Russia Ready to Invest Several Billion Euros into Croatia, With Conditions

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of July, 2019, Moscow alone has a budget of 40 billion euros, and it would be an idiotic move by Croatia to not take advantage of the potential this could bring to the country.

”Nobody has the power to invest as much into Croatia as Russia has, neither the European Union nor the United States of America, but in order for the Russians to actually put their money where their mouths are and invest in Croatia, there are preconditions that Croatia must meet,” stated the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Croatia, Anvar Azimov, on Monday during the Zagreb-Moscow economic forum.

At the forum held during the “Moscow Days in Zagreb” event, Azimov said that Russia was ready to invest several billion euros into Croatia, but Croatia must show interest and create the proper preconditions for these investments.

He pointed out that the relations between the country and Russia are stable and friendly. A good political dialogue has been established, and the links between the two countries are now excellent in many segments, but intergovernmental economic cooperation hasn’t been following that good relationship, at least according to Azimov.

“The trade and the economy [between Croatia and Russia] are weak, I’m not satisfied with that as an ambassador, and I’m also not happy that Russian business hasn’t recognised the opportunities offered to them in Croatia,” said the Russian ambassador to Croatia.

He also stated that, according to his statistics, which don’t actually match up with the statistics from here, Russia exported 700 million euros worth of gas to Croatia last year, and that Russian gas is the most favourable for the local market.

”The LNG Terminal isn’t competition to us,” he added.

Regarding the sanctions imposed on Russia, Azimov said that the Russians are losing oit because of them, but the West, as well as Croatian partners, lost three to four times more to those sanctions than Russia did. Azimov stressed that Russia is interested in renewing its ties with both the US and the EU.

“We’d like to be in harmony with our neighbors, and the EU is our neighbour,” said the ambassador.

As for Croatia, he said that there should be no fear of geopolitical plans, and that the Russians do want to invest here. He stated that just Moscow alone has a budget of 30 billion euros, and that this country should utilise that massive potential. His wish is also for the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to soon come to visit officially.

Since 1993 to the end of the third quarter last year, Russia has invested 410.9 million euros in Croatia. At the same time, 98.3 million euros was invested by Croatia into Russia.

The President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), Luka Burilović, is pleased with the economic cooperation between Croatia and Russia, noting that it still isn’t at the level it was at until 2014 when sanctions were initially imposed on Russia, after which economic trade unfortunately almost halved.

“We had a continuation of growth until two or three years ago, we had stabilised economic relations, and we’re slowly returning to the level it was at before 2014. Traditionally, we’re very prone to the Russian market and we know it well, our companies have been operating there for many years, in Moscow alone we have twenty registered Croatian companies, and of course in many other regions over there, too. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce is institutionally working to strengthen economic relations with the Russians and there’s a lot of potential to strengthen these relations, and I believe that will be seen in the coming years,” Burilović said.

Last year, more than 122,000 Russian tourists visited Croatia, which is three percent more than were recorded in the previous year, but at the same time, there was a drop in overnight stays made by Russians, by two percent.

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