Sunday, 16 June 2024
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

Members of the Croatian Air Force participated in an urgent medical transport of a critically ill girl from Dubrovnik General Hospital to Zagreb on Saturday, according to a statement from the Croatian Ministry of Defence.

The transport of the critically ill child was conducted using a Black Hawk UH-60M and a Mi-171Sh helicopters.

At the request of the Civil Protection Operations Centre, a crew from the 395th Transport Helicopter Squadron, composed of four members – a pilot, co-pilot, and two aviation technicians – flew a Mi-171Sh helicopter from the barracks in Divulje to Dubrovnik General Hospital. There, they picked up the critically ill patient and transported her from Dubrovnik to Divulje.

In Divulje, a transfer was organized to a UH-60M Black Hawk multipurpose helicopter from the 194th Multipurpose Helicopter Squadron. The crew, consisting of three members – a pilot, co-pilot, and aviation technician – transported the patient from Divulje to Zagreb.

The Black Hawk helicopter landed at the old terminal at Pleso, where an ambulance took over the patient and transported her to the Zagreb Clinical Hospital Center, the Ministry of Defense stated.

Is it possible to be unemployed in Dubrovnik?

No, I’m not going to ask that question, instead make a statement – it is impossible to be unemployed in Dubrovnik!

If I had a euro for every time I heard “I have been trying to find a cleaner/receptionist/driver/waiter for months and I can’t find one anywhere,” then I would be able to throw a wedding celebration like Rod Stewart.

It seems that everyone I bump into asks me the same question.

And one the flip side a friend asked me if I knew if there were any open positions for his daughter the other day – and by the afternoon (before I could help) she had already found a job.

Waiters are like unicorns! And cleaners, mission impossible. The hourly rate for a cleaner must be somewhere her a doctor’s salary. If you want to work then there are plenty of jobs for everyone, of course you have to want to work.

A few years ago I remember a famous restaurant owner moaning to me that he couldn’t find anyone to work as a hostess. “I’m offering 1,500 euro a month, plus meals, and I can’t find anyone,” he berated as we drank coffee. This was when Croatia still had the Kuna so that was a good salary.

“The first one I interviewed said she doesn’t want to miss her time on the beach, the second said she doesn’t want to work outside and the third wasn’t keen on the meals we were offering,” he mused. In the end he employed two ladies from Slavonia.

When was the last person who served you in a café actually from Dubrovnik? Or for that matter even understood Dubrovački? Could it be that the easy money of renting out apartments in the summer has made us lazy? Of course, now we have the problem of finding people to clean them.

“What are all those people waiting for?” asked a foreigner friend as we drove to town the other day. I looked outside the police station to see a massive line of people queuing (it looked like the United Nations) to get work visas.

“When you have a small population and millions of tourists you need some outside help – and that’s the outside help arriving,” I answered. “But, what’s the long-term solution?” he replied. That got me thinking. Is there one?

Before the pandemic in 2019 we had a record breaking year for tourism. And that year we “imported” around 5,000 foreign workers. However, there has been a notable change since those times, a change that I never really saw coming.

The vast majority of those workers came to support the tourism industry. But now I am filling up my car with petrol and being served by a woman from Nepal, my postman comes from the Philippines and the workmen fixing a water pipe near my house are from Bangladesh.

There were almost 6,000 work visas issued in Croatia for carpenters last year!

I remember a friend telling me that he visited a shipyard in Split last year and watched as a group of Indian welders started an impromptu game of cricket in their lunch break.

Ever since the pandemic ended the workforce has changed. It used to be that our tourism industry couldn’t function without foreign workers, and now we are at a point that most industries can’t.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying this from a negative angle, far from it, I am all for integration and diversification. I was born in one of the most racial diverse countries in the world, it is just that I never really saw Croatia in that light.

So back to my friend’s long-term solution question – the answer is there isn’t one. Almost every developed country in the world has a migrant workforce, and as a developing country we have a developing migrant workforce.

What will the racial and religious landscape of the country look like in twenty years’ time?

I am guessing greatly different than it looks like today. And I for one welcome that.

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to

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About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik

As the European Championship in Germany approaches, team managers have revealed their final squad lists, sparking a flurry of statistical analyses. Croatia stands out with an average player age of 27.7 years, making it the third oldest team participating in Euro 2024.

