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.
The prestigious British publication, Business Destinations, has named Croatia as the best destination in Europe for conferences and congresses for 2018.
Croatia, which has been working hard to attract more international conferences in recent years, was named as the best Meeting, Incentive, Conferencing, Exhibitions (MICE) destination for 2018.
“The next 12 months are likely to be characterised by upheaval, particularly in Europe. The UK’s impending exit from the EU is likely to have a major impact on continental travel, with the initial transition period set to be marked by significant uncertainty with regards to freedom of movement and travel visas. The travel providers that react quickly and continue to deliver a value-based offering to business and leisure consumers are the most likely to emerge unscathed from this challenging period. With this in mind, Business Destinations has assembled a list of the most innovative and adaptable travel facilitators across the world,” writes the UK-based magazine.
"This award is important for us because the selection for the awards is done by the magazine's editors together with its readers and business travellers around the world. This market is very important because business travellers are a stable source of revenues, which, depending on trends, is often highest in the periods before and after the peak summer season. Business travellers make up 10-15 percent of all hotel guests," the head of the national tourist board, Kristjan Stanicic, said in a press release.
An earthquake rumbled through the Peljesac Peninsular last night with the epicentre near the town of Orebic. At exactly 9:33 pm the earthquake rumbled through the peninsular with the epicentre 10 kilometres east of the town of Orebic.
The Seismological Service of the Republic of Croatia stated that last night’s earthquake was a “moderate” one measuring 3.3 on the Richter Scale. While citizens reported feeling the quake there are no reports of any injuries or physical damage to buildings.
At a hearing in The Hague today the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, had his 40-year sentence increased to life in prison for genocide and war crimes committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Judge Vagn Joesen sitting at the court in The Hague, which replaced the now defunct International Criminal Tribunal Court for the Former Yugoslavia, sentenced Karadzic to life imprisonment for crimes during the period from 1992 to 1995.
In 2016, after a mammoth six-year trial, Karadzic received a 40-year sentence for several counts of crimes against humanity, including the genocide of Muslim Bosniaks in Srebrenica.
"I'm here to represent parents of 1,600 children who had been killed in the war, and for us it is important to see that the court confirmed Karadzic was the one who issued orders to terrorise and shell civilians," head of the association which gathers families of children killed during the siege of Sarajevo, Fikret Grabovica, commented to the Croatian state agency Hina.
Karadzic was caught in 2008 in Belgrade where he had been working as a new age healer under a new identity. The first court case lasted from 2009 to 2016, when he has given a 40-year sentence, after today’s ruling this has been increased to life imprisonment.
There are currently 120 millionaires in Croatia who are worth between 30 and 100 million dollars, including 11 who are worth more than $100 million.
According to recent research by the London-based consultancy company “Knight Frank” the number of millionaires in Croatia has increased by 33 percent over the last decade. However, over the same time period the Croatian economy has slightly weakened and the gross domestic product is several points lower than 10 years ago. Nevertheless, the percentage rise of Croatian millionaires, at 33 percent, is almost double the rise in the European Union which stood at 17 percent.
According to Knight Frank's estimate, Croatia has 11,900 millionaires of a "lighter category", meaning those with assets worth more than a million dollars or six and a half million Kuna. It is important to note that this data does not refer to the total number of Croatian rich people, but only to those registered in the country. However, this London estimate seems considerably lower than the real situation, especially when you take into account the number of citizens who own property along the Adriatic coastline which probably means that the number of domestic millionaires is much higher.
Although delving down into exactly how Knight Frank made their conclusions a clearer picture becomes apparent. Knight Frank does not include the primary house where people live, but additional houses and real estate, stocks and securities, art collections, aircraft, yachts, gold, wine, watches and other items.
The real news, however, is that the prosperity of people in Croatia is slowing down as Knight Frank estimates that the number of millionaires will grow by only 10 percent in the next decade.
There is a noticeable trend of reducing investment in financial assets, and statistics show that almost all wealthy people diversify their investments. The majority of them have property in their company, and 56 percent invest in real estate. It is also popular to have a certain amount of cash, invest in stocks and gold.
Croatian’s just love their bread and bakery products, they buy them on a daily basis and consume them like, well, hot cakes. And now the largest Croatia bakery has expanded again by opening their latest store in Finland. Mlinar bakery opened a store in Lahti over the weekend, which is about an hour’s drive from the capital Helsinki.
“The first Mlinar store in Finland is open. We are happy and proud that the Fins will get to enjoy our products that are created in Croatia. Good Luck Mlinar Suomi!” wrote the Croatian bakery on their social media sites.
Mlinar bakery products can be found in over 20 countries all over the world, and they have over 230 outlets in Europe alone.
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.
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.”
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.