to 7, as well as more involvement from representatives of those in the hospitality and catering sector when it comes to decision-making.

They want the state to reintroduce economic assistance measures to keep jobs and reimburse fixed costs, speed up the tragic state of Croatian bureaucracy, ie the process of issuing work permits for non-EU foreigners and further tax relief, in order to ensure higher incomes of employees working in the hospitality sector.

Namely, with the exception of large employers, wages in tourism and catering are still low, and many employers don't have room for raises due to the coronavirus pandemic, and workers are leaving en masse. Quality foreign workers aren't easy to come by either.

As it has been shown that workers from neighbouring countries manage and fit in much better among foreign workers than from distant cultures, the emphasis is on the search for workers in Croatia's immediate region, but the issue is that these European countries are not EEA/EU member states. This means that the paperwork and red rape is even more of a hassle for would-be employers.

The president of the Croatian Tourism Union, Eduard Andric, revealed that his union is negotiating with the Macedonian union, in order to bring Macedonian seasonal workers in an organised manner with less paperwork and fuss. According to current interest, there are about 5,000 to 10,000 of them.

At the same time, the Macedonians are willing and interested in their employers to give them some preparatory training, whether someone comes to them or they come to Croatia a little earlier for some training.

''Because as much as Macedonians are willing to work, we've had situations where they didn't know things like the names of certain drinks, the names of certain dishes, and we'd have to really educate them to make it better,'' pointed out Andric, adding that workers from that country are more desirable to work in Croatia than, for example, Filipinos, as their culture and language are closer, and communication is therefore far easier.

He revealed that they are also talking to Slovenes about a model to employ their workers in this country during the summer, and for them to go to Slovenia in the winter, which has more developed winter tourism. And this will be worked on in cooperation with the Slovenian trade union.

For more, follow our business section.

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Croatian Unemployment Rate Falls, Fixed-Term Contracts Dominate

October the 27th, 2021 - The Croatian unemployment rate is continuing to fall, particularly and apparently encouragingly among the youth. Fixed-term contracts currently dominate.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, as of yesterday, there were 123,000 unemployed people regisered at the Croatian Employment Service (CES). When compared to the end of last month, this represents an increase of 3910 people, but on an annual basis, this number still indicates a decrease in the number of unemployed people in the country - compared to the end of last October, there are 21,000 fewer of them.

According to the latest monthly report, for September, the annual Croatian unemployment rate was almost a fifth (19 percent) or 28,340 lower. In year-on-year comparisons, the number of unemployed people in the age group of 20 to 24 decreased the most, by almost 30 percent, which brought its share in the total number of unemployed people in the country below ten percent.

There are more and more job ads...

The overall better picture of the domestic labour market compared to last year is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that as many as 44 percent more vacancies were registered in September this year (23.5 compared to 16.3 thousand).

Relatively speaking, the largest increase was recorded in Istria County, where the number of workers needed was twice as high as it was last September, in Split-Dalmatia County, 80 percent more employees were sought, Zagreb also recorded 73 percent more September searches for workers. More than 700 workers were sought for work abroad, which is 37 percent more than in the same month last year.

At the same time, slightly more than 21,400 people de-registered as unemployed last month (12 percent less than last September).

In 16,800 of them, the reason was the fact that they had found work, but more than 900 people ceased to have this status due to other forms of business activities, such as people who had started their own business (by registering a trade or company).

Of those who found employment, almost nine out of ten cases were fixed-term contracts, and almost half of new employees found work in education. Of the total number of those who found a job last month, 6,300 of them are from the group of people who have a higher education.

At the same time, more than 4,600 people were deleted from the unemployment register for other reasons, and in addition to leaving the world of work due to retirement or inclusion in regular schooling, about 1,500 people were ''deleted'' from the list due to non-compliance with legal provisions.

In more than half of the people in this group, the reason is that they aren't actively looking for a job. For 75 of them, the reason is refusing to look for or accept a job, and a further ten have refused to enroll in some form of education. Of the total number of unemployed people, the share of those who receive CES cash benefits has actually been declining for years. Currently, the benefit is received by a little more than 25 thousand people, or just a little more than every fifth unemployed person.

