Wednesday, 12 December 2018

During the most beautiful time of the year, with Christmas and New Year approaching, there are many events that you can attend.

One of them is the ‘’Christmas Concert’’ of the iconic vocal group Kase, which will be held on Friday, December 7th at 7 pm at the Dubrovnik National Library. This is the perfect opportunity to hear traditional Dubrovnik Christmas carols, especially well known Kolenda.

One tip if you are going to the concert: the best way to reach the Old City is with public transport and all the buses are free after 5 pm! Don’t forget to treat yourself at one (or two) Christmas stands located at Pile, Stradun and Gundulic Square and get that holiday feel with mulled wine, sausages and prikle!

This is just one of the events during the Dubrovnik Winter Festival. If you want to explore the program, click here.

One of the leading car manufacturers in the world, South Korea's Hyundai, is considering open a factory in Croatia. According to reports in the Croatian media the South Korean car giant is seriously exploring the possibilities of launching a production facility in Croatia.

Apparently the Croatian government and Hyundai have been in negotiations for two months and they are currently analysing the potential investment. Further details as to the size of the investment are still unknown however it is believed that a site in northern Croatia is being considered and that the future plant will not just be for making parts but for actually producing the finished product.

If the South Korean automobile giant ultimately decides on such an investment, it would be of great importance to Croatia because it would open up a large number of new jobs, further boost exports, and better position the country on the investment map.

The attraction of the automotive industry to Croatia is one of the goals of the Government. Some companies in Croatia already produce parts for the world auto industry, and Croatia also has its own home-grown electric cars. According to official data, the Croatian car industry employs 2,861 workers.

In the first nine months of this banks in Croatia achieved a pre-tax profit of 5.25 billion Kuna, double the amount they made in the same period from last year.

The Croatian National Bank (CNB) has published the profit and loss accounts for banks in the country this year and it shows that it has been an extremely profitable year so far. In the first nine months of this year there were 23 active banks in Croatia, which is three less than last year, as two banks went into voluntary liquidation and one open bankruptcy proceedings.

Figures from the CNB show that from January to end of September banks in Croatia increased their profits by a healthy 99.7 percent, or around 2.62 billion Kuna.

For those of you with a sweet tooth this Saturday the 8th of December will be an opportunity to taste some delicious cakes and treats. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik are jointly organising, for the eleventh year running, the Dubrovnik “Cake Party” will be held at 11.00am on the Stradun and all in a good cause.

In this humanitarian cake sale various cakes and sweets have been donated by local businesses, and we at The Dubrovnik Times are proud to be part, and the sale of these tasty slices will collect funds for the purchase of a neuro-feedback apparatus and the equipping of the sensory room of the Polyclinic for Mental Health Protection of Children and the Early Intervention Project of the General Hospital Dubrovnik.

The slices of cake will be on sale for only 15 Kunas and there will also be a rich entertainment program, a great opportunity to catch a sweet treat and donate to a worthy cause.

cake party 2018 909

With the extension of the season, the rich program of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival and a variety of gastronomic offer on the Christmas market, during December you can also enjoy 43 gastronomic facilities that will be opened during the most beautiful time of the yearin the city of Dubrovnik.

Given the increase in the number of international and domestic flights during the winter months, as well as interest and growth of the number of visitors, the Tourist Board of Dubrovnik in cooperation with the City of Dubrovnik published a new leaflet "Winter Restaurants", which contains a list of open restaurants, pizzerias and fast food restaurants during the month of December with specially featured working hours.

You can download the information leaflet on the Dubrovnik Tourist Board web site or take it at the Information Offices of the Tourist Board at Pile, Gruz and Lapad.

New fireboat is under construction in Istria, for the needs of the Fire Brigade of the City of Dubrovnik. This is a historic investment of the City of Dubrovnik in order to better equip the emergency services. Construction is in the hands of Istrian company Marservis d.o.o. with many years of experience in boat production. Fireboat delivery is expected in five months, before the new tourist season. The value of the contract is four million kuna - part of funds is provided by the City of Dubrovnik, while the other part is provided by the Lokrum Reserve.

