Tuesday, 17 March 2020

CNB Governor Boris Vujcic Explains Croatian Banking System Stability

Just how is the Croatian banking system doing in these tying coronavirus-dominated times?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 17th of March, 2020, the Croatian National Bank's Governor Boris Vujcic said that since the beginning of last week, there has been some stronger pressure on the kuna exchange rate. He also stated that the CNB has intervened and stabilised the exchange rate and announced that it will continue to work.

According to Vujcic, the Croatian banking system is currently very stable and that, despite the coronavirus epidemic which is rocking the global economy, there is currently no threat to its normal functioning, so residents certainly do not need to withdraw their cash from banks.

''As for the Croatian banking system, it's very well capitalised and very stable and there's no need for residents to start withdrawing their money from banks. At the moment, we don't see any problems that could jeopardise any normal functioning, regardless of what will happen with the virus or the epidemic,'' Vujcic told reporters.

"The kuna exchange rate will remain as stable as it has been for the last quarter of a century," Vujcic assured strongly.

Namely, since the beginning of last week, the CNB has carried out four foreign exchange interventions, through which more than 1.6 billion euros were sold to banks, bringing a total of 12.2 billion kuna out of the Croatian banking system, and yesterday, after two weeks of the weakening of the kuna, it managed to strengthen against the euro.

Vujcic said that the CNB had very high foreign currency reserves, as well as the ability to create liquidity as and when needed.

When asked about the proposals for the postponing of loan repayments and the request of a state guarantee scheme, Vujcic replied that the state guarantees should be discussed with the state, but also said that the Croatian banking system and the population as a whole are currently in an unusual situation thanks to coronavirus.

"It's in everyone's interest to overcome this situation by postponing some claims/loans that exist against those who will not be able to do business in due time due to the epidemic," Vujcic said, adding that despite the current issues, he believes that the economy then has the capacity to overcome it.

He believes that it is reasonable to expect a budget rebalance, as well for the CNB to accordingly adjust its economic growth projection, which it will do when the time comes.

"If the cycle of this epidemic is the same as we've seen in other countries, then we could see an economic recovery in the third quarter, but it depends a lot on the length of that cycle. The sooner it's over, the sooner the recovery will begin,'' Vujcic said.

He expects that the Croatian economy will see some structural changes, such as a likely increase in agricultural production, which he hopes will remain as such even after the coronavirus crisis passes, in the sense that it will increase Croatia's self-sufficiency in this regard.

Make sure to follow our business page for more on the Croatian banking system and our dedicated section for information on coronavirus in Croatia.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Croatian Economic Outlook: Vujčić Expects 3 Percent GDP Growth in 2020

If you were to ask the majority of people what they think of the Croatian economic outlook, the response would typically bleak. Is everything really so black, though? It would appear that certain experts, such as Boris Vujčić of the Croatian National Bank have some improved opinions on the Croatian economic outlook for 2020, and GDP growth seems to have replaced a potential slowdown.

As Novac/Marina Klepo writes on the 10th of December, 2019, although it has long been announced that the Croatian economy will experience a slowdown in the coming year, Governor Boris Vujčić is now seeing "something more optimistic'' than the way things looked a couple of months ago.

According to CNB projections for next year, the Croatian economic outlook isn't quite what we were all initially expecting, and it seems that the country's GDP will grow by almost 3 percent, much as it did this year.

The risks to growth are, first and foremost, global and political risks, and as he said when presenting the edition of The Economist's ''The World in 2020'' (Svijet 2020), these risks include trade relations between the US, China and the EU and of course, the tired, old and quite frankly embarrassing story - the largely unpredictable yet undoubtedly extremely negative consequences of Brexit.

He believes that Croatia is currently more prepared for a potential recession than it was back in 2008, because it has succeeded in changing the structure of its economic growth. Before the crisis, he explained, growth was mainly based on imports and the accumulation of debt, and to date, that structure has changed, most notably when Croatia joined the EU, making the export part of the economy much more important, with both external and public debt falling significantly.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković is no less optimistic about the Croatian economic outlook. The PM said that Croatia would be able to adapt to international circumstances, and that "with a government policy based on fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and attracting investment, it came to a level of resilience". He also added that Croatia enjoyed faster growth from the EU average.

''I believe that we're now even more capable and efficient in absorbing European Union funds, which will be important for investment and economic growth, so I expect a stable situation,'' said Plenković, noting that the situation in Croatia is facilitated by the fact that this year, two out of three respected rating agencies returned Croatia's rating to that of an investment level, which lowered the level of the cost of borrowing, both for the state and for economic entities and residents.

