Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Infrastructure and EU Funds: Port and Breakwater Renovation for Senj

Along with the current works on the renovation of the Senj harbour, the Senj Port Authority has begun to develop projects for the extension of Senj's port, so that the breakwaters can be lengthened.

As Morski writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, the Điga breakwater, more specifically the Sv. Marija breakwater, would be extended by a further one hundred metres, adjusted to the length of Jadrolinija's ferries, and the Hungarian riva (waterfront), would be extended by another thirty metres. The construction of a brand new waterfront instead of Senj's current wooden waterfront would add another pier to the southernmost part of the harbour, opposite to Tičak house. According to the conceptual solution which has been drawn up for the project, this operation would cost around 110 million kuna net, and VAT still needs to be added to that figure, Novi list writes.

An assessment on the environmental impact for this project has already been prepared, which is already in process at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, and after the release of the competent ministry's observations, what further steps which need to be taken will be known, eventually followed by the issuance of the required building permits.

''Breakwaters can be co-funded from EU funds and we've already asked for this and have received a firm opinion on it, and internal arrangements such as the 300 new communal berths can be funded from national funds and from the Port Authority's budget,'' said Senj's port authority director Predrag Dešić, adding that with the realisation of this project, Senj's port would boast much greater functionality.

In the port part of the Hungarian waterfront, the conditions for accommodating tourist ships and smaller cruisers would be created, which would substantially restore the basic role of the harbour, while ferries to nearby islands and liner ships would have their place at Điga. After this extension, Senj could be a significant port for tourists from Istria and from the islands, such as Lošinj and Cres, who would like to visit Plitvice Lakes because a combination by sea to Senj and buses to Plitvice would shorten their journey by about two hours, make it much more enjoyable, and the actual visit to Plitvice would last longer. This is a very desirable combination, given that road traffic, especially in the summer, is slow and cumbersome.

New funding in the amount of three million kuna, approved by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure for the Senj Port Authority this year, will be intended for the repair of the main harbour, which is essentially a continuation of the works on the current project of renovating Senj harbour as a whole.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for more.

 

Click here for the original article by Dorotea Prpic for Novi list

Friday, 22 March 2019

New Ferry Dock for Island of Kaprije Before Summer 2020

As Morski writes on the 21st of March, 2019, the first conference regarding the construction of a brand new ferry dock in the port of Kaprije has been held at Šibenik's city hall, handled by the Port Authority of Šibenik-Knin County.

The total value of the island's ferry dock project currently stands at over 11 million kuna, of which 9.3 million kuna is being financed by European Union funds, 1.6 million kuna is being co-financed by the Croatian Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, head by Oleg Butković, while the Port Authority of Šibenik-Knin County is participating in the project with a bit more than 42,000 kuna.

The details of the new Kaprije project were presented to those gathered by the director of the competent port authority, Željko Dulibić, who pointed out that the new pier will be 55 meters long, with a surface measurement of 330 square metres, and will allow for vessels with deeper beams that are less susceptible to the impact of winds to dock, and so that the island of Kaprije's inhabitants will be better connected to the mainland.

The location on which the ferry dock is set to be constructed is located in an area which is managed by by the Port Authority of Šibenik-Knin County and is located about 700 metres northwest of the centre of Kaprije.

The main objectives of the project are to improve the traffic connections of the island of Kaprije with the mainland City of Šibenik and the other islands which belong to the Šibenik archipelago, improve traffic safety within the centre of the bay and Kaprije, improve the access of Kaprije's residents to their respective workplaces, education facilities, medical facilities and other such locations which typically lie on the mainland, and reduce traffic congestion and noise as well as aim to improve overall traffic safety within the centre of the bay and Kaprije.

The current foreseen deadline for the completion of this infrastructure project is summer 2020.

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

Friday, 22 March 2019

Vela Luka: Construction of Passenger Terminal and Fishing Port in 2019

As Morski writes on the 21st of March, 2019, a session of the Municipal Council of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula was attended by the county's deputy prefect Joško Cebalo, who expressed the wider county's support for all of the innovative projects currently being prepared and implemented by the municipality, which are aided by EU funds.

