Mladen Vedris: We Can’t Allow Istria to Rely Solely on Tourism

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Istria, Croatia
Istria, Croatia

As Novac/Vedran Marjanovic writes, joining the public controversy about changes in the excise system demanded by British American Tobacco as a condition for the survival of its business in Croatia, economist Mladen Vedris appealed to quickly find a new model of excise duty on tobacco in order to preserve tobacco production Croatia.

”I see the issue of BAT and the Rovinj Tobacco Factory in the context of the importance of an entire industry, in this case the tobacco industry, for the development of a region such as Istria, ie in the context of the fact that one single economic branch cannot be relied on at the state or even at the regional level.

We’re talking, clearly, about tourism and its importance for Croatia and the economy of the wider Istria region, on the one hand, and the need to maximally protect the industries that exist in the area, on the other hand. All this within the framework that we now have and live in, and they’re burdened by the pandemic and its impact on tourism,” Mladen Vedris stated, noting that he is not familiar with the details of BAT’s request to the Croatian Government.

He added that he considered the recent announcement by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic that a solution to changes in the excise system was being sought and would be found to be very encouraging indeed.

Zdravko Maric’s task

”It’s good that the Prime Minister is publicly sending out messages that the problem that afflicts a part of our business community is being solved and I believe that talks are being held in that direction. In talks that are known to me, although I admit that I don’t know everything, the Prime Minister said that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Zdravko Maric was given the task to solve this problem. It’s also known that there is a dispute over the level of excise duties placed on certain types of tobacco products, as well as European regulations that set certain frameworks for the excise system in that part, and I can only believe that Croatia will adopt the solutions in line with that regulation that we’re talking about,” Mladen Vedris added.

In addition to the economic importance of the tobacco industry for Istria and the regions where tobacco is grown, Mladen Vedris also drew attention to the amount of BAT’s investment in the Rovinj Tobacco Factory.

”In the future, we can count on an even higher total amount of BAT’s investment. Therefore, in my opinion, a common language must be found with a company that invests as much, and now, whether and when it will be found, which isn’t insignificant, is not actually for me to assess,” he said.

Mladen Vedris agrees with the assessments that the announced changes to the excise system have been being prepared for too long now.

”It’s expected that we should have the solution that was announced within 30 days, and not longer,” he concluded.

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