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Bosnia-Herzegovina Elections to Be Discussed by EU
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 20:20

Bosnia-Herzegovina Elections to Be Discussed by EU

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - The Council of the European Union for foreign affairs will thoroughly analyse the general election held in Bosnia in October in an effort to resolve the problem of the "marginalisation" of Croats in that country and them being put in a "subordinate position," Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Parliament on Wednesday, speaking about Bosnia-Herzegovina elections.

Plenković presented his report on the last four meetings of the European Council, two formal meetings held late June and mid-October and two informal sessions – one in Sofia in May and the other in Salzburg held mid-September.

The prime minister expressed his satisfaction with the way his stance on Bosnia and Herzegovina and the status of the Croat people was accepted at the EU summit in Brussels in October. Within the framework of foreign affairs, Plenković spoke about Bosnia and Herzegovina following the 7 October general election in that country in which the majority Bosniak population once again outvoted the Croat population and elected the Croat member to the country's tripartite presidency.

"We consider that it is not good to have that situation, which seems to be unjust and which hinted at that the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are marginalised and that they are in a subordinate position, " Plenković told the parliament.

"The thing that we managed to succeed in and that is essential for the continuation of that debate, is that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European Affairs, Marija Pejčinović Burić will speak on behalf of Croatia at the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday at the meeting that is supposed to approach in detail an analysis of the general election in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to consider what and how EU member states and the Union, as such, can do, while trying to solve the issue, in the dialogue with institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and political parties with regard to that problem, which objectively has a very unpleasant nature for the equality of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

Plenković underscored that that is in no way interfering in the affairs of another country but that Croatia legitimately advocates the compliance with the Dayton accord of which it is a cosignatory.

Speaking of the EU summit meeting in Sofia, Plenković said that it also focused on the digital agenda and innovations as well as relations with Iran and EU-USA trade relations.

Plenković said that Croatia should invest more in the ICT sector, considering the fact that in 2017, as many as 8.4 million people were employed in that sector in the European Union, while currently a mere 35,000 people had jobs in the ICT sector in Croatia. If we want to catch up with digitisation, we must invest more in companies specialised in ICT, he added.

Plenković pointed out the significance of the EU-Western Balkan summit in Sofia, which was held at the initiative of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. This event filled the 15-year hiatus at the level of the European Council concerning dialogue with neighbours, Plenković said recalling that no meeting of this format had been held since the summit meeting in Thessaloniki in 2003.

The EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia last May brought together the heads of state or government from EU member states and from the 6 Western Balkans partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo. The closing declaration about European prospects for Western Balkan countries welcomed Croatia's intention to organise the next EU-Western Balkans summit during its presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020.

"Croatia is pursuing a policy that is fairly more open towards the enlargement process than policies in many EU member-states are," Plenković told MPs.

Commenting on Brexit, Plenković said that Croatia's position was that the departure of the U.K. from the Union should be orderly and well prepared after that "unfortunate referendum" was held with the outcome for the exit.

For more on Croatia and the EU, click here.

President Attends Economic Summit in Berlin
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 20:12

President Attends Economic Summit in Berlin

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is attending the Economic Summit organised by the Sueddenutsche Zeitung daily in Berlin, on Wednesday presented her vision of Croatia's economic growth, underlining the need for improving the investment climate, 're-branding' Croatia, implementing tax reform and reducing labour costs.

"We want to improve the investment climate to help Croatia become competitive within the European Union. I believe Croatia could be one of the most developed countries in the world," Grabar-Kitarović said at the end of the three-day conference.

She also mentioned the success the Croatian national football team achieved at the World Cup in Russia, saying that Croatia could benefit from that. "This had an impact on Croatia's image in the world. You can work as a politician for years and then suddenly, because of a World Cup, you become famous," Grabar-Kitarović said.

