Wednesday, 25 January 2023

The Ups and Downs of Life in Croatia - Comparison is the Thief of Joy

January the 25th, 2023 - When it comes to life in Croatia, especially for a foreigner, there are many ups and downs that you won't be remotely acquainted with. The special little quirks of life in Croatia (be they good or bad) are the spice of life. Sometimes those spices are invigorating, and other times they just give you diarrhoea.

One trap you will naturally end up falling into, whether you express it or not, is comparing Croatia to your home country. This is something that is absolutely unavoidable and we all do it. Anyone who tells you that they don’t do it is lying. Perhaps they don’t do it anymore, but they are certainly guilty of having done it in the past. It’s completely natural to compare, no matter how often some ‘woke’ yoga instructing faith healer has told you not to on Instagram. No offence to yoga instructing faith healers at all, but you know the type of person I’m referring to, and it’s time we stop trying to pretend human nature can be controlled, because to some extent - it can’t. Comparing things to other things is part of perfectly normal human cognition, and while it isn’t always helpful, there’s little you can do to stop it. The key is to not let it affect you, and for that you need time.

Croatia shocks in many subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways. If you’re not used to a country so bizarrely obsessed with paperwork, documents, copies of documents and flashes of ID cards at every semi-official turn, this will more than likely be your first surprise. Many (but not all) countries have moved on from this, and Croatia is also progressing and has been since the coronavirus pandemic forced it to. There are now many more things available to obtain from the comfort of your own home and online, but it would be a lie to say that the country isn’t still clinging on to queues, clerks and pieces of paper. 

While you might find what should be a very simple task to be an arduous, laborious venture full of unhelpful government officials and clerks, you’re also just as likely to find what should be an arduous, laborious venture easy and with a lot of help along the way. Croatia is as much of a country of balance as it is paradoxes. I can’t count how many situations I’ve had that should have been easy turn into ridiculous wild goose chases, and in the same breath, I also can’t count the amount of difficult problems I’ve had made so much more simple. Life in Croatia is a balancing act of sorts, to say the least.

Here’s a funny example for you; I once had to get a certain tax document. I went to the main tax office in Zagreb and a large, burly security guard told me that they don’t do that here. I insisted on speaking to the woman sitting behind the glass like some sort of museum piece for a second opinion. She, annoyed at me having disturbed her game of Angry Birds (and in fairness she was on a high level), confirmed what the aforementioned large, burly security guard had said. I eventually got the document I needed, although nobody from two institutions who should know, the tax office and the finance ministry, seemed to know who was supposed to give it to me (or even what it was). An argument even broke out between three women in one room at another tax office who couldn’t agree on what the document was and who was supposed to provide this document while I just stood there twiddling my thumbs. Explaining everything in Croatian had zero effect.

You’d think the tax office might be able to give you a pretty run of the mill tax document. More fool me, I suppose.

A few weeks later, I had to go to MUP for something which needed quite the explanation, and I had mentally prepared myself for the waiting, the random children running around in circles in an attempt to cure their terminal case of boredom, the clerks getting irritated at people for forgetting documents and the vending machine which, quite like the infamous McDonald’s ice cream machine, appears eternally out of order. 

I entered the building, bypassing the policeman by the door who is paid to stand and do, well, not a lot, taking a number and sitting down. One random circle-running child appeared from behind a pair of jean-clad legs, but I wasn’t made dizzy watching them spin around and around in their boredom for long. Up came my number, I handed over what I had, I was given what I needed, and the clerk barely even looked at me, let alone spoke. I was in and out in ten minutes. No questions (even the ones which should have been) were asked.

I have several such stories. For every bad one, I have a good one. Sometimes two.

I could have let myself get hung up on the whole tax document ordeal and compared it to the UK, where, honestly, not only would you never need to get such a document, but I’m not sure it even exists there. I would be lying if I said that in the throes of my frustration at the time, I didn’t think about how utterly ridiculous this entire quest was, how it was taking up my whole day, how incompetent every person I’d spoken to was, and how this would never happen in Eng… and then I stopped myself. No, that wouldn’t happen, but something else equally as absurd likely could and would.

