Diplomacy&Commerce 23 + Italy 2020

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June 2020 | ISSUE No. 23 | ONLINE



President Milanović at the




Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in the Republic of Croatia


President/CEO, OACM Group


President of SDP and the leader of RESTART Coalition


Irish Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia



Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia SPECIAL



H. E. PIERFRANCESCO SACCO Ambassador of Italy


Hollywoodland ROBERT ČOBAN







Magazine Director Croatia boban@diplomacy andcommerce.hr

n the days when we are often saddened by news about the suicides of people dear to us or celebrities, I’m watching a new show on Netflix - “Hollywood”. Part of the story revolves around the making of the movie about Peg Entwistle



Art director indigochild.ilija@gmail.com



(24), a young English actress who, disappointed by Hollywood, committed a spectacular suicide in 1932 by jumping off the letter “H” on the famous “Hollywoodland” sign (later on, the “land” was removed). Seduced by the bright lights of Hollywood, Peg expected

more than she received. On September 18, 1932, an anonymous female person informed the Police by phone that she found a woman’s dead body under the “Hollywoodland” sign. A suicide note with initials “P.E.” was found with the body, and based on this Peg’s body was later on identified by her uncle. I’m afraid that the months ahead of us bring many more disappointments in life and unfulfilled expectations, so be satisfied with the little things – for starters, with your health and the health of people around you. It’s not a big deal if there’s no seaside this summer, there will be other trips and summer vacations. It won’t be the end of the world with what the upcoming economic crisis is bringing, there were other crises and wars in the past, but I’m afraid that the “digital” generations have become spoiled, and they raised their expectations from life beyond measure.



Director Photos GETTY IMAGES TOMISLAV SMOLJANOVIĆ Translation GORANKA MILOŠEVIĆ Print ZLATNA KNJIGA Jagodina Bagrdanski put bb Predstavnik za RH




ONE DOESN’T CHANGE A SUCCESSFUL TEAM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME DAVOR BOŽINOVIĆ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia



”Color Media Communications” LTD, 21132 Petrovaradin, Štrosmajerova 3 TIN 107871532 Matriculation number 20887303 Phone: +381 21 4897 100 Fax: +381 21 4897 126 Office: Vase Čarapića 3/IV/38, Belgrade Phone: 011 4044 960

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LET THE CALCULATIONS START AGAIN KREŠIMIR MACAN Communication Consultant and Manjgura Agency Owner


WE DON’T HAVE TO GO AROUND THE SAME CIRCLE H.E. MIRA NIKOLIĆ Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in the Republic of Croatia






Irish Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia





KNOW-HOW AND RELIABILITY ARE OUR ADVANTAGES ANDREA PERKOV Secretary General of Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce





Apriori World











George Floyd Is Remembered Around The World His death inspired a movement in America, and may do so elsewhere too

t is easy to imagine a world in which the agony of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a policeman in Minneapolis on May 25th, would have escaped public attention. More than 1,000 Americans die at the hands of police every year—many of them black and unarmed. In this sense, Mr Floyd’s experience is not unusual. But after a video emerged of the policeman kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck, and was shared widely on social media, protests erupted first in Minneapolis, then across America and in cities worldwide. Millions of tweets and Instagram posts have been published with the hashtag “#georgefloyd”. On Instagram alone, #georgefloyd has been used 2.3m times since his death two weeks ago—already nearly as often as #metoo (2.5m times since October 2017), which became a global rallying cry against sexual harassment and abuse. (Twitter does not make



comparable data available.) A tally by The Economist of about 450,000 Twitter and Instagram posts shows that Mr Floyd’s name has been invoked online in at least 140 countries across the world, from Colombia to Indonesia (see map), since May 29th. Even in China, where Twitter and Instagram are banned, users have

one hand, it is easy for many to embrace the objectives of the campaign, which include an end to racism and police brutality, problems that are not exclusive to America. Protests have taken place as far apart as Paris and Rio de Janeiro. Smartphones and social media make it easier not only to voice an opinion but also to

BUT FOR NOW, AT LEAST, MR FLOYD’S CRY “I CAN’T BREATHE” HAS SERVED AS A RALLYING CALL FOR COUNTLESS PEOPLE WHO FEEL THEY, TOO, ARE STIFLED BY THEIR POLICEMEN AND RULERS expressed outrage on the social-media sites using the hashtag #georgefloyd, bypassing internet filters to do so. The true extent of support for the protest movement is probably even larger than these figures would suggest. Is this the beginning of an international movement? On the

organise action, at home and across national borders. Even in the days before social media, transnational networks linking groups in many countries played an important role in efforts to right wrongs, such as apartheid in South Africa and, before that, women’s disenfranchisement.

Now, the reach and immediacy of technology make them even more powerful. On the other hand, posting on Twitter and Instagram may not translate into action on the ground. Many of the countries in which George Floyd’s name has been invoked in recent days are run by authoritarian governments that do not tolerate grassroots political action. What is more, the pandemic makes protest difficult, and perhaps dangerous. Whether the Black Lives Matter movement in America continues to inspire action elsewhere also depends on its progress at home. But for now, at least, Mr Floyd’s cry “I can’t breathe” has served as a rallying call for countless people who feel they, too, are stifled by their policemen and rulers. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on www.economist.com

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One Doesn’t Change a Successful Team in the Middle of the Game All the research has shown that citizens give positive evaluation of the way in which the Government of Croatia has responded to the crisis caused by the pandemic. That is why we justifiably expect that we will regain their trust in the elections, because in the second half we will have to repair the economic consequences of the crisis

DAVOR BOŽINOVIĆ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia

ot many countries have faced such challenges as Croatia: the pandemic, an earthquake in the capital city and possible unforeseeable consequences for the tourism industry and many other businesses, and thus people's jobs. However, Davor Bozinovic, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia who was directly in charge of responding to the pandemic, believes that the citizens should look at the entire situation, including the upcoming elections, from the angle of answering the question - who would they trust to bring their ship back to a safe harbour? Bozinovic believes that one should stick to well-tested wisdom that one should not change the winning team.



In your opinion, how has the situation with the COVID 19 pandemic affected the electorate and the position of the parties?

— Croatia reacted to the pandemic early and achieved excellent results that make us one of the most successful countries in the world in the fight against the Corona virus.

test, Croatia has achieved a balance between a number of key factors, namely the lockdown measure, readiness and functioning of all the necessary systems and services, maintaining the necessary economic activities, and most importantly - the trust of our citizens who have unquestionably been our greatest allies, conscientious,

two crises that were sending opposite messages, one was “stay home” while the other in that horror of the earthquake necessarily had to read “get out where it’s safe”. But even in that situation, we organized ourselves to the maximum. With intervention measures worth more than 5 billion kuna, we have enabled the economy

WE SUCCESSFULLY PROTECTED CROATIA FROM A POSSIBLE WAVE OF MIGRANTS, PROVIDED SECURITY TO OUR CITIZENS AND EUROPEAN CITIZENS, AND WERE RANKED AMONG THE RECORD-BREAKING TOURIST DESTINATIONS In all the parameters, from the number of sick, deceased and cured to the fact that the health system was not overloaded at any time. In a situation that has put many health systems to the

responsible and in solidarity. Such an approach is already called the "Croatian model". Croatia’s capital was hit by a devastating earthquake in the midst of a pandemic, so we simultaneously had to deal with

and citizens to overcome the first period of economy and normal activities lockdown. All of this required responsibility, quick adaptability, and reflection at least one step ahead of an unknown virus and the

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disease with a "thousand faces" that infected more than eight million people in a matter of months. Citizens were able to compare the situation and the reaction of the authorities in Croatia with the situation in various other countries in real time. All research has shown that citizens believe that this Government managed the crisis efficiently and with well-balanced reactions. We justifiably expect the citizens to continue to trust us because we are facing the second half of the game, repairing the economic consequences of the crisis and the upward trend that we had before the pandemic. What are the key messages that HDZ wants to send to the voters, and how do you plan to win over the undecided voters?

— The key message is that we want to lead Croatia as a safe country, and that means a country of social security, solidarity, inclusion, justice and stable institutions. This also means that Croatia is a well-positioned member and a reliable partner of the European Union. The undecided voters also notice the facts and all the achievements of this Government. By the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we had created 105,000 jobs and achieved the highest employment so far, pensions have risen twice as much and the minimum wage three times as much as in previous governments, while at the same time we significantly relieved the citizens and businesses, especially the young people. We have successfully protected Croatia from a possible wave of migrants, provided security to our and European citizens, and ranked among the tourist destinations that are breaking records. More than ever, the importance of public service efficiency, financial resilience and the role of the state in managing major crises have been demonstrated. In recent years, we have clearly shown that we know how to deal with various crises and challenges of today, from the largest corporate restructuring in Europe in response to the bankruptcy of the largest Croatian and regional

concern, which threatened to cause a chain effect for the entire economy, to numerous issues of economic transition. We have resisted fires, floods and devastating earthquakes, the coronavirus pandemic and the economic shock, and during all that time we have remained a peaceful, secure and stable country on an upward economic trajectory. Even this global crisis has not undermined Croatia's investment credit rating achieved during our term, reflecting the well-calibrated management of public finances over the past three years, public debt reduction and healthy economic growth that is not based on borrowing. We are close to Schengen and the introduction of the Euro, which are the strategic goals of this HDZ government. We have met all the technical conditions for Schengen membership and with a number of arguments we can certainly testify that Croatia in Schengen is in the interest of the European Union. The European Commission has also published a 2020 Convergence Report, setting out its assessment of the progress made by non-euro area Member States towards the introduction of the euro. Croatia and Sweden meet all the criteria of economic convergence, and only Croatia has fully harmonized legislation with the rules of economic and the monetary union. The European Central Bank announced that an analysis of Croatia's five largest banks showed that none of them had capital shortfalls. This is an important confirmation of the stability and quality of the Croatian banking system, and another step towards joining ERM II. What are the 5 points from your election program that you have the most hope for from the spectrum of politics and economy?

— Social security is the first precondition for the development of modern society, and we stand firmly behind this assumption in our program. The crises we have faced have further highlighted the need to strengthen the health care system, but also the role of the state in preserving jobs, pensions and social benefits. It is important to establish

social balance, find solutions for a better standard and greater opportunities for people from different social groups, especially the marginalized groups. When we talk about the future and perspectives of Croatia, we are talking about a competitive economy based on new and clean technologies that create added value and in which peo-

that I believe everyone with good intentions would give their vote to. When you sum up the results of work of the Ministry you lead, what is it that you are especially proud of, and what could be better?

— I would like to single out the equipping of the Police and the

BY THE BEGINNING OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, WE HAD CREATED 105,000 JOBS AND ACHIEVED THE HIGHEST EMPLOYMENT SO FAR ple of modern knowledge and skills work, and the key to this is comprehensive education. We strive for self-sufficiency in food and energy production in order to achieve economic sovereignty, and sustainable development policy plays a key role in this. We want and offer a strengthened Croatian state, which is another name for better management of state property, digitalization of public services, efficient administration and efficient judiciary. The construction of broadband infrastructure for the development of digital Croatia plays a very important role in this. We believe that it is important for Croatia to be globally recognizable. This contributes to the opening of new markets, attracting investment, tourist attractiveness of the country and the promotion of Croatian culture in the world. Even these five points from our program, which is otherwise developed for every area of life and economy, depict a country

improvement of the material status of Croatian police officers. I am particularly pleased that in the past three years we have managed to systematically solve long-standing problems and correct a number of injustices from past mandates. Interest in the police profession has obviously increased in the last three years. Safety is a Croatian brand, Croatia is at the top of all ranking lists of safe countries, after all, we would not be one of the most attractive tourist destinations if people in our country do not feel safe. In modern world, many countries, including the richest ones, with the longest democratic traditions, are facing serious problems regarding the safety of their cities and people. That’s not the case in Croatia. We are a country where you can walk relaxed at any time. The Croatian Police is a qualified, reliable partner to all international security and police organizations in fight against organized crime. Over the past three years, it participated in


a series of large international actions against drug, arms and human traffickers. Our Police records extraordinary results here. We are very successful in protecting the Croatian and European borders from illegal migration and we have the strongest border police in Europe. In addition to meeting all technical requirements, we have shown with this that Croatia in Schengen is of European interest, because Croatia is a country that has a balanced, responsible and professional approach to the protection of its own and European borders and the issue of illegal migration. What could be better? We have the foundations, they are good and they can be improved, but I think that the Ministry of Interior is going in the right direction, as well as the entire Government.

ment cleared and resolved everything, ensuring political stability in the country. This made it possible to finish the mandate in which all the parameters of financial stability of the state, the economic progress of the country and the standards of the citizens were raised. And how important all this is, we saw when we were struck and almost paralyzed by the sudden Corona crisis. An unavoidable issue is the migrant crisis. After the crisis with COVID 19, the so-called Balkan route has opened up. How many migrants tried to enter Croatia illegally, and what is done with them when you catch them on the territory of the Republic of Croatia? Is there any realistic solution to this problem?

— The phenomenon of illegal migrations, which is associated

IN MODERN WORLD, MANY COUNTRIES, INCLUDING THE RICHEST ONES, WITH THE LONGEST DEMOCRATIC TRADITIONS, ARE FACING SERIOUS PROBLEMS REGARDING THE SAFETY OF THEIR CITIES AND PEOPLE. THAT’S NOT THE CASE IN CROATIA Political life is followed by many affairs. How much do they burden HDZ and the Government, and to what extent are they fabricated and to what extent are they real?

— They burden every Government, even this one, but with Andrej Plenković as the Prime Minister and with HDZ there is a very clear position, any kind of abuse of political position must be identified, clarified and sanctioned. Our goal is an efficient and just society. Andrej Plenković's Govern-


with severe and cruel organized crime, exists on our doorstep all the time and will continue to exist. Croatia has set itself up in the only possible way, we do not allow illegal migration, and we are successfully fighting the accompanying crime. We have the right to such an attitude and protection of our border, just like any other state. We are ready for solidarity, but at the same time we recognize that there is no single European approach to this

problem and we support solutions that lead to agreement and evenly distribute the burden of migration. We are ready to help those who really need help, but we are not ready to be a gathering place for illegal migrants. We reject the accusations of various organizations and political groups on the left side of the political spectrum that attribute every injury of migrants to the Croatian police. In the world of illegal migration there is a lot of violence and very difficult situations, it is a life on the edge in which migrants are primarily victims of organized crime and mutual confrontations. After trying to cross the border illegally twenty times, they probably think that the accusations against the Croatian Police could increase their chances. Ultimately, they are not helping anyone, neither illegal migrants nor the countries they are trying to pass through illegally. They do not send the only real message to people in need: "Don't do this, it is dangerous and forbidden", and in the end, migrants are usually helped by the Croatian Police, by saving their lives in very dangerous and difficult situations. In the first five months of this year, we recorded about 10 percent less illegal border crossings, which is expected due to the situation with the coronavirus epidemic. With the easing of measures, we expect the pressure on Croatian borders to increase, especially since the migrant camps in Bosnia are located directly in front of the Croatian border. Do you believe to have an answer to the economic crisis in Croatia or is it maybe too much for any government, considering its global dimension?