In the structure of those who are unemployed according to the level of education, it is noticeable that the share of highly educated people has been slightly growing this year as well, although at the end of September this year there were nominally 24,000 or almost 500 less such people in this situation than there were last year.

For more on the Croatian unemployment rate, the economy and working in Croatia, make sure to check out our business section.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

EU Rules Might Force Better Croatian Working Conditions for Many

March the 9th, 2021 - About 40,000 Croatian citizens made a living from working on online platforms back in 2019, and such work should finally be regulated, Vecernji list writes on Monday. Could this result in better Croatian working conditions for thousands of people?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the European Commission (EC) launched the first phase of consultations with European social partners back during the middle of last week on how to improve the working conditions of people working through digital work platforms.

The start of that consultation coincided with a historic ruling in Milan in which Italian courts ordered four large food delivery companies to employ more than 60,000 delivery workers and pay more than 700 million euros in fines for failing to provide them with adequate working conditions.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in other European countries, including Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and there are more and more judgments being handed out in which courts side with the workers, who to date have mostly been drivers and delivery people. France was the first in the EU to legally oblige companies that built their business empires through digital platforms to pay their workers who work through these platforms insurance in the event of an accident at work, but even in France their employment status is not fully defined.

Political action was launched from the very top of the EU to establish clearer rules for this proverbial game. The public consultation on the topic will last at least six weeks, during which employers' associations and trade unions will present their views "on the need and direction of possible EU action to improve working conditions through [online] platforms".

Many of these platforms are also available in Croatia and thousands of suppliers are engaged through them, and the EU-level move could lead to far better and more secure Croatian working conditions for those making a living in this way.

The Croatian Ministry of Labour also announced that the forthcoming amendment to the Labour Law will also apply to those who conduct their work through online platforms, and pointed out that Croatia will also look for a way to provide certain protection to people who work in this way, reports Vecernji list.

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Monday, 21 September 2020

What Does Introduction of European Minimum Wage Mean for Croatia?

September the 21st, 2020 - The European minimum wage is set to be introduced, but what does that mean for Croatia, the Croatian minimum wage and the country's employees?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of September, 2020, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently announced the imminent adoption of common rules, known as the European minimum wage, to help EU member states set their minimum wage amounts.

''Wage dumping destroys the dignity of work, punishes enterprises who do pay decent wages and distorts fair competition on the single market. Everyone must have access to minimum wages through collective agreements or on the basis of legal minimum wages,'' von der Leyen stated.

Ensuring a fair minimum wage for all workers across the European Union is one of the priorities of Ursula von der Leyen, and the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic has further strengthened the demands for the European Union's engagement in reducing growing wage gaps and poverty, writes tportal.

European Union countries have different approaches to regulating their respective minimum guaranteed wages. The minimum wage is prescribed by law in 21 countries of the European Union, and in six member states it is determined by collective agreements. Its amount varies considerably from country to country, depending on the country's development, living standards and social sensitivity. According to the latest Eurostat data, the gross minimum ranges from 312 euros in Bulgaria to 2,142 euros in Luxembourg, and Croatia is at the bottom of the European Union scale with 546 euros.

The European Commission's initiative is not to set a single minimum wage at EU level, known as the European minimum wage, or to change national minimum wage systems, but its main goal is to ensure that minimum wages are set at an appropriate level in order to protect all workers.

In early September, the second phase of advising European unions and employers on a fair minimum wage was completed. Based on the answers received, the European Commission will issue a proposal for a directive at the end of October with rules that will apply to all member states.

Ana Milicevic Pezelj, executive secretary for social dialogue and public policies of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Croatia (SSSH), who participated in the consultation, expects the Commission to accept the proposal of European trade unions to link the minimum wage to the average (medial) wage.

"The unions demand that the minimum wage be at least 60 percent of the median, or 50 percent of the average wage in a particular country," Milicevic Pezelj revealed to tportal.

According to that criteria, the Croatian minimum would be between 3,400 and 3,500 kuna net, so 150 to 250 kuna higher than it currently stands. It's worth recalling that Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic himself promised that by the end of his term, his government would raise the Croatian minimum wage to 4,250 kuna.

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Saturday, 12 September 2020

Top 10 Croatian Cities in Terms of Highest Enterprise Earnings

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of September, 2020, last year, there were 63,598 enterprises in the top 10 Croatian cities with the highest average earnings, and they employed 498,387 employees.