A multi-purpose vessel with a total length of 13.5 meters with two engines, 550 horsepower for quick interventionswill primarily be used in the action of the fire brigade at the sea, and the city of Dubrovnik has already provided additional funds for the organization of the naval service. The boat will raise the level of safety, health and defense. It will enable the firefighters to be transported and have the quick fire-fighting reactions at Elafiti and Lokrum, but will also be used for prompt interventions in case of sea pollution and other urgent rescue operations of endangered human lives. It will be equipped with appropriate navigation and communication equipment and extinguishing equipment. There is also a space for transporting injured passengers.

For the first time in history a Croatian is the proud owner of the most prestigious individual award in football, the Ballon d’or. At a gala ceremony in Paris last night the Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modrić picked up the Ballon d’Or and broke a decade of dominance from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The midfield star becomes the first ever Croatian to win the Ballon d’Or. And it has certainly been a year to remember for Modrić who won a silver medal at the 2018 World Cup as well as the Champions League with Real Madrid.

He has also won individual medals along the way with the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup to the FIFA award “The Best” in September.

World reactions to Luka Modrić winning Ballon d’Or

Modric, who is the first Croatian to win the Ballon d'Or, beat off competition from former Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo, who was second, and France's World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann in third place. – The Telegraph

Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric won the 2018 Ballon d'Or, becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the award in more than a decade. Modric, 33, won his third successive Champions League in May before helping Croatia to a first World Cup final. – BBC

Luka Modric a deserved winner, some thinking that Lionel Messi should have been higher after Barcelona’s brilliant La Liga season. But take a bow, Luka! You earned it, after manning the Real Madrid midfield to perfection and guiding Croatia to an unexpected World Cup final – The Sun

luka modric wins ballon dor in paris

“As a kid we all have dreams. My dream was to play for a big club and win important trophies,” Modric told reporters after accepting the award. “The Ballon d’Or was more than just a dream for me and it is really an honour and a privilege to hold this trophy.” – The New York Times

Modric, 33, finished ahead of 2017 winner Ronaldo of Juventus and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann for the prize, leaving Messi, who was fifth, outside the top three for the first time since 2006. Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe finished fourth to round out the top five. Brazil star Neymar, who helped PSG to a domestic Treble last season, finished a distant 12th. – ESPN

The winner of the Ballon d'Or 2018 is Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, adding to his awards as FIFA's The Best and the World Cup's Golden Ball.The 33-year-old has entered the history books, ending 10 years of duopoly dominance by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. - Marca

Dubrovnik-Neretva County is having a great year. In November 2018, there were 40,253 arrivals, which is 27 percent more than in November 2017 and 104,119 overnight stays, which is 24 percent more than in November 2017.

During the eleven months of 2018, 2,038,588 arrivals were recorded in Dubrovnik-Neretva County with 8,593,704 overnight stays. Compared to 2017, arrivals increased by 8 percent and overnight stays by 4 percent.

Most of the overnight stays were made by guests from the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, France, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States.


The EU28 unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in October 2018, unchanged from September, and lowest on record since January 2000. Meanwhile, Croatia saw the largest year-on-year fall in unemployment rate out of all EU countries, Eurostat reported.

European Union's October 2018 unemployment rate of 6.7 percent rate was unchanged from the previous month, but down by 0.7 percentage points from 7.4 percent in October 2017. This remains the bloc's lowest rate on record since the monthly EU data began to be collected in early 2000.

The euro zone (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in October 2018, also unchanged from the previous month, and down from 8.8 percent in October 2017. This remains the lowest level in the euro zone since November 2008.

In absolute figures, Eurostat estimates that EU28 had a total of 16.62 million men and women unemployed in October, including 13.17 million in the euro zone. Year-on-year, unemployment fell by 1.52 million in the EU28 and by 1.12 million in the euro zone.

By country, lowest unemployment rates in October 2018 were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.2 percent) and Germany (3.3 percent). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (18.9 percent in August 2018) and in Spain (14.8 percent).

Compared with October 2017, unemployment rates fell in all EU countries. The largest year-on-year drops were in Croatia (from 10.2 to 8.1 percent), Greece (from 20.8 to 18.9% percent between August 2017 and August 2018), Spain (from 16.6 to 14.8 percent) and Portugal (from 8.4 to 6.7 percent).