''This time especially, I'd like to emphasise sincere congratulations to all of the employees of Vela Luka's home for the elderly for the municipal award that will be given to them today,'' Joško Cebalo stated, adding that the project of energy renovation for the home, which is worth more than four million kuna, will soon begin.

Port infrastructure is still seen as a top priority for Vela Luka. Deputy Prefect Cebalo stressed the fact that this issue really is a matter over which the county's administration is continuing to take care and that one of its main priorities is the continued renewal and further construction of Vela Luka's highly important port infrastructure.

According to him, the county is currently preparing as many as eight projects worth over 500 million kuna in total, and the most important for Vela Luka's residents were highlighted, these include the construction of a new ferry-passenger terminal worth 60 million kuna, which should be implemented this year, and the project of the construction of a fishing port, for which the project documentation is currently being prepared.

''As the completion of the construction of Pelješac bridge will be the symbol of the first decade of Croatia's membership of the European Union, these two projects in Vela Luka will symbolise [our] development thanks to EU funds, as well as our care for the islands,'' concluded Vela Luka's deputy prefect.

Make sure to stay up to date on the construction of infrastructure in Vela Luka and far beyond by following our dedicated lifestyle and business pages. If it's just the island of Korčula you're interested in, give Total Korčula a follow.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

3.1 Billion Kuna Secured for Projects in Krapina-Zagorje County

The continental Croatian county of Krapina-Zagorje and Krapina itself are both doing very well in terms of the amount of EU funds contracted for various projects over the last couple of years.

As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of March, 2019, Krapina is the seventeenth town in which the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, in cooperation with institutions in the EU funds management and control system, have succesfully organised the informative and educational event ''Regional EU Fund Days'' with the aim of better informing the general public about the possibilities of funding from EU funds, as well as the strengthening of regional development and the overall social and economic growth of the Republic of Croatia.

Krapina-Zagorje County, of fourteen continental Croatian counties, is somewhere in the middle when it comes to using EU funds, while Krapina alone is currently implementing projects worth 125 million kuna.

"Although Krapina has been talking about EU funds for years, it took time to actually start something, with problems with the shortage of labour and at the same time a great deal of work [that needed to be done]. But today we can boast about a series of projects funded with EU funds," said Zoran Gregurović, Krapina's mayor.

"In just a little over two years, the intensity of the announcement of tenders has increased, and by the end of 2016, Croatia was at nine percent of contracted EU funds, a year later it was at 35 percent, and according to the results at the end of last month, we're currently at 64 percent of the contracted funds. In Krapina-Zagorje County, projects worth one billion and three hundred million kuna have now been contracted,'' said Velimir Žunac, State Secretary at the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds.

Croatia is, while taking into account the cost of European Union membership, in a plus, and by more than ten billion euros, by the year 2023, that figure will be even higher, the State Secretary encouragingly said. There was also an interesting panel discussion on the development of Krapina, where numerous projects were presented, indicating that Krapina-Zagorje County has some great potential across several sectors.

There are, therefore, projects currently being carried out, of which Crna kraljica (Black queen) is highlighted, a significant project worth 3 million kuna relating to the doing up and the renewal of the Old Town of Krapina, the Forma Prima sculpture park in Josipovac Forest, and the construction of a 300-metre-long pedestrian bridge connecting these locations. Other projects which involve street construction, kindergarten works and waste management are also in the works.

In addition to the above mentioned projects, Gregurović mentioned the problems that are also being faced.

"A large number of projects got the go ahead from our own resources too, which was a burden for us with regard to our financial capacity and the share of financing," Gregurović said, and as an example, he used the Sports and Recreation Centre in Podgora. It was approved, as was 40 percent of the cofinancing, and the city had to allocate 1.7 million kuna of its own finances to it. Although there is interest in the measures set out by the Rural Development Program, Gregurović says it is hampered by the high development index. "We lost points due to the development index when we registered for the Youth Centre, and we don't have enough resources to prepare the project documentation, so we hope the ministry will increase the funds that it allocates within the framework of the cofinancing of EU projects,'' said Gregurović.

Development would certainly not be possible without EU funds, said Vlatka Mlakar, head of the Public Procurement Department and EU funds of Krapina-Zagorje County.

