December 7, 2013.
Kovac awaits World Cup draw in Brazil.
ZAGREB: Croatian national football team coach Niko Kovac and the rest of the delegation went to Brazil to await the draw for the World Cup 2014 scheduled for Friday.Croatia is in the pot with European teams.
During the travel to Salvador where the draw will take place, Croatian delegation spent time in friendly talks with the delegation of the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. Croatia has won its place at the World Cup thanks to a win over Iceland in the play off.(croatiantimes/HIC)
Decembre 7th, 2013
FROM THE WORLD
Nelson Mandala died.
Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in Mveso, Transkei, South Africa. Becoming actively involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his 20s, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1942. For 20 years, he directed a campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies. In 1993, Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to dismantle the country's apartheid system. In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president. In 2009, Mandela's birthday (July 18) was declared Mandela Day to promote global peace and celebrate the South African leader's legacy. Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013, at age 95 (Mandela's biography)
December 5, 2013.
CROATIA: Government to reduce privileged pensions by 10% .
As of 1 January 2014, privileged pensions are to be reduced by 10 per cent for all beneficiaries receiving more than HRK 5,000 per month, Labour and Pension System Minister Mirando Mrsic said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday and the government forwarded the proposal for the reduction to parliament.
ZAGREB: "All pensions below HRK 5,000 will not be reduced while those over HRK 5,000 will be reduced by 10 per cent and that measure will apply to 2014," Mrsic said underscoring that war veterans with 100 per cent disabilities will not be affected nor those for children of killed veterans, miners and asbestos infected workers.
Mrsic advised that this would lead to a savings of HRK 303 million in the pension system in 2014 which will mean the system will remain sustainable and pensions at an appropriate level.
A bill on the collection, processing, connecting, use and exchange of data of receipts and public contributions will ensure that all information relating to wages, revenues and non-taxable income is recorded in one place and in that way "we will have a regulated system," said Mrsic.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Policy and Youth Milanka Opacic said that a bill on a single body for expert opinions which has been prepared jointly with the Labour Ministry would unite several systems relating to social welfare, health insurance, school system, veterans and so on.
Opacic noted that until now assessment of disability varied from town to town but now this would be unified throughout the country.
In this regard the government has proposed a law on professional rehabilitation and employment of people with disabilities as well as a social welfare bill which will provide a complete picture of social welfare beneficiaries (vlada.hr/HIC)
Grocery roof collapse in Riga,
RIGA(Latvia):32 people died, including three firefighters, after an enormous section of roof collapsed at a Latvian supermarket in the country's capital, emergency medical officials said on Friday. The roof collapsed on Thursday evening (21st november).
The reason for the collapse during shopping rush-hour was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible theories include building's design flaws and poor construction work.(AP/HIC)
EU: Europe's budgetary surveillance moves into full gear.
by : europa.eu
BRESELLES: On friday, 15th november, the European Commission presented a major package of budgetary surveillance announcements, covering 13 euro area Member States. Included three non-euro Member States, with a special focus also on the euro area as an economic entity in its own right.
For the first time, the Commission has issued opinions on euro area Member States' Draft Budgetary Plans, which from this year must be submitted to the Commission by 15 October, at the same time as draft budgets are sent to national parliaments. Assessments have also been published regarding compliance with Council recommendations under the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP), potential breaches of the debt and deficit criteria under the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), and on certain Member States' plans for structural reforms with a budgetary impact outlined in their Economic Partnership Programmes (EPP).
Olli Rehn, European Commission Vice President in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, said: “We have reached a turning point on the road to economic recovery and today we reach a milestone in the implementation of Europe's strengthened economic governance. Today's Commission opinions on national budgetary plans support the euro area Member States in their pursuit of stronger growth and fiscal sustainability. Because in an economic and monetary union, national budgetary decisions can have an impact well beyond national borders. Member States have given the Commission the responsibility to issue these opinions and I trust that they will thus be taken on board by national decision-makers.”