She also said she wanted to re-brand Croatia so that it could be recognised as an investment-worthy country. As one of the main objectives, the Croatian president underscored tax reform and lower labour costs, saying this would help prevent brain drain.

"That is our problem because we are losing people who are leaving to places that offer better conditions," Grabar-Kitarović said and concluded that reforms should be aimed at increasing salaries, expressing confidence that higher wages would keep the workforce in Croatia.

Grabar-Kitarović also mentioned the Three Seas Initiative which, according to her, is aimed at reducing wealth gaps between east and west European Union countries. "This initiative was misinterpreted as an initiative of discord, when in fact it is aimed at achieving cohesion within the European Union," the Croatian president said.

With more than 60 speakers, the 2018 Economic Summit is focusing on the major issues moving today’s economy, politics and society. The participants are discussing where Germany and Europe are headed, what the future of money holds and whether the breakthrough in artificial intelligence will cost people jobs as well as how leaders can master these challenges.

The event, which was opened on Monday evening with a speech by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, was also attended by the prime ministers of Iceland, Estonia and Serbia. Ahead of the summit, Grabar-Kitarović attended a dinner reception during which she spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

For more on Croatia’s president, click here.

Filip Hrgović finds out opponent for December 8 fight in Zagreb
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 18:00

Filip Hrgović (Photo: Team Sauerland)

Filip Hrgović (6-0, 5 KOs) continues his World title charge on December 8 as the Croatian boxing sensation defends his WBC International title against Ecuador’s Ytalo Perea (11-3-2, 7 KOs) at the KC Dražen Petrović in Zagreb, Sauerland Promotion announced.

Hrgović secured the WBC International belt with a spectacular third-round stoppage win over Amir Mansour on September 8 at the Arena Zagreb, and the Rio 2016 Olympic Bronze Medallist has vowed to deliver another impressive performance as he returns to the Croatian capital for his maiden defence.

“I am pleased to have my next opponent confirmed,” said Hrgovic. “Perea is a good boxer with a strong amateur pedigree and I expect him to provide a tough test. He’s shared the ring with some good boxers and he’s never been stopped.

“I look forward to the challenge and I look forward to fighting again in Zagreb. With the support of the Croatian people, I believe I will reach the top of the heavyweight division, and I promise to deliver them another entertaining fight and a great victory on December 8 at the KC Dražen Petrović.”

Sauerland Promotion

Perea claimed gold at the 2011 Pan American games and defeated Dominic Breazeale and Simon Kean on his way to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics where he lost out to the Beijing 2008 Gold Medallist Roberto Cammarelle.

In the professional ranks, Perea has recorded eleven victories including seven knockouts and has gone the distance with former World Champion Guillermo Jones and highly-rated Polish heavyweight Adam Kownacki.

“I am excited to come to Croatia to fight Filip Hrgović,” said Perea. “I have travelled the world fighting as an amateur so I have no fear facing him in his backyard. I have watched his fights and I know he’s a good boxer, but I’m confident I will win. He has never fought anyone like me before!”

Zeljko Karajica, CEO of 7Sports, the sports unit of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group and Managing Director of the operating event agency MMP Event GmbH, says fans should expect a ‘spectacular’ fight between the warring heavyweights.

“We’re delighted to announce Filip Hrgović versus Ytalo Perea for the WBC International title,” said Karajica. “This promises to be a spectacular contest and a great main event for our fight night at the KC Dražen Petrović”

Promoter Nisse Sauerland, of Team Sauerland, says he believes Perea can provide a stern test and an important victory for Hrgović as he looks to maneuver his heavyweight hope into World title contention. 

Filip Hrgović (Photo: Team Sauerland)

“This will be another good step up for Filip,” said Sauerland. “Perea has an impressive amateur pedigree and has proven he can mix it at a high level as a professional. Filip is currently ranked top twenty with the WBC, WBO and WBA, and a victory on December 8 will further boost his World title credentials.”