"We've noted a positive contracting trend over the last two years, with the contracting rate in the area of ​​our county being 42 percent higher in 2018 than it was the year before. Looking at 2017 and 2018, the value of contracted projects stands at 1.3 billion kuna,'' said Mlakar. She added that more tenders mean more market demand.

She also announced a strategic project currently being implemented and worth 33 million kuna - the construction of a Business-technology incubator. Numerous projects have also been being carried out in the area of ​​education and health, including the project of energy renewal in nine schools, three of which are now complete.

"We're focused on the new financial period, we've got a lot of plans, and we have several strategic projects - the doing up of the hospital in Krapinske Toplice in the amount of 150 million kuna, then the Zagorje Scientific-education centre worth 120 million kuna, and a competence center worth 85 million kuna. Public procurement procedures are important because the success of every EU project lies there - the rules must be respected, as should be the procedures, the regulations, and the state commission's control procedures should be followed,'' Mlakar said.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for more information on EU funds across Croatia and much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Marta Duic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Međimurje Most Favourable Region for Doing Business - But Why?

Data continues to show that beautiful Međimurje County is the most developed county of continental Croatia after the City of Zagreb, the only one over 50 percent more developed than the EU average.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 12th of March, 2019, this year, Međimurje is among the winners in the category of creating a favourable entrepreneurial environment, the efficiency of the public administration, incentives and investment in infrastructure through EU funds.

The award was presented by one of the most prestigious and highly respected business media outlets in the world, the Financial Times, as part of its fDI Magazine, a publication that analyses global business activities across the world.

To briefly recall, last year, Međimurje was recognised as one of the top ten regions in the European Union. This new award was based on the analysis of the European Statistical Office (EUROSTAT), the Central Bureau of Statistics and other competent public authorities. According to the Economic Power Index, Međimurje is one of just two counties that recorded a two-place shift, and the only county in continental Croatia which GDP was higher in 2014 than it was back in 2008, resulting in GDP growth of 2.8 percent.

According to some of the measured criteria of the role of public administration, Međimurje County has, among other things, the lowest public sector expenditure in Croatia, and according to the data of the Institute of Public Administration and the European Commission (EC), it also boasts the highest grade according to the criteria for transparency of Croatian local and regional self-government units.

Furthermore, the official statistics for the second year distinguish Međimurje County as the region which invested the most in education, and the high degree of use of EU funds in creating quality health care conditions, investment in infrastructure, culture, and the protection of natural values (resources) ​​has enabled Međimurje's transition to a group of above-average developed counties compared to the average in the Republic of Croatia.

In addition to all of the above, Međimurje's economy recorded an unemployment rate of five percent, the largest amount of exports in when compared to imports, export growth of 14 percent, employment growth of five percent, total income growth of 11.8 percent, while gross profit of the economy was higher by 9.2 percent, net profit was 13.2 percent higher, which in turn increased revenues by 11.8 percent.

The efficiency of Međimurje's public administration was assessed through the speed of issuing building permits, rational budget management, the role of the regional development agency, the county energy agency and the technology innovation centre. Investment in the knowledge centre was created by creating the prerequisites for start ups by building new premises worth 12 million kuna, withdrawing EU funds for the construction of the "Metalska jezgra" research centre (32 million kuna) and the centre for competence in nechanical engineering with a total value of 50 million kuna.

The award ceremony was held in France, and the following warm words were said about Međimurje:

"The key to your success is in the synergy of public administration, the private sector and the [local] population. Međimurje County has once more, in this way and with the obtaining of a new prestigious award, justified its title and its image as the most entrepreneurial county in Croatia. All this is a result of systematic work, a clear strategy and the proactive promotion of investment opportunities. For this year's choice, fDi Magazine has analysed data on economic potential, the working environment, cost efficiency, infrastructure and positive business environment(s) in as many as 112 locations,'' said the director of fDi Magazine, adding that, at this point, the most important economic and social issue is Brexit, where the Financial Times devotes a lot of attention to the analysis of the future of the European Union after Great Britain leaves (if it ever actually does, that is).