The only teams with older squads are Scotland, with an average age of 28.7 years, and Germany, at 27.9 years. In contrast, the Czech Republic and Turkey boast the youngest squads, with average ages of 25.3 and 25.4 years, respectively. The heart of the Croatian national team, the midfield, is all over or in their thirties, with Luka Modrić at 38 the oldest, followed by Marcelo Brozović at 31 and Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic the youngest at 30. Then former Tottenham winger Ivan Perišić, 35 years-old, central defender Domagoj Vida also 35 years-old and the main striker Andrej Kramarić at 32 years-old.

When it comes to team value, England dominates the rankings. Gareth Southgate's squad is valued at a staggering 1.52 billion euros, making them the top favourites according to bookmakers. France and Portugal also surpass the billion-euro mark, with valuations of 1.23 billion and 1.05 billion euros, respectively.

Croatia finds itself mid-table in terms of player value, ranking 12th out of the 24 teams with a total worth of 327.7 million euros. With the most valuable asset the Manchester City defender, Josko Gvardiol, at an estimated 75 million euros. Denmark, Ukraine, and Turkey are just ahead, while Serbia, Switzerland, and Austria follow closely behind. The least valuable team is Romania, with a squad worth around 96.1 million euros.

Following its annual visit to Croatia, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released its findings, noting favorable short-term economic prospects but also highlighting challenges that need to be addressed for sustained growth. The IMF's assessment underscores Croatia's economic potential but stresses the importance of addressing issues such as productivity, workforce shortages, and fiscal policy, reports novac.hr

Economic Growth Projections

The IMF predicts a growth rate of 3.4 percent for the Croatian GDP in the current year, followed by a slightly lower rate of 2.9 percent in the following year. These projections are attributed to robust domestic demand, despite expectations of a slowdown in the tourism sector compared to previous years. In the medium term, GDP growth is expected to approach its potential rate of 2.5 percent, with increased productivity from investments aiding in overcoming demographic challenges.

Inflation and Fiscal Policy

The IMF anticipates a gradual decline in inflation, with an average rate of around 4.2 percent for the current year. However, reaching the European Central Bank's target of two percent is foreseen only by the end of 2025. Concerns are raised regarding fiscal policy, particularly the expansionary measures amidst strong economic growth. The IMF warns that this could jeopardize Croatia's hard-earned fiscal credibility, especially with the budget deficit projected to reach 2.5 percent of GDP due to increased social benefits and public sector compensation.

Key Areas of Concern

One of the IMF's primary concerns lies in the potential negative impact of fiscal expansion on inflation and competitiveness. It recommends a reduction in current fiscal stimuli and the elimination of widespread measures aimed at reducing living costs. Such actions, the IMF estimates, could result in significant savings equivalent to about one-third of a percentage point of GDP. Furthermore, fiscal prudence is deemed essential to finance future spending, particularly in light of Croatia's significant investment needs, including green and digital transitions, and rising fiscal costs associated with an aging population.

Recommendations for Reforms

Despite the challenges, the IMF acknowledges Croatia's favorable position for implementing reforms. It commends the Government's implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) and believes Croatia is well-placed to enact deeper reforms. Suggestions include broadening the tax base through modern property taxation, abolishing subsidies on fossil fuels, and rationalizing public sector employment. Additionally, the IMF advocates for measures to mitigate the costs of the pension system and improve healthcare access while reducing fiscal burdens.

Looking Ahead

As Croatia navigates its economic landscape, the IMF's recommendations underscore the importance of addressing immediate challenges while laying the groundwork for sustainable growth. The Government's commitment to reforms will be crucial in fostering economic resilience and enhancing Croatia's competitiveness on the global stage.

Group B is shaping up to be one of the most competitive groups in Euro 2024, featuring three nations among the top 10 favourites to win the tournament. Spain (8/1), Italy (16/1), and Croatia (40/1) are all vying for supremacy, while Albania enters as the 500/1 underdogs hoping to pull off a major upset. Group B has been labelled by many pundits as the “Group of Death.”

And whilst clearly Spain, ranked 8th in the world, Italy ranked 9th and Croatia at 10th position in the FIFA rankings, are the clear favourites to progress from the group, it must be pointed out that Albania topped their qualification group, losing only one match. That might be the underdogs, ranked 66th in the world, but they topped a qualification group that featured Poland and the Czech Republic.

Spain leads the betting odds as the favourites to top Group B, with Italy (9/4) and Croatia (9/2) also expected to challenge strongly. Albania, priced at 26/1, faces a daunting task but is eager to defy expectations.