The package contains four elements:
1. Opinions on Draft Budgetary Plans
At the heart of the package are the first ever opinions on the Draft Budgetary Plans for 2014 submitted by the 13 euro area countries not under an economic adjustment programme (all except Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, and Portugal). The opinions give an early signal on whether the underlying national budgets are in line with the obligations under the SGP before they are adopted.
2. Effective action assessments
The Commission has assessed the action taken by seven Member States in response to the new Council recommendations adopted last June setting new deadlines for the correction of excessive deficits. The countries concerned are Belgium, Spain, France, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.
3. Assessments of Economic Partnership Programmes
Having received a new EDP recommendation this year, Spain, France, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovenia laid out their plans for structural reforms with a budgetary impact in Economic Partnership Programmes, which the Commission has also analysed.
4. Reports to analyse reasons for non-compliance with debt or deficit criteria
Finally, for Croatia, Lithuania and Finland, the Commission has sent reports to the Council assessing the reasons for an actual or forecast breach of either of the key thresholds set out in the SGP.
Conclusions for the euro area
A key benefit of the assessment of the Draft Budgetary Plans is that it has facilitated an assessment also of the budgetary situation of the euro area as a whole, as set out in today's Communication. Some of the key conclusions are:
• The large consolidation efforts implemented in recent years are bearing fruit: public debt is set to stabilise and the average headline budget balance is expected to be brought below the reference value of 3% of GDP. Those countries that face the largest fiscal challenges plan to implement the strongest consolidation efforts, with some differentiation according to fiscal space. However, only two Member States (Estonia and Germany) have attained their medium-term objective, implying that further consolidation in other euro area countries is necessary. The aggregate fiscal effort, as expressed by the change in the cyclically adjusted budget balance net of one-off and temporary measures, should amount to ¼ % of GDP next year.
• Further structural reform is necessary to bolster the foundations for sustained growth and sound public finances. Overall, the Economic Partnership Programmes show progress with respect to the improvement of national fiscal frameworks; mixed results with respect to tax reform; and substantial reforms to pension and health systems, albeit not for all countries.
• The Draft Budgetary Plans still do not pay sufficient attention to the composition of fiscal consolidation. In particular, the general trend of decreasing public capital expenditure observed in the past few years, while stabilising, is not being reversed. Some focus on expenditure restraint is key in a well-designed consolidation strategy, especially where government sectors are relatively large.
It is reassuring that no Draft Budgetary Plan has been found to be in serious non-compliance with the obligations of the SGP and that it is not necessary to request revised budgetary plans. However, in several cases, the Commission has found reasons for substantial criticism and has called on the Member States concerned to take its opinions into account in the finalisation of the 2014 budgets. Below is an overview of the Commission's key conclusions for Croatia:
Croatia (not in EDP; Report on breach of debt and deficit criteria)
1. Croatia's deficit reached 5% of GDP in 2012, and total government debt amounted to 55.5% of GDP. According to government plans and the Commission 2013 Autumn forecast, the budget deficit is projected to stay well above the 3% reference value in the period 2013-2015, while public debt is projected to exceed 60% in 2014.
2.Consequently, the Commission has carried out a report under Article 126(3) of the Treaty and has examined relevant factors. The findings of the report support the conclusion that neither the deficit nor the debt criteria of the Treaty are fulfilled.
3.The Commission therefore intends to recommend to the Council the opening of an Excessive Deficit Procedure for Croatia.
The opinions on the Draft Budgetary Plans will be presented to the Eurogroup, which meets on 22 November to discuss them. The Commission will also present its opinion to the parliament of the Member State concerned and/or to the European Parliament if invited to do so.
In line with the new common budgetary timeline introduced by the Two-Pack, budgets have to be adopted by national parliaments by 31 December each year.
The Commission continues with its surveillance of budgetary developments in all Member States throughout the year.
The proposal for EDP Recommendations will be presented to the ECOFIN Council for discussion on 10 December.
The same ECOFIN Council will also discuss the Commission proposals for Council opinions on the Economic Partnership Programmes. (europa.eu /HIC)
Luko Paljetak awarded Pushkin Medal.
