Friday, 26 April 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

According to an official report by the State Statistics Bureau property prices rose by 6 percent in 2018 compared to the year before. The data from the report shows that housing prices across the country climbed by 6.1 percent in 2018, with new-builds climbing by 3.6 percent and 6.6 percent for pre-existing homes.

The capital, Zagreb, saw the largest price rises in 2018, with property prices climbing by 8.5 percent last year. Along the Croatian Adriatic, which is normally the highest growth rate, the prices rose by 4.4 percent last year, in other words the capital prices climbed by almost double compared to the coastline.

The climb in real estate prices in the capital is thought to be due to the increase in Zagreb as a tourist destination, and investors are buying real estate to cover the demand for tourists and short-term rentals.

At about 5:30 pm yesterday afternoon the Chinese delegation headed by Prime Minister Li Keqiang landed at Dubrovnik Airport, from where, with great security measures, he headed to Dubrovnik to take part in the 16 + 1 Summit. This Summit 16 + 1, which will be held today and tomorrow in Dubrovnik at the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace, is the 8th meeting of the heads of the governments of Central and Eastern Europe and China.

The meeting will be a great opportunity for further deepening cooperation between Croatia, China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Prime Minister Plenković and the President of the State Council of the People's Republic of China will officially open a Business Forum for Entrepreneurs from China and 16 European countries.

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The Forum will bring together about a thousand participants, 400 of them from China, and the theme of the panel will be cooperation in infrastructure and investment, production, innovation, trade, tourism and culture.

The roads of Dubrovnik will see plenty of police restrictions whilst the congress is on, with traffic police and special police brought in from other cities to help protect the event.

London's Mid Europa Investment Fund has become the majority owner of the Croatian bakery company Mlinar d.d., while the current President of the Management Board and former owner of Mlinar, Mato Škojo, will remain the co-owner of the company.

"In the Mid Europa Investment Fund we have found a serious partner for realizing our planned company growth and expansion projects around the world. I'm sure this is a great step for the future of Mlinar and that the new partner synergies will accelerate the development of our business system," commented Mato Škojo.

Mid Europe is a proven partner of many large companies in Europe. With business knowledge and experience from different markets, they have managed to empower the companies they have invested in so far, so many of their acquisitions have gone expanded their markets.

The cost of a Big Mac in Croatia is twice the price of Moscow but considerably cheaper than in the USA and Norway, and half the price of the most expensive Big Mac in the world in Switzerland.

According to the latest Big Max Index a Big Mac in Croatia costs $3.3 which puts in midway in the global price for this popular burger. The most expensive Big Mac in the world is in Switzerland where the McDonald’s burger will set you back $6.6.

The Big Mac Index is a list of the prices of the popular burger all over the world and is published by The Economist as an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity between two currencies and provides a test of the extent to which market exchange rates result in goods costing the same in different countries. The index, created in 1986, takes its name from the Big Mac.

Cost of McDonald's Big Mac - 2019

Switzerland: $6.6
Norway: $5.8
US: $5.5
Canada: $5.08
Brazil: $4.5
Australia: $4.3
UK: $4.07
S Korea: $4.02
Japan: $3.6
Croatia: $3.3
Pakistan: $3.3
Saudi: $3.2
China: $3.05
Poland: $2.8
India: $2.5
Mexico: $2.5
Indonesia: $2.3
Turkey: $2
Russia: $1.6

The European Union is aiming to tighten up security and have approved new laws establishing a uniform identity card format across all member states. Member States will be required to issue the new biometric ID cards in the next two years.

The new ID cards, aimed at cutting down on forgeries, will mean that new ID cards across the EU will in the future need to include secure contactless chips along with a photo of the holder and a fingerprint.

The EU released figures showing that around 80 million Europeans use ID cards that don’t have the possibility to be read by a machine and don’t have biometric identifiers. In the meantime, holders of ID cards that don’t conform to the new higher standards will have to be replace these within five or 10 years, depending on their security level with the exception of ID card holders over 70 years of age.

“In the future, all ID cards and residence documents issued in the EU should have the same minimum security standards. This will help us detect and prevent terrorists and criminals from using forged ID cards and from crossing our borders, whilst safeguarding the rights and freedoms of our citizens, including their mobility,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.

In 2018 a total of 251,000 people died in road traffic accidents in the European Union, down a small 1 percent on 2017, whilst compared to 2010 the number of fatalities decreased by 21 percent proving that safety measures are working.

Clearly the safety measures introduced, not only in the EU but across Croatia, are starting to have some effect. Largely new, stricter fines combined with programs of education for drivers has seen an improvement in road safety in Croatia. And this can be seen with the latest figures from the EU, in 2010 99 people (per million) were killed in road traffic accidents in Croatia and in 2018 there were 77, or 26 percent less. The majority of these fatalities were young male drivers, and this is a common problem across the whole of the EU.

But even though the numbers are promising for Croatia and are moving in the right direction there is clearly more work needed. In Great Britain 28 people per million were killed in road traffic accidents in 2018, making Britain’s roads the safest in the EU. The UK was followed by Denmark with 30 deaths per million, Ireland with 31 and Sweden with 32.

The average EU level in 2018 was 49 fatalities per million inhabitants, which means that Croatian roads are among the most dangerous in the whole of the European Union.

Zadar Airport has announced that from next May, the British airline Jet2.com, in co-operation with the Jet2holidays tour operator, will introduce flights for Zadar from London and Manchester.

Flights to both destinations will be operated twice a week, from May to early November 2020, enabling a total of 30,000 seats to connect Zadar with the United Kingdom, commented Zadar airport, pointing out that Jet2.com is the only European airline that is listed among the top 10 world air carriers for the second consecutive year.

"The United Kingdom government has confirmed that flights between the European Union and the United Kingdom will continue as it has been so far, regardless of the outcome of Brexit, and therefore we are pleased to announce the opening of new lines for Zadar in the summer of 2020," said Steve Heapy the director of Jet2.

The Dubrovnik Airport is undergoing massive construction phases and the airport have announced that the entire length of the runway has been reconstructed and the total length is now 3,300 metres. According to the airport all the building works on the runway were carried out within the planned deadlines and in accordance with the plans, and from the end of March the new and improved runway is open for business.

The main take-off and landing runway, as well as taxi areas and aprons were all re-laid as well as the entrance roads and the area for the rent-a-car, which now has a much more organised layout. This part of the project was realization as part of a large infrastructure project entitled "Development of the Dubrovnik Airport" co-financed by the European Union through the Operational Program of Competitiveness and Cohesion.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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