Despite the fact that the structure of the Croatian economy is different today than it was back in 2008, one thing has certainly failed (and quite miserably so) to change, and that is to reduce import dependence.

The CBS trade data just released indicate that this is unlikely to happen soon, either. When it comes to food production, which is the most significant part of Croatian industry and accounts for one fifth of exports, products worth 6.6 billion kuna were exported during the first nine months of this year, which is 445 million or 7.2 percent more than in the same period last year. At the same time, imports of food products increased by as much as  1.3 billion kuna or 11.5 percent, reaching 13 billion kuna.

The CBS also released the first data for ten months of 2019, showing that in that period, total merchandise exports amounted to 94.1 billion kuna, 5 percent more than in the same period last year, while imports reached 155.4 billion kuna and increased by 5.3 percent. Thus, Croatia's foreign trade deficit increased by 3.3 billion kuna to 61.3 billion kuna, while the coverage of imports by exports decreased from 60.7 percent to 60.5 percent.

At the same time, the data for those same nine months shows an increase in exports at a rate of 6 percent, with imports increasing by 6.4 percent, suggesting that October brought with it a slowdown in trade. In terms of sectors, the strongest growth in exports in the aforementioned nine months was recorded by "other transport means", of 40.2 percent, which indicates a stabilisation of the previously dire situation in Croatian shipbuilding. However, that sector's imports have also increased sharply, by as much as 33.4 percent, so there may be some transit involved.

The export of tobacco products (37.9 percent), motor vehicles and trailers (29.1 percent), metals (17.6 percent), pharmaceuticals and rubber and plastics (12.9 percent) increased significantly. Exports of refined petroleum products fell the most, with a fall of 10.9 percent, while imports in this sector rose by as much as 35.9 percent. However, the largest increase was recorded in the import of tobacco products, by as much as 81.8 percent.

Those who sell goods in Germany, despite the announcement of a slowdown in demand, are still keeping up with the challenging pace: exports to the country increased by 5.9 percent in the first nine months of 2019. At the same time, exports to Italy, which still holds the number one position in terms of exports, grew by only 2.4 percent (imports increased by as much as 14.3 percent).

At slightly higher rates, exports to other EU countries are increasing: to Ireland, for example, exports more than doubled (to an impressive 106.5 percent), to Greece it increased by 83.3 percent, to Portugal by 28.9 percent, to Spain by 20.4 percent, and to Romania and Hungary by about 17 percent.

When it comes to Croatia's neighbouring countries, exports to Slovenia fell by 1.9 percent, while exports from that country increased by 9 percent. At the same time, exports to Bosnia and Herzegovina grew at a rate of 15.3 percent, to Serbia 11.2 percent, and imports from these countries declined slightly.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and business pages for much more on the Croatian economic outlook.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Marić and Vujčić Satisfied With Reaction to Eurozone Letter of Intent

As Index writes on the 9th of July, 2019, Finance Zdravko Marić and Governor of the Croatian National Bank (CNB/HNB) Boris Vujčić expressed their joint satisfaction on Monday in regard to the reactions they've received after sending a letter of intent on entering the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) on behalf of the Republic of Croatia. This move marked the first official step to Croatia's Eurozone entry.

They were also satisfied with the manner in which it was received by the powers that be.

MEPs from nineteen Eurozone countries and Denmark, the president of the European Central Bank and a representative of the Governor of the Central Bank of Denmark, discussed the Croatian letter of intent during a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday.

Following the meeting, the finance ministers of the Eurozone and Denmark released a statement in which they stated that "they welcome the intention of the Croatian authorities to establish the elements necessary for its successful entry into the ERM II".

Four days ago, Croatia sent a letter of intent on entry into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) to members of the Eurozone, Denmark and the European Union's institutions, which marked the very first formal step towards participating in the ERM II, preceded by the introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency, replacing the kuna.

In addition to the letter of intent, the EU member states and institutions also received an encouraging ''action plan'' from Croatia, detailing the reforms Croatia promises to finally implement before entering the ERM II.

Minister Marić told reporters after the meeting said that there is still a lot of work ahead of Croatia in order to successfully complete the process of entering the Eurozone.

"We will try to finalise everything in the next twelve months," Marić assured.

