Thursday, 11 November 2021

Zagreb International Airport Involved in EU Environmental Project

November the 11th, 2021 - Zagreb International Airport is involved in a praiseworthy European Union (EU) project with its primary focus placed on the environment and the promotion of ''greener'' airports.

We're constantly hearing about our carbon footprint and being urged to try to reduce it. With air traffic and the flight industry in general being a huge issue when it comes to trying to reduce damage, it's often difficult to know precisely what it is we can do to improve things. Zagreb International Airport will no doubt have some of its own ideas.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the European Commission (EC) has approved a new project to reduce the harmful impact of the aviation industry on the environment called OLGA - Holistic Green Airport, which includes four international airports and their local stakeholders: Paris-Charles de Gaulle (France), Milano Malpensa (Italy), Zagreb International Airport and Cluj (Romania).

The project is based on an integrated approach and was first started on the 1st of October 2021. It will work to further develop innovative sustainable measures to reduce harmful emissions caused by these airport, all while additionally working hard to improve energy efficiency, air quality, biodiversity and better waste management.

As they point out from Zagreb International Airport, where the project is now being implemented, these solutions support the European Union's general efforts to achieve carbon neutrality and their aim to improve the quality of life.

With a budget of 34 million euros, of which 25 million will be provided by the European Commission over a period of sixty months, OLGA project partners will seek to find solutions to significantly reduce the harmful impact of the aviation sector as a whole on the surrounding environment.

The OLGA project brings together 57 partners and related entities that make up a diverse consortium ranging from large and small airports, airlines and the aviation industry, to public authorities, researchers and innovative SMEs.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle and travel sections.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

EU Drug Production Return Chance for Croatian Pharmaceutical Industry

November the 11th, 2021 - The Croatian pharmaceutical industry, which saw a boom in pandemic-dominated 2020 for obvious reasons, could have a huge opportunity on its doorstep if it decides to move quickly and take it as production returns to the European Union (EU).

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the strategic turn of the European Union towards strengthening supply chains and maintaining production and investment in Europe provides a window of opportunity for Croatia. To be more specific, over the coming years, the Croatian pharmaceutical industry could use the bloc's move as potential for its own growth and the further development of exports.

At the same time, a significant increase in production in the segment of biosimilar drugs can be expected, in order to increase the availability of drugs for oncology patients.

Unfortunately, this will be a necessary need because after the coronavirus pandemic, a significant increase in oncological diseases (cancer/carcinoma) is expected here in Croatia, as well as across the rest of Europe, due to reduced healthcare facilities being offered in these difficult pandemic conditions, including preventive examinations. This is evidenced by the figures presented on Tuesday by the Association of Drug Manufacturers of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP UPL).

"In the EU, as many as 73 percent of patients have difficulty accessing healthcare, and the European Cancer Organisation estimates that 100 million early cancer screenings were not performed across Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, and that almost a million cases of cancer ended up not being diagnosed. Here in Croatia, during the pandemic, 41 percent of residents had what they needed for their healthcare agreed upon, and only 16.5 percent managed to realise what they required. The Croatian pharmaceutical industry recorded a drop in the consumption of basic cytostatics by an average of 20 percent, PharmaS had a drop of 30 percent, and this is the first line of treatment for malignant diseases. The consumption of drugs related to anesthesia and surgery has also dropped. This means that both diagnostics and treatment have been reduced,'' said Jerko Jaksic, President of the Management Board of PharmaS and President of UPL.

However, throughout the global pandemic, medicines have been made much more available to patients across Croatia than in other EU countries, and the Croatian pharmaceutical industry has proven to be very resilient indeed.

Croatia is one of the few countries that has all of the segments of pharmaceutical production, from research and development, through the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients to finished products, available to it. Yesterday, for the first time, HUP revealed data showing the sheer strength of the Croatian pharmaceutical industry, which has been declared to be strategic for the Republic of Croatia.