The administrative bodies in Croatia, even in Zagreb, need a lot of work. Nobody can deny that. There is far too much paperwork, far too many things which require you to show up in person and take time out of your day to do so, and honestly, far, far too many people employed to do next to nothing but enjoy weird little power trips. Think of it like the meme about how many meetings could just be emails, that’s Croatian administrative bodies down to a tee.

For as much as expats complain about how such and such is not like that in their country in a negative sense, there is also such and such which is not like that in their country in a positive sense. Sure, you might be asked to obtain a tax document which not only does the tax office not produce, but apparently nobody has ever heard of. But you might also be pleasantly surprised by a MUP clerk who just wants to get home and who asks you nothing and couldn’t care less about the rules even when you’ve come armed with papers (and copies of said papers) and detailed explanations.

It takes time, a hefty dose of patience and a long exposure to the realities of life in Croatia before you can truly reach Nirvana, which is where you simply accept it for what it is, you pick your battles, and you realise that two realities can co-exist and don’t need to be compared to each other. Dealing with incompetent clerks and difficult-to-navigate rules is a headache wherever you might find yourself, but when you’re enjoying an ice cold cheap beer, looking over the glorious Adriatic to the rugged mountains and watching what Alfred Hitchcock once described as the most beautiful sunset in the entire world, it all seems worth it.

We all live our lives in a kind of process. Things are peeled away gradually, and different ‘levels’ are reached along the way. What we found difficult ten years ago, we likely don’t now. What we spend our time worrying over now, we likely won’t even remember in five years. Getting to know a new country also forces you to get to know yourself. It opens up and exposes parts of you that no other experience could, and forces you to give yourself a long, hard look in the mirror. You might find that you actually don’t particularly like yourself, and while that is a jarring experience, it will open the door to transformations. Nothing builds character like being forced out of your comfort zone, and nothing makes you more self aware than being plunged into unknowns.

Croatia is an onion. It has many layers, some parts of it might appear rotten, and other parts are white and pure. It has taught me many, many things, and while it has well and truly put my pre-Croatia definition of stress to shame, it has also taught me what true appreciation really is. It has taught me that comparison, despite being an unavoidable part of being human, doesn’t have to be given a voice that influences anything, and while there are many things in this country which absolutely do need to be changed, I wouldn’t change that part.

Comparison is definitely the thief of joy, as Theodore Roosevelt once rightly said, but only if you allow it to rob you.

For more on life in Croatia, from tips and tricks about renting a car and using the ferry services to opening a bank account and obtaining citizenship or residence, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section. Our How to Croatia series is published every Wednesday.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

CNN Showers Croatian Coast With (Well Deserved) Praise Once Again

January the 24th, 2023 - CNN is no stranger to Croatia or showering it with praise on a regular basis. This time, CNN has turn the spotlight onto parts of the Croatian coast which are not the gorgeous but rather predictable Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatian areas.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, despite the fact that the City of Dubrovnik and other parts of the extreme south of Dalmatia get more attention than the north of the Adriatic does, it is precisely up noth that you can find some of the most beautiful regions in all of Croatia. The Istrian peninsula, the Kvarner coastline and the surrounding islands reveal a different side of endlessly rich Croatian culture and history.

These parts of the Croatian coast offer visitors so much history - traces left behind by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Venetian and Austro-Hungarian Empires, and Italy. All of them influenced the architecture, language and gastronomy of this part of the Croatian coast, as reported by CNN.

Truffles, olive oil, wonderful juicy clams and mussels in Istria, lobsters in Kvarner, lamb from the island of Cres which is full of flavour... All of these delights pair fantastically with Istrian wine, as well as wine from the island of Krk.

If you aren't planning to explore ancient Roman ruins, Venetian villages or Habsburg cities, you can enjoy hundreds of parts of the long Istrian coast, the Opatija Riviera or Kvarner. After that, you can visit the islands of Krk, Cres, Losinj and Rab by ferry, CNN recommends to its loyal readers.

Istria

Tourists who visit the heart-shaped coast of the Istrian peninsula might wonder if they accidentally wandered into neighbouring Italy. Throughout its long history, Istria was part of the Roman, Venetian and Habsburg empires, and their legacy is visible absolutely everywhere.

