As tradesmen and craftmen's representative, reorganized all its resources to resolving emerging issues and providing assistance to the members

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Violeta JELIĆ
Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts

The Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (hereinafter the Chamber) is an independent professional business organisation of tradesmen and craftsmen, founded with the aim of promoting, coordinating and representing the joint interests of trade and craft professions.

The members of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts are tradesman and craftsmen who perform a trade on the territory of the Republic of Croatia. It has 88 000 members.

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a large number of businesses. The crisis has severely affected and still affects the Chamber's members, who represent the most vulnerable group - micro and small entrepreneurs.

Representing tradesmen and craftsmen, the Chamber promptly responded to the crisis by reorganising all of its (human) resources and redirecting them to solving emerging issues and providing assistance to its members.

In order to save members' businesses and jobs, a large number of proposals and requests were sent to the Croatian Government, ministries and other competent institutions. It is important to stress that most of these requests were accepted, such as ensuring that all of the Chamber's self-employed members received monthly financial support from the Croatian Employment Service; deferral and write-off of taxes and contributions; special measures with regard to types of activity, etc.; solving everyday obstacles faced by goods carriers at borders; ensuring easier movement of craftsmen and their workers during the quarantine; deferral and write-off of various monthly costs (loans, leases, rent, etc.) and many others.

Moreover, due to a large number of inquiries, the Chamber set up a 24-hour telephone and e-mail assistance service, which operated even at weekends.

Furthermore, from the very outset of the crisis, the Chamber's Board of Directors decided to provide financial relief for members by releasing them from the obligation to pay a contribution to Chamber in the second trimester.

In addition, March 2020 not only marked the official outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Croatia, it was also the month in which the City of Zagreb and its surroundings were hit by an earthquake. Therefore, the Chamber donated to the Croatian COVID-19 fund and to those whose buildings were damaged by the earthquake.