Last year, the sector had a total revenue of 7.42 billion kuna, which is about 61 percent more than it enjoyed 10 years ago, with a constant growth of gross profit that is regularly reinvested - in 10 years, about 5.5 billion kuna was invested. The share of exports in revenues stands at 73 percent and exports are the key to revenue growth. Over the last 11 years, the number of employees in this sector has also quite dramatically increased from 3,500 to almost 6,000.

The Croatian pharmaceutical industry has thus proved to be very resilient and during the pandemic, we were in the lucky position of others being able to seek drugs from Croatia that are otherwise not available on the European market. All of this facilitates a solid negotiating position in the coming period and opens up the potential for investment in new factories and plants.

Namely, surveys conducted in some EU member states have shown that as many as 84 percent of patients want their governments to support investment in drug production so as not to depend on suppliers from China and India. As this is a highly regulated industry, this process will take at least 5 years. The opportunity for growth here in Croatia is the growing share of generic therapy, but also biosimilar drugs. According to data from back in 2019, generic medicines account for 61 percent of total drug consumption in Croatia, which is lower than the EU average of 67 percent.

Of the total consumption of biologics, biosimilars accounted for a modest 13 percent of the market (11 percent in 2018), in contrast to Scandinavian countries where that share is about 70 percent. There is a huge space for growth, but also savings in the health budget with the overall better availability of treatment.

"Regulation is insufficient in some parts, but most often the situation is just that it isn't being implemented, so we still have slow approval times and the prescribing of generic drugs, and despite the fact that the budget for drugs is mostly broken by expensive biological drugs, which are given only in later stages of treatment, we have a low market share of cheaper biosimiles. This is happening because we aren't actually monitoring the outcomes of treatment ", they warned from the aforementioned Association.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

EU Funds Provide Cash for Croatian Projects Worth 515 Million Kuna

October the 24th, 2021 - There can be no doubt that European Union (EU) funds have done wonders for Croatia, and now another very generous EU fund cash injection has provided the means for yet more Croatian projects.

As Jutarnji/Novac/Gordana Grgas writes, the first 36 small enterprises from the manufacturing industry recently received grants according to an EU tender entitled "Strengthening the competitiveness of companies by investing in the digital and green transition" which was announced last spring. This cash amounts to 155 million kuna in support, and the Croatian projects it will work to bring to life total as much as 515 million kuna.

In the top ten from this list are the following domestic companies: Sisarka, Agro Simpa, Turkovic, Zlatko-Commerce, Rotoplast, Spiroflex, Limrol, Molaris, Pivovara Daruvar and Akord, and they will use the subsidies to strengthen their production capacities. Sisarka from Zupanja will, in particular, invest in technologically advanced and energy efficient production, which is a project worth 9.9 million kuna, and this company received 3.5 million kuna in non-refundable funds.

Agro Simpa from Sisak will receive support totalling 1.1 million kuna for their project worth 3.2 million kuna, and Zlatko-Commerce will receive a grant totalling 3.7 million kuna for a project to increase their production capacities, a move otherwise amounting to 10.3 million kuna.

There were as many as 842 proposals...

As announced by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, as many as 842 proposals for Croatian projects were received back in May, and 70 percent of those Croatian projects, or 596 of them, were positively evaluated in the award procedure. It hasn't yet been announced when the remaining decisions will be made, and it is expected that it is set to occur "in the next short period".

It's worth mentioning that when the results of this project evaluation was published back in August, it was explained that the money would primarily go to those who have satisfied their project applications to the greatest extent, ie achieved the best results and points. That said, 245 entrepreneurial proposals for Croatian projects were evaluated negatively.

This tender aroused great interest because it was the first major tender from ESI funds this year for small and medium-sized enterprises, and was launched with the intention of strengthening recovery from the crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic and in preparing a more green, digital and resilient economic recovery.

