Austrian Investors: Croatia Falling Behind Serbia

Total Croatia News

Despite all the talk about Croatia becoming more attractive for investing, foreign businesspeople do not seem to agree.

Croatia is still an attractive destination for Austrian investments, but Serbia is becoming increasingly competitive. This is a message from a presentation of a research conducted among Austrian investors which was organised in Zagreb, reports Jutarnji List on February 1, 2018.

According to the results of the research, 46 percent of Austrian investors say that the economic climate in Croatia will be positive over the next 12 months. A year ago, 55 percent of respondents gave a positive assessment of the economic environment in Croatia. While last year 31 percent of respondents expected the economic climate to remain the same, in their new research the number grew to 46 percent. One good news is the fact that the number of those expecting the economic downturn has decreased, from 13 to just 8 percent.

While the optimism about the economic climate in Croatia has declined slightly, in Serbia, at least as far as Austrian investors are concerned, it is growing. In the last year’s survey, 35 percent of Austrian businesspeople had positive expectations of the economic climate in Serbia, while this year that share jumped to 45 percent. This is still slightly less than in Croatia, but Serbia’s improvement is also visible in other categories.

As the most significant business problems in Croatia, Austrian investors point to legal insecurity, excessive bureaucratization, and unpredictability of economic policies. They also complain about the habit of Croatian companies to not pay their vendors, and they are primarily concerned about the ever lower availability of labour.

The survey was conducted by Advantage Austria in October and November last year on a sample of 98 Austrian companies which operate in Croatia. In addition to Croatia, the research was also carried out in a number of other countries which are important for the Austrian economy. This is the second such annual survey.

Austria is among the countries whose investors have invested the most in the Croatian economy. According to data of the Croatian National Bank, total Austrian investments in Croatia amounted to 3.9 billion euro by the end of September last year. About 650 Austrian companies operate in the country.

“The growing problem in Croatia is the lack of available labour. Yet, it should be acknowledged that this is not the problem facing only Croatia since Slovakia shares the same issues,” said the chairman of the board of Erste&Steiermärkische Bank Christoph Schöfböck.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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