Thursday, 30 June 2022

PM Says Government Systematically Making Strategic Headway For Prosperity Of Citizens

ZAGREB, 30 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that the government was "very systematically making strategic headway" to improve the lives of citizens and the economy, referring to Croatia's admission to the euro area and the Schengen Area, as well as to the upgrade of the country's credit ratings.

At its last summit, the European Council confirmed Croatia's entry into the euro area on 1 January 2023, and the government expects that Croatia will also join the Schengen area then too.

"We are very systematically making these strategic steps forward for the prosperity of our citizens and economy. They (that headway) are here, they will last, they will remain, and they will be a kind of legacy of the two terms of our government," Plenković said at a cabinet meeting.

"These are really great strategic achievements. They do not just come with some routine schedule. They come on the basis of the implementation of reforms, the fulfillment of benchmarks, the adoption of laws, and our political and diplomatic engagement," he added.

The Moody's agency has recently announced that it could raise Croatia's credit rating to the investment category following the EU's recommendation for Zagreb's entry into the euro area.

Croatia's current rating of 'Ba1' signals investors that the agency considers the purchase of Croatian government bonds a speculative investment.

Last Friday Moody's announced that it will raise Croatia's rating by two levels, to 'Baa2', investment category.

Plenković said that Croatia will have the best credit rating so far in the investment level, according to the assessments of all the three largest global credit rating agencies.

"We are sending a message of confidence to financial markets, investors, partners (...) There will be many more such positive messages. Only now will we appear on the radar of some serious stakeholders on the market since we have been given a sort of tick from all three agencies," he underscored.

Council's conclusions on BiH call for limited constitutional and electoral law reforms

Commenting on the conclusions of the last European Council on the possible candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plenković said that the Croatian initiative included the wording that the European Council is ready to give BiH candidate status if it meets reforms in 14 areas, including limited constitutional and electoral law reforms. They "should address the issue of the inequality of Croats as the least numerous constituent people in the country among other things, said the PM underscoring that Zagreb has been systematically advocating the BiH Croats' rights for years.

Plenković also commented on a decision at the NATO summit in Madrid to give the green light for Swedish and Finnish membership in NATO.

He said he was "glad" that President Zoran Milanović agreed with the government's position, who had previously said that it was necessary to block the Swedish and Finnish request for NATO membership until the election law in BiH was changed.

A proposal on initiating the procedure for concluding a protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO was adopted during Thursday's cabinet meeting.


For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Croatian Prosperity: Where Does Croatia Stand Within Immediate Region?

What does Croatian prosperity look like on a map of its immediate region, Eastern Europe, Europe as a whole and indeed when compared with the rest of the world? What has improved and what has become worse?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of November, 2019, according to the Legatum Institute of London - as is the case with most of Eastern Europe, of which Croatia is listed as a part of, the Western Balkan countries are ranked lower on the Prosperity Index in terms of personal freedoms, social capital and the natural environment.

The Western Balkan countries have made progress in general prosperity over the past decade or so, meaning that Croatian propserity has taken steps forward, but they're generally lagging behind in terms of progress in personal freedoms, social cohesion and the environment, as is shown quite clearly by the annual Legatum Institute Prosperity Index of London, Radio Free Europe reports.

Globally, prosperity continues to improve and the world is more prosperous now than it has ever been. On the other hand, the gap between the countries with the best and worst results continues to widen, while the stagnation of institutions keeps global prosperity from improving more.

"The very good news is that the index shows that prosperity is continuing to grow globally, both over the last year and consistently since 2007," said Philippa Stroud, director of the Legatum Institute. She added, however, that further improvements in global prosperity have been slowed by the weakening of personal freedoms as well as in the area of ​​governance.

In this year's Prosperity Index, Denmark has replaced Norway by taking first place, and North America remains the most prosperous region of all, although the stagnation of prosperity in that part of the world is reducing its gap with Western Europe.

Of the Western Balkan countries, Montenegro is ranked 50th on the Prosperity Index list. It is followed by Serbia in 52nd place, Northern Macedonia in 54th place, Albania in 65th place and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 70th place. According to the Legatum Institute, Kosovo is among the countries not included on the Prosperity Index due to insufficient access to the necessary data.

Social capital measures how cohesive a society is in terms of trust, respect and assistance among its members, as well as in relation to institutional structures.

From Eastern Europe, Estonia is the 21st highest on the Prosperity Index list. Then come Slovenia (27), Czech Republic (28), Slovakia (32), Lithuania (33), Latvia (35), Poland (36), Croatia (45), Hungary (46), Romania (47) and Bulgaria (49).

At the very bottom of the list of Eastern European countries lie Belarus (73rd on the global list), Russia (74), Moldova (81), Azerbaijan (92) and Ukraine (96).

Over the past decade, at least according to the Legatum Institute, all Eastern European countries have recorded improvements in market access and market infrastructure, as well as in living conditions.

Additionally, social capital, which was generally weak in Eastern Europe, improved in 17 of the 23 countries in the region, with Bosnia and Herzegovina rather surprisingly having the largest improvement of them all.

On the other hand, personal freedom in Eastern Europe has deteriorated more than in any of the regions, with only eight of the 23 countries having improved since 2009. Hungary recorded the largest deterioration of all countries, significantly reducing freedom of assembly, association and speech.

Although Eastern Europe has experienced overall deterioration in security over the past decade, there have been improvements in 18 of the 23 countries. The deterioration in the region in this regard is mainly due to the war in eastern Ukraine.

The top ten countries in the Prosperity Index are Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Luxembourg and Iceland. These countries were in the top 10 years ago, though in the meantime, another Northern European country, the United Kingdom, entered the top 10 but then dropped out.

The last 10 are Sudan, Burundi, Eritrea, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Chad, Central African Republic, Yemen and South Sudan.

In the list of regions, behind North America, which covers only the United States and Canada, are Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more on Croatian prosperity.