In the statement from the Eurozone, it has been stated that the European Central Bank could complete its comprehensive assessment of the fulfillment of the requirements Croatia has promised to meet in its letter of intent in about a year.

In the case of a positive assessment, Croatia would enter the ERM II, in which it would stay for two years. This means that Croatia could introduce the euro as its currency in three years at the very earliest.

At the same time, upon its entry into the ERM II, Croatia would enter the Banking Union.

Make aure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Zdravko Marić and Boris Vujčić Take First Step to Introduction of Euro

When Croatia jointed the European Union back in July 2013, it agreed that it would eventually have to introduce the euro as its main currency as part of its accession to becoming a full member of the bloc. While many are concerned with the eventual introduction of the euro as Croatia's main currency, with a number desiring a referendum on the matter, it seems that Plenković is quite right when he says it's already a done deal.

The first official step in the process of sending the Croatian kuna to the history books has now been taken by the powers that be.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 30th of May, 2019, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Croatian National Bank (HNB/CNB) governor Boris Vujčić have requested that Croatia enter the Single European Banking Supervisory Mechanism, the first pillar of the European Banking Union, the primary duty of which is bank supervision, according to a report from Večernji list.

This is the first step of replacing the Croatian kuna with the euro, which could happen in five years.

The single supervisory mechanism is mandatory for all Eurozone member states. It is one of the last steps that Croatia has now taken before it officially requests the introduction of the euro as its main currency, abandoning the kuna, and entering into the European exchange rate mechanism, Večernji list writes.

Rather morbidly, this event coincides with the celebration of 25 years of the Croatian kuna, one of the few European currencies whose introduction is celebrated as a major historical and national event, yet in which citizens have little real confidence and in a country over which the euro still dominates.

While opposition among some members of the public remains strong, when it comes to savings and other financial practicalities of life, the euro has no competition in Croatia, just as German marks never did either.

If all goes well in not only Croatia but in the wider European Union ''family'', Croatia could introduce the euro during the year of the thirtieth anniversary of the introduction of the kuna - 2024.

If that doesn't occur, anything else could. It's possible that some of the sovereign and populist Croatian parties could seek and even succeed in launching a referendum, binding or otherwise, and convince citizens to reject the euro, which will force the government to stop the Eurozone accession process, but, that seems distant for now.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated politics page for much more.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Croatia Edges Closer to Eurozone, Official Request Coming Soon?

Just how ready is Croatia to join the Eurozone? The topic is one that has many sides to it and a lot of opposition from both the public and from certain politicians and political parties, yet it seems the Croatian Government is steaming ahead with their plans for the country to enter into the Eurozone and abandon the kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes on the 19th of May, 2019, the Croatian Government has proposed urgent amendments to the ZOKI, which creates a normative framework for the accession process to the banking union, a step that implies officially applying for the country's entry into the ERM II Exchange Rate Mechanism.

However, the Republic of Croatia has not yet submitted the aforementioned type of official request for entry into the ERM II Exchange Rate Mechanism, which is considered to be one of the first steps towards official entry into the controversial Eurozone.

This news could see more steps actively taken to enter into the banking union and establish "close co-operation with the European Central Bank (ECB)", which is usually part and parcel of a request to enter the ERM II.

In addition to the fact that the process of close co-operation with the ECB was the subject of a panel discussion on the first day of the Croatian Money Market conference in Opatija in Kvarner, the Croatian Government issued a proposal for a supplement to the Credit Institutions Act on Wednesday for public consultation, which refers precisely to the creation of a normative framework for the assignment of certain tasks to the European Central Bank.

In practice, this means, in the first instance, Croatia's inclusion in a Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), and that means that in the furure, the ECB will be able to carry out comprehensive assessments of such credit institutions, while for example, Asset Quality Review has so far covered euro-denominated countries.

At the aforementioned Opatija conference, the introductory speech on the path to Croatia's entrance into the Eurozone was given by an envoy to the President of the Republic of Croatia, with the Croatian Minister of State Property, Goran Marić, also having a part to play. It was stated that the single currency is one of the important aspects of unification, ie, in Croatia's accession to the European Union, and that Croatia has an obligation to respond readily and properly to this process.

That means, as was stated, the need to carry out all of the necessary preparations - monetary, political and others, including those aimed at the wider public, with a view to understanding the changes and eliminating fear, propaganda and potential insecurity. The main focus of the presentation of the Governor of the Croatian National Bank (HNB/CNB) Boris Vujčić was the macroeconomic prospects and challenges, and this is usually a reference to structural reforms without which Croatia will lag behind in reaching the level of development of much older EU member states, especially in terms of Croatia's development in comparison to other, older member states of the Union.