In total, this tender regards about 1.14 billion kuna intended exclusively for the processing industry, which the Minister of Economy Tomislav Coric assessed recently at the awarding of the first contracts as "the best placed money of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development over the past four years". He also noted that the manufacturing industry is and will be in focus in the coming years, too.

Enterprises who receive grants from this tender must use them up quickly, more precisely by the end of 2023.

All of the Croatian projects that will be co-financed by EU funds from this tender and in this way are expected to launch an investment cycle worth more than 3.6 billion kuna, and as HAMAG-BICRO's CEO Vjeran Vrbanec said recently, calls for the transformation of entrepreneurship into green and digital will be available in the coming period within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

In 2022 and 2023, support for the transition to an energy-efficient economy of 1.9 billion kuna, 960 million kuna for innovation and digitalisation and 1.1 billion kuna for encouraging investments that are a prerequisite for a circular economy are expected, as was announced back during this summer.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business and politics sections.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric Talks Rebalances, Projections, Eurozone

October the 23rd, 2021 - Finance Minister Zdravko Maric has spoken out about rebalances, projections for the future, stability and of course, the topic on the lips of most - Croatian Eurozone entry, which is edging ever closer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, at the end of this year or at the very beginning of 2022, the situation in the Republic of Croatia should return to pre-crisis levels. This is of course good news for the domestic economy with the perspective of Eurozone entry in 2023, but this generally optimistic picture is still being threatened by numerous risks, from poor vaccination levels to so-called ''bubbles'' on the Croatian real estate market. These matters could be heard being discussed at the conference of the Zagreb Stock Exchange and pension funds entitled "The Challenge of Change/Izazov promjene".

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric announced that he would step out next week with a rebalance and a few new projections.

"At the end of this year, or at the beginning of next year, we should reach pre-pandemic figures," he assured. The Croatian Government will also refresh its fiscal expectations for the next three years, which will be marked by the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the effects of which should boost GDP by 1.5 percentage points on average.

818 million euros have been pumped into Croatia so far, and the new cash injections will depend on the fulfillment of 34 different criteria by the end of the year. If they're met, the government will submit a report to the European Commission (EC) in January or February, and then "we can expect a new payment in May or June."

In terms of Eurozone accession, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric says, everything is currently going according to plan. Interest rates and the exchange rate aren't in question, but inflation is a new fear. "Inflation is a priority for us because of society, the economy and of course because of people, but we should also look at it through Maastricht, even though Croatia is at the EU average. According to these projections, we should satisfy that as well. The real date of joining the Eurozone is 2023, I see no reason as to why we won't manage to meet the criteria,'' said Maric.

The introduction of the euro as Croatia's official currency could reduce the risk premium by two levels and thus partially amortise the possible growth of interest rates, which has been a current topic lately.

Croatian National Bank (CNB) Governor Boris Vujcic, on the other hand, expects a quick recovery "in the shape of the letter V", for 2021 in the form of GDP growth of 8.5 percent, and then of 4.1 percent. He noted that inflation is a consequence of supply disruptions, making it somewhat difficult for ordinary monetary tools to address it.

"Raising the reference interest rates over the next two years isn't going to significantly affect the price of oil and gas, which make up half of inflation," said Vujcic. He underlined that the current figures (3.5 percent in September, op.a.) are historically low, but that we have become accustomed to a long period of low inflation, which has in fact been too low.

"This year we expect an inflation rate of 2.3 percent, which isn't worrying, it's actually very close to the goal of monetary policy and it will calm down slightly next year,'' he assured.

Risks in the macro environment...

In addition to energy, the CNB sees numerous risks in the macro environment in the form of the slower cleaning of the market from bad companies and the creation of a real estate bubble, among other things. Prices are also being pushed by foreigners buying properties, especially on the coast.

“The availability of property has started to deteriorate, loan installments in relation to disposable income are slowly growing. "If this trend continues, property purchasing becomes inaccessible to a part of the population with lower incomes, and this should be kept in mind because it's now also becoming a political problem," the governor warned.

