Friday, 26 May 2023

Cost of Croatian Electric Car Charger Use on Roads to Greatly Increase

May the 26th, 2023 - Bad news for those attempting to be more ''green'' as the cost of Croatian electric car charger use on the country's roads is set to significantly increase as of the first day of June 2023.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as of this summer, more specifically from June the 1st until the last day of September, tourists visiting Croatia by road, as well as local drivers of electric cars, will need to pay significantly more for Croatian electric car charger use. As has been announced by ELEN, their prices per kilowatt of energy, with which electric car batteries are charged, are now more than 25 percent more expensive, the Rijeka portal Novi list announced.

At charging stations located along the side of the country's motorways (and it's worth bearing in mind that ELEN owns more than a third of all charging stations for electric cars in the Republic of Croatia) at connections with a nominal power of up to 22.1 kW, which are the slowest of all at the moment, the price is 0.45EUR/kWh. Until now it stood at 0.36EUR/kWh.

On those with a nominal power of 22.2 kW to 50 kW, the amount will shoot up from the current 0.46EUR/kWh to 0.62EUR/kWh. At the end very end of the scale, Croatian electric car charger users at connections with a rated power above 50 kWh will pay 0.86EUR/kWh, as opposed to the off-season 0.66EUR/kWh. The gentlest driving per 100 kilometres consumes about 20 kWh. In other words, if Croatian electric car charger users choose to use the fastest charging stations in the country, 100 kilometres will come at s cost of 17.2 euros as of June 2023.

For comparison, with the consumption of six litres of diesel, which in terms of the dimensions of the vehicle and the driving style, the electric consumption is 20 kWh, for the same amount, it will cover twice as much, about 200 kilometres. In the case of petrol-powered vehicles, it is about 20 percent less, 160 kilometres.

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

Friday, 26 May 2023

A Week in Croatian Politics - Americans, Reforms, Wages and Taxes

May the 26th, 2023 - This week in Croatian politics, we've had visits from American generals and military exercises carried out in Udbina, drama surrounding the amendments to the Law on Constituencies, Plenkovic's reforms have been dragged by those in economic circles and the infamous topic of property tax has once again reared its ugly head.

Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banozic meets with American Armed Forces General Christopher Gerard Cavoli 

Banozic and Cavoli have met before the upcoming NATO summit in July, coming together to discuss Europe's overall security situation and emphasise how joint exercises are an indication of the importance of NATO. Cavoli is not only a United States Army General, but has also served as the commander of United States European Command since the 1st of July 2022 and as Supreme Allied Commander Europe since the 4th of July 2022. Cavoli has been on a two-day working visit to the country as part of some international military exercises in Udbina which are being carried out under the organisation of US commands.

The NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius in July was a hot topic for the pair, and Banozic made sure to thank the US General for all that has been done in terms of support, training and more for the Croatian Army recently. US efforts extended towards the Croatian Armed Forces also include modernisation and joint exercises. He also touched on the friendship and partnership of the USA and Croatia, emphasising the need to continue as we go forward with strong bilateral relations, especially in terms of defense.

"The joint training of allied forces like what is currently taking place here in Croatia is one of the best indicators of NATO's significance, as it simultaneously improves capabilities, develops the interoperability of allied forces and sends out a firm a message of togetherness, cohesion and unity," said Banozic according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense.

That same statement noted that the Republic of Croatia has made many steps forward and put in a lot of effort in terms of continuing to modernise its army, from the procurement of military aircraft to the implementation of all kinds of joint decisions, which is something he assured would continue in the future as well.

"Croatia is currently participating in thirteen different missions, operations and activities. For us, the security and stability of Southeast Europe is extremely important, which is why Croatia will continue to participate in KFOR. It will also continue to support the processes of Euro-Atlantic integration of the countries of Southeastern Europe," Banozic explained.

New Croatian constituencies/electoral units have been presented, and drama has ensued

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has officially presented the amendments to the Law on Constituencies, and people are unhappy about it for more than a few reasons, as is always the case in Croatian politics. There are now 10 constituencies that will elect 14 representatives each, and about 80 percent of voters have remained in their same/original constituencies. The City of Zagreb will now consist of three constituencies instead of four, and this is the most important change, at least according to Plenkovic.

