Thursday, 20 September 2018
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

The Erasmus exchange program is one of the greatest culture and character building programs that you can have in your whole life. The Erasmus Programme (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is a European Union student exchange programme established in 1987. Erasmus+, or Erasmus Plus, is the new programme combining all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, which was started in January 2014.

And the Dubrovnik – Neretva County is making the most of the Erasmus+ program. As one student commented “The youth of Croatia, at least the ones that I know, don’t know about the range of possibilities the EU offers, and if they have heard they aren’t aware just how much this experience will enrich their lives. If they were to get involved in the Erasmus+ program they would see how much they could learn, probably about themselves the most.”

But the Erasmus+ program isn’t only open to the younger generations. Through EU supported programs citizens of all ages can make the most of education, sport, travel and many more exciting opportunities.

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The Erasmus Programme, together with a number of other independent programmes, was incorporated into the Socrates programme established by the European Commission in 1994. The Socrates programme ended on 31 December 1999 and was replaced with the Socrates II programme on 24 January 2000, which in turn was replaced by the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 on 1 January 2007.

One of the most useful parts of the Erasmus+ program is student mobility- Erasmus+ provides grants for a wide range of actions including the opportunity for students to undertake work placements abroad and for teachers and education staff to attend training courses.

So how can you find out more about the Erasmus+ program? Simple, visit the website of the Info-Centre for Youth of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, which will offer you contacts and info on how you could study abroad as many students from the Dubrovnik – Neretva County already have.

The info-centre for youth of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County is a project from the Europe House Dubrovnik in partnership with the Dubrovnik – Neretva County and the University of Dubrovnik with the financial support of the Ministry for Demographics, families, youth and social politics.

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Europski dom Dubrovnik / Europe House Dubrovnik (EHD) was founded in March 1995 as a non-profit, non-party and non-governmental association. The founding goals were to affirm the concept of European unification, to inform Croatian citizens, especially young people, on the progress of European integration, to foster their understanding, tolerance and dialogue with the citizens of other states, and to promote Croatia through cooperation with foreign governmental and non-governmental organizations.

EHD organizes educational workshops, lectures, exhibitions, round tables, media campaigns, celebrations for Europe Day, international seminars and conferences. Besides releasing its own publications, EHD also collects and distributes publications on various aspects of European integration, in several European languages.

Association's activities are mostly youth-oriented. One of EHD's current programmes is therefore Regional Youth Info Centre. But the doors of Europe House Dubrovnik are open to foreign visitors of Dubrovnik, too, as the association organizes every summer free-of-charge mini courses of Croatian language. More information about the courses, which, after four seasons, became the landmark of the association situated in an easy-to-find environment of Nikole Tesle Street in Dubrovnik, you can find here.

Tickets for the direct flights between Dubrovnik and the US have gone on sale on the American Airlines website. This is a historic flight connection for Dubrovnik, the first direct, or non-stop, flight connection between Dubrovnik and the US for almost 30 years.

According to information from the company the new flights will operate three times a week with the first flight starting on the 7th of June. The flights, which will be operated until the 27th of September, will operate using Boeing 767s.

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The Dubrovnik Times spoke directly to American Airlines to bring you some more information about these new flight connections. We spoke to Tom Henderson, the Senior Communications Executive, for Europe, Canada and Asia.

Why has American Airlines decided to introduce flights to Croatia (Dubrovnik) in 2019?

Through our joint business partnership with British Airways we have seen an increasing demand in recent years for travel between Dubrovnik and the United States. We are confident that now is the right time to offer a direct flight and meet this demand.

What are your expectations for this line? Will you be marketing of both sides of the Atlantic?

As mentioned, we have seen there is strong potential for a direct service throughout the Summer season next year and expect the new route to perform well. In addition to Philadelphia, the new flight will give Croatian travellers a large onward network of connecting destinations across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Is this a "test" year or do you feel that this connection could become a permanent fixture?

Launching a new route and market on a seasonal basis is a good way for American to assess how the market performs. We continually evaluate route performance but it is too early to speculate on if the route could become a year round service.

How long have you been working on this decision and were there any factors that finally brought this decision?

We have been assessing Dubrovnik for a while now as Croatia continues to be an increasingly popular destination for American visitors. We are pleased to be the only airline offering a direct service between both countries next year.

