While EU membership brings benefits, not everyone feels Croatia is keeping up…
As Marija Brnic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of July, 2018, the advantage of doing business on the European Union’s massive, 500 million strong single market over the past five years was felt by 56 percent of Croatian companies, and doing business without borders as well as significantly lower costs of doing cross-border business were the main, concrete advantages felt owing to Croatia’s EU membership.
According to a survey conducted by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), among 408 Croatian companies, more than 60 percent believe that it’s easier to do business on a different EU market than it is here in Croatia, where they’re still burdened by red tape and far too many administrative measures, coupled with “confusing and unclear laws that are not harmonised and unified with EU practice,”
As far as the use of European Union funds is concerned, from the research presented by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce’s Ivan Barbarić on the occasion of the fifth anniversary celebration of Croatia’s EU membership, it appears to be evident that entrepreneurs are most at odds with the fact that they tend to not meet the criteria for such EU funding tenders.
The President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Luka Burilović recalled that 10.7 billion euro of grants through European Structural and Investment Funds were made available to Croatia from the European Union, and according to the latest data, a total of 4.834 billion euro of projects, or 40 percent of the total allocation had been agreed, while end-users were paid 1.1 billion euro, or 9 percent of that total allocation.
“After the first years of adaptation of the system itself, but also of the economy, I believe that we’re now on the right track to make the most out of the financial resources that will help us raise our competitiveness and stimulate faster and stronger economic growth,” Burilović said. With the full use of money available through EU funds, Croatia could, according to the estimate of HGK’s economic analyst Zvonimir Savić, raise its GDP growth by as much as three percentage points.
For Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, there’s no dilemma when it comes to EU membership being beneficial for Croatia because it’s “quite different when you’re a part of the club and you’re involved in creating regulation in comparison to situations where you aren’t.”