— Yes, we have the answer and we accept responsibility for such a demanding task. We have a plan and program with coverage. One of the major projects we will initiate is the reconstruction of Zagreb. We have requested EU funds for repairing the damage, an advance of €100 million will arrive in the summer. The total damage is €11.5 billion, ten seconds

of earthquake brought us 10 years of a complex process of rebuilding the city. In the meantime, we have already signed a $200 million loan with the World Bank for the reconstruction of schools and hospitals, we have secured money for emergency interventions through budget revision, and we are also financing rents for citizens who cannot be in their homes. On a wider scale, we are very thoughtfully arranging opportunities for the most favourable borrowing in the domestic and foreign financial markets in order to overcome the consequences of the corona crisis this year. We experienced this crisis more resiliently and were able to provide massive support to the private sector, half a million people were paid for three months of the crisis, thus preventing a new mass of unemployed. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have reduced the burden on citizens and the economy by almost 150 million euros. We are introducing new measures to help the economy, first in line is a measure to support part-time work. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to get through this tourist season to the best of our ability in the given circumstances. We are encouraged by the arrival of more than 100,000 tourists, the announcement of over 350,000 arrivals via the EnterCroatia system, as well as recommendations in the world's leading media that Croatia is a country that has resisted the epidemic and is a safe and comfortable vacation spot. Mega yachts are also coming, there is a noticeable demand for more luxurious accommodation. We can be satisfied with the European Commission's economic recovery plan. 10 billion euros are planned for Croatia, of which 7.3 billion euros are grants, and 2.65 billion are possible loans. In the draft of the Multiannual Financial Framework, the allocation for Croatia will probably be more generous than the draft that was on the table in February. In short, we want and are convinced that we can provide Croatia with 20 billion euros in the next seven years as a safety net for economic recovery.

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It’s Time for Croatia to Get a New Start With the outbreak of the crisis, Croatia faced the truth and real deep problems that trouble our country and our citizens. HDZ tried to use the pandemic for its own promotion, but they failed at that. Contrary to that, SDP offered adequate solutions to save the economy and work places, so the RESTART Coalition is entering the election race in a winning mood DAVOR BERNARDIĆ President of SDP and the leader of RESTART Coalition

n many countries, citizens are going to the polls as soon as the pandemic has weakened. One of the main debates is about whether the parties in power in the period when Covid-19 was the strongest gained significant advantage over other political competitors. Davor Bernardić, President of SDP and the leader of RESTART Coalition, believes that the cards were additionally shuffled during the crisis in Croatia.


In your opinion, how did the situation with the pandemic affect the electorate and the parties’ position?

— The pandemic showed just


how vulnerable the world is, and it warned of the necessity of global cooperation between the centres of power. Up until now, the USA, China, Russia and the EU as the four poles of

comes to manufacture, so this will change the global economic relations, as well as the manner of forming aggregate demand. Croatia has faced the truth and real deep problems that trouble

out that they were paying PR agencies to profit from someone else’s misfortune. The Government and Plenković hid behind the Headquarters all the time, and in fact it is

OUR COALITION IS GETTING STRONGER BY THE DAY, AND TODAY, MORE THAN EVER, I AM CONVINCED OF THE VICTORY OF A MODERN, PROGRESSIVE AND SUCCESSFUL CROATIA FOR THE FUTURE OF ALL THE CITIZENS OF OUR COUNTRY the global power of influence, conducted an independent politics. In the future, when it comes to fight against a common threat, cooperation will be a necessity. Also, many countries turned to domestic resources, especially when it

our country, our society and the economy, our citizens. HDZ tried to take advantage of the crisis for their own promotion, however, they did not succeed in that because the work of the so-called Headquarters was politicized and it turned

true that Croatia was late in preparing the country from the threat, in procuring protective equipment, in measures for the economy and citizens, as well as in security protocols for the hospital system and retirement homes, especially

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because of the fact that the first meeting in the Government was held on January 9, 2020, but nothing was done due to intra-party elections at HDZ. Since Croatia is looking at an economic Armageddon, in an attempt to escape the reality, Plenković escaped to elections. During the crisis, SDP offered adequate solutions for salvation of the economy and work places, over 23 draft laws that the governing party did not accept. And SDP showed that we have the best team that can get the country out of the crisis. The citizens recognized this, so at this moment, the RESTART Coalition is the most likely winner of the elections. How did SDP and Restart Coalition use the time to prepare for the elections?

— After winning the elections for the EU Parliament and the victory of our presidential candidate Zoran Milanović, we at SDP did not wait, immediately at the beginning of the year we formed the central headquarters, and appointed 10 coordinators. The Corona crisis has slowed down Croatia and the world, but it did help us look at the problems our country is facing from a different perspective. The crisis has only temporarily put all the problems of the citizens of Croatia in the background, and over time these problems will be even deeper and even greater. The people are overwhelmed by pessimism and hopelessness. Over a million people live on the brink of poverty, mostly retirees. Healthcare is facing a complete collapse due to numerous scandals and debts. Educational reform does not exist, the security system lags behind, the state apparatus is cumbersome and does not fulfil its purpose. The situation in the judiciary has never been worse, corruption has affected all the pores of our society. Croatia therefore needs a restart, a new beginning. Because of that, after the Corona crisis, we successfully completed negotiations with the coalition partners and prepared our Program for a new beginning for Croatia. Our coalition is getting stronger by the day, and today, more than ever, I am convinced of the victory of a modern, progressive

and successful Croatia for the future of all the citizens of our country. Does the timing of the elections benefit you or the Government?

— I think that the most important thing is that it benefits the citizens, because the citizens want to get rid of the most corrupt government in Croatian history as soon as possible, the government that has not implemented a single reform. Political life is followed by numerous affairs. How much do they burden you, and to what extent do they facilitate your approach to voters?

— As for me, I’m not burdened by the affairs since I don’t have any. But considering everything that has been happening to some politicians in Croatia lately, it is definitely true that they can ruin a political career. Just look at the fact that 11 ministers had to leave this Government due to suspicions of corruption, or that the same Government was held in power through political corruption, i.e. through the buying of votes of members of the Croatian Parliament. This Government and the current Prime Minister have shown that they are not up to the job they performed and that they have no team. To

put it in sports terms, when 11 players leave due to suspicion of corruption, then maybe the problem is not just the players, but primarily the head coach. All the more so because Prime Minister Plenković himself was involved in the biggest affair in Croatian history, the Agrokor affair, where hundreds of millions of kunas went to dubious consulting services, which led to the dismissal of his first associate, Deputy Prime Minister Martina Dalić. In your opinion, what needs to be restarted in the political life and in the Croatian society?

— This crisis opened Croatia's eyes and showed that we cannot live only from tourism and the sale of imported products, that we do not have a strong industry and production because it was destroyed in the looting and privatization of the ‘90s by HDZ, that we are not self-sufficient in agricultural production, that the state administration is too big and does not fulfil its purpose, that corruption in Croatia has gained momentum and affected all the levels of the society and that Croatia has not made any reforms in the last four years, which is why the way out of this crisis will be long and arduous. Therefore, Croatia needs a RESTART today more

than ever. A new beginning on a healthy basis, justly, not through friendly partnerships, without corruption. Our goal is to cut down the number of ministries, inefficient state administration and the number of municipalities and cities. Our goal is to digitalize our country, all public services, services and processes, so that the state administration is as close as possible to the citizens, but without corruption. We will fight corruption by all means, by changing the laws, tightening penalties, but also reforming the judiciary. We will unleash the huge potential that Croatia has for the growth of agricultural production, for the development of creative industries, encouraging the growth of industry and exports, by introducing tax relief and encouraging investments. Croatia needs to unleash the huge potential of its natural resources and its most important resource, and that is our people, creative, honest and hardworking. The time has come for such a policy as well. We will reform education and modernize health care. Today, Croatia needs a fair, responsible and transparent government that has a plan and strategy for dealing with the crisis and a clear vision of the future. We have the people,



THE GLOBAL MARKET FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS COULD BE WORTH $55 BILLION BY 2025, SO WE SEE HEMP CULTIVATION AS A CHANCE FOR CROATIA TO BECOME A LEADER IN THIS PART OF EUROPE AND TAKE A PIECE OF THE BIG GLOBAL CAKE the strength and the vision to make a change in our country, for a new beginning for Croatia. Do you believe to have an answer to the economic crisis in Croatia or is it maybe too much for any government, considering its global dimension?

— Yes. We have a clear plan and the best team that can take Croatia out of the crisis. We will start the reindustrialization of the country, digitize and increase the share of the ICT sector. We will pay special attention to the development of Croatian agriculture, whose potential is several times greater than what we have today. By introducing actual tax relief to citizens and companies, we will increase the salaries of workers, and companies’ competitiveness and investment activity.


We will start with the 3X0% and 3x10% formula. income tax rate on all salaries up to HRK 5,000, zero rate for reinvested earnings and zero rate for the purchase of the first real estate. We will reduce VAT for tourism and catering sector to 10% and dividend tax to 10%. Our goal is to provide a stimulating investment environment, because only investments can change the structure of Croatian economy, unfortunately they have never been less in the last 20 years. We will change the economic structure and encourage innovative, creative industries in line with the new European Green Deal. The lifeblood of our economy are the small and medium-size enterprises, our farmers, family farms. Through joint efforts of fiscal and monetary policy, we will ensure that banks finance entrepreneurship, not just

the citizens and the state for which they are confident they will be able to collect. We will provide enough guarantees and money through state financial institutions HBOR and HAMAG. We will significantly reduce the regulatory burden on our craftsmen, micro and small entrepreneurs, which is up to 10 times higher than in large companies. We will abolish a number of parafiscal levies and reduce costs, simplify reporting - simply allow people to breathe and grow, to be successful. Croatia is the last in the EU in terms of the use of EU funds, and a great challenge awaits us there. It is not enough to contract money, it is important that you actually make something and how much money you reimbursed from the EU, and this government has stood at 30 percent after 7 years. This means that we have an

extremely difficult task ahead of us to invest 70 percent of the remaining money in Croatia in the next 3 years. It is more than 50 billion kuna, which is a huge unused amount of money and a huge development potential for Croatia. This is not just a numbers game, it is our reality as a result of the incompetence of the HDZ government. We will pay special attention to raising the potential of agricultural production. The figures that say that in 2008 the value of agricultural production was around 3.1 billion euros, and that in 2019 it was only 2.2 billion euros, look incredible. In about a decade, we have lost one third of production, and in the last 20 years the loss has been as much as 50 percent, regardless of the fact that the state has paid incentives worth about 5 billion kuna a year. Our goal is to increase the value of agricultural production by 200 million kuna each year, in order to substitute huge imports and increase our self-sufficiency. We will reactivate uncultivated agricultural land and speed up the allocation of state land to our farmers. We will increase vegetable production and milk production. We will encourage livestock farming, with a focus on pig farming. Croatia must be a country where the public good is not stolen or used for personal gain, where state jobs are not awarded outside the competition to personal and party friends, where people are not employed just because they have a party card. Like the metastases of a malignant disease, corruption has spread through the fabric of Croatian society. It is not enough to fight against it declaratively, it is necessary to establish independent institutions whose job will be to expose corruption. SDP will re-establish the USKOK office, which was abolished during this HDZ government. We will pass the Law on Examination of the Origin of Property because it is clear that there are too many people in Croatia whose property does not correspond to their income and taxes paid. An important tool in the fight against corruption is both digitalization and digital transformation. We will digitally transform

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the country. It is necessary to offer the citizens a range of services that will bring them closer to state and public administration, save time and raise the quality of life. The economy needs to be provided with a range of tools to increase its competitiveness, automatize processes and reduce administrative burdens. The state and public administration needs to be provided with a digital transformation aimed at raising efficiency and accessibility to citizens and the economy. We also see digitalization as an opportunity for accelerated development of the ICT sector, which will achieve additional growth in this business. The state should support the participation of as many micro and small enterprises as possible in this line of business, encouraging creativity and ideas in a wide range of entrepreneurship in Croatia. We expect that savings in the economy will be at least one billion kuna a year. This will increase productivity as it will shift the focus to development of business ideas and projects, rather than to unnecessary administration and reporting. From the revenues from the sale of state property that exceed one billion kuna a year, we will replenish the new Fund for Research and Development, Innovation and Digitization, which will finance creative industries and start-ups. We aim to increase transparency, predictability and to reduce the uncertainty of planning – increase security and certainty of project realization even with the public sector. Croatia will become an attractive country for investments.

— The law on part-time work was made in Germany during the economic crisis of 2008-2009. With the help of our representative in the Bundestag, Croat Josip Juratović, we wanted to implement it in Croatian legislation to support the preservation of jobs. Especially because the whole program is funded by the European SURE assistance program. With this law, we want to enable the employer in times of crisis to reduce working hours, but not the number of workers, as well as the salary of workers, if they have a smaller scope of work. Thus, workers receive the same salary, and the difference to the full-time salary will be received by the employer from the state through the European SURE program, at most in the amount of the minimum wage. The key differences of our proposal in relation to previous government subsidies are that the support goes directly to the worker, and it cannot happen that the worker does not get what is approved through the measure. After the termination of the measure the employer must keep the worker for a specific minimum time period, some of the conditions are that the employer cannot pay the profit while the measure is in power and the method of supervision and financial control are defined. As far as Lex Cannabis is concerned, SDP believes that hemp is a key crop to boost the bio economy. Productivity in all sectors of Croatian bio-economy is only 38% of the EU average, i.e. Croatia annually achieves 13,000 euros of added value per employee in the bio-economy sector, and the EU average is 41,000 euros.

SDP proposes full legalization and liberalization of hemp. The full potential of hemp as a plant is not possible without an integrative approach to the total potential of the plant. All parts of hemp are usable; stem, core, leaves, flowers, seeds and even cellular fluid, and in the world hemp is used in almost all known industries; construction, paper, textile, food, cosmetics, chemical, paints and varnishes, pharmaceutical, automotive, but also in space industry and as an energy source (biomass). Today's technologies make it possible to produce approximately 25,000 thousand different hemp products. Today, hemp is used to relieve the symptoms of the following diseases: multiple sclerosis, malignant diseases, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease). Therefore, many countries (UK, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, as well as Canada and Israel) have enabled production. In Canada and the US, cannabis treatment brings in big profits, similar to Israel. The global market for medical cannabis could be worth $55 billion by 2025, so we see hemp cultivation as a chance for Croatia to become a leader in this part of Europe and take a piece of the big global cake. It is high time for us to change regulations and follow world trends. The result of the legalization of marijuana is the additional development of the tourism sector, the growth of agricultural production and the growth of GDP. In addition to tourism earnings, tax revenues will increase, and the black market and the costs of prosecuting offenders will decrease.





Constitution Day



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Bastille Day

We are determined to carry out a reform of the state administration and local and regional self-government, as well as the entire public service delivery system. It will include the decentralization of powers, tasks, resources and responsibilities from the central government to local and regional self-government units. Simply to make Croatia more economically competitive, but also closer to its citizens. Some of your measures are quite unexpected or at least not talked about in this region, part-time work and legalization of the use of medical cannabis. Do you think that this is something that your potential voters will easily accept?



Let the Calculations Start Again Old news is that it is not very likely that a single party would win majority, so we are to see another season of the Game of Thrones following July 5th. Therefore, prospective coalition partners are mushrooming on both sides of the political spectrum

KREŠIMIR MACAN Communication Consultant and Manjgura Agency Owner

he "grand coalition" isn’t a likely option of the forthcoming elections except in case of a huge economic crisis or a failure of one party to form a coalition that will have a majority in the parliament. Yet it doesn’t mean that the elections might be boring or predictable, says Krešimir Macan, Communication Consultant and Manjgura Agency Owner.


How good a decision are the general elections in July, if we know that there was time to call them later?

— Having in mind the economic impact of COVID-19 and the possibility of the second wave in autumn, it was logical to call for elections in July. HDZ was also counting on reversed trends in popularity that turned in their favor following the excellent outcome of COVID-19 crisis management. What is different and specific about this election that we did not have before? How much did the corona crisis and the announced economic crisis determine the course of the campaign?