"A minor modification"

Presenting the amendments to the Law on Constituencies, Plenkovic emphasised that this is only a minor modification of the existing map of Croatian constituencies, whereby only 22 percent of voters will see a change to the constituencies they've been until now.

The new law should enter into force on October the 1st, 2023

Amendments to the law in the first parliamentary reading will be sent before the summer break, so that the second reading would take place after the summer break is over, i.e. in the first two weeks of September, and the law would enter into force on October the 1st, since at the end of September, based on the decision of the Constitutional court, the current Law will cease to be valid.

Referring to the decision of the Constitutional Court of February the 7th, 2023, Plenkovic said that changes in the law should ensure the ''equal weighting'' of the vote, that electoral units follow administrative boundaries as much as possible (counties, municipalities, cities) and that there should be no deviations in the number of voters per individual electoral unit to be greater than plus or minus five percent.

"We did want to keep the existing model"

"In the political sense, as a government, we wanted to achieve a situation in which we'd keep the existing model of 10 constituencies in which 14 representatives are elected. So, the Constitutional Court gave us the opportunity to, based on what they said, practically modify the existing system and to achieve equality, the equal treatment of both voters and representatives who are elected to the Croatian Parliament," he said.

78 percent of voters will remain in the same constituencies they've always been in

In order to argue the claim that only minor modifications are being made, Plenkovic stated that as many as 78 percent of voters, or four fifths of the total number, will remain in the constituencies where they are currently and always have been in. He also stated that based on the proposed changes to the layout of the country's constituencies, the largest deviation from the average number of voters per constituency (364,664) will amount to only 2.2 percent in the Xth constituency, and everything else will simply fall within 2.20 percent.

"These are extremely small deviations, which completely put the new ''architecture of constituencies'' into the legal context of what is currently prescribed, which is plus or minus five percent. So, this is the closest to having practically an equal number of voters per constituency, which, of course, is impossible," he said.

Journalists were naturally waiting to pounce with their lists of valid questions, and one of the most pressing of all is just how it could ever be possible that there are so many voters, because apparently there seems to be more voters than Croatian citizens who can vote.

''The register of voters is formed based on the records of residence and registries located in the ministries. It's a register that changes daily. Elections are conducted based on the list of voters,'' was the simple and quite frankly vague answer, especially given the fact that there have been endless attempts to solve the issue of ''fake residences'' being registered across the country.

One might ask if this sort of voter list is at all credible, and HDZ believes it is:

''We believe that the information in it is credible. I don't want to get into the debate about the population census. We took the voter register here, not the population census. The voter register is the basis for the electoral law,'' stated Plenkovic.

The drama surrounding this topic is ongoing, with individuals from Croatian politics in Istria, Petrinja and even the island of Pag complaining about where they've found themselves after this constituency shakeup of sorts. We're sure that this is a debate that will keep on being revisited and picked apart, as is the norm in the world of Croatian politics.

Croatian economist Damir Novotny says that recent reforms aren't actually reforms at all, and that this sort of wage growth will only encourage inflation

Economist Damir Novotny appeared on N1 television where he commented on the tax reform that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Finance Minister Marko Primorac presented to the public recently. According to what the government presented on Wednesday, the lowest wages could increase by 40 euros on average. And what about everyone else?

"It's not about reform, and this was also acknowledged by Primorac, who said that it's about changing tax rates," explained Damir Novotny, before adding the following:

"The tax on labour and capital is an inherited model from social democratic countries or the governments of Scandinavian countries. The Republic of Croatia has an average burden of income from labour and capital, lower than, for example, Scandinavian countries. These changes are small and don't deserve so much public uproar, nor do they deserve the amount of bile being spewed up in discussions. This is making it all enter the sphere of political populism. Wages can't increase as a result of changes in the tax system. This would be possible if we were in Ireland and lowered the burden all the way down to five percent, so everyone pays their own contributions if they want. This is more political marketing folklore without any actual economic substance to it."

"The more wages rise, the more inflation will rise"

Novotny added that with this sort of increase in wages, inflation will also increase, and he also mentioned large sums of money "in the grey zone".