Assessing the risks to financial stability, Hanfa's Ante Zigman briefly summed it up by saying that "it isn't exactly great, but it isn't terrible either".

“We’re not too worried about it all, but we’re on guard,” he said. In the second quarter, the risks were somewhat reduced, and for the third, in which inflation returned to the scene, there is no data to be looked into yet. There are a range of risks present; from investment concentration, labour market issues to, once again, the issue of real estate.

"Currently, there are high risks of valuation, the question is whether or not we have an overheated market. The risk of things falling due to high valuations is very possible ", warned the head of Hanfa. Labour Minister Josip Aladrovic out that there is reason for optimism at the end of the global coronavirus pandemic.

"We've never had closer cooperation between politics and economics. The government acted in a timely and adequate manner, we can say that we saved the economy. We're now going into the job creation phase,'' he said, announcing that a very important role is played by pension funds that manage 130 billion kuna.

“They need to invest in long-term sustainable investments, which will create pensions and increase them in the future. It's up to us to redefine the regulations in the direction of the diversification of investments and goals, which we'll do in the short term and in cooperation with those pension funds,'' he concluded.

For more, follow our politics section.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Croatian State Owned Companies to be Managed by New Institution

October the 17th, 2021 - A brand new institution is set to manage Croatian state owned companies as the country edges ever closer to Eurozone accession, and the response is likely to be a very mixed bag.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, the establishment of a new body for the management of state property, more precisely Croatian state owned companies, is currently being prepared. This is the result of the commitments that Zagreb has accepted within the process of introducing the euro as Croatia's official currency, in order to raise the efficiency and improve the quality and operations of Croatian state owned companies.

Last week, the government appointed a steering committee to work on an Action Plan for this task, and the competent Ministry of State Property, headed by Darko Horvat, has taken its first step - launching a public debate on a preliminary assessment of the new Law on Legal Entities owned by the Republic of Croatia, which intends to bring order to corporate governance policy.

The basis will be the guidelines given to the government this summer by the OECD, which proposes the establishment of a coordination body that will monitor the activities and results of all Croatian state owned companies, meaning the placing of all enterprises under state ownership across Croatia under one ''cap'' for monitoring and management.

This new body, according to the OECD, would be of the agency type directly accountable to the government or possibly located in a ministry, provided that it isn't in charge of enacting regulations.

It sounds like a mere formality and a new accumulation of administration, which the public will hardly welcome, especially if we remember the numerous transformations that the state-owned company management system has undergone in Croatia already, from the Privatisation Fund, the State Property Management Agency to the Centre for Restructuring and Sales. and now here's a special ministry in charge of state property.

However, the OECD claims that the introduction of such a specialised body is very necessary, because the existing system, although improved in the meantime, is still not up to par in any way, shape or form. That is likely not a shock to anyone who has had dealings with one of these companies.

In short, their analysis of Croatian state owned companies and the entire corporate sector identified a number of ambiguities and shortcomings that this new “unit” will seek to address, from regulatory inconsistencies to insufficiently defined ownership policy objectives in terms of financial and non-financial expectations, and incoordination and poor communication between ministries.

The new agency should not only gain a range of powers in overseeing management standards, monitoring performance and publishing public reports of these Croatian state owned companies, but also take on an important role in appointing supervisory boards.

More specifically, it would propose candidates, which, according to the OECD's estimates, would allow for greater expertise and a shift away from politics, which is desperately needed in Croatia. There is also the possibility that the new agency will get direct ownership in state owned companies, first for a small part of the portfolio, and gradually for the entire thing.