In Pula, visitors can admire one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the entire world, and on the west coast sits the impossibly beautiful Rovinj. If you move away from the coastline, you'll find medieval villages, vineyards and forests full of hidden truffles. Above the vineyards rises the medieval town of Motovun, from where you can quickly reach Groznjan, where tourists can visit many open-air summer concerts. One of the most attractive ways to explore Istria is by hiking or cycling in Parenzana.

Opatija

When the Habsburgs discovered the mild climate of Opatija back during the 19th century, they turned that previously small fishing village into the cradle of Croatian tourism. Pastel Belle Epoque-style houses were soon built, and many of them became large hotels.

This elegant town can be seen from Angiolina Park, where the Croatian Museum of Tourism is located today. A walk along Lungomare - a promenade over eight kilometres long, is a great pleasure.

Rijeka

The largest Croatian port is not only a point for ferries to reach the surrounding islands. This cosmopolitan city – the European Capital of Culture back in 2020 – is worth a more honest visit. Korzo is the main part of the city, intended only for pedestrians, where you can walk past the Habsburg houses and drink coffee on one of the cafe's terraces.

If you want to travel even further back into history, climb the 528 steps to Trsat, a fortress from the 13th century with a view over the entire city and islands.

Krk

Along with the island of Cres, Krk is the largest Croatian island, connected to the mainland by a long bridge. Many tourists visit Baska in the south of the island, but Krk is full of beaches. The village of Vrbnik is a place where you can taste Zlahtina, white wine from Krk.

The City of Krk, which is also the largest settlement on the island, reveals the complex history of the region with its old town, which is home to a medieval fortress, a Roman monastery and Venetian houses with narrow alleys winding through it all. Look for the paths that can lead you to some hidden beaches.

Cres

The long and thin island of Cres winds around the western coast of Krk. It is a relatively untouched part of the Adriatic where sheep roam freely through the pastures. Here you can taste one of the most delicious cuts of lamb in all of Croatia. There are only a handful of settlements on Cres, including the small Venetian town of Cres or the much smaller Roman town of Osor.

This is a sleepy place, full of quiet pebbly coves, a small lake and, surprisingly, a vulture reserve. When you get tired of relaxing on the beaches in Valun or Lubenice, you can explore the almost 80 kilometres of hiking trails that will allow you to discover the wilderness of the interior of the island, as well as the enchanting beauty of the coast.

Losinj

Connected to the southwestern part of Cres by a suspension bridge, Losinj may not be that easy to get to, but it's definitely worth going. Full of wild plants, Losinj is a soothing and fragrant place, which you will discover by walking along the paths hidden among the pine trees.

Rab

The second royal dynasty made the island of Rab famous. Back in 1936, the unsuspecting British King Edward VIII and his lover at the time, and later wife Wallis Simpson, bathed naked in the waters of the Frknja peninsula and thus started a tradition of nudist beaches that has never disappeared.

There are at least twenty sandy beaches on this small island - which is quite a lot when you consider that you're in a country dominated by rocky and pebble bays. You can go hiking in Lopar and right there you will find some of the most beautiful beaches of all. It isn't only the crystal clear waters of Rab that delight blue-blooded tourists. The beautiful and fantastically preserved medieval architecture of the city of Rab is equally enchanting.

For more international coverage of the glorious and rich Croatian coast, make sure to check out our news section.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

VeeMee: Largest Web Platform for Croatian Food Sales Coming Soon

January the 24th, 2023 - Despite being founded half a decade ago, the newly updated VeeMee platform is coming soon, and it aims to be the largest web platform for the sale of Croatian food yet.

As Josipa Ban/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the VeeMee platform, founded five years ago with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of domestic agricultural production, should be upgraded by the end of this year and thus become the largest market place, or online store of food produced in all of Croatia. This was announced by Marko Kozjak, the co-founder and director of VeeMee.

VeeMee has brought together more than thousands of Croatian food and agricultural producers, as well as some from Greece and Spain, and by the end of this year, Kozjak pointed out, all of them should have a unique online place to sell their products. The director of VeeMee explained that his main motive for starting the platform, which should be the largest in Croatia when it is launched, is the chaos that currently reigns strong in the online sale of local food.