"The more wages rise, the more inflation will rise. The Croatian National Bank (CNB) still sees around 18 billion kuna in circulation, which will be exchanged gradually during the year so as not to be declared as income in the grey zone. That would be a characteristic of left-wing governments, but certainly not of HDZ. This all speaks in favour of the fact that Croatia took over the Scandinavian model from back in the 1970s, but this is no longer done. They said that wages are rising to encourage households to spend more. I see a big problem here. The more households have spare money, the higher inflation will be. The recommendations of the European Commission (EC) were published recently, which tells the Croatian Government - don't subsidise energy anymore, that's the wrong direction to go in," he added.

"This may all just be an attack on Zagreb"

When asked if this is an attack on the biggest cities, Novotny answered:

"Perhaps to the City of Zagreb, yes. They'll end up lacking 200 million or so, that's not a little amount, it will create problems for the city. We'll see if they raise income tax rates. I think Zagreb will suffer the most from this. Split is a region without many high incomes, and it's precsiely in that region that we can see the effects of the grey economy."

Minister Marko Primorac says that it would be good if Croatia did have the (previously) much talked about property tax, but that this government won't be the one to introduce it

Minister Marko Primorac was a recent guest on RTL where he spoke about tax changes, salaries and pensions - all of which are extremely hot topics at this moment in time.

Journalist: You yourself said that this enables local politicians to attract voters and influence people more. What if they decide to make a populist move next year, reduce the income tax, but increase the prices of kindergartens? Who will be responsible for this?

Primorac: Every mayor or candidate for mayor or prefect will have slightly greater opportunities than they've had up to now. Until now, they had the possibility to determine the prices of kindergartens... If we're talking about the taxes of local government units, even so far, local units have had the possibility of determining the rates of individual taxes.

When it comes to taxes for holiday homes, they had the option of setting taxes between 5 and 15 kuna per square metre. In the case of consumption tax, they could introduce it from 0 to 3 percent. And what we've done in this way by merging the surtax with the income tax is make it possible for them to have limited autonomy with the income tax as well as for all other local taxes.

"I don't believe that cities will raise their taxes even though they technically could right now''

Journalist: My wallet can't tell one sort of tax from another. If we end up paying the same for everything - what's the point of it all?

Primorac: They could reduce all local taxes they had, abolish them and increase some other services if they wanted to now. They haven't done so, so I don't believe they'll do it in the future either. We've increased the autonomy of local self-government units, introduced more fiscal decentralisation and have provided yet another additional tool in the toolbox of local leaders who will know what to do with it. The central government retains autonomy in determining the range in order to ensure fiscal stability, but also to influence other policies - redistribution or stabilisation in a certain case if necessary.

"Pensions will grow at the pace they need to grow at"

Journalist: There was no mention of pensions. Why is there even tax on pensions if they're the way they are?

Primorac: If we're talking about the first pension pillar - it was the only way to help those who don't fall in the tax bracket. We could only do what we needed to do by relieving the system of contributions for pension insurance. We'll enable an increase in net wages for those who don't pay income tax. Pensions will then grow at the pace they need to grow at.

We have the indexation of pensions, which is carried out every couple of years according to an established formula related to the increase in consumer prices and average wages. In this way, it will be indexed and determined in the future as well. If there's an opportunity for additional increases, just as we did with the increase in the minimum pension, we'll continue to do so. This intervention that we're making in the pension insurance contribution system only concerns current transfers.

"It would be good if we did have property tax"

Journalist: In a study from back in 2020, you wrote that the abolition of taxes would be disastrous for local self-government units if no substitutions were devised. Is this merely a substitution?

Primorac: It's a substitution so that the autonomy of local self-government units is increased - yes. Therefore, they have the possibility to determine the same rate of tax burden as they had before the change through income tax. What goes to their burden in these changes is the increase in the basic personal deduction, which rises to 560 euros. The more it increases, the less income tax local government units have to collect.

Journalist: In the same study, you talked about property tax? Has the time come for that?

Primorac: Property tax is another tool in the toolbox of local leaders and it would be good if it existed. However, it isn't in the programme of this government. It will certainly not be introduced by the end of the mandate of the current government.


For more on Croatian politics, make sure to keep up with our dedicated section. A dedicated Week in Croatian Politics article is also published every Friday.