— HDZ definitely decided to promote “SAFE CROATIA” following their success in handling COVID-19 and other crisis and to promote Andrej Plenkovic as a more capable leader than Davor Bernardic of SDP and the Restart coalition. On the other hand, Bernadić is calling for a restart of Croatia corrupted by HDZ. What’s new is that Domovinski pokret led by Miroslav Škoro is consolidating the far right in Croatia and it presents the third political power in Croatia at 14%. On the left we also have some new players: Možemo and the coalition around Pametno Focus and Stranka s imenom i prezimenom StrIP. Old news is that it is not very likely that a single party would win majority, so we are to see another season of the Game of Thrones following July 5th.


CROATIAN MEDIA SCENE IS FREE AND DIVERSIFIED AND YOU CAN BE SURE THAT ELECTION COVERAGE DURING ELECTION CAMPAIGN WOULD BE FAIR AND BALANCED Affairs have shaken Croatian politics and society for years. Is it possible to put an end to fabricated scandals, and where is the line between real embezzlement and corruption, and politicking?

— You’ll always have that unless you have a fully independent judiciary. The most recent scandal with Josipa Rimac was launched by Plenkovic’s opponents to cause him harm, but his reaction was quick and decisive so it probably will not influence the outcome that much. In some way, it could be of help to him. More to come as the Election Day approaches. We have 2 major options on the political scene, HDZ and SDP with coalition partners. How important are the smaller parties participating in elections for the forming of post-election coalitions?

— Without them you can not form a strong majority and we see potential coalition partners appearing on both sides. The right is somewhat predefined with DP and MOST, new options on the left could be a surprise.

Big parties cannot rule alone anymore and minority partners could strongly influence the politics of the future Croatian Government. How realistic is the "grand coalition" even though all important political actors deny this possibility?

— Very unlikely, only in case of great economic crisis or in case the elections are repeated following the unsuccessful negotiation on the new majority. It would then be a Government of National Unity, like during war time in 1992. How do you see the media scene when it comes to election monitoring and is there anything you would possibly change?

— Croatian media scene is free and diversified and you can be sure that election coverage during election campaign would be fair and balanced. I would insist on longer official campaigns and more obligations for the media, primarily the Public Service Television, to promote the turnout of voters.

Big parties do not call the voters in general to vote, they call only their voters. The right-wing political option seems to be more fragmented although it has more influence and support than the one on the left. How much do these divisions on the right spectrum go in favor of SDP and the RESTART coalition, and what do you see as the end result after the elections when we talk about it?

— Division on the right is preventing stronger result of HDZ, but at the same time this is creating better coalition potentials, though one should not count on them as certain partners, since the extreme right is very unsatisfied with the current Prime Minister and HDZ President Plenkovic. On the other side, SDP has created a wide coalition via Restart, to try to form the Government. This created room for some new options in the liberal center and they might surprise Restart, although they could be more reliable partners to count on, than those on the right to HDZ.

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We Don’t Have To Go Around The Same Circle Bilateral relations between the two countries should not depend exclusively on resolving the open issues, which are politicized and they obstruct the work. On the contrary, we need to move to the phase of cooperation in areas of mutual interest, strengthen mutual trust and create a better atmosphere for resolving open issues

see mistakes being corrected, and the past not being repeated or looked back to.


It seems that relations between the two countries range between hot and cold, going one step forward and two steps back. In your opinion, what are the biggest issues between two countries and are there some new and different ways to resolve them?

Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in the Republic of Croatia

esponsible politics and open conversations are more necessary today than ever, having in mind the current circumstances in the world," says H.E. Mira Nikolić, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Croatia, whose mandate will soon expire in Zagreb. Unfortunately, Serbia and Croatia have not made much progress in building such a dialogue.


What were your impressions when you came on duty here, and what impressions are

you taking with you back to Belgrade?

— After almost five years of my term, I’m leaving Zagreb. I believe that I’m not wrong to say that I worked here in challenging times, trying to

or back down before problems. Of course, I would have loved to see at least one of the open issues resolved during my term, at least the matter of the return of cultural treasures which is de facto resolved politically, and

— Relations between Croatia and Serbia – and I’ve emphasized this several times – are layered dynamic and burdened with a series of unresolved issues. Many times, Serbian officials have pointed out our interest in improving relations with Croatia, and that it is difficult for anyone to deny this. Serbia has not been a hostage of the 1990s for a long time and has shown readiness to face the crimes of individuals committed during this period. It is up to Croatia to accept the offered hand or not. We don’t believe that relations should depend only on the resolving of open issues, which should cease to be politicized and used as a political brake against the development of cooperation. On the contrary, we believe that it is time to show courage and move from the phase of open issues to the phase of cooperation, due to interdependence and common challenges, and a closer cooperation in many areas of mutual interest will strengthen mutual trust and

WHAT WE NEED IS A DIALOGUE FOCUSED ON IMPROVEMENT OF RELATIONS ON ALL LEVELS AND THE FUTURE represent my country in the best way possible. What determined me was my will to carry out my term in the best possible way, and not to give up

there are only some technical details left to be resolved. This would contribute to the paving of new roads in relations of the two countries, where we could

atmosphere in the resolving open issues as well. If Germany and France had conditioned their cooperation with the resolving of open issues, es-


conditions on Serbia's European path, I honestly hope that this will not happen. I will remind you that the Croatian Parliament, taught by Croatia's negative experiences on the path to European integration, adopted the Declaration on the Promotion of European Values in Southeast Europe in October 2011, pledging not to condition the European integration of countries in the region with bilateral issues. Although I sincerely believe that the Croatian side will stick to its own decisions, I repeat that everything depends on the economic situation and the political actors in power and their assessments of whether conditioning and raising tensions are in Croatia's interest. I don’t have to repeat that countries that develop the well-being of all their citizens are satisfied countries, which are aware that the improvement of growth and development depends on the best possible relations with all neighbours. On the other hand, the two countries and nations are very knowledgeable about each other and well connected. What are the good

pecially after World War II, the European Union would not exist today. Instead, they bravely embarked on a phase of cooperation, growth and development, aware that the stability and prosperity of Europe depended on them, just as the stability and prosperity of our region depend on our two countries. Both Croatia and Serbia should focus most sincerely on finding a common denominator, a common basis on which to build future relations. We should not build these relationships on emotional categories, because they were positive or negative, an obstacle to a rational and unencumbered approach. A responsible politics and open conversation are more necessary today than ever given the current circumstances in the world. What are the open issues and do you expect additional conditions from the authorities in Zagreb on Serbia’s European path?

— Let me remind you that interstate mixed bodies/com-


MY MOST BEAUTIFUL MEMORY OF MY WORK IN CROATIA WILL BE ZAGREB’S OPEN SPIRIT, THE FEELING THAT I’M NOT A FOREIGNER IN THIS CITY AND THAT IT WILL ALWAYS WELCOME ME OPENLY WHENEVER I RETURN, WITH ITS SPECIFIC SENSE OF HUMOUR missions have been established to resolve all open issues - for determining the state border, missing persons, position of minorities, return of cultural goods, succession, economic cooperation, list of persons accused of war crimes, exercising the right to pensions) and that results variable. Thus, for example, resolving the issue of the return of cultural treasures is the one in which we have advanced the most and it is de facto politically resolved. Although the work of these bilateral commissions has been stalled since 2015, positive progress was made after the appointment of national coordinators of the two countries to resolve open issues in 2017, and it was especially intensified after the visit of the President of the Republic of Serbia to Croatia in 2018.

However, their work has slowed since mid-last year, first due to preparations for the European Parliament elections and then for the presidential elections in Croatia, and after that due to the corona epidemic. We are ready to continue the work of these bilateral commissions, whose work is very important for us. Take, for example, the matter of the missing persons, which is often presented as a priority in Croatia. Do not doubt that this is primarily a humanitarian issue, and it is of the same importance for us as it is for the Croatian side, bearing in mind that almost half of the missing persons are Serbs, whose fate we want to shed light on, for their families, for the future and for the reconciliation in the region. When it comes to additional

things you would point out in relations between Serbia and Croatia?

— Our nations are directed at each other and imbued for centuries, and I would mention the middle of the 19th century and the period of the struggle for national liberation from foreign rule as a period of the closest possible cooperation, support and help. The fact that we have different understandings of the role and our position in the common country, Yugoslavia, as well as during the period of its disintegration, which remain different, should not prevent us from developing a pragmatic cooperation in mutual interest today, when we have nation states and mutual minorities as bridges of cooperation. At the same time, we need to resolve the remaining open issues and

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achieve specific legitimate interests, including, on our side, the return and realization of all the rights of Serb refugees from Croatia, as well as care for improving the position of the Serb minority in Croatia. In any case, there are increasingly stronger positive examples of good cooperation between the two countries, i.e. niches for improving cooperation, that are not so visible to the public, primarily in the fields of economy, education (scientific research) and culture, especially theatre and music, the media, participation in joint cross-border cooperation projects, strengthening the civil society cooperation. There is also police cooperation and cooperation in the field of emergency situations. All this additionally encourages and justifies our expectations that the level of political relations will be raised to a higher level. How much do the political elites in the government, which are changing, affect the improvement or deterioration of mutual relations?

Of course that the political elites affect the relations of the two countries, they set the public tone and steer these relations. However, I am glad to see that there are more and more young people who are networking, who are fed up with the narratives about Ustashas and Chetniks and who primarily want a better life for themselves and for their families. At the same time, I am saddened by the fact that an increasing number of people primarily see their future abroad, also due to economic difficulties. This is why we could work together on resolving this issue, which is a priority for both countries. When it comes to political relations, I might be an idealist, but I do believe that the time will come when both Croatia and Serbia will find some minimum common denominator on the “confronting truths”. Until that happens, we will have to get used to coexistence and cooperation with such “truths”. What we need is a dialogue focused on improvement of relations on all levels and the future. We are wiser that we might appear to ourselves sometimes, and precisely this is why it is high time to show that we are

THE STABILITY AND PROSPERITY OF OUR REGION DEPEND ON OUR TWO COUNTRIES, AND THAT IS WHY CROATIA AND SERBIA SHOULD FOCUS MOST SINCERELY ON FINDING A COMMON BASIS ON WHICH TO BUILD FUTURE RELATIONS capable of solving problems in a practical way and striving to achieve betterment for all our citizens. Economic cooperation seems to be taking its course, beyond the political one. Although, at first glance, Croatian companies invest more in Serbia than vice versa, Serbia is recording a deficit in cooperation with the other side. What are the obstacles for stronger economic cooperation and possibly joint access to third markets?

— If we were to look at the level of Croatian investments in Serbia amounting to over EUR 800 million with 200 Croatian companies registered in Serbia, against the EUR 8 million of Serbian investments in Croatia, one might thing that Croatia’s primary interest is to develop good relations with Serbia, one of the most significant investment destinations for Croatian capital. With this, Serbia has demonstrated that it is open to reliable foreign capital and that it doesn’t count the investors’ blood cells or develop conspiracy theories about someone else

taking control over the country. Serbian investments in Croatia are low, on the other hand, even though there is great interest in them, which is normal when it comes to two neighbouring countries, but every attempt to carry out these investments is still faced with distrust towards companies from the Republic of Serbia. Is this good in a situation where nobody believes anymore in fairy tales that an investor from “a desirable country” is in any way better than an investor from some other country, because everybody’s common denominator is only the profit? It’s not up to me to answer this question, I’ll leave it up to others, with hope that things will change. What are you taking with you as the best memory from Zagreb and what will you tell your friends and colleagues about your stay here?

— Zagreb, or Croatia, the country I was born in, where I finished elementary school and grammar school, where I started my studies, is not unknown or foreign to me, although I am aware of the

risk that someone might interpret this maliciously. I came to Zagreb with a completely realistic idea of the country where I was to spend my term and the problems I would face. Although I worked here in a period that could be described as more than dynamic and complex in relations between the two countries, I want to take this opportunity primarily to thank the representatives of the competent state bodies of the Republic of Croatia, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, for their good cooperation, which was especially evident in these challenging times of dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic. As for my stay in Croatia, I will forever bring with me the experience of working in a beautiful country, and the wonderful people and new friends I made during my term. I will bring with me Zagreb’s open spirit, the feeling that I’m not a foreigner in this city and that it will always welcome me openly whenever I return, with its specific sense of humour that breaks the monotony of everyday life.



Challenges are There To Be Conquered 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges and it will bring change and hardships for many countries and cities including Rijeka and Galway who were forced to dramatically change their activities as the European Capitals of Culture 2020. Yet it didn't prevent Croatia and Ireland in further forging their bilateral ties

OLIVE HEMPENSTALL Irish Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia

t has been very sad to see the ambitions and visions of both Rijeka and Galway as the European Capitals of Culture 2020, reducing and scaling back due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, before the pandemic struck, we were lucky to further deepen relations between our two cities and states, which gives me great joy, says Olive Hempenstall, Irish Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, who strongly contributed to the development of the warm and fruitful bilateral relations between the two countries and personally attended the great opening ceremony of Rijeka as Port of Diversity and hosted representatives of the Irish counterpart city who attended the event.


What is the nature of bilateral relations between Croatia and Ireland today?

— The bilateral relationship between Ireland and Croatia is strong, we have excellent engagement at the political, social and cultural level. Ireland’s current Prime Minister, Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has visited Croatia twice since I have been Ambassador. The former President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, paid a State visit to Ireland in April 2017. The Speaker of the Irish parliament visited in March 2018 so political connections are healthy. Culturally, exchanges are also very good. There are excellent exchanges between Irish and Croatian musicians, artists and writers. As you know, James Joyce, the world renowned Irish author lived here in Pula with his future wife, Nora Barnacle, which always gives our annual celebration of Bloomsday particular resonance. This year our celebration on 16 June had to be on-line but we were still


WE ARE AT DIFFERENT ENDS OF EUROPE SO WE HAVE NOT HAD THE ECONOMIC AND TRADING RELATIONSHIP THAT WE COULD POTENTIALLY HAVE, SO THERE IS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT able to mark the occasion and that is the important thing. We worked with Bloomsday Croatia to bring a rich Joycean offering to our followers. At the Embassy, we have also tried to shine a brighter light on Laval Nugent. He was a famous Irish man who served in the army of the Austrian Empire, raising to the rank of Field Marshall, he owned and restored several castles here, including Trsat Castle in Rijeka and was

historically quite significant in terms of the nascent emergence of a Croatian identity and was even a member of the Croatian parliament. One of the most exciting cultural developments that I have seen in the past year is the establishment of the Croatian Celts, the first Gaelic Football club in Croatia. Gaelic Football is without question the most loved sport in Ireland so to know it is being played here

in Croatia on a weekly basis is fantastic. I know that the team is anxious to get playing matches and we look forward to a time when sports and spectators can meet again. I am confident that the sport will continue to grow in Croatia. Ireland is very lucky as a country to be so strongly associated with a particular colour-green. Our tourism body, Tourism Ireland began an initiative 10 years ago, of turning landmark buildings green for St Patrick’s Day – the initiative has grown and continues to grow and went ahead despite the COVID-19 backdrop. Croatia has been an enthusiastic participant in the Global Greening since we opened an Embassy here in 2015. This year, we had five cities taking part, Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Zadar and Varazdin, who joined us for the first time. If any Croatian city reading would like to participate, please do not hesitate to get in touch – we are very open to new ideas and initiatives from our Croatian friends. On the economic and trade side, even before the Global Pandemic we are currently experiencing, I see that there is room for improvement. We are at different ends of Europe so we have not had the economic and trading relationship that we could potentially have. We are open for business if Croatian or Irish businesses want to contact us in the Embassy, we will do what we can to help because there is a huge potential there. I would like to see more Irish food products on the Croatian market. I would like to see more trade in services and manufacturing. For example, we came across a man in Slavonia who is manufacturing Irish hurleys, which are used to play the Irish national sport, and exporting them to Ireland. Those kinds

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of small stories all add up to a bigger story. I would like to see more small and medium enterprises exporting to both Croatia and Ireland. Bearing in mind that we are talking about two countries with smaller economies in Europe, what do the changes in the European milieu mean to them, in political and economic terms?