The WBC International Heavyweight Championship contest between Filip Hrgović and Ytalo Perea will top an action-packed fight card at the KC Dražen Petrović on December 8 with a full undercard set to be announced.

Tickets start from 150 KN and are available online via www.eventim.hr. All the action will be broadcast live and exclusive on RTL in Croatia.

(Team Sauerland)

Croatia's National Parks Included on Fodor's 2019 Go List
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 17:12

Croatia's National Parks Included on Fodor's 2019 Go List

"These photogenic National Parks give you eight more reasons to put Croatia on your 2019 travel list," writes Fodor about Croatia's National Parks. 

Diabetes Becomes Fourth Most Frequent Cause of Death in Croatia
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 17:04

Diabetes Becomes Fourth Most Frequent Cause of Death in Croatia

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - Diabetes has become the fourth most frequent cause of death in Croatia, moving up in the ranking from fifth position last year, and the main reason for this is chronic complications arising from late detection of the disease, the Croatian Federation of Diabetes Associations said at a press conference in Zagreb on Wednesday, marking World Diabetes Day.

Last year, 2,331 Croatians died from the disease, and it is estimated that 40 percent of people with diabetes are not even aware of it. As a result, costs of diabetes treatment have increased by 2 billion kuna over the last ten years to 4.6 billion kuna annually. This is 19.8 percent of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund's budget and 88 percent of the amount goes towards the treatment of complications, mostly those of a cardiovascular nature.

Both patients and specialists believe that urgent changes are necessary within the healthcare system to ensure better prevention, faster detection and treatment, and better treatment outcomes.

About 300,000 diabetes patients are currently registered in Croatia, but their actual number is believed to be about 500,000.

All medicines for diabetes treatment are available in Croatia, and new treatment guidelines should also improve the quality of treatment. The biggest problem is the late detection of the disease, because by the time of diagnosis most patients have already developed certain complications, the most frequent being a stroke and a heart attack.

"The number of these patients in Croatia is growing steadily. Right now more than nine percent of the adult population have diabetes, compared to six percent ten years ago. The fact that the death rate is growing shows that we are unsuccessful in treatment," general practitioner Tereza Šarić said.

She presented the results of a survey conducted among diabetes patients, according to which 62 percent of patients had undergone only one or no examinations at all in the past year, and half of them had not taken any of the basic tests. A third did not receive any information about the disease and a fifth said they knew nothing about cardiovascular complications, although half of the patients had such complications.

For more on Croatia’s healthcare sector, click here.

MPs Question Government about Migrants, Fake News
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 16:58

MPs Question Government about Migrants, Fake News

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - During question time in parliament on Wednesday, independent Mirando Mrsić warned about "the spreading of fake news and hysteria about migrants", inviting Prime Minister Andrej Plenković that they visit migrants together and make a statement that they were welcome in Croatia.

"How many crimes were committed by migrants over the past year? How many persons have applied for asylum and how many have been granted it?" Mrsić said. He in particular called out Živi Zid MP Ivan Pernar over spreading fake news about migrants.

Plenković agreed that there was a wave of hysteria and panic over illegal migration and urged politicians and the media not to spread hysteria unnecessarily. "We will continue to protect the border from illegal migration and when it comes to legal migration or a humanitarian approach, when it comes to people seeking asylum, we will act in line with our and European regulations, pursuing a responsible policy and eliminating the existing hysteria, drama and panic," he said.

Mrsić called on parliament's speaker and presidency to distance themselves from Pernar's statements and on the government not to allow the spreading of untruths in the media and rampant intolerance in society.

Miroslav Tuđman of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) asked about the security aspect of illegal migration. Interior Minister Davor Božinović recalled that Croatia has the longest external land border in the European Union, bordering on non-EU states, which he said was a challenge which no state could resolve alone. "Illegal migration is also a security issue," he said, adding that the government had asked that the states south of Croatia be included in dealing with the issue.