Friday, 26 May 2023

KBC Zagreb Becomes Centre for Treating Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy

May the 26th, 2023 - KBC Zagreb (Rebro hospital) is set to become the centre for the treatment of a rare but very severe heart condition which is caused by the accumulation of transthyretin fibrils in the myocardium - Transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy or ATTR-CM.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Clinic for Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels at KBC Zagreb has now become the central place for the treatment of the aforementioned rare heart disease which is a cause of very restrictive cardiomyopathy. It is an unfortunately insufficiently studied disease that is still rarely diagnosed, which is why it is crucial to familiarise the general public, as well as healthcare professionals, with a disease in which late detection is one of the most common causes of very poor outcomes and commonly - death.

"Most people don't even know that they're living with this progressive, life-threatening disease. The average survival rates for untreated, late-detected symptomatic patients is 2.5 to 5 years from the diagnosis of the disease. For this reason, it's extremely important to start on time with appropriate treatment that enables better outcomes for patients. This contributes to the reduction of mortality, stops the progression of the disease, reduces the number of hospitalisations and improves the quality of peoples lives,'' explained Dr. Ivo Planinc, a specialist in cardiology at the Clinic for Diseases of the Heart and Blood Vessels at KBC Zagreb.

Just as the case has been until now, this disease can be diagnosed in all clinical hospital centres in Croatia - in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek. It's estimated that more than 100 people in the Republic of Croatia live with this rare heart disease, and those with the hereditary, rarer type of the disease most often come from Imotski and its surroundings, which makes this geographical area endemic for this particular disease of the heart.

ATTR-CM is a progressive disease caused by the misfolding of a protein called transthyretin, which is synthesised in the liver, causing the formation of harmful amyloid fibers. They are then deposited in the heart muscle, leading to damage and eventual heart failure. The misfolded protein can accumulate in the heart in the form of amyloid fibers, which stiffen the heart muscle and ultimately causes the heart to fail. There are two types of disease - hereditary, that is, genetically caused, and non-hereditary, the so-called wild or senile type of the disease.

Hereditary ATTR-CM can occur in a person's 30s or 40s, and the non-hereditary form (wtATTR-CM), which is associated with aging, is much more common and mainly affects men over 60 years of age, and is manifested by symptoms of failure heart and heart rhythm disorders. Even years before the diagnosis of the disease, many sufferers will complain of numbness and weakness in the hands and arms, rapid fatigue, swelling of the legs and lack of air during exertion and lying down. The hereditary form (vATTR-CM) affects both sexes equally and is usually diagnosed when an individual is in their 40s, although symptoms of damage to the heart and nervous system may have begun many decades earlier. Close family members (parents, siblings, and children) of the person diagnosed sadly have a 50 percent chance of having the responsible gene mutation and going on to develop the disease themselves.

Life with this rare, progressive and life-threatening disease is characterised by numerous symptoms that overlap with the symptoms of various other diseases, such as rapid fatigue, an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, as well as symptoms of the involvement of numerous other organs and systems in the body, such as numbness of the hands and arms, pain or stiffness in the lower back and legs, gastrointestinal problems, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, and other symptoms which may seem vague, unrelated or nothing of concern at first. Symptoms such as dizziness or fainting when getting up from a lying or sitting position, the inability to hold urine or the spontaneous rupture of the tendon of the biceps muscle in the arms may also occur. If people aren't treated in a timely manner, these symptoms progress and significantly affect the quality of life, and patient outcomes are very, very poor.

For more, check out our dedicated news section.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Are Croatian Prices Going to Keep Rising? Cheap Food Could be History

May the 25th, 2023 - With inflation still very much a threat to our bank accounts and back pockets, are Croatian prices going to just keep on rising? It seems that the period of cheap food might well be one we don't end up ever returning to.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic and the current energy crisis, as well as numerous natural disasters caused by climate change, have led to a drastic increase in Croatian prices for food over more recent years, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has only pushed it further. The big question is whether food will ever become cheap again, and this topic was discussed at the Green Plan in Croatian Agriculture conference, which was recently held in Zagreb.

The European Union (EU) has provided an enormous 264 billion euros to European farmers, and with various other national funds, this amount will be increased to 307 billion euros in total. How will this all actually reflect on customers who are tired of paying constantly increasing Croatian prices, however?

