Monday, 25th October 2010
EU wonders what early elections could mean for Croatia´s accession
The uncertainty over whether there will be early elections in Croatia has piqued the interest of the European Union and NATO as the event could have consequences for Croatia's EU negotiations.
A change in power could potentially affect current enthusiasm about European Union accession, the daily Jutarnji List writes.
Some of the diplomats – including some from Germany and Austria – have expressed their satisfaction with the current Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and her government's fight against corruption. They fear that any major changes, such as the potential replacement of the State Attorney Office chief Mladen Bajic, could endanger the progress that has been achieved so far.
On the other hand, some diplomats from EU member states believe that it would be better for Croatia if it could resolve its internal political situation, and the sooner the better, even if that involved early elections.
"It is not realistic to expect radical cuts and economic reforms in the election year, and without them Croatia will not be able to come out of the crisis," says one of them. "That is why it is perhaps better for Croatia to slow down negotiations for a few months, and then compensate for the lost time with new zest and new government."
"If the economic crisis worsens, it could create another barrier for the end of the negotiations," the diplomat added. croatiantimes.com

Friday, 22nd October 2010
SASO Fair opens in Split
The 15th SASO fair opened its doors yesterday (Wed) in Split.
SASO is a grouping of fairs for building trade, wood and metal industries, tools and equipment manufacturers, handicrafts, electronics, energy, telecommunications, and finances.
The fair has attracted 1,497 exhibitors from 15 countries, the Croatian business portal Poslovni Dnevnik writes.
In addition to participants' exhibitions, the event offers conferences and opportunities for companies to meet and exchange contacts and ideas.
It will be held until October 24th. croatiantimes.com

 

 




Friday, 22nd October 2010
Croatian garden buildings going to Britain
Croatian garden home manufacturer Azelija will export 80 houses made of Slavonian oak to British markets in 2011.
The company made the million-Euro deal at a recent Ambient fair, the daily Vecernji List writes. Known mainly as a software manufacturer, Azelija has been in the timber industry business for only four years.
Company's Marija Sutila says that they are proud of their first and rather large export deal. She assures that the houses are, from floor to ceiling, a 100 per cent Croatian product.
croatiantimes.com

 

 

 


Thursday, 21st October 2010
Tadic to visit Croatia in November
Serbian President Boris Tadic is preparing for a three-day visit to Croatia in November, the Serbian press has reported.
The Serbian head of state will be hosted by his Croatian counterpart, President Ivo Josipovic. He is also likely to meet other high-ranking officials including the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and the Speaker of the Parliament Luka Bebic.
On the meeting's agenda are various questions including the return of refugees, protection of their property, solutions to housing questions, and the preservation of the Serbian minority's language in Croatia.
But one of the main issues are the countries' mutual accusations of genocide before the International Court of Justice in Hague. Croatia sued Serbia in 2008 for genocide during the war that took place between 1991 and 1995 in the former Yugoslavia. Serbia countered with a similar lawsuit last year, accusing Croatia of genocide against Serbs. Earlier this year both presidents agreed that it would be more desirable to resolve these questions outside of the Court.
The Serbian press writes that the only precondition for the country to withdraw its accusation is if Zagreb does it first. It is believed that Tadic will use the upcoming visit to discuss the issue with PM Kosor who is seen as one of the strongest opponents to dropping the charges. She has said that she would prefer that some other open questions are resolved before this is done, referring to the arrest of the Serbian general Ratko Mladic, the dispute over borders and the restitution of cultural treasures.
Tadic may also visit Vukovar this time, one of the places in Croatia that had been most devastated by the war, the daily Vecernji List writes. croatiantimes.com


 

Tuesday, 19th October 2010
Higher crisis tax ends in November
Some 300,000 employed people and 40,000 pensioners will have a little bit more change in their pockets as of November when the second crisis tax bracket is scheduled to end.
The government led by the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor introduced the crisis tax in August of 2009 in other to stabilize public finances. The tax affected all incomes over 3,000 kunas (409 Euros), which hit 1.3 million people. The first lower bracket of two per cent was eliminated in July, while the higher tax of four per cent on incomes over 6,000 kunas (818 Euros) will end in November.
The crisis tax contributed 2 billion kunas (272.6 million Euros) to the state budget.
Croatian daily Vecernji List writes that the government has abandoned the tax facing criticism that the measure had actually deepened the crisis and lowered the standard of living. It negatively affected personal consumption, what some analysts consider the driving engine of growth.
An analyst from Privredna Banka Zagreb, Ana Lokin, says that the elimination of the lower tax rate in July did not have any positive effects on consumption, leading her to believe that November changes will have little consequence.
"The spending ahead of Christmas will be better than last year. That is the short-term effect," Lokin says.
But pessimism, high unemployment rates and lower salaries will stagnate the recovery of the consumption, believes Lokin, even with the end of the crisis tax in sight. croatiantimes.com


James_FoleyMonday, 18th October 2010
Croatian government´s anti-corruption efforts are genuine, says American ambassador

American ambassador to Croatia James Foley has judged the current government's efforts to fight corruption as both "genuine" and effective in a conversation with the daily newspaper Jutarnji List.
"The fight against corruption is something that concerns every citizen of Croatia regardless of their political orientation. Corruption exists everywhere, in all systems, but to citizens it is important whether their governments are trying to suppress the corruption or not."

"We believe that Jadranka Kosor's government is genuinely oriented toward that fight, its efforts are authentic and are attaining visible results," the ambassador said.
He added that a significant, positive change occurred when the current PM Kosor took over the government. He believes that both the president Ivo Josipovic and the PM are very supportive of the anti-corruption efforts.

"I believe that this has led to visible results in the fight against corruption in Craotia, as well as in the negotiations with the European Union. We welcome that," said Foley. croatiantimes.com


Krsto_PitonMonday, 18th October 2010
Croat records his first CD at the age of 87
A pensioner in Croatia has finally fulfilled his dreams by recording his first ever CD at the age of 87.
Retired fisherman Krsto Piton from the western town of Porec has always longed to become a singer and record an album. Now, nearly 90 years old, he has finally done it.
"I wrote my first song some 40 years ago", Krsto Piton told Croatian daily Vecernji List. It was along time before he had the time and money to record an album.
His songs are about love and the sea.
With the money earned from the album he plans to co-finance the building of a nursing home for the elderly population of the northern Adriatic island Olib, where he was born.
The aged singer has decided to record at least one more album in the near future. "I have a lot of songs, I was writing for years", he added. Croatiantimes.com


Here is the Istra Rally Entry list
There are 71 crews, from 8 countries, registrated for the 1st Istra Rally 2010, that will run for the victory and for the money prize of more then 55.000 euros. The number and the quality of crews and cars are above the expectations of the organizers, considering that the rally has been designed and organized in just two months. The race will start on Friday the 15th of October at 6 pm from Pola, Croatia, and will finish after 9 special stages, all on tarmac, again in Pola on Saturday the 16th at 6 pm. Several are the events around the rally: Miss Istra Rally contest, three Rally Music Parties (on Thursday, Friday, Saturday) at Disco Pjetas Julia in Pola, the Pit Stop Grand Prix, contest in the skills of changing tyres open to all the fans that will take place at the service park located in the city centre in the seafront, just in front of the Arena. Istra Rally prize giving will take place on Saturday night, from 10 pm, at Disco Pjetas Julia, together with the election of Miss Istra Rally. The traditional “Rally Guide”, that is normally distributed to all the fans, will be a 8 pages publication with all the information and will be published on Thursday the 14th of October in more than 50.000 copies on some of the most important Croatian newspapers. Both on Friday and on Saturday this “Rally Guide” will be available at the Rally Hospitality located in the centre of the service park. The complete Entry list and the rally program is available on the official rally website www.istrarally.com.


Wednesday, 13th October 2010
Croatian firms invited to do business in Libya
Croatian construction and other companies have been invited to participate in tenders for jobs in Libya, where 50 billion-dollar investment projects are currently underway.
Some 50 representatives of Croatian companies were present at yesterday's (Mon) seminar "How to do business in Libya" organized by Croatian Chamber of Economy and the country's embassy in Libya during a visit of Libyan business delegation.
Representatives of the American consulting firm AECOM and Lybian Housing and Infrastructure Board (HIB) made presentations about various infrastructural projects that involve construction of residential and commercial buildings, roads, schools, bridges, hospitals and airports, amongst others.
Sam Talje from AECOM said that the goal behind this large investment is to transform the urban, economic, social and other life in Libya. Amongst the projects are building the complete infrastructure for 68 cities, a construction of more than 120,000 new buildings, hundreds of kilometres of roads, highways, etc.
The representatives of Croatian firms expressed concern that few of them had the resources to open an office in Libya, as they had been urged to do if they wish to participate in tenders. Another recommendation is that the company doing business in Libya hires at least 50 per cent of the local workforce.
Currently there are nine Croatian firms doing business in Libya - Viadukt, Geofizika, Adriamar, Montmontaža, Crosco i TVD Sistemi iz Zagreba, BCDE Split, Diaput from Gospic, and air carrier TradeAir from Velika Gorica.
About 500 Croatians work in Libya, but they are more expensive workforce than those that come from southern and southeast Asia, the portal Business writes. Croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 12th October, 2010
Croatian skiers conquering foreign slopes this season
Croatians will not be giving up their skiing holidays this year despite the crisis, the preliminary data from tourist agencies shows.
Some 200,000 Croatians are expected to vacation on foreign slopes this winter season. This could mean a record season for many of Croatia's tourist agencies.
First-minute packages are flying off the shelf in Kompas, where the first results point to an improvement on last season. The most popular destinations are Austrian vacation spots such as Sillian, Katschberg and Nassfeld where there are skiing schools offering classes in Croatian. Around 70 per cent of Kompas' clients go there, the daily Jutarnji List writes. The other popular destinations are in Slovenia, France and Italy.
Adriatice.net is registering double digit increases this year, the company's Kristijan Grzetic says. "This year we are seeing a growth of 11 per cent compared to last season, which was a record one," says Grzetic. Most of his Dalmatian clients gravitate toward Italy, while the continentals prefer Slovenia and Austria.
The first-minute packages are also popular in Generalturist, where the demand is comparable to last season. The most popular destinations in Slovenia are Kranjska Gora and Bohinj, while in Italy Croatian skiers like Marilleva. Popular Austrian tourist spots are Bad Kleinkirchheim and Nassfeld. Croatiantimes.com

 


Wednesday, 6th October, 2010
Croatia´s No.1 lifeguard keeps watch on Umag bay
He may not look like a Bay Watch hunk, but Dragan Teofilovic certainly knows his breast stroke from his doggy-style paddle.
And tourists to Croatian hotspot Umag can now do both happily with him patrolling the beach.
The Bosnian-born professor of Kinesiology chucked in the boffin towel to become a lifeguard and Croatian Tourist Board officials have now voted him the country's No.1 lifeguard.
But it's not all about being a good swimmer and giving first aid, says Teofilovic who for the last three years has been working at the resort's Sol Aurora hotel and won the award for his friendly approach towards tourists.
"We have a preventative approach, and that is why this summer we did not have a single case of drowning. It is important – during the high summer heat – to patrol the beaches and warn people about the necessity of shade, especially older people, children, diabetics and epileptics," Teofilovic said.

The "Man-a key to success in Tourism" programme rewards professionalism, courtesy, neatness, and good relationships with guests and tourists. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 4th October 2010
Croatia to appoint 50 commercial attaches
The government will appoint 50 commercial attaches by the end of the year who will help Croatian entrepreneurs do business abroad, the Minister of Economy Djuro Popijac has announced.
"Fifty commercial attachés will be placed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in those cities and countries that are of most interest for our economy" Popijac said at the opening of the 9th International Conference on Export Promotion organised by the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) yesterday (Thu) in Zagreb.
Experts agreed that it is necessary to implement all 128 measures of the government's economic recovery programme in order to increase production and the competitiveness of the Croatian economy. They warned, however, that they are not being implemented as quickly as needed.

"The slowest to be implemented are pension and labour market reforms," said Marko Skreb, main analyst for Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ). "While we are too slow to implement the reforms and are dropping on the competitiveness scales, the countries in the surrounding area are going ahead. We cannot have a government that is friendly both toward the employers and unions," he added.

He expects Craotian GDP will be 1.4 per cent in plus next year, and a little over two per cent in 2012.

"Future GDP growth will be lower compared to the period between 2000 and 2007 because it was based on big personal spending and state spending as well as imports. We can no loner have spending and investments as before because total debt has surpassed 100 per cent of GDP," Skreb said.

"The only way out is in the growth of exports, and that we can achieve only with new approach and serious structural reforms," he warned.



Monday, 4th october 2010
Atlantic Group takes over Badel´s Kalnicke Vode
Atlantic Group has acquired Kalnicke Vode Bio Natura water bottler from the wine and spirits manufacturer Badel 1862 for the enterprise value of 11.2 million Euros, the company has confirmed.
"The acquisition of Kalnicke Vode is another strategically important step in the Atlantic Group's development. With this acquisition we are ensuring the future of our product Cedevita GO!, we are creating conditions for stable production and expansion of our business with non-alcoholic beverages, and with gallon-packaged spring water we are entering a new distribution channel which has a lot of potential," the head of Atlantic Group Emil Tedeschi said.
Kalnicke Vode business is made out of three components - production of spring water, production of mineral gas water and production and distribution of gallon-sized packages of spring water. In 2009 the company's sales amounted to 6.9 million Euros, the business portal Poslovni Dnevnik writes. Croatiantimes.com


Thursday, 30th September 2010
Croatian-born scientist admitted to Germany´s prestigious academy of sciences
Scientist Ivan Djikic has been awarded membership at the Germany Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the world's oldest university involved in the study of natural sciences.

Croatian born Professor Djikic, 44, is the current director of the Institute of Biochemistry at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and is internationally recognised for his work on cancer research. He will join the Biochemistry section of the Leopoldina.

"I am honoured with this recognition. Membership of Leopoldina is a prestigious international recognition and I look forward to participating in the Academy's projects, especially working with young people and on the popularisation of science in Germany," he said.

The Leopoldina elects distinguished scientists from all over the world as members. The Academy advises the government on scientific issues and encourages an exchange of ideas with academies abroad and international scientists. Croatiantimes.com


Wednesday, 29th September 2010
Croatian firms head the list of largest in Adria region
Thirty five Croatian companies have made it into the top 100 of the Adria's top 100 firms, new analysis by the auditing firm Deloitte shows.
The study, which looks at last year's revenues, puts Croatia's Agrokor Group and the oil company Ina at the top of the region of former Yugoslavian states.
In second place behind Croatia is Slovenia with 31 firms, followed by Serbia with 23.
Agrokor took the lead two years ago, putting Ina in second place and raking in 3.6 billion Euros of revenues last year, with Ina registering 2.78 billion. In third and fourth place on the list are Slovenian firms – Mercator Group with 2.6 billion Euros and Petrol Group with 2.3 billion. Fifth and sixth place are held by Serbian Firms Delta (1.68 billion) and EPS (1.64 Billion). They are followed by Croatian HEP, Slovenian Revoz, Serbian oil company Nis ad. and Slovenian Gorenje Group in the 10th place.

The biggest share in the top 100 is held by retail companies Agrokor, Mercator and Delta, who contribute around 35 per cent of their total revenues from sales. Every third Croatian company that made it into the top one hundred belongs to the retail sector, while Slovenian companies dominate in manufacturing, and Serbian in energy and resources.
The revenues from sales, however, fell by 12 per cent in 2009. "This is obviously the result of slower economic activities as a reflection of the global economic crisis, but also of the depreciation of some local currencies in relation to the Euro," says Vladimir Milošević, one of the partners in Deloitte. The most significant drop in revenue from sales was 23.7 per cent in manufacturing.
Deloitte has also published a list of Top 10 companies by net profit, which shows a different picture with telecommunication firms in the lead. Croatian HT Group heads the group with profit of 276 million Euros in 2009. It is followed by Telekom Serbia with 211 million Euros, Slovenian Krka with 173 million, HSE Group (113 million), Macedonian Telecom (111 milliong), Croatian Vipnet (83 million), ENI Croatia (80 million), BH Telecom (73 million), Serbian EFT Holding ASP (73 mililion), and Adris Group in the tenth place with 68 million of net profits. Croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 28th September, 2010
Croatian Journalists under Siege after Publishing Articles on 'Meat Affair'
Vienna, 27 September 2010 - The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI) is alarmed at recent threats posed to journalists Sergej Trajkovic and Tomislav Kukec, who work for the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List.
According to information received by SEEMO, as of 28 August 2010 Trajkovic and Kukec began publishing a series of articles, after a thorough investigation using various sources, describing alleged irregularities in the Croatian meat industry (note: referred to as the "meat affair"), such as the selling of long-expired meat on the Croatian consumer market - something that threatens the health of citizens.
The articles have triggered angry reactions, including from meat processing companies and the Croatian government, all attacking the journalists and attempting to prevent them from publishing such critical articles - which they claim are based on false allegations.
SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic stated: "SEEMO would like to emphasize that the work of investigative journalists is a part of every democratic society and is especially important for a country applying for European Union membership."
He added: "It is therefore alarming that critical articles like this should cause such reaction, including from certain individuals working for the Croatian authorities and trying to prevent journalists from doing their work properly. By threatening investigative journalists one is violating the laws on freedom of expression."
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)


Connor_Vlakancic

Monday, 27th September 2010
Croat runs for California US Senate candidate
Croatian man Connor Vlakancic has launched a campaign to become California's candidate for the U.S. Senate.
"Now in the throes of irreconcilable political jubilation and ‘buyer remorse', California voters are facing a future that is ominously closed," said Vlakancic.
Vlakancic, whose grandfather emigrated to the United States in 1917, is standing as an Independent nonpartisan patriot. croatiantimes.com




Friday, 24th September 2010
Zagreb Autumn Fair opens doors
The 86th Zagreb Autumn Fair has opened its doors yesterday (Wed), bringing to Croatia's capital some 500 presenters from 29 countries around the world.
This year's partner state of the event that will run through September 26 is the People's Republic of China.
In addition to its traditional offering, the fair will feature an alternative lifestyle component where attendees will be able to learn more about microbiotic diet, yoga, and alternative medicine.
The President's economic adviser Boris Cota opened this year's fair with remarks about the country's economic recovery, which he expects for the beginning of the next year.
He warned, however, against the continuous growth of the country's public and foreign debt.
The Chinese ambassador to Croatia Shen Zhifei said that China has a long history of participation in the Fair and that this is the second time that it is the Fair's partner state. He said that he is particularly pleased that Croatia's exports to China have been growing, the portal Dalje writes.
Zagreb's Milan Bandic also said that he is convinced the partnership with China will result in new investments and projects. Croatiantimes.com