— It is a very worrying time for all countries in Europe and indeed the world. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges and it will bring change and hardships for many of us. For Ireland, our GDP is expected to fall by 10.5 % and our Exchequer returns for May recorded a deficit of almost €6.1 billion. There is also a level of uncertainty as to the outcome of the future relationship negotiations between the EU and the UK, bringing the prospect of further economic risks for Ireland. Croatia faces similar economic challenges, though the impact of Brexit will not be as greatly felt here. However, we, in the European Union, will not face these challenges posed by COVID-19 alone, they will be shared by all Member States. Ireland, like Croatia, welcomes the recovery package put together by the European Commission and we will work with our European partners to ensure that a substantial, recovery instrument is agreed. How big is Croatian community in Ireland today? Are the estimates correct that it is increasing by 5000 per year?

— The Croatian community in Ireland has grown since Croatia joined the European Union. I am in regular contact with the Croatian Embassy in Dublin because they are a focal point for Croatian citizens that arrive there. The current estimate is that there are around 27,000 Croatians living in Ireland. It is not an exact science and the numbers that we give out are based on what we call PPS (Personal Public Service) numbers, which is like the Irish version of the OIB, so that is a good indication of the number of Croatian people registered to work in the state. This might not be completely accurate because some people might have a PPS number but have subsequently returned,

but it is a good indicator that we are looking at somewhere around that number. The Croatian community in Ireland is part of a new wave of immigration to Ireland. Not many Croatians would have lived in Ireland before joining the European Union, so it is quite significant for this to have happened over the span of a couple of years. I also think that they find Ireland a welcoming country to move to and live in. They find that they get on well with Irish people. I find that here in Croatia too, because I get along well with Croatians. We have an affinity and similar outlooks on life, so that helps in moving to another country. It would be difficult to say at this juncture what the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on movement within the European Union and the Croatian diaspora in Ireland in particular.

After a long history of emigration, has the rise of the Celtic Tiger turned Ireland into an immigration country? Better living, a strong IT community and innovation – what are Ireland’s magnets today? What are the lessons for Croatia?

— The Covid-19 pandemic, and the unprecedented social and economic measures introduced as a result, will have a severe impact on the Irish economy and public finances. Our economic projections assume a large shock in the second quarter of this year, followed by a gradual recovery commencing in the

natural resources so investment in our people has been the most important thing for us. Rijeka and Galway are European Capitals of Europe 2020. Can you draw a parallel between the way in which the two cities approach this task? How did the crisis caused by COVID 19 affect the maintenance of the programs? What has been changed by the end of the year?

Rijeka and Galway are both port cities that have a distinct identity – both cities pride themselves on an alternative approach to life. Both cities

We read about how Croats are successfully entering the Irish IT sector, and what is the situation with joint ventures and operations in Croatia?

— Generally, it is a mix of jobs that Croatians are doing in Ireland, not only IT sector, because the economy is doing well overall, there are lots of opportunities. There are a lot of jobs in the service industry at the moment. There are a lot of jobs in tourism and because Ireland's tourism season is year-round, these jobs are attractive. You have Croatians working in jobs in Google, Facebook, the ICT sector which afford big opportunities to Croatians. I am also aware of two Croatian restaurants in Dublin and there is even a Croatian television star on the Irish dating show, First Dates – Mateo from Istria! Croatians that are moving to Ireland are being exposed to a multi-cultural environment and are getting invaluable experience. It helps that we speak English as our national language because so many Croatians speak English very well, so that it a huge barrier removed when moving to another country. There is less activity here in Croatia but I am aware of Irish people working in a variety of fields including tourism, IT, start-ups, agri-business, the holistic industry as well as the financial sector.

IRELAND ENTERED INTO THIS ECONOMIC CRISIS IN A STRONG POSITION, WITH A ROBUSTLY GROWING ECONOMY, BALANCED PUBLIC FINANCES AND A LABOUR MARKET NEAR FULL EMPLOYMENT. WE ARE HOPING FOR A STRONG RECOVERY third quarter, reflecting an assumed easing of containment measures. However, Ireland entered into this crisis in a strong position, with a robustly growing economy, balanced public finances and a labour market near full employment. We are in a position to recover strongly once the pandemic is contained. Like many countries though, things look uncertain for us all at the moment. If we were to look at lessons to learn from Ireland and how we achieved the economic growth we are currently enjoying, I think one of the strongest factors in Ireland’s story has been investment in education. We are not a country with a huge reservoir of

have strong cultural messages and both cities are university towns with vibrant student populations. Rijeka and Galway also have a theatrical tradition that was very evident in their respective programmes for their year as European Capitals of Culture. In addition, I have been really impressed by the emphasis that they have placed on their communities and working with community groups to create a lasting legacy. I love Rijeka’s slogan for its programme – Port of Diversity and I think they are sending a very positive message to Europe. My family and I were at the opening ceremony – the city was alive with music and


activities, everyone was on the streets celebrating and soaking up the atmosphere – it was great. My children even spotted their teacher singing in a barbershop choir! I was also pleased to meet with the delegation from Galway 2020, in particular the Deputy Mayor of Galway, Gabe Cronnelly and the artists who performed at the formal opening, the poet, Moya Cannon and the musician, Kathleen Loughnane, Moya Cannon read a poem celebrating the beginning of Spring called “A Song at Imbolc” which was very fitting as the 1st February, the day of the opening, is regarded as the beginning of Spring and Imbolc is based on the Celtic tradition which marks the halfway point

ceremony was planned as a community based ceremony that drew all the villages that surround Galway together in a ceremony involving fire – unfortunately, owing to the inclement weather and a status red warning, the ceremony had to be called off. It was extremely disappointing for all concerned. Your readers will however be glad to hear that the Zvonicar made it to Galway and despite the weather danced to their hearts content and made a very memorable contribution to Galway 2020’s official opening ceremony. Galway and Rijeka got together again for the International Rijeka Karneval this year with the Galway based street theatre

year which is “be whoever you want to be” or “budi što želiš”. Alas once the Karneval was over, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted severely on both programmes and it has been very sad to see the ambitions and visions of both cities reduced and scaled back. I know that they are both working to have a programme for the rest of the year. Rijeka 2020 reoriented and redefined their programme and have a summer programme of around 150 cultural and community events planned. Galway 2020 has also moved to redefine its programme – moving a lot of its content on-line. They are currently working with their cultural partners to launch a revised programme of events in September 2020. Both cities have shown tremendous resilience in the face of previously unimagined challenges. They say that Rijeka sent a strong leftist message at the grand opening. How important are the issues of left and right wing in Ireland?

GALWAY 2020 HAS ALSO MOVED TO REDEFINE ITS PROGRAMME – MOVING A LOT OF ITS CONTENT ON-LINE between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is also St Brigid’s Day – the female patron saint of Ireland, who has a long history of traditions and myths in Ireland. Of course, one of the facts that we have unearthed in the Embassy is that it rains more in Rijeka than it does in Galway – something which Galwegians find hard to believe. True to form the rain came falling down on Rijeka on the evening of the opening but it was great to see that it did not dampen the spirit of the town and the show went on. The opening ceremony itself was very true to the spirit of Rijeka – impressive, modern, challenging. Galway’s opening


performers, Macnas, marching and drumming in the parade to the delight of all who lined the route. The Mayor of Galway, Mike Cubbard, also attended the Karneval weekend, which I think, further reflects the very close ties between the two cities that have grown out of the City of Culture project. I have been lucky enough to attend the International Rijeka Karneval every year since I arrived and I think it is a wonderful joyous celebration of the end of winter. This year I particularly enjoyed it as I took the opportunity to dress up as Grace O Malley, the famous Pirate Queen of Mayo – I like to think that I captured the spirit of the Karneval in my final

— Prior to the last election, I would have said not very important. Traditionally, Irish politics was very much dominated by two centrist parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, both parties have their origins in the Civil War that occurred after Ireland got its independence, the main political difference then being that one party, Fine Gael, supported the treaty that brought about the partition of Ireland and one party, Fianna Fáil, didn’t. This year’s election saw a swing towards a third party, Sinn Féin, a party with its origins in Northern Ireland but which is an all-Ireland party, that supports a United Ireland. This party’s politics are also to the left of the spectrum – so this year’s election in Ireland represented a move to the left and an increased fragmentation of Irish politics. There was no clear winner of the election and it is only now that the formation of a Government is becoming clearer, with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party proposing a coalition deal this week (15 June). What has not manifested itself in Ireland is a strong right-wing party or populist right-wing vote, unlike in other European countries there has not been a trend in that

direction nor has there been an anti-migration vote evident. You have been in Croatia for almost four years. What are your favourites in Croatia’s cultural and social milieu, aside from Psihomodo Pop?

— Yes – I do really like the old bands like Psihomodo Pop, Vještice, Denis & Denis, Parni Valjak, Jura Stublić – I love their energy - they are “Totalno drukčiji od drugih”! I think Croatian musicians are amazing, so talented. I also think Croatians really appreciate good music – I could see that when I went to see Sinead O Connor at Tvornica culture. I started collecting vinyl here because of this love of music – so if I have some free time you will see me browsing in Free Bird Music on Tratinska. I think Croatia is very strong on the visual arts, especially sculpture, the legacy of Mestrović, is imbued in Zagreb. I cannot pass the “Well of Life” without stopping to drink it in. I was very proud when the Mestrovic Pavilion went green for St Patrick’s Day this yearit looked very beautiful and striking. I was lucky enough to get to see the retrospective of Lipovac at Klovićevi Dvori in 2018 – his playful work is something to be cherished. I also am an avid reader and I really liked two novels by female Croatian authors, “Adious, Cowboy” by Olja Savičevic and “The Hotel Tito” by Ivana Bodrozic. Croatia is also a country that reads and I have been privileged to meet some amazing Irish writers – Eimear McBride, Donal Ryan, Alan Titley, Colum McCann and Melatu Uche Okorie - while living here. I have always loved walking around cities, so if I have time, I like to go for a walk and explore. I love Zagreb because it is full of hidden secrets and little shops tucked into courtyards. I am here with my husband, Seamus and our young family. Our daughter is eight and two sons are seven and five. We are very focussed on family activities and time together. Zagreb is exceptional in that regard. I have never been to a restaurant or cafe, which has not welcomed us as a family. It is a lovely place to be for child-friendly activities and We will all remember our time here fondly.

CLICK TO GO  www.diplomacyandcommerce.hr









The world's first operas were composed in Italy at the end of the sixteenth century. Opera reached the height of popularity in the nineteenth century.

Soccer is Italy's most popular sport, and the famous San Siro Stadium in Milan holds 85,000 people. Calcio means soccer in Italian.

TOP OF EUROPE The highest peak in Europe is in Italy. Monte Bianco (White Mountain) is 15,771 feet high and is part of the Alps.



The Trevi Fountain is known as one of the most stunning fountains in the world. Every year tourists throw approximately 1.1 million euros into the Trevi Fountain.

The colors of the Italian flag green, white, and red - have a special meaning. Green represents hope, white represents faith, and red signs charity.






Be Pragmatic and Proactive! Increased interest of Italian companies in Croatia, in spite of lockdown


H. E. PIERFRANCESCO SACCO Ambassador of Italy

he otherwise stable and very close relations between Italy and Croatia have not been shaken even in the new conditions of the COVID 19 pandemic. What follows will be a challenge for us, but we will continue where we left off, under slightly different rules, says the new Italian Ambassador to Croatia H. E. Pierfrancesco Sacco.


How did Covid 19, if at all, influence the bilateral relations between Italy and Croatia? — Well, the influence is obvious. Contacts, meetings, missions, etc. that are not necessary were slowed down, and some were even cancelled for few months. The arrival of business delegations to Croatia and events are being postponed. We hope to continue it all, or almost all, in the next months.


To what extent were the early months of your mandate outside of what was planned and scheduled? How did you maintain contact with your Croatian counterparts and the Italian community? — During the lockdown we managed to strengthen the contacts, and in some occasions, we managed to innovate them, because of the new platforms like Zoom, both with Rome and with the institutions of Italian business community here. Our Chamber of Commerce held meetings, they were rather active. They were informing associates, the Italian businesses in Croatia about the measures taken by Croatian Government. We were trying to keep our sense of belonging, we tried to always be available even though the Chamber's very premises were damaged during the earthquake. Our Foreign Trade Agency remained active, receiving an increasing

The Italians mostly use their holidays in Italy

number of requests for information about potential Croatian partners. That's a very interesting signal, since in the very middle of the lockdown, an increasing number of medium-sized companies requested information about the Croatian market, potential partners, trade contacts, business contacts. Our Foreign Trade Agency told me they were almost overburdened by requests. Psychologically it is much safer to search for closer partnerships. During the Covid-19, we had to rethink some aspects, we had to start planning, before the renewed course of action between Croatia and Italy. Given that Croatia was in the midst of its EU presidency, how would you rate the country’s contribution to the EU response to this threat? — Covid-19 crisis has taken almost everybody by surprise. The intensity was unprecedented. At the EU level, the reaction was initially slow – by the presidency but also by almost everybody. But then in a very short period of time, measures have been taken and implemented, and the coordination was established, thanks to the Croatian presidency and the institutions in Brussels. And in spite of the fact that there was an earthquake at the capital of the country holding the EU presidency, the Croatian Government was brave and they were able to cope with the situation. Croatia is the youngest EU member, but in terms of competence and engagement, it is quite remarkable.


Given the current trend, how much has the pandemic affected the Italian and Croatian economy and the ability of the countries to keep the economic exchange and investments? — We can't answer this question right now. At this stage we can discuss some forecasts, for 2020 we cannot even say to what extent the GDP margin will be decreased. For Croatia, the forecasts range from 6% to 9%, 10% or even more. For Italy it is going to be 8% to 9%. But we will have to see what is going to happen with the tourist season. In April, for example, the fiscal receipts were less pessimistic than what we thought. Now the activity is speeding up, the number of companies with subsidies has halved over the last weeks. We expect some renewed impetus at the end of the lockdown. Hopefully, 2021 could surprise us somehow. At the EU level, we work together to make some more courageous decisions. It is a good approach, both for Italy and for Croatia. This unprecedented crisis will be hard to bear, but we must be pragmatic, moving ahead, not in despair but in a proactive mood. Are Italian companies operating in Croatia satisfied with the measures of the Government? — Normally yes. I think that international financial institutions are satisfied too. Some measures like the subsidies were very timely, efficiently designed. Something will be prolonged and there will be a need to establish some more strategic approaches and measures, but they are not so clear yet. And we should

not forget that the elections in Croatia will be held soon. Do you think that the two countries should be satisfied with EU measures aimed at supporting the economies? Given that Italy and Croatia have a large tourism sector, will the envisaged measures be enough to support this sector? — Enough or not enough, we will see. The EU Council will have to decide later on what measures have to be taken. Both Italy and Croatia think the sooner the better. The packages will contain support, and we have to prevent some countries from detracting. Now it is necessary to inject money to the most affected countries. Italy is among them, but Croatia restructured a lot of its economy due to the EU funds, and we both share positive views on EU measures. Especially since both of our countries rely strongly on tourism, which is going to be supported as well. Do you think the Italians will come to Croatia this summer? — It is hard to say. The Italians will mostly use their holidays in Italy. You recently mentioned that two countries should further improve their bilateral relations and focus on Africa? Could you please elaborate on that idea? — Italy has placed its focus on Africa increasingly more over the last few years. Africa has always been important. And

It will be beneficial for Croatia to have better relations with Africa

the global approach, approach of the Italian system, as well as the energy sector, medium-sized companies, businesses – they all have public tools to support our system in Africa. Trainings, university cooperation, culture, we have designed a strategy and system to have more influence in Africa. Every year the Italy Africa Conference takes place. This is a relatively new cooperation. We think that Croatia, as a Mediterranean country, will also benefit from more attention to this fundamental continent, European neighbour that shares the Mediterranean Sea with us. It will be beneficial for Croatia to have better relations with Africa.