Marija Vuckovic, Croatia's Minister of Agriculture, confirmed that this country has now almost completely implemented the EU Green Plan in its national regulations, and now their application in practice, among the farmers themselves, is underway. She added that in the wake of numerous ecological European requirements, several additional models of agricultural incentives were introduced through the so-called Environmental schemes that will be generous, but also stricter in terms of achieving any desired goals.

"This regards the sum of 468 million euros payable through the Environmental Schemes over a period of five years, and it's been made clear that these are large funds. So far, we have supported 300 projects for energy projects of renewable energy sources in the field of agriculture, and for the next period, we've foreseen 30 million euros for future projects in agriculture and nutrition,'' said Vuckovic, adding that all other green transition projects within the scope of agriculture are being considered, for which a total of 223 million euros is planned.

Ultimately, the strategic project is the generational renewal of domestic agriculture through the inclusion of young people in this sector because, as the minister pointed out, agriculture will not be sustainable in the long term without the engagement of that demographic. She warned that the policies related to the green transition are all connected because without investments there can be no profitable production, and without that, there can be no sustainable regional development with functional rural communities. In the end, all this will be maintained on biodiversity, but also on the Croatian prices for food themselves.

"Will Croatian prices rise? Many believe that they will. Are the days of cheap food behind us? Well, we can only look at this in the short term, and we can predict for the future to some extent. It's reasonable to expect that floods, or sometimes droughts, will affect the supply and thus the price of food. When we look at the longer term, will the EU Green Plan lead to an increase in prices? This must also be viewed much more broadly. It's a fact that enormous amounts of food are wasted across Europe, and I'm convinced that an economic calculation must be sought precisely in better food management," said Minister Vuckovic. According to European Union statistics, the average household in the EU throws away an astounding 600 euros worth of food per year, while in Croatia it's at the level of 200 to 300 euros.

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

Thursday, 25 May 2023

How Many Large Zagreb Projects Are Currently in the Works?

May the 25th, 2023 - Remember the so-called ''Mini Manhattan'' project that many people in Zagreb were once talking about? Well, while it isn't as much in the media as it once was, it hasn't been shelved. There are several other large Zagreb projects also in the works.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after sitting more or less forgotten about in a (probably) dusty drawer for years, the Paromlin city library project has now finally been revived. The City of Zagreb has started purchasing real estate and land adjacent to where the future complex will be. With this new ambitious project, a completely new block will be formed that will change the vision of the City of Zagreb as we've come to know it. This is exactly what Mayor Tomislav Tomasevic marked out as the main project in his mandate, as reported by HRT.

Collapsed walls, collapsed floors and burnt beams that passers-by saw every day are finally set to enter the history books after being an eyesore for around 35 years. For the ambitious plan to build a new social and cultural centre of Zagreb, the city plans to announce a tender for public procurement as early as June, and construction work will begin at the end of the year.

"It's a matter of reconstruction, extension, i.e. a replica of the wing that fell and a modern glass extension in the rest of this space," said Luka Korlaet, Zagreb's deputy mayor.

The current plan is to purchase the surrounding land and buildings in order to make the future library representative. However, no one has called the fifteen tenants in the nearby Koturaska Street to discuss it and ask questions.

''They came here sixty years ago and told us not to buy wood because they'd have to demolish any construction we put up in the spring, and that's what every new government says and has been saying since then - we'll have to demolish it all, but we're all still here," said Marijan Lokmic, a local resident.

The plan is allocate a massive 80 million euros for the 30,000 square metres of the new facility, half of which will be coming from European Union (EU) funds. The city plans to secure part of the money for the purchase of private plots with the new budget revision. Negotiations are underway, they say, and are only intensifying.

''This process isn't going to be a smooth one. The city can purchase the land at the price estimated by the court expert and what is confirmed by the appraisal commission, so there's no negotiation, no haggling. I hope that there will be understanding because these prices are realistic and the City of Zagreb has good intentions, this is all about the common good, the public good. We want to complete the City of Zagreb, we want to arrange all this and create a more modern Zagreb,'' said Luka Korlaet when referencing upcoming Zagreb projects.

The city administration hopes for a future modern library, an underground garage, halls, and even a brand new square. The last big project, the Zagreb (Sljeme) cable car, divided the people of Zagreb due to the large amount of work which needed to be carried out, and also the issue of it being considered ''Milan Bandic's legacy'' never faded away. The profession believes that there should be a consensus for large and expensive Zagreb projects, and fortunately, the future Paromlin library has it.

