Wednesday, 20 March 2019
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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Calling all bargain hunters…. Dubrovnik’s biggest second hand sale of the year is approaching! Now in its 10th year, the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle’s annual second hand sale is a great opportunity to both donate your used items and find unusual treasures at bargain prices.

This year the sale will be held from the 3rd to the 6th of May at the Grand Hotel Park in Lapad. Donations of clothing, toys, kitchen supplies, small appliances, and household items will be accepted at the hotel congress center starting April 29 through May 2 from 10am to 6pm. Please make sure all donated items are clean and in good condition.

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The ever busy DFC ladies - Photo Mark Thomas 

Last year’s sale raised more than 60,000 Kunas for local charities benefitting residents in need. Since its inception in 2010, the DFC has raised more than 335,000 Kunas for humanitarian causes through this annual event. Thanks to all who participated as donors, shoppers and volunteers, as well as our partners, Grand Hotel Park and Art Radionica Lazareti. We look forward to seeing you again this year!

For more information, visit dubrovnikforeigncircle.com or find DFC on Facebook.

The Croatian Ministry of the Interior has released information for UK citizens following and leading up to Brexit and the UK leaving the European Union. As the Brexit situation is extremely fluid with new updates and situations on a weekly, if not a daily, basis, it is important for UK citizens in Croatia to understand their rights in the future as well as to be prepared for all scenarios, deal or no deal.

The Ministry starts their recent update by stressing that “Residence registration is very important in the case of any scenario for the future relations between the European Union and the UK. Therefore, all UK citizens and their family members residing in the Republic of Croatia are strongly recommended to register their residence/apply for a residence card as a family member.”

Adding that “Once applicants complete the registration of temporary residence in line with the provisions of the Aliens Act, they will be immediately issued with a Registration Certificate in a paper form, free of charge. If they wish, they can apply for a residence card (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50). UK nationals who apply for permanent residence will be issued with residence cards (for which the administrative fee is to be paid in the amount of HRK 79.50).”

Registration is extremely important and all UK citizens who haven’t done this already need to register as soon as possible. “The registration of residence and the relevant documents are a clear proof that their holder is a citizen of the United Kingdom or a family member who already resided in the Republic of Croatia before the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.”

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Another common question is the validity of a UK driving license in Croatia once the UK has left the EU. Of course the UK European driving licence has to be changed for a Croatian licence as it will no longer be valid in Croatia. “Starting from the day on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union, UK driving licences will be subject to regulations relating to foreign driving licences. UK driving licences will be valid in the Republic of Croatia for up to one year from the day on which the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland leaves the European Union. After that, they will have to be replaced with Croatian driving licences and the applicant will have to submit a certificate of medical fitness to drive,” states the Ministry.

And the final point that the Ministry of the Interior has stressed to UK nationals in the future is border checks, which of course will mean an end to UK citizens being able to use the “blue lane” for EU citizens and a stricter process of crossing borders in the EU. “Union law in border checks at the EU external borders on persons distinguishes between controls of EU citizens and of third country nationals. As of the withdrawal date, controls of UK nationals upon entry to and exit from the Schengen area as well as to and from Member States for which the decision on lifting internal controls has not been taken yet but which apply Schengen rules at their external borders will follow the rules for third country nationals. This means that they will no longer enjoy facilitations at the borders provided for EU citizens, nationals of the contracting states of the European Economic Area, and Swiss nationals related to the free movement rights. In particular, UK nationals will not be entitled to use the separate lanes provided for EU/EEA/CH citizens to carry out checks at border crossings and will be subject to thorough checks of all entry conditions for third country nationals upon entry,” states the Ministry.

These border checks will in the future involve UK nationals having to possess several forms of ID. Firstly UK nationals will need a valid travel document, a passport, and there needs to be at least three months left before the passport expires. Verification of the duration of the stay “for short stays in the Schengen area, UK nationals will be subject to limitations as regards the authorised duration of stay within the Schengen area (with a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period) and for long stays, they will in principle require a residence permit or long stay visa issued by national authorities. Also to prove the purpose (e.g. tourism or work) and the conditions of the intended stay (e.g. accommodation, internal travels), as well as the existence of sufficient means of subsistence (i.e. having sufficient means to pay for the intended stay and return travel).