In terms of youth unemployment, in October 2018, 3.47 million young persons, aged 25 and under, were unemployed in the European Union, including 2.50 million in the euro zone. This puts the youth unemployment rate at 15.3 percent in the EU28 , and 17.3 percent in the euro zone, down from 16.3 percent and 18.1 percent respectively in October 2017.

The lowest rates in October were observed in the Czech Republic (5.2 percent), Germany (6.2 percent) and the Netherlands (7.2 percent), while the highest were recorded in Greece (36.8 percent in August 2018), Spain (34.9 percent) and Italy (32.5 percent).

In Croatia, unemployment rate among those under 25 was at 23.7 percent. According to Eurostat, around 34,000 people under 25 were jobless in Croatia in the third quarter of 2018.

Even if you’re a casual follower of the news, no doubt over the past couple of years you’ve seen a story or two about Brexit.

Short for Britain Exit, Brexit is the messy divorce between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) that it has been a member of for the better part of 25 years (unofficially it dates back to 1951). While the vote to break away from a unified Europe won a very narrow passage from British citizens back in 2016, the separation itself has been even more contentious.

Let’s take a closer look at Brexit, and how a small movement to regain a small measure of independence transitioned into a full-on family squabble amongst our European allies. You’ll want to keep a stiff upper lip for this one.

What is Brexit?

In June of 2016, the UK held a referendum on whether the UK should stay in the European Union. In an amazingly close vote, with over 70% of the voting age population turning out, abandoning the EU won, by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1%.

Isn’t the UK comprised of a few entities? Was it all unanimous? Yes, it is, and no it was not.

England voted in favor of Brexit – 53.4% to 46.6%. So too did Wales, voting 52.5% versus 47.5%.

Scotland and Northern Ireland, however, went the opposite direction. Scotland overwhelming voted in favor of staying in the EU by a wide margin – 62% to 38%. Northern Ireland was a bit more modest, but still very much in the stay column 55.8% to 44.2%.

brexit leave uk

How did all of this come about? (Part I)

There is a very long answer going back decades that we could dwell on and on about, and it still would not satisfy what ultimately led the UK to leave the EU in the rearview mirror. In other words, its very, very complicated.

However, you can connect the dots on a few recent confluences that ultimately drove the UK to where it is today. First though, it’s important to understand what the EU is and its role in Europe.

What is the European Union?

Excellent question.

The EU had its early roots in post World War Two Europe where there was a willingness among countries devastated by war to start working more closely together. Obviously, the conventional wisdom being nations whose interests align with each other probably won’t go to war. Unsurprisingly, the EU has avoided major cross-border conflicts since 1945.

The EU as we know it came about with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Since that time it has grown to include 28 member countries, 19 of which share a single currency – the euro.

As it stands today, the EU is a true single market. Goods and services and people and capital have the luxury to move freely between the member nations. There is a parliament that guides political standards over a number of issues including transportation, the environment, and even certain consumer protections.

By now you’re probably saying “that doesn’t sound so bad to me.” Well…

How did all of this come about? Part II

As early as 1975, the UK saw its control over its relationship with European allies start to erode. That was back when the European Economic Community comprised only nine members.

As the EU grew into its current form, a growing number of British citizens (particularly the Conservative Party) began questioning the power it held over its member countries. In some regards, it rendered them unable to make certain decisions for themselves, having to instead defer to the greater EU.

An extended run of prosperity and economic growth masked a lot of these concerns (it also did not hurt to have two pro-EU Prime Ministers in power during this run). For almost two decades, the UK and the EU seemed a harmonious fit.

So what happened? 2008 happened.

The confluence of events we mentioned earlier include the following: the financial crash of 2008, an increasing resentment by many British citizens of larger numbers of migrants entering the UK (mainly from poorer, newly minted Eastern European countries to the EU), and the overall drop in living standards across the country.

Ultimately, those concerns morphed into the UK wanting three things: to be free from EU imposed rules and fees, to once again control the majority of their lawmaking, and to regain full command of their border controls including the direct management of immigration numbers.

