Presidential elections are getting closer, and the President is intensifying her criticism of the government.
In her speech in Opatija at the annual conference “Economic Policy of Croatia in 2018”, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović criticised the current situation in Croatia more sharply than ever before, reports N1 on November 8, 2017.
“We’ve been staying in [one] place for too long, and other countries are overtaking us,” said the President, who spoke openly about all the negative indicators in the economy and society.
The President criticised more or less all aspects of society. She admitted that in the last few years, nothing much had been done and that promises have remained unfulfilled. “If we want to have an objective view, we have to position ourselves in the context of the neighbouring countries, and our results gain real value only when we compare them with the competition,” the President said.
“Croatia has one of the worst ratios of exports compared to GDP in Central Europe. If we look at exports of goods, without services, the ratio is even worse. While we used to be more developed, nowadays we’re at 85 percent of the development of Central and Eastern Europe. We’ve got one of the lowest rates of labour activity. The share of people at risk of poverty is among the highest in the EU,” said Grabar-Kitarović.
“I could continue and give further examples from other areas, but all this suggests that we’ve been standing in place for far too long. After several years of growth, Croatia recently declined by eight positions in the ”Doing Business” rankings. We’re behind many countries we didn’t even consider to be our competitors. Interestingly, we didn’t decline by the number of points, but other countries have implemented a lot of reforms and moved ahead of us,” said the President.
“Structural reforms have become so abstract that they’re not being perceived by the public. There are lists of recommendations, but few are ever acheived, and now we come to the question of who is making decisions and where, and who isn’t making them. I think that might be the largest problem ahead of us,” said Grabar-Kitarović in a thinly veiled criticism of the government.
“These are facts which don; represent pessimism or optimism, just reality, and we must accept the reality if we want to be prepared for the challenges ahead. In line with this, I hope we’ll raise our capacity for implementing reforms,” she added. “I hope that today’s address will be recognised as a contribution to the solution to the problems which are a major obstacle to development,” said the President.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was asked for his comments on the President’s speech. He said he did not hear the speech because he attended a parliamentary session. “I can’t be at the Parliament and answer questions here and listen to a speech in Opatija at the same time. However, I don’t see anything dramatic here,” said Plenković.
He was asked if Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic would be HDZ’s presidential candidate for the next presidential elections in late 1919. “She must first articulate her wishes. I haven’t yet heard them,” Plenković said.
Translated from N1.