Sarah Russis, head of fDi Intelligence and GIS Planning, emphasised the role of digitalisation as an important link to the region's economic development and planned investment.

"We're aware that investors, entrepreneurs and public administration officials are doing demanding jobs, and therefore it's important to recognise and support every innovation, result, and effort invested in creating a positive entrepreneurial environment, and the incentives that facilitate the ease of day-to-day business."

''This is award is proof of a systematic and thoughtful strategy. Our goal is to attract value-added investments that lead to better working conditions. It's important to emphasise that many existing foreign investors have decided to expand their capacities and have confirmed that Međimurje is a location for long-term business success. Key activities that Međimurje County conducts are post-investment care, attracting new investment in key sectors, a marketing strategy for attracting FDI investments to Medjimurje County, and education for small and medium entrepreneurship. The Redea institute for public development is also a kind of "one stop shop" institution that monitors entrepreneurs through all administration challenges,'' stated Darko Radanović.

"This award is, above all, a recognition to all those who create added value and contribute the most to economic results. The residents of Međimurje are productive, valuable and resourceful, entrepreneurs are struggling in very challenging business conditions, mayors are successfully attracting money from EU funds, all based on a clear vision, a quality strategy and set goals. That has to be valued and I'm glad it was recognised by magazines like the Financial Times. But we're not going to stop there, we understand this as a challenge to be even better because, after Brexit, many investments will be redirected to other EU countries and we intend to use [that opportunity]. This resettlement process [of investment] has already begun, the potential of Međimurje has been recognised, which has been proven by a reward for the second year in a row, so, I hope that Croatia will model itself on other countries and jump on the train, recognise that this is a new moment and take advantage of its chance,'' said Medjimurje County Prefect Matija Posavec.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Vinkovci's Spačva to Invest Fifty Million Kuna in 2019

Through a project worth 45 million kuna and with welcome co-financing from the European Union, an innovative new product involving Slavonian oak doors is currently being developed in Vinkovci.

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of March, 2019, Vinkovci's Spačva wood industry, with its 865 employees, is going from strength to strength

Last year, the industry achieved fifteen percent higher revenues than it did back in 2017, and the same positive trend is set to continue throughout 2019. With a net profit of seven million kuna in 2017, Spačva's profit in 2018 was higher than fifteen million kuna.

A new phase of development, based on innovation and further competitiveness, has now been launched, and our struggle for raw material is going to lead us to the abandonment of the unlawful distribution of raw materials which is breaking the market and the transition to a market model,'' Spačva's Josip Faletar said, adding that the majority of the wood and the processing of it would be done in Slavonia, and in that case, the Vinkovci-based Spačva would employ 200 new workers in a boost to Slavonia's dwindling economy.

The company has been deprived of its old, burdensome commitments, and since last year it has been primarily focused on development projects, two of which are currently under way, and they're also preparing other new projects, which are of an innovative character and have been carefully developed in close cooperation with the scientific community.

The largest project in progress is worth 45 million kuna and is being co-financed by the EU, the project in question is the development of a new product made from sturdy Slavonian oak, which, with its charm, looks and high quality would likely easily conquer the demanding European market. This project has been in the works for four years now and is going according to plan, said Faletar, and along with experts from Spačva, a dozen scientists from the Zagreb and Osijek forestry faculties are also working hard on it.

Moreover, by the end of this year, Vinkovci's Spačva will announce the completion of a project worth more than 30 millio kuna which has been financed entirely from its own sources and loans. Namely, the company plans to achieve better raw material utilisation, at higher speeds and with greater flexibility in the process of tailoring customer requirements to the EU's single market.

Revenues from this Vinkovci company's sales in 2018 amounted to close to 230 million kuna, out of which on foreign markets in thirty countries, sales amounted to 73.08 percent, in the amount of 167.6 million kuna. The most important export countries are Italy, Serbia, France, Germany, and Romania. In the period from 2013 to 2018, Vinkovci's Spačva invested more than 100 million kuna into its machinery, equipment and infrastructure, and in 2019 it plans to invest a further 50 million kuna.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more on doing business in Croatia and the overall investment climate in various sectors within the country.

