Conference Held on Differences in SMEs in Croatia and Germany

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 29, 2019 – A conference on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Croatia and Germany organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Zagreb on Tuesday discussed the differences and similarities in their success.

In Germany, SMEs are considered a pillar of the economy, accounting for 99.5% of all businesses in the country and employing 70.4% of the population in 2017, said Harald Seibel, permanent deputy German ambassador and head of the economic department.

He said many factors impacted the success of SMEs, such as demography and an increasingly old population, unqualified labour and a shortage of young people. “Our country wouldn’t be as economically strong without small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Croatian Economy Minister Darko Horvat said microenterprises and SMEs accounted for 99.3% of all businesses in Croatia, employing over 60% of all workers and generating 60% of added value. “However, there’s a difference,” he said, asking translators and listeners “not to understand this literally.”

“We are creating a quality workforce for German enterprises and we are neither ashamed nor afraid of it,” he said, mentioning east-to-west legal economic migration. He said “those who start working here in Croatia at one point recognise their opportunity and… look for a better paid job.”

Horvat said the present-day emigration from Croatia was quite different from the one in the past because then people went to Germany to work on a temporary basis, whereas nowadays they took their families with them and stayed there.

The minister said he would “like computers to do the administrative part in my ministry so we can focus only on… recognising good ideas. Now we do 80% of the work mechanically, not thinking strategically to answer the question of what we want of Croatia in ten years.”

He said “the German state secretary has the answer to that question, as she has a vision of what it means to draw up strategic documents systematically, so that it doesn’t happen that when one political elite replaces another… everything that was done before is set on fire because nothing’s good.”

Horvat said the digitisation of the whole system would reduce the possibility of corruption. “If what I’m talking about doesn’t happen, in October we won’t be 56th, we’ll be 68th. We’ll fall for the sixth year in a row and won’t recover easily,” he said, adding that the goal was to convince the World Bank that Croatia was ready for change in order to stop dropping on the Doing Business rankings.

More news about doing business in Croatia can be found in the Business section.


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