"This is a step forward that Croatia must start working on in all areas, including here in Zagreb. We have to direct ourselves towards large Zagreb projects that have significantly greater financial requirements and come out of one four-year mandate. Without such projects, there's going to be no progress for us as a society," said Tihomil Matkovic, president of the Society of Architects Zagreb.

Paromlin is only the beginning of the revitalisation of the city centre south of the railway line, and the next step, they say from the city administration, will be the opening of the Gredelj project, for which studies are already being carried out and discussions are being prepared with Croatian Railways and various European banks.

For more, check out our news section.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

It's a Bug's Life - Brand New Cakovec Insect Hotel Opens Doors!

May the 25th, 2023 - A brand new hotel has recently opened in continental Croatia, but this new addition to the Cakovec hotel scene isn't exactly what you might expect. Meet the Cakovec insect hotel, which is now ready to serve its winged and multi-legged guests.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of nature protection week, another Cakovec hotel has come to be. Neither tourists nor tourism workers seeking to fatten up their wallets stand to benefit from it, but nature will. This new hotel is intended for insects and was built together by the students of the School of Economics and the employees of the county public institution 'Medjimurska priroda/Medjimurje nature'. An HRT team followed the construction of the Cakovec insect hotel and found out just why those tiny flying creatures who like to come into our homes and somehow not manage to get back out are being given the five-star treatment.

Antonio Kruselj, a man employed to take care of the local nature, was the first to get to work. Planks, saws, a drill, a stapler and a hotel where solitary bees, ladybugs and other tiny winged creatures will come and stay, was half finished by that point.

"It's bese extremely important," said Bina.

"Considering that we also have occupations that can be connected to nature protection and sustainability, such as florists, agricultural technicians, businessmen, this fits nicely into our programme," said Lea Sprajc, a professor at the local Cakovec Business School.

The new Cakovec insect hotel is still waiting for its new residents in the park near the School of Economics.

"We like to choose such urbanised areas where we humans have reduced biodiversity through our influence, and as such unfortunately reduced their habitats," said Ivana Horvat from the Public Institution for Nature Protection 'Medjimurska priroda'.

"Most children are afraid of insects, some people know that they're useful, but unfortunately they don't do anything about it," said Katja from the 3rd grade, who is currently majoring in floristry.

Maybe people will now finally understand precisely how important insects are for the environment and as such for us all, because incentives can now be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture for the installation of such habitats for insects in orchards.

We'd like to wish all insects who find themselves staying at the new Cakovec insect hotel a very nice time!

For more, check out our news section.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Croatian Atlantic Group Has Offer for Strauss Adriatic Accepted

May the 25th, 2023 - The Croatian Atlantic Group (Grupa), headed by Emil Tedeschi, is returning to making acquisitions with an offer for Strauss Adriatic, which has since been accepted.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, following several years of disinvestment and so-called non-strategic business operations, the well known Croatian Atlantic Group is returning to acquisitions.

Over more recent days, the company announced that they had submitted a binding offer for the purchase of the Strauss Adriatic company, which is located in neighbouring Serbia, and which the Strauss Group has since officially accepted.

The conclusion of the transaction, which for the Croatian Atlantic Group means strengthening the competitiveness of the regional coffee industry and local brands, remains subject to the prior approval of the Serbian Commission for the Protection of Competition.

The binding offer is based, according to the Atlantic Group "on the total value of the transaction (enterprise value) of 40.5 million euros, without debt and cash, and assuming the regular level of normalised net working capital on the day of the conclusion of the transaction".

Strauss is known for its strong coffee brands on the Serbian market - Doncafe and C coffee. By closing this acquisition, they should join regional leaders such as Grand coffee and Barcaffe, which are already part of the Croatian Atlantic Group's widening and enviable portfolio and are known here on the Croatian market.

The development of the Croatian Atlantic Group's key product categories, organically and through acquisitions of other strong brands, are the basis of the company's development strategy.

The company's main man, businessman Emil Tedeschi, recently said that the Atlantic Group "is in a strong acquisition mode, ready for something that can be called a transfer acquisition - but for that, it takes two to tango”.

