The Croatian Diaspora

Diaspora Remittances Important Part of Balance of Payments

By 12 November 2019

ZAGREB, November 12, 2019 - Remittances by Croatian citizens living abroad are close in amount to net tourism revenues and represent a very stable source of financing, but Croatia must generate an innovative economy to motivate them to generate those earnings in Croatia, economist Mladen Vedriš said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the "Returnees and economic development" conference.

Over 2 billion euro in informal remittances, gifts, aid and pensions go into Croatia's balance of payments, according to the central bank, and the trend is rising, but the question is how much the people who have formed families abroad will feel the need to continue to send remittances, Vedriš said.

In tourism, only beds are a domestic resource and 70% of what we sell is imported, he said, adding that investments to motivate workers to return to Croatia could and must be found.

According to the findings of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences surveys, 65% of those who left Croatia cited a poor financial situation as the main reason. Others are dissatisfaction with the situation in the country, widespread corruption, intolerance, poor work of state institutions and poor living conditions.

Return is possible only if decent living is made possible because only one in five emigrants refuse the possibility to come back, Vedriš said.

He cited German surveys showing that the education of one person through university graduation costs the state 260,000 euro on average, which is just one aspect of the brain drain. One engineer generates during his working life about a million dollars in new value which stays in Germany, and half of those who have left Croatia have university degrees.

Vedriš also cited Greek surveys showing that those who left the country took 12 billion euro in value with them and estimated the same applies to Croats working abroad.

The director of Germany's Konrad Adenauer Foundation for Croatia and Slovenia, Holger Haibach, said the conference was the result of an agreement with Croatia's Ivo Pilar Institute to jointly consider relations between governments, education, migration and similar issues given that 400,000 Croats live in Germany.

Haibach said the conference was a continuation of yesterday's panel "Remigration and circular migration as a cohesion strategy" as well as part of a series of events called "Talking Europe II 2019-2020", which are aimed at encouraging public debates on the EU's current challenges and future prospects ahead of Croatia's presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.