Croatia’s ruling party and coalition partners unveil their election manifesto.
Croatia Is Growing coalition led by SDP published on Sunday night its electoral manifesto. The manifesto is divided into eight thematic sections, in which the coalition lists the achievements of the outgoing government and what it intends to do in the next four years. They point out that after years of recession, the economic indicators are now positive, and that industry, exports and investments are growing, which leads them to conclude that the current government “is doing what others are only talking about”, reports Jutarnji List on October 12, 2015.
The coalition is promising elimination of certain fees for businesses. They point out that since 2012 the government has decreased the fees for entrepreneurs in the amount of 450 million kuna per year. For the next year, they promise an additional reduction in fees in the amount of 300 million kuna. They also promise the reduction of the VAT rate for selected agricultural and food products from 25 percent to 13 percent.
Substantial EU funds will be invested in irrigation projects, and the manifesto promises additional tax relief, an increase in the value of exports of goods and services by at least 30 percent and at least 30 billion kuna worth of investments in industry and 38 billion kuna in tourism. The program states that the government has secured more than 10 billion kuna from European funds in the next four years, which will, together with the co-financing from entrepreneurs, boost the total investments to about 35 billion kuna.
The coalition points out that after the prolonged recession, unemployment is now falling while employment is rising. They claim that when they came to power there were more than 70,000 workers who were not paid salaries, and today that number has been reduced to just over 20,000 workers. They point out that the unemployment rate fell to 15 percent, which is the lowest rate in the last six years. “We have achieved one of the most important goals: employment is rising while unemployment is falling after a prolonged recession”, boasts the coalition manifesto.
As far as healthcare system is concerned, they promise the building of new hospitals financed from the EU funds and through public-private partnerships.
They also claim that during its term in office the government has increased pensions by a total of 4.7 percent, and for the next term they promise the continuation of indexation. They will also provide social pensions to people older than 65 years who have not fulfilled the conditions for retirement.
The coalition believes that the problems in the public sector lie in its lack of efficiency and not in its size, and says it does not intend to lay people off, but rather to rationalize its operations. They point out that the number of public services provided can be doubled through the e-citizen and e-business initiatives.
Talking about decentralization, the coalition warns that it will mean more money at the local level, but also more responsibility and it stresses that the reform of the system of local and regional government should be directed towards the redefining of responsibilities of different levels of local governments in accordance with their economic and administrative power and fiscal capacity. Coalition gathered around SDP promises that in the next term it will strengthen the role of large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.
The coalition points out that it has secured additional 8 billion kuna from EU funds for investments in rail infrastructure in the next term. They plan to build 51 kilometres of new lines and to reconstruct and modernize 265 kilometres of existing lines.
In the energy sector, the coalition points out that HEP will remain the key Croatian energy company and the basis for important new projects. They also say that in the coming years they will continue to co-finance the energy efficiency projects for family houses, apartment buildings, public and commercial buildings, as well as facilities in industry, tourism and other economic sectors.