Saturday, 24 March 2018
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.


Ukraine International Airlines is planning to launch flights between the Croatian capital and the Ukrainian capital in 2021. There aren’t any direct connections between Zagreb and Kiev and the news, which was announced at a press conference in Kiev, means that Croatia will have another tourism market in the future.

The airline was established on the 1st of October 1992 and started operations on 25 November 1992 with a Kiev to London flight. It was one of the first "joint ventures with foreign capital" in Ukraine and the first airline in the former Soviet Union to use new Boeing 737-400 aircraft. The founding shareholders were the Ukrainian Association of Civil Aviation and Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA), an Irish aircraft-leasing company. In 1996, Austrian Airlines and Swissair became shareholders, investing $9 million USD in new equity.

Croatia Airlines had planned, back in 2009, to open direct flights from Zagreb to Kiev but later decided that the route wasn’t financially viable.

Thousands of protesters filled central Zagreb today to show their disagreement with the Istanbul Convention, worried that it threatens their traditional values of society.

The main objection of the protestors is that the convention would legitimise same-sex marriage as well as recognising more rights for transgender people. 

Conservative groups, representatives of the Catholic Church and political figures all turned out today in Zagreb and called on the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, to resign as he is supporter of the convention. According to polls around two thirds of Croatians support the convention, and at the protest today there was also a group of women’s rights groups who organised a counter-protest.



The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is a Council of Europe convention against violence against women and domestic violence which was opened for signature on 11 May 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey. And in fact Turkey became the first country to ratify the agreement on the 12th of March 2012. From 2013 to 2017 a further twenty-eight countries have signed the agreement, including Croatia’s neighbours, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.

The Croatian parliament has yet to ratify the convention, although the government is believed to be supporters of the agreement. This support has led to disruption in the party and with conservative groups and the Catholic Church.

One of the protest organisers, Kristina Pavlovic, said that "I think this is a turning point for Croatia. We must decide whether Croatia will choose a preservation of family and traditional values or go another way imposed from outside, from Brussels, or like what we see in Canada where there will be a Parent One and Parent Two instead of mother and father."

Sorry you’ll have an hour less sleep on Saturday night as the clocks go forward one hour. At 2 o’clock in the morning, on Sunday morning, the clocks go forward one hour to 3 o’clock.

You won’t have to worry about your smartphone and laptops, they’ll automatically update their times, but don’t forget to turn back that grandfather clock.

The good news is the evenings will be lighter, however you can expect slightly darker mornings, you can’t win them all.


Slovenia hasn’t followed the lead of Great Britain and has decided to prolong the ban on Croatian workers for another two years. The Slovenia government has proposed a law under which the labour market in Slovenia for Croatian citizens would remain closed for two more years. This comes after news just this week that the UK will open the market to Croatian workers from the 1st of July.

The Slovenian government commented in a brief statement that the aim of the proposed law was to align this issue with the labour market situation in Slovenia, thus ensuring its stability in the next two years.

The move to ban Croatian workers has brought reaction from Slovenian business, with the Chamber of Commerce adding that it was a wrong move and an “own goal” for the economy. The chamber has called on the government to withdraw the proposal and to draft a new law.

The abolition of restrictions on the employment of Croatian citizens has recently been announced by Malta, the former British colony, and today the smallest member of the EU as well as the UK. This means that further restrictions on the employment of Croatian citizens within the EU remain only in the Netherlands, Austria and Slovenia. Other EU members have already abolished restrictions on the employment of Croatian citizens.

It might be the third day of spring today but the weather certainly feels more like the depths of winter. Gale force northerly winds have been blowing for two days, bringing down trees and forcing the Dubrovnik Bridge to close, and overnight snow came back to the county.

During the night snow fell on the hills of Konavle, south of Dubrovnik, as well as on the Peljesac Peninsular. Winter conditions for driver are in force in Konavle with the police stating that there is between two and three centimetres of snow on many roads.

The arctic situation is the same on Peljesac with some roads actually closed due to the weather conditions.

The weather forecast for the weekend is for an increase in temperatures and sunshine, meaning that this should be the last Dubrovnik sees of snow.

The European Union project to build free Wi-Fi internet access all over Europe has been accepted with open arms by Croatia. Two days ago the EU initiative was opened and since opening Croatia is ranked sixth among thirty countries in terms of registrations from boroughs and cities.

The WiFi4EU programme offers vouchers worth €15,000 for municipalities to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces, including libraries, museums, public parks, squares. As stated by President Jean-Claude Juncker, the WiFi4EU initiative aims at connecting "every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020."

Almost 15 percent of the registrations from local government in Croatia have come from the Dubrovnik – Neretva County, according to reports in the local media. "I'm glad to see that Croatia has responded so well to this project because we have the most registered municipalities in comparison to the number of inhabitants," commented Croatian MEP Tonino Picula.

In 2017, 650,000 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union, with the majority coming from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This is around half of the number of asylum seekers in 2016, when 1.2 million arrived in Europe, according to new data from Eurostat.

By far the most attractive destination for asylum seekers last year was Germany, with 3 in 10 applying to stay in Germany, followed by Italy, France and Greece. 198,000 applied to stay in Germany, whilst only 33,000 applied in the UK and 30,000 in Spain.

Croatia was well down the list of attractive destinations for asylum seekers. In 2016 Croatia received 2,150 applications however this number has fallen by 59 percent last year to 880 first time applicants. In fact, the number of asylum seekers in Croatia in 2017 was a mere 0.1 percent of the European Union share.

One of the busiest roads in Dubrovnik was closed last night as the gale force northerly winds brought a massive pine tree down across the road.

The Dubrovnik Fire Brigade were on the scene quickly and had a full afternoon and evening of work removing the huge tree that had started to drastically lean over the road.

The road was closed for a few hours whilst the tree was cut down and the wood removed from the scene. The strong winds are expected to continue for most of the day today.

tree collpase lapad 2018 2




Humidity: 88%
Wind: E at 17.70 km/h
Partly cloudy
10°C / 14°C
Partly cloudy
9°C / 14°C
11°C / 15°C
Partly cloudy
13°C / 16°C

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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