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 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.
For the sixth year running Dubrovnik will play host to the traditional “FestiWine” festival this year from the 22nd to the 28th of April. Hosting a wide array of wine producers, wine experts and wine lovers from all over the world FestiWine 2019 will once again organise an impressive line-up.
The Dubrovnik Wine Week, which will start on Tuesday the 22nd of April, will mark the beginning of a rich festival program prepared by the organizers. All through the week the restaurants marked as “Wine Friendly” will offer wines that are excellently paired with delicious specialties of the Dubrovnik region. These Dubrovnik restaurants are easy to spot, if you haven’t already found them on the website of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, as they all carry a sticker on their doors marked with the festival’s name and logo.
Traditionally, blind tasting of wines paired best with the native delicacy, oysters from Ston, will also take place during the festival and this event is known as “Blind Date: In Love with Ston Oysters”.
The “Dubrovnik FestiWine Trophy” is the serious business of the festival where wines are judged by a panel of internationally renowned judges and enologists chaired by Bojan Kobal, who will select the best wines of the festival.
The gastronomical spectacle “Dubrovnik FestiWine Gala” will present creative dishes by two young well-known chefs: the guest chef Jure Tomič (Debeluh restaurant, Brežice) and the host chef Saša Računica.
As in the previous years, the entire proceeds are intended for scholarships of young and prospective culinary and wine talents. The central event of the festival is the Wine Exhibition, which will be held on the 26th and 27th of April in the Sunset Beach in the Bay of Lapad.
During the exhibition wine producers will have the opportunity to meet with other professionals in the wine business. In addition, guests can take part in lectures and wine tastings, as well as very attractive wine workshops dedicated to the autochthonous varieties of the Croatian south, as well as workshops of visiting festivals.
Mark your calendars for the end of April, for the FestiWine 2019 wine festival in Dubrovnik and for more info check out the festival's website.
The popular Croatian online sales engine “Njuškalo” made a healthy 65 million Kuna of revenue in 2018, up by 16 percent in 2017. The company reported this week that profits and revenue were up in 2018 with profits before tax around 11 million Kuna, or 18 percent more than in 2017.
"In our strategy for up to 2020, we have a target of 100 million in revenue and a profit margin of around 20 percent, with a strong investment in technology development. We are proud of the results so far and a sensational increase in revenue and profits that show that nothing is left to the chance, behind all this is quality work, innovation and a good collective,” commented Sanda Soptija Šiljak, the Chief Executive Officer of Njuškalo.
Emphasizing that the link between financial success and the satisfaction of employees, Soptija Šiljak added that constant education and recognition of employee creativity has led Njuškalo to become the first in the market with trends and innovations and have become one of the largest digital companies in Croatia and a leading 'marketplace' in the wider region.
After the euphoria of the World Cup the Croatian national team have started the campaign for the European Championship 2020 by scraping a 2-1 win over lowly Azerbaijan and then losing away in Hungary 2-1. It seems that the giddy heights of the World Cup in Russia are miles away. And according to the latest FIFA rankings released on Thursday Croatia has dropped one placed, from 4th to 5th, with England now climbing above them.
Although Croatia beat England in the semi-finals on the 2018 World Cup the two sides have had very different fortunes after the tournament. Zlatko Dalic’s side firstly suffered heavy defeats in the UEFA Nation’s League and eventually finishing bottom of Group 4 and being relegated.
Latest FIFA rankings
This was followed by a tough start to the EURO 2020 qualifying campaign. On the other hand England finished top of Group 4 in the Nation’s League, qualifying for the finals, and had a flying start to the EURO 2020 with two wins, against Montenegro and the Czech Republic.
And these results mean that England have climbed above Croatia is the latest FIFA rankings. On the top of the list is Belgium, followed by France in second place and Brazil in third.
The next test for Croatia is a match against Wales, who are now ranked in 19th position, in June as part of the EURO 2020 qualifications.
Only 27 percent of European Union residents eat fruit at least twice a day, according to figures released by Eurostat. The healthy eating plan of “five pieces of fruit a day” seems a long way from becoming reality, with 36 percent of EU citizens admitting to eating fruit rarely.
The most fruit loving nation is Italy, where 85 percent of citizens eat fruit every day, followed by the Portuguese with 81 percent. Over 50 percent of Croatians don’t eat fruit every day, which seems rather strange in a country that produces so much fruit throughout the year. Clearly more work in schools needs to be done of the importance of eating fruit and vegetables.
Only 46 percent of Croatians eat fruit every day, which is around the lower reaches of the European average. The worst country in the European Union was Latvia, where only 35 percent of the population eat fruit every day.