For more, make sure to check out our politics section.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Phantom Ilica Company Deceives Enterprises, Takes Millions, Vanishes

October the 9th, 2021 - A phantom Ilica company has deceived two European enterprises, taken millions and simply disappeared. For once, and even though this company is registered in Croatia, more precisely on Zagreb's famous Ilica, it isn't a Croat at the helm.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Jean Pierre Louis Simon Grosdidier is from the French capital of Paris. He founded the company Best Assist Net d.o.o. on July the 1st, 2019 and its headquarters is on Zagreb's famous Ilica street (Ilica 191 d.). This addressed was used exclusively for fraud and money laundering.

Namely, hundreds of thousands of euros suddenly started dripping into the bank accounts of this truly bizarre Ilica company, whose share capital is 20,000 kuna and there are no employees or offices within the business-residential complex whatsoever. After the Office for the Prevention of Money Laundering and the police intervened in the case, the Frenchman with a Paris address who owns the company seemed to have vanished off the face of the Earth, reports Jutarnji list.

At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, 2.8 million euros were transferred to the accounts of Best Assist Net. A fraudster from Paris managed to deceive Zedis s.l. from Spain which paid 1.8 million euros on the 4th of November 2019. On the same day, when Zedis, which normally deals with digital technologies, realised that they had been hacked and that the money had gone to the wrong account, the Spanish bank alerted RBA demanding a refund, stating that fraud had occurred. However, in the meantime, that enormous amount has already been skillfully transferred to a bank account in Hong Kong, but the Spaniards still managed to get it back.

In early January last year, however, the same scenario happened again with this odd Ilica company, this time with a German enterprise which had to pay almost a million euros to the company for services rendered. Those involved are still trying to get their money back, and since Best Assist Net is of course totally ignoring the request for a refund.

"The transactions occurred when paying the invoices of a supplier, a French company, by entering incorrect data into the system, the payment instructions. So, the payment was made in error to the account of the Zagreb company, thinking that it was paid for the delivered goods in accordance with the instructions of the supplier. After learning that the supplier didn't receive the payment and that he wasn't the sender of the payment instructions, the State Attorney's Office was informed. Due to the secrecy of the procedure, we don't have access to information on the course of the procedure itself, but allegedly certain funds were blocked in the bank account. It's a matter of forging documents because a French citizen who allegedly doesn't even exist is registered as the director,'' it is stated in the lawsuit of the German company.

A commercial court in Zagreb recently ordered this phantom Ilica company with an apparently invisible French director to return 977,620.41 euros, along with interest.

It isn't yet known whether the name of this ''Frenchman'' initially mentioned is a stolen identity used by a fraudulent hacker or whether he is really a person who opens companies in the European Union under his real name (from France and Spain to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia) into whose accounts other people's diverted millions are diverted.

However, what is known is that the person with that name is already well known to the French and Spanish authorities as a profiled entrepreneur-fraudster.

For more, make sure to check out our business section.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Croatian Recovery Plan Foresees 9.5 Billion Kuna for Digital Transformation

October the 7th, 2021 - The Croatian Recovery Plan, more precisely the Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO) has been talked about at length recently. In the challenging post-coronavirus age, at a time when global economies are still reeling from the unprecedented and utterly devastating impact of the global pandemic, few things are more important to Croatia than this massive EU payout.

The Croatian Recovery Plan envisages as much as 9.5 billion kuna going directly to the country's much needed digital transformation, which should force Croatia well and truly into modern times and away from excessive paperwork, standing in lines and wasting time.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, in this day and age, smart industries represent the wheel of development of the Croatian economy and society, and the precondition for this doesn't lie solely in digital transformation, but also in the cooperation of the Croatian Government, the domestic economy and the academic community.

Recognising the importance of education about the Smart Industry model in Croatia, Poslovni dnevnik organised a conference entitled Smart Industry 2021, during which, State Secretary of the Central State Office for the Development of the Digital Society, Bernard Grsic, spoke about smart industries in the focus of national plans, more precisely the Croatian Recovery Plan.