Croatia's business climate in us is still not good enough, remotely. To improve the country's overall business environment, the governor emphasised that what is particularly important is the raising of the quality of Croatia's institutions which greatly affects the general level of investment into the country, and that this is a key to faster productivity growth.

Therefore, in the first quarter of 2019, the indicators are solid: strong growth in industrial production, personal consumption and construction, the continued growth of exports (as well as imports) and favourable labour market trends (but with the increasing and very concerning problem of a lacking labour force owing to Croatia's demographic crisis).

In the case of economic slowdown today, however, there is a significant fiscal space that, at least according to Boris Vujčić, should be used in the case of a recession occurring. Otherwise, the Croatian National Bank expects to further reduce surplus on current and capital account balances this year, as well as significant appreciation pressures on the Croatian kuna.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and politics pages for much more.


Click here for the original article by Jadranka Dozan for Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Croatia's Paradox: Work But No Workers, Workers But No Work

The Republic of Croatia is in a group of four European Union member states with a lower uncovered demand for workers when compared to one year earlier. The Croatian paradox of staff fighting over workers who either don't exist or don't want to work, while would-be staff complain about there being no jobs continues.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of March, 2019, the workforce problem is rapidly becoming one of the most burning issues not only here in Croatia but across the European Union. In the last quarter of last year, Croatia ranked among the four EU member states with a lower uncovered demand for workers than was recorded during the same period last year, Eurostat figures show.

At the Union level, as well as at its very core in which the euro currency wains, the rate of vacancies grew to 2.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018. Just for comparison, this rate, which shows uncovered demand for labour, was 2.1 percent in the previous quarter, and 2.2 percent in the Eurozone.

The availability of labour in the last year has become the top theme for domestic employers. While a few years ago this issue was only mentioned from time to time, in the last surveys answered by business owners, it emerged at the very top of the list. In Poslovni Dnevnik's recent interview with AmCham, Andrea Doko Jelušić pointed out that when the last survey was taken, their members underlined this topic as the main constraining factor in 2018, while back in 2017, it was placed on the list for the first time ever.

Reflecting on the workforce as an inevitable issue of the competitiveness of the domestic economy, CNB/HNB Governor Boris Vujčić said on Monday that Croatia is specific in the EU because as many as 40 percent of working-age citizens don't work. "When looking at the employment rate, Croatia is the second worst in the European Union after Greece, which means that everyone else has to work harder to maintain the same level of living standards," said the governor.

The key to the mobilisation of this population, Vujčić believes, is to evaluate the positive changes in pension regulations which extend the working life. The EU and the Eurozone are currently experiencing the most problems with finding workers in the service sector, with the job vacancy rate standing at 2.6 percent. Industry and construction account for 2.1 percent in the EU, and 2 percent in the Eurozone. In Croatia, the vacancy rate in the fourth quarter fell to 1.4 percent, which was the lowest level in just over a year. The highest jump in labour demand for the same period last year was in the fourth quarter in the Czech Republic, Austria, Malta, and Germany.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for much more.


Click here for the original article by Ana Blaskovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Move towards ERM Membership Likely in Second Quarter

ZAGREB, February 26, 2019 - Croatian National Bank (HNB) Governor Boris Vujčić announced on Monday that a letter of intent for ERM membership (European Exchange Rate Mechanism II) was expected to be sent "some time in the second quarter of this year."

Responding to questions to the press after delivering a lecture on Croatia's prospects of entering the euro area at the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU), Vujčić said that the letter would certainly not be sent by the end of this month and would most likely be sent "some time in the second quarter".

"In any case, first there will be a report from the European Commission, then we will continue consultations with our partners - the European Central Bank, the Commission and the Eurogroup, and after that we will decide on an exact date," Vujčić said, adding that he hoped Croatia would soon get out of the excessive imbalance procedure, on which the Commission is soon to release a report.

Asked if Croatia could be expected to join the exchange rate mechanism in 2020, the governor said this was a tentative time frame, but he would not speculate about an exact date.

Vujčić said that Croatia "de facto" meets all five nominal convergence criteria, while "de iure" it does not meet one relating to exchange rate stability. He said that the exchange rate stability requirement can be met only within the exchange rate mechanism, and that this is the first key step for entering the mechanism.