Croatian poet Luko Paljetak has been awarded the Pushkin Medal by the Academy of Russian Literature in recognition of his outstanding artistic contribution to contemporary European culture and his active participation in Russian-Croatian cultural cooperation, the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) said on Wednesday.
Paljetak, a member of the HAZU, was awarded the medal on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Paljetak and Italian novelist Umberto Eco were the first foreigners to be admitted to the membership of the Academy of Russian Literature in 2011.(tportal daly)
October 24, 2013.
PLIVA opens new generic pharmaceuticals plant
ZAGREB: On Friday, 18th October, on Zagreb the Croatian pharmaceuticals company PLIVA inaugurated a new plant for the production of medicine earmarked (tablets ) for export to Europe and the US. PLIVA is part of the Israel-based multinational group TEVA.
The 80-million-euro investment is one of the largest in Croatia of the past few years and is expected to create 200 people more. The company is mainly focused on the production of generic pharmaceuticals and with the new plant PLIVA will be able to increase its production of pills and capsules by two billion per year: a 25 percent rise on current production levels.
Company directors have also announced that 15 million euros more will soon be invested for the development of sterile production. HIC
A state funeral of the former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki (86) to be held on Sunday, November 3rd, at St. John’s Arch-Cathedral in Warsaw. The service will begin at 11.00 am local time. Tadeusz Mazowiecki to be buried in his family’s grave in Laski, near Warsaw.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki was a Solidarity activist and the first non-communist prime minister in Central and Eastern Europe since the end of World War II. He was one of the participants of the "Round Table", which brought together the communist authorities and the opposition to pave the way for Poland's transition to democracy in 1989. Since October 2012 he was a strategic advisor of the President Bronislaw Komorowski.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki died on Monday morning (October 28th) in Warsaw. He was 86.
(tvn.pl /HIC-website )
Decembre 7th, 2013.
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President’s statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela.
KYIV, 6 December 2013 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ranko Krivokapic issued the following statement today on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela. I send my sincere condolences to his family, friends, and the citizens of South Africa. Nelson Mandela is one of history’s greatest democratic icons. His legacy will continue to serve as a beacon of hope for generations of pro-democracy leaders, lawmakers, activists, and people around the world who strive for freedom and equality.
As someone who has witnessed the horrors unleashed by interethnic intolerance in the Balkans, I have long been inspired on a personal level by Nelson Mandela's quest for a more righteous world. Let us all – in the OSCE area and beyond – continue to emulate his courage and vision.”
(OSCE press/ HIC)
Decembre 7th, 2013
Hurricane Xavier hits Poland.
POLAND: Yesterday between midnight and 5 am local time,firefighters took part in 546 actions with the worst hit area being the West Pomerania region on the Baltic coast. They intervened 124 times in West Pomerania, and there were also high instances of problems in Wielopolska (63) and Silesia (59).
Four people were injured, including two in Silesia, one in Wielkopolska and one in Masovia. Meanwhile, twelve people in the Silesian town of Cieszyn had to be evacuated following damage to a gas line, and a six-person family in the vicinity of Zlotoryja, Lower Silesia also had to be moved. A power line that fell on a barn in Skotnik, West Pomerania, killed twenty-six cattle. Strong winds are expected to continue on Friday, accompanied by snow, and once again the Baltic coast is the most vulnerable area. Over 100,000 households were left without electricity on Friday morning as Hurricane Xavier lashed Poland. After the tree felt on the car in Pomerania region three people are reported to be dead.
Strong winds are expected to continue on Friday, accompanied by snow, and once again the Baltic coast is the most vulnerable area
Bosnia and Herzegovina is ready to conduct a cenzus on October 1-15, 2013.
Is BiH ready for first census in 22 Years!
WASHINGTON DC:After the meeting of EUROSTAT Director Pieter Everaers and BiH Minister of Transport and Communications Damir Hadzic, the International Monitoring Operation (IMO) gave a positive assessment of preparations for the implementation of the Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 1-15, 2013. ( more )
September 19, 2013
Croatia: Doctors and nurses on strike.
ZAGREB:Croatian doctors and nurses in a hospital went on a strike for the first time in ten years.The strike began at 07:00 on Wednesday morning.
