What €151.34 Has Bought in Rijeka

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)

This is for a tiny minority of people to read because there are so many personally political minefields in everything and yet I want to make sure that some people know what’s going on, why, and also to record things before they get completely forgotten. This subpage is public but a bit hard to find – on purpose.

I have always said, and most of you will remember me saying, that in a new country, the people you meet in the first few hours totally shape the direction of what happens there. This has been the case in Rijeka, Croatia also. I arrived in quietly edgy Rijeka on a very rainy, desolate night about 10 days ago and checked into a hostel, my usual routine in a new city. The lady working is mostly retired and as I began shopping around the Chamber of Commerce and StartUp Rijeka, I was looking for a room or apartment here to get a bit of a base because while €14-15 a night is not a huge expense, when you’re wanting to be working full-time and saving, the compounding effect is absolutely devastating to your savings of any amount, if you do not have a staging area to work remotely. A few new Croatian friends and business owners helped me navigate the realty sites here but I soon learned that while the rate for a place is €200-300 a month, the realty fee is equivalent to that and of course you need a lease, equivalent deposit, and so on. I did at one point have the option of a €100 a month small room but the landlady wanted to do everything legally to get me set up there and her profit margin would have been too small to make the journey and make the necessary filings. Thus the first lady I met offered me a room in her apartment for €150 a month and we’ll navigate the legal hurdles as they come if I stay that long. You can see these photos below – it has every executive capacity needed however there is no action yet to use it after a number of setbacks.

My purpose for being in Croatia is that it is a unique geographical and geopolitical space both for me and in the legal sense. I had to leave Italy immediately because my school did not have the correct information to produce a visa and I would have been holed up in the US for months waiting for and in the hands of the inept and unmotivated Italian bureaucratic class while the school in Italy floundered. (As it so happens, one of the two teachers that was to replace me did not show up and has vanished from digital communications, which has led to all of my courses with children being suspended indefinitely). Croatia is in the European Union (which they generally loathe and see no direct advantages from since the import situation makes food more expensive here than in Italy by about 20% while the salaries are about 60% less) but not in the Schengen Area, which is the shared border. My reasoning and research led me to see that there may be a way to obtain residence here through the formation of a tiny company with most of its income derived online and from international sources. I have a fairly robust checklist of things to produce, such as a couple of solid income-producing contracts verifying my ability to sustain myself here (savings do not count), but nothing that seems insurmountable and in a 2-3 month period if I decide to see it all through, I could obtain residence and be integrated into their national health scheme. I do not necessarily want to stay here but at the same time I do see tremendous opportunities and I have avoided anything resembling winter in this mixed palm tree and deciduous tree location. Originally in an alternative business formation scenario, I had looked at the Netherlands but the overhead is so spectacular that if anything went wrong (except medically), the costs would eat someone alive. Poland is also a place of interest to me but the climate is not so inviting, it would be difficult to enter with Schengen days expired, and they may leave the European Union in the near future due to non-compliance in the justice department and with immigration quotas of migrants not being fulfilled.

It cost nothing to obtain a tax number (OIB) and approximately €1.34 to run a company name through the commercial court for approval. I had an alternative name that I am very committed to for future purposes but it was advised against because of potential lawsuit pitfalls (names of places, cultures, civilizations, and other likenesses are of course discouraged). A really bizarre hallmark of this place has been the dark humor and humor in general which a foreigner can get more of a sense of since the English level of the population here is extremely high. A concierge/security officer of the tax supervisory office had me literally falling down laughing with his shocking remonstrations to avoid any dealings with this [tourism] banana republic. He berated

the EU for how it was the death knell for the shipping industry here and said “you are going the wrong way! Don’t you know 300,000 people have left here in three years?” And yet all of this was in a friendly, helpful way and he wants me to come hang out at the tax office break room for coffee soon. My tactic here is to apologize profusely for lack of Croatian and to say that I want to work online but to make sure that I am following all laws – then the trust is brokered and the laughter begins! I also find it helpful to tell people immediately how positive my experience here has been, note the efficiencies, and  then make a comparison with another country that is less efficient or friendly, then flip it back and compliment the compared country. At the commercial court company registration office there was even more laughter and another security officer ushered me through the ropes and I was treated like a friendly alien visitor from another planet that came to trade. I had to pay this €1.34 to get approval for the j.d.o.o. (simple limited liability company) name, 10 kunas, and I said “Okay, who wants my money? I’m happy to give it to anyone here.” In Italy, this kind of behavior would be absolutely impossible.

The lady renting to me was the first woman to run an import-export health and beauty salon products business in the ex-Yugoslavia. She has seen a lot having been the partner of the former equivalent of district attorney of Rijeka (she was told not to go out of the house during some times preceding and during the 1995 war). We laugh nonstop about the corruption and antics of top government officials who used to slink off to the nearby Croatian Riviera in Opatija, Croatia for their weekend affairs. One of the two sommeliers in Croatia is there and had a thriving business that succeeded because he had friends in Zagreb in high places. In 2008-2010 many of them wound up in white collar prison and one of the waitresses complaining about the faltering business said “All of our clients are in jail! We will have to change this to a prison catering business.”

Today I received confirmation that my company name went through the court. Again, I

have to decide if I wish to proceed. There is conflicting information about the ultimate costs and requirements but what has been presented to me seems to point to $1.60 for the name registration, $1.60 minimum to $3,000 maximum founding capital, electronic transmission of the company name of $2.10, cost of issuing the certificate of share capital of $0.16, notary public fees of about $100, and official court appointed translator services of about $100 or more, the cost of copies, and presumably a few thousand dollars in various contracts to produce evidence of viability. South Korean and Chinese schools would be the quickest money makers in my profession but it seems that this region is destabilized and social media is quite often shut down in China – meanwhile the volatility of cryptocurrencies and their subsequent regulation makes the area a flashpoint also in my opinion. I did receive a random recruitment offer from a Russian science and technology university in St. Petersburg but had to turn it down because it would have been financially unsustainable though coming with an unbelievable Russian contact list over time.

I would appreciate extra views of my 2018 tarot report Courage Under Fire and potential clientele with my new approach to it because I feel like I am able to look at prognostication and intuitive matters with fresh eyes and want to be of service.

Many thanks for reading through and please pass on to anyone who is looking for a foothold in Europe.

John Lett (About) (Sessions) (Planning a Europe Trip Consulting)