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.
Finally, some good news on the Covid-19 front as today the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County announced that there have been no new cases of Covid-19 recorded over the past 24 hours.
A total of five people are currently hospitalized at the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,524 samples have been sent for analysis to Zagreb. According to yesterday's announcement of the County Civil Protection Headquarters, 4,462 people were tested until yesterday, which means that 62 were newly tested.
There are currently 153 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no violation of the self-isolation measure has been established.
Croatia is in the waiting room to adopt the Euro as the official currency and ditch the Kuna, which could happen from January 1 2023.
The Croatian Kuna has been included in the so called Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM 2) which is basically the final waiting room before adopting the Euro, announced the European Central Bank. And after consultations with the Commission, the Economic and Financial Committee, it was decided that the central exchange rate of the Kuna for the euro would be 7.53450 Kuna.
This also means that as of yesterday, the European Central Bank has taken over the supervision of Croatian banks.
In relation to this exchange rate, until the introduction of the euro, a fall or increase in the exchange rate of the Kuna by a maximum of 15 percent will be allowed. In other words, 7.53450 Kuna for the Euro is the central rate at which we will exchange Kuna for Euros on the day when the Kuna remains a part of Croatian history, and that could be on January 1, 2023 at the earliest, reports Jutarnji List.
The last EU country to adopt the Euro as the official currency was Lithuania, and that was more than five years ago.
The key reason why countries generally decide to adopt the euro, join the EMR 2 mechanism, is to raise the chances of attracting investments, as well as more favourable borrowing prices. The differences in the cost of borrowing for euro area members compared to those EU members that have not adopted the euro are very significant, adds Jutarnji List.
Since the activation of the ERM-2 mechanism, Croatia will have to maintain the national currency exchange rate in the range of plus / minus 15 percent against the Euro and spend at least two years in the exchange rate mechanism. Basically, this means that the Euro could be introduced in Croatia on the first day of 2023.
"The agreement on participation of the Croatian kuna in ERM II is furthermore accompanied by a firm commitment by the Croatian authorities to pursue sound economic policies with the aim of preserving economic and financial stability, and achieving a high degree of sustainable economic convergence. The Croatian authorities have committed to implement specific policy measures on the anti-money laundering framework, the business environment, state-owned enterprises and the insolvency framework," stated the European Central bank.
“For every can or plastic bottle that we throw into the machine we get 25 cents,” smiled the friendly German tourist. Just how green are we? Are we really protecting the planet or just playing lip service? There was recently an action to collect waste from one bay on Mljet and they collected 400 Kilos of waste! One bay! A national park, an island paradise and home to some of the most breath-taking beauty on the Adriatic, and in just one bay they collected almost half a tonne of waste. Of course there was a huge amount of pollution from our southern neighbours, as there always is, but pollution, like Covid-19, doesn’t understand the concept of borders. And not a time for political point scoring.
A similar plastic and waste collection was carried out in Croatia’s southernmost port, Molunat, and the results were just as impressive, or rather depressive. So back to my German friend. “Where do we throw the metal cans away, we couldn’t work out which container at the rubbish was for metal,” he smiled.
Just a few days ago the recycling containers in Župa were overflowing with waste. People had stacked up paper, cardboard boxes and all sorts of plastic to the sides of the containers that was now rolling all over the place, which kind of makes the whole system of recycling pointless. This is a common occurrence, and has nothing to do with Covid-19 and more to do with terrible organisation. Maybe putting a sticker on the container in English would be a start to help tourists, instead they have to open the flap and see what’s inside.
“In Germany we return the recycling direct to the shops and supermarkets. There are special machines in front of the stores that you throw your cans and plastic bottles in and they crush them and for every item you receive 25 cents,” he continued. An old advertising slogan for Audi popped into my head - Vorsprung durch Technik – or progress through technology. There is no better motivator than financial gain.
Think about those numbers. For every can or bottle they get almost 2 Kuna! This really highlights the massive gulf in the two countries’ economies. But as well as the financial benefits it also shines a light on the organisational structure of the two EU members. Two members at polar opposite ends of the EU hierarchy. Maybe it would be better if Croatia just declared itself as the 17th German state and implement some of that Vorsprung der Technik?
I have said it time and time again, so much so that I’ve lost my voice. Croatia should be a world leader in producing renewable energy. If only we had days of endless sunshine for solar energy!?! If only we had winds for windmills!?! If only we had flowing water to produce hydroelectric!?! If only we had a thousand-kilometre-long coastline to create electricity from sea movements!?! We could, and indeed should, be living in the green leader in the heart of Europe. In a country that is 100 percent powered by renewable energy. And in a country that has zero waste, where recycling is embedded into our culture and where we are the leaders of progress through technology. In a country where we educate our millions of tourists on the benefits of recycling.