It is believed 40000 of doctors and nurses ( 70 percent) took part in the strike during Wednesday, demanding better working conditions. Surgeries that were not urgent were already cancelled. Family doctors are not on strike. HIC
September 18, 2013
Croatia: EPP President calls on Milanović to respect EU law
BRUSSELS: The President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Wilfried Martens, made the following statement regarding the European Commission’s initiation today of the “Article 39 procedure” against Croatia: "The decision of the European Commission to initiate the Article 39 procedure against Croatia is completely justifiable and should not come as a surprise. Three days prior to the country’s EU accession on 1 July, the Croatian parliament approved significant changes to laws with respect to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) Framework Decision, limiting its application. This unilateral move, led by Prime Minister Zoran Milanović and his Socialist-Liberal (SDP-HNS/PES-ALDE) government, was not only a breach of Croatia’s obligations under EU law, but it also impedes the proper functioning of a key element of judicial cooperation throughout the EU.”
“I therefore call on Zoran Milanović – a member of the Party of European Socialists (PES) - to reverse these changes immediately and without condition, in order to comply with the acquis communautaire and the commitments made by Croatia during its accession negotiations. I also call on the PES and the ALDE party to do their part in influencing the Croatian government to take corrective measures, instead of continuing to remain silent.”
EPP press /HIC
July 1, 2013
Croatia’s EU accession brings stability to the region; HDZ becomes full member party of the EPP
The President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Wilfried Martens, has warmly welcomed the accession of Croatia as the 28th Member State of the European Union and underlined the central role that the HDZ played in the accession process. Moreover, as of today, the Croatian associate member parties of the EPP - HDZ and HSS - are now full member parties:
“After eight years of difficult and complex negotiations, Croatia has finally become the 28th Member State of the European Union (EU). This is a historic moment not only for the country but also for the region, since Croatia is the first Western Balkan country to join the EU. I sincerely hope that the other countries in the region will join the EU in the near future and will transform the Western Balkans from a conflict area into an area of peace and prosperity,” Martens underlined.
“I also want to pay tribute to the HDZ party for the instrumental role it played in the accession of Croatia to the EU. It is thanks to the dedicated and tireless work of the governments of the HDZ that Croatia finally succeeded in becoming a Member State of the European Union. Furthermore, according to the rules of the EPP, since Croatia is as of today a Member State of the EU, the membership status of the HDZ has also changed as of today from associate member to full member. Therefore, I welcome the HDZ as a full member party of the EPP and I look forward to even greater participation of the party in the work of our political family,” the EPP President added.
June 6, 2013.
ECO HOTEL IN THE MIDDLE DALMATIA IN CROATIA
Welcome to the “VILLA ANDREA” Boutique Hotel in Tucepi, Croatia!
The beginnings of the Hotel Villa Andrea – this story is about a piece of paradise on the coast of the Adriatic Sea where you can hear the noise of waves and the twitter of birds. The view stretching over the open sea catches the islands of Brac and Hvar in the distance and is filled with heavenly pleasures.
May 28, 2013
Resolution 131 - Senator Begich
Dear Senator Begich,
Thank your for submitting the S. Resolution 131 to the Committee on Foreign Relations dealing with the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). As a Croatian born in BiH, an American citizen, and a historian, I greatly appreciate your concerns for the fate of Bosnia and Herzegovina, its peoples and individuals, especially for the precarious situation in which the Croats in BiH find themselves.
Because I share your interest and concern regarding BiH, please allow me to make a couple of remarks regarding Resolution 131 and the situation in BiH in general.
The Resolution states that the Dayton Peace Accords “may have hindered efforts to develop efficient and effective political institutions” in the country. There are no doubts about it; the portion of the Accords that dealt with constitutional questions and civil life was and continues to be a stone around the neck of BiH. True, the Accords stopped the war, but created a constitutional labyrinth, full of loopholes, that no one can even fully grasp, let alone implement its (often) inconsistent stipulations. The possible designation of a Presidential Special Envoy is a wonderful idea if such move will bring about meaningful actions, and not become yet another false hope or a new layer of paper that is covering the existing constitutional and a plethora of other cracks in the country.
