Data continues to show that beautiful Međimurje County is the most developed county of continental Croatia after the City of Zagreb, the only one over 50 percent more developed than the EU average.
As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of March, 2019, this year, Međimurje is among the winners in the category of creating a favourable entrepreneurial environment, the efficiency of the public administration, incentives and investment in infrastructure through EU funds.
The award was presented by one of the most prestigious and highly respected business media outlets in the world, the Financial Times, as part of its fDI Magazine, a publication that analyses global business activities across the world.
To briefly recall, last year, Međimurje was recognised as one of the top ten regions in the European Union. This new award was based on the analysis of the European Statistical Office (EUROSTAT), the Central Bureau of Statistics and other competent public authorities. According to the Economic Power Index, Međimurje is one of just two counties that recorded a two-place shift, and the only county in continental Croatia which GDP was higher in 2014 than it was back in 2008, resulting in GDP growth of 2.8 percent.
According to some of the measured criteria of the role of public administration, Međimurje County has, among other things, the lowest public sector expenditure in Croatia, and according to the data of the Institute of Public Administration and the European Commission (EC), it also boasts the highest grade according to the criteria for transparency of Croatian local and regional self-government units.
Furthermore, the official statistics for the second year distinguish Međimurje County as the region which invested the most in education, and the high degree of use of EU funds in creating quality health care conditions, investment in infrastructure, culture, and the protection of natural values (resources) has enabled Međimurje’s transition to a group of above-average developed counties compared to the average in the Republic of Croatia.
In addition to all of the above, Međimurje’s economy recorded an unemployment rate of five percent, the largest amount of exports in when compared to imports, export growth of 14 percent, employment growth of five percent, total income growth of 11.8 percent, while gross profit of the economy was higher by 9.2 percent, net profit was 13.2 percent higher, which in turn increased revenues by 11.8 percent.
The efficiency of Međimurje’s public administration was assessed through the speed of issuing building permits, rational budget management, the role of the regional development agency, the county energy agency and the technology innovation centre. Investment in the knowledge centre was created by creating the prerequisites for start ups by building new premises worth 12 million kuna, withdrawing EU funds for the construction of the “Metalska jezgra” research centre (32 million kuna) and the centre for competence in nechanical engineering with a total value of 50 million kuna.
The award ceremony was held in France, and the following warm words were said about Međimurje:
“The key to your success is in the synergy of public administration, the private sector and the [local] population. Međimurje County has once more, in this way and with the obtaining of a new prestigious award, justified its title and its image as the most entrepreneurial county in Croatia. All this is a result of systematic work, a clear strategy and the proactive promotion of investment opportunities. For this year’s choice, fDi Magazine has analysed data on economic potential, the working environment, cost efficiency, infrastructure and positive business environment(s) in as many as 112 locations,” said the director of fDi Magazine, adding that, at this point, the most important economic and social issue is Brexit, where the Financial Times devotes a lot of attention to the analysis of the future of the European Union after Great Britain leaves (if it ever actually does, that is).
Sarah Russis, head of fDi Intelligence and GIS Planning, emphasised the role of digitalisation as an important link to the region’s economic development and planned investment.
“We’re aware that investors, entrepreneurs and public administration officials are doing demanding jobs, and therefore it’s important to recognise and support every innovation, result, and effort invested in creating a positive entrepreneurial environment, and the incentives that facilitate the ease of day-to-day business.”
”This is award is proof of a systematic and thoughtful strategy. Our goal is to attract value-added investments that lead to better working conditions. It’s important to emphasise that many existing foreign investors have decided to expand their capacities and have confirmed that Međimurje is a location for long-term business success. Key activities that Međimurje County conducts are post-investment care, attracting new investment in key sectors, a marketing strategy for attracting FDI investments to Medjimurje County, and education for small and medium entrepreneurship. The Redea institute for public development is also a kind of “one stop shop” institution that monitors entrepreneurs through all administration challenges,” stated Darko Radanović.
“This award is, above all, a recognition to all those who create added value and contribute the most to economic results. The residents of Međimurje are productive, valuable and resourceful, entrepreneurs are struggling in very challenging business conditions, mayors are successfully attracting money from EU funds, all based on a clear vision, a quality strategy and set goals. That has to be valued and I’m glad it was recognised by magazines like the Financial Times. But we’re not going to stop there, we understand this as a challenge to be even better because, after Brexit, many investments will be redirected to other EU countries and we intend to use [that opportunity]. This resettlement process [of investment] has already begun, the potential of Međimurje has been recognised, which has been proven by a reward for the second year in a row, so, I hope that Croatia will model itself on other countries and jump on the train, recognise that this is a new moment and take advantage of its chance,” said Medjimurje County Prefect Matija Posavec.
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