For more on Croatian businesses, innovation and entrepreneurs, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

INA Plans Zitnjak Solar Power Plant Following Ministry Approval

May the 25th, 2023 - INA is now officially planning the Zitnjak solar power plant after having gotten the green light from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development for its construction. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, last year, Croatia's well known national oil company INA began the construction of two new solar power plants, which will produce electricity to supply to the public distribution network. On top of that, it's also investing in the construction of solar power plants for its own needs.

As touched on above, INA has just received approval from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development for it to launch such an investment in the Zagreb area without the need to prepare an environmental impact study, something that is usually required when it comes to such investments.

To speak more specifically, the location of the new Zitnjak solar power plant would be at Ina Maziva. Now approval has been granted, the plans are for the construction of a power plant in which 1270 photovoltaic modules will be installed, and it will produce half a megawatt of electricity, which is enough for all of the current needs of Ina Maziva.

The location of the upcoming Zitnjak power plant and substation is planned in an area where there is currently a grassy area which spans about 28,000 square metres in total, where there are plants for the production and filling of packaging with motor oil, glass cleaners and other liquids, as well as the required office space.

As it is already an industrial zone, the assessment of the competent ministry is that there are will be no negative effects on the surrounding environment. The value of this investment by INA hasn't yet been publicly disclosed, since a public tender is still to follow, on which the start of the investment will entirely depend.

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

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Diaspora Ties Strengthen as Croatian Culture Week Proclaimed in Los Angeles

May the 24th, 2023 - On Friday, May the 19th, 2023, the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County declared the first Croatian Culture Week in Los Angeles, in anticipation of the Croatian Statehood Day on May the 30th.

During this week, a series of events will be held, including the Croatian Heritage Night at the LAFC hosted by the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). LAFC will host Croatian Heritage Night when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Stadium on Saturday night. Following the match, there will also be a special meet-and-greet session with two notable figures associated with Croatia: LAFAC forward Stipe Biuk, who moved to the club from Hajduk Split, and assistant coach Ante Razov, a first-generation Croatian-American.

LA Croatian Culture Week 8

History Lecture by Fulbright Scholar Dr. Tomislav Matic titled “Four Centuries of Croats in America - Explorers, Adventurers and Visionaries” will be held on Wednesday. One of the key events during the week is the Croatian Wine Tasting & Dinner including music by Roko Blažević, who represented Croatia at the Eurovision song contest, scheduled for Thursday evening. There will be also Croatian Karaoke on Friday, as well as the first annual Southern California Croatian Bocce Tournament and Kids’ Soccer Games on Saturday.

LA Croatian Culture Week 11

LA Croatian Culture Week 2

LA Croatian Culture Week 12

At the official announcement of the Croatian Cultural Week in the Los Angeles City Council, City Councilman Tim McOsker presented the Proclamation of the Croatian Cultural Week to the Consul General of Croatia in Los Angeles, Renee Pea. This event was attended by members of the Croatian community of Los Angeles, presidents of Croatian associations and societies, as well as don Ivan Jordan, pastor of the Croatian parish of St. Ante in Los Angeles and don Ivan Gerovac, priest in the church of St. Mary of the Sea in San Pedro, and members of the Organizing Committee of the Croatian Cultural Week, including Jack Barić, the Committee's chairman.

In his speech, Councilor McOsker emphasized the importance of the Croatian community in Los Angeles, especially in its suburb of San Pedro, where they had a great influence on the development of the port and the fishing and processing industry, noting: "Croatian culture is deeply rooted in the history of the port area of Los Angeles. Although we gather every four years to celebrate and cheer on their amazing soccer team during the World Cup, it is the weekly and monthly gatherings that make their impact so strong in our community. San Pedro is home to one of the largest populations of Croatian immigrants in the United States with 35,000 residents." In her speech, the Consul General emphasized the role played by our Croatian community in Los Angeles, which is successful and well integrated, but they still cherish and preserve the Croatian language and culture, customs and traditions, for which she thanked them. She pointed out that June 9, 2023 will be the 30th anniversary since Los Angeles became Split's Sister City. After the speeches, a Croatian singer artist Rebecca Posavec sang two Croatian songs.