Wednesday, 22nd September 2010
Young Croatian wins best Mediterranean actress award
Croatian Zrinka Cvitesic has won the award for best actress at the 26th Alexandria Film Festival for her role in film "On the Path" (Na Putu).
The 31-year-old actress plays Luna, a woman in Sarajevo whose partner joins the conservative Islamic group Wahhabi. The film was directed by Jasmila Zbanic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, world-renowned for her previous movie "Grbavica" which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Cvitesic said that playing Luna was a beautiful role but one of the hardest of her career. Referring to the war that engulfed many states of former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995 she said: "My childhood was marked by the war and I had many unsolved problems, which I had to face during the filming. But after we finished filming that first day, I thought ‘World, here I come!'" Croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 21st September 2010
Croatia could have more pensioners than workers in 2050
Croatia could have serious demographic problems in 50 years time if the current trend in population growth continues, data from the Central Bureau of Statistics show.
The number of people in Croatia is declining year on year. Last year the country had 4.429 million inhabitants, 13,000 fewer than in 2005.
Should the trend in low birth rates and prolonged lifespans continue, in 50 years time Croatia could have more pensioners than the working population, the daily Jutarnji List writes.
The statistical Croat gives birth to 1.4 children. In order to maintain the current population levels that number should be at least 2.1
The average Croatian citizen is 41.1 years old or seven years older than in 1971. The number of people over 65 makes up a fifth of the population. The number of children below 14 is decreasing every year and currently makes up only 14 per cent of the total.
Thanks to advances in medicine and easier lifestyles, the average lifespan is increasing. In 2009 women were expected to live to the age of 80 on average and men to 73 - 15 years longer than in the middle of the last century. At the same time, every year more people are born than die.
The aging index, or the ratio of those over 60 to those below 19, is troubling, reports the paper. While in 1971 the index was 47.2 per cent it has jumped to 107 in the last few years. For women it is 130, which means that in Croatia there are currently 30 per cent more women older than 60 than there are those younger than 19.
Only six out of the 21 counties experienced a population growth but that was just 0.62 percent.
By 2051 the country could have 715,000 fewer residents than today, demographers warn. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 20th September 2010
E-Health comes to Croatia in January
Starting 1 January patients will be able to schedule doctors' appointments on line and all paper referrals, prescriptions and test results will be replaced by electronic forms.
To begin with only primary care will be linked, but an integral information system uniting the operations of all healthcare institutions is expected to be completed within the next year.
So far 10 Counties are participating, but the remainder is expected on board by October 15. Croatiantimes.com

Monday, 20th September 2010
PM opens tangerine season
Croatia expects to export around 40,000 tonnes of tangerines this year, Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said at the ceremonial opening of the picking season on Saturday.
The PM visited Neretva river valley where she spoke about the importance of agriculture for the country's economic recovery.
This year's yield is expected at 60,000 tonnes out of which 20,000 tonnes is earmarked for the Croatian market, the daily Jutarnji List writes. Croatiantimes.com

Friday, 17th September 2010
Oil company Ina to fire 1,500 employees
Croatia's largest oil company, Ina, has announced that it will lay off 1,500 of its employees or nine per cent of its workforce of 16,300.
Although news about the impending firings is old, it is the first time that the company has publicized the exact number, the daily Vecernji List has reported. The company has said it will offer employees to be sacked severance packages on average larger than previous settlements.
Ina CEO Bojan Mikovic called the move a step toward the company's long-term goal of maintaining its position in the Croatian economy. "We want to be a stable and reliable employer and a business partner of our suppliers and clients. In order to achieve that long-term goal, we must increase efficiency in all areas of business," he said.
Company analysis has determined that Ina has an excess of workers, with a quarter of its employees working in administration. That is close to 15 per cent more than the average for all oil companies around the world.
Management Board President Zoltan Aldott has said that the employees themselves are aware of the excess, which reflects on productivity and motivation in the company. Croatiantimes.com

Thursday, 16th September, 2010
Presidency of European People´s Party to meet in Zagreb
The presidency of the European People's Party (EPP) would hold one of its future meetings in Croatian capital Zagreb, the country's Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said after the Party's summit yesterday (Weds) in Brussels.
While the date has not yet been set, the meeting is expected to take place before the end of the year, Croatian Radio Television has reported.
EPP, the largest European-level party, includes 72 centre-right parties from 39 states. Kosor's Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) are EPP members. Croatiantimes.com

Wednesday, 15th September 2010
Sanader sets up firm in Innsbruck
Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader has founded a company in Austria, it has emerged.
The controversial ex-politician – who surprisingly stepped down as prime minister last year – holds a 95 per cent stake in Prima Consulting GmbH, according to Tyrolean newspapers.
Reports have it that Sanader teamed up with Austrian businessman Wolfgang Kröss to set up the company with headquarters in Innsbruck. Sanader graduated at Innsbruck University in 1982.
His Austrian spokeswoman Heidi Glück – who formerly represented ex-Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel – said: "Preparations to found the company have been going on for quite a while. Sanader's focus is currently on his teaching activities at Columbia University (in the USA)."
Austrian media report that the new company will focus on consult investments but also handle import and export activities itself.
Croatian weekly magazine Nacional claimed last month Sanader was accused of pocketing huge sums in connection to Hypo Group Alpe Adria's (HGAA) careless lending activities in Croatia.
The Austrian bank had to be nationalised last December and Austrian authorities are currently investigating around 40 suspects across Europe.
A report by Nacional has it that Sanader received hundreds of thousands of Euros in the 1990s from Croatian firms to ensure they received loans from HGAA.
Croat media have speculated Sanader was entangled in fraudulent business activities after his sensational resignation in July 2009. The ex-politician dismissed such accusations as "baseless". Croatian state prosecutors deny they have been investigating Sanader.
Former HGAA boss Wolfgang Kulterer was taken into custody last month. He is considered as being responsible for the institute's lax loan policy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), but some business magazines have speculated he might be nothing but a scapegoat investigators can blame for all mismanagement, Austrian Times has reported. croatiantimes.com


Monday, 13th Septermber 2010
Minister Jandrokovic postpones end of EU negotiations
Croatia has given up hope of completing European Union negotiations by the end of the year, with a new deadline set for the first half of 2011.
At an informal meeting with several European Union ministers in Brussels on Friday, Croatia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Gordan Jandrokovic said he believes Croatia would finish the negotiations in the first six months of next year. As recently as two weeks ago, Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor suggested the end of 2010 or at the latest, the beginning of 2011.
Although Croatia has delayed closing one of the chapters on competition policy due to the hurdles in restructuring of the shipbuilding industry, the European Union believes that, if Croatia makes all needed efforts, the negotiations could end by March of next year. That would enable Croatia to sign the accession agreement by June.
Germany's Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Weserwelle has highlighted Croatian efforts as a good example for other states in the region to follow. He said that Croatia's success in EU negotitations, the way it conducts its relationships with its neighbours, cooperates in the region, and implements internal reforms should all serve as evidence for other states that they too will be accepted into the EU if they do their part, the daily Jutarnji List writes


http://www.austriantimes.at/thumbnails/kbu5y704_large.jpg

Friday, 10th September 2010
Sixteen Croatian firms among 500 biggest in Central Europe
Sixteen Croatian firms have found themselves on the list of the 500 biggest companies in Central Europe, according to a study produced by auditing firm Deloitte.
Agrokor is the highest-ranked Croatian firm, in 18th place on the list. That is a seven-rung drop compared to 2008. National gas company Ina follows in 32nd place, or five rungs lower than in 2008.
Croatian firms that found themselves on the list increased their revenues from 15.1 to 15.9 billion Euros, but their profits declined by four per cent from 2008 to 2010. Their share of the total revenues of the 500 biggest firms is three per cent.
Overall, the firms suffered a 60 per cent decrease in revenue and a 24 per cent drop in profit due to the economic crisis, news portal Index has written.
The study took into consideration companies in 19 countries.

Friday, 10th September 2010
Dalekovod will construct the controversial power line in Norway
Norvegian Statnett has signed a contract with the Croatian Dalekovod for the construction of the controversial power line in Hardanger despite the uncertainty in the project.
Statnett and the Croatian company Dalekovod signed construction contract for the project Sima-Samnanger. The contract includes the construction of the power line in Hardanger.
Pending the final decision regarding Sima-Samnanger, Statnett has negotiated special conditions related to cancellations of portions of the contract. Dalekovod has decided to sign the contract despite the uncertainty in the project. The project is estimated to cost about 180 million.
In October, work on the part of the line starts. This affects approximately 10 km starting in Samnanger, The Nordic Page has reported.
"We have very good experience with Dalekovod and look forward to a new collaboration. There was a great interest and keen competition among the eligible European companies. Dalekovod won the competition on the basis of an overall assessment of both financial and the plan and program for working with health, safety and security, "said project manager Steinar Bygdås. Croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 7th September 2010
Zagreb´s Geofoto wins 1.2 million Euro project in Montenegro Croatian Times
Geodetics company Geofoto has signed a contract with Montenegro for making digital elevation models for the entire country.
Only 10 days after receiving a job in Macedonia, the Zagreb-based company won the Montenegrin public tender worth 1.2 milion Euros last week, beating the eight biggest European firms in the sector.
The project is co-financed by Norwegian and Montenegrin governments, the former contributing 900,000 Euros and the latter the rest.
New photographs will be used for space planning, road construction, tourism and many other activities, the Director of Montenegro's Real Estate Administration Mico Orlandic said.
With the realization of this project and acquisition of several others, by the end of the year Geofoto will have surpassed the Norwegian Bloom group to become the biggest European company for geodetics and geoinformatics, company owner and director Zvonko Biljecki said.
"We just won another public tender in Plebeian in competition with 17 other firms, a project to reform the whole cadastral system worth 10 million dollars. We also received tenders in Bulgaria, Argentina and Guatemala worth 10.9 million dollars," Biljecki said.
He added that the the company would finish the three-dimensional records of the Croatian territory commissioned by the Ministry of Defense and following NATO standards by the end of the year. Croatiantimes.com

Monday, 6th September 2010
Croat emigrants plan 40 million Euro project on Ugljan
Ten Croatian emigrants from Australia presented their 40-million-Euro joint investment project for the tourist zone on the island of Ugljan on Wednesday.
The entrepreneurs are interested in developing Kukljica district on the island into a tourist zone with hotels, villas, apartments and marinas. Davor Martinovic, a former advisor to several Canadian prime ministers who presented the project, said that Kukljica is especially attractive due to the locality's proximity to Kornati archipelago where the group plans a construction of another marina. He added that the project would contribute to the local economy as it would employ island residents, the business daily Poslovni Dnevnik writes. The idea, born two years ago, has been "on hold" because of the recession, but the excellent tourist season has given it a new impetus, he added. Croatiantimes.com


Friday, 3rd September 2010
Prime minister wants better economic relations with Libya
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor has expressed satisfaction with her meeting yesterday (Weds) with Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi at which the two leaders discussed bilateral economic/commercial cooperation.
"We talked very concretely about possible joint projects," Kosor said, adding that the two countries' ministers of the economy would meet in the near future.
Kosor said that her visit had turned a new page that would strengthen Croatian and Libyan economic/commercial cooperation.
She emphasized the potential in Libya for Croatian food-industry companies, as well as those active in the agriculture, drinking water, infrastructure and shipbuilding sectors.
PM Kosor was invited by the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi for the celebration of the 41st anniversary of the Libyan revolution. Croatiantimes.com

Friday, 3rd September 2010
Jana bottled water on shelves of second-largest American supermarket chain
Four years after its debut in the American market, Croatian bottled water from the firm Jana is appearing on shelves of the country's second-largest supermarket chain, Kroger.
Jana has been present in Whole Foods stores for years, a chain known for its organic and top- quality products. With around 200 stores nationwide, however, Whole Foods is much smaller than Kroger, which has 2,468 stores in more than 30 American states and is second only to Wal-Mart.
In addition to being the official water at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the Croatian water has seen its fair share of glamorous life as the official drink at various parties for the rich and the famous, including Salma Hayek, Justin Timberlake and Kim Kardashian.
It is drunk by Leonardo diCaprio, Orlando Bloom and R.E.M singer Michael Stipe, among others, the daily Jutarnji List has reported. Croatiantimes.com

Tuesday, 31st August 2010
World Bank criticizes Croatia´s budget rebalance
The World Bank is disappointed with Croatian politics, having expected greater expenditure reduction from the budget rebalance presented last week.
The international institution commented that the government had not taken the advantage of the opportunity to decrease spending that the rebalance presented.
The growth of deficit is moving in the opposite direction from other European states that are also working on improving their public finances. The World Bank believes that the rebalance was an opportunity for a turnaround in the economic politics that could have contributed to an establishment of a better investment climate.
The World Bank had expected a reform of the social sector, subsidies and public administration, as well as decrease in public spending, the daily Slobodna Dalmacija writes. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 30th August 2010
Croatia is not Greece and is not facing bankruptcy,´ Kosor says
The Croatian Parliament has discussed the government's rebalanced budget that features 4.5 billion fewer kunas (618 million Euros) in revenue than its predecessor.
Presenting the government's rebalanced budget to MPs at yesterday's extraordinary parliamentary session, Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said the government had refused to cut payments and salaries because it wanted to protect living standards.
She added that less money in the budget did not mean that Croatia faced either a fiscal crisis or bankruptcy. Kosor said: "Croatia is not Greece, manages its public finances well and pays all foreign and domestic liabilities on time." Kosor added that the government would continue to examine whether banks and other financial institutions could help Croatia emerge from the economic crisis. Croatiantimes.com

 

Monday, 30th August 2010
Danish JYSK group to open a store in Zagreb
Danish JYSK Group owned by Lars Larsen will open its first shop near Jadranski most in Zagreb in September. The premises have been occupied by Magma, a Zagreb wholesaler of a number of top world brands of clothes and toys. The JYSK group arrived in Croatia in April 2009 and chose Zadar as its first location.
At that time, the group announced that it was planning to open 40 stores in Croatia. It has already opened 11 and will open two more in Zagreb and Imotski, respectively, on 9 September.
Zagreb has also been chosen as the group's headquarters for business in the western Balkans, responsible for the markets of Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. JYSK has approximately 1,650 stores, most of which are located in Europe. The group is the leader in the European market in items for bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, windows and patios. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 30th August 2010
Croatia to compete in Homeless World Cup in Brazil
These days Brazil is preparing for a football World Cup for the homeless, and Croatia is one of the teams that will take part in it.
A Croatian team of homeless people will take part in Homeless World Cup 2010 that will be held from 19 to 26 September in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the second year in a row.
It is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people who are homeless and excluded and who will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their countries. The World Cup will feature 64 teams from around the world. The Croatian team has eight players from Osijek, Split, Varazdin, Rijeka and Zagreb. There are one billion homeless people in the world today. Croatiantimes.com


Wednesday, 25th August 2010
We are ready for Unirea, says Hajduk coach
Hajduk Split will have a rematch with Romanian side Unirea in the first leg of the last Europe League qualifying round in Bucharest on Thursday. Talking about the upcoming game today (Tues), Hajduk coach Stanko Poklepovic said they were ready.
He said: "We are ready to respond to any situation or development in the rematch, and we will not allow surprises, because we have studied our rival well. We know what we need to do."Hajduk defeated Unirea 4-1 at Poljud Stadium in Split in front of 35,000 fans on last Thursday.
Poklepovic said Hajduk's main aim was to maintain its advantage from the first game and to qualify for the European League.
He added: "This kind of game can bring a lot or take a lot. I am not interested in the game's result, but I am interested in having Hajduk qualify for the European league. Unirea is an experienced team that should be respected because they know how to engage in surprises and reverse results."
Poklepovic also said it was uncertain whether injured Ivan Strinic would play in Bucharest.


Monday, 23th August 2010.
Croatian Mountain Rescue Service has problems with irresponsible tourists
The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, HGSS, searched all night (Sun-Mon) without success for Hungarian tourists who were reported missing in the Biokovo Mountain area in southern Dalmatia yesterday. Two young Hungarian tourists called the 112 emergency number at 8pm yesterday (Sun) to report that they were lost. They said one of them was very exhausted, but HGSS assumed he was under the influence of alcohol.
HGSS is assuming the tourists returned safely or it was a false alarm since no one has reported them missing to the police.

Seven Hungarian tourists reported at 10pm yesterday evening that they were lost on Klek Mountain near Ogulin in northwestern Croatia. After they spent the night in contact with HGSS by mobile-phone, they were safely rescued early this morning. As opposed to other European rescue services, HGSS does not charge for its services, and all rescue members are volunteers.

Many experts believe that should be changed because even simple rescue action includes a large number of people and often helicopters, which cost a lot. In foreign countries, the bill can be as much as 20,000 Euros if a rescue features many team members and aerial support.
The problem is that HGSS has more and more problems each year with irresponsible tourists who climb without any preparation and experience.croatiantimes.com


Monday, 23th August 2010
Angelina Jolie again cancels a visit to Croatia
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, who supposed to arrive at the Brijuni Islands in the northern Adriatic last Friday, cancelled her arrival because of excessive media interest. Jolie had intended to watch a theatrical performance by Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija.
Ulysses Theatre spokeswoman Marina Vujcic said Jolie's security had decided it was impossible to assure protection of her peace and privacy during her scheduled visit to Ulysses Theatre.
Jolie said: "I had intended to travel to Croatia to attend King Lear tonight. Because of a security leak, I was told it would not be logistically possible. I am a fan of Rade Serbedzja and have heard wonderful things about the production. I hope that next time I will be able to attend."

Croatian media have reported that Serbedzija could be a potential star in Jolie's next movie, the first one she wants to direct. The Hollywood star also cancelled her visit to Croatia in April when she was to have come to Dubrovnik because of excessive media interest.croatiantimes.com


Friday, 20th August 2010
Imotski has a 10,000-square-metre shopping centre
A new shopping centre in the southern town of Imotski opens today (Fri). The Park & Shop shopping centre with an area of more than 10,000 square metres is the first of its kind in Imotski and employs 250 people. Investor Vedran Malenica has announced the project has cost nine million Euros. Konzum, Jysk, New Yorker, Deichmann, Takko Fashion, Mana Moda, Peko, S'Oliver, Accessoires, Denis, Franco, Bipa, Benetton, Argentum and GoldenPoint will have shops in the centre.