The Resolution states that the “Government and people of BiH have been working in partnership with the international community to achieve progress in building a peaceful and democratic society based on the rule of law, respect for human rights, and a free market economy.” I wish that this was true. Unfortunately, the citizens of BiH enjoy very little input regarding the decision-making processes. Everything is done in their name but without their involvement. The existing numerous government layers in BiH have been hijacked to serve the interests of the existing political parties, that is, of their leaders and their cronies (including those in many NGOs). The international community representatives and other decision-makers are also caught up in their own game and, its seems, are far removed from safeguarding and advancing the interests of the people and the country. If they, and the domestic leaders, were serious in doing so, there would be no need for your respective resolution and a call for a Presidential Special Envoy so many years after the bloodshed has been stopped.
In regard to the “rule of law”, it is often forgotten that injustice is the fundamental flaw of the Dayton Accords. Nothing lasting can be built on its unjust foundations. Furthermore, the solutions will not be found in a perpetual search for answers through countless meetings and everlasting “processes,” and an obvious unwillingness to make rightful decisions on the part of domestic and foreign decision-makers. True answers might be simpler than many think: A dose of basic human honesty and readiness to do and accept justice will lead to the right paths and a better future for all in the country. Probably an honest broker at this moment is needed, but is so hard to find?
Your concern for the situation of the Croats in BiH is greatly appreciated. They have practically been eliminated from the Republika srpska (RS) and from certain areas in the Federation (FBiH). The rest, especially the young, are fleeing the country and they will continue to do so in even greater numbers once Croatia becomes a member of the EU. Constitutional guarantees protecting individual and minority rights and the implementation of laws protecting national rights of the three constituent peoples needs to be fully implemented and may be the only hope in preventing BiH Croats from leaving their homes and homeland forever. That would be a tragedy not only for them but for BiH too.
The Croats are genuine supporters of BiH accession to NATO and the EU, especially since Croatia will become a EU member on July 1, 2013. They have no cultural, religious or any other ties with other parts of the world but the West and they hope that BiH will be fully integrated into existing European institutions and alliances in the near future. BiH Croats hope that people like you, Mr. Begich, and your colleagues and friends in Washington D. C. will give them a helping hand on the road to achieve justice and full equality in BiH, and become citizens of the EU as well. They can also be genuine and useful partners to the West in its efforts to integrate BiH into the Euro-Atlantic community.
Thank you for your interest and support!
Ante Čuvalo, Ph. D.
19121 Wildwood Ave.
Lansing, IL 60438
Presently in BiH.
P.S.: Ante Čuvalo, author of Historical Dictionary of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lanham, Md. & London: The Scarecrow Press, 1997 and 2nd. edition 2007, as well as other historical books and numerous articles on BiH and Croatia.
April 16, 2013
The President of the European People’s Party has congratulated the election victory of the CDU party.
The President of the European People’s Party (EPP),Wilfried Martens, has congratulated the election victory of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a member party of the EPP. Yesterday's poll was the first European election that took place in Croatia, ahead of the country’s formal EU accession on 1 July 2013. The HDZ list scored nearly 33% of votes and 6 out of the 12 seats in the European Parliament. Voter turn out was a very low 20.76%.
“I congratulate the HDZ and Tomislav Karamarko for winning the first European elections in Croatia. This is a well deserved victory and a recognition of HDZ’s instrumental role in securing Croatia’s membership in the European Union,” stated the EPP President.
“This result is also a twofold failure for the Socialist/Liberal government because not only did it lose the election but it also ran a very poor information campaign to promote it to the Croatian citizens, which resulted in the very low turn out. The government’s subpar performance is not the best kick-off for Croatia’s EU accession,” Martens added.
by:Kostas Sasmatzoglou, EPP.eu /HIC-website
|Note to editors:
The EPP is the largest and most influential European-level political party of the centre-right, which currently includes 73 member-parties from 40 countries, the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, 13 EU and 6 non-EU heads of state and government, 13 members of the European Commission and the largest Group in the European Parliamen.