 

Click here for the original article by Suzana Varosanec on Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 9 March 2019

EU Funds for Croatia's Island Fishermen and Fish Processors

Through the Maritime and Fisheries Operational Program, the amount of 234.9 million kuna was agreed for 635 users for their projects on seventeen islands in Croatia, while the amount of 176.7 million kuna was paid to as many as 570 beneficiaries.

As Morski writes on the 8th of March, 2019, the largest amount of beneficiaries of contracted and paid funds are on the island of Ugljan, where as much as 27 percent of the total contracted funds for beneficiaries on the islands have been contracted. Given the large number of fishermen on the island of Ugljan, particularly in Kali, the measures that have been taken relate to (among other things) health and safety and energy efficiency on fishing vessels, as well as an additional measure aimed at improving the conditions for product placement on the market, thus achieving a higher price for the products themselves.

''Our fishermen, fish farmers and [fish] processors are well acquainted with the opportunities the Operational Program for Maritime and Fisheries provides, and that has also been confirmed by the growth of the available funds [for this sector] over the last two years. Since the beginning of the implementation of the Maritime and Fisheries Operational Program, a total of 42 tenders have been issued to date, of which 34 have been during the mandate of this government. So far, 47.27 percent of the allocation, or 1.2 billion kuna, has been contracted, and almost 600 million kuna has been paid,'' said the minister of agriculture, Tomislav Tolušić.

Investment on the island Brač is set to occur immediately after the investment on Ugljan. On the other fifteen islands, most of the investments have been directed towards fishing and measures related to it, examples of that are Hvar, Dugi Otok and Cres.

There is also investment occurring in the field of energy-efficient heating and cooling systems in construction facilities for fish processing, as opposed to outdated ''classic'' systems (fossil fuel systems). Money will also be pumped into improving business processes by acquiring new IT equipment and more modern business management software.

Within the Croatian Maritime Operational Program for the Programming Period 2014-2020, 348.7 million euro (252.6 million euro from the EU budget and 96.1 million euro from the budget of the Republic of Croatia) have been made available.

These funds are extremely important to Croatia's fishing sector and as such meets their very specific needs over the aforementioned time period. Within the operational program, in cooperation with all interested stakeholders from scientific institutions, local and regional self-government units, state institutions and entities from the fisheries sector, 36 different measures were covered for the entire sector, from sea and freshwater catches and farming, to the processing and eventual marketing of fish products, to producer organisations and FLAGs.

Make sure to stay up to date on fishing in Croatia and much, much more by following our dedicated business page.

Monday, 4 March 2019

200 Million Kuna Worth of Investments Planned for Istria's Ports

Investment in Croatia continues despite problematic red tape, and thanks to EU funds (among others), Istria County is set to see a huge cash injection for their numerous ports.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 4th of March, 2019, Istria County is the founder of five port authorities: Pula Port Authority, Rovinj Port Authority, Rabac Port Authority, Poreč Port Authority and Umag-Novigrad Port Authority, which are expecting big investments this year, according to a report from Glas Istre.

In Pula, the completion of the new 130-metre-long coastline is expected, which will surely contribute to the further overall growth of maritime traffic in the busy Port of Pula. The construction of the new operational coast/shoreline is a project which has been being carried out in several phases, and the latter part of it is worth 3.5 million kuna. Another significant move is that at the end of this year, the design of the passenger terminal project in Pula should begin.

In addition to the ''doing up'' of Pula's coastline, Pula Port Authority is also expecting several other projects to begin, including the replacement of pontoon at Bunarina, the continuation of the promenade towards Veli Vrh, the redoing of the coastline in Fažana, as well as the harbour in Krnica, and works on the beloved Brijuni island which stand at about seven million kuna.

In 2019, Rovinj Port Administration plans to build the San Pelagio communal port, estimated at a value of 32 million kuna, in which Istria County, the City of Rovinj and Rovinj Port Authority will jointly participate.

Significant investments, announced by county prefect Flego, are also expected in the area of ​​the Port of Rabac. The plan is to reconstruct the Trget communal barges, the value of which is estimated at 13.3 million kuna.