On the same day, at a Fish luncheon at the Dalmatian Club in San Pedro, Janice Hahn, Chair of the LA County Board of Supervisors, which represents 10 million people, presented Consul General Pea with the Los Angeles County Commendation declaring Croatian Cultural Week, saying: "I am proud to represent one of the largest Croatian-American communities in the country. Croatian immigrants helped shape San Pedro as we know and love it today". A charter was also presented to the Consul General by Steven Bradford, Senator of the State of California 35 District, as well as Mike Gipson, Assemblyman of California’s 65 District.

This week will culminate on Sunday, May 28, with the Croatian Independence Street Party in San Pedro, which will take place at 22nd Street Park, located at 140 W. 22nd St. starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be an energetic atmosphere filled with music, dance, and an array of Croatian cultural performances.

LA Croatian Culture Week 6

LA Croatian Culture Week 10

LA Croatian Culture Week 9

Photos credit: LA Vatreni


For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

ZAGART, a New Quarterly Cultural Magazine for Zagreb

May 24, 2023 – With technology taking tourism in one direction, a refreshing addition to the Zagreb cultural scene – meet the new quarterly ZAGART magazine.

Not a day goes by without the arrival of some new technology and innovation in tourism, as with every other aspect of life these days. With less people reading and more addicted to their phones and apps, it seems that aspects of the life we knew are slowly eroding.


And while Zagreb is a very modern city embracing new ways, one of the things I love about living here is its celebration of tradition, culture and art, things which are becoming more prominent as the Croatian capital establishes itself as a fascinating and diverse tourist destination in its own right.

It is a city which once was not known for tourism, but today very much is. The stunning success of Advent in Zagreb, which went from nothing to European champion three years in a row is a case in point, but there is another aspect of Zagreb tourism which is becoming increasingly visible in recent years – art and culture.


I can't recall living in a place which had so many vibrant events in every nook and cranny of the city. Street festivals, concerts in squares, courtyards and parks – the whole city seems like a stage. Or multiple stages, and the chance to bump into a cultural gathering around the corner is commonplace in Zagreb these days.

Art, graffiti, cinema, street performers – it is all happening, and Zagreb has definitely developed a vibe of urban cool. Festivals such as Zagreb Festival of Lights, Zagreb Classic, Ilica Q'ART, Artupunkututa, Cest is d Best and others too numerous too mention have brought a cultural diversity to the city's tourism offer which did not previously exist. There is so much going on, in fact, that it is pretty hard to keep up with the vibrant cultural scene of this very underrated destination.


Until now.

Working with the team from Zagreb for You, the Zagreb Tourist Board have produced an old-fashioned quarterly magazine called ZAGART, which showcases the full cultural scene for that quarter, as well as containing numerous feature articles by cultural experts on what is happening in the city.


The first edition, Spring 2023, for example, has among its focus Animefest in June, the iconic Kordunska 1 Kinoteka cinema, a look at the new cool Zagreb through the eyes of Vecernji List's Cultural Editor, the art hub of Novi Zagreb, the move of Q'ART from Ilica to other neighbourhoods, and the Subversive Festival.

In other words, a superb overview and introduction to the cultural cool of Zagreb, and a good barometer of the liveliness of the cultural scene of the city.


The Zagreb Tourist Board has been focusing in recent years on increasing the visibility of art and culture in the city, making it an essential reason to visit. CEO Martina Bienenfeld had this to say about the launch of ZAGART:

Zagreb is the leader of cultural tourism in Croatia, therefore we wanted to create ZAGART as a quarterly magazine which serves as a platform to emphasise and raise awareness about diverse cultural events, including concerts, festivals, exhibitions and performances. Featuring various artists, musicians, writers and performers, ZAGART is a comprehensive source of information about upcoming cultural events in Zagreb. It helps individuals stay informed about a wide range of events and it enhances the overall visitor experience, while promoting the cultural tourism offer in the Croatian capital.


You can learn more about ZAGART on the Zagreb For You Facebook page – and you can find your free copy at the following locations:

Visitor Centres

Cultural Centres (NZG, Peščenica, Trešnjevka..)

Clubs (Tvornica, Medika, Vintage, Sax...)

Selected libraries/reading rooms and cultural gathering places (KIC, Botaničar,...), kazališta (ZKM, Gavella,..), Lisinski,...

Festivals and events

All major hotels, hostels, museums, cafes

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