"Just as an example, if someone wants to buy kale from a Croatian producer today, it can get extremely complicated for them. When they enter kale in the search engine, they'll get thousands of pieces of information about kale, but it will be difficult to find the actual producer, that is, the person from Croatia selling it.

VeeMee was conceived as a Google of sorts, but designed for people shopping for local food. When a consumer enters, again let's say kale, into our search engine, they will be able to select a region and get an overview of kale producers from that area, so they'll be able to buy their desired food easily and directly online.

Therefore, VeeMee's goal is to centralise the web shop, to unite manufacturers in one single place, because now they're scattered around and so often invisible to consumers," explained Kozjak. Currently, he stated, they're working on upgrading the VeeMee platform, on payment solutions and organising logistics.

"We want to enable more logistics options. We want to offer a solution to the route and cost of delivery to the small producers, and to the large ones the establishment of a central warehouse through which their sales would go," he said.

In addition to all of the above, for existing users who have a producer identity (PID) on the VeeMee platform, web sales would be a bonus as the price of the packages they currently pay for wouldn't increase, revealed Kozjak, adding that by launching a digital market place, their goal is to attract new, small producers who are want to carry out more web sales.

The additional competitiveness of the VeeMee platform is precisely the price, because the premium package paid by producers on the VeeMee platform is currently 300 euros per year, and when the market place, i.e. online sales, comes to life, the price will remain the same. VeeMee's solution should also increase internet sales achieved by Croatian agricultural products, which are currently very low, and which even the state platform Trznica.hr/Market.hr, launched back during the coronavirus pandemic, failed to increase.

''By setting up the VeeMee web shop, peoples' orders will arrive via SMS, WhatsApp or email, and the manufacturer will then have to confirm it,'' explained the co-founder of VeeMee, who, together with his former partner Nikola Vid, launched the first neutral identification of origin (PID) and thus made it possible (through a QR code) for customers to digitally check the product and manufacturer, i.e. where the products are coming from and what path the food they're planning consume has taken to arrive to them.

More than 25 thousand tonnes of food is ''sitting'' behind that QR code, which allows customers to easily check their food's origin and traceability. It is precisely this concept that gives them a sense of security because they know where their food originates and what path it has taken before arriving at their doorstep. The manufacturers, through marketing campaigns run by VeeMee, get to enjoy more visibility, and suppliers get a verified manufacturer and traceability of their goods.

"Last year, our visibility on social media increased by 36 percent to 700,000 people," Kozjak pointed out. In addition, he added, their entire concept contributes to socially useful goals, such as reducing the amount of wasted food and greenhouse gas emissions.

"With smart logistics, we save more than a thousand tonnes of food annually from being discarded, and we reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by that much," said Kozjak, emphasising that they're focused on the end result in everything they do, and the same will be true with the VeeMee web shop.

The company, whose primary goal is complete data transparency when it comes to domestic agricultural production, food traceability and increased production, finances all of its new projects from its own income.

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

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Valdis Dombrovskis: Croatian Eurozone Entry Happened at Right Time

January the 24th, 2023 - Despite ongoing inflationary pressures, Valdis Dombrovskis, a Latvian politician who has served as the European Commissioner for Trade since 2020, has said Croatian Eurozone entry has occurred at the right time.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the annual inflation rate in the Republic of Croatia more than likely peaked back in December 2022 and could continue to fall due to lower food and energy prices, Croatian National Bank (CNB) Governor Boris Vujcic said on Monday.

"Here in Croatia, the inflation trend is very similar to that in the rest of the Eurozone, but it is higher, which is in line with Eastern European countries where GDP per capita is lower, so food and energy prices have a greater effect on people," Vujcic told reporters at a seminar ahead of a government and CNB conference called ''Croatia – The 20th member state of the Eurozone".

When epeaking about Croatian Eurozone entry, Vujcic said that "we should wait for official data, but we should also realise that the prices of energy and food in the first two weeks of January are lower than before on an annual basis,'' however, he did make sure to note that the CNB doesn't actually monitor the prices of (utility) services for small businesses.

When asked whether, now that inflation is slowing down, the European Central Bank (ECB) will continue to raise interest rates with the same intensity, from 50 basis points, Vujcic said that he wouldn't like to speculate on it.