Accommodation in Croatia/Alojamiento en Croacia/hotels
Friday, 20th August 2010
Germans top Istrias list of foreign visitors
German visitors predominate in Istria's tourism despite that northern Adriatic region's geographic proximity to Italy.
Germans continue their lead this year after several seasons at the top. They are followed by Slovenes and Austrians.
"The weather is warm, the sea is clean, and people are friendly" says one Frank from Germany.
This year's Ferragosto holidays celebrated in Italy in August have resulted in fewer Italian tourists than in previous seasons. The crisis is to blame, experts say, as well as Italy's efforts to steer Italians to domestic destinations.
Denis Ivosevic, the director of the Istria Tourist Board, is optimistic about the season's outlook. "We hope that, with good weather in September, we will be able to finish the season with at least the same results as last year." Croatiantimes.com


Accommodation in Croatia/Alojamiento en Croacia/hotels
Wednesday, 18th August 2010I
Istria´s season atypical owing to large number of interrupted vacations
While the number of tourists this season is likely to be close to the number last year, a large number of curtailed vacations is likely to result in fewer overnights. Denis Ivosevic from the Istria Tourist Board says that the season has been atypical, given the large number of interruptions. "It rained the last three weekends in July, and in August there were two rainy weekends in a row, and many guests left a day or two before they had planned to," he explained. "In July and August, we had 10 per cent more guests, but we are finishing the first seven months with three per cent fewer overnights than last year," he added. Ivosevic is satisfied overall with Istria's season, however, and, even though the numbers point to more departures than arrivals, hotels are full, and there are good indicators for the upcoming weeks, he said. Croatiantimes.com


Accommodation in Croatia/Alojamiento en Croacia/hotels
Wednesday, 18th August 2010
Radisson Blu Resort opens in Split
Radisson Blue Resort opens its doors in Split, Croatia today (Tues).
The luxury hotel with a view of the islands Brac and Solta has 240 rooms and two presidential apartments.
The renovated four-star hotel has 120 employees, and its director is German Maik Schaefer.
Radisson Blu Resort Split is 15 minutes by car from the historic city centre and fronts the beach, making it a unique city resort. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 16th August, 2010
Summer season to end with nice weather
The remainder of the summer season will be predominantly sunny with occasional rain that will not spoil pleasant water temperatures, meteorologists say.
Although long-term weather predictions are difficult to make, temperatures in the last weeks of August and the beginning of September are likely to be above seasonal averages, although well-below 40-degree peaks.
The short-term outlook is for volatile weather inland during the first half of this week, while the coast will be sunny and hot with temperature reaching 32 degrees. The second half of the week will feature sunny skies across Croatia, the daily Jutarnji List has reported. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 16th August, 2010
China Town opens in Zagreb
Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic did the red-tape honours at the opening of a large Chinese commercial centre worth 1.5 million Euros on Monday.
The 25,000 square-metre China Town centre currently houses 58 stores - mainly clothing - offering Chinese, Croatian, Italian and Turkish merchandise.
One of the centre's eight owners Wei Jin said: "So far we invested 1.5 million Euros in the project, but that is only the beginning." He added the centre's location and affordable prices meant the it had a bright future and that the 60-strong workforce would continue to grow. Croatiantimes.com


Thursday, 12th August, 2010
Dubrovnik considers additional safety measures around historic centre
Dubrovnik is considering additional security measures around the City's walls after a recent series of accidents.
Zana Baca from the city's Department of Conservation says they have tried to warn of visitors of potential dangers, including putting up signs and notices in several languages on entrance tickets sold for touring the walls, but to little effect.
In the latest incident, an unidentified person died on Thursday when he fell from the wall onto the beach below. Croatiantimes.com

Tuesday, 10th 2010
July saves Croatian tourism
July saw record numbers of tourists heading to Croatia and erasing pre-season minuses, the Minister of Tourism Damir Bajs has announced.
"The results show that this year's July is likely to be the best July in the history of Croatian tourism," the Minister said.
Thanks to 2.7 million tourists, fears of pre-season minuses failed to materialise and instead the number of July tourists surpassed last year's July totals by nine per cent.
Nineteen million overnight stays registered this July means a seven per cent increase over the last, Croatian daily Jutarnji List reports.
Bajs added however that Croatia must not relax for the remainder of the season but give its all in the coming months, especially during August's peak.
Some of Croatia's most important markets such as Germany and Italy are still in the minus, he warned.
The Tourism Minister once again reiterated his commitment to maintaining Croatia's share in European tourism, which surpassed two per cent for the first time last year. That meant that every 50th tourist in Europe came to Croatia.
The biggest increase in tourists were registered from Russia, Spain and Slovenia. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 9th August, 2010
Barcelona FC president arrives on holiday in Croatia
The president of Barcelona football club Sandro Rosell has arrived on holiday in Croatia.
He is expected to spend a week with his family in Split and nearby areas.
Rumours suggest he could meet Josko Svagusa, the president of Croatian side Hajduk Split to discuss the possibility of Barcelona FC playing a friendly against Hajduk Split next year when the Croatian club celebrates its 100th anniversary. Croatiantimes.com

Monday, 9th August, 2010
Government begins fight against obesity
The Croatian government has approved an action plan to combat obesity that affects 21 per cent of Croatians.
The government has recently approved the Action Plan for Prevention and Reduction of Overweightness put forward by the Ministry of Health. The Plan would include various measures aimed at combating the epidemic.
Croatians eat around 2,700 calories per day or 700 more than the recommended daily value. The Ministry's action plan warns that all age groups are in danger of succumbing to the epidemic and developing related diseases including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
The government will start the plan by labeling healthy foods on the shelves of the shops and eliminating "junk food" from vending machines. Most measures are expected to be implemented by 2012.
Part of the plan involves encouraging a healthy lifestyle, raising awareness about the importance of healthy weight and the prevention of harmful habits, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes. Croatiantimes.com
Accommodation in Croatia/Alojamiento en Croacia/hotels


Monday, 9th. August, 2010
July saves Croatian tourism
July saw record numbers of tourists heading to Croatia and erasing pre-season minuses, the Minister of Tourism Damir Bajs has announced.
"The results show that this year's July is likely to be the best July in the history of Croatian tourism," the Minister said.
Thanks to 2.7 million tourists, fears of pre-season minuses failed to materialise and instead the number of July tourists surpassed last year's July totals by nine per cent.
Nineteen million overnight stays registered this July means a seven per cent increase over the last, Croatian daily Jutarnji List reports.
Bajs added however that Croatia must not relax for the remainder of the season but give its all in the coming months, especially during August's peak.
Some of Croatia's most important markets such as Germany and Italy are still in the minus, he warned.
The Tourism Minister once again reiterated his commitment to maintaining Croatia's share in European tourism, which surpassed two per cent for the first time last year. That meant that every 50th tourist in Europe came to Croatia.
The biggest increase in tourists were registered from Russia, Spain and Slovenia. Croatiantimes.com


Friday, 6th August, 2010
Croatia celebrates Victory Day
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, PM Jadranka Kosor and several members of the Parliament attended this morning (Thu) in Knin the 15th anniversary of Croatia's military offensive Storm that ended the Homeland War (1991-1995).
Celebrated as Victory Day, the Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of the Homeland Defenders, the 5th of August marks the day when Croatian units entered Knin and the surrounding area held at the time by Serb forces.
Members of the units that first entered Knin raised a 50-metre Croatian flag to the top of the city's Tower.
Croatian media reported earlier that this year's celebration will be the most modest to date because of the recession. Croatiantimes.com

Tuesday, 3rd. August 2010
Failed State Index rates Croatia as 'borderline'
Croatia is considered a "borderline" state while its neighbors Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are "in danger," according to Foreign Policy magazine's Failed States Index that rates the stability of some 177 countries.
The Index looks at twelve different criteria including demographic pressures, refugees and internally displaced persons, human rights, public services and economic decline. It ranks the states according to five categories: critical, in danger, borderline, stable and most stable.
The most stable countries in the world are the Scandinavian States – Norway, Finland and Sweden - followed by Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, New Zealand and Australia. The majority of European Union countries are in the stable category, as are Japan and USA.
The least stable are Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic Congo. Croatiantimes.com

Friday, 30th July, 2010
Croatian Sandra Perkovic youngest ever European throwing champion
The 20-year-old Croatian Sandra Perkovic has become the youngest ever women's Discus Throw champion with her win yesterday (Wed) at the 20th European Athletics Championship held in Barcelona.
Perkovic's last throw was 64.67 metres, bringing this young Croatian athlete a gold medal and her country the first such victory since its independence in 1991.
Her trainer, Ivan Ivanciccome is known for cultivating some of Croatia's greatest throwers. This is his first senior medal, however, as most of other awards his athletes have collected in the past were in junior competitions.
"I dedicate the gold medal to my mother Vesna," Perkovic said. "She has been beside me during my entire career, even then when I almost gave up athletics because of two operations. This gold will bring me even more self-confidence for future competitions," she said.
The silver medal went to Romanian Nicoleta Grasu, and the bronze to Joanna Wisniewski of Poland. Croatiantimes.com

Friday, 30th July, 2010
Germans bids to become Croatia´s top investor
Germans seem to be vying for the title of the biggest foreign investor in Croatia hoping to edge the current leaders Austria and Netherlands from the top slots.
Foreigners invested 23.77 billion Euros in Croatia between 1993 and 2009, according to the data from Croatian National Bank. Austria invested 6.2 billion Euros, leading with a 26.1 per cent share of all investments. The second biggest investors are the Dutch with 4.4 billion euros or 18.5 per cent of the total share.
Germans are in the third place with 2.7 billion, but according to some analysts, this is about to change.
On a recent visit to Croatia, representatives of Germany's leading economic institutions and companies agreed that the country is an important regional destination for Germany's foreign investments.
"From now on, when German entrepreneur says region, he thinks Croatia," Klaus Mangold, the president of the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce said.
"Germans are satisfied only with the number one position, and our goal is to be the biggest investor in Croatia. We are convinced that it is worth to invest in all sectors," he added.
The main targets of foreign investments were the banks (8.4 billion Euros), wholesale trade (2.6 billion), chemical industry (1.6 billion), petroleum products production (1.6 billion), post and telecommunications (1.3 billion), real estate (1.2 billion) and retail (1.1 billion).
Due to the economic crisis, however, investments fell last year from 4.2 billion in 2008 to only 1.87 billion. The biggest single investor last year was Netherlands, with 1.08 billion Euros, followed by Austria with 420.7 million Euros, Hungary with 154.8 million Euros and Slovenia with 108 million Euros, Croatian daily Vecernji List writes. Croatiantimes.com


Thursday, 29th July, 2010
Tadic´s family vacations on Brijuni
The wife and two daughters of Serbian president Boris Tadic spent a short vacation in the residential villa Jadranka on Brijuni island earlier this month, the office of the Croatian president has confirmed.
Tadic's wife Tanja and daughters Masa and Vanja were guests of the Croatian State, visiting after President Ivo Josipovic extended the invitation to the presidential family. Due to his tight schedule, Tadic was not able to join them.
The Serbian first lady and her daughters were very happy with their hosts and had expressed a desire to return next year. The villa Jadranka in which they stayed is one of the oldest residential buildings on the island and was once a home to former-Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito.
Tito entertained many well-know world figures on Brijuni, including Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, both of whom stayed in the same villa, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List writes. Croatiantimes.com

Tuesday, 27th July, 2010
Peres and Kosor emphasize economic cooperation
Croatian Prime Minister Kosor and Israeli President Shimon Peres have agreed on the importance of strengthening the two countries' economic cooperation, during their meeting held on Sunday in Zagreb.
"The area in which we need to enhance our cooperation are economic relations," Kosor said.
The PM emphasized Croatia's openness to Israeli investors, whose investments she believed would increase in the future.
Kosor also invited Israeli tourists to come to Croatia, the daily Jutarnji List writes.
Shimon Peres emphasised the interest of Israeli investors in Croatia. The future depends on investments in science, the Peres said and invited Croatia to participate in projects being developed in Israel. Croatiantimes.com

Monday, 26th July, 2010
Varsavska blockade ends
The blockade of Varsavska street ended on Thursday with activists taking no further action until autumn when Zagreb's citizens return from their summer holidays.
Meanwhile construction of the ramp continues, the Croatian news portal Index writes.
The Zagreb centre has been blocked since Thursday last week, after many activists and residents gathered to protest against the building of the ramp for an underground garage planned in a pedestrian zone.
Police detained some 150 protesters for peacefully resisting during an intervention ordered by the Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic and Interior Minister Tomislav Karamarko.
At an extraordinary session of Zagreb City Assembly on Tuesday, Bandic was asked to resign.
Activists have now said no further action would be taken until autumn when the city can expect mass protests if the construction is not stopped. Croatiantimes

Friday, 23rd July, 2010
Number of people in grey economy doubled since last year
The economic situation has pushed more people into the grey economy, with their numbers doubling since last year.
Senior economist at the World Bank Sanja Madzarevic Sujster said at Thursday's presentation of the institution's report on new EU member states and Croatia that the unfavourable economic situation continued to affect the labour market, with a noticeable trend towards the grey economy, which currently employs 150,000 people. That is a 50 per cent increase from last year, she said.
The economist also warned there could be an increase in fiscal deficit this year. All will depend on the government's willingness to bring it to sustainable levels through rebalance, the Croatian news portal Index writes.
"The slower growth in Croatia compared to the most successful states of EU10 such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic or Poland point to a lack of confidence in recovery. That further emphasises the need for quick and determined implementation of the government's economic recovery programme which represents a solid foundation for the continuation of recovery," she said, adding that procrastination would only up the costs and make exiting the crisis harder.
"Investors have recognised and welcomed the programme, and now it should be quickly introduced," she said. Croatiantimes

Friday, 23rd July, 2010
Russian Lukoil takes over Ina´s Crobenz
Russian oil company Lukoil has taken over INA's Crobenz in a sale valued at more than 20 million kunas (2.8 million Euros).
In additional to Lukoil, Slovenian Petrol and Slovakian fond Slavia Capital were also interested in acquiring INA's subsidiary which had to be sold according to the decision of Croatian Competition Agency. Slovenian's offer of only two million kunas (276,000 Euros) was too low, while Slovakian fond did not manage to prove it had sufficient knowledge and experience which would improve Crobenz's operations, the Croatian daily news sit Index writes.
Lukoil's network of 21 gas stations will now grow with the acquisition of 14 additional stations previously owned by Crobenz. The transaction could sharpen the competition on the domestic market considering that this is an expansion of a Croatian branch of a huge Russian multinational company. Croatiantimes.com


Wednesday, 21st July, 2010
70 per cent of Croatians would like an extra job
Seventy per cent of Croatians would like to find an additional job in order to cover their basic expenses, a survey by job portal posao.hr shows.
Up to 76 per cent said they would use their vacation time for extra work, while 89 per cent are willing to perform a job that is below their intellectual and professional abilities if it is well-paid.
The portal surveyed 1,254 visitors, the majority of them between the ages of 25 and 34 from Zagreb and Zagreb County.
The results also show that despite the large interest in taking on extra work, only 12 per cent of those surveyed had a job in addition to their regular one, the Croatian news portal Index writes.
A significant number of those surveyed (43 per cent) are dissatisfied with their income, while only six per cent are satisfied. Thirty five per cent say that their income is sufficient for covering only their basic needs such as housing and food.
One fifth of those surveyed cannot cover their basics with their income, and only a third can fully cover them.
The main motivation for finding additional work for most is extra income (55 per cent), acquiring new experience (23 per cent), learning something new (18 per cent) and fun (four per cent).
The majority (57 per cent) would spend their additional earnings on expenses such as clothing, education, internet and phone, while more than a fifth (21 per cent) would use the extra income exclusively for basic necessities. Croatiantimes.com

Wednesday, 21st July, 2010
Croatia´s population growth negative in 2009
Croatia saw a mini baby boom last year with a 1.9 per cent increase in the number of babies being born, Central Bureau of Statistics data shows.
A total of 44,754 babies were born last year - an increase of 824 on the year before - with 51.3 per cent of them being boys, and 48.7 per cent girls. The natality rate (newborn for every 1,000 people) was 10.1 in 2009.
In 2009, there was a slight increase (0.5) of deaths, with the mortality rate of 11.8.
The population growth for 2009 was negative, at minus 1.8. Only four counties - Split-Dalmatia county, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Medjimurje County and Zagreb saw a positive growth, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes.
In 2009 there were 22,382 marriages and 5,076 divorces. Croatiantimes.com

Friday, 16th July, 2010
Human rights groups demand release of protestors from Varsavska
The House of Human Rights has sent a letter to Interior Minister Tomislav Karamark condemning the police intervention in Varsavska street and demanding the release of all detained activists.
They have also urged the Minister to stop any further detentions. "If those conditions are not met, we believe that there is justification for having doubt in your competency as the Interior Minister," the letter stated today (Thurs).
They warned that the police have been detaining activists who were resisting peacefully in what was a legally registered demonstration.
In the letter also pointed out that the Magistrate's Court in Zagreb condemned such police action that had taken place at another Varsavska street protest in February.
The activists - who at one point prostrated themselves on the ground, blocking access to Zagreb City Assembly's main entrance - are protesting against the construction of a ramp for an underground garage planned for what is currently a pedestrian zone. Croatiantimes.com

Friday, 16th July, 2010
Accommodation in Croatia/Alojamiento en Croacia/hotels
Exclusive hotel opens in 15th century Marina tower
A new exclusive hotel has been opened in a 15th century tower in the southern Croatian village of Marina.
The Marinska Kula Heritage Hotel offers 16 air-conditioned rooms in a stone built tower that was once used to defend against aTurkish invasion centuries ago.
Rooms in the hotel are each named after different Mediterranean herbs. Croatiantimes.com

Tuesday, 13th July, 2010
Croatian Chamber of Commerce opens branch in Afghanistan
Nadan Vidosevic, president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, is heading a delegation of eleven Croatian companies to Afghanistan.
He will be opening a representative office of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Kabul, which will facilitate the business of Croatian companies as they will be able to participate in public competitions.
The director of Kabul's offices will be Stanku Dunatov, the Croatian news portal Index reports.

Monday, 12th July, 2010
Easy Jet adds cheap flights from Zagreb to London and Paris
Easy Jet airlines has announced it will be offering cheap flights from Zagreb to Paris starting this November and adding further flights to London next February.
For several years now Croatians have been able to travel cheaply to various European destinations, but Paris was not on the list. Easy Jet has been on the Croatian market for the past four years with flights from Dubrovnik and Split to eight and ten destinations abroad, respectively.
That means that Christmas flights to Paris could be around 30 Euros each way. The only drawback of these flights is that for every bag that is not the hand luggage, the passengers will have to pay an additional 22 Euros.
The flights to Paris begin 1 November, and to London 11 February 2011. It is already possible to make reservations, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List writes. Croatiantimes.com


Monday, 12th July, 2010
Young Croatians defiant against unhappiness, index shows
Young Croatians are ignoring the worsening conditions depressing the rest of the nation, a new National Index of Happiness (NIS) shows.
Seven out of ten components that are used for creating the NIS have fallen in comparison to last month's results, concluding that the quality of life is falling but that Croatians continue to feel happy.
Last month Croatians judged their happiness to be at 63.9 on a scale out of 100. That number has fallen this month to 62.6. Croatians are least happy with their life situation (51.5), but are most happy with their health (80.4).
Young people are most satisfied with the current state of things, and they also expect to be happy in two years' time. Those between 45 and 54 years of age are not particularly happy at the moment, while they expect their mood to improve just slightly in the next two years.
Those over 55 are the least happy and are not looking forward to a better future, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List reports. Croatiantimes.com


Wednesday, 7th July, 2010
Croatia and Slovenia to build bridge over Sutla
Croatia and Slovenia are to build a bridge over the River Sutla as a border crossing, the Ministers of Transport announced at a regional meeting today in Zagreb.
The project will be financed jointly by the two states and is expected to cost 2.9 million Euros (403,000 Euros). The construction should start as soon as all paperwork is in order.
Today's meeting in Zagreb brought together the Ministers of Transportation from Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH), Macedonia and Kosovo who signed a declaration about mutual interest in linking south-eastern Europe with other parts of the continent. Serbia and Montenegro could not attend.
The Ministers discussed the Adriatic-Ionian connection that would be in the interest of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania and how to promote the highway as a European corridor.
The Slovenian Minister of Transport Patrik Vlacic said that the remaining eight kilometres of a highway connecting Maribor and Zagreb would be built in the next two to three years. His Croatian counterpart Bozidar Kalmeta said the expected budget rebalance in the autumn would not affect allocations for new roads and bridges. croatiantimes.com

Tuesday,6th July, 2010
DAVIS CUP QUATERFINAL IN SPLIT
Croatia to host Serbia
The eagerly anticipated Davis Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal between Croatia and Serbia will be played at Spaladium Arena in Split from 9-11 July.Spaladium Arena, a multi purpose venue that was opened during the 2009 World Handball Championships, will be hosting a Davis Cup tie for the first time and has a capacity of 10,000.