MP Bruna Esih of the Independents for Croatia party harshly criticised Prime Minister Andrej Plenković because of the UN Global Compact for Migration, claiming that he had “long ago shown” that the fate of “hysterical” Croatians isn't one of his priorities, while the prime minister retorted that the point of that document is to manage regular migrations and called on Esih to state what she found problematic in that document other than her impressions.

Esih questioned why so many EU member states were opposed to the U.N. pact on migrations. "Why all the heated debate, for God's sake, when its contents, as Mr Jandroković instructed us, are undisputed and unbinding," said Esih.

Plenković ironically responded that he gives her a "plus for her effort with her second query," hinting at the fact that she has only once raised any issue during question time in parliament so far. "The document you are referring to is the UN's response to a phenomenon that has occurred in Europe and the world in 2015 and 2016. And Hungary alone has expressed reservation to that document," Plenković explained.

Not one expert, he underscored, views it as a dramatic bomb, apart from certain actors and political parties with similar worldviews, who are trying to gain some points from this issue, he said. MP Esih said that she wasn't satisfied with Plenković's response.

Responding to a question by SDP MP Josko Klisović with regard to Croatia's foreign policy about the UN Global Compact on Regular Migrations, Plenković said that at not one moment in the past two years did he hear anyone say there were any problems with that document.

"I didn't hear that from the president either except that she intended to go to Marakesh and then said she wouldn't go. I didn't hear that any particular sentence was a problem, any formula or anything in the Global Compact about legal migrations. So as far as I am concerned, there is no disunity here," Plenković said in his comment on the recent statements made by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on the Global Compact that is to be endorsed in Marrakesh, Morocco, in December.

"As far as state policy on migrations is concerned, be it regular or irregular, the policy is based on three points: to prevent irregular migrations, fulfil the Schengen Area requirements and to support all international efforts whether they are related to regulating legal or preventing illegal migrants," Plenković said and added that the government would discuss the Compact this week and then forward it to parliament.

For more on Croatia’s migrant policies, click here.

Second Best in European Union: Croatia Produced 35% More Wine This Year
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 16:56

Second Best in European Union: Croatia Produced 35% More Wine This Year

Croatia is the second best in the European Union when it comes to wine production for 2018. The country produced as much as 35 percent more wine, with only Slovenia producing more in the whole of the EU.

As Miroslav Kuskunovic/Agrobiz/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of November, 2018, European Commission (EC) experts have pointed out the fact that this year, faith in the wine sector has been restored after the climate crises that caused enormous concern in the past. Wine production will be be 22 percent more than it was back in 2017, and 5 percent more than the average over a five year period.

Croatia will have production of 777,000 hectoliters of wine this year, which is 35 percent more than last year, but also 23 percent less than the five-year average. The European Commission's estimate is the latest report that strongly suggests that this year, wine production in the EU as a whole will be exceptionally good in comparison to 2017, when it dropped in most countries.

The Commission forecasts that the European Union will have production of 175.6 million hectoliters, which is a significant 22.1 percent more than in 2017, and 5.1 percent more than the five-year average. Croatia is, in regard to those estimates, among the countries to have the most growth in this sector in comparison to 2017. Growth in production from Croatia has been surpassed only by neighbouring Slovenia, with an impressive 57 percent growth.

The analysis explains, as mentioned, that this year has returned faith in the wine sector after the recent production drop which was owing mainly to climatic changes, and production was at record low levels. Although this year there were still some significant climatic changes, especially in Northern Europe with some heavy droughts over summer which even saw the United Kingdom turn from green to brown, all of this had a positive impact on the production of grapes and the extremely good quality of the wine, the experts from the European Union explain.

They note that climate change, as well as disease as a ''complementary'' element in grape production due to frequent rains, frosts, droughts and the like, will have a great impact on the future as well. For this reason, the winemakers will have to apply new technologies and knowledge in grape and wine production, as was highlighted in the analysis.

