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Croatia’s Famous Farmer’s Markets Set For Shake Up

They are a symbol of many Croatian cities, often a buzz with people every morning, the haggling for prices over some fresh cabbage or the exchanging of the latest gossip is part of daily life for many Croats, but the famous open air farmer’s markets in Croatia are set for a shake up as the country approaches the European Union.

The new fiscalization laws which were introduced at the start of this year effect all trading businesses, will now apply to traders selling fresh fruit and vegetables on the markets across Croatia.

From 1 April fruit and vegetable traders on stalls will have to install computerised cash registers, which are synced to the nation’s tax office, and begin issuing receipts. By 1 July, when Croatia are due to enter the EU, the transformation will have to be complete. The new law has angered the Croatian Farmer’s Market Association, forcing them to apply for an exemption.

“We are one of the few countries in Europe with an open farmer’s market tradition, and we need to leave it in its natural state and let it be something that will be special and which our country will be identified for in Europe. There would not be one group of tourists who when visiting Zagreb do not visit the Dolac markets, that is something we need to keep and protect,” said a representative to website Tportal.

The Association says there are many complications surrounding the new law also. Installing a computerised cash register in the outdoors may pose a problem with snow, rain, extreme heat and other elements. Another problem is the fluctuation in prices. Bartering prices is something that is the life and soul of farmers markets, and imposing cash registers will affect that, and stall owners are not happy.

“We are not a shopping centre, we have different prices all day, in the morning is different to when we are about to close, or when some foods go a bit bad, we are constantly changing prices. How are we going to do that?” said one angry stall owner.

Those who exclusively sell their own produce on the markets, which the association says is only around 20-30% of people, will be exempt from the new law, but the association says it will fight to have all traders excluded. It maybe a tough battle once Croatia enters the EU

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