"Warmer weather than usual across Europe this winter has reduced the risk of recession in the European Union and here in the Eurozone, two months ago the main risk was possible reductions in energy sources. Now it's certain that we aren't going to have a recession, although there may be some issues which are shallow and short-lived in some countries,'' stated the governor, noting that in a calmer environment it is easier to raise interest rates.

"Although the headline inflation rate has fallen, core inflation across the Eurozone has risen. Current forecasts call for a further increase in interest rates," he said. Valdis Dombrovskis also pointed out that Croatian Eurozone entry happened at the right time regardless of inflation.

He explained that the economic benefits of Croatian Eurozone entry enable the country to borrow more cheaply, it brings about price transparency, which is especially important in tourist-oriented countries like Croatia. With the kuna tied to the euro, monetary policy in Croatia followed the monetary policy of the ECB, he believes, but did not benefit from formal membership in the Eurozone back when the kuna was legal tender.

"Because of high inflation, things are a bit more difficult at this moment in time, but the government is working on measures to suppress those issues. From a historical perspective, inflation was low when Latvia joined the Eurozone, and even then the opposition was against it precisely because of low inflation. I think Croatia's timing was good regardless," he assured. Referring to inflation across the Eurozone, he pointed out that inflation has spread throughout the Eurozone's economy and it will take time for it to calm down despite the drop in energy prices.

"The euro is a young but extremely well-established currency, the second strongest reserve global currency. Its use is expanding and that is going to continue, the euro will play a role in the development of the European Union's economy and that of all of Europe," concluded Dombrovskis.

The poll conducted by the EC in Croatia after the changeover to the euro shows that the vast majority of Croatia's residents believe that the changeover went smoothly and efficiently. As many as 88 percent believe that they are well informed about the euro, 61 percent that the transition was smooth and efficient, 81 percent had no problems when exchanging their kuna banknotes and coins into euros or withdrawing cash from banks during the first week of the use of the new currency.

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

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Corporate Philanthropy in Croatia - Three Good Recent Examples

January 24, 2023 - Following the global trends, companies in Croatia address their corporate social responsibility (CSR) by investing in projects for the good of the society. Some examples of corporate philanthropy in Croatia include Adris Grupa's unique employment program for young educated people, INA's assistance to healthcare and the youngest, and M+ Grupa's decision to sponsor the Croatian National Theatre.

As Poslovni writes, in recent years, the topic of corporate social responsibility has become one of the most important topics for the image of an individual company. One of the constituent elements of social responsibility is corporate philanthropy.

Through the practical application of corporate philanthropy, companies can demonstrate their values and beliefs to employees, partners, clients, and the public. Through financial support or support through products and services, companies show that they understand the needs of the wider community. Philanthropy in the corporate sense has taken different forms throughout history, and now we can say that we live in the age of strategic philanthropy.

This phase refers to the entire business process and all ways in which a company is an active part of society. It is about an open and transparent business policy, keeping in mind the interests of shareholders, employees, the local community and the environment.

Giving in the sense of corporate philanthropy finds satisfaction in positive social change or support of a social value.

Gone are the days when a company's CSR needs could be met by diverting a certain amount of money to a certain humanitarian or social action. Even in Croatia, companies recognize that their CSR performance includes all their activities that affect society.

The impact on the community in which the company operates has become one of the central values for business entities. This also means that it must be aligned with other company values.

The social impact of business has become one of the key tools for retaining employees and attracting new candidates for open positions. This is particularly important for companies that need a large number of specialists with specific and deficit profiles or an extremely large workforce, especially in labor markets like the Croatian one, where almost all employable people are already employed.

Ways paved

Like entrepreneurship in a broader sense, corporate philanthropy in Croatia is still far from the desired level, but there are many bright examples.

One of the companies that certainly sets new standards in philanthropy on the Croatian market is the Adris Group. This group launched a unique program for the employment of young and educated people, Future in Adris, and since 2007 it has also been running the Adris Foundation, which has so far allocated almost HRK 60 million to diverse and valuable projects, as well as almost 400 scholarships.

The Adris Foundation supports projects and individuals that encourage innovation and knowledge development, creativity, preservation of Croatian natural and cultural heritage, and kindness and solidarity in Croatian society.

