After 6 Years, Croatia Has Benefits from EU, Labour Shortage Main Problem

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 1, 2019 – President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Luka Burilović said on Monday that Croatia had benefited from its membership of the European Union, however, the labour shortage was becoming a burning issue and required a radical approach.

Asked what the past six years of EU membership means for the HGK, Burilović said that Croatia had joined the EU in its “golden years” and that six years on the country was economically stronger.

Croatia joined the European Union on July 1, 2013 as the 28th member of the bloc.

“We have seen continued growth in exports, a decreasing deficit and public debt, lower unemployment and increased employment. Exports to the EU alone have increased by 50 percent and naturally EU membership has inevitably impacted positive economic indicators,” he said.

Asked why more EU funding wasn’t being absorbed and remained relatively moderate, Burilović said that Croatia has partially failed in that regard, particularly in the earlier years, however in the past two to three years that has improved and he is certain that before the end of the current term the maximum amount at Croatia’s disposal of 10.7 billion euro will have been absorbed.

If we significantly use European funds, that alone could increase GDP by two to three percent annually, he said adding that according to forecasts, Croatia’s GDP in Q2 could be even higher than 3.9 percent in Q1.

Loss of labour force is Croatia’s biggest problem

“Before Croatia joined the EU, we spoke of the lack of jobs and that people could not find work and now we are talking about labour shortages. There is hardly any sector of the Croatian economy that is not seeking workers,” Burilović said.

Import quotas for workers have become senseless and it is time for something more concrete to be done. The long-term aim and strategy have to be to adjust the education system with the needs of the labour market and ensure dual vocational education for occupations in greatest demand.

Keeping our people to remain and work here has to first of all be related to increasing salaries, he added. “It is not easy for entrepreneurs but they have to take that additional step because without increasing wages we cannot keep our skilled labour,” Burilović concluded.

More news about Croatia and the European Union can be found in the Politics section.


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