Croatia has an ‘opportunity of a generation,’ panel hears

NEWS 20.09.2021 17:16
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Source: Pixabay / Ilustracija

Croatia has about €25 billion at its disposal in this decade from EU funds and this is an opportunity of a generation, but it is of key importance how those funds will be used, heard the panel discussion "Drivers of the economy after the Covid crisis - what sort of future awaits us?", held on Monday.

Croatia has €25 billion available from the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and the NextGenerationEU mechanism, and the president of the Podravka food manufacturer’s management board, Martina Dalić believes that it could be interpreted as an “opportunity of a generation.”

She told the panel discussion that the economic effects of that opportunity would be achieved if that money was transformed into projects and investments in a relatively short time. The most effective use of that money is also at stake so that the economy’s growth curve and living standards are raised to a higher level and the most favourable thing to do would be to invest in technology, digitisation and a “green” economy.

Dalic believes that productivity, which has been falling behind the productivity in former socialist countries that joined the EU over the past 20 years, is the main obstacle to that growth.

“That is the reason why we have moved downward on the European rankings, while the Czech Republic, for example, has surpassed Spain according to living standards,” said Dalic, addressing the debate held as part of a conference organised by the Vecernji List daily and the Podravka food manufacturer, called “The Croatia we need – Economic policies aimed at improving the competitiveness of Croatia’s economy.”

She warned that some markets may close their doors to some companies if their products do not meet high health and environmental standards. European funds should in fact be used to improve technology that will help the companies to reach those higher standards, she added.

Dalic recalled that the food industry is the largest industry in Croatia and accounts for 25% of total industrial production and that needs to be taken into account in the new financial perspective.

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