April 4, 2013.
President Grossruck applauds historic UN Arms Trade Treaty vote
COPENHAGEN, 3 April 2013 – Yesterday’s historic UN vote adopting the Arms Trade Treaty is an important step towards building genuine security in the OSCE area and across the world, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Wolfgang Grossruck said today. (MORE)
April 4, 2013.
MULTINATIONAL CORPS NORTHEAST
Crystal Eagle 2013.
Multinational Corps Northeast conducts a huge multinational Crystal Eagle 2013 exercise to introduce predicted key challenges for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan in 2014 to the training units. Some of them, including Multinational Corps Northeast itself, will enter the mission area in just a couple of months.
Crystal Eagle 2013, with about 1,400 participants from 19 countries, and more than 30 commands, organisations and agencies represented, is the biggest training undertaking of Szczecin-based Multinational Corps Northeast in 2013. Held on request of Germany, the exercise has generated great interest among the Corps’ nations, partnering organisations and even countries outside NATO, such as Austria. It will be conducted at the Army Warfighting Simulation Centre in Wildflecken, Germany, from 15 to 26 April 2013.
1st German Armoured Division, 4th Austrian Mechanized Infantry Brigade, 10th Polish Armoured Cavalry Brigade, Slovenian Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Battalion, NATO Multinational Military Police Battalion and an element of 9th Polish Reconnaissance Regiment will train crisis response operations with selected aspects of High Intensity Warfare and Counter Insurgency Operations. They will portray regional commands and their subordinated units, and remain under command of ISAF Joint Command, played by Multinational Corps Northeast. Finally, they will train using modern computer technologies and real life data transferred from Afghanistan by Joint Force Training Centre in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Public Affairs Office , MCN
March 4th, 2013.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY DECLARATION
International Mother Language Day is observed on February 21. This day was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 2008; and it has been observed worldwide since 1999. On February 21, 2013, the Croatian Cultural Association (TROPLET) of Bosnia and Hercegovina issued the following statement.
Whereas, it is recognized that individuals have the fundamental human right to their Mother Language, to education and cultural diversity and that those rights are recognized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Agreement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Children, the European Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, the European Declarations on Regional and minority Languages, and many other similar documents,
Whereas, the rights to the Mother Language, to education, and cultural diversity are guaranteed by both the Constitution of BiH and the Constitution of the Federation of BiH,
Whereas, the above rights are being ignored in the cantons with a Bosniac majority and that, furthermore Croatian school children are systematically being discriminated against by a policy of one people, one language, one educational program...thus depriving them of their fundamental right to the Mother Language (Croatian) and the right to be different,
Whereas, Croatian school children are being subjected to a policy of forced assimilation through education and denied their right to the Mother Language,
We, therefore, call upon the domestic and foreign political factors in BiH to guarantee, through an adequate school system, the right of the Croatian children in BiH to
When this is guaranteed, the officially proclaimed goal of education in BiH “to develop awareness of belonging to the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to one's own identity, language, and tradition,” will become a reality.
Miroslav Nikolić – President HKZ Troplet
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Croatian President about Slovenia's ratification of the EU agreements.
Croatian president Ivo Josipovic on Saturday advocated putting an end to everyday media polemics about the case of Ljubljanska Banka and Slovenia's ratification of Croatia's European Union accession treaty, saying the matter should be left to the two countries' governments and that he was confident of a positive outcome and good relations with Slovenia.
He was asked by the press to comment on the Croatian government's willingness to withdraw its power of attorney to banks in lawsuits filed by the now defunct Slovenian bank's former depositors, allegedly to secure the ratification in the Slovenian parliament.
With regard to the bank issue and the ratification, Josipovic said he absolutely believed "in a positive outcome and excellent Croatian-Slovenian relations."
He said he had spoken to new Slovenian President Borut Pahor and that he planned to visit Croatia soon.The president was also asked to comment on the election of the Conflict of Interest Commission in parliament yesterday and the opposition's refusal to take part in the vote.
