The government should adopt "concrete measures" to help the country's demographic recovery, after some 80,000 people had left the country in 2017 alone, Croatian President Grabar-Kitarovic said in the central Dalmatian city of Sibenik on Tuesday.
Grabar-Kitarovic had temporarily relocated her Office to Sibenik on Tuesday, where it will stay until Thursday.
Since taking office in February 2015, this will be President Grabar-Kitarovic's 15th short-term relocation to places outside of the capital Zagreb, an occasion she normally uses to meet with local officials and discuss problems of smaller communities.
On Tuesday morning, Grabar-Kitarovic met with heads of municipal and county authorities in Sibenik, and once again spoke about the problem of population drain. According to some estimates, some 200,000 people, or about 5 percent of the population, left the country between 2013, when the country joined the EU, and mid-2017.
"Our youth is leaving Croatia in search of a better life... When I recently talked about the need to introduce some concrete measures to help the demographic recovery, some said I was exaggerating. But only last year 80,000 people have left the country... What is that, if not an emergency situation, asking for emergency measures? We are out of time! Our primary goal is to create conditions for a life worth living. We need a concrete action plan for demographic recovery. I hereby invite the government and the parliament to devote themselves fully to (solving) this issue," Grabar-Kitarovic said in her speech.
She also said Croatia was in need of more active policies for developing the country's regions, and that the government should ease the tax burden for counties, cities and municipalities, allowing local authorities to increase their income.