The fact that Croatia will have an excellent level of wine production this year will be confirmed by some of the country's respected and leading winemakers.

"Compared with last year's grape harvest, the amount of grapes is larger, with a bit more yield. As for wine quality, we expect this year to be the highest,'' said Martina Krauthaker Grgić, from the Krauthaker winery. Sebastian Tomić from the Tomić winery says that in 2018, there was no attack of disease on the grapes.

"I dare say that this is a good year with regard to quality and quantity, that is, the quantity is better by 30 percent," noted Tomić.

"This year was really ideal, better than last year. There was no disease, the weather conditions were remarkable. The grape quality is excellent and we expect outstanding wines, balanced, mineral and full bodied,'' says winemaker Josip Franković.

"This year's vintage was excellent both in terms of quality and quantity, and the first wine from PZ Putniković can be expected on the market in March," says Ana Barać of PZ Putniković.

Want to keep up with more information on Croatian wine? Make sure to follow our lifestyle and Total Croatia Wine pages for much more.


Click here for the original article by Miroslav Kuskunovic/Agrobiz on Poslovni Dnevnik

Conclusions from the Croatian homeland & diaspora business conference
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 16:50

Meeting G2.4 – A Look toward the Future in Zagreb has closed

ZAGREB, 14 November 2018 – The conference “Meeting G2.4 – A Look toward the Future”, which over the past two days at the congress centre Forum in Zagreb gathered more than 200 participants, including over 70 successful business people of Croatian origin from 19 countries, has closed. 

The conference, which aimed to link businesses and increase investment between the Croatian Homeland and the Diaspora, featured seven panels on various topics from the economy, numerous networking sessions and a competition for Croatian startups. 

According to organisers, one of the main conclusions of the conference is that the state needs to exploit the potential of successful business people of Croatian descent, especially in remote markets, and appoint them as commercialists to connect Croatian exporters to local economies. 

For example, in South America more than 425 million people live, of which 600,000 are Croatians, but there is not one single commercialist. On the other hand, Spain has 40 commercialists in Chile alone. 

Meeting G2.4 – A Look toward the Future

Commercialists would represent immigrant Croats living in the countries themselves and are well-versed in the market and could be the best aid to Croatian companies who want to export to establish relevant business contacts. Nor would they generate any costs because they live and work in these countries. 

Potential is enormous and shows that at present, as much as 87% of the Croatian commodity exchange is with Europe, while in both America and Australia it only accounts for 3.1%, which is a huge potential for growth.

“It’s about time that we find one direction, we need to know what we want and are looking for. That is why we believe that the initiative of the President of Croatia regarding the branding of Croatia is of national interest! This is a key thing because in this branding it connects everything – culture, heritage, economy. So we have everything! But if we do not put ideas and find the right direction, it’s just as if – we have nothing! I believe that we must look optimistically into the future that we are all creating together for our beautiful homeland,” said Josip Hrgetić, President of the Meeting G2 Association, the organiser of the conference. 

Josip Hrgetić

The conference also concluded that Croatian companies in the beginning, or later on, should not only focus on positioning in the local market, but realise that the potential lies in the big global market and that it is oriented towards exports. Successful Croatian emigrants in various countries could provide great help with these activities.

They should also be institutionally directed to Croatian emigrants’ Chambers of Commerce in various countries that can provide them with relevant information on business opportunities, state incentives, and the like. 

Also, there is thought about linking expatriate Chambers of Commerce globally, which would further facilitate the export offensive. And this year, at the MG2 conference, the lack of will and courage to make changes, especially with regard to reducing the state apparatus, changing the legal framework, reducing taxes and creating an economic framework for large and small and mid-sized companies was underlined.

Meeting G2.4 – A Look toward the Future

During the Conference, seven panels were held. On the panel of the potential of Croatian Chambers of Commerce in the world, the approach of the Australian Chamber of Commerce was presented.