Entrepreneurs from Zagreb, Porec and Rijeka made the largest consolidated net profit last year and are leading the list of 10 Croatian cities with the highest earnings, according to an analysis published by the Financial Agency (Fina). Among the top 10 Croatian cities according to the net profit criterion are Sveta Nedelja, Dubrovnik, Velika Gorica, Vukovar, Zadar, Varazdin and Rovinj.

Fina notes that compared to the ranking list from 2018, Split, Karlovac and Nasice dropped off the list, and the new ones on the ranking list are Sveta Nedelja, Zadar and Varazdin.

The consolidated net profit of entrepreneurs in the top 10 Croatian cities last year amounted to 23.5 billion kuna, while the consolidated net profit of all enterprises in Croatia stood at 31.3 billion kuna. Last year, there were 63,598 entrepreneurs in the above listed cities, and they, as stated, employed 498,387 workers.

The analysis of the data from these cities confirms the large concentration of business of enterprises, taxpayers of profit tax, in the 10 aforementioned cities, whose share is 46.7 percent in the number of enterprises 51.4 percent in the number of employees, 62.7 percent in total revenues, 66.7 percent in period profit, 51.9 percent in period loss and 75.1 percent in net profit.

The reason for that, as stated by Fina, is primarily due to the share of enterprises and businesses based/headquartered in the City of Zagreb, which is logical.

Zagreb-based enterprises, all 45,608 of them with their 372,776 employees, unsurprisingly realised the highest net profit, of 18.5 billion kuna, which is 59 percent of the net profit of all enterprises operating in the country.

They are followed by businesses from Istrian city of Porec who achieved a consolidated net profit of 706.1 million kuna back in 2019, and enterprises from Rijeka with a profit of 641.8 million kuna.

Enterprises from Sveta Nedjelja, who realised a net profit of 621.5 million kuna, are in fourth place on the list of the top 10 Croatian cities in terms of net profit, while enterprises down in Dubrovnik are in fifth place with a net profit of 597.6 million kuna.

Businesses from Velika Gorica near Zagreb are in sixth place with a net profit of 558.7 million kuna, enterprises from Vukovar are in seventh place with a net profit of 504.5 million kuna, and Zadar-based companies who realised a net profit of 497.1 million kuna last year are ranked in eighth place.

At the bottom of the list are the enterprises from the continental Croatian town of Varazdin with a net profit of 487.6 million kuna, taking ninth place, while companies from Rovinj, with net profits of 362.4 million kuna are in the tenth place.

According to Fina, HEP, Pliva and Hrvatski Telekom/Croatian Telecom (HT/CT) contributed the most to the good results of companies based in Zagreb, Valamar Riviera did the same in in Porec and Plodine did so in Rijeka.

Maba-Com, in bankruptcy, contributed the most to the results in Sveta Nedjelja, Adriatic luxury hotels did so in Dubrovnik, Lidl Hrvatska did so in Velika Gorica, Prvo plinarsko drustvo did so in Vukovar, Tankerska plovidba did so in Zadar, Gumiimpex-GRP did so in Varazdin and Maistra did the same in Rovinj.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Croatian Government Subsidies Aid Companies for Shorter Working Week

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of September, 2020, so far, 534 companies registered in Croatia with a total of 24,192 employees have applied for Croatian Government subsidies to cover their employees as they make the increasingly popular decision to shorten their working week.

Croatian Government subsidies will ensure the payment of all of them up with up to 2,000 kuna per employee, and the measure will be applied by the end of the year. Companies and enterprises from particularly vulnerable industries who have experienced a pandemic-induced drop in their income of more than 60 percent when compared to last year will be able to count on 4,000 kuna in state aid for their employee salaries by the end of this year, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced last week.

The move was formally adopted on Monday at a session of the Administrative Council of the Employment Service, according to a report from Vecernji list.

The extension of Croatian Government subsidies in the full amount of 4,000 kuna especially applies to companies operating in the sectors of passenger transport, catering/hospitality, tour operators and enterprises related to recreation, culture, business and sport events, as well as enterprises and activities that won't be able to operate due to possible decisions of the National Civil Protection Headquarters in regard to work bans.