The example of the Adris Foundation is followed by other key players in the region, creating their own programs through which they integrate company values with social values.

In Croatia, INA stands out as a giant of corporate philanthropy, which has established a donation policy aimed at particularly sensitive parts of society, and as a company invests particularly in two key categories of social responsibility: the improvement of the health system in Croatia and the welfare of children.

At INA, they think about how the various negative challenges of today and global changes affect children, and they consider it their task to make efforts to reduce these negative influences to the minimum and ensure the well-being of children.

Last year alone, INA donated HRK 900,000 for the needs of children's departments at the "Sveti Duh" Clinical Hospital in Zagreb, "Dr. Ivo Pedišić" in Sisak, KBC Zagreb, KBC Split, KBC Osijek, KBC Rijeka, Clinic for Children's Diseases Zagreb and Special Hospital for Chronic Childhood Diseases in Gornja Bistra.

Guided by the principle that it is necessary to incorporate a part of itself into CSR activities, INA has developed a long-term cooperation program with the SOS Children's Village, thanks to which not only the children from the village received the funds necessary for their growth and development, but aINA employees also built friendships with employees and children from the village. This is precisely an example of greater social value resulting from CSR activities than the amount of the donation itself.

Half a million kuna

These days, news about the new main sponsor of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Zagreb resonated strongly in the media. The National Theatre concluded a contract with M+ Group, a global player in the market of business process outsourcing services (Business Process Outsourcing) based in Zagreb.

The half a million kuna sponsorship for the leading Croatian drama, opera and ballet will be partly realized in the services that the M+ Group normally provides to the world's leading banks, telecommunications, technology, energy, logistics and other global companies. The current and future audience of the Croatian National Theatre will receive a user experience similar to that of the users of some of the world's strongest companies.

In this way, the company will help to seat some new generations of visitors in the seats of the HNK, as well as provide timely information about everything that is happening in the theatre to the current audience. It is an ideal example of incorporating the company's values into a socially responsible activity that included a form of CSR suitable for the 21st century.

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

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Tankerska Plovidba Begins Zadar Turisthotel Company Takeover

January the 24th, 2023 - Following a successful 2022, Tankerska plovidba, a transportation company headquartered in Zadar, has begun the process of taking over the Zadar Turisthotel company.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, after taking over the largest individual share of 24.5% of the share capital in the Zadar tourism company in November last year, Tankerska plovidba is now starting the Zadar Turisthotel takeover process.

The company submitted a notice to the Zagreb Stock Exchange about the emergence of the obligation to announce the offer for the takeover of the Zadar Turisthotel company, by concluding an agreement on the transfer of shares with five shareholders of Turisthotel on January the 18th, 2023. Tankerska plovidba thereby acquired another 14.61% of the company's share capital, seeing them reach a total ownership share of 39.34% of the company's capital.

As was stated in the notification, the subject of the takeover offer will be all registered shares of the Target Company, series A, with an individual nominal amount of 580.00 kuna (76.98 euros).

It's worth noting that just one month ago at the open day for shareholders, the Zadar Turisthotel company announced investments of 113 million euros over the next five years, primarily in the renovation and construction of new accommodation facilities and other entertainment facilities.

The new investment cycle of the Zadar Turisthotel company will include the additional improvement and the raising of the quality of their existing facilities, new catering, hospitality and entertainment facilities, the complete revamping of the main street within the resort itself, the reconstruction of the remaining apartments from 3 to 4 stars, the construction and introduction of new facilities and content, and last but by no means least - the Aenona Park project, which includes a new campsite, hotel, sport and entertainment facilities in the northern part of the settlement in Zaton.

In the City of Zadar, there are also plans to build a new hotel located within the city's very heart on the site of the former Pobjeda (Victory) cinema, and to convert the Boutique Hostel Forum into another new hotel. According to those plans, Turisthotel will annually invest approximately 22 million euros into these and other new projects.

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

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Varazdin Company Koka First to Receive Proven Quality Label for Poultry

January the 24th, 2023 - The Varazdin company Koka has become the very first company based in the Republic of Croatia to receive the Proven quality - Croatia (Dokazana kvaliteta - Hrvatska) label for its poultry meat.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Varazdin company Koka was the first to receive and use the aforementioned label for its poultry meat, which proves that the product was really produced within the framework of Croatian fattening capacities and the animals were fed with purely domestic grain.