Know-How And Reliability Are Our Advantages A challenging period is ahead of us, first the parliamentary elections, and then we have to face the effects of the crisis, which we believe will be particularly emphasized after the summer. We at Made in Italy are prepared to engage in the promotion of Italian economy and economic cooperation between Italy and Croatia with even greater determination


taly is one of the countries in Europe that as significantly affected by the Covid-19 wave, it suffered enormous human sacrifices with equally great economic consequences, but it is also a country that never surrenders, always rises and always starts anew, says Andrea Perkov, Secretary General of the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce. "Made in Italy is recognized and acknowledged in a number of sectors worldwide, and precisely because of everything that has happened in recent months, we are even more determined to emphasize and promote product excellence, from design, fashion, food industry, culture, science, industry, etc.“ The Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, although it officially marked its fifth anniversary last year, is present through its activities for over 15 years. On May 11, 2014, in Zagreb, in close cooperation with Italian Embassy in Zagreb and ICE Agency, the Association of Italian Entrepreneurs in Croatia – UTPUH, was established. The Association originated from an advisory body of entrepreneurs that has been operating in an organized manner for 10 years and it was officially registered and approved in the Republic of Croatia



ANDREA PERKOV Secretary General of ItalianCroatian Chamber of Commerce

A large majority of our members, despite all the obstacles, managed to save jobs and continue doing business, often relying on our service for which we are especially grateful

as a private, independent and non-profit organization. At the Assembly of Members held on December 13, 2018, the change of name to the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce - THGK was adopted. The Chamber thus began to access the network of Italian Chambers of Commerce abroad – Assocamerestero, approved and recognized by the Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Italy. Italian Chambers of Commerce Abroad (CCIE) are associations of entrepreneurs

and professionals, whether Italian or local, approved by the Government of the Republic of Italy, and the Law no. 518 of July 01, 1970 transformed them into an integral part of the chamber system of Italy (Statutory decree no. 23 of February 15, 2010), they were established and developed in countries with significant presence of Italian companies worldwide. Today, the network consists of 80 Chambers in 58 countries in 160 offices, and it has over 18,000 members, of which 88% are local companies working or showing in-


terest in work and cooperation with Italy. Joining this network allows us not only to increase the operational capabilities of the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce but also to exchange data, experiences and business opportunities in the entire system of chambers in Italy and with all other Italian Chambers of Commerce in the world, and we are also connected to the professional international information network via our Pla.net information system. THGK therefore became a strategic factor for all those who want to internationalize their business effectively and securely, not only on Italian and Croatian market, and with very clear goals: developing and improving relations between Italian and Croatian entrepreneurs, encouraging cooperation between entrepreneurs, local and state authorities in Croatia and promoting cooperation between Italy and Croatia in the economic, trade and cultural fields. Our strength is in market knowledge, reliability and reputation, presence and visibility and a trilingual team. In order to achieve our goals, we are cooperating closely with our members, with Italian and local corporate factors, and with all the public and private entities that support the internationalization of companies in an organized manner, especially: regions, chambers of commerce, trade associations, expos, consortiums, business networks. Client Assistance through free-ofcharge and paid services, from information for the first orientation in a single market to special support for positioning and consolidating the strategies of Italian companies in foreign markets, but also local companies looking to cooperate with Italian SMEs. Organizing networking events and activities to provide the companies with the opportunity to meet foreign colleagues to whom they can make suggestions for productive, technological and commercial collaboration. Promoting the excellence of Italian territory by spreading its

features and know-how, also through the organization of missions for groups of entrepreneurs, production zones abroad or the incoming mission of foreign companies and operators directly to the territory in which Italian companies operate. Providing skills and competencies on how to work in the country, through targeted educational interventions for individual companies and/or professionals; or through training in cooperation with the main Italian and domestic universities. In order to improve the provision of services and performance to its clients, the Chamber conducts continuous monitoring of the same service and customer satisfaction, which is accompanied by a complaints management system based on the principle of maximum attention to the client. To ensure quality services, we are committed to regularly guaranteeing: - competence - clarity - kindness - confidentiality – impartiality. Provision of our services is based on: - meeting requirements - timely delivery - transparency of procedures. Unfortunately, the seat of the Chamber that was located at the very central square was severely damaged in the earthquake that hit the city of Zagreb in March this year, therefore we had to relocate our offices. I would like to use this opportunity to announce our new address, which will be open at the beginning of July, with previous announcement, where we will be adhering to all the epidemiological regulations. The new address is Draškovićeva Street no. 58/1. New address, new strength, new initiatives. During the entire lockdown period, in Italy and subsequently in Croatia as well, the Chamber was at the service to its members, but also to all the companies and individuals from Italy, providing timely and up-to-date information on the health situation, economic situation, listening to the needs and problems of members and together with the entire "System Italy" it

THGK is a strategic factor for all those who want to internationalize their own business effectively and securely, not only on Italian and Croatian markets, but also on a broader scale

became a stable and solid, reliable partner. Thanks to the Embassy of Italy in Zagreb, and the arrival of the new Ambassador, HE Pierfrancesco Sacco, the economic department formed a group, the so-called Režijske kabine, which brought together all the institutions active in the field of bilateral cooperation between our two countries, the Consulate General, the Trade Institute, the Institute of Culture, the Italian Community and THGK. With this cooperation, and by strengthening relations with the local authorities, we participated in a series of initiatives to facilitate this crisis period and to enable the continuation of business operations, like the initial issues with the transport of goods, entrance of companies’ key persons to Croatia, obtaining various permits, transport of workers, etc. I particularly want to point out that our members, by a large majority and despite all the obstacles, managed to save jobs and continue doing business, often relying on our service for which we are especially grateful. Trust and synergy are definitely the positive effects of this global crisis. As the situation slowly calms down, the borders are opening and business is starting up again, we noticed an increased interest of Italian investors and companies that want to expand their business to Croatia, but we also never stopped listening to the voice of entrepreneurs already operating in Croatia. On June 3, a large information webinar was organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Italy, the ICE Office and our Chamber, on the topic of starting the economy after Covid - 19. The date of the event itself is not accidental, only a day earlier the Republic of Italy celebrated its day, unfortunately this year without a celebration, without events, only with symbolic initiatives. Around the world, Embassy buildings were illuminated with the colours of the Italian flag, which became a symbol of struggle and endurance.



Also, on the day of the webinar, Italy opened its borders and thus began to normalize life. With great interest from Italian entrepreneurs and investors, we presented an updated macroeconomic image of Croatia, as well as credit lines to help the entrepreneurs. I would like to refer to the survey because it is a realistic picture "from the field", which we, among other things, presented to the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, to State Secretary Lucić, who was also a guest of the webinar. A great majority of entrepreneurs gave a positive evaluation of the measures of the Government of Republic of Croatia to help the economy, but at the same time, over 63% of companies expressed their concern about the possibility of a second wave, and they think that they will be forced to shut down the companies. At the very beginning of Croatia’s lockdown, 75% of companies asked for one of the measures of RH Government, mainly to preserve work places, however, a significant drop was noticed, especially in revenues, by over 80%, in expert, and even more than 50% in investments. Also, we all notices an increase in digitalization of business operations which almost imposed itself as necessary, and a great majority of companies decided to continue with this form of operations at least partially and until the end of the year, even though it did make communication with partners/suppliers more difficult at least at the beginning, and it lead to a surplus in workforce. Entrepreneurs gave their predictions for the period until the end of the year, therefore we can read how very cautious and very negative the thinking of entrepreneurs in Croatia is. Many expect a decline in GDP, industrial production, tourism and investments between 80 and 97%, and 53% of entrepreneurs believe that the economic crisis will contribute to increase in corruption index. The entrepreneurial community is one of the most important communities for the survival of any country and it is necessary to provide all pos-


sible means, services and ways to alleviate the crisis period, which, according to respondents, will stretch up to two years in Croatia. Intensified dialogue with the Government of the Republic of Croatia, as well as the reduction of contributions and taxes are expected, and all this is just the tip of the iceberg that awaits the newly elected Government after the parliamentary elections in early July. From all of the above, I want to underline once again the competency, expertise and activities of the office of the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which, as I said at the beginning of this text, hasn’t stopped working even in the most difficult moments of health and economic crisis, and the earthquake. Just like many others, our office also digitalized its operations to a great extent, and we managed to communicate the information to members this way, we organized a series of educational webinars on the topic of Government Measures, Moratorium of Banks, Remote Team Management, which we organized in cooperation with our traditional business partner, the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Croatia. I especially want to point out our participation in the greatest innovations and digitalization festival, “We Make Future”, which was also held digitally this year. In more than 30 halls we heard about the in-

The entrepreneurial community is one of the most important communities for the survival of any country and it is necessary to provide all possible means to alleviate the crisis period, which might last up to two years in Croatia

terventions of expert speakers and representatives of international brands such as Twitter, Mozilla, Oracle, IPSOS, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft. Among the new halls of this edition were ONP and philanthropy, video and podcast, and the export and international markets. Precisely this hall was held in cooperation with the Italian Chambers of Commerce Abroad and with participation of General Secretaries of Malta, Croatia, Serbia, France/Lyon, Vietnam, Australia/Sydney, Canada/Vancouver and Tunisia, which makes WMF Online a festival with international character. Introductory speech by the Secretary General Assocamerestero, Prof. Gaetano Fausto Esposito presented the world of Italian chambers of commerce abroad, which clearly shows the strength and importance of this global network, which could truly be titled "We make future". In addition to presenting Croatia as an attractive destination for investment, innovation and digitalization, I had the opportunity to present access to financing small and medium enterprises, government incentives and services offered by the Chamber to support Italian companies in Croatia. A challenging period is ahead of us, first the parliamentary elections, and then we have to face the effects of the crisis, which we believe will be particularly emphasized after the summer. Unfortunately, the crisis has covered the entire world, swiftly, suddenly and without any preparation. I hope that we will find ways and find solutions at least as quickly, primarily by saving jobs, by launching new investments, especially in manufacture. I am once again inviting companies interested in cooperation with Italy and Italian companies that see a trusted partner in Croatia to contact the THGK office, and our team, although small, is extremely active, and it will find a solution adequate for your business.



Laboratory for New Design Ideas This is the story of a productive process that has its roots in ancient Rome when an “archaic design” was the added value of the sumptuous Domus of the patricians

talian style”. Two simple words are able to evoke, all over the world, the idea of a unique brand. The fame of which this expression has enjoyed in the last decades has made so that it assumed the characteristics of a unique mark, characterized by quality and creativity typical of Italian crafts and industrial excellence. The development of the “Made in Italy” helped to create in the collective imagination a well-defined idea of the prestigious “Sistema Italia”, able to reflect its traditional knowledge and distinctive abilities in goods production, and of the sophisticated “Italian living”, that becomes a synonym of refinement and quality, highly requested in foreign markets. The products benefiting to a greater extent from the “country effect” are




those belonging to the textile, clothing, accessories, furniture and food sectors, or the so-called three “F” of the “Made in Italy”: Fashion, Furniture and Food & Beverages. In the Italian literature, they are defined as the "Four A", because also "Auto" (cars and mechanical automation) is included. TRADITION, BUT ALSO INNOVATION This is the story of a productive process that has its roots in ancient Rome when an "archaic design" was the added value of the sumptuous Domus of the patricians. Pompeii and Herculaneum are emblematic examples that witness the house as the place to enrich. Being the owner of valuable objects (jewels, pots, tricliniums, and combs) represented a social distinguishing factor. In the 13th century, when the Craft guilds became the heartbeat of the Italian economic development. While in Florence 26 guilds represented the botteghe of craftsmen like shoemakers, and tanners, the harbors of the four Maritime Republics became the core of a flourishing international trade of raw materials and precious, which contributed to spreading the Italian artisanal reputation all over Europe. The new age of creativity, favored by the Renaissance and its arts, consolidated the Italian identity, esteemed and researched because recognized as a “master”. Albeit being late in the process of national unification and industrialisation, from the beginning of the twentieth century Italy started to make the rules in industrial design, defining a model capable to


balance the taste for classical elegance and modern creativity in several sectors, adding value to high quality products, advancing innovation in terms of design, comfort, and giving new purpose to goods that traditionally Italy excels at producing. After the brief influence of French Art Deco, futurism and “the return to order” of Novecento Italiano characterized the years following the WW-I. The attention to the industrial of the first and the inclination towards classicism of the second were the backgrounds in which Rational Architecture arose. FIAT and Olivetti pushed the importance of aesthetics forward. Milan quickly became the centre of Italian Design: a sparkling environment where a crucial role in teaching design was played by the Polytechnic University and where the incidence of generations of designers and architects (Giò Ponti, Emilio Lancia, Giovanni Muzio) were promoted by the circulation of specialized magazines such as Domus (1928) and Casabella (1933). The deriving growth in consumption and industrial output, together with the rapid evolution of technologies and production techniques, considerably influenced Italian industrial design. The increasing buying power enabled the public to shift from acquiring essential goods to demanding more advanced and refined products, in order to satisfy the expanding upper-level market. The economic miracle consecrated Bel Design on an international level, thanks to exhibitions curated by designers of the caliber of Sottsass, Galmanini, Portaluppi. The attention of the designers shifted from the

From the 1960s, Italy asserted itself as a world-leading laboratory for new design ideas

urban context to the object itself, which becomes bearer of meanings: the streets filled with Vespe by Piaggio, Lambrette by Innocenti, and FIAT’s 500; Italian houses were full of appliances that, in the execution of the main functions, did not fail to fascinate the consumer through innovative shapes and colors. From the 1960s, Italy asserted itself as a world-leading laboratory for new design ideas. The “proletarian” mindset diminished as the industrial production focused its attention to the satisfaction of the buyers, rather than increasing their needs. The term bel design represented the mainstream commercial design that experimented new shapes and materials, such as the plastic revolution led by Kartell and designers including Joe Colombo, M. Zanuso, R. Sapper and M. Bellini. Years went by and the sophisticated combination of sought-after fabrics and lines that echoed Roman, Renaissance and Baroque splendors produced by Fontana Sisters, were followed by the glamorous parades of Ferragamo, Gucci, Prada, Versace, and their silks, brocades, leathers and other tech and innovative materials. The history of Italian design, still today, does not fear competitors but only imitators. THE NUMBERS OF MADE IN ITALY The sector known with the acronym “TMA” (Tessile, Moda and Accessories) is in steady growth. The turnover of Italian companies reached 95.7 billion euros in 2018 (+0.9% in comparison with 2017). Exports grew by 2.6% (63.4 bil-


lion euros) and imports of 3.1% (35.1 billion). These are the estimates given by the first report drawn up by Confindustria Moda, “Lo Stato Della Moda”, that shows the Italian economic data of the sector: on a total of 1,004 examined goods of the TMA, Italy is first in 372 products. With 24.2 billion euros, the TMA is the fourth industrial sector for added value. Exports reach peaks of 96.7% for Luxottica, 92.5% for Zegna, 87.9% for Ferragamo, the first ranked in a Top-15 of the sector including big names like Armani (84.1%), Prada (86.2%) and Calzedonia S.p.a. (51%). In the international trade balance ranking, the Italian wood furniture industry holds second place thanks to a surplus of almost 10 billion of USD, behind China (85.3 billion) but ahead of its Polish, Mexican, Vietnamese and German competitors. Furthermore, Italy is the top European exporter in this sector and the leader in the use of recycled wood to produce a chipboard. "2018 is the year of the rescue, that consecrates the agri-food as the driving sector of the country, with a growth of 3.5%", claims the president of Federalimentare, Scordamaglia. Almost all the industries in the sector show good performances, between 4 and 3% of the increase. Among the first places are the production, processing, and preservation of meat and dairy products, followed by the classics known all over the world (wine, sparkling wine, pasta, oil, etc.), which confirm that good food doesn’t lie. Ferrero rises with annual revenues of 8.1 billion euros, followed by Barilla (3.5 million) and groups such as Parmalat, Cremonini, Veronesi, and Lavazza.