''Digital transformation is a change from one thing to another, and first we need the awareness that we can and do actually want to do it. Man is at the centre of these events and we mustn't simply allow technology to do everything itself. Priorities for implementing this policy in the field of the digital transition of the economy relate to encouraging digital transformation and the application of advanced technologies in the economy and in society, strengthening strategic digital capacities and increasing the level of digital maturity of enterprises, establishing standardised platforms for connection and business, and the proper development of state information infrastructure.

The Smart Industry seeks to strengthen the competitiveness of a particular industry, which means not only an industrial transition but also social transformation, openness and cooperation from the government, as well as from the economy and from universities. In the Croatian Recovery Plan, the contribution to digital transformation stands at 20.4 percent, this is equal to more than 9.5 billion kuna, which is to be distributed across all segments of society.

The goal is to seize this opportunity and accelerate the digital transformation in the Republic of Croatia, create high-paying jobs in the domestic economy for the implementation of the Croatian Recovery Plan and ensure fast and efficient public administration, as well as position Croatia above the EU average on the DESI index,'' concluded Grsic.

For more on the Croatian Recovery Plan (NPOO), make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 1 October 2021

European Youth and IT Industry Panel: Digital Osijek on Horizon

October 1, 2021 - The European Youth and IT Industry Panel, part of the European Future Conference, talked about the importance of the IT sector and AI technology. The host city of Osijek is already displaying fantastic results in the field as a digital Osijek becomes more and more of a reality.

The last day of September, which is the unofficial start of new victories and losses for the Croatian youth (due to the beginning of the school year and final deadline exams for students), has been completed with a suitable discussion on the future of new generations.

Osijek, the biggest city in the Eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, was the host of the ''Youth and the IT Industry Future'' panel, one of the thematics panels from the European Future Conference.

Along with the Croatian Parliament and Croatian counties, the European Parliament Office in Zagreb hosts thematic discussions in ten cities which are home to universities.

''The European Future Conference is a series of public debates that allows citizens to express their ideas and come up with suggestions for the reforms and future policies of the EU,'' explains the European Parliament Office in their press release.

They added that the centerpiece of the conference is a multilingual platform where citizens can exchange ideas, connect with each other, and have their say on burning issues outside of these organised events.

The panel in Osijek delighted the mayor, Ivan Radić, one of the opening speakers. Radić stated that Osijek has a lot to say and show when it comes to the IT sector as the city aims to rebrand as a place of excellence for this field, aiming for a more digital Osijek.

There is no better proof of that than the Osijek Software City Association, established in 2021 with the goal of promoting the IT sector towards the local community.

''Several leading IT companies in Osijek realised that the youth needs to be introduced to the IT industry in an approachable way,'' said Osijek Software City representative Ivan Ostheimer.

Thanks to their hard work, many local companies in Osijek now hire experts and produce quality software that can then be exported to the global market, in spite of the still challenging economic situation.

The background goal of the European Future Conference is to show people that European Parliament representatives aren't simply being hermits and hiding themselves in the EU Parliament in Brussels or Strassbourg. In that spirit, the Croatian MEPs Karlo Ressler (European's People Party) and Sunčana Glavak (Croatian Democratic Union) participated in the event (Ressler in person and Glavak via video link).

Ressler is the Vice President of the special EU Parliamentary Committee for artificial intelligence (AI). He stated at the panel the European Union currently has ongoing discussions on regulating this new technology. The goal is to find a balance that would use the potential of AI without stopping the industry, while also avoiding negative scenarios such as manipulation attempts that would damage people's lives.

Glavak pointed out how digitalisation now has a key role in every EU policy.

''The goal is for that at least 80% of the EU population to have digital skills by 2030“, said Glavak.

With the panel in Osijek demonstrating the current successes of the IT industry, the aim for a digital Osijek, and seeing the attendance of both political elites and professionals, it seems that this Eastern Croatian city is on a very good track.

Learn more about Osijek in our TC page.