The Croatian Government subsidies also include a write-off of all related contributions. It is estimated that the extension of these state grants will cover approximately 70,000 employees in total, for which the state will additionally provide around 800 million kuna. In total, support for employment could reach ten billion kuna this year, most of it having been financed from the state budget, but the government has made sure to assure that part of the funds will be compensated from various European Union sources.

''I see the extension of these measures as a purchase of time over the next few months, to see what's going to happen and think about where it is wisest to invest. If this situation continues, there will be a greater need to invest in people and new technologies,'' stated Danijel Nestic, an analyst from the Zagreb Institute of Economics.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Number of New Businesses in Knin Rises Despite Employment Issues

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of August, 2020, according to the amount of total revenue in 2019, the most successful small privately owned enterprise registered in Knin is Transport Beton Lubina, with 43.1 million kuna in revenue.

Enterprises based in the Croatian city of Knin, located in the Dalmatian hinterland, who have been operating within the corporate income tax system for the last ten years without exception have shown a positive consolidated financial result, according to Fina's recent analysis which was prepared on the occasion of Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and Croatian Veterans Day.

However, the net profit in the amount of 12.1 million kuna, which was reported in Knin last year, which also the highest in the observed period 2010-2019, seems to be encouraging. It is as much as about 55 percent higher than in 2010, and about 34 percent higher than it was back in 2018.

The total revenue of this group of Knin-based businesses were the highest back in 2011 when they amounted to 429.2 million kuna, and the lowest was in 2018 (173.5 million kuna), while last year they were at the level of revenues earned back in 2010, which is equal to revenues of around 215 million kuna in total.

As previously stated, according to the amount of total revenue earned in 2019, the most successful small privately owned enterprise with its headquarters in Knin is Transport Beton Lubina with an impressive 43.1 million kuna. The production of concrete products for construction is the predominant activity of this company, which is owned and managed by Srećko Lubina. The company employs nineteen people and their average net salary in 2019 was around 5300 kuna per month, which is well above the Knin average.

The number of enterprises based in Knin increased from 75 in 2010 to 88 in 2019, an increase of 17.3 percent, but the number of employees decreased from 615 (2010) down to 510 (2019), which marks a decrease of a similar 17.1 percent. As such, it can be assumed that one of the reasons is the stated negative trends in terms of the amount of the net salaries of employees in Knin.

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Monday, 22 June 2020

Eurostat: Croatia at Top of European Union in Number of Temporary Employees

The Republic of Croatia is at the very top of the list of European Union countries in terms of the number of temporary employees, according to a new Eurostat survey for the year 2019.

As Novac writes on the 20th of June, 2020, as many as 18 percent of Croats, in the total number of employees working with temporary employment contracts, seasonally or through an employment agency. The share of temporary workers is higher only in Spain (24 percent), Poland (21 percent) and in Portugal (19 percent).

At the same time, Croatia is the only country in the whole of the European Union in which significantly more Croats are employed in temporary work positions compared to foreign nationals working in Croatia. In other words, out of one hundred employees born in Croatia, 18 of them are employed in temporary positions, while when it comes to the same number of employed foreigners (born outside of Croatia and the EU) only 14 of them work temporarily.

This is a completely reverse trend when compared to all other European Union countries in which, on average, almost a quarter (22 percent) of foreign nationals work in temporary positions and 13 percent of the domicile population are employed.

The trend of high temporary (or occasional) employment of Croatian nationals can be partly explained by the fact that European statisticians take the data for seasonal jobs into their calculations. Namely, a large number of Croats are employed exclusively during the summer tourist season, mostly in the catering, tourism and hospitality sector.

As far as European Union countries in Croatia's immediate area are concerned, Eurostat's report shows that the share of temporarily employed Italians stands at 16 percent, Slovenes 12 percent, and Hungarians a little more than five percent. The share of foreigners employed on temporary contracts in Italy is over 20 percent, in Slovenia almost 15 percent, and in Hungary a little more than 10 percent.

Germany, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Malta, for example, all have a similar share of foreign temporary workers as Croatia does (all at around 15 percent). However, a smaller percentage of the domicile population in those countries work in temporary jobs. 11 percent in Slovenia do so, nine percent in Germany, seven percent in the Czech Republic and five percent in Malta.