In the international trade balance ranking, the Italian wood furniture industry holds second place thanks to a surplus of almost 10 billion of USD



The Real Motive Power of Italy


destinations, Italy was second only to the United States in terms of its impact on global tourist spending. Today the country is at the fifth place in the world: a statistic that might seem modest but that, given the relatively small territorial dimensions compared to the larger States, confirms the high attractiveness of Italy. According to ISTAT (National Statistics Institute) latest data, 123 million of tourists were welcomed in Italy during the year, half of which were foreigners.

The greatest number of presences confirmed to be Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige, Tuscany, EmiliaRomagna and Lombar he fact that Italy is one of the most ancient tourist destinations is not a secret. Who has never wished to do a gondola ride in Venice, to eat a real Neapolitan pizza or to get lost in the beautiful hills of the Tuscan countryside? Until the Middle Age, merchants traveled because of necessity, pilgrims went to Rome in order to obtain indulgence, while scholars, writers, and architects moved to complete their formation and to look for new inspirations.



In other words, people used to travel only for work or study purposes. For more than three centuries Italy has been at the core of a unique phenomenon in the cultural European history: the Grand Tour, educational journey, cultural and human experience essential for the continental ĂŠlites. This phenomenon has anchored itself in the common imagination and, in a certain sense, has survived until the present day. In the early Eighties, when mass tourism was still limited to a few international

For more than three centuries, Italy has been the core of a unique phenomenon in European cultural history

THE REASONS But what are the reasons for this attractiveness? Firstly has to be mentioned the stimulating heterogeneity of landscapes and of natural and anthropologic environments. Travelers can choose between bathing sites, mountain destinations, art cities, and traditional villages. The best ski resorts are located in the renowned localities of Madonna di Campiglio (Trentino-Alto Adige), Cortina (Veneto), Vialattea (Piedmont and France) and Dolomiti Superski (Tren-


tino-Alto Adige), which is the largest interconnected ski area in Italy with more than 1,200 km of slopes out of the 6,700 km national total. Trentino-Alto Adige, the most mountainous region of the country, probably is the master for skiing destinations during the winter and for hiking during the summer: apart from Trento and Bolzano, the two main cities, prominent examples are Brunico, San Candido, Riva del Garda, Canazei, Merano, Corvara in Badia and La Villa. Valle d’Aosta, the smallest Italian region located between France and Switzerland, is dotted with majestic peaks, among which we find the highest mountains of the Alps, such as Cervino, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso, and His Royal Highness Mont Blanc. On the other hand, the “Bel Paese” is probably more often associated to the summer holidays: everybody, at least once in their life, should visit the beauties of Capri, the beaches in Puglia and Sardinian cliffs. The most visited Italian seaside resorts are Rimini (Emilia-Romagna), Jesolo, Caorle (Veneto), Lignano Sabbiadoro (Friuli Venezia Giulia) and Riccione (Emilia-Romagna). Secondly, Italy can boast of a huge artistic and natural heritage, with no equals in the world: with 54 of the 1.092 UNESCO World Heritage sites, it is the first country for places recognized as World Heritage. In addition, it is necessary to cite the gastronomic and culinary tradition of each region, which attracts every year countless visitors. Italian food can range from meat to fish, passing through pas-

The real impact of tourism on GDP for Italy is 13%, a value above the average of EU countries and the world economy as a whole

ta and delicious vegetables that can be found only in the peninsula. IN ITALY, BUT WHERE EXACTLY? The most recent statistics showed that the regions with the greatest number of presences confirmed to be Veneto (with 16,5% of the total presences in the Italian structures providing accommodation), Trentino-Alto Adige (11,9%), Tuscany (10,9%), Emilia-Romagna (9,5%) and Lombardy (9,4%). With regard to the most visited municipalities, at the first place, there is Rome (with 6,4% of presences on the national total), at the second Milan (2,8%) and at the third Venice (2,8%). Besides the common touristic destinations, there are municipalities that, even if small in size and population, register a relevant number of presences, because they gravitate around poles of great attraction: this is the case of Jesolo, Caorle and Rosolina, all located very close to Venice. The first southern Italian municipality to appear in the ranking is Naples, at 16th place with more than 3 million presences per year, only the 0,8% of the national total. The impact of tourism on Italian GDP In Italy, more than 5% of GDP and 6% of employment (almost 1.5 million jobs) were attributable to tourism (World Trade and Tourism Council data). In both cases, the country was above the OECD average; not only, but also in comparison with other large tourist destinations, the burden of tourism in Italy was greater in most cases. The WTTC, taking a step forward, estimated the overall impact of tourism, which also includes “indirect” and “induced” effects. According to these estimates, the real impact of tourism on GDP for Italy is 13%, a value above the average of EU countries and the world economy as a whole.



History of Pasta veryone knows that pasta is a large part of Italian culture. The pasta history is also one of the food facts in Italy that is worth knowing. Many of the finest pasta dishes have been created and perfected in Italy. What you may not know is that the use of pasta in Italy dates back to ancient history. Historians have been able to place people using pasta dishes in Italy as far back as the 4th century BCE. Interesting facts of Italy don’t get much more ancient than that. The prevalence of pasta dishes in the country is something that has endured for a long time. The cuisine of Italy is one of the most recognizable aspects of the country so it seems appropriate that pasta has been in use for so long.



Can Hong Kong Remain a Conduit Between China and The World? Its future as a financial centre depends on nothing less hina and America have begun the fraught business of disentangling their financial systems. Chinese firms with shares listed in New York have rushed to float in Hong Kong, too, after the White House signalled they are not welcome on Wall Street. The latest is NetEase, a Chinese gaming firm that began a $3bn listing this week. But now Hong Kong itself, the world’s third-biggest international financial centre, has become a geopolitical flashpoint. Its unique role as the conduit between global capital markets and China’s inward-looking financial system means that both sides must tread carefully. On May 28th China said it would enact a new national-security law for Hong Kong, undermining the formulation of “one country, two systems” in place since 1997, under which the territory is supposed to be governed until 2047. In response, America has said it may downgrade the legal privileges it grants Hong Kong, which treat it as autonomous from China. Britain, the former colonial power, has said that freedoms are being curtailed and that it could make it easier for up 3m Hong Kongers to go there to live and work and eventually win citizenship—a welcome, if still sketchy, gesture. Hong Kong’s place in the world depends on having the rule of law, a trusted reputation and seamless access to Western financial markets. Other Chinese cities have big stock exchanges: shares listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen are together worth a lot more than those in Hong Kong. But neither has fair courts, an independent central bank, free movement of capital or a mix of Western and Chinese firms. These foundations are the basis for $9.7trn of cross-border financial claims, such as loans, that are booked in the territory. Hong Kong is also where mainland Chinese firms and banks go to deal in the dollar, the world’s dominant currency. Some $10trn of dollar transactions flowed through Hong Kong’s bank-to-bank payments system last year. Until recently, conventional wisdom held that Hong Kong’s position would be assured for 20-30 years,


because it would take that long for China either to upgrade its markets to Western standards or to become so powerful that it could impose mainland practices, and the yuan, on the rest of the world. But the trade war, a year of street protests and China’s iron-fisted response to them raise new questions about Hong Kong’s durability. Bullying from Beijing erodes the sense that it is autonomous. And there is an outside chance that America could impose sanctions or other restrictions that would stop some Hong Kong officials, firms or banks from using dollars. China’s actions raise doubts about

a long record of capable financial management. The rush of Chinese listings will bring in new cash and drum up business in the city. Nonetheless, for China the prudent policy is to try to speed up the development of the mainland’s financial capabilities so that it is less exposed to potential American punishment. That means attracting more global banks and investment managers into mainland China. Last year it eased rules on licences for Wall Street firms, although many remain sceptical that anything will really change after years of glacial negotiations and backtrack-

PEOPLE HAVE WRONGLY PREDICTED THE DEMISE OF HONG KONG FOR THE BEST PART OF TWO CENTURIES the sanctity of contracts. America’s might bring into question whether money parked in Hong Kong is still fully fungible with money in the global financial system. If these worries spread, they could destabilise Hong Kong and cause a financial shock in China and well beyond it. The good news is that so far there is no sign of capital flight. Hong Kong’s vast deposit base has been stable in recent weeks, say its bankers. Investors are reassured by its $440bn or so mountain of foreign reserves and

ing by Chinese officials. It also means another big push to boost the global role of the yuan and reduce China’s dependence on the dollar. China tried, prematurely, to promote the yuan after the global financial crisis with a mix of propaganda and diplomatic strong-arming. It flopped. The next effort will be more sophisticated. It may try to exploit China’s global lead in cutting-edge payments by, for example, expanding cross-border digital-payments systems that bypass much of the existing global plumbing.

Or it could promote China’s plan for a digital central-bank currency. Nonetheless all of this will be hard for China to accomplish and take a long time. Which means that Hong Kong will still matter in global finance. If you have a mutual fund with an allocation to Asian shares, or run a multinational company or bank, you should gauge Hong Kong’s financial health by three measures. One is how China implements the new security law—for example, whether it will be applied by independent judges or by judges congenial to Beijing. The second is whether America targets the dollar-payments system in Hong Kong, which has the potential to cause an immediate scare. And the last is whether the Communist Party attempts not just to suppress protests and to intimidate its critics inside Hong Kong and beyond, but also compromises the territory’s independent institutions—including its courts, the central bank, regulators and the regime for clean accounting. People have wrongly predicted the demise of Hong Kong for the best part of two centuries. If it fails these tests, its time as a global financial centre really will be up. From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on www.economist.com



Time For Raising Awareness is Well Overdue, the Time to Act is Upon Us We are racing against time and we are already losing - world leaders need to take a stand and lead the way in one of our most crucial environmental challenges ever

KRISTIJAN CURAVIĆ President/CEO c.kristijan@ whiteflagint.com OACM.GROUP

White flag international

White flag for the ocean

ACM is a conglomerate of the United Nations that has come together in close collaboration with global organisations and global corporations, and committed their efforts toward taking specific actions and measures to minimise the current concentration of plastic and marine debris in the oceans, lakes and rivers by creating and expanding plastic-free marine areas (socalled CSMA (Certified Safe Marine Areas) - physically cleaned marine areas beneath and the above the surface) which are being monitored, inspected and additionally cleaned every year, said Kristijan Curović for Diplomacy&Commerce. The OACM conglomerate was initiated for the first time 4 years ago but before that it was known



as GUWAA - Global Under Water Awareness Association - an NGO with roots going back to 2008 when it was started by passionate divers. What is your background and motive to serve as the current President of OACM and why did you choose this profession?

and started to clean the Croatian and Balkan region’s coastline with a group of highly trained professional divers, navy seals, divers from anti-terrorist police units and other passionate individuals who shared the same love and passion for the ocean. After I finished my freediving career in 2005 after my last record (when I became

with the ocean. I feel that the ocean has shaped my life, my character, my very own essence and making the decision to use the rest of my life to save the oceans was my way of giving something back in return. The ocean made me a loyal person and loyalty, according to me, is one of the most valuable assets of a person.

OACM’S LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY PRINCIPLES HAVE BUILT A UNIQUE GLOBAL COMMUNICATION PLATFORM DEPENDENT ON COLLABORATION BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS, CORPORATIONS AND WORLD ORGANIZATIONS — I’m a professional commercial diver educated in Oslo, Norway (Fagerstrand), former freediving champion and PADI Dive Instructor who initiated the GUWAA NGO back in 2008

the first free diver in the world to free dive on the North Pole) - by setting the world record at the depth of 51 meters, it become a natural choice to continue to work closely in and

What was the main challenge in building the organisation and what kind of a support did you have at the very beginning?

— When I started I didn’t know

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what to expect, first major setback was when I went bankrupt after a deal with the current government institution went sour due to the financial crisis at that time, which hit the entire EU and most parts of the world. Back then, nobody spoke or mentioned the ocean pollution problem and there were no active social network platforms, I was completely alone with an idea nobody wanted to hear about and we had no financial support. We used our own hard-earned money to clean the Croatian coastline but we achieved remarkable results, we managed to pull 50 tonnes of marine debris out of the water by hand. Developing the organisation at that time was no easy task and we needed to get international support and some VIPs to start. At that time, I managed to get support from the Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and from there we managed to get to the now former CEO of Formula 1 Bernie Ecclestone and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, where we launched two projects in 2012 and 2013.

— The heads of states are responsible for leading the nations and setting an example for others and they are very aware in which direction the world needs to develop. During our starting phase, we spent so much unnecessary time with low level politicians and structures and we never got anywhere, which shows they don’t care about what’s going on with ocean pollution globally or locally.

plastic in our oceans is from land sources. When did you first approach the Canadian Government and how important is it for the OACM conglomerate to start collaborating with G7 nations, when did you receive a personal support for OACM from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

— First I approached the Canadian Minister Dominic LeBlanc

your current plan for the certifications of the US coastline?

— Yes, we have already engaged in some talks with the US State Department and I was personally in the UN £ years ago regarding the first US White Flag planned for New York area by the DEP Department of Environmental Protection. We will plan this for next year, and this year’s targets are the small island countries with highly developed tourism industry and the EU.

How did you manage to open so many doors in such high level governmental structures, featuring royal families, Presidents and Prime Ministers?

— It’s hard to achieve that kind of support, the credibility has to be intact, the project has to be tangible and you need to work hard to not make any procedural errors or show any weaknesses and we had a big one: we were poor, without money, but the idea and the system were good and we had to act strong. All the major things in the beginning we financed by ourselves, except the event with HSH Prince Albert for which we received support from Bernie Ecclestone. But when you get one President and have done a great job, you create credibility and status, and after that it’s much easier and one by one you get where we are now. Why do you think it’s globally important for heads of states to take the lead in solving the problem with ocean pollution and how does your whiteflagfortheoceans.com campaign reflect on the global public?

OCEAN HERITAGE ACT IS AN OACM PLEDGE WHICH REFERS TO ALL NATIONS WORLDWIDE, CORPORATIONS AND WORLD ORGANISATIONS TO JOIN IN SAVING THE OCEAN BY IMPLEMENTING SPECIFIC MEASURES AND SOLUTIONS BASED ON TANGIBLE RESULTS AND NOT JUST ON RAISING AWARENESS Every year, more than eight million tons of plastic end up in the world's seas and oceans. It is deadly not only to the flora but also to the fauna that lives in the oceans. It is a frightening fact that plastic was found in 60 percent of seabirds and in 100 percent of sea turtles that replaced them for food, and it is assumed that 100 thousand tons of plastic "swim" in fish. Researches showed that once in the ocean, plastic decomposes very slowly, breaking down into tiny pieces known as micro plastics that can be incredibly damaging to sea life. 80% of

and we spoke shortly during the Our Ocean Conference in Malta, and later on, I addressed the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly with an official letter. After a few months, I got a phone call from the Canadian Embassy by Canadian Ambassador Dan Maksymiuk, where he invited me to the Embassy to give me the letter from Trudeau personally as requested by the Prime Minister. This was in 2018, before the G7 Summit in Quebec. Is USA on the OACM list for nation membership and what is

Do you plan to be present at the G7 Summit in Camp David in the US this year and how will you approach this collaboration?

