ZAGREB, Nov 12 (Hina) – Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Thursday unveiled a proposal for the national development strategy until 2030, saying that ten years from now he saw Croatia as a competitive, innovative and stable country of recognisable identity and culture, with preserved resources, good living standards and equal opportunities for all.
In circumstances of globalisation, over the next decade Croatia must use its competitive advantages and focus on sustainable economy and society, on increasing resilience to crises, on a green and digital transition, and balanced regional development, the prime minister said.
The goals include realising the potential for development, mitigating the consequences of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, promoting sustainable and stable development, improving living standards and ensuring equal opportunities for all people.
Plenkovic said that ambitious and realistic indicators were developed for all these components.
The proposed national development strategy will be put to public consultation over the next 30 days, after which it goes before the government and parliament.
The premier expressed hope that the strategy would be adopted with a broad consensus and support.
The 140-page document has been prepared by the government departments and the academic community as well as other interested stakeholders.
Plenkovic recalled that upon the adoption of this strategy by parliament, all other documents should be adjusted to it.
“In 2017, we launched the preparation of the National Development Strategy, which will mark systematic and strategic progress towards a more successful and more developed Croatia in 2030,” Plenkovic said.
Four development areas and 13 strategic targets
He added that the strategy should be implemented through the synergy of public policies in four development areas.
There are 13 targets contained in the strategy: a competitive and innovative economy, educated and employed people, an efficient judiciary, public administration and state property management, global recognisability, a stronger international position and role, healthy, active and high-quality life of citizens, demographic revitalisation including a better status of family, security for stable development, ecological and energy transition to climate neutrality, self-sufficiency of food production and the development of bio-economy, sustainable mobility, digital transition of society and the economy, the development of underdeveloped areas and areas with development particularities, and greater regional competitiveness.
The target is for GDP per capita to reach 75% of EU average by 2030
Speaking of Croatia’s target values by 2030, Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Natasa Tramisak said the target was for GDP per capita to reach 75% of the EU average, up from 65% in 2019.
The target for the employment rate is to reach 75% (66.7% in 2019), for Croatia to rank 45th or higher on the Global Competitiveness Report (63rd in 2019), for exports to account for 70% of GDP (52.3% in 2019), and for outlays for research and development to account for 3% of GDP (1.11% in 2019).
Furthermore, the target for both men’s and women’s healthy life expectancy is to reach 64 years (56.5 for men and 58.5 for women in 2018), for total fertility to rise to 1.8 children (1.47 in 2018), for reading literacy, as measured by PISA, to reach the 2018 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 487 points (479 in Croatia).
Another target is to reach the EU average in the length of time pupils spend in the teaching process and in adult participation in lifelong learning, which in 2019