For more about diplomacy in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Friday, 1 October 2021

Brussels Pays Croatia Advance Tranche of €818.4 Million from Recovery Mechanism

October the 1st, 2021 - Brussels has paid the Republic of Croatia an advance payment from the so-called recovery mechanism, totalling 818.4 million euros, the largest single payment from the EU since the country's membership of the bloc.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the Croatian state budget finally received a generous financial injection of 818.4 million euros, or 6.14 billion kuna, from the Belgian capital, more precisely from the recovery mechanism. This is, as stated, the largest single payout from the EU since Croatia's accession to the bloc back in July 2013, but it is also the only amount guaranteed to Croatia, as all other payments will depend on the fulfillment of promised reforms.

If Croatia does the job as outlined in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, a non-refundable amount totalling a massive 47.5 billion kuna should reach the budget by 2026.

The government headed by PM Andrej Plenkovic announced on Tuesday that the money from the advance payment from the recovery mechanism "will be directed to reforms and projects that are the most ready and that can be realised first".

These include support for the Rimac Automobili's research and development project, investment in broadband access infrastructure and 5G network access, support for energy efficiency and renewable energy in industry, building decarbonisation projects, and water management projects which already have their project study documentation ready, as well as their tender documentation and building permits.

“Receiving advance funds for Croatia marks the beginning of the implementation of candidate investments within the recovery plan. After the phase of preserving jobs and economic stability under the circumstances caused by the COVID-19 crisis, we're committed to the reform process and the use of secured European Union funds for rapid economic recovery and development, with a clear direction and two transitions - digital and green," said Plenkovic.

The deadline for the implementation of all reforms and investments in the recovery plan is the 31st of August 2026. The Croatian national plan envisages 77 reforms and 152 investments and it is designed through five components and one initiative. 26.2 billion kuna relates to the economy, 4.36 billion kuna to public administration, the judiciary and state property, and 7.5 billion kuna to education and research.

2.09 billion kuna is planned for the labour market and social protection, while 2.56 billion kuna will be spent on the healthcare system. The "initiative" for the renovation of buildings will see 12 percent of the approved money, or 5.95 billion kuna, spent on it.

According to government projections, Croatian GDP in 2025 will be 4.2 percent cumulatively higher than it would be without the plan. In the last year of its implementation, meaning 2026, Croatian gross domestic product should be around 17 billion kuna higher than it would have been without the EU cash injection from the recovery mechanism.

For more, make sure to check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Expectations For Croatia's Economy Close to Pre-Pandemic Level

ZAGREB, 29 Sept, 2021 - Expectations for Croatia's economy in September 2021 came close to the pre-pandemic level, supported by confidence in services and retail trade, while consumer confidence was down, a European Commission report said on Wednesday.

In September 2021, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) in Croatia went up 0.7 points on the month to 112.7, its highest level since February 2020, just before the pandemic broke out, when it was  at 113 points.

Services and retail trade confidence saw the highest increases, by 3.3 and 3 points, respectively, while industry confidence increased by 0.4 points.

Construction confidence decreased by 0.8 points and consumer confidence by 1.6.

Business leaders said they planned to intensify hiring in the coming period, resulting in a 0.9 point increase of the Employment Expectations Indicator (EEI) to 111.5, a record high since 2019.

Optimistic European consumers

In September 2021, the ESI remained unchanged in the EU (at 116.6) and broadly stable in the euro area (+0.2 points to 117.8).

Construction confidence went up by 1.8 points in the EU and by 2 points in the euro area, while consumer confidence went up by 1.1 points in the EU and by 1.3 in the euro area.

Industry confidence remained unchanged in the EU and marginally improved in the euro area.

Retail trade confidence decreased by 2.8 points in the EU and by 3.3 in the euro area, while services confidence decreased by 1.4 points in the EU and by 1.7 in the euro area.

The EEI increased further (+1.0 point to 113.6 in the EU and +0.8 points to 113.6 in the euro area).

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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