Croatia ranked No. 7 and Serbia No. 10 in the rankings respectively, It will be meeting for the first time since becoming independent nations. Croatia, the 2005 champion, recorded a routine 5-0 victory over Ecuador in the first round, with Marin Cilic and Ivo Karlovic combining to give the home team an unassailable lead after the opening three rubbers.
Serbia, meanwhile, is currently enjoying its best Davis Cup run having never previously reached the quarterfinals. In the opening round, it came through a hard fought tie against USA, winning 3-2 in Belgrade. Croatian DAVIS CUP team


Monday, 5th July, 2010
Croatian IT Services Market Expected to Recover from Crisis in 2011, IDC Predicts
Zagreb, 05 July 2010 – In 2009, the IT services market in Croatia totaled almost 394 million, representing a year-on-year decline of 7.2% in U.S. dollar terms. Measured in local currency, the market decreased by 0.6% compared to the previous year. IDC expects spending on IT services in Croatia to decline by 0.9% in 2010 but to recover subsequently along with the upturn of the economy and achieve average annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.4% from 2011 to 2014.
"The IT services market in Croatia was dragged down by the 2009–2010 recession but fortunately, the slowdown of the economy is concentrated in the verticals that traditionally have not been IT intensive," says Boris Zitnik, Managing Director IDC Adriatics. "On the other hand, heavy IT spenders like telecoms and banking, continue to show impressive business results, and, most importantly, they will not be able to forestall important IT investments for another year."
The systems Integration category accounted for the largest share (14.8%) of IT services revenue in 2009, followed by custom application development (14.4%) and application consulting and customization (13.5%).
The Croatian public sector was the biggest spender in terms of IT services investment with 22.8% market share. The financial sector placed second with 21.2% share, followed by telecommunications with 19.8% of the total IT services expenditure.
The top three IT services providers in Croatia in 2009 based on revenue were Siemens SIS, Combis, and King ICT, followed by IBM was the leading IT services provider of $39.90 million and 8.2% market share. Combis placed second last year, with $31.08 million for 6.4% share of the market. King ICT ranked third, with $30.34 million and 6.3% share. IBM and Apis IT rounded out the top five IT services providers in the country in 2009, with 5.9% and 5.4% of the market, respectively.
The study Croatia IT Services 2010–2014 Forecast and 2009 Vendor Shares (IDC # ES02S) presents the Croatian IT services industry in 2009 and forecasts expenditures on IT services through 2014. The study provides market size information, vendor market shares, and revenues by IT services categories and vertical markets, and includes profiles of the top five IT services providers, including their IT services portfolios, their presence in individual vertical markets, and their largest contracts in 2009. idc-adriatics.com


Friday, 2nd July, 2010
Military tourism, new attraction on Vis
The island of Vis is offering a new kind of tourism aimed at those who prefer a more active vacation and lovers of military history. Kilometers of tunnels in the centre of the island will tickle the fancy of the history aficionados or those interested in military stories. Even the more traditional traveller in search of sand and beach will not remain indifferent to the historic artillery tubes pointing at the sea. In addition to the man-made wonders, the island's steep cliffs hide many caves in which to hide and explore. In one of these caves, the former leader of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito hid during World War II. The island is also famous for delicious cuisine and vugava (or bugava) wine made from protected species, the Croatian daily Vecernji List reports. croatiantimes.com


Friday, 2nd July, 2010
Croatian Atlantic group purchases Slovenian Droga Kolinska
After a month of negotiations, the Croatian Atlantic Group has taken over the Slovenian Droga Kolinska for a reported 200 million Euros.
The head of Atlantic Group Emil Tedeschi, when entering a bid for the Slovenian firm, disclosed that he would finance the venture with loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
With the purchase of Droga Kolinska, the Atlantic group will become an important regional company, overtaking one of the leading Croatian food, beverage and pharmaceuticals companies Podravka in revenue.
With the move Tedeschi acquires some well known brands as well as an established business in Serbia where the company holds some of its best selling merchandise.
With the acquisition of Droga Kolinska, Atlantic Group will receive 2,598 additional employees on top of 1,700 that it already employs.
Istrabenz, the previous owner, is 450 million Euros in debt and will use funds from sales to return some of its loans.
In addition to Droga Kolinska, Istrabenz is also selling hotels in Croatia, tourist firms in Slovenia, various properties in Ljubljana, Bled and Portoroz as well as oil reserves in Kopar.
Tedeschi ‘s company bid over investment funds Mid Europa Partners, Advent and Warburg Pincus. The exact amount given for Droga Kolinska will be known at today's (Thu) press conference, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List reports. croatiantimes.com


Thursday, 1 st July, 2010
World War II mass graves found in Zagreb
The remains of German soldiers and Ustashe killed by Partisan forces and then buried in a mass grave during WWII have been exhumed and sent off for forensic examination.
Two skulls, bones, a military belt, and a button with the inscription "NDH" referring to the Independent State of Croatia established between 1941 and 1943 and which collaborated with the Nazi regime, were found in the top layer of the dig.
Ivica Relkovic, the president of the Croatian Responsible Society (HOD) discovered the graves on Monday in Gornja Kustosija (Zagreb) following conversations with witnesses.
The HOD is awaiting a court order for further exhumation. Relkovic said that he gave the police a map with six other locations where additional graves are suspected to exist, all within 300 meters of the site.
Milan Bituh, 79, was 14 when he witnessed the execution of 16 German officers and drivers. He said that he never told anyone of what he had seen because because before the 1990s – when Croatia was part of former Yugoslavia – he could have been put in jail for such disclosure.
He denied the claims of some of the HOD officials that a child was murdered at the site, the Croatian daily Vecernji List reports.croatiantimes.com


Thursday, 1 st July, 2010
Croatian wine won a golden medal in Canada
Croatian producer Agrolaguna's wine Castello Festigia 2007 has been awarded a gold medal in Canada.
This is the first time Agrolaguna has sent its wine to the Selections Mondiales des Vins event in Quebec which had 600 producers from 32 countries.croatiantimes.com



Wednesday, 30th June 2010.
Patronage of the Foreign Ministry
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by the Foreign Minister Gordan Jandroković, has confirmed its patronage of the CWG. In his letter, Minister Jandroković emphasized that “the Games are a good way to connect the homeland with Croatians from abroad, especially younger generations from all continents“. It has been confirmed that the Minister will be present at the opening ceremony.


Tuesday, 29th June, 2010
Civil engineers propose 130 projects for revival of economy
Civil engineers will meet with the Minister of Construction Marina Matulovic-Dropulic and Finance Minister Ivan Suker in the next ten days to discuss 130 projects worth 33 billion Euros planned to help overcome the crisis and create jobs.
The engineers who presented their proposal in Opatija last week are now waiting for the government to OK their request for 300 million Euros needed for the paperwork that would enable them to present the projects to investors.
Some of the suggestions for the energy sector include connecting to the South Stream gas pipeline, the construction of a liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal and a nuclear power plant.
In the transport sector the engineers propose building a new terminal at the Zagreb airport, airports for freight traffic in Rijeka and Osijek, Adriatic-Ionian railway (corridor to border of Montenegro) and a light rail transit in Zagreb.
The engineers say the railway construction would be a predominantly Croatian product.
It is expected the investments could reach between 600 million and 1.3 billion Euros. The first phase of the construction would last four years, with part of the investments coming from European Union funds.
According to the cost estimates, the 37 transport-related projects would cost 14.5 billion euros. The percentage of domestic companies involved in the projects would be 70 to 95 percent, some 10,000 new jobs would be created, and once the projects were finished, those investments would bring in around 600 million Euros per year, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes. croatiantimes.com


Monday,28 th June 2010.
RECONCILING FOR THE FUTURE: EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE FOR THE WESTERN BALKANS
A Regional Conference, promoted by ALDA, will be held in Zagreb on 29th June 2010
Regional co-operation programmes in different areas, bilateral relations and cross-border co-operation are the major preconditions to strengthen the post-conflict reconciliation process in the Western Balkans in view of the EU integration of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This will be the topic of a Regional Conference which will be held in Zagreb on the 29th June (Hotel Panorama Sheraton, Trg Krešimira Ćosića 9 Zagreb) organized by ALDA,
the Association of Local Democracy Agencies, within a project, where ALDA is lead partner, supported by the European Commission under the Instrument for Stability - Peace building Partnership support programme. (more)


Monday,28 th June 2010.
PAM visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed at a crucial moment
A high level PAM delegation concluded a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina for a series of official meetings with institutional and political leaders in Sarajevo. Members of the PAM Bureau and from parliamentary delegations of Western Balkan countries, members of PAM, formed part of the mission co-organised by the PAM Secretariat in collaboration with the Bosnian Parliament, on 23 June 2010.
Meetings were held with Mr. Stefan Simosas, Head of the Office of the High Representative, European Union Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Discussions took place with the Presidency collegium of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, namely Ms Dusanka Kajkic, Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples, Mr Beriz Belkic, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ms Branca Tadorovic, Secretary General of the House of Peoples, Mr Marin Vukoja, Secretary General of the House of Peoples, Mr Goran Spiric, Advisor to Ms. Majkic, and Mr. Sefik Dzaferovic, Chairman of the Constitutional-Law Committee of the House of Representatives. (more)


Wednesday, 23 rd June, 2010
First joint session of governments of Croatia and Bosnia takes place in Split
The first joint meeting of the Croatian government and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) was launched yesterday (Mon) in Vila Dalmacija in Split.
The meeting - intended as a confirmation of the good relations between the two countries - took place under the chairmanship of Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BH Nikola Spiric.
Relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina are high on the list of Croatia's foreign policy priorities, not only because they share a 1,001 kilometres of border, but also because a large number of Croatians live in BH, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List writes.
"I think that today is the beginning of stronger cooperation between us and proves that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia are not only neighbouring countries but also countries that continuously build friendships and bridges of cooperation," the Croatian Prime Minister said, expressing her belief that the meeting would be an important contribution.
"I would like to emphasise that BH received a NATO action plan with great support from the Croatian republic, and that we will continue to support it on its Euro-Atlantic journey," she added.
Kosor expressed her desire to strengthen economic and border cooperation, but also expanding relations in the areas of science, technology and culture.
"Our bilateral relations are on the rise," Spiric affirmed.
‘I agree with PM Kosor that borders should not be used for separation, but that all depends on the politicians. Where people are in conflict with time and future unfortunately, the borders are much firmer."
"I hope that there will come a time when we will talk about the border and all of the matters of interest to both of our countries," he added. croatiantimes.com


Friday, 2nd July 2010.
Romanian National Defence Strategy Describes Media as 'Security Threat'
The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East and Central Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI), is very concerned about the Romanian National Defence Strategy which has been adopted by the Romanian Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) and passed on to the Romanian Parliament.
(more)


Wednesday, 23rd June 2010.
Croatian Chamber of Economy offices in Russia cost 636,000 Euros per year
The offices of the newly opened Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK) in Moscow will cost the Croatian taxpayers 636,000 Euros per year.
For 780 square metres in one of the most prestigious business zones in Moscow, HGK will pay 1,000 dollars or 815 Euros per month.
HGK has defended the cost saying the Russian market offers the best perspectives for Croatia, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes.
HGK says Croatian businessmen will be able to use the spaces for meetings, while the residential part will be used for employees of HGK who will be acquiring knowledge about the Russian market and learning the language in order to help Croatian entrepreneurs permeate the market.
"Considering the intensification of Russian-Croatian relations - confirmed by three visits of Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor during the first year of her mandate and the visits of two Croatian presidents in the last year - the opening of the representative offices is a big step for the Croatian economy and a stepping stone not only to the Russian market, but also the surrounding countries," HGK said. croatiantimes.com


Monday, 21st, June 2010
Croatians would rather have raise than more vacation
More than half of Croatians believe they do not have enough vacation days, but faced with a choice of more free time or a raise, 85 per cent would choose additional cash, a survey by business portal MojPosao shows.
The average vacation time for the 500 people surveyed is 23 days. Workers in health care, public administration, the judiciary and legal profession, as well as in science and education had the longest vacations (26 days on average), while those working in manufacturing machinery and equipment had the least number of days (21). They are followed by tourism and hospitality employees, construction workers, architects and trade and IT personnel all of whom get on average 22 days.
Most of those surveyed - 87 per cent - plan to go on vacation this year, but 63 percent said the current economic situation will influence their plans, a significant increase on last year's 44 per cent.
The economic crisis will lead to lower spending (45 per cent of those surveyed said they would spend less), and 29 per cent will not travel anywhere even though they will take their vacation, the Croatian portal Business writes. croatiantimes.com



Monday, 21st, June 2010
Slovenian Petrol to invest 75 million Euros by 2014
Slovenian company Petrol intends to invest as much as 75 million Euros in Croatia by 2014, further expanding its retail network and creating 300 jobs.
From the current 75 gas stations, Petrol plans to expand to 100.
In the first two months of this year, two Petrol firms in Croatia - Petrol Croatia and Euro Petrol - achieved net sales of 71.4 million Euros, which is 20 per cent more than the same period last year and 12 per cent more than planned.
Aleksandar Svetelsek, the CEO of Petrol said that the company is undertaking the expansion with full force. "We also increased our marketing budget for Croatia by five or six times," he added.
He announced that Petrol would also put in an offer for buying Crobenz, an INA subsidiary which has 15 petrol stations. With the acquisition of Drnis Jadranplin, Petrol will also become a distributor of liquefied petroleum gas in Croatia, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes. croatiantimes.com


Monday, 21st, June 2010
Pannonian bicycle marathon starts 26 June
The second Pannonian bicycle marathon will take place at the end of the month, across eight counties in central and eastern Croatia.
It will be a recreational rather than a competitive event bringing together clubs from Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and possibly Italy.
The cyclists will stop at each county's headquarters and light candles for the soldiers who died during the Homeland War (1991-1995). Each county will also organise presentations of its cultural and tourist offerings.
The marathon begins on Saturday 26 of June with the finish line is in Ilok (easternmost town in Croatia) on Thursday, July 1. croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 15th June 2010
President may sign Labour Law referendum petition
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said that depending on the outcome of negotiations between the government and labour unions, he may sign the petition for a referendum on Labour Law reform.
"I will sign the referendum depending on the results of the negotiations. But the most important thing is to sit down at the table and negotiate," President Josipovic said.
He added that the referendum refers to only one of numerous questions which need to be addressed, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes.
"Referendum brings great risks. Negotiations are an opportunity to get the most that one can. And that social partnership between the government and the unions could be key for the stability of the country," Josipovic said adding that there are no alternatives to negotiations.
"Regardless of how things unfold, at one moment everyone will have to sit down at the table and the sooner that is done and the sooner that some agreement is reached, all the better for Croatia. Unions will return to the table sooner or later. Maybe after the referendum," the President said.
The government's proposed Labour Law amendments would limit the continuation of worker's rights established by the collective agreements to six months after the expiration or termination of the agreement.

It would also enable the cancellation of all collective agreements.
Trade unions find both provisions unacceptable, saying that they would lead to the break down of the system of collective bargaining and would enable employers to cancel collective agreements en masse and establish unilateral labour regulations. croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 15th June 2010
Building permit issuance drops in April
There were 861 building permits issued in April, a 19.8 per cent drop compared to the same month last year, the Central Bureau of Statistics data shows.
The total number of building permits issued so far this year is 14.6 per cent lower in comparison to the same period last year.
In April, 83.7 per cent of the permits were issued for construction of buildings. At the same time, 80 per cent of permits was for new construction, while 20 per cent were issued for renovations.
Some 1,182 new apartments with an average surface of 96.4 sqm are expected to be built with the permits issued in April, the Croatian business portal Poslovni Dnevnik writes. croatiantimes.com


Monday, 14th June 2010.
PAM Standing Committees to convene in Belgrade to finalise
Reports and Resolutions for the Plenary Session in Morocco

Belgrad 24.- 27. June 2010.

The three Standing Committees of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean will meet in Belgrade on 24-27 June at the invitation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

Monday, 14th June 2010.
Bill Gates and the Energy Research Dilemmare is an idea that has been around for a long time, at least since the fall of 1973: All that stands between the United States and an abundant energy future is a lack of spending on research and development. It is as though the Knights Templar could find the Holy Grail, if only the Pope would commit just a few more resources to the hunt.