On the other hand, the largest share of those born outside the European Union and who are employed on temporary contracts is in Poland (53 percent), followed by Spain (38 percent), Cyprus (33 percent), Portugal (29 percent), Sweden (26 percent) and the Netherlands (25 percent).

The lowest share, on the other hand, was recorded in Estonia (2 percent), followed by Latvia (4 percent), Austria (8 percent) and Ireland (10 percent). However, in all these countries, the employment of the domicile population on temporary contracts is either lower or at the same level.

According to the explanation, the Eurostat survey serves, among other things, to compare the position of migrants in relation to the domicile population, but also to monitor the success of European Union policies in regard to the integration of migrants.

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Thursday, 2 April 2020

Coronavirus: Should Croatia Engage Unemployed in Agricultural Work?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Denis Matijevic writes on the 2nd of April, 2020, countries like Austria, Germany and France have already launched websites where unemployed people who are not affected by the coronavirus pandemic can apply to work in the agriculture sector.

A large number of European Union countries facing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic are calling for agricultural ''patriotism'' and are warning that agriculture and food production should not stop at this point. The biggest challenge for them is the lack of manpower, which will come to the forefront in an even stronger way once the harvest season begins.

Food supplies around the world are facing increasing obstacles, including export restrictions, and large producers naturally want to secure their citizens' supply. Numerous countries have reiterated the need for self-sufficiency in food production, and there is a concern that some governments may restrict the flow of basic food products to secure domestic supply in the face of supply chain disruptions.

One of the problems that is particularly striking is that in most EU countries, OPG owners are senior citizens, who are particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. According to some figures, as many as 59.7 per cent of OPG owners in the EU are over 65 years of age.

For this reason, numerous governments are trying to find ways to engage those who can work in agriculture, with a focus on those who have already lost their jobs (such as hospitality workers), to help with agriculture work in combination with volunteering and securing an income.

Some countries believe that one of the financial measures could be one that would ensure that part of the financial support for the unemployed could be diverted to farmers, so that volunteers could earn a decent income.

They're calling on hospitality workers who have lost their jobs, such as waiters and cooks.

Austria currently lacks 5,000 workers for their harvest, and as spring approaches, more and more people are going to be needed. Their meat processing industry isn't in a better position either, as they lack as many as 9000 workers. For this reason, the Austrian Government is urging citizens who are currently free and have no work obligations, to apply and support the agriculture sector. To facilitate this, the government has launched a website through which interested parties can apply.

The appeal was addressed primarily to hospitality and gastronomy employees who are not currently employed, but is also extends to students.

Over recent years, many workers from other EU countries or third countries have been arriving in Germany to undertake seasonal work in agriculture, such as picking asparagus and strawberries, and the coronavirus crisis has caused the countries many difficulties in terms of their labour supply.

About 286,000 seasonal workers work in German fields each year, with most of them coming from other countries. Currently, the most affected people in this field in Germany are fruit and vegetable growers who totally rely on foreign seasonal workers.

The French Government has also called on employees who are currently laid off or aren't working due to the coronavirus pandemic, to make themselves available to help farmers with seasonal work. Leaders of the FNSEA, France's main agricultural union, warn that they currently lack around 200,000 people in agriculture.

The FNSEA has also launched a website where residents of France can register to make themselves available to farmers who need workers.

To encourage people to register, those who volunteer will be able to combine their partial unemployment benefits with their wages earned by engaging in seasonal work in agriculture, which are roughly equivalent to the minimum wage.

The possible decline in production across Europe, the difficulty in supplying and the closure of some countries for export could leave the global market without some types of products and food. Croatia, as a major food importer, could be primarily affected by the supply of pork, milk, vegetables and fruit.

Therefore, it is now an opportunity to seriously start thinking about turning things around rather dramatically in terms of Croatian agriculture. At this point, it is necessary to take immediate steps to adopt crisis and rapid measures that will ensure a secure supply and remove obstacles to food production.

Once the coronavirus crisis is over, it will be necessary to make a shift and change the business model for agriculture, raising production and self-sufficiency, and being aware that agriculture and food production is one of the most important strategic branches of the entire economy.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for rolling information and updates on coronavirus in Croatia.

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