On the other hand, there is a range of indicators relating to excessive macroeconomic imbalances, such as public debt, external debt, unemployment rates and labour market participation. "Here we stand much better than we did five years ago because external imbalances have been reduced as a result of the decline in public debt, which right now is three times faster than that required by the EU procedures."

More news on the introduction of euro in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Croatia's Foreign Debt is Lowest in Last Eleven Years

The trend of the Republic of Croatia's foreign debt falling on an annual basis has been going on since the end of 2015, according to RBA analysts in light of their review of the recently published data of the Croatian National Bank (CNB/HNB).

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of February, 2019, at the end of October last year, Croatia's gross foreign debt amounted to 38.4 billion euro, which is less by as much as 4.1 percent when compared to one year before, meaning that the country's foreign debt fell to its lowest level since back in September 2008, according to a new analysis carried out by Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA).

RBA pointed out, in addition to the fact that the falling of Croatia's foreign debt has been a trend since 2015, that the fall of this debt in October in particular is the result of a decline in the debt(s) of other financial institutions, which fell by 13.1 percent, as it also did in other similar sectors.

Thus, the gross foreign debt of other Croatian (domestic) sectors dropped to 13.5 billion euro at the end of October, or by 5.3 percent year-on-year, continuing the trend of depreciation dating from January 2016, as was stated on Tuesday.

The gross foreign debt of the state amounted to 13.7 billion euro at the end of October, which was 0.4 percent less than it was one year earlier. The growth of Croatia's gross foreign debt at an annual level was recorded only in direct investments, by 4.4 percent, to 6.3 billion euro.

"We expect the data for the last two months of 2018 to point to the continuation of similar developments, and at the end of 2018, the relative indicator of external borrowing should be below 75 percent of GDP," RBA analysts point out.

They expect that this year's debt to gross domestic product (GDP) will decline, thanks to the growth of the domestic economy and further diversification of all of Croatia's key sectors. "Further reductions in debt in the corporate sector are expected as a result of the discrepancies in the cost of financing on domestic and foreign financial markets," analysts from RBA have stated.

However, a tightening monetary policy and worsening funding conditions in regional and global financial markets could warn of a potentially negative impact.

"[This is particularly concerning] in the case of Croatia's modest progress in the implementation of structural reforms, which leads to an increase in risk perception and, consequently, the risk premium of the country itself," concluded RBA's financial analysts.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for more infromation on Croatia's financial situation, doing business in Croatia, and the overall business and investment climate.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Euro in Croatia Senseless Without Responsible National Institutions

For some, the mere idea of the introduction of the euro in Croatia is enough to induce passionate debate. For others, the introduction of the single European currency is the next step to leaving the country's tumultuous past behind, and joining the ''ever closer union'' that Eurocrats in Brussels speak so highly of. While the United Kingdom managed to secure a way out of the currency's introduction much earlier, Croatia had to agree to take on the euro in order to join the bloc.

Introducing the euro in Croatia is likely to bring problems as well as solve them, but what use is the adoption of the single currency when many of Croatia's national institutions are in total disarray? Until state institutions can be brought into line, the introduction of the euro and the overhaul that involves will only work to contribute to existing issues, rather than help to solve them.

As Ana Blaskovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of January, 2019, just over a year after the announcement of the Croatian Government's intention to introduce the euro, encouraged by positive signals from Europe, Croatia will send a letter of intent to enter the exchange rate mechanism (ERM) by the summer. The aforementioned mechanism is known as the ''waiting room" for a country's introduction of the euro as its currency. Although the letter is only the first formal step in the process of replacing the kuna with the formerly problematic single currency, its content is not merely a pleasant yet rather empty formality.

The letter will involve the Croatian Government agreeing on a series of concrete reform moves, in a relatively short period of about a year. "The ball is now in the government's court to make a list of moves that can be completed within a year, within the gauge that they're achievable, easily measurable, and are written in the letter of intent," an interlocutor close to the central bank told Poslovni Dnevnik.

Judging by the Bulgarian version of the letter that Sofia officially sent to a number of European Union addresses at the end of July, the answer to the question of what exactly Andreja Plenković's government could or should put on paper doesn't need great philosophical effort put into it. There is already a list of specific recommendations from Brussels for the Republic of Croatia.

Reforms is a word that everyone in Croatia gets sick of hearing, and this next political move involves a well-known series of infamous reforms, the implementation of which has been largely shifted to ''next year''. The euro in Croatia however, demands certain reforms be met, and sooner rather than later.