“Travellers are advised to verify, prior to travel, the validity of travel documents and to ensure that they fulfil all the above conditions before they travel to the EU. The non-fulfilment of any of the entry conditions may result in refusal of entry issued in line with the procedure set out in Union law with regard to third country nationals,” concludes the Ministry.

The Croatian Prime Minister has been recognised with the Steiger Award in the Europe category and on receiving the award emphasised the need for European unity in these testing times, presumably a swipe at the Brexit situation.

He said that Europe is facing the biggest challenges since World War II, and added that "Not even the biggest EU countries can deal with all the problems alone. That's why the key is in unity and that's the point of the European Union."

The Steiger Award is a recognition given by the German organisation to a person who has greatly contributed to the construction of a European community.

"I see this award also as recognition to my fellow citizens in the building of a European Croatia," added Plenkovic.

In the 2016/2017 wine production year Croatians drunk 22 litres of wine per capita, according to information just released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Croatians are in fact one of the largest consumers of wine throughout the globe, in 2016 research from the Wine Institute had Croatia as the third largest consumer in the world, after Andorra in second and the Vatican City in first place.

In the 2016/2017 wine producing year the country made 760,000 hectolitres of wine, and imported 295.700 hectolitres of wine. The vast majority of wines produced in Croatia are actually drunk in Croatia, the exports of Croatia wine over the mentioned period was a mere 4.7 hectolitres.

Dubrovnik will once again have direct flights to Japan this summer with the largest Japanese airline announcing charter services. All Nippon Airways, or ANA, has stated that they will operate flights this summer from Tokyo and Osaka to both Dubrovnik and Ljubljana.

These charter flights will start in mid-July and operate for a few months and have been created with in partnership with a large Japanese tour operator, reports EX-YU Aviation. The charter flights, which will use the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, are sure to be full to capacity as Dubrovnik, and Croatia, are extremely interesting for Japanese tourists.

The national air carrier, Croatia Airlines, will this year mark the 30th anniversary since its foundation, with a slogan created by employees - "Creating memories for 30 years."

Over the last thirty years Croatia Airlines has carried over 38.2 million passengers all over Europe.

Croatia Airlines was founded on the 7th of August, 1989 in Zagreb under the name Zagreb Airlines d.d., an airline company that started operating in December of the same year, providing a service for the carriage of post and parcels, and then on the 23rd of July 1990 the name was changed to Croatia Airlines and the company started transporting passengers.

The first commercial flight of Croatia Airlines took place on the 5th of May 1991, from Zagreb to Split, while connections to the world began on the 5th of April 1992, with the first international flight on the Zagreb-Frankfurt line.

"From the first flight to the end of February this year, our aircraft have flown 589,500 flights and transported more than 38.2 million passengers, of which about 11.4 million passengers were on board in Croatia, while on international flights a little more than 24 million passengers and over 2.8 million passengers on charter flights," commented Croatia Airlines.

The fleet of Croatia Airlines consists of 12 aircrafts - two Airbuses 320, four Airbuses 319 and six smaller Dash 8-Q400 aircraft, and in the upcoming tourist season they will fly to 38 destinations in 24 countries. And on the occasion of the Croatia Airlines thirtieth anniversary, various prize games and surprises for passengers have been announced.

In celebration of St. Patrick’s day one of the most iconic sights inside the historic Old City of Dubrovnik was lit green tonight. The Sponza Palace in the very heart of the Old City was lit an emerald green and proves a hit with locals and tourists.

This event is organized by the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Summer Festival and Dubrovnik Tourist Board in cooperation with the Embassy of Ireland.

The annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, the National Day of Ireland, organized by Tourism Ireland included a record number of places around the world and in Croatia, more precisely 400 places in 53 countries. The tenth annual initiative in Croatia included record five cities and nine places this Sunday.

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The Croatian National Rugby Team will play an important match of the European Nations Cup against Malta in April, and as the best possible preparation will play a friendly match against the famous Oxford University team in Dubrovnik.

Organized by the Croatian Rugby Association and the youngest member of the Croatian rugby scene, Invictus rugby club from Dubrovnik, the friendly match will be held on the 6th of April at the Lapad Stadium of 15 o'clock.

Invictus rugby club has been active in the Dubrovnik area for two years and has already gathered some 100 members. And the Oxford players will also attend several primary schools on their visit as well as training with the children before the game.

The match with Oxford University will also have a charitable character and will help raise funds for a little in Dubrovnik suffering from cerebral palsy.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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