President Attends Economic Summit in Berlin

By 14 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 14, 2018 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is attending the Economic Summit organised by the Sueddenutsche Zeitung daily in Berlin, on Wednesday presented her vision of Croatia's economic growth, underlining the need for improving the investment climate, 're-branding' Croatia, implementing tax reform and reducing labour costs.

"We want to improve the investment climate to help Croatia become competitive within the European Union. I believe Croatia could be one of the most developed countries in the world," Grabar-Kitarović said at the end of the three-day conference.

She also mentioned the success the Croatian national football team achieved at the World Cup in Russia, saying that Croatia could benefit from that. "This had an impact on Croatia's image in the world. You can work as a politician for years and then suddenly, because of a World Cup, you become famous," Grabar-Kitarović said.

She also said she wanted to re-brand Croatia so that it could be recognised as an investment-worthy country. As one of the main objectives, the Croatian president underscored tax reform and lower labour costs, saying this would help prevent brain drain.

"That is our problem because we are losing people who are leaving to places that offer better conditions," Grabar-Kitarović said and concluded that reforms should be aimed at increasing salaries, expressing confidence that higher wages would keep the workforce in Croatia.

Grabar-Kitarović also mentioned the Three Seas Initiative which, according to her, is aimed at reducing wealth gaps between east and west European Union countries. "This initiative was misinterpreted as an initiative of discord, when in fact it is aimed at achieving cohesion within the European Union," the Croatian president said.

With more than 60 speakers, the 2018 Economic Summit is focusing on the major issues moving today’s economy, politics and society. The participants are discussing where Germany and Europe are headed, what the future of money holds and whether the breakthrough in artificial intelligence will cost people jobs as well as how leaders can master these challenges.

The event, which was opened on Monday evening with a speech by European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, was also attended by the prime ministers of Iceland, Estonia and Serbia. Ahead of the summit, Grabar-Kitarović attended a dinner reception during which she spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

For more on Croatia’s president, click here.