ZAGREB, April 18, 2019 – The national reform programme aims to achieve three key objectives – a better business environment, connect the education system with the labour market and strengthen the consolidation of public finance, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said at a regular cabinet meeting on Thursday.
The national reform programme, a 120-page document which the government adopted on Thursday, analyses the progress made in implementing the Council of the EU recommendations, reform priorities, economic policy measures and measures aimed at achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.
The main objective of the national reform programme is to strengthen the competitiveness of the Croatian economy, with a projected growth rate for 2019 of 2.5 percent, Plenković said.
The programme sets out three main goals – strengthening the competitiveness of the national economy, connecting the education system with the labour market and ensuring the sustainability of public finance – which should be achieved by implementing 30 economic policy measures divided into 10 reform priorities and 100 activities.
The government is required to send this document and the convergence programme to the European Commission by the end of April as part of the process of mandatory reporting and adjustment of EU member states’ economic policies to the jointly defined goals and regulations of the EU. Failure to comply results in sanctions, including “a freeze” on funding.
To improve the business environment, the government says in the programme that it will enable starting a business online and continue liberalisation of the services market and the regulatory reform by reducing the administrative burden on the business sector and cutting parafiscal charges.
The government plans to prepare a project for the construction of national next-generation broadband infrastructure, to be leased to all operators of electronic communications networks and services.
Most of the cohesion policy funding will go towards further development of the public drainage system, reducing losses in the public water supply system and ensuring that water is safe for human consumption.
The programme provides for new incentives to boost investment.
“Investment growth is a priority, the main lever for economic growth in Croatia, and new investment incentives will be introduced. The existing programme and incentives for investment in new technologies will be combined and the capacities of counties for investment attraction and promotion will be strengthened,” Deputy Prime Minister for Economy and Minister of Agriculture Tomislav Tolušić said.
The reform programme provides for the adoption of a plan for the digital transformation of the economy and for establishing an independent body, the Committee on Productivity, to analyse, design and implement policies relating to productivity and competitiveness.
The government plans to improve the management and use of state property, including the business and financial restructuring of road and railway companies.
As part of the public administration reform, efforts will be made to ensure more efficient management of human resources by reviewing the wage setting system, digitising work processes, introducing quality control and further professionalisation.
The judicial system will be improved through further development of electronic communication between courts and other participants in court proceedings and by upgrading the eDelivery service and the eNoticeboard.
As for education and training in accordance with labour market needs, the focus will be on the further implementation of the curricular reform, life-long learning, and an effective and relevant higher education.
In strengthening public finance management and fiscal consolidation, the accent will be on establishing a more efficient system of financial and statistical planning and reporting on the part of extra-budgetary beneficiaries in the transport sector.
The stimulation of the demographic revival will continue with measures aimed at raising social security for families with children.
In order to encourage family leave for employed parents and improve the financial status of families with new-borns, the current 3,990 kuna family leave allowance will be increased.
The further enhancement of welfare envisages a transparent system of allowances with comprehensive records so as to better administer allowances and programmes, reduce territorial inequalities and create more effective welfare policies.
Ensuring the financial stability, viability and quality of healthcare is planned through enhanced management of human and other hospital resources, the use of IT to improve organisation, cost planning and control, and by increasing the availability and quality of health care.
Structural and organisational measures will be launched in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malignant diseases. According to Croatian Institute of Public Health data, 22,503 malignant diseases were recorded in 2015 and data on mortality from 2017 show that 13,638 people died of them.
The programme also contains 15 measures to achieve national goals in employment, research and development, climate and energy, education, and combating poverty and social exclusion, given that activities for achieving Europe 2020 strategy goals related to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth are implemented and overseen through the European Semester.
More economic news can be found in the Business section.