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Croatia: 12 good things in 2021

2020 was marked by the coronavirus pandemic and devastating earthquakes for Croatia, and was a year to forget. Looking forward to a better year in 2021, daily Vecernji List have singled out some good things that should happen in Croatia in 2021. 

South of Croatia to be connected 

The bridge connecting the southern Peljesac peninsula to the mainland is expected be completed by November 2021. The value of the construction of the Peljesac Bridge and access roads is estimated at HRK 2.08 billion. 

The bridge will connect the peninsula of Peljesac, and through it the southernmost part of Croatia including Dubrovnik, with the Croatian mainland.

Peljesac Bridge Croatia

(Photo: Croatian Roads)

LNG terminal in Omišalj will start operating

The floating LNG terminal project in Omisalj off Krk island is nearing completion, the terminal will soon be ready for liquefied natural gas transport vessels, and the first gas from this new supply route is expected in Croatia’s system. 

According to the director of the LNG Croatia company, Hrvoje Krhen, the terminal will begin its commercial operation in early January when the first LNG vessel docks. The terminal is connected to Croatia’s gas transport system by the new Omisalj-Zlobin pipeline.

The terminal’s annual storage capacity is 2.6 billion cubic metres. The entire capacity has been leased for the next three years by foreign and domestic companies, 80% capacity has been leased until 2027, and about 50% until 2035. LNG terminal is a strategic project for Croatia.

LNG TERMINAL KRK

Archive (Photo: Floydrosebridge/Creative Commons license)

Croatia to establish air ambulances

The establishment of the air ambulance services the acronym of which in Croatian is HHMS will be on 1 July, and the HHMS will have four bases: in Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, and Osijek. The project is estimated at 18 million euros, and the contract for that purpose will be signed with the provider of medical helicopters for the next three years. HHMS medical transport will be made available around the clock. The cost will be estimated based on 4,500 hours of flights. 

The bidders are expected to provide the ministry with the appropriate medical helicopters and pilots, whereas the ministry will assign the medical staff, that is doctors, nurses, and technicians for this service. Helicopters are expected to have state-of-the-art equipment, no older than two years.

Croatia to establish air ambulances by summer's start

(Image: Illustration)

National pension to be introduced 

Payment of the national pension will start in 2021 – HRK 800 per month for people over the age of 65 who have no income. The first pension will arrive in February 2021, and citizens of the Republic of Croatia over the age of 65 who have lived in Croatia for at least 20 years are entitled to a national benefit for the elderly.

In addition to residence and citizenship as two basic conditions, HZMO points out that other conditions prescribed by law must be met. One of them is that the income of a person claiming a national pension together with the income of household members does not exceed HRK 800 per month per household member.

Fortenova Group takes over Osijek dairy company

The Fortenova Group takes over the Osijek dairy plant as of 1 January 2021, and the Belje Plus company will continue its 70-year-long tradition of producing dairy products and employ 88 workers. 

Raw materials for the Belje dairy in Osijek will be supplied by 249 contractors, with the total daily quantity of milk estimated at more than 20,000 litres.

Meggle in Osijek

Osijek dairy plant (Photo credit: Roko Poljak/CC license)

Single-use plastics to be banned 

Ban on the sale of single-use plastics comes into effect from 1 July In Croatia, and the sale of disposable plastic products will be banned from 1 July next year, according to the new Law on Waste Management, which is in the process of adoption. 

The sale of products such as sticks attached to balloons and plastic food containers made of expanded polystyrene, such as boxes, will be banned, as well as containers and beverage cups made of expanded polystyrene, including stoppers and lids. 

One of the most important is the ban on selling lightweight plastic carrying bags with a thickness of more than 15 and less than 50 micrometers.

Ban on firecrackers

The use of firecrackers in the F2 and F3 categories comes into effect. The new amendments to the law, in addition to the previous ban on firecrackers in category F3, prohibit the sale, purchase, possession and use of category F2 firecrackers to citizens for personal use.

According to the Act, other noisy pyrotechnics may only be used from 27 December to 1 January. All F2 and F3 category pyrotechnic devices were previously banned to be used throughout the year apart from those dates. The amendment comes into force on 2 January 2021.

croatia firecracker ban

Firecrackers banned from 2021

Istrian Y to be a full-profile motorway

By mid-2021, the Istrian Y motorway will finally be a full-profile motorway. At the end of 2018 the construction of the full profile on the section Pazin – Učka tunnel began, and this investment is worth a total of 1.2 billion kuna. The final 17 kilometres of the Pazin – Cerovlje subsection will be completed by the beginning of the 2021 tourist season.

Rijeka to Hungary train 

The railway from Rijeka to the Hungarian border, on the Mediterranean Corridor, is another strategic Croatian project. Works on the part of the railway from Zagreb to the Hungarian border have started, namely the reconstruction of the existing and construction of the second track on the sections Dugo Selo – Križevci and Križevci – Koprivnica – state border, co-financed from EU funds, in 2021 on the railway from Zagreb to Rijeka.

The Rijeka-Zagreb-Budapest railway is part of the Mediterranean TEN-T corridor. The entire project could be completed by 2027.

Electric trains

In the middle of 2021, Končar is expected to deliver the first train in a series of twelve new trains to Croatian Railways, for which the two companies signed an addendum to the 2014 contract this year. Six electric trains will be produced for regional transport and urban-suburban transport.

In November this year, the two companies also signed a contract for the purchase of another 21 new trains, worth more than one billion kuna, and this purchase is also co-financed with EU money.

Croatia rail electric trains

(Photo Končar)

Svilaj bridge

The 660-metre-long Svilaj bridge across the Sava River at the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina has been completely built and will be put into use. The construction of the bridge, worth 171.8 million kuna, started in 2016.

This is a joint investment of Croatia’s HAC and the relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the project was financed by Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at a ratio of 50:50 with 58% of Croatia’s share part being covered by EU funds from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

The 29-metre-wide bridge has six lanes. The bridge is on the pan-European Vc corridor route between Budapest via Osijek and Sarajevo to the Croatian seaport in Ploce.

(Photo: Croatian Roads)

Croatia to be admitted to U.S. Visa Waiver Program

The percentage of rejected visa applications for travel to the USA fell below 3% for Croatians, and visas are set be abolished this year. Apart from this crucial requirement, some technical conditions need to be met for the implementation of the Visa Waiver Program, and US services need to be convinced on the ground that all the procedures in Croatia have been conducted. 

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