Monday, 14th June, 2010
Parliament rejects proposal to remove prohibition on alliances with other former Yugoslav states
All parliamentary parties have rejected changing the Constitution to allow Croatia to align with other states in any sort of federation resembling the former Yugoslavia.
MP Milorad Pupovac's suggestion to remove the provision was slammed by the majority Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) as unacceptable, while the main opposition Social Democratic Party was also against it.
"That prohibition from joining some Balkan or Yugoslav association should remain there permanently because of [past] negative experiences," said Vladimir Seks, Chairman of the Committee on the Constitution.
Goran Cular from the Faculty of Political Sciences said that when Croatia voted for independence from former Yugolsavia in 1991, almost three million Croatian citizens - 93.2 per cent of voters - said "yes" to Croatia being able to enter into an alliance with other states.
In 1997, the then-president of Croatia Franjo Tudjman changed the constitution to exclude that.
"We prohibited alliances with our neighbours instead of prohibiting alliances with un-democratic regimes like that of [Slobodan] Milosevic. That is uncivilized," Zoran Pusic from the Civic Committe of HUman rights said. croatiantimes.com




Wednesday, 9th June, 2010
Croatian tourists visit shrine, foreign tourists prefer Dubrovnik city walls
The shrine in Marija Bistrica was the most visited landmark in Croatia in the first three months of this year, according to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (HDZ).
Some 22,000 mainly domestic tourists visited the shrine located in Zagorje, a region in north Croatia.
The destination of choice for most foreign tourists was Dubrovnik. Over 13,000 tourists visited the city walls in the first quarter of this year, and most of them - almost 11,000 - were from abroad.
Another preferred target of foreign visitors were Croatian national parks. Plitvice was the favourite (10,000 visitors), followed by Kornati (7,000), Krka (5,000) and Brijuni (2,000). croatiantimes.com


Wednesday, 9th June, 2010
Spain and Iran to build LNG terminal near Ploce
Gas Natural SDG S.A. from Spain and National Oil Company from Iran are planning to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal for central Europe near Rogotin in southern Dalmatia.
The project is expected to cost 700 million Euros, and the two companies would enter after the formation of a group including Berber from Zagreb, a company that specializes in business project development.
The location of the terminal would be two kilometres of airway from the port of Ploce. It would be built on a 25 hectares of land currently owned by the Vebecot company.
Berber officials have concluded a chain of conversations in Iran and Spain and have invited the Croatian energy companies Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP) and Plinacro to join the project. It has been suggested that the Gas Natural would be the holder of the investment, while the Iranian company as a co-investor would guarantee the supply.
The Iranian government has unofficially confirmed its interest to participate in the financing of the project and ensure the needed quantities of LNG starting in 2015, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List writes.
Djuro Popijac, the Croatian Minister of the Economy has given his support to energy projects that are "economically and environmentally viable."
A study of the potential environmental impacts and the project's compliance with the regional plan will be commissioned due to the size of the undertaking. croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 8th June 2010
Number of Croatian islands still mystery
The Croatian coast is dotted with many beautiful islands, but no one seems to know by how many exactly.
There are at least five different numbers in circulation.
Marketing posters recently released in Serbia by the Croatian National Tourist Board claim there are 1,244.
But experts at the department of Cartography at the Croatian Hydrographic Institute (HHI) say that number is wrong and that Croatia has two additional islands, bringing the total up to 1,246.
The official tourism page Istria.com insists on 1,233 islands, Croatian daily Jutarnji List writes.
Until 2003, Croatia had 1,185 islands officially registered, although experts agree that this number is outdated.
"Just with aerial photographs it is hard to prove what is an island, reef or a skerry and we do not have enough manpower to be able to properly categorize the landscape," said Pijo Brocic, chief of the Cartographic Department of HHI.
"That is why we do not have time to concern ourselves with counting, but our priorities are developing maps for navigation safety," he added mentioning the cuts in staff the Institute suffered in the last 15 years. croatiantimes.com


Wednesday, 2nd June, 2010
Robert Kovac retires
Former Croatian national defender Robert Kovac has decided to end his professional career as a football player.

He has already informed his club Dinamo Zagreb about his decision, the daily newspaper Sportske Novosti has reported.

Before moving to Dinamo Zagreb, Robert Kovac used to play in Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund. croatiantimes.com



Wednesday, 2nd June, 2010
IT associations oppose high tax bracket proposal
An IT Association with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) has expressed its strong opposition to recent proposal to introduce a new tax bracket of 50 per cent on incomes over 25,000 kunas (3,441 Euros).
They argue that the government's support of the proposal would discourage those citizens who deserve, because of their skills, work excellence and knowledge, to earn more.
Trade unions have supported the proposal made last week by the Croatian Social Liberal Party head Darinko Kosor, while the Croatian Employers Associations has vehemently opposed it.
In the Croatian Chamber of Commerce they argue that implementation of this tax bracket would lead to the loss of highly valued workplaces in the IT industry and the cessation of developments based on IT knowledge.
The Council of the IT Associations believes that the high tax bracket would lead to a cessation of foreign companies' investing in Croatia. Because of increased salary expenses, foreign companies operating in Croatia would move their offices to countries where it would be easier – and less expensive – to operate.
That way, they argue, Croatia would lose income taxes from these companies' workers, but also the high-tech knowledge needed for the improvement of other industry branches.
They also believe the new tax bracket would contribute to an exodus of domestic IT companies, especially those dedicated to software development for which the main costs are those associated with labour. This labour would be much cheaper in countries like Serbia and Macedonia, whose cadre does not lag behind Croatia's.
The Association believes that people who contribute to their countries and their firms deserve to be appropriately rewarded.
The association says that if that doesn't happen a decrease in state's tax income can be expected with the introduction of the new tax bracket because of the expansion of the grey economy, brain drain and cessation of development of Croatian IT industry but also of the other linked industries.croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 1st June 2010
Croatian marketing campaign in Serbia may fall short of desired 100,000 visitors
Croatia has launched a marketing campaign worth 234,000 Euros in Serbia in a hope to attract 100,000 visitors this year.
With its "tourism attack" of billboards and TV commercials, Croatia is beating all its competitors. Greece, Turkey, Montenegro and Tunisia have been overshadowed by the Croatian campaign. The only potential marketing competitor is Serbia itself which is planning on launching its own domestic campaign "My Country, my travels."
Croatian Minister of Tourism Damir Bajs hopes to bring 100,000 Serbian tourists to Croatia, 30,000 more than the last year.
But Croatian hotels may be losing the battle to historically lower prices in Greece, Turkey or Tunisia. Another difficulty is that purchasing power in Serbia has fallen recently.
Greece is expected to further lower its prices because of the depth of the crisis. On the other hand, Montenegro offers seven days in private accommodation and a return train ticket for only 99 Euros. For those for whom money is not a problem, new destinations such as Italy and Spain have been opened with the elimination of visa requirements for Serbia.
Aleskandar Susa from National Tourism Organization of Serbia said that while the campaign is likely to attract more Serbian tourists, the goal of 100,000 sounds too ambitions. "Croatia's offer is based on hotels. And from here, an all-inclusive hotel in Turkey, with aqua park costs 25 Euros per day."
"Such offers cannot be found on the Croatian coast under 80 or 90 Euros."
Nebojska Stikic, product manager from Jolly Travel agency in Belgrade says that they have been receiving inquires, but that so far sales equal to last year's demand when there was no big marketing campaign.
"The most popular places are Istria and Kvarner. Most often it is the couples that are inquiring, or groups of two or three, while families with children are hesitating."
"But this market is unpredictable," he added. "Serbians decide at the last minute, so in the end we might be surprised by the numbers," he said. croatiantimes.com

Friday, 14th May, 2010
Green Action points out environmentally and socially harmful projects
Zelena akcija (Green Action)from Zagreb, Croatia and CEE Bankwatch Network today unveiled a ‘menu' of 13 environmentally or socially harmful projects in southeast Europe financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
At a press conference on the day before the EBRD opens its annual meeting in Zagreb, activists from six southeast European countries outlined examples of environmentally harmful - or simply ineffective - projects.
"Beyond the pomp and glare of the EBRD's high-level meetings and receptions, real people and the environment are impacted every day - for good or for bad - by projects financed by the bank, including power plants, motorways and waste management centres," said CEE Bankwatch Network's Southeast Europe Co-ordinator, Fidanka Bacheva McGrath.
"While the bank does make some good investments, for example in energy efficiency, overall it is promoting transport, energy, consumption and waste management systems which are simply not sustainable. The EBRD's continued support for coal and oil projects is particularly scandalous in this era when serious emissions reductions are needed."

"Some of the projects on the list may seem surprising, as they appear to solve environmental problems," added Marijan Galovic, co-ordinator for monitoring financial institutions at Zelena akcija. "Unfortunately they represent wasted opportunities. The waste management projects, for example, fail to put Croatia on the path to high re-use and recycling levels and will still result in the vast majority of waste being landfilled. On the other hand, the Zagreb wastewater treatment plant, although some form of treatment was definitely needed, is oversized and overpriced - EUR 326.7 million at the last count - and doesn't even process the sludge properly."
The EBRD's Board of Governors is expected to approve a EUR 10 billion capital increase for the bank at its meeting tomorrow. In January of this year Bankwatch and 45 other civil society organisations including Zelena akcija put forward a set of proposals to the bank and its shareholder countries for steps the bank needs to make if this extra money is to benefit people and the environment.
"Among the most urgent steps the EBRD needs to take are to phase out lending for fossil fuel projects and aviation, and to decrease lending for motorways, which would breathe life into its goal of contributing to a low-carbon, energy efficiency society. Unfortunately we've seen no concrete commitments in this direction so far," commented Pippa Gallop, Interim EBRD Co-ordinator at Bankwatch. croatiantimes.com

Thursday, 13th May, 2010
PM´s nicknames debated at press conference
Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor's nicknames were the centre of discussion during a press conference of the Association of Women in the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) held in Dubrovnik, yesterday (Tues).Dubravka Maruncic, the president of the Association's Dubrovnik branch said that the diminutive "Jaca" - which the media often called Kosor - was inappropriate. "Behind such a nickname lies a large dose of cynicism. This is not a question of a ‘pet' name, but rather of a negative, mocking nickname," she said adding that the PM should be called "Jadre" if the norms of Croatian language are to be respected, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes.Kosor mentioned the media's use of the nickname at a conference for Gender Equality in the Media which she opened last Friday. She spoke of numerous instances in which her fashion accessories such as brooches and purses were inappropriately commented upon as well as that she is often referred to in the media by her diminutive nickname "Jaca."Maruncic said she found the media's use of the nickname not only cynical, but reflective of gender inequalities. "This nickname does not respect the woman behind it, the politician that dared to do her job. Her work is also not respected," she said. croatiantimes.com

Thursday, 13th May, 2010
Croatian LNG project finally to get underway
The Croatian liquid natural gas (LNG) project Adria LNG near Krk Island will finally get underway next year.
Croatian oil firm INA, a subsidiary of Hungarian oil and gas producer MOL, electricity firm HEP and gas supplier Plinacro have agreed to form a consortium called LNG Hrvatska that will have a 25-per-cent
interest in the project.
The Croatian firms' dithering has set the project's timetable back by a year and a half. Its cost is now estimated to be one billion Euros, up from the original 800 million Euros, Austrian Times reports.
The consortium includes Austrian OMV, German E.ON Ruhrgas, French Total and Slovene Geoplin. OMV has an interest of 32.47, E.ON has an interest of 39.17 per cent, Total an interest of 27.36 per cent and
Geoplin a token interest of one per cent in the project. croatiantimes.com

Wednesday, 12th May, 2010
Prime Minister Kosor opens "Gender equality in the media" conference in Zagreb
Women are shown in the media most often in the context of entertainment and affairs rather than politics and economics, the "Gender equality in the media" roundtable discussion organised by the government's Bureau for Gender Equality said on Friday.
Croatia's Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor opened the discussion, drawing on some of her personal experiences to illustrate the unfair treatment of women by the media.
She spoke of numerous instances in which her fashion accessories such as brooches and purses were inappropriately commented upon as well as that she is often referred to in the media by her diminutive nickname "Jaca."
An examination of 12,000 articles showed women are not represented in the media as often and as fairly as men. Gordana Lukac Koritnik, the Gender Equality Ombudsperson, said that an analysis of the front pages of the two most circulated dailies shows that only 23 percent of covers had women on them, and only 24 percent of the headlines mentioned them.
The coordinator of women's rights group B.a.b.e. Sanja Sarnavka warned that in ads and commercials - which take up 60 to 80 percent of media space - 70 percent feature women, while they are underrepresented in informational programmes.
Speaking from her own experience, PM Kosor said that women must invest three times as much energy as men in their political lives. croatiantimes.com

Tuesday, 11th May, 2010
Protestors demand new name for Marshall Tito square
Protestors gathered at Trg Marsala Tita (Marshall Tito square) in Zagreb on Saturday to demand it be renamed so it no longer bears the name of the former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito.
This is the fourth annual protest organized by Krug za Trg (Circle for the Square) association. Protestors chanted "Let's remove symbols of evil" and "Communist crimes are not anti-fascism."
Zeljko Tomasevic of the organising association explained that the protestors gathered once again on the anniversary when "the Communist army - which consisted of chetniks - entered Zagreb, to demand once again the Croatian government implement the European Parliament Resolution on European Conscience and Totalitarianism which obliges it to pay respects to victims of totalitarianism, which is in opposition to the magnification of communist dictator Tito."
He added that documents exist proving Tito was overseeing axe executions committed at the end of World War II, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes.
On the thirtieth anniversary of his death, the former Yugoslav leader remains a polemic figure. He was the head of former Yugoslavia from its inception after World War II until his death in 1980. croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 11th May, 2010
Seasonal employment weak help for labour market
Seasonal employment may be helping slow down the growth of unemployment, but it has not stopped it, analysts say.
There were 318,000 people unemployed in March, up 0.3 percent on a monthly basis and 20 percent on a yearly basis. In the first quarter of this year, there were 20.6 percent more people unemployed than for the same period in 2009.
The average number of employed fell by 6 percent compared to the first quarter of last year. The average unemployment rate was 18.2 percent, which is 3.4 percent more than in 2009.
Ana Lokin, an analyst for Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ) said that the decrease in unemployment that the government announced last week for April is a temporary occurrence, at least for this year.
The economic recovery is not on the horizon yet as can be gathered from current indicators and cautious employers are unlikely to open new work places until they are certain that their activity has taken off, Lokin warns.
Usually one to two quarters are necessary for the economic activity growth to be reflected in the labour market, so it is expected that autumn months will again bring growth in unemployment, Croatian daily Vecernji List reports.croatiantimes.com


Friday,7th May 2010.
Karadzic and the suffering of Sarajevo Children
THE HAGUE – The trial of Radovan Karadzic continues with the evidence of former head nurse in the pediatric surgery ward in the Kosevo hospital in Sarajevo and former chief of the UN civil sector for BH. New prosecution witnesses will testify at the trials of Mico Stanisic and Stojan Zupljanin, Zdravko Tolimir and Jovica Stanisic and Franko Simatovic. The defense will call new witnesses at the trial of Momcilo Perisic. more


Thursday, 6th May 2010.
IRDA ranking
TOP -10 rally drivers
The IRDA – International Rally Drivers Association announces that the Top Ten of drivers and codrivers whohave scored the most points in the ranking from January 1st to April 30th is as follows.

Position DRIVER CODRIVER
1 Alessandro BROCCOLI Nicola ARENA
2 Luca CANTAMESSA Giovanni BERNACCHINI
3 Felice RE Luca PEDERSOLI Angela FORINA
4 Gianluca LINARI Mara BARIANI Matteo ROMANO
5 Mauro TRENTIN Paolo GREGORIANI
6 Paolo ANDREUCCI Piercarlo CAPOLONGO
7 Simone CAMPEDELLI Danilo FAPPANI
8 Ivan FERRAROTTI Lorena BOERO
9 Daniele BATISTINI Anna ANDREUSSI
10 Jacopo ARALDO Alessandro DEL BARBA

After the first four months of rallies run in Italy in the world in 2010, where drivers or codrivers with Italian or San Marino licence took part in, the Drivers' ranking is led by Luca Rossetti (3416 pts), second placed is Giandomenico Basso (2855 pts), Paolo Andreucci is third (2717 pts), the first amongst codrivers is Matteo Chiarcossi (3296 pts), followed by Mitia Dotta (2855 pts) and Anna Andreussi in third (2717 pts).
The IRDA database already contains all the results from 2009 to today of the Italian drivers and codrivers in all the events worldwide. www.irdassociation.com


Wednesday, 5th May, 2010
Two Croatian hostels get Hi-Quality rating
The first two Croatian hostels received Hostelling International's (HI) Hi-Quality certificates and thus joined a group of only four such establishments in Eastern Europe.
The Hi-Quality certificate is a management tool that "defines processes and routines to run the hostel efficiently, and enable staff to focus their energies on delivering standards to give you the best possible hostel experience," according to the HI website.
The two Croatian recipients are located in Rijeka and Dubrovnik and are part of Croatian Youth Hostels Association (HFHS).
HFHS pointed out that during the audit the facilities were positively evaluated in all the key processes pertaining to property management, reception work, cleaning, maintenance and kitchen.
There are only four Hi-Quality certified hostels in Eastern Europe. Out of 4,000 Hostelling International hostels around the world only 220 hostels have the certificate. croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 4th May, 2010
Few Croatians have faith in government´s economic recovery plan

Only 22 per cent of Croats believe that the government's new anti-recession plan will have a positive effect on the economy, research by Nova TV shows.
An 800-person survey found that 62 per cent thought that the measures would not help get the country out of crisis.
The government introduced its package of reforms two weeks ago. The programme consists of more than 60 measures affecting the economy, science, public administration and local government.
Forty-seven per cent of Croats fear that the measures will affect their personal incomes negatively, while 38 per cent believe that they will not have any impact.
In terms of civil rights, 77 per cent believe that they must be maintained while 12 per cent would support temporary reductions, Croatian daily Vecernji List has reported.croatiantimes.com


Friday, 30th April, 2010
Croatian government urges constitutional reforms
At a closed session on Tuesday the Croatian government proposed constitutional amendments for sections that are relevant to the country's entrance into the European Union.
With the approval of the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution it also suggested the inclusion of all national minorities into the preamble and the provision for the removal of the statute of limitations for privatization-related crimes.
Prime Minister Kosor said that these amendments would bring the country closer to finalizing EU negotiations which she hopes will happen by the end of the year. Some analysts have suggested that this is unlikely, however, as three additional EU ascension chapters have not yet been opened.
"If we do not start the procedures we will miss the deadlines," said Kosor warning about those coming up at the end of April. "There is no reason for that and I believe that all of the political parties undoubtedly agree about Croatia's entering into the EU."
The main opposition party Social Democratic Party (SDP) wants the constitutional changes to include the regulation of the voting in the diaspora, a change that the majority party Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has been avoiding as a significant number of their supporters are voters from Bosnia and Herzegovina, some analysts say.
If SDP refuses to support the proposal, the government would not have the needed two thirds majority to push the changes through, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes.
"I can't believe that SDP would vote against Croatia's entrance into EU, against the end of negotiations and against the not having statute of limitations on privatization-related crimes. Those would really be strange messages," the Prime Minister said. croatiantimes.com

 


Thursday, 29th April, 2010
Number of criminal offenses drops in 2009
The number of criminal offenses in 2009 was 2.3 percent lower than in the previous year, the Interior Ministry report for the parliament shows.
State Secretary at the Ministry of the Interior Ivica Buconjic said: "Police was successful last year. We can say that it is achieving positive results and the same level of effectiveness as in other countries."
He emphasized that the number of murders, incidents of youth violence and violence during sports events decreased, as did the economic and drug-related crimes.
At 116, the number of last year's traffic-related deaths was the lowest since 1966, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes.
But Igor Dragovan, member of the Parliament from Social Democratic Party, was critical of the report, saying that it shows little progress toward depoliticizing of the police, something that the Interior Minister Tomislav Karamarko had promised to address.
He added that numbers are not assurance of safety. "People's feelings are more important," he said. croatiantimes.com


Thursday, 29th April, 2010
FIFA ranks Croatia number 9 in the world
The Croatian national team has risen one spot to the ninth place in the latest official Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) rankings.
After entering the top ten in the last edition of the ranking, the Croatian team made another step toward the top that is currently occupied by Brazil.
Behind Croatia is France who fell two places since the last time to number ten. croatiantimes.com