Other projects in the works are the construction of a primary breakwater in the port of Rabac, estimated at 72 million kuna, for which a financing model is currently being sought, while the project of Brestov Port, worth 23.7 million kuna, is set to be financed through European Union funds.

Poreč Port Authority is also expecting a number of projects, and the most significant of them all is extension is the existing naval structure in Vrsar Port, which serves as a home for fishing vessels, amounting to 10.5 million kuna. With the extension of the existing area, fifteen brand bew anchorage sites will be provided, meeting the needs of Vrsar Port, as one of the most active fishing centres on the western coast of Istria.

In addition, progress is being made on works on the Barbaran breakwater, through with Poreč Port Authority continues to invest in the Poreč aquatorium. This is the most important investment this year in Poreč, worth 4.8 million kuna, which is financed from the aforementioned port authority's own funds, Istria County and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.

A welcome 5.1 million kuna was allocated by the EU Maritime and Fisheries Fund to the Umag-Novigrad Port Authority, for the demolition of the old pier and the construction of a new one in Savudrija harbour, seventeen new lighting posts, the introduction of video surveillance cameras, and the installation of an ''eco-island'' for waste separation for local fishermen.

In addition to all of the above, another major project is under preparation for the construction of the new Dajla-Belveder port, and all the necessary permits to get the green light are now underway.

The start of construction is planned for this year and will continue through 2020. The construction of the port will provide sixty communal berths, a landing place for fishing vessels and an appropriate operational shoreline for small boat excursions. The project value amounts to 24.3 million kuna, with the funds provided by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Istria County, the City of Novigrad, and the Umag-Novigrad Port Authority.

Make sure to stay up to date with investment in Croatia, doing business in Croatia, and the overall business and investment climate by following our dedicated business page.

 

Click here for the original article by Glas Istre

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Dubrovnik-Neretva County Hands Mljet First Firefighting Vessel

Mljet has been given the responsibility of caring for Dubrovnik-Neretva County's very first firefighting boat, which has been procured thanks to EU funds.

As Morski writes on the 2nd of March, 2019, Dubrovnik-Neretva County prefect Nikola Dobroslavić handed over the first firefighting vessel in Dubrovnik-Neretva County in Dubrovnik's port on Friday. The vessel is named Sveti Florijan, named after the patron saint of Linz.

The vessel was handed over by the prefect to the mayor of Mljet, Đivo Marketa, who immediately presented and subsequently handed it over to commander of Mljet's fire brigade, to Mario Dabelić.

Prefect Nikola Dobroslavić stressed that this is an excellent example of good use of the money made available to Croatia from European Union funds.

''The ship is largely financed by EU funds through a project conducted by Dubrovnik-Neretva County. This is the first firefighting boat in our county, and JVP Mljet (Mljet fire brigade) will be responsible for it, but of course it will be available to the whole of this southern area. Another firefighting vessel is coming to the City of Dubrovnik soon and this is a significant addition to the safety and the possibility of interventions being made at sea. This ship will be used for firefighting on boats, as well as in some other emergency situations,'' stated Dobroslavić, among other things.

Sveti Florijan is the first firefighter in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, otherwise Croatia's southernmost county, area acquired by the southern Dalmatian county as part of the scope of the European project AdriaMORE, which is otherwise one of the projects currently being implemented by the Interreg Croatia-Italy cross-border program.

The project activities of Dubrovnik-Neretva County are worth around 350,000 kuna, of which 85 percent are being co-financed with the very welcome funds of the European Regional Development Fund, and the remaining 15 percent are financed by the county's own funds.

A shipbuilding contract, worth about 950,000 kuna, was signed last September with Damor d.o.o., and, as previously mentioned, the new firefighting vessel will be taken care of by Mljet's fire brigade and by Mljet Municipality.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County organised the ceremony as part of the activities on this year's International Civil Protection Day, which was marked on March the 1st.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page. If it's just Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Croatia's Bureaucracy and Slow Legal System Hampering Investment

What can Croatia do to up its currently extremely poor investment game? With non-EU countries like Macedonia and Serbia, which are typically considered to be less developed than Croatia, making things far easier for entrepreneurs than Croatia, and our neighbour to the north, Slovenia, pulling huge sums of cash for investment from Europe, just where is Croatia going wrong?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 22nd of February, 2019, Croatia has one of the most incentive boosting legal frameworks for investment in Europe, which is openly recognised by everyone in the EU, but there is a problem in implementing these investments, as there is in the projected image of Croatia as a tourist destination rather than an investment destination. This was stated at the opening of the recent conference " InvestCro - Is Croatia Ready for New Investments'' which was organised in Zagreb, it is held as a year-round multimedia project jointly organised by Poslovni Dnevnik, Večernji list and 24sata.