Even though the flights are seasonal and only to Dubrovnik could you foresee expansion of these flights to other Croatian cities and even outside of the main tourist season?

We continually evaluate new international markets and the seasonality of our services but at this time do not have any news to share regarding other destinations in Croatia.

Tickets are on sale on the American Airlines website with the first flight out of Philadelphia on the 7th of July 2019.

In June this year Croatia saw the largest growth of all 28 European Union members in terms of industrial production.

In June the industrial output increased by a healthy 4.5 percent compared to May, the largest growth inside the EU.

Eurostat reported that the largest month-on-month drops were recorded in Ireland (8.9 percent), the Netherlands (1.3 percent) and Hungary (1.2 percent). The highest monthly increases were posted by Croatia (4.5 percent), Romania (1.7 percent), the Czech Republic, and Finland (1.5 percent).

"In the EU28, the decrease of 0.4 percent month-on-month is due to the fall in the production of capital goods by 2.0 percent, intermediate goods by 0.3 percent, durable consumer goods by 0.2 percent, and non-durable consumer goods by 0.1 percent. Meanwhile, the production of energy rose by 0.5 percent," commented Eurostat.

According to official reports from the statistics bureau Croatia’s economy grew by 2.9 percent in the second quarter of 2018 when compared to the same quarter from last year. The reason for this growth is due to higher export growth combined with public spending.

Croatia’s economy, bolstered by the tourism industry, seems to be on track as this was the sixteenth straight growth of GDP in a quarter. In the first quarter of this year GDP increased by 2.5 percent.

Imports have slightly fallen this year and exports are on the rise which has proved positive for the overall economy.

The contribution of domestic demand was also positive. Household spending in Q2 2018 went up 3.6 percent year-on-year, slowing down from Q1 2018, when the year-on-year increase was 3.9 percent.

The sounds of traditional Dalmatian melodies floated over the stone facades of the Old City of Dubrovnik last night and you would be forgiven if you thought it was just another local vocal choir filling the night air. It was a vocal choir, or klapa, but with a slight difference, a vocal choir made up of Samoans from New Zealand.

Christian and Austin Malietoa-Brown, two members of the vocal group, Klapa Samoana, performed in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik last night in front of a packed audience. And it was a magical night, two Samoans singing ancient songs of love in Croatian.

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The performances by the Samoana ensemble are realized and funded by the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik. Tonight they will perform one more time in Mokosica in front of the café bar Kiss.

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Klapa Samoana in Dubrovnik - Photos Božo Radić 

Diving and jumping from the rocks around Dubrovnik might look exciting and attractive but it is extremely dangerous. Every year young tourists end up in the Dubrovnik General Hospital, with broken bones and even worse.

However, the need to prove their manhood means that every year more and more tourists take their life in their hands and leap into the Adriatic from overhanging rocks.

It is often the case that tourists who don’t know the sea crash into rocks which are just below the surface. This latest cliff jumper takes the level of stupidity to a new high.

The consequences of the mass emigration and the decreasing number of births is also visible in this school year, which begins in less than a week. Eight schools across the country have been closed while in 117 schools not one new pupil has enrolled. Out of the eight schools to close six closed because they didn’t have any pupils at all, whilst two closed because they will move to new premises, writes index.hr.

And this alarming situation is affecting the whole country. Only in the Varaždin County and in the City of Zagreb is there no school in which no pupil is enrolled in the first grade.

Six schools in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County have no pupils enrolling this year for the first grade. With two being on the Elaphite islands and a further two in Konavle. These schools will not be closed but will continue to work with children from the second to fourth class.

“We are close friends of your country,” commented German Chancellor Angela Merkel after meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Berlin today. Plenkovic is on the last day of a two-day official visit to Germany in which he held a long working meeting with Merkel.

Merkel added that Germany is cooperating well with Croatia in terms of migration, even though Croatia is still not part of the passport-free Schengen area. "You are doing a great job on the borders, and I wish to commend you for that," said Merkel.

Plenkovic said that Germany is Croatia's number one trade partner and added that some 2.5 million German tourists have visited the country since 2017. He also mentioned the role of Croatians living in Germany, who are well integrated into German society.

Plenkovic and Merkel said that Croatia and Germany will soon sign an action plan on strengthening political, economic and cultural relations.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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