Plenkovic Talks EU Funds, Coronavirus and Economy at Koprivnica Conference

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 22nd of September, 2020, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was a guest of Vecernjak/Vecernji list’s recently held Koprivnica conference – Croatia as We Need it/Hrvatska kakvu trebamo.

At the Koprivnica conference, the Croatian Government’s policy was represented by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovicand Ministers Zdravko Maric, Tomislav Coric and Oleg Butkovic, while the “colours” of the Croatian entrepreneurs were defended by the new head of HUP and Podravka’s Marin Pucar. Professor Hrvoje Simovic, economic analyst Zdeslav Santic, entrepreneurs Branko Roglic (Orbico), Ivan Ergovic (Nexe) and Mirko Habijanec (Radnik) and CEOs Fabris Perusko (Fortenova) and Marko Remenar (Adris) presented their views on tax changes and government policy. .

”We need to use this crisis and these European Union funds to turn it into an opportunity. An opportunity for the modernisation, strengthening the resilience of the economy through accelerated digitalisation, ecological transition and the adoption of new technologies. In that context, our tax policy is an important lever for strengthening social security, relieving the economy and raising its competitiveness,” said Prime Minister Plenkovic at the beginning of the Koprivnica conference.

”Before I say something more about vigilance, let me remind you of the key points that made us significantly more resilient to the crisis than the one back in 2008. In our first term, we rapidly reduced public debt, GDP grew at a rate of three percent, Croatia was in the upper circle of economic growth whose average was higher than the EU average. We achieved three budget surpluses, came out of an excessive budget deficit procedure and from the group of European countries with excessive budget imbalances. After six years, we’ve returned Croatia to the zone of ‘investment’ credit rating, which has been confirmed again recently by S&P, which is an additional sign of confidence in our economic policy and the effectiveness of the measures we’ve taken to support the economy due to the coronavirus crisis. We’ve also gained the trust of other rating agencies, and we have a good reputation. At these key points, we kept our investment rating and the prospects we had before the crisis hit us,” said Plenkovic.

”By ensuring a better rating, the state creates a more favourable economic and financial framework. All this directly affects the increase of employment and increase of salaries, and enables more favourable loans to citizens. We’ve raised the agreement of European funds to 102 percent. In this, we’re the fifth best at the EU level. We’re at 40 percent in terms of the the disbursement of funds from this financial envelope. Five days after the elections, we entered the European exchange rate mechanism 2, which confirmed the readiness of the Croatian economy to enter the Eurozone, and this is another strong confirmation of the direction, stability and positive movement of Croatia and our economy. All of this has provided us with a good foundation for continuing the fight against the pandemic and economic recovery. We have a lever that is bigger than one annual state budget in the next seven years, we must use that together,” he added.

”This is the biggest crisis we’ve ever faced, and we haven’t had an enormous increase in the number of unemployed at the Croatian Employment Service (CES). This means that the measures were strong, timely and comprehensive. So far, 6.3 billion kuna has been invested, and 600,000 jobs have been preserved in 100,000 companies. We’ll come to the amount of about a billion euros having been given for the purpose of the payment of salaries in the private sector, which is an unprecedented move. Croatia as we need it is a Croatia that is secure, more resilient to crises, macroeconomically stable, that has solved the problems of its economic transition, that constantly raises the competitiveness and sustainability of its economy and provides a stimulating framework for its modernisation, an awareness of environmental protection, and the ability to successfully cope with the challenges of a globalised world,” said Plenkovic at the Koprivnica conference.

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