By Marija Avramovic – Zagreb
At the Entrepreneurs’ Day, held yesterday in Zagreb, Croatian employers demanded radical reforms to end the crisis, while the president Ivo Josipovic and the prime minister Zoran Milanovic called for peace and stability in the implementation of reforms, the ability of society to accept changes that employers are looking for.
Croatia should implement reforms without any further delay, warned the leaders of the Croatian Employers Association (HUP) in their traditional gathering, which was held under the motto “Time of Changes”. In his introductory speech the president of HUP Ivica Mudrinic (photo) warned about the serious consequences of not conducting reforms, not only for the economy but also for society as a whole.
Among other things, he pointed to the fact that from 2008 until the present day, Croatia’s GDP decreased by 12%. According to this indicator, only Greece is worse than Croatia with a drop of its GDP by 26%. “Countries that went through the last crisis faster and easier than Croatia realized in time that they must change and adapt to the new conditions and new circumstances” Mudrinic said .
In Mudrinic’s opinion it is quite clear that the government is the one who has to initiate and implement change.
Milanovic reiterated in his speech that economic growth remains the most important task until the end of the mandate of his government. “We plan to complete all the announced business”, said the prime minister and added that “there will be no new taxes for the economy”.
“The reforms are difficult, and the result cannot be seen immediately. There is no detour in the process. For about ten years, Croatia can be a moderately developed European Union member state, which will place it among the world’s elite. But we need more order in all spheres of society and the state”, said Milanovic.
Josipovic said that reforms are necessary, but that Croatia needs “a cocktail of change and stability”. He stressed the areas where reforms are necessary and recalled how a number of reforms cannot be carried out without consensus, because they cross the frameworks of a government. It is a reform of local and regional government, thus the state administration reform, the health and pension system and its relation to education and technology.
“We need a tough and responsible work and for that reason it is necessary that discussion about the economy get out of the sphere of political bickering”, Josipovic added.
HUP representatives presented the results of research on the perception of entrepreneurs in the public, as well as new results of the HUP SCORE – tool that on the semi-annual basis monitor the progress of reforms in 13 strategic areas of importance to the revitalization of the Croatian economy.
Only 26% of the population has a positive attitude toward entrepreneurs, with 40% of them being negatively predisposed. Interestingly enough, the entrepreneurs were much more critical and more than 57% think that the perception of them is negative.
According to the results of HUP SCORE, the share of investment in GDP has fallen to below 20% and reached its lowest level in the last ten years, which caused a “transition from the yellow to the red zone”.