Wednesday, 28th April, 2010
Bike-riding as a new lesson in primary schools
Fifth graders across Croatia will be able to learn responsible bike riding in elective classes starting the next school year.
Teams consisting of instructors, Croatian Auto club professionals and policemen will be available to teach these youngest participants in traffic about responsible and safe cycling.
In Zagreb alone there are approximately 180 kilometres of bike paths and the city is planning as many more in the next five years with the network encompassing the entire city.
Darinka Jug, the president of Bicycle Association said: "Every day more and more citizens are using bikes. In the last 10 years, modelled after the European Union countries, a lot is being invested in cycling. Every new street that is built or renovated must have a bike path in order to receive the usage permit.
Riding on sidewalks is fined by a fine of 300 kunas (41 Euros). croatiantimes.com


Tuesday, 27th April 2010
New political party presented in Zagreb
A new political party Obiteljska Stranka (Family Party) was presented on Saturday to Zagreb's residents at the city's main square Trg Bana Jelacica.
Although in existence for a year, this is only its second public appearance after an event held ten days ago in Split.
The president Ivica Relkovic said: "Our party is different from the others because we are neither on the left nor on the right. We are advocating for a new generation of politicians who will not be burdened by history."
He added that Obiteljksa Stranka will take care of the county's citizens every day and not only at election time, the Croatian daily Vecernji List reports.
But passerby Ivan Begic was sceptical. "I don't believe anyone anymore, not even God. Everyone does that they want but there is not progress." croatiantimes.com

Tuesday, 27th April 2010
World Bank gives support to Croatian economic reforms
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) has welcome the Croatian government's anti-recession measures, the Minister of Finance Ivan Suker said upon his return from the World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington.
"Croatia was given good grades for its monetary and fiscal policies and the government's measures for the economic recovery were well received," Suker said.
"We also emphasized that the Ministry of Finance will suggest new legislations by June in order to implement the program as quickly as possible," he added.
Peter Harrold, WB Country Director for Central Europe and the Baltic Countries said the WB encouraged the government's program because it "addresses those key questions that need to be resolved."
"Maybe the lowering of the budget deficit could be even quicker, but the most important things are fast and strong implementation of these measures for which Croatia can expect the World Bank's help."
The institution's aid to Croatia tripled last year reaching 375 million Euros. It will be even bigger, the officials say, if the government pushes the reforms through quickly and energetically.
"We want to help Croatia with its reforms because they are the key to growth of the economy and lowering of the unemployment."
The representatives of the IMF are supposed to meet on Wednesday in Zagreb with members of the Croatian government to discuss certain measures in detail, the Croatian daily Vecernji List writes. croatiantimes.com


Monday, 26th April 2010
Kosor defends economic recovery measures
Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor will introduce the government's anti-recession programme "with or without consensus," she said Friday at a conference organised by Croatian daily Jutarnji List and Microsoft Windays Business.
The programme consists of more than 60 measures affecting the economy, scientific sector, public administration and local government.
"This is my programme, I checked all the measures from the first to the last and I have taken on a lot of responsibility. I will implement them with or without consensus. We cannot wait anymore," Kosor said.
"The measures present a radical move for a better tomorrow. We should have done this two, four, 10 even 15 years ago," the PM continued adding that she could not have done it earlier in her mandate but now that she is "in the saddle and holding the reins" she can assure that the "horse" is moving in the right direction.
Some are short-term measures, while others will be introduced over a longer period of time until 2020, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List reports.
One short-term measure introduces three income tax brackets instead of the current four and eliminates crisis tax starting with November 1st.

One of the crisis areas, according to the government is the current pension system which will be 17 billion kunas (2.3 billon Euros) short this year.
The rise in prices of energy sources is another issue, the PM pointed out. She said the country would not be facing a current sharp rise in electricity prices if small incremental increases had happened over the last few years when such measures were avoided.
Kosor called on all parliamentary parties to reach a consensus on the implementation of the measures. She said she was confident the measures would get public support.
"Why?" Kosor asked rhetorically. "So that we are all better off tomorrow." croatiantimes.com

Monday, 26th April 2010
Awarded US wine producer keen to launch business in Sucuraj at the island of Hvar
California based Sunce Winery owner Frane Franicevic has revealed plans of a possible business launch on the island of Hvar, Croatia after his company achieved success at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
In what has long been considered the premier wine competition in all of North America Frane Franicevic established Sunce as one of the most decorated wineries this past year, collecting 15 medals.
"My wife and I have talked numerous times about launching production in Croatia. We even visited Grgich's winery on the Peljesac Peninsula. We would prefer to launch in my home village of Sucuraj on the island of Hvar, possibly offering food pairings and lodging. My wife is even more enthusiastic about this endeavor than I am. But we would like to contribute to the local economy," Frane Franicevic told the Croatian Times.

He has also said wines produced in Croatia had a chance of entering the US market.
"My wife and children and I try to go home to Croatia every Christmas and summer. Comparing my most recent visit in 2007 to those 5-10 years before, I noticed a marked difference in the wines, particularly the wines from the Dalmatian Coast -I would say yes, they are very ready in terms of quality.
"However, the wines that would compare to mid-level wines here in the US were very expensive and were priced as though they were in the elite category. So, their costs must be pretty high - perhaps due to access to newer oak and technology," Franicevic said.
The awarded Croatian roots American wine maker has come up with his list of best Croatian wines: "Here are some reds that I look for when I go home: Dingac, Postup and Plavac Mali. Of the whites, I'm partial to Posip. Some of the brands I'm familiar with and have ordered at restaurant tables in Croatia are Kozlovic, Bibich and Milos-Plavac.
"I found some little boutique wineries on the island of Hvar, and one really good wine came from nearby Sucuraj - I wish I could recall the name. But my favorite beverage from Croatia is still Prosek and I make one at my winery that comes pretty close to the ones back home".
Franicevic who emigrated to the US when he was 17 said he is still passionate about his homeland. "My mother and father moved back to Sucuraj in the 70s and my mother still tends to her orchards of Olives and fruit by herself. My sister never left Croatia and lives in Split. I still retain Croatian citizenship which I covet wholeheartedly". (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 22nd April 2010
Osijek gets new bridge
The mayor of Osijek Kresimir Bubalo announced yesterday (Tue) that the east Croatian city will get a new pedestrian bridge as early as next year.
The new General Urban Plan (GUP) includes the building of the bridge intended to make a better connection with left shore of Drina, infrastructure for another trade zone and the renovation of the city's central square Trg Slobode (Liberty Square).
The city plans to offer various incentives to investors in order to encourage the creation of jobs in the new business zone Nemetin. The city's other business centre Tenja is expected to bring some 500 new jobs, the Croatian business portal Business reports. (croatiantimes.com)

Thursday, 22nd April 2010
Google virtual keyboard in Croatian
Google has introduced a virtual keyboard for its search pages that are not in English, including one for its site in Croatian.
The virtual keyboards allow their users to input precise search terms regardless of the language key of the physical keyboard, the Croatian business portal Poslovni reports.
The gadget is particularly useful for languages that do not use Latin script like Arabic, Greek and Thai. (croatiantimes.com)

Wednesday, 21st April 2010
Srebrenica genocide suspect arrested in Croatia
A Slovenian wanted for his part in the Srebrenica genocide was arrested at the Croatian border on a bus coming from Serbia.
Interpol officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina issued a red alert warrant for Franz Kos, 44, arrest for his alleged involvement in the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Bosnian men and boys.
Kos was part of the army of Republika Srpska at the time.
The Croatian authorities will keep Kos in custody for 45 days, during which time the court in Sarajevo must submit all relevant documents. The magistrate Milan Kojic said that otherwise they will have to release him.
"He also has the right to appeal our decision, whatever that may be. Finally, his extradition will have to be signed by the Croatian Minister of Justice," he told the Croatian daily 24 Sata. (croatiantimes.com)


Wednesday, 21st April 2010
Croatians have little faith in PM Kosor
A new poll shows that 61 percent of Croatians do not believe Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor can pull the country out of economic crisis.
The political poll by Ipsos Plus marketing research company for Nova TV also shows twenty nine percent have kept their faith in the Prime Minister, while 10 percent are not sure, the Croatian daily Dnevnik reports.
In terms of party membership, only half of the PM's own party supporters (Croatian Democratic Union - HDZ) believe in her ability to pull Croatia out of the economic crisis. Only 18 percent of the main opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) followers think she can.
Kosor was most popular when she replaced former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader (who is the most hated politician in Croatia, according to another poll) in 2009, but has since lost following.(croatiantimes.com)

 

Monday, 19th April 2010
Tourist boost on the horizon
The demand for Croatian tourist destinations is good in various foreign markets and experts expect at least as many if not more visitors than last year.
At the CROTour 2010 tourism fair in Zagreb, the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) said that Europeans are increasingly interested in Croatia but that their "calculated spending" which continues this year will give preferences to more affordable and closer destinations.
In that sense, Croatia has some of the advantage, but like all other tourist destinations, it must fight for each one of its guests with good promotion, discounts and excellent value for the money.
The Director of the National Tourist Board office in Germany Zlatko Deželjin expects better results this year compared to last, pointing out that at the moment the greatest demand is for bookings in car camps, private accommodation and sailing.
Goran Blazic, the head of HTZ in Slovenia, said that he expects a three to five percent increase of tourists from that neighbouring country, the Croatian business portal Business.hr reports.
Like last year, in Italy, Croatia could be the third most desirable destination (after France and Spain). If it manages to resist the competition of more affordable destinations that could have a drastic influence, it is possible that the number of visitors from Italy could grow by two percent, Klaudio Stojnic director for Italian market said.
Ranko Vlatkovic believes that the same number of Austrians will come to Croatia this year, but there is a possibility that there will be more tourists considering that research shows that Euro's value increases by 20 percent in Croatia. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 16th April 2010
America supports President´s apology over Croatia´s role in war in Bosnia
The U.S. State Department spokesperson Philip Cowley said that the U.S. welcomed President Ivo Josipovic's statement yesterday (Wed) in Sarajevo in which he apologized for Croatia's role in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s.
Cowley said that it reinforces the efforts to bring the stability to the region. "We think this is a vitally important…in terms of easing tensions, reconciling the various communities, and most importantly, creating an atmosphere where reform can occur."
Foreign media has judged Josipovic's statement as a positive development. Reuters wrote that this is one of the last in a series of steps that Croatian and Serbian reformist leaders have been taking in order to "to heal the wounds of the 1990s which still mar the countries' relations." Last month the Serbian Parliament condemned the massacre in Srebrenica in which 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks were killed by Serbs, although it refrained from using the word "genocide" and issuing a direct apology.
Josipovic did receive some criticism from Croatian political leaders. Andrija Hebrang, the vice-president of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) - the party whose founder, Franjo Tudjman, was president of Croatia during the war – said that with his statement Josipovic added Croatia "to the list of world aggressors."
"Croatia did not divide Bosnia and Herzegovina. It had to enter Bosnia's territory in order to defend its own."
He added that the one who apologizes in the name of a state and its people should first discuss his positions with the nation.
Josipovic visited Ahmici village today (Thu), the site of a massacre of more than hundred Bosniak civilians committed by the Croatian military. He also went to Krizancevo village where an Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina killed Croat soldiers and civilians during the war. croatiantimes.com

Friday, 16th April 2010
Right wing party HSP to comment on Josipovic´s apology
Croatian right wing party HSP (Hrvatska stranka prava) has announced they will officially react to country president Ivo Josipovic's apology for the Croatian role in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
HSP has revealed their honorary president Anto Djapic will have a press conference in the Adriatic port of Split on Friday at 10 in the party's office.
Anto Djapic is also the president of party's committee for the status of ethnic Croats in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. croatiantimes.com


Thursday, 15th April 2010
Son of meat industry giant takes over Croatian McDonald´s
Croatia's McDonald's franchise has been taken over by Georg Gavrilovic - the son of meat industry giant Gavrilovic - together with his partner Robert Kujundzic.
They will be taking over the management of 16 restaurants, but also the property, land and equipment that according to latest data from 2008 is worth around 84.3 million kunas (11.6 million Euros).
"The negotiations lasted about year and a half, and I believe they recognised in us valuable partners," Gavrilovic said.
"I see a big potential there because in the last five years, McDonald's did not expand its network. We plan to open two new and renovate two to three old restaurants next year," Gavrilovic told Croatian business portal Bussiness.hr.
There are 16 McDonald's restaurants in Croatia that serve about 20,000 customers per day. Eight of them are in Zagreb, the others are in Osijek, Gorica, Karlovac, Varazdin, Rijeka, Split and Pula. croatiantimes.com


Tuesday,13th April 2010.
Foreign investment drops 55 percent in 2009
Foreign investments in Croatia dropped by 55 percent last year, from 4.1 billion Euros in 2008 to just 1.8 billion, the Croatian National Bank reports.
The wholesale trade sector received the most investments or 733.9 million Euros. The banking sector received 658 million Euros, and oil and gas 117.4 million Euros.
The most investments came from Netherlands (1 billion Euros), surpassing Austria (420 million Euros) which traditionally has been Croatia's number one investor. Hungary invested (154 million Euros) and Slovenia (108 million Euros).
Foreign investment in Croatia has reached 23.7 billion Euros since 1993, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List reports. croatiantimes.com

Tuesday,13th April 2010.
30 million Euros for tourism promotion
Croatia will invest 14.6 million kunas (2 million Euros) more this year in tourism promotion, increasing the marketing budget to 219 million kunas (30.1 million Euros).
Whether the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor will be happy with how that money is spent remains to be seen. She has recently called a tourism ad featuring a model's scantily clad bum lying on the beach "sexist."
Croatia will also ease up visa restrictions for visitors from India, China and some Arab countries, the Croatian daily 24 Sata has reported.croatiantimes.com


Tuesday,13th April 2010.
Dubrovnik to get a winter boat show
Croatian top tourist destination Dubrovnik is to get its boat show during winter.
Croatia Boat Show organizer Vicenco Blagaic and his company Profectus will join the city of Dubrovnik to organize the Winter Boat Show in Dubrovnik between Christmas and New Year.
"We'll use the equipment we used for the Croatia Boat Show in Split for the event in Dubrovnik as well," Vicenco Blagaic said. "By launching a boat show in Dubrovnik we would like to enrich the tourist offer in the city," Dubrovnik mayor Andro Vlahusic added. croatiantimes.com




Thursday, 8th April 2010
Croatian ship company builds vessels in China
The Dubrovnik-based Atlantska plovida (Atlantic voyage) company contracted a Chinese shipbuilder to build two new boats that would have been too expensive to make in Croatia, the director Ante Jerkovic said.
Jerkovic caused an uproar when he called Croatian shipyards too expensive.
"In China, the ships that we need are 60 percent cheaper. If the price difference were only 15 percent we would build here."
Croatian shipbuilding has been hit hard and the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor recently pledged government support for the ailing industry.
Another company, Zadar-based Tankerska plovidba said that in addition to their ships built in the Far East, they manufacture some in Croatian shipyards.
"We try to get world prices in Croatian shipyards and we do," the director Ive Mustic said.
Jerkovic commented that his company could not get the same conditions, implying political favoritism.
The Croatian daily Jutarnji list has reported that numerous taxes Croatian shipbuilders face make it very difficult to create a competitive product. croatiantimes.com

Thursday, 8th April 2010
Croatia Boat Show gets nautical freaks to Split
Huge motor yachts longer than 15 metres will once again be the main attraction of the Croatia Boat Show.
One of the ten biggest nautical events in the world will take place in the Adriatic port of Split for the 12th consecutive year attracting the most famous brands in the world. The show starts on 10 April and lasts until 18 April.
"We have decided to help the Croatian boatbuilding industry this year. Every Croatian boatbuilding company will have the right to get one of their boats exhibited for free," said Vicenco Blagaic, head of the Profectus Group that organizes Croatia Boat Show.
He admitted the event will have 30 percent fewer boats exhibited, but said key market players will be there.
"I find it a big success given the economic circumstances," Blagaic said.
Despite the recession, the event will be supported by a car show with exhibitors from Infinity, Audi, Suzuki, Citroen, Jaguar Nissan and Mazda appearing. (croatiantimes.com)



Wednesday, 7th April, 2010
Homeland War Veterans Register leaked on the Internet
Part of the controversial Homeland War Veterans Register which the Croatian government has been reluctant to publish was leaked onto the Internet yesterday (Tue).
Visitors to the website www.registarbranitelja.com were able to see the list of names of those who served in the 1991-1995 Croatian War of Independence for 30 minutes before it crashed.
But that was enough time to cause uproar among officials and public, Croatian media reports.
The published list did not contain all of the names of the 501,666 registered veterans, but most likely those belonging to the Croatian Republic's Ministry of Defence (MORH).
The government now says that those who published the list will face jail.
The government has refused to publish the register despite the urging of President Ivo Josipovic as it believes by doing so could compromise both the privacy and safety of many veterans.
It cites privacy laws that forbid such public disclosure of personal data unless veterans provide written permission.
The government also argues that some veterans could be endangered during travel through Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, against whose forces Croatia fought in the 1990s.
The publication is a contested issue, with parts of the public wanting full disclosure in order to avoid veteran benefit scams. Others meanwhile are against it.
The website announcement said that with the publishing of the register, the publishers wanted to "remove the burden" from the government. They announced that they would shut down the website after the government publishes the register. (croatiantimes.com)



Tuesday, 6th April 2010
More restaurants file for smoking licenses on eve of new smoking law
The number of smoking license applications has grown from 16 to 212, just days before the new smoking law takes effect on April 9th.
According to the new regulation, all bars larger than 50 square meters will have to have separate smoking and non-smoking areas and better ventilation systems. Bars smaller than 50 square meters can decide whether to allow smoking but will need special ventilation systems if they do.
So far the Ministry of Health has approved 131 requests. Four more restaurant owners were granted permission to have separate smoking rooms within their establishments, while ten other application have been withdrawn.
But despite the increase in applications, the numbers indicate that little more than one percent of Croatia's hospitality establishments requested a permission, the Croatian daily Vecernji List reports.
The real effect of the law is not expected to be felt until autumn, when cold weather forces smokers inside. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 6th April 2010
Croatia's EU bid focus of debate in Eisenstadt tonight
Croatian Ambassador in Austria Zoran Jasic will join a platform discussion about Croatia's chances of becoming a member of the European Union (EU) in Eisenstadt tonight (Tues).
The Europaforum Burgenland is organising the event taking place at the City Hall at 7pm.
Organisers said the participants will talk about the chances, risks and hindrances of possible EU membership for Croatia, Austrian Times has reported.
The Europaforum Burgenland is an association trying to encourage cross-country cooperation. (croatiantimes.com)



Tuesday, 6th April 2010
Croatia´s economy expected to grow slowly but surely
Croatia's economy picked up in the last six months, but its future will largely depend on exports and foreign investment, the World Bank (WB) reports.
Croatia's GDP will grow 0,5 percent this year and 3 percent growth is expected in the next year. This is still slower than in the countries of New Europe, which expect 1,6 percent growth this year and 3,6 percent in 2011.
Kasper Richer, the main author of the WB report for EU10 and Croatia says the outlook for the region is still uncertain. "Although there is a worldwide recovery, unemployment is growing. The decrease is unemployment growth is expected no sooner than 2011."
The WB says the fact that the employment in the region was falling more slowly than GDP is positive. In Estonia, for example, GDP fell by 14 percent and employment by nine percent; in Croatia, the GDP fell by 5,8 percent and employment by 3,2 percent.
Sanja Madzarevic-Sujster, a senior economist at the World Bank said: "Employers have tried to keep their qualified workforce knowing that once the crisis is over it will be difficult to get them back."