— We have already initiated a plan but the outcome is very uncertain at the moment, which is one of the reasons we initiated a plan for all G7 nations who have committed to the plastic pollution problem during the G7 meeting in Quebec, Canada, as part of their global initiative. Last year we failed to be present at the G7 meeting in Biarritz in France as we acted too late in our organisation.


What is the OACM SOS CP, why is it financially sustainable?

system in their governmental infrastructure?

— Ocean Alliance Conservation Member Sustainable Ocean Solutions Conservancy Program (OACM SOS CP) is a program for the protection of oceans, lakes and rivers which includes the physical cleaning, protection, preservation, education and promotion of environmental system which gets integrated into governmental or corporate sectors. It reduces the amount of the plastic and marine debris in the ocean areas where the program is implemented and it is financially sustainable because it creates a better global position of the country on the global tourism industry market so they can be more competitive and increase the economic growth of national tourism industry. It provides a more effective natural resource management and can save the Government’s financial expenses for global promotion through our GEPN system.

— The integration of OACM SOS CP is governmentally friendly and gets implemented easily, giving immediate tangible results based on specific measures and solutions. The unification of the system will make it very effective and create an incredible communication platform between the governments which will allow the system to evolve and deliver better results. It is oriented toward the global tourism industry and paints a clear picture for the heads of states that nations can’t develop or grow in a sustainable manner without protecting their main natural resources for the next generation.

Why are so many nations interested in integrating your

How are the governmental funds committed to OACM certification of their coastlines used?

— When a government commits its national budget for the coastline certification and creation of CSMA Certified Safe Marine Areas, the budget stays

under the government’s control, about only 35 to 40 % goes to OACM for administration and operational fees while the rest of the funds circulate in their own economy in local communities where the certifications are in progress. The whole process is transparent. OACM represents a good example of blue economy, what exactly does this refer to?

— OACM’s long-term sustainability principles have built a unique global communication platform dependent on collaboration between governments, corporations and world organizations. The core entrepreneurship, strength and long-term sustainability of the OACM GEPN system secure all of stakeholders’ equality in viable, long- term economic growth. It provides socio-economic benefits that are fairly distributed, including stable job opportunities and income-earning opportunities, social services to host communities, it contributes to maintaining essential



ecological processes, and helps to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity. GEPN (Global Environmental Promotion System) is OACM’s internal communication system to promote nation members, organisations and corporations - how does this system work?

— Global Environment Promotion Network is a communication platform system developed to promote global environmental initiatives conducted globally by OACM members. It is today’s only existing sustainable tool for reaching a global audience worldwide. Focusing on promoting OACM member nation initiatives, programs and conducted global operations, it supports the Ocean Heritage Act to physically reduce the current amount of plastic and marine debris. It also involves the presentation of the OACM member nations and organisations on major summits, special fairs and conferences as well as in the digital media. Why is the global collaboration with the UN important for OACM and how far have you come in the process before

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signing the official contract?

— We have initiated official negotiations with UN in Amman, Jordan, and we were due to sign the first collaboration contract in April but due to the corona crisis it was postponed. UN is important for the OACM as we share the same code of ethics and values on a global level. In how many UN organisations can OACM SOS CP system be integrated, and how will it impact/reduce the current content of the plastic and marine debris in the ocean?

— OACM SOS CP system is implementable in many of the other UN organisations such as UNWTO, UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO and UNEMG. Collaboration with the UN will enable a much more efficient global plastic extraction program and faster integration in governments worldwide. We must not forget that we are racing against time and we are still losing at the moment - the speed and efficiency of integration will be crucial for the oceans. When did the former UN WTO Secretary General Dr Taleb Rifai join the OACM and what is his responsibility within the conglomerate?

— Dr Taleb Rifai joined us in March of 2020. His contribution

to OACM and our global plastic extraction program can’t even begin to be described - we have achieved some incredible breakthroughs in many nations and world organisations which will enable us to be more effective and efficient. On a personal level, Dr Taleb Rifai is one of the kindest and most loyal people I have ever met, and his professional way of approaching the ocean pollution problem is impressive and daring, and he provides us a way to a great global network for OACM to approach and act upon.

government officials because we operate only on a high level with governments in different parts of the world. They have the necessary diplomatic experience and inside information on how governments think and operate. How many organisation members do you have and what functions do they have within the organisation?

— We have close to a hundred individuals spread across our 11 departments and we are expecting that number to grow

ures and solutions based on tangible results and not just on raising awareness. The divers are considered to be ocean’s ambassadors, as stated by the President, as they are the only ones who can actually see the damage that has been caused to the oceans, lakes and rivers worldwide. They are also the ones who have initiated the world’s first ocean clean up. What is the current state of the Plastic Ocean Summit scheduled for April next year?

— Due to the Corona virus,

EVERY YEAR, MORE THAN EIGHT MILLION TONS OF PLASTIC END UP IN THE WORLD'S SEAS AND OCEANS. IT IS DEADLY NOT ONLY TO THE FLORA BUT ALSO TO THE FAUNA THAT LIVES IN THE OCEANS How many more past UN secretary-generals are joining and why do you generally recruit high level experienced government officials including the former President?

— We have several former UN secretary-generals who are interested in joining the OACM but we are waiting for them to sign a contract and then we will officially communicate the turn of events through our communication network and mainstream media. We are recruiting former high level

up to 300 in the next 4 months as we are expecting a lot of high ranked CEOs and government officials from EU regions to join our ranks. What is the Ocean Heritage ACT and why do you consider all divers around the world to be ocean ambassadors?

— Ocean Heritage ACT is an OACM pledge which refers to all nations worldwide, corporations and world organisations to join in saving the ocean by implementing effective meas-

the Summit will be delayed from April 2021 to November 2021, but the official decision has not been reached yet as we are waiting to sign the official contract with the UN - who we want to have officially as OACM partner during the summit. I expect that at the summit we will have representatives from at least 50 countries that will already implement our ocean cleaning system by November 2021, so they will be able to tell their experiences and explain why they decided on OACM.



New Era of Life, New Era of Communications On planet Earth, we still hear about COVID 19 every day which changed not only our lives but also the way we communicate


here is almost no institution, company, or event that has not averted to online management, including schools and colleges. There are many conspiracy theories and different information distributed globally through related interest groups. In most cases, they say that China is the one who deliberately created the virus and that Bill Gates knew about the virus earlier, announced it, and managed stories about it in accord-


gone, but, unfortunately, they have to, because of some third interest group, spend all of the financial resources to buy weapons, but not for the ones intended for saving people. Can you imagine how all of a sudden financial resources were found for providing the equipment needed for fighting against coronavirus and stabilizing the economy? Some say that it is the cosmic balance while others say that interest groups that manage processes and situations existed through the centuries. There is a fight going on between interest groups and laboratories about who will produce a vaccine for coronavirus. Who will be the first one to publish it and will we be confronted by one more global sale that will not benefit us like the case with bird flu and vaccine called Tamiflu, which all the countries had to buy but people didn’t want to consume nor did doctors want to prescribe it, and was left in numerous warehouses. Just like back then, bird flue did not come alone, SARS and mad cow disease have joined it. Those cases gathered a lot of media attention from media

of these different perspectives can be found in media, and especially digital space, which is an innovation that has provided a chance for everyone to express their opinion, and even the truth, but I wonder, who wants to know the truth today? There are so many different pieces of information that are being produced every day and can't possibly be processed, and the centers of media power, which are aligned with their interests or interests of their interest groups that they prefer, can be very eager to create relevant topics that cause an impact which makes people transmit them. At the end of that cycles, the source of information of media messages is creating an impact which creates decisions, and I have a feeling that media debates are usually just a form because it is often well known which goal must be achieved by interest groups when global topic focused on certain stories appears, in this case, we are talking about coronavirus and vaccines. Unfortunately, today we can't count on the independence of real research media outlets, also there aren't many left either. There are exceptions

THE MEDIA IN SOME COUNTRIES HAD LIMITED ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION, THE SOURCE OF INFORMATION FOCUSED ON TOPICS ON CORONAVIRUS, AND NOT ON SOME OTHER DECISIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT OPENED UP SOME NEW POSSIBILITIES ance with his missions and interests. There are even theories that the number of people on Earth needed to decrease and that chemical war is a way to achieve that goal. For a bit, we forgot that life is short and that a lot of people around the world are dying, even at this moment as you are reading this text, from a much more important cause and that is hunger. If a man, meaning interest groups, wanted, all of the diseases could have been long


houses with global impact and image and were forwarded by other media outlets on national levels. Let's not forget that back then digital platforms and news did not exist. Should we expect new communication strategies and media debates regarding the topic of change of laws and decisions regarding mandatory vaccines, the opinions about the impact of vaccines, different aspects about nanotechnology and microchips that should be implemented in our body? All

regarding projects and media that have been exposed at the very end, such as individuals and groups that got caught up with justice. The topics regarding coronavirus have disappeared overnight from the public focus. COVID-19 has been for some, as we can see from media headlines, a great opportunity for financial malversation. The media in some countries had limited access to the information, the source of information focused on topics on

coronavirus, and not on some other decisions of the government that opened up some new possibilities. Many media representatives were working from home. Unfortunately, I have to mention that, besides the coronavirus, Zagreb was hit by an earthquake which caused even bigger fear among the people. When was the last time that you saw articles or videos regarding climate change, hunger, thirst and barefoot people, the investment projects, the launch of a new product, or positive program content that talks about start-ups, youth and innovation daily? I would dare to say that racism is finally being talked about globally, along with the coronavirus, but even now I wonder if these stories are just a form of satisfaction and if they will change something in that area, which is a virus of the mind and unfortunately has not come out of the human mind yet. There are indications of a change in the behavior of police officers, but I do not see a global solution to this challenge of human-to-human behavior, but perhaps due to all bureaucratic procedures, it will see the light of day in a few years if all key world organizations make a consensus, just like they made a global agreement on climate change and unfortunately tried to demolish it. Is it because we have global leaders whose ego is greater than the interests of the people, or is it simply because of the fast-paced lifestyle and different standards and opportunities that most people are doomed to survive? Coronavirus is a message to all of us that we mustn't forget about ourselves, about nature and that we have to try to change the rhythm of our lives and every day and, despite our family and friends, find a quality hour for ourselves in silence and in the joy of what makes us happy and fulfilling.

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5G Will Affect The Legal Industry Significantly

The exponentially greater speed and capacity of 5G (fifth generation of cellular tecnology) networks will increase productivity by allowing much more data to be transferred at much greater speeds across greater distances than on previous networks

PETAR PETRIĆ Attorney at Law, Petrić & Kajić Law Firm LLC

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT 5G? To visualize this, 4G wireless infrastructure is a garden hose; 5G would be the St. Rok Tunnel. 5G will enable the growth of new products and industries in areas such as artificial intelligence and interconnected devices in the Internet of Things. This almost real-time communication is key to enabling smart cities, smart workspaces or smart homes smart factories. It is also important for autonomous driving.

LEGAL ASPECTS OF 5G TECHNOLOGY 5G TECHNOLOGY WILL AID DISCOVERY AND DUE DILIGENCE Part of a lawyer’s work is to access troves of data from clients during the discovery stage of a case, and how much data lawyers can analyze, is often limited by how powerful their technology is. There’s also the matter of doing discovery and due diligence while on the go – some of this work is done in the field, and 5G-enabled devices with incredibly fast download speeds will make it possible for lawyers to be more mobile, thereby helping them perform analytical tasks at a client’s location. IP & DATA PRIVACY New technology also brings growing trends: intellectual property (IP) litigation and data privacy litigation. And regarding IP law, everyone is rushing to be 5G-compatible, and as a result, phone manufacturers, laptop companies, and IoT providers will be tempted to use stolen intellectual property. We will probably see a flood of cases stemming from huge data dumps being carelessly stored in the cloud and hacked

or otherwise exposed. This is nothing new, of course but that high-powered data processing is now available to everyone – there will be more incidents in the near future. 5G have the potential to touch virtually every major legal practice area, including banking and finance to mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, government, labor relations, international trade, and everything in between. The Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, robot doctors, real-time virtual reality, “smart” everything, are only the beginning. Industries such as healthcare, education, media, gaming, manufacturing,

liability and regulatory considerations for activities suddenly made possible by 5G. ounsel in order to function properly. A much-discussed example is the issue of liability when 5G networks allow self-driving cars to communicate with each other and their surroundings. 5G’S IMPACT ON M&A The 5G technology is expected to fuel M&A across a wide range of industries as companies undergo strategic mergers to capitalize on this growth. The impact could be felt in areas as diverse as real estate investment trusts that operate the fiber optics and cell towers in the networks,

5G WILL GENERATE A GREAT DEAL OF WORK FOR LAWYERS transportation, and retail are all poised to assimilate 5G into their processes and workflows. LIABILITY & REGULATORY CONSIDERATIONS Lawyers need not worry: As 5G gains traction, legal assistance will be required to address new

to industries that can use 5G’s improved machine-to-machine communications for autonomous vehicle operations in remote locations. CYBERSECURITY A 5G network’s capacity to transfer much more wireless

data at much faster speeds also creates new security risks of which lawyers and businesses should be aware when structuring deals. Enabling more devices to be connected to the network means more and higher risks of cybersecurity. The digitalization that comes attached to 5G gives more points of entry and therefore more chances for hackers to find a weak link and access the network. Medical and other private data can be stolen. Interference in IoT communications might lead to hacking of the self-driving vehicles. Identity theft and the spreading of malware are other associated risks. The cybersecurity risk leads to another legal issue that can also have contractual or other sources: liability. In the event of non-performance of 5G, e.g. if an error of communication occurs during autonomous driving that leads to an accident, more than one entity might be liable, but depending on the circumstances, it might be difficult to determine them. CONCLUSION As we have seen, we are only at the beginning of what 5G can offer in terms of new business opportunities, and at this cutting edge, the need for legal services in areas such as data protection, security and commercial real estate are significant. The 5G networks will affect a vast array of businesses and operations, given the preeminent place of data in modern business and the networks’ increased capacity to generate, transfer and analyze that data. One thing is certain: 5G will generate a great deal of work for lawyers, legal challenges and legislative actions involving spectrum allocation, licensing, property rights, patent claims, privacy, cybersecurity, health concerns, and other issues.






After Podgorica and Ljubljana, the PRO PR Ice Cream Party was held in Zagreb. This is the first meeting after the ban on gatherings due to the COVID 19 pandemic, which in a relaxed way, brought together public relations experts from Croatia who are participants, lecturers or winners of the PRO PR Globe Awards. PRO PR Ice Cream Party was held at the Vincek Slasticarnica confectionery, on Bundek in Zagreb.