This ignited a rise in support for the UK Independence Party, which, you guessed it, wanted out of the EU. The pressure from the group moved the ruling Conservative Party to offer up the EU referendum.

And that’s the short version.

brexit deal or no deal

Wow. So what’s happening now? Are the UK and EU really breaking up?

It looks that way, although there remains plenty to sort through and not a ton of time to do it.

In March 2017, current UK Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which outlines the procedures for any country that decides to leave the EU. It provides two years to negotiate an amicable split. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, they can extend the deadline or take the Fleetwood Mac route and go their own way.

That latter part sounds harsh. That’s because it is.

If there’s no deal, all treaties are rendered null and void, and the UK has to effectively start from scratch when dealing with the EU. Publically, those in power in the UK have said a deal will get done, though Theresa May has also stated that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” It’s worth noting that the UK government and several agencies are already planning for the clean break, no deal scenario.

Considering the two year period to strike a deal began in March 2017, there are less than five months to go to figure out what to do.

Have any exit plans been put forth?

Yes. The UK hammered out a plan, called the Chequers Plan, that attempted to appeal to a wide range of views within the UK, including those who opposed Brexit. The significant points include the UK having the authority to negotiate its own trade agreements while presenting a compromise on the trading of goods and application of tariffs. It also signals for the end of the free movement of people between the UK and EU and offers up a “mobility framework” to govern how people travel between EU nations and the UK.

How was the Chequers Plan received?

Not well. In the UK, two of the lead negotiators for Brexit resigned over it. The EU flat out rejected it.

To this point, however, Theresa May stands firm that the Chequers plan proves the best compromise for all parties involved.
How has the UK been handling this – economically speaking? How has the UK been handling this economically? Okay. Their economic fortunes have mirrored that of most other industrialized nations, remaining relatively health even with Brexit deadlines looming.

Their unemployment is at 4%, a 43-year low. Inflation sits at a steady 2.2%. The economy has grown since 2016 – 1.8% in that first year after the vote, then a near identical rate in 2017, and a slower pace of 0.8% for the first part of 2018.

The one negative is that the pound remains weak against both the dollar (down 10%) and the euro (down 10% to 15%).

What about Northern Ireland and Scotland, who voted against Brexit?

Northern Ireland comes with its own set of complications as it shares a 300-plus mile border with EU member the Republic of Ireland. Sensitive to the regions previous long-standing conflict, the Troubles, both the UK and the EU favor keeping an open border between the Irish. The EU put forth a proposal that would keep Northern Ireland in line with their trade standards, which the UK opposes.

The UK, in turn, suggested a “common rulebook” for how goods maneuver between the entities, setting up an electronic border of sorts. This is part of the larger Chequers plan, which the EU rejected.

A “backstop” plan was also proposed by May as last recourse, which would temporarily keep the UK and EU aligned, trade wise. The EU rejected this as well.

Scotland, two years after the vote, still stands opposed to Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, has used rhetoric like “democratically unacceptable” concerning Scotland’s position of being tied to the UK even as they want to stay in the EU.

She’s also requested a referendum on the final Brexit deal and a longer transition period (which we cover below) to account for the needs of opposing groups.

brexit for dummies

What actually happens if the parties make a deal?

Should a deal be reached, it would first have to be approved by a minimum of 20 EU members that have at least 65% of the EU population.

From there, a 21-month transition period (from March 2019 to December 2020) would go into effect, allowing all involved parties, including businesses, to prepare for a Europe after the official split from the UK. This also leaves extra time to finalize any lingering details.

Also during this timeframe, the UK can make its own trade deals (but they cannot take effect until January 2021), and free movement will continue (fulfilling a request by the EU).

Again, the transition period happens if the UK and EU come to an agreement.

And what if no deal is reached?

As we noted earlier, ties are immediately severed and long-held treaties on an endless array of subjects automatically end. Some in the UK claim that such a break would be a “national disaster” while other claims that language is simple “scaremongering.” Though we doubt it will be as harsh or as painless as some claim, in reality, nobody’s sure what will happen in the event of a clean break. If that does come to pass, one can only hope that the UK would at least get to keep the Beatles first issue vinyl collection in the divorce.


Article originally published by Anna Kucirkova in




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