Croatia Announces Final Squad for Euro 2024 in Germany 1

Managed by Luis de la Fuente, Spain showcased their dominance in the qualifiers, winning seven of their eight matches to finish at the top of Group A. Spain has a rich history in the European Championship, winning twice in the last four tournaments and reaching the semi-finals in the previous edition before losing to eventual champions Italy on penalties.

Interestingly, Spain hasn't won a European Championship group since Euro 2012, when they finished ahead of Italy and Croatia in Group C before going on to lift the trophy.

Italy, who finished second to Spain in that Euro 2012 group, has since shown strong group stage performances, winning their groups in both Euro 2016 and Euro 2020. The Azzurri then triumphed over England in the Euro 2020 final but suffered a shock by failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Croatia, on the other hand, finished second to England in Group D at Euro 2020 and were subsequently knocked out by Spain in the last-16. However, they topped a group featuring Spain at Euro 2016 and qualified for Euro 2024 as runners-up behind Turkey. With a wealth of experience and tactical acumen, Croatia is well-positioned to potentially outshine Italy and Spain in Group B.

Albania, despite being the underdogs, should not be underestimated. They have only one prior European Championship appearance, finishing third in Group A behind France and Switzerland in Euro 2016. Impressively, they won their qualifying Group E for Euro 2024, edging out the Czech Republic and Poland.

As the tournament approaches, all eyes will be on Group B to see if the favourites will hold their ground or if an underdog story will emerge.

The Croatian national team coach, Zlatko Dalić, has submitted the final list of players for Euro 2024.

The Croatian coach Zlatko Dalić has made the decision on the final list of players for the UEFA European Championship (schedule) in Germany, which the team manager, Iva Olivari, has sent to UEFA within the set deadline, according to the HNS website.

There are no changes to the list compared to the one announced by the coach on May 20.

Group B at Euro 2024

The final list of Croatian national team players for the European Championship in Germany, with the numbers they will wear during the tournament:

1. Dominik Livaković

2. Josip Stanišić

3. Marin Pongračić

4. Joško Gvardiol

5. Martin Erlić

6. Josip Šutalo

7. Lovro Majer

8. Mateo Kovačić

9. Andrej Kramarić

10. Luka Modrić

11. Marcelo Brozović

12. Nediljko Labrović

13. Nikola Vlašić

14. Ivan Perišić

15. Mario Pašalić

16. Ante Budimir

17. Bruno Petković

18. Luka Ivanušec

19. Borna Sosa

20. Marko Pjaca

21. Domagoj Vida

22. Josip Juranović

23. Ivica Ivušić

24. Marco Pašalić

25. Luka Sučić

26. Martin Baturina

The Croatian national football team will play a friendly match against Portugal in Lisbon today, June 8, and the day after, the team will travel to Germany, where they will stay in their base camp in Neuruppin during the European Championship.

Croatia's first match in the Euro will be on June 15 against Spain in Berlin, followed by a match against Albania on June 19 in Hamburg, and then a match against Italy on June 24 in Leipzig.

 

The City of Dubrovnik has installed a passage control system at Pile Gate with retractable pneumatic bollards and ramps. This will prevent taxi vehicles and other transport services from accessing the area designated for bus stops, thereby preventing any illegal stopping and parking in the mentioned area.

According to previous announcements by Mayor Mato Franković, in addition to physical barriers, a security service has been engaged to ensure the order and safety of users with reserved time slots, citizens, as well as traffic and municipal wardens.

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The system was implemented by the company Penta d.o.o. from Pula, and the total cost of the work amounted to 25,375 euros, including VAT. The works included excavation and foundation installation for the ramps and new bollard, equipment installation, and servicing of existing bollards.

The average monthly net salary paid per employee in legal entities in the City of Zagreb for March this year amounted to 1,544 euros, which is nominally 7.3 percent higher compared to February and a 16.7 percent increase compared to March last year.

According to data from the City Office for Economy, Environmental Sustainability and Strategic Planning, the highest average monthly net salary in legal entities for March was paid in the beverage production industry, amounting to 2,538 euros.

The lowest salary, on the other hand, was paid in the clothing production industry, amounting to 863 euros.

The median net salary for March amounted to 1,252 euros, meaning that half of the employees earned less and half earned more than that amount.

Compared to the average monthly salary for March at the national level, which amounted to 1,326 euros, the average net salary in Zagreb paid for that month was 218 euros higher.

The average monthly gross salary per employee in legal entities in the City of Zagreb for March this year amounted to 2,210 euros, which is an increase of 8.3 percent compared to February and an increase of 17.2 percent compared to March 2023.

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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