Upon visiting the Varazdin company Koka's factory, Minister of Agriculture Marija Vuckovic noted that the first applicants for the same label were Croatian apple producers, followed by associated producers in the vegetable sector, egg producers, and those in meat processing.

"Producers in the pork sector are still in the process of getting their products marked with this label, and I'm looking forward to the readiness of our internationally recognised producer Vindija to take over and develop the Proven quality - Croatia label for domestically produced milk," said Vuckovic.

She also stated that the label that Koka's products carry from now on is indisputable proof that everything within that product has been produced right here in the Republic of Croatia according to exact and stringent specifications, from the breeding to the laying of the eggs to one-day-old chicks and their fattening up, all the way to the raising of the birds and food that they were fed on.

"It's a ''from field to table'' concept that promotes short supply chains and offers honest information about quality food to all consumers," emphasised Vuckovic, stating that slightly less than 700 million kuna has been contracted in the area of Varazdin County from the Rural Development Programme which offers funds for different investment projects and various types of support.

For more on Croatian companies and products, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 23 January 2023

Croatia Beats Bahrain, Needs a Miracle from Egypt for World Handball Championship Quarter-finals

January 23, 2023 - Croatia beat Bahrain 43:32 in their last match of the second round. They now need a miracle from Egypt tonight for a chance at the World Handball Championship quarter-finals. 

Croatia met Bahrain in their last match of the second round on Monday in Malmo, Sweden. While Croatia can only theoretically advance to the quarter-finals, a win was crucial for the Olympic Games qualifiers.  

Hrvoje Horvat's team needed a convincing victory against Bahrain to catch up to Denmark. And in addition to a win, Croatia also needs Egypt to beat Denmark tonight at 8:30 pm. Denmark currently has a goal difference of +39, and Croatia +17. 

It is important to note that Egypt has already secured a spot in the quarter-finals because it is in first place with eight points, while Denmark has a point less.

As mentioned above, with a victory of any kind, Croatia secures a place in the qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games. Croatia can thank their outstanding game against Denmark for that. 

Lineups

Croatia: Šunjić, Kuzmanović; Duvnjak, Gojun, Kraljević, Šarac, Karačić, Musa, Šebetić, Cindrić, Grahovac, Martinović, Šušnja, Šipić, Glavaš, Jelinić

Bahrain: Eid, Al Salatna, Al Samahiji, Ali, Isa, Qambar, Abdulredha, Fadhul, M. Ali, M. Ali, Alzaimoor, Mahfoodh, Ali, Mohamed, Mohamed, Al Sayyad

Match recap 

Bahrain scored the first goal of the game before Croatia equalized in the 2nd minute for 1:1. Martinovic scored for 3:3 in the 3rd and Sarac for 3:3 a minute later. Both teams had used every attack by the 5th minute - 4:4

Cindric and Martinovic made it 6:5, but Croatia's defense was having trouble. Bahrain was going goal for goal. While Bahrain went ahead for a few minutes, Karacic brought Croatia back to 8:8 in the 14th minute. 

And by the 17th minute, both teams were still equal - 11:11. 

Croatia finally went up by two goals in the 20th minute, but by the 22nd, Bahrain returned for 13:13. 

Croatia got it together in the final five minutes of the first half and was up by three goals in the 29th minute. But Croatia only went into halftime ahead by one goal - 17:16. 

By the 34th minute, Croatia went up by three goals again, and by the 39th minute, it was 22:19. Martinovic made it 24:19 in the 40th. 

It was 28:20 for Croatia in the 44th minute and 29:22 in the 46th. 

Croatia's attack was playing well, and Cindric scored for 31:23 with 12 minutes to go. 

Croatia went up by ten goals in the 51st minute and up by 12 goals with two minutes to go! It was 41:29 with a minute and a half left. 

The match ended 43:32 for Croatia. Martinovic was named the man of the match. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 23 January 2023

Employment in Croatia on Record High Levels, Job Ads Popping up Daily

January 23, 2023 - Good trends in the Croatian labour market. One million and 617 thousand residents are currently working, with the level of employment in Croatia last being that high back in 2008. In addition, the country marks record low unemployment, equal to the average of the European Union: 121,189 residents.

