ZAGREB, Sept 7 (Hina) – Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Coric said on Sunday the government would insist on boosting other industries besides tourism and that Croatia would enter 2021 with projects ready for a €22 billion EU envelope.
In the first phase of the crisis, he told public TV, the government projected that GDP would fall a little over 9%, with HRK 35-40 billion in damage to the economy, but the tourist season has been better than expected so the government hopes the GDP fall will be lower.
“Job retention measures will cover a little less than 100,000 workers. After the summer season, there has been a decrease in the number of those employed for years, and the same is expected this year,” Coric said but added that the decrease would not be catastrophic as some claimed. “We guarantee it, just as that we will retain most jobs.”
Tourism’s big GDP share makes Croatia vulnerable in terms of the economy and responses to shocks such as COVID-19, he said.
That is why, he said, the government will insist on boosting other industries while encouraging the development of tourism, first and foremost by extending the season. “But the accent will be on production activities because it’s the segment in which Croatia has been suffering for years.”
The intention is to absorb as much money as possible to raise the competitiveness of domestic production and exporters, “primarily the technical level, which opens a long term development perspective as part of the European Green Deal,” the minister said.
We are a small, open economy and the €22 billion envelope will suffice to help our production sector, he said. “That’s why I insist that production is in the focus of all our programmes, both the recovery and resilience packages as well as the 2021-2027 multiannual financial perspective.”
Asked how much European funds could help and when Croatia could expect them, Coric said the government had a plan and that the intention was for as much as possible of the envelope to be channeled towards the economy.
The details are still unknown but, in communication with Brussels and between ministries, we are discussing the projects which should be upfront, he said.
“Croatia will certainly enter 2021 with projects ready. What awaits us in 2021, after this challenging year 2020, is economic recovery. We must do our best for this recovery to cause higher GDP growth rates in the long term,” Coric said, adding that investing in production was the right avenue.