Although Croatia forms part of this trend, there is a big difference between private and public sectors. Employment in manufacturing and hospitality fell more than GDP, and a similar fall was experienced in construction. At the same time, sectors like education and health have increased their vacancies, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List reported.
The worst off continue to be men and young people because the manufacturing sector and the construction industry were hit the hardest by the crisis. The same is expected over the next few years because workers with only primary school education and little work experience will have a hard time finding jobs in all sectors, not just construction.
Madzarevic-Sujster said: "The upcoming tourist season will improve the situation a bit, but it will not create many quality and long-term positions." Croatia faces challenges in order to speed up economic growth while maintaining stability.
This is not possible without reforms, Andras Horvai, the head of the World Bank office in Croatia said. "There needs to be rationalization of spending, an increase in labor market participation, strengthening of higher education and innovation and the reduction of red tape and business costs," he said. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 2nd April, 2010
Croatia to send 20 military instructors to Afghanistan
Croatia could send an additional 20 military instructors to Afghanistan before September, the Ministry of Defence announced yesterday (Thu).
The Director of Defence Policy Pjer Simunovic said the Ministry would send its proposal to parliament soon in order to have it considered before the summer holidays.
Sending the additional troops would cost Croatia 4 million kuna (550.600,000 Euros) and would increase the number of Croatian troops there to 320.
The new arrivals will be stationed near Kabul and Mazar-e Sharif. (croatiantimes.com)



Friday, 2nd April, 2010
First hotel in Croatia with menus in Braille
The first hotel catering for the needs of deaf and blind guests has opened in Zagreb.
The Four Points by Sheraton Panorama Hotel forms part of the "Make invisible visible" initiative started by Association Touch (Udruga Dodir) which works with people with special needs.
The hotel's menus have both large print and Braille lettering, and the staff has learned some sign language.
Natalia Piskuric, the director of the Panorama Hotel said that this is not the first time the establishment has shown their understanding of the special needs of this community.
"The hotel first showed its understanding and flexibility in 2001 when it hosted the first symposium about sign language and deaf culture. We pointed out the importance of accepting difference, which has become the motto of our staff."
Cafés Charlie and Trezor and Restaurant Kaptolska klet will become part of the initiative in addition to the Panorama Hotel. The director of Association Touch, Sanja Tarczay said she hopes the action will spread throughout Croatia, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List has reported.(croatiantimes.com)



Wednesday, 31st March 2010
New Zagreb stadium construction to start this year
Construction of a new city sports stadium in the Kajzerica area of the Croatian capital would start by the end of the year, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic announced today (Tues).
According to Bandic, the stadium will seat 18,000 people.
Zagreb has already Maksimir stadium, the biggest in the city, but over the past few years the city government has failed to agree whether to invest in its renovation or to build a new one.
Maksimir stadium is primarily the home of the Dinamo Zagreb football team. It opened in 1912 and has had many face lifts.
The final phase of its most-recent renovation cost 250 million kunas or 34 millions Euros but the work stopped before its completion for lack of money
Two years ago, the city government had two stadiums under consideration, a renovated Maksimir and a new one in the Kajzerica area of Zagreb.
Bandic said today there would be no more investment in Maksimir stadium for five to 10 years.(croatiantimes.com)



Tuesday, 30th March 2010.
Croatian and Serb presidents meet again in Brussels
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Serb President Boris Tadic confirmed their support for a unified Bosnia-Herzegovina this past weekend at the Brussels Forum in Brussels, Belgium.
The two presidents had met for the first time last week in Opatija, Croatia at a short and friendly luncheon.
US Senator George Voinovich, who was also at the Brussels Forum, praised their commitment to cooperation. "Look at that progress," he said. "In the 90s, we had (Slobodan) Milosevic, (Franjo) Tudjman and (Alija) Izetbegovic, who were working together to divide Bosnia, and now we have politicians who work on its survival."
He added that all of the countries in the region must become part of the European Union.
Analyst and journalist Misha Glenny said that it would be impossible for the region to sink back into war if Croatia and Serbia were working together. He added, however, that all the countries in the region shared an unfortunate predicament in that many war criminals were party politicians protecting their spoils.

Josipovic noted Croatia and Serbia's cooperation as well as the agreement between Croatia and Bosnia that allows for the extradition of sentenced criminals who have fled across international borders. The agreement also provides that they can serve their sentences in the countries in which they are caught. Josipovic said he hoped a similar agreement would soon be reached with Serbia.
Tadic called for mutual cooperation in fighting drug-trafficking. "Croatian and Serb intelligence officials work well together in this field, and for the first time this region is exporting security to the rest of the Europe," he said.
Voinovich said the two countries were good allies of the United States when it came to fighting drug-trafficking.
John Kornblum, one of the architects of the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the war in the former Yugoslavia in 1995, said that Bosnia-Herzegovina should be Croatia's and Serbia's "coal and steel" – referring to the European Coal and Steal Community created in the aftermath of World War II to strengthen Germany and France's solidarity.

"We thought the Dayton Peace Agreement would last only two-to-three years, but it still exists. Bosnia and Herzegovina should be put on modern foundations," he added.
Josipovic said that Croatia and Serbia could impose solutions but could make the process easier. "There has to be a state in which all three peoples are equal. We have already spoken about that with Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We must help improve conditions so that young people are not moving out of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is no longer a battlefield and must become a field of cooperation," he added.
Tadic said that neither Serbia nor Croatia would support secessionist tendencies, possibly referring to Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik's statements about the region's possible secession. According to the Dayton Peace Agreement, Bosnia-Herzegovina consists of two governing entities, Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Goran Svilanovic, the former head of the old Serbia and Montenegro (SiCG), said that both leaders must take additional steps not only to help Croats and Serbs but also to reach out to Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims).Both presidents' speeches received long and loud applause, the Croatian daily Vecernji List has reported. (croatiantimes.com)

Tuesday, 30th March 2010.
Australia to extradite alleged war criminal to Croatia
The Australian Supreme Court approved yesterday (Tue) the extradition of Dragan Vasiljkovic, better known as "Captain Dragan", to Croatia.
He has been charged with committing war crimes between 1991 and 1993 in Croatia.
The 55-year-old former leader of a Serb paramilitary unit, who goes by the name of Daniel Snedden, is also charged with having violated Geneva conventions on treatment of prisoners of war.
Vasiljkovic/Snedden's attorney Burt Walker argued that extradition of an Australian and Serb citizen would be an insult to the Australian judiciary, which had accepted the defendant's military service as a mitigating factor. It appears unlikely that Croatia will do the same.
Vasiljkovic/Snedden was arrested in 2006. Yesterday's verdict comes after his appeal of the first successful extradition request made by Croatia.
The Croatian daily Vecernji List has reported that the Supreme Court's decision was made in only fifteen minutes and that Vasiljkovic/Snedden was not present to hear the verdict. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 29th March 2010
Bilic refuses another West Ham offer
Croatian national football team coach Slaven Bilic has once again rejected an offer from English Premier League side West Ham United to replace its coach Gianfranco Zola.
Bilic told the Daily Star yesterday (Sun) that he still liked West Ham but, despite Croatia's failure to make it to the World Cup finals, he had agreed to stay on for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.
He added: "I want to qualify for the European Championships, and nothing is going to change that. I am staying for all my country's qualifying matches. The players, the staff and the majority of fans wanted me to stay and that is why I decided to carry on. I'm proud to manage my country's team. I love this job."
Bilic confirmed that West Ham had been trying to reach him for some time but he insisted nothing could make him break his commitment to the Croatian team. (croatiantimes.com)



Monday, 29th March 2010
Dubrovnik to host Mediterranean Fair of Healthy Food and Medicinal Herbs
The seventh Mediterranean Fair of Healthy Food and Medicinal Herbs will take place from 9 to 11 April in Dubrovnik.
The fair will feature educational round-tables, lectures, presentations, and cultural, entertainment and culinary events.
There will be around 300 participants interested in improving health and the quality of life and protecting the environment.
The second Days of Honey in Dubrovnik-Neretva County featuring a tasting of 69 different brands of honey will occur together with the fair.
It will also promote Croatian products with "Originally Croatian" and "Croatian Quality" recognition.
Besides food products and medicinal herbs, the fair will feature electric and hybrid cars, eco-furniture, clothes made of natural materials and souvenirs. (croatiantimes.com)

Monday, 29th March 2010
CPF threatens to break agreement with Orco Property Group
The Croatian Privatization Fund (CPF) is threatening to cancel an agreement with Orco Property Group if Orco does not stop selling some of its real-estate.
Orco Property Group is the majority owner of Suncani Hvar hotel vompany on Hvar Island, CPF has an interest of 32 per cent, and the rest is held by small shareholders.
Suncani Hvar has had financial problems for some time and suffered a big decline in overnights and turnover.
In order to raise money for employee salaries, Orco Group started to sell its camp Viro and Piaca café bar, even though it had no right to do so without consultation with CPF.
CPF has demanded that Orco stop the sales and deliver to it all documents about Suncani Hvar's financial problems.
If the Orco group does not meet those demands, CPF will cancel its shareholders' agreement with Orco.(croatiantimes.com)

Friday, 26th March 2010
12th Croatia Boat Show in Split

The 12th Croatia Boat Show will take place from 10 to 18 April in Split.
The well-known Croatian nautical fair is a stage for the local and international nautical industry from yacht builders to engine and equipment producers, as well as companies offering various complementary goods and services to lovers of the sea and sailing.

This year, the fair will also features more car industry representatives because the Zagreb Auto Show 2010, an international fair for automobiles, motorcycles and supporting industries, has been cancelled because of the extremely-bad situation in the auto market..
more


Friday, 26th March 2010
Free first-year university study in the offing
The Croatian government has decided to provide free study for one year for all students who pass university entrance examinations for school year 2010/2011.
If such students pass subsequent examinations, they will continue to study for free, but, if they fail, they will need to pay at least part of their tuition, according to Minister of Science, Education and Sports Radovan Fuchs.
Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor believes the new procedure will encourage students to learn more.
The government has provided around 129 million kunas or 18 million Euros for the programme during school year 2010/2011.(croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 26th March 2010
Croatian and Serb presidents hope to resolve genocide accusations outside court
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and Serb head of state Boris Tadic said yesterday (Wed) in Opatija that they hoped that their mutual accusations of genocide could be settled outside the International Court of Justice.
Croatia sued Serbia in 2008 for genocide during the war that took place between 1991 and 1995 in the former Yugoslavia. Serbia countered with a similar lawsuit last year, accusing Croatia of genocide against Serbs.
"It would be good to resolve these questions outside the court," Tadic said. "That does not mean that we would give up prosecuting war criminals. Croatia and Serbia cannot be hostages of individuals. We are ready to work on a compromise that will provide a solution but that will not go against the principles of justice."
The two presidents met yesterday in Opatija in what was their first bilateral meeting since Josipovic took office in January. Both confirmed they would have frequent meetings in the future as the two countries developed a new, European partnership, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List reported.
Tadic commented that he was the first Serb tourist in Croatia this season and extended an invitation to his countrymen.
"There is no doubt that Serb tourists are welcome in Croatia," Tadic said. "I also invite Croatians to come to Belgrade for a music festival," he added.
The afternoon lunch-meeting concluded with both presidents joking that the only remaining question between the two countries was who would win the Davis Cup.
Serb Novak Djokovic is currently ranked second by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), while Croat Marin Cilic is ranked 9th and Ivan Ljubicic 13th(croatiantimes.com)

Thursday, 25th March, 2010
Special stork love story in eastern Croatia
The love story of stork "Rodan" and his female partner "Malena" in Brodski Varos in eastern Croatia is the most popular and beloved in their area.
But it is also shows that storks tend to be attached to nests as much as to partners.
Rodan flies to the south and then back each year going 13,000 kilometres through the air just to be with his partner Malena, who cannot fly owing to an injured wing.
Every year, he usually returns at the same time on the same day, but this year he arrived two hours earlier than usual yesterday (Weds).
He is welcomed by numerous residents and journalists, but what he loves the most is his Malena in their nest.
The daily Jutarnji list has reported that Stjepan Vokic has taken care of Malena for the last 17 years since she was injured by hunters who broke her wing and stopped her from flying forever.
Since 1993, Malena has lived in her nest at Vokic's house.
Stjepan said: "Every year, I worry that Rodan will not return safely to his Malena. I know many other storks return a few days later, but he knows he needs to return home because Malena is waiting for him."
Malena and Rodan have had 32 chicks, and Vokic is assured there will be a lot of small storks in the nest in the future. (croatiantimes.com)

Wednesday, 24th March, 2010
Croatian and Serb presidents to meet today in Opatija
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic will meet with his Serb counterpart Boris Tadic today (Weds) in Opatija, Croatia in the former's first bilateral meeting since taking office in January.
The heads of state are expected to discuss border issues, mutual genocide accusations, questions about prisoners and those missing in the war, refugees and minorities. In what is expected to be a three-hour meeting, they will also focus on regional cooperation, which Josipovic has called the cornerstone of future peace and stability.
In his electoral campaign, the Croatian president had emphasized that one of his main goals would be improvement of the country's relations with Serbia, which had soured after Croatia recognized Kosovo's independence in 2008.
Today's meeting will take place because both presidents want their first encounter to be bilateral rather than occur at another international gathering, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List has reported.
Both Tadic and Josipovic are supposed to attend the conference in Brussels on Friday on relations between the United States and Europe, and many had thought that their first meeting would be on that occasion.
The "informal tone" of the get-together is underscored by its venue, Opatija on Croatia's Istrian coast, rather than capital Zagreb. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 23rd March, 2010
THE SECOND CROATIAN CONGRESS ON RURAL TOURISM
"The Concept of Long-Term Development of Rural Tourism"
Mali Lošinj, Aurora Hotel****, 21 – 25 April 2010

The functional and organised development of rural tourism in the Republic of Croatia started in 1996. The foundation for such a development was the adoption of the Book of Rules for Providing Catering Services on Family Farms in the same year, which created the framework and legal regulations for this type of tourism. (more).


Tuesday, 23rd March 2010
Split mayor invites Japanese companies to invest in Croatia
Split Mayor Zeljko Kerum met with Japanese Ambassador to Croatia Yoshio Tamuru today (Mon) in Split.
Kerum said Split and the rest of Croatia had huge potential and asked Tamuru if Japanese companies were interested in investing in Croatia.
Kerum said: "We are aware that there is too much red tape in Croatia, but the Split government will help all companies willing to invest in the city. We just want to find out which projects they are interested in."
The Japanese ambassador said there was interest and he was planning to meet with certain companies but cautioned that nothing would be realized until 2011 because of the financial crisis.
Tamoru added that Croatia and Japan had very good tourism and cultural cooperation.
According to Tamuru, Croatia was visited by 8,000 Japanese tourists 10 years ago but by 162,000 in 2009, a big increase. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 23rd March 2010
Motorbike taxis may appear in Zagreb
The first motorbike taxis may appear in Zagreb as early as this summer.
Kristijan Frljuzec, who has a bike company, and driving-school owner Nenad Zarkovic have joined forces to create the country's first motorbike taxi fleet.
As their service will be limited to periods of good weather, they hope to start during the peak season – summer.
The idea is more than a year old, but the opportunity to realize it came recently with the passage of new regulations that ended a long-standing monopoly by Radio Taxi Zagreb, which had full control of the market until January of this year.
There is no rulebook for bike taxis at the moment, and Frljuzec is planning to present the duo's proposal to the government next week, the Croatian daily Jutarnji List has reported.
The major difference between traditional taxi services and the new bike taxis will be the speed with which clients get to their destinations, especially during traffic jams.
The target audience is people between the ages of 20 and 40 who need speedy and affordable service. Each customer will get a helmet with a disposable lining, while the bikes will have a built-in microphone to facilitate communications between drivers and a dispatcher. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 23rd March 2010
Floods in central Croatia cause €1.5 million of damage
Nearly month-long flooding in Kosinj Valley in Croatia's central region of Lika had caused 11 million kuna (1,514,000 Euros) of damage to the area, inspectors reported yesterday(Mon).
Heavy rains and melting snow on Velebit mountain caused the Lika River to flood in December and January. The residents of Kosinj, where more than 150 homes were inundated, still have difficulty in accessing potable water.
Many of the area's roads remain in bad condition, the Croatian daily 24 Sata has reported. Perusic municipality, to which Kosinj belongs, has budgeted 300,000 kuna (41,000 Euros) for clean-up and repair operations at a time when it is under financial strain, the daily added. (croatiantimes.com)

Monday, 22nd March 2010
Ljubicic wins his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title
Croatian tennis player Ivan Ljubicic won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title
on Sunday at Indian Wells, California in the USA.
The 20th-seeded Ljubicic defeated seventh-seed American Andy Roddick by a score of 7:6 (3), 7:6 (5) in a match that lasted two hours and seven minutes.
The 31-year-old Croat is the second-oldest winner at Indian Wells after American Jimmy Connors, who was five months older when he won in 1984. Ljubicic also became the first Croat to win the tournament.
Before the clash with Roddick, Ljubicic had defeated Serb Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals and Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.(croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 22nd March 2010
"Rent-a Husband" man a hit in Zagreb
A man in Croatia who ran a "rent-a-husband" ad after being fired from his job as a carpenter has started a website to advertise his growing business.
Igor Radinovic, 43, from capital Zagreb, said his hands were full with job offers from single moms, divorced women and women who just do not have the time or a man to help them with household repairs.
The idea for the ad came from his ex-wife, now a good friend, who told him when he complained to her about the loss of his job to hire himself out.
"You know how to do everything," she said.
Radinovic fixes broken pipes, moves furniture, carries bags from the grocery store, walks pets and drinks coffee with lonely elderly ladies, all for 120 kuna (16.5 Euros) for the first hour and 70 kuna (10 Euros) for each subsequent hour.
His client Marica Deris said that Radinovic was a repairman who had made her laugh and she would recommend him to all "single ladies," the Croatian daily Vecernji List has reported.
You can find more information about his services at www.iznajmljujem-muza.com (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 19th March, 2010
Parliament is looking for a new spokesman
Croatian Parliament President Luka Bebic announced yesterday (Thurs) that there would be an open competition for a Parliament spokesman who would present its work better in public.
Bebic said MPs believed their work and Parliament's activities had not been presented well enough to the public, and he blamed the Croatian media in part for that.
Bebic added that the new spokesman should be a journalist.
He also dismissed allegation that the move meant that Parliament's public relations work had been bad. Bebic added that MPs just wanted to have someone who would represent them properly in public.
The competition, announced on 15 March, will be open for eight days. (croatiantimes.com)