However, as Poslovni / HRT report, long-term unfavorable trends are still present. The aging population and the outflow of working-age people to other European countries. The ratio between employees and pensioners is still unfavorable - the number of workers per pensioner is 1:1.32. The job market opportunities, though, are changing faster than ever before.

Living in Croatia and working remotely for an employer who may not even be in the same time zone is an increasingly popular form of work in the country. Globalization has also affected Croatia. Employers based in the country have fewer and fewer professionals at their disposal because it is more profitable for such workers to be self-employed and freelance.

Labour market

"This means significant support for foreign employers, who are not registered in the Republic of Croatia, which means that the high subsidies given for independent work should be abolished compared to work based on an employment contract," said Hrvoje Balen, the president of Algebra's Board of Directors and president of the Executive Board of HUP ICT.

The demand for labour is still very strong. For example, employers in tourism are starting to look for workers earlier every season. Last year, 120,000 permits were issued to foreign workers, while at the same time, we have an equal number of unemployed people.

"We certainly expect growth; I think this is a strong growth that will not be pronounced in the future; we expect an increase of twenty to thirty percent, it is difficult to estimate at this moment because a lot of these work permits are extended permits for people to stay and work in Croatia," said Ivan Vidiš, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

There are more and more job ads, with a 22 increase in their number compared to 2019 on the Moj Posao portal alone. However, job advertisements from foreign employers do not follow this trend.

"Unfortunately, our market is exhausted, and in principle, there is a reduction in foreign advertisements in Croatia. Simply, so many people have moved out of Croatia that now it is more difficult for foreigners to find them, and they are looking further south, further east, on other continents", said the director of the Moj Posao portal, Igor Žonja.

Experts expect that there could be a slowdown in economies this year, which will also affect the labour market.

"We can see a certain slowdown, a cooling of the economy, and the labour market will feel this trend with a small lag; maybe sometime in the spring, slightly lower demand for work will be felt. It all very, very much depends on how much this recession in our foreign partners will hurt Croatia, how deep it will be, and how long it will last", stressed Dr. sc. Marina Tkalec, Institute of Economics, Zagreb.

In addition, due to inflation, higher wages will be in demand. Although we have more money in our wallets, it is worth less because inflation has grown faster than wages.

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

Monday, 23 January 2023

The Future is Here: Insect Flour Approved for Sale in Croatia

January 23, 2023 - Some new, unusual products will start appearing on the shelves of Croatian shops from January 24. The European Food Safety Agency approved it, concluding that the consumption of insect flour is not only 100 percent safe but also healthy.

Can you imagine a grasshopper, a mealworm, or a house beetle on your plate? From next week, in the form of insect flour, you'll be able to find them on the shelves of shops throughout Croatia, writes Dnevnik.

The European Food Safety Agency has approved insects as a food product and included them in the "novel food" category. This approval could pave the way for other insects, such as grasshoppers, ants, crickets, flies, and larvae.

"First, we had to get approval at the level of regulatory status to call it a new food," explained nutritionist Darija Vranešić Bender and pointed out: "They contain a lot of protein, from 55 to 85 percent of protein in 100 grams, which would be significantly more than compared to meat, beef, chicken and so on.''

Aleksander Gavrilović is the owner of the first certified insect factory, and his flour is waiting to be sold. The taste, he says, can vary: "If you feed the animal with chocolate the day before, you will get a chocolate flavour. Give them chocolate, apples, blackberries - you'll get all those flavours. You can use the flour to make anything - pancakes, bread, cakes.''

It is quite powdery under your fingers, it looks similar to cocoa powder, and the smell is pure chocolate, Dnevnik Nova TV reporter Sara Duvnjak described her impressions.

Vranešić believes that no matter how traditional Croatian people are, they are becoming more and more open to new cuisines: "If we look at other civilizations, they have consumed such foods in abundance for quite a long time. We call it entomophagy.

In certain Asian countries, insects are used as a crunchy dessert that, most importantly, does not cause weight gain. The nutritionist explains why: "They are of a relatively favourable fat content, which is approximately 20 to 30 percent, and a lot of that are unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which are also beneficial for our health''.

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

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