Boban Spasojević, Diplomacy & Commerce

Daniel Koletić, Apriori World



Croatian President Zoran Milanovic said that the EU has no alternative and that the Union is Croatia’s destiny, but he opposed the expansion of the European Union’s powers so that member states would not find themselves under too much pressure. Addressing the heads of diplomatic missions in Croatia, Milanovic said that he did not see the European Union as a “project”, which is a technical term, but as a “destiny for Croatia” and “the only smart way”. Zoran Milanović President of the Republic of Croatia


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Supernova Group in Požega opened its fifteenth shopping center in Croatia. Supernova Požega Retail Park is located at the western entrance to Požega, at Zagrebačka Street no. 52, and for the first time it brought famous brands to the city. The new family shopping destination spreads on 11,000 square meters within which there are 15 shops and one restaurant, and 450 parking spaces are provided for visitors.

Paul Merdzo, Director of Supernova Group




The central celebration of the 6th International Yoga Day was held in Maksimir Park, which is one of the "green" symbols of the city of Zagreb. The traditional "International Day of Yoga" was celebrated around the world on June 21. As part of the celebration, the Embassy of India in the Republic of Croatia invited all the interested citizens to join a group yoga class in about twenty cities across Croatia, including Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Korcula, Novigrad. All age categories, from the youngest to the seniors, participated in the program.



Are Humans Innately Good? Rutger Bregman Thinks So In “Humankind” he tries to refute the idea that people are naturally prone to wickedness S THE SON of a Dutch Protestant cleric, Rutger Bregman was brought up in a religious tradition that regards mankind as incorrigibly prone to wickedness, yet called by the Creator to veer towards goodness, a transformation that the faith promises to abet. As a young, bestselling proponent of catchy ideas about history and economics, he has rejected parts of that outlook while retaining others. Mr Bregman does not believe wickedness is innate, but, on the contrary, that people are naturally inclined to good and helpful behaviour. In the original Dutch version of his new book, its title means something like “most people fit”; he uses a verb, deugen, that conveys not self-sacrificial courage but having a decent, sensible attitude that meets the needs of society. To support his thesis, he tries energetically to discredit pieces of evidence cited by others to demonstrate humanity’s badness, which range from dodgy psychological research to supposedly egregious real-life events and dark interpretations of history. In every case, Mr Bregman insists, the true story is different. Take the famous experiments in which subjects were persuaded to administer painful electric shocks to strangers: that research was dishonestly conducted and reported, he argues passionately. Or consider the brutal murder in 1964 of a young woman in New York, who might have survived if somebody had alerted the police in time. That, he says, was also misreported. A stranger comforted the victim before she died. And he assails one explanation for an anthropological mystery—the near-deserted state of Easter Island in the Pacific. The theory he detests is that there was a catastrophic war between two resident groups. For eco-pessimists, Easter Island foreshadows the destiny of the Earth: as its population grows and resources dwindle, humans may annihilate each other. But Mr Bregman thinks the premise is wrong. There never was a big war on the island. He cannot deny that people sometimes commit unspeakably evil acts.



One section looks at the character of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal who was hanged in 1962; what strikes the author is the monster’s adamant, twisted belief that he was doing good. Mr Bregman also considers why Nazi troops went on

aspects but affirming positive bits in a tone some will find starry-eyed. For example, he likes the Christian admonition to “turn the other cheek” in the face of violence. His argument that news reports are too downbeat, and should focus more on positive

BOTH MR BREGMAN AND MARX ARE TOO SURE OF A LOST—BUT REAL—EDEN IN WHICH PEOPLE LIVED CO-OPERATIVELY BEFORE THE SUDDEN RISE OF FACTORS THAT DISTORTED HUMAN GOODNESS fighting tenaciously when their cause seemed doomed. Like most soldiers, he concludes, they persevered not out of ideological belief, nor even fear of their commanders, but from loyalty and love for each other. Perhaps so, in many cases; but one of the weaknesses of his book is that it fails to grapple frankly with the wrenching moral tests posed by 20th-century totalitarianism—tests that many people failed. (In the shadow of their country’s past some Germans were sceptical about his project, he confides.) At times, readers of “Humankind” will sense Mr Bregman wrestling with his heritage, stamping on pessimistic

stories, could come from a Sunday sermon. When he writes about the dawn of human history, he correctly asserts that agriculture and fixed settlements transformed warfare. But his confidence that before those changes hunter-gatherers were getting along fine, and loved meeting strangers, sounds naive. Still, in a world of sophisticated pessimism, the book is a refreshing change. Where Mr Bregman grates is in his claim to be the first to wrestle with deep, paradoxical truths about mankind. In the opening lines, he says he is presenting an idea “denied by religions and ideologies” yet of vital importance, for example in

management theory or criminal justice. Well, some religions and some ideologies. In one strand of the Judeo-Christian tradition, including Dutch Calvinism, Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience to God underpins a theory of original sin in which every human is born guilty. But another strand emphasises a different part of the Genesis text, affirming humanity’s creation “in the image and likeness” of a benign deity. As for ideologies, Karl Marx took on the notion that acquisitiveness was universal, maintaining that its roots were only as old as modern capitalism. Both Mr Bregman and Marx are too sure of a lost—but real—Eden in which people lived co-operatively before the sudden rise of factors that distorted human goodness. In both cases, the resulting worldview is atheistic yet intensely religious, an odd mix. But 21st-century readers are short on prophets, especially the optimistic kind, and will give this one a cheerful hearing . From The Economist, published under licence. The original article, in English, can be found on www.economist.com

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Communication in the Supply Chain Management With the rise of the information-communication technology the contemporary supply chain has been made possible. Material and Information flow are at the core of a supply chain. Although, transparent communication between the members within one single chain seems to be crucial for its functioning and productivity any of the recent issues of specialized media, either online or offline emphasize the importance of communication in supply chain management. Rather than just important it can be frequently red that the role of communication is crucial, especially in the time of the remote work. The question rises itself, why is that so? To answer this question, we asked dr. Kristina Šorić, a renowned Supply Chain Management expert from Rochester Institute of Technology and owner of Luyouma ltd., and she states that “it is important to know and understand the development of the supply chain. In the 1960s, organizations operated in solid silos. In the 1980s, silos were consolidated into a structure of procurement, warehouse, production, and distribution. In the 1990s, all functions were united into logistics, but the supply chain did not emerge until the end of the last millennium, when information technology began to be used more intensively. So, the communication of the silo was realized through the IT infrastructure. And only then we can talk about the supply chain. That is why we say that the supply chain is a flow of materials and information. Without information flow the supply chain simply does not exist! The communication chain intertwines with the logistics chain creating a supply chain.” On the other hand, failed communication leads to one of the biggest issues that modern day supply chain managers face: untimely deliveries. The costs associated with this run far deeper than just a poor customer experience, negative brand recognition and ultimately bad word-of-mouth. According to one research made in 2016 by


JAGODA POROPAT DARRER Business Communication Professional

COMPUTER MEDIATED AND VIDEO MEDIATED COMMUNICATION PLAY ALSO A VAST ROLE IN MANAGING WITH STAKEHOLDERS AND SUPPLIERS Business Continuity Institute and Zurich Insurance group, these types of supply chain disruptions cost one out of every three organization approximately $1 million or more per year in losses. Multidirectional SCM Communication Process

Communication process within the chain is complex. It includes leadership communication towards employees in one department, between different departments, towards suppliers, and finally towards to consumer. Dr. Šorić adds that “despite much evidence that collaboration leads to greater efficiency and effectiveness, it is very difficult to break down the silos even within an organization. Departments concentrate solely on their KPI’s without being aware of how they are just one small part of a large chain. The top management, which sets KPI’s by departments instead of setting KPI’s for the supply chain

as a whole, certainly contributes to this. However, some are aware of the importance of common goals, so organizations are introducing the concept of S&OP (Sales and Operations Planning). It is a series of cross-functional partner meetings where plans are discussed and department activities are coordinated. We also call S&OP supply and demand balancing. So, demand is observed and then it is agreed how to meet that demand with two goals, efficiency and effectiveness. It is very important to objectively identify problems, analyze them, and reach a solution through constructive discussion, regardless of the department in question. Different departments look at the problem through different perspectives and this difference contributes to a better solution.” Multimodal and Computer Mediated Communication

When it comes to the communication method itself there

are some basic principles to consider. Be transparent, be clear (use a brief headline to sum up the proposal and focus on the benefits the project will deliver as well as how they will be achieved, tailor it (consider the stakeholders you are addressing and tailor it to show how you will tackle their own individual concerns, be personal and pragmatic (often with stakeholders, it’s more beneficial to give them a call or pay a quick visit than to send less direct communication such as emails). Computer mediated and video mediated communication play also a vast role in managing with stakeholders and suppliers. There is a myriad of new technologies that enhance communication. As concludes dr. Šorić, “it was in the COVID - 19 crisis that we had the opportunity to see digital technology in action. Many activities went smoothly thanks to that. Although technology has been used before the crisis, this crisis has introduced some new processes, raised awareness and accelerated implementation. From now on, nothing will be the same. In addition to the fact that the importance of the supply chain came to full expression, organizations also recognized the need for faster digitalization, and quickly became accustomed to it out of necessity. This is certainly a positive consequence of the crisis. The other positive side of the crisis is that the members of the chain have become even more aware of the need for collaboration and transparent communication. And digital technologies will make that transparency easier, which will greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the chain.”.



The Pandemic Brought Us Back to Solidarity During the isolation, I made a relief that I named Pangea, after the so-called supercontinent where all the continents we know today were merged into one. With my overall action during the pandemic, I wanted to emphasize the importance of connectivity versus physical separation HRVOJE DUMANČIĆ Sculptor

he famous sculptor Hrvoje Domančić is currently preparing two exhibitions, and he recently reopened his studio to the public whose direct contact with art opens up space for revitalization after the experience with the coronavirus and the earthquake. Although he was extremely active online, our interlocutor says that he is immensely looking forward to the exhibitions in July and September. "Although I am active and present virtually, in my soul I am an analogue type and I always give preference to personal, physical and verbal communication," says Dumančić.


What did the period of corona mean for you as an artist?

— The artistic vocation is often solitary in itself, so isolation in the time of coronavirus has not significantly changed the usual way I act and function as an artist. For many artists, such isolation from the outside world is also necessary for artistic creation. However, at the time of isolation, I was permeated by strange feelings that prompted me to further contemplation and encouraged me to create several new works at that time, which were in some way related to the situation in

I THINK THAT REVITALIZATION THROUGH SOME CREATIVE CONTENT IS NECESSARY, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE ISOLATION which we found ourselves. This is how a series of reliefs was created, and I named one of them Pangea, after the so-called supercontinent in which the continents as we know them today were merged into one.


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It was with this relief that I wanted to emphasize that we are all connected regardless of the physical separation. The predictions that the continents could be reunited in the future are interesting. Also, I was surprised that in the current fast-paced lifestyle, something so invisible can seemingly stop the world. The earthquake in Zagreb further created even greater uncertainty. It all affected all of us, and everyone dealt with the situation in their own way. It is incentive and nice to see the people connecting and becoming a support to each other. Likewise, the solidarity of the people at the time of the earthquake that struck Zagreb along with coronavirus again shows the values that we need to nurture and emphasize. I have a feeling that at that time, at least temporarily, the trivial, shallow contents that have become the everyday life of today's consumer society have disappeared. I saw that people started noticing even the small

things that might not caught their attention before… like the chirping of birds, clean air and clear skies. Over the past years, you have opened your studio to the

through social networks. People are also encouraged to be creative personally through the opportunity to participate in sculptural workshops that I occasionally organize in the studio. Despite this situation,

— That depends, everything moved to digital media and social networks. Those who used them before were maybe just even more active or they came up with some new content. Some artists were forced to

TO ME, HORSES WERE A GREAT SIGNPOST IN LIFE, TEACHERS WHO DID NOT SPEAK THE LANGUAGE SPOKEN BY HUMANS, BUT THEY CONNECTED ME TO OUR PRIMORDIAL LINK TO NATURE, FREEDOM, STRENGTH AND SENSIBILITY people interested in artwork and to tourists who respect your art. Do you miss that audience presence in your life today?

— Ever since I moved to a new studio downtown, I’ve wanted to bring those interested even closer to what I’m doing. Usually people have the opportunity to visit galleries and museums and view finished works, without contact with the artist, but a different dimension is created this way, a much more personal and complete picture than people can experience

as soon as the opportunity appeared for organization of sculptural workshops during this epidemic, increasingly more people are showing interest in them. I think that revitalization through some creative content is necessary, especially after the isolation. Art was with us during the corona through numerous social media. Were the sculptors, whose art is not a theatre play or a movie, somewhat pushed outside the audience’s focus or not?

change their usual actions due to the situation, so they decided to set up their own accounts during the coronavirus, just like the majority of galleries and museums organized online exhibitions. I also posted the creation process in the studio through live videos and stories, and I was glad to get positive feedback. It was important for me to send the message that this situation must not close us completely, that we need to find a way to stay connected, creative and originative, even if online.


What preoccupies you today in contemplation about your specific artistic focus? Do horses still remain your focus or do you plan to focus on something else? And why horses?

— Horses have been my inspiration since childhood, and they also became a part of my identity through artistic activity. I’m not one to run away from changes and some other motives; it’s just that I’m still happy to create stories where I use the horse’s body that serves me as a medium. Horses marked my life, my growing up, and they are still a part of my everyday life today. I have answered countless times to the question of why horses and countless answers can be given, but in short I think each of us has something that carries them through life, that moves them, and when you discover it, you find and feel that feeling is part of you, within you, it is a sufficient sign that you are on the right path and that you just need to keep following it and discover where it will take you. To me, horses were a great signpost in life, teachers who did not speak the language spoken by humans, but they connected me to our primordial link to


nature, freedom, strength and sensibility. You are spiritually (Your connection is well known) connected to France. How did you maintain contact during this time with the country, the people, and the collectors who first recognized your talent?

— Well I can say that I did, because my artistic affirmation started precisely from France exactly 20 years ago, and through

Artists everywhere have been and still are existentially affected by the coronavirus. How do you find ways to keep in touch with your audience in this virtual time?

— This is a challenging time for us all, not only for the artists, merely a few profit precisely from this situation, most of them are faced with great challenges and uncertainty about what the situation will transform into. For the first two months, I stopped

and I always give preference to personal, physical and verbal communication. You have been using digital technology in your work for a long time. How much can this technology help the artist and where does its effect end?

— Digital technology imposes itself on us and it doesn’t leave us lots of options, it’s take it or leave it. For me personally, digital technology has both positive and negative aspects,

I AM ACTIVE AND PRESENT VIRTUALLY, IN MY SOUL I AM AN ANALOGUE TYPE AND I ALWAYS GIVE PREFERENCE TO PERSONAL, PHYSICAL AND VERBAL COMMUNICATION those years I made business and private contacts, as well as closeness to the country and people who were the wind in my back as a young artist. This year I had an agreed visit and organization of sculptural workshops that were supposed to start in France, but unfortunatelywehadtopostpone everything. I keep in touch as before through social networks, video calls, and a novelty during the corona were the Zoom meetings. Personally, I was touched by the reaction and support of close friends from France after the earthquake in Zagreb.

all my activities and tried to be mentally and physically strong, to be supportive of my loved ones and compassionate with everyone else. I tried to be active through social networks, I sent some a piece of clay to model with children or family, or friends at home and relax a bit, and waited for everything to stabilize a bit. I am currently preparing two exhibitions, one in July and the other hopefully in September. Although I am active and present virtually, in my soul I am an analogue type

and it’s up to us to what extent and how we use it. It gives us the opportunity for global visibility, to create our own audience and promote the values we advocate. On the other hand, this freedom of digital media and the diversity of content is an indicator of the society we are in, and while once editors of magazines, shows, curators, fashion designers imposed trends, today it is much more transparent and leaves it up to the individual to create content to follow and to ennoble his life in a way that suits him.

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