For example, there are administration reforms (including those regarding salaries), reforms to the utterly bizarre Croatian justice system, the establishing of a more just system of social benefits and rights, the strengthening of the fiscal framework, and the introduction of property taxes, a controversial idea which Plenković has moved around quite a lot on.

"The European Commission supports member states' efforts to introduce the euro, not only politically, but in also providing the necessary technical assistance and potential financial resources," said Valdis Dombrovskis, adding that Croatia is very serious in its intentions and is working intensively to meet the conditions for its eventual entry into the eurozone. One of the panelists at that conference was the Croatian National Bank's Boris Vujčić, which is also regarded by all as a firm sign of Croatia's support.

"The most difficult thing to do is to enter the ERM II, because there are no clear criteria that a country needs to meet in order to enter the exchange rate mechanism. Once you're in the ERM, the criteria for introducing the euro is clear, although some of it is constantly changing, so you do need a bit of luck on your side in order to be able to fulfil it,'' said Latvia's governer. One thing is certain, unlike the correspondence Croatia has had with the European Commission until now (primarily concerning becoming a member of the EU), the rules for a country's adoption of the euro are much stricter.

Make sure to stay up to date for more information on the intended introduction of the euro in Croatia and much more by following our dedicated politics page.


Click here for the original article by Ana Blaskovic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Friday, 4 January 2019

Boris Vujčić Proclaimed Best European and International Governor in 2018

As tportal writes on the 3rd of January, 2019, The Banker, a magazine which belongs to the Financial Times group and is issued monthly, gave two prestigious awards of recognition to the Governor of the Croatian National Bank, Boris Vujčić, for the year 2018 - one as the best European governor, and the one for the best central banker on a global scale.

The Banker has been following various financial developments across the entire world since 1926. It has been declaring the best regional governor and governor of the year on an international level each year in its January issue, and the winners are based on the magazine's editorial rating and research conducted among bankers and economic analysts.

Recognition from The Banker is guided by the criterion that the winners are those responsible for "stimulating growth and stabilising the economies in which they operate". The recognition is awarded globally, as well as regionally - for Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Africa. The Banker also gave recognition to the former Governor of the CNB (HNB), Željko Rohatinski, back in 2008.

In the article published by The Banker on the occasion of the award to Croatia's Boris Vujčić, his versatility was emphasised: "Seven years before Croatia's entry into the European Union in 2013, he was the deputy chief negotiator during the successful candidacy of that country for joining the European Union. He was Deputy Governor of the Croatian National Bank and has been Governor since 2012. He has recently co-ordinated central bank management and the development of the Croatian strategy for joining the Eurozone with the chairmanship of the Vienna Initiative steering committee.''

The explanation further states that the Vienna Initiative, which is less known outside of the region, was launched in 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis with a view to securing the financial stability of emerging economies with markets in Central and Eastern Europe. There was a fear that the major Western and Northern European banks, which dominated the financial systems of these countries, would withdraw from lending and cause a catastrophic credit crunch. Since then, the Vienna Initiative has spread to seventeen countries in the region, as well as to international financial institutions, the European Commission, and to several major European lenders.

The Banker cites the role of Boris Vujčić and the Croatian National Bank in ​​keeping hold of Croatia's financial and banking stability during the recent Agrokor crisis. The article also highlights the public advocacy of the governor of the Croatian National Bank for structural reforms - particularly when it comes to education, in order to create market competencies that will dominate innovation and technological progress, as well as a smart immigration policy as one of the measures to address the problem of labour shortage which is currently enfeebling the Croatian economy.

Upon receiving the prestigious recognition, Boris Vujčić said: "I'm exceptionally honoured; this is a great tribute to the Croatian National Bank, and to me personally. This award is further motivation to me to continue working on our goals - price and exchange stability, so that every citizen of the Republic of Croatia knows, with certainty, that what they earn won't lose value. We're also thinking about Croatian companies and the security of their financial operations and financing possibilities. We will continue to monitor banks in order to maintain financial stability, as well as to improve consumer rights and information.

Success in achieving our goals contributes to creating a better environment for economic growth and the development of the entire country. And finally, we believe - and in this way we'll communicate with all citizens and companies, inform and answer every question and dilemma - that our entry into the Eurozone can further stimulate economic growth and development, make our country stronger within European frameworks, and thus serve for the prosperity of every citizen of Croatia.''

Make sure to stay up to date with our dedicated business and politics pages for much more.

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