Finance Minister on the latest economic developments.
The European Commission announced that Croatia has for now avoided corrective measures due to macroeconomic imbalances, and that it will in May reconsider its assessment in order to take into account the level of ambition of Croatia’s national reform programme, which must be submitted by the end of April. The Commission concluded that Croatia has excessive imbalances and that weaknesses are associated with high levels of public, corporate, and external debt in the context of high unemployment, reports Index.hr on March 9, 2016.
In an interview with Croatian Radio, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that he was pleased with yesterday’s decision by the European Commission. “A lot of things have been done, we have decided to communicate very clearly with the European Commission, and not to ask for any additional time. The budget is not the only thing, we have made a step forward and sent to the European Commission our plans”, said Marić.
He pointed out the government was aware that the public debt was one of the main macroeconomic risks, particularly the speed of its increase. “The goal with this budget and with the activation of state assets is to stabilize the public debt levels, because it is one of the main factors affecting our credit rating”, said Marić, adding that one of the objectives is to return Croatia to an investment level credit rating.
Minister Marić confirmed that the budget was ready and would be presented tomorrow at the meeting of the government. “The budget deficit will amount to 7.5 billion kuna, and when we include some arrears from previous periods it climbs to 9.2 billion kuna. That is the amount Croatia will have to borrow this year. The government is planning to raise money in April, at both international and Croatian financial markets”, the minister said.
Speaking about reforms in the public sector, Minister Marić said that the proper valorisation of work done is one of the main factors on which they should be based. He said that approximately one out of four employees in the country is employed in the public sector. “This whole administration system should not be an end in itself but should be at the service of citizens”, said the minister.