The elected Commission should enjoy general confidence, so it would have been better had the opposition taken part in the vote, Josipovic said, adding that he completely trusted the elected members to do their job.
As for announcements of a new privatisation round in which, according to the media, hundreds of companies are to be sold, the president said he supported the privatisation of small and medium enterprises of no strategic importance.
"Generally, with the exception of strategic companies and resources, the state should walk out of enterprises and the economy," he said.
Asked to comment on CMA Vision consulting company's ranking Croatia 18th on a list of countries facing bankruptcy, Josipovic said he was certain that Croatia would not go bankrupt but embark on "a better course." He would not comment on media allegations that Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic intended to reduce his powers, saying the parliament speaker had been very clear about it and that he had nothing to add.(by tportaldaly )
WORLD MEN'S HANDBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Croatia wins bronze!
Croatia won the bronze in the 2013 World Men's Handball Championship after defeating Slovenia 31:26 (14:13) in Barcelona on Saturday.This was the Croatian team's fifth world championship medal and the first bronze since the 2001 gold and the silver won in 1995, 2005 and 2009.
The final is played on Sunday by Spain and Denmark.
The Festival "Welcom Croatia" in London
Croatia is at the heart of Europe and has a history and culture going back thousands of years. It is also a place where exciting new things happen.But Croatia is not known in the UK for much more than sun and sea, and for its sports stars. The Welcome Croatia festival in 2013 aims to change that. The increased media and public interest in the UK about Croatia as it joins the EU will provide a unique opportunity for a festival to ‘put Croatia on the map’.
The festival will consist of a series of high profile events in the first half of 2013, ending with the Croatian National Day celebrations at the end of June and EU membership on July 1.
Welcome Croatia will be of interest to people in the UK who are curious about Croatia and have an interest in the wider world, to young people, people interested in doing business with Croatia and those whose interest in Croatia has been aroused through tourism.
Welcome Croatia will also provide an opportunity for Croats living in the UK to celebrate Croatia’s membership of the EU.
Welcome Croatia will cover a variety of areas within the broad understanding of culture including film, visual arts, sport, food and wine, theatre, photography, music, archaeology and history, and will be delivered through exhibitions, talks, seminars and competitions.
Sir John Ramsden chairs a festival committee that has responsibility for ensuring the coherence and quality of the festival. Welcome Croatia events are organised and run by the British-Croatian Society in association with the British Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Embassy, the Croatian National Tourist Office, the Croatian Students and Young Professionals Network (CSYPN), the International Trust for Croatian Monuments and the United Kingdom Association of Alumni and Friends of Croatian Universities (AMAC-UK).
by croatiawelcome webiste/HIC
HIGHER VAT RATE
VAT 5 per cent for bread, milk products from Jan 1st
ZAGREB: The imposition of a 5 per cent value added tax on January 1 will most probably lead to an increase in the prices of bread and the basic pastries by that amount, adjustments will likely be made to milk prices as well, but the decision is up to each bakery and dairy company, the Zitozajednica and Croatiastocar farming associations have recently said, while retail chains say are still talking with suppliers and hope the prices of the most important products will not go up for now.
Zitozajednica says the increase in the prices of bread and the basic pastries will not deal a drastic blow to consumers, as it will be marginal. Croatiastocar says the five per cent VAT is an additional cost for the dairy industry which will cause an additional liquidity problem.
As of January 1, bread, milk, books and scientific journals, medicines, orthopaedic aids and cinema tickets will no longer be exempt from VAT but subject to a five per cent rate.
This means that the prices of pastries and bread, which range between two and 13 kuna, will go up by HRKn 0.10-0.65.
The Mercator retail chain says the prices for Mercator and Getro customers will not go up until further notice. The Konzum chain says it is still talking with suppliers but that the prices of the most important goods will probably not go up.
On January 1, the zero VAT rate on bread, milk, books, scientific publications, medicines, orthopaedic aids and cinema tickets were be replaced with a rate of five per cent in Croatia which recently amended the Value Added Tax Act by majority vote in parliament. The law was amended to align it with European Union directives which do not allow a VAT rate below five per cent. (dalynews t-portal/HIC)