 


Friday, 19th March, 2010
Croatian Riesling wins silver medal at Vinalies Internationales
Croatian Riesling Grasevina Goldberg has won a silver medal at the Vinalies Internationales held in Paris.
The 2008 vintage from southeastern Croatia had won several other awards in the past, including a bronze medal at Decanter World Wine Award in London and a silver medal at Vino Ljubljana in Slovenia.
The latest award at one of the most-prestigious competitions lends the wine added respectability in the eyes of its buyers.
One hundred experts judged the entries at Vinalies Internationales, which is organized by the Union of French Oenologists. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 18th March, 2010
Tourism minister gives giant Easter egg to Pope Benedict XVI
A Croatian delegation led by Tourism Minister Damir Bajs had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI yesterday (Weds) at the Vatican.
Bajs and his colleagues arrived at the Vatican to give the Pope a giant Easter egg from the northern Croatian city of Koprivnica.
Fourteen giant Easter eggs from Koprivnica are the part of a project called "Easter egg from the heart" that has became a real tourist attraction, one in which numerous foreign media have shown great interest.
The eggs are 2.05 metres high and weigh 30 kilos apiece. Made of polyester, the eggs have been painted by twenty artists. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 18th March, 2010
Days of Christian culture to start
The sixth "Days of Christian Culture" will be held in Split, Dubrovnik and Sibenik from 20 to 30 March.
The program organized by publishing house Verbum will feature around 40 different cultural and spiritual events.
The aim is to encourage works and authors who promote Europe's cultural heritage on which Croatian culture is based.
Split's Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments and Mestrovic Gallery will participate in the event this year to highlight the hundreds of years of connections between the secular and religious worlds.
More information and program details are available at website www.danikrscanskekulture.info. (croatiantimes.com)

Thursday, 18th March, 2010
Unions announce possible strike after Easter
Trade union leader Ana Knezevic said today that there could be a strike during the week after Easter because of the general state of the economy.
The short, one-to-two-hour strike would take place in Zagreb, Osijek, Split and Rijeka and be a prelude to a larger protest already scheduled for Labour Day on 1 May.
Knezevic, the president of the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions in Croatia, said that more and more workplaces were closing and prices were going up.
She added that, while other countries were stimulating consumption and production, Croatia was doing the opposite, imposing a crisis text that had undermined purchasing power.
"We warned that the crisis tax would decrease consumption, and that is what happened," Knezevic said. Another result is a rise in the number of the unemployment, which was up to 317,625 people in February, Croatian news portal Monitor has reported.
The Croatian government introduced the crisis tax in August 2009. It decided last week to abolish the two percent tax on monthly incomes between 3,000 kuna (409 Euros) and 6,000 kuna (819 Euros) to stimulate consumption, which has declined drastically in the last six months. The change will take effect in July.
The four percent tax on monthly salaries over 6,000 kuna (819 Euros) will remain in effect.. (croatiantimes.com)

Wednesday, 17th March, 2010
Croatia wants more economic cooperation with Syria
Croatian Minister of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship Djuro Popijac is making a three- days official visit to Syria from 13 to 16 March.
Popijac has met with Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Dardari, Trade and Economy Minister Lamia Alasi and numerous other Syrian colleagues to discuss economic issues.
Popijac told them that Croatia wanted to increase cooperation in the trade, energy, tourism and investment sectors to promote the economic interests of the two countries. Popijac added that Croatia wanted to work on infrastructure projects in Syria. The Syrians said they hoped the visit would help open new markets for Syrian products in Croatia and lead to more investment in the two countries.
Popijac signed three agreements on bilateral cooperation in the competitiveness, market- competition and public-private partnership sectors. Popijac was accompanied by Croatian businessmen who met with their Syrian counterparts to discuss possible cooperation. (croatiantimes.com)

Wednesday, 17th March, 2010
SMAG conference ongoing in Dubrovnik
The ACI EUROPE's Small & Medium Sized Airports Action Group (SMAG) Conference & Exhibition 2010 features numerous interesting sessions and workshops in Dubrovnik.
The conference day two programme tomorrow (Weds) will feature themes such as how SMAG airports can make themselves more attractive to the tourism industry. The session will be led by moderator Filip Soete, the incoming chairman of ACI EUROPE Commercial Forum and director of marketing at Nice Airport. The speakers will include Lennart Johansson, the director of the Göteborg Convention Bureau, Alessio Grazietti, the general manager at Cagliari Airport and Christophe Laumet, project director for Egis Projects.
SMAG participants will also be able to enjoy a "Leadership" session that
highlights the importance of organisation and leadership development in the airport sector during times of change and transition.
Best practice in the leadership of airports using CEO case studies will be reviewed as well as current thinking in organisation and personnel development, leadership competencies and talent management. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 16th March 2010
Government preparers measures to strengthen the economy
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said today (Tues) the government was preparing a new package of measures to strengthen the economy and help companies in financial difficulty.
She added that the government would present the package before Easter on 4 April.
In an interview on Croatian radio, Kosor dismissed opposition parties' allegations that the government was not doing enough to deal with the economic crisis. She claimed the government knew what it was doing.
But, asked about the crisis tax, Kosor said the tax on four per cent of all incomes higher than 6,000 kunas or 819 Euros a month would remain in force.
The Croatian government has decided to abolish part of the crisis tax introduced in August 2009 because of recession and lack of state revenue.
The tax of two percent on all pensions and other income higher than 3,000 kunas or 409 Euros a month will be abolished from 1 July. Kosor believes the measure will stimulate consumption.
Kosor rejected opposition demands for an early general election. She believes such a move would be bad for Croatia's EU accession negotiations. (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 16th March 2010
VCZ to organise international volunteer work camps
Times Volunteers' Centre Zagreb (VCZ), a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, will take part in organising international volunteer work camps in Croatia.
Participants in the camps will discuss volunteer work and coordination of short- and long-term international exchanges of volunteers. The camps will take place between March and September.
VCZ promotes volunteering through education and helps make voluntary work possible and accessible to all people.
All young volunteers who participate in a camp pay for their accommodations, food and health insurance during their stay in camp. More information is available at website www.vcz.hr.
Volunteers' Centre Zagreb is a member of Service Civil International (SCI), one of the world's largest international volunteer organisations with ninety years of experience in coordinating short- and long-term volunteer projects.
Through exchanges, SCI helps break down barriers and prejudices among people of different social, cultural and national backgrounds. (croatiantimes.com)

Monday, 15th march 2010
Croatian diaspora to raise money for St. Eliah tunnel
The Croatian diaspora has decided to raise money for continuation of construction work on
the Sv. Ilija Tunnel (St. Eliah Tunnel).
The tunnel will go through Biokovo Mountain and connect coastal and inland Dalmatia by road.
The daily "Slobodna Dalmacija" has reported that the Croatian diaspora from Imotski (Croatia's Dalmatian hinterland ) living in Germany and Canada are calling on Croats living abroad to donate at least 100 dollars or 100 Euros for tunnel construction work.
The 4,290-metre-long tunnel was supposed to have opened in 2012, but its construction was stopped for lack of money until 2012. Work on the tunnel began in March 2008.
It will be the fourth-longest tunnel in Croatia. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 12th March 2010
Foreign experts believe it will soon be an ideal time to invest in Croatia
Foreign experts say it will soon be an ideal time to invest in Croatia because they believe the Croatian economy will decline drastically in the coming months.
The daily Poslovni dnevnik has reported that kind of scenario could be a great incentive for foreign investors because share prices will drop.
The daily said such a pessimistic scenario of the domestic economy comes from global investment fund Templeton Emerging Markets, which claim share prices, employment, orders and sales will decline to their lowest levels in the upcoming three months.
Besides low prices, the global fund says the good news for investors is that Croatia has made great progress in its effort to become an EU member and still has very stabil monetary and fiscal policy.
But, despite the report, the daily warns it is hardly to be expected that foreign investors will rush into the Croatian market even if many may find it of interest.
But, opposed to Templeton Emerging Markets, the Croatian National Bank (HNB) believes the Croatian market may be faced with lack of demand. According to HNB, economic growth in 2010 will be 0.3 per cent, which will not be attractive to foreign investors. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 8th March 2010
Croatian economy will shrink further, warns think tank
It will take until 2012 for all the countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to recover from the global economic crisis, according to an Austrian think tank.
The Vienna Institute for Comparative Analysis (WIIW) said today (Fri) some CEE countries will experience economic growth this year. But the body warned it will be another two years before the entire region is back on track.
WIIW said Poland – the only European Union (EU) member state with a positive gross domestic product (GDP) last year – will lead the way among the new EU member states. The think tank expects the Polish economy to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2010.
WIIW also said there was light at the end of the tunnel for struggling Ukraine as the country's economy would expand by around three per cent this year.
It said growth in Slovenia, Albania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic would be around one per cent this year, and Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary would see zero growth.
WIIW's research also suggests the economies of Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina will shrink further this year, Austrian Times has revealed.
WIIW was more optimistic for 2012. It said the economies of the CEE region would see two per cent more growth than those of western European countries.
The predictions come the day after the Austrian Institute for Economic Research (Wifo) revealed that the country's companies have drastically reduced investment in the CEE region.
The institution said the companies spent only 0.7 billion Euros on investment activities in the region in the first nine months of 2009.
It said Austrian companies invested 7.6 billion Euros in CEE in the same time span for the previous year.
Wifo said this was a throwback to 1998 figures. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 8th March 2010
Parabureau wins Rebrand 100 Global Award for Pula project
A rebranding of Pula by Parabureau design studio in Zagreb has won the Rebrand 100 Global Award for brand repositioning.
Parabureau gave Pula a completely new visual identity showing it's many and varied qualities in the areas of culture, history, nature and tourism.
The basic image derives from the traditional Pula emblem: a yellow Latin cross on a green shield has become a "plus" sign. The slogan "Pula is more" accentuates that there is more to Pula than meets the eye. In reality, it is a city that features a combination of events, monuments, culture, and beaches, among other things.
The Pula Tourism Board commissioned the rebranding project to improve the city's competitiveness as a tourist destination.
Pula Mayor Boris Miletic said the award was extremely important since it would promote the city in many ways. (croatiantimes.com)

Friday, 5th March, 2010
Japan donates €210,000 for land-mine removal in Croatia
The Japanese embassy has donated 211,000 Euros for the removal of land mines in Croatia.
Japanese Ambassador to Croatia Yoshio Tamura and Croatian Mine Action Centre (HCR) Deputy Director Miljenko Vahtaric signed an agreement for the donation yesterday (Thurs) in Gospic.
The Japanese donation will be used for mine removal on 180,000 square metres of agricultural land around Medak near Lika in central Croatia.
The Japanese government has donated more than three million kunas (413,000 Euros) for land-mine removal in the Lika area. (croatiantimes.com)


Friday, 5th March, 2010
Dalekovod to build shopping centre in Buzin
Austrian real-estate holding Gruppe-Supernova is planning to start construction of a new shopping centre in Buzin, Zagreb soon.
Croatian construction company Dalekovod will build the centre costing 80.7 million Euros.
The centre will have an area of 270,000 square metres, and construction should take 20 months. It may be open by Christmas 2011.
There will be around 200 shops, restaurants, café bars, casinos, and cinema and bowling complexes on three floors. (croatiantimes.com)

Thursday, 4th March, 2010
Cruise-ship tourists in Dubrovnik to number 1.2 mn this year
Despite the financial crisis that has hit world tourism, cruise-ship tourism is doing well in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik Port Authority Director Vlaho Djurkovic said today (Thurs) there would be an increase of 4.2 per cent in cruise ships tourists in 2010 compared to 2009.
Djurkovic said he was expecting 1.2 million passengers in 2010.
In an interview in the daily Vjesnik, Djurkovic praised the government's decision to lift
visa requirement for foreigners with Schengen visas or who were traveling on cruisers.
Djurkovic said many tourists had refused to leave their ships after arriving in Dubrovnik because they had no visas, and they refused to pay for special permission to visit the city.
Among the ships planning to visit Dubrovnik this year are MSC Magnifica, Azura, Silver Spirit, Nieuw Amsterdam, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse and Queen Elizabeth.
Dubrovnik's new docking area at Gruz port was opened this year. The local government expects that it will contribute to the overall development of Dubrovnik as a preferred cruise-ship destination.
The investment of 26 million Euros should help Dubrovnik remain a top travel port. (croatiantimes.com)


Thursday, 4th March, 2010
Istrian olive oil is being exported to the US market
The company Made in Istria (MIH) has increased exports of extra-virgin olive oil San Gurmano to the USA and is planning to do business with France.
All olives in San Gurmano brands come from the vicinity of Porec, an ancient town on the western coast of Istria.
The Privredni vjesnik website has reported that the Fino Products company in Chicago started to import San Gurmano olive oil last year, receiving 570 bottles of it.
The firm has already bought 1,740 bottles this year, a much better result than in 2009.
The American company has also ordered 264 bottles of MIH's new product, San Gurmano elder-flower vinegar.
San Gurmano's products can be bought at specialized shops such as City Olive, Lush Wine & Spirits and Olivia's Market in Chicago.
MIH wants to introduce exclusive San Gurmano products in 60 shops across the USA this year.
San Gurmano extra-virgin olive oil has also been exported for the first time to the French market, where it is available at Oliviers&Co's exclusive shops. (croatiantimes.com)



Wednesday, 3rd March, 2010
South Stream to cross Croatia
Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor and her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed that the South Stream natural-gas pipeline will traverse Croatia.
South Stream, primarily a Russian project worth some 19 billion Euros, will transport Russian natural-gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to Italy and Austria.
The project will partly replace the planned extension of Blue Stream from Turkey through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and Austria and is seen as a rival of the planned Nabucco natural-gas pipeline. South Stream is scheduled for completion in 2015.
The agreement on South Stream was signed by Croatian Economy Minister Djuro Popijac and Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Janovsky yesterday (Tues) in Moscow.
Croatia and Russia also signed an agreement on economic and scientific cooperation.
Kosor noted that the Croatian Economy Chamber was planning to open an office in Moscow in June.
Kosor also invited her Russian counterpart to visit Dubrovnik in June. The Croatian Summit, an annual international conference, will be held there at that time. (croatiantimes.com)

Tuesday, 2nd March 2010
Stena Polaris ship launched at Split shipyard
A tanker for transport of oil products in polar waters ordered by Swedish shipping company Concordia Maritime AB was launched at Split shipyard.
The ship named Stena Polaris was launched by "godmother" Hella Andersen, the wife of ST Shipping chief Jan Andersen.
Branimir Kovacic, the manager of Brodosplit shipyard's construction and sales department, commented about the recent award for the Stena Progress tanker built for Concordia Maritime AB at Brodosplit Shipyard.
Stena Progress has been selected as tanker of the year 2009 by Australian magazine Ships and Shipping.
Kovacic said: "World shipbuilding companies have recognized the quality of this project that has been reflected by this award. We believe Stena Polaris attests to the high level of eight years of cooperation between Concordia Maritime and Brodosplit shipyard." (croatiantimes.com)


Tuesday, 2nd March 2010
Croats to help the Chilean people
Many Croats are shocked by the tragedy of Chile because many of them have relatives and friends there.
It has been estimated that more than 700 people died in earthquakes that hit Chile on Saturday and Sunday.
Although the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said there are no Croats among victims, according to the latest information, people are scared because they cannot get in contact with family members and friends in Chile.
The Croatian Red Cross is asking Croats to help victims in Chile.
One can donate money by making a transfer to Croatian Red Cross bank account
2340009 - 1100080340 with reference to number 57, by calling telephone number 060 9011 or by on line donations at www.caritas.hr.
Branka Bezic Filipovic from Split office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation told the Croatian Times that Dalmatia was also planning to help the Chilean people.
Many people in Chile are from Dalmatia, mostly from Brac Island. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 1st. March, 2010
Real-estate prices go up a bit
Property prices have gone up slightly across the country in February, according to figures released this weekend.
Real-estate website CentarNekretnina.net said the average price of real estate in Croatia had risen by 0.8 per cent in February compared to the previous month but had fallen by 3.6 per cent compared to February 2009.
The price survey of more than 314,000 different properties also showed the average price of real-estate in Zagreb had risen by 0.5 per cent in February compared to the previous month but had dropped by 4.1 per cent compared to February 2009.
Real-estate prices on the Adriatic coast rose by 1.2 per cent compared to the previous month but fell by 2.9 per cent compared to February 2009.
CentarNekretnina.net head Domenico Devescovi said he believed the reason for property prices' slight increase was the government's decision to support purchases of first flats. The upcoming tourist season could also have been a stimulus, he added.
But Devescovi said he did not expect any drastic movement in the real-estate market because the economic situation in Croatia was getting even worse.
The average price of a flat in February was 1.873 Euros per square metre in Zagreb
and 2.137 Euros per square metre on the Adriatic coast.
The most expensive flats in Zagreb are to be found in the Medvescak area, where the average price of a flat in February was 2.603 Euros per square metre.(croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 1st. March, 2010
INA Board Chairman László Geszti resigns
László Geszti, the chairman of INA's (Croatian Oil Company) board, has resigned from his position for health reasons.
Zoltán Áldott, the executive vice president for exploration and production of the MOL Group, has been nominated as his successor.
Geszti will continue to serve as senior adviser to Zsolt Hernádi, the chairman and CEO of MOL (Hungarian oil and gas firm).
The Croatian media have speculated that the real reason for Geszti's resignation was the bad image of INA and MOL in Croatia. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 1st. March, 2010
Ivica Kostelic wins second silver medal at Olympic Games
Croatia's best skier Ivica Kostelic won silver in the Olympic slalom on Saturday.
Kostelic was 0.16 second behind Italian Giuliano Razzoli, who won his first gold medal at the Vancouver Games.
Razzoli had a combined two-run time of 1.0 minute, 39.32 seconds. Andre Myhrer of Sweden got bronze, 0.44 behind the winner.
It was the second silver medal for Kostelic at the Games in Vancouver.
It was his third Olympic silver medal overall, and ninth Olympic medal in total for the Kostelic family, if his sister Janica's four gold and two silver medals are included. (croatiantimes.com)


Monday, 1st. March, 2010
Zagreb students win EU regional finals competition
Zagreb's law faculty students have won first place at the European Law Moot Court Competition regional finals held at the European University Institute in Florence on Saturday.
Rival teams of university students interested in European Law compete annually.
The competition featured 12 teams from the USA and Europe.
Croatian students Mirna Romic, Tena Ratkovic and Jurica Sevcek defeated teams from Cologne University in Germany and Columbia University in the USA.
The European Law Moot Court Competition features a total of more than 200 teams each year.
The All-European Final will take place in April 2010 in Luxembourg. (croatiantimes.com)




 

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