The beauty and diversity of this country’s nature puts food on our plates, pays our credits and educates our children. If you don’t respect, protect and nurture what God has given you then you are not only a problem, you are the root of the problem. So let’s not get in the situation where we are collecting garbage from the only national park in our county. Or in the situation where tourists can’t work out which recycle container is for what waste. Or in a situation where containers are overflowing. Or where our waste disposal technology is prehistoric compared with other countries. “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect,” wisely said Aldo Leopold.
Due to the ever rising number of new cases of Covid-19 in Croatia, yesterday saw a record number of new cases with 116, the Civil Protection Headquarters have reintroduced a number of restrictions, including the obligatory wearing of face masks in shops.
The wearing of protective face masks in stores across Croatia will come into effect from Monday 13 July 2020.
Until now it was only obligatory to wear a face mask on public transport in Croatia, however from Monday that all changes. Face masks or medical masks will also be required for employees of health care institutions and persons visiting patients, if visits are permitted. And drivers and other employees in public transport and passengers in public transport. Also employees in the catering industry who come into contact with guests or participate in the serving and preparation of food, beverages and beverages and other persons who are obliged to do so by special instructions and recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Speaking to NOVA TV the Interior Minsiter, Davor Bozinovic, said that “masks in shops will be obligatory from the beginning of next week. It doesn’t have to be a medical mask, but I reiterate, autumn could be a more serious challenge, and then the measures could be a little tighter.”
And whilst shoppers, and indeed staff in shops, will from Monday have to wear protective face masks from Monday, guests to restaurants still don’t have to, only the staff working in the catering facilities.
The Civil Protection Headquarters also passed on Friday a new regulation concerning the organisation of gatherings with more than 100 people, such as weddings.
Organizers who expect more than 100 people at the gathering are obliged to submit a notification to the County Centre 112 about the meeting no later than 48 hours before its beginning. Organizers who have registered a gathering in accordance with the Public Gathering Act are not required to submit this notice.
Also, all organizers of gatherings with more than 100 participants are required to keep written records of participants in order to prevent the spread of the disease as effectively as possible in the event of a virus infection.
A dark day for Covid-19 in Croatia as 116 new cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours. The number of active cases of Covid-19 in Croatia has now reached 1,038, among which there are 104 patients in hospital, and four patients on a ventilator.
Two people have passed away in the past 24 hours.
Zagreb has the most number of cases with 35.
Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 3,532 people have been infected with the new coronavirus, of which 117 have died and 2,377 have recovered. There are currently 4,608 people in self-isolation.
To date, a total of 91,486 people have been tested, of which 1,722 were tested in the last 24 hours, the National Headquarters announced.
In accordance with the current epidemiological situation, the Civil Protection Directorate today passed a decision on the necessary measures for the organization of gatherings attended by more than 100 participants during the declared epidemic of Covid-19 disease.
Organizers who expect more than 100 people at the gathering are obliged to submit a notification to the County Centre 112 about the gathering no later than 48 hours before the planned start.
Over the past 24 hours there have been 4 new cases of Covid-19 in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
The four new Covid-19 patients include a young man from Župa and three people from Dubrovnik, including two middle-aged women and a middle-aged man.
A total of 6 people are hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,462 samples have been sent for analysis to Zagreb.
There are 162 people in self-isolation, and in the last 24 hours no violation of self-source measures has been established.
The director of the Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, in an interview with Nova TV, commented on the new epidemiological measures that are expected and said that all options are now being considered.
“The discussion was to limit the number of participants at weddings, but it is more likely that we will leave the number, but introduce a recommendation for all gatherings, weddings, communions, confirmations and set stricter measures. There would be an obligation to report the event to the Civil Protection Headquarters, if there are more than 100 people, and the Civil Protection will organize surveillance. There will also be some local inspections and monitoring as to whether the event and the participants are adhering to the prescribed measures,” commented Capak.
At the moment in Croatia it is only obligatory to wear a facemask on public transport, however the Civil Protection Directorate are considering widening that to all public places in light of the recent spike in new Covid-19 cases across the country.
“It was one of the main topics this morning and afternoon. For now, we have the obligation to wear masks only on public transport, and that could be extended to some other enclosed spaces, but we do not yet know which ones. Mostly those with a larger number of people where it is difficult to keep social distance,” added Capak.
Tonight is the opening night of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival and the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, has announced that all catering facilities, cafes and restaurants, in the city can stay open longer.
“Based on the decision of Mayor Mato Franković, and on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the extension of the work of all catering facilities in the City of Dubrovnik is approved. Thus on the night of Friday the 10th to Saturday the 11th of July 2020, catering facilities are allowed to operate until 4 am,” sated the City of Dubrovnik.
All cafes and restaurants are obliged to ensure respect for public order and peace in their facilities and to prevent disturbances of public order and peace, and if it does occur, they must immediately inform the Dubrovnik Police Station, added the City of Dubrovnik in a statement.