Darko Horvat, Minister of Economy, addressed the conference:

"Everyone sitting here today has the same desire: If we can't make Croatia more desirable for investments, we at least should become aware that we're not that bad either. We have to work on our own confidence, because if we don't believe in ourselves, how will those who come here to invest feel when they encounter problems. It's especially important that people from the field - mayors and entrepreneurs, who can share the problems they encounter on a daily basis - also participate in the conference.

When you analyse today's renowned global and Croatian TV stations, portals, newspapers... you'll see that Croatia is a country offering the sun and the sea. To sum up how much Croatia has invested into being recognised as a tourist destination, it's clear why we're not seen as an investment Mecca. We don't have any marketing that would allow investors to see and recognise our country as being desirable for investment.

Our only "marketing" is a negative one through investors who did come to Croatia and haven't managed to succeed, and are talking about that abroad. Those who succeeded and didn't encounter any serious problems, and that's the majority, are generally silent and just do their work because nobody else asks them anything,'' Horvat said.

He added that the huge problem Croatia has is that during the accession period for EU membership, negotiations were carried out and the EU's laws were taken on without question, and they weren't "localised'' through the implementing of acts, which is why the bureaucracy and the judiciary system are so slow and dysfunctional today.

"Now that we're a full member [of the EU], we have to work harder to purge the regulatory framework that hampers us and prevents us from developing. With all the problems we have, Croatia has been growing steadily by 2-3 percent, but the problem is that those around us are growing 2-3 times faster than we are. Therefore, we must implement processes that will accelerate investment and the ease of doing business. When it comes to opening a company, we have seven steps and the whole process for the company to start doing business lasts longer than 30-40 days, although the registration itself lasts just fifteen minutes. We must take for example Estonia or Macedonia, which are at the top of the competitiveness ladder, and not be 150 places behind,'' noted Minister Horvat.

He also pointed out that the issue of the speed of issuing building permits is the biggest problem in big cities, primarily in Zagreb.

"Things are happening and they just need to be promoted. If the Slovenes have managed to attract 14 billion euros in investment from Western Europe, and we've only had 3.8 billion, then it's clear to see that we have some serious problems," said Minister Darko Horvat.

Zdenko Adrović, Director of the Croatian Association of Banks (HUB), highlighted the importance of public debate on the challenges of investing in Croatia.

"The aim of this project is to open up a series of investment issues in Croatia, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of HUB, and this year we want to stimulate the discussion about investments and the role of the banking sector in it. The IMF concluded that there is a need to alleviate bureaucratic obstacles and that would be very welcome, as would providing stronger legal certainty involving a fast and efficient justice system. Without a proper justice system there's little hope in expecting any sort of investment wave, we're not even among the top thirty [countries for investment]. A very well-known British business paper recently concluded that the sun and the sea  aren't enough,'' Adrović warned.

He also added that the establishment of a company in Croatia lasts several times longer than it does in our immediate neighborhood, including in countries like Serbia and Macedonia, both of which are outside of the EU, and which we usually consider to be considerably less developed than Croatia. Vladimir Nišević, editor-in-chief of Poslovni Dnevnik, stressed the importance of the media in promoting important social values, and Croatia's investment climate is certainly one of them.

"Without healthy investment and economic development there will be no other social advances such as curricular reform and the like, although the current Uljanik problem is one of the burning issues of the Croatian economy and society, it's much more important to look at how our country and our society will look in twenty years,'' Nišević rightly concluded.

Make sure to stay up to date with news on Croatia's investment and business climate and everything you need to know by following our dedicated business and politics pages.

 

Click here for the original article by Darko Bicak for Poslovni Dnevnik

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