On the panel of non-traditional forms of tourism, it is emphasised that only unique concepts can enrich content and extend the season, and when the approach is enriched with positive energy and emotions, this results in a superior combination.

Tourism panel at Meeting G2.4 – A Look toward the Future

Panels on innovative design in the wood industry, Croatian delicacies, real estate and blockchain in Croatia were also held. RioBot, a chatbot based on artificial intelligence which facilitates booking and tracking of scheduled appointments to various service providers, won the startup competition held on the opening day in cooperation with the portal Cronnect.me.

Hungary Hoping to Expand Transport Links with Croatia
Izvor:  Total Croatia News
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 16:50

Hungary Hoping to Expand Transport Links with Croatia

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - The Hungarian government wants to increase the number of border crossing points with Croatia and expand transport links with its southern neighbour, a foreign ministry official in Hungary was quoted by MTI news agency as saying.

Hungary and Croatia share a 355-kilometre-long border, but have only seven road border crossing points, deputy state secretary Peter Kiss-Parciu told a conference in the western town of Zalakaros.

The government in Budapest wants to increase the number of border crossing points and public transport links between Hungary and Croatia, he said, adding that the two countries are conducting high-level talks on the matter.

Speaking of the ongoing cross-border projects, Kiss-Parciu cited mine clearance in Baranja county, which the European Union is supporting with a three million grant euro, and the allocation of 10 million euro to Hungarian and Croatian small and medium enterprises.

Marton Szucs, who heads the joint secretariat overseeing Hungarian-Croatian cooperation schemes, said that in the 2014-2020 funding period, Hungarian and Croatian companies can bid for a total of 60.8 million euro in funding. Plans are to invite bids for another 20 million euro for tourism, cultural, education and environmental protection-related projects in January, he said.

For more on the Croatia-Hungary links, click here.

Fodor’s names Croatia’s national parks on its 2019 Go list
Izvor:  Croatia Week
Srijeda, 14 Studeni 2018 15:27

Plitvice Lakes (photo credit: NP Plitvicka Jezera)

America’s Fodor’s Travel has released its annual ‘Go’ and ‘No’ lists of travel destinations for 2019 with Croatian city making the GO list. 

The leading tourism and travel information resource provides comprehensive travel guidance for 2019 with its popular lists, highlighting can’t-miss spots that should be on every traveler’s radar while identifying places to skip in the upcoming year.

This year’s ‘Go’ list consists of 52 destinations and ‘focuses on wanderlust’, with Croatia’s national parks making the list.  

“The parks – eight in total – are a photographer’s dream. The 16 interconnected lakes and soaring waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park have earned it a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Manita Pec Cave in Paklenica National Park is akin to exploring another world. Get active swimming in the waterfalls at Krka National Park, fly fishing at Risnjak National Park, or kayaking to a 12th-century Benedictine monastery-turned-café on an island in Mljet National Park. Sjeverni Velebit National Park offers the chance for a late night stargazing hike, and the 140 small islands of Kornati Islands National Park are perfect for a weekend sailing or snorkeling trip. More than 200 dinosaur footprints were found at Brijuni National Park, and today you can walk alongside these giant reminders of the planet’s past,” Fodor’s writes. 

Mljet (Photo: Ivan Bagic)

“The inclusion of Croatian national parks on this prestigious list is an additional confirmation of our country’s exceptional natural wealth, which is precisely recognized in this segment worldwide. Our preserved and untouched nature attracts a large number of tourists, and I am confident that after the publication of this list, Croatia will take on a more solid position on the world tourist map, especially among those who prefer trips to unique natural sites,” said HTZ director Kristjan Staničić.

Paklenica (Photo: By Intipacha under CC)

The Fodor’s name has been synonymous with travel for over 80 years with their award-winning guidebooks, website, eBooks, and mobile apps provide today’s traveler with up-to-the-minute information to over 7,500 worldwide destinations.

Check out the full list here 

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