Is Croatian State Playing God by Making Investing Easier for Some Than Others?

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, establishing a predictable and reliable business environment is a prerequisite for any sort of economic growth and the application of new technologies through the Industry 4.0, it was said at the Industry Day conference held on Friday in Zagreb, organised by the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP).

Mihael Furjan, President of HUP, pointed out that only investments in new technologies can lead to the creation of products and services of higher added value, and then to the accelerated growth of the economy.

Croatia doesn’t produce the necessary staff

All enterrpises must change their mindset and turn to new technologies and modern business models, agreed the interlocutors of the panel.

Kristian Krpan warned that here in Croatia, we have the biggest problem with large companies because they’re often neglected in relation to small and medium-sized companies, to which all EU funds are directed.

“The Croatian state is playing God, where it is decided which companies will be helped out and their investments and digitalization facilitated, and which will not get that help. Now we have a situation on our hands in which there is a much smaller difference between small and medium-sized companies in Croatia and Germany than larger ones,” said Krpan.

He added that productivity among large Croatian companies is four times lower than it is in similar ones in Germany, and that this is a problem that affects salaries, staff and everything else. Jelena Festini Ugrina complained about the fact that the Croatian state has used bureaucratic maneuvers to allocate almost all the money from EU funds and the Recovery Plan to the public sector, while merely throwing a few crumbs to the private sector.

Zoran Gligoric pointed out the problem of an inadequate education system, which is almost in no way connected with the economy and the labour market and doesn’t produce the staff that companies need – whether it is secondary vocational education or higher education.

Sergio Galosic said that it is difficult to precisely quantify digitalisation because it is a multidimensional process, and that we need to work harder to eliminate the gap between old and new

“We’ve been in Industry 4.0 for a long time now and we’re comparable, perhaps even better in some cases, than EU companies. From my own experience, I can say that digitalisation has enabled us to grow by 25% and increase our levels of competitiveness. However, we’re also aware that it isn’t necessary to digitise absolutely everything, but only those processes for which it makes sense to do so,” concluded Galosic.

A great opportunity to finance new technologies lie in European Union funds, and Natasa Cueic Martincevic from Apsolon tried to explain how we can better cope with the forest of European rules and sources of capital.

She pointed out that Croatia has almost 24 billion euros at its disposal over the next seven years, and mechanisms and opportunities must be created to use as much of that money as possible.

Marin Bek from Ascalia said that it must be clear that digitalisation in the industry will not necessarily increase, double or triple production for everyone, but that it will first of all give us more information from the production process itself. He added that in Industry 4.0, it is primarily necessary to eliminate the gap between new technologies and traditional production, and that everyone must assess what is optimal for production in their respective situations.

Dusko Radulovic from Sensum tried to demystify the term “adaptation to climate change” and explain how knowledge and management of our carbon footprint can reduce operating costs and the consumption of raw materials.

“The economic effects of climate change are already visible – insurance companies have more expensive premiums for houses closer to the sea due to floods, and also due to irregular rainfall, energy and water management interventions are changing,” said Radulovic.

He added that the circular economy and energy efficiency will be the postulates of the industry in the coming years.

For more on the Croatian state and investments in Croatia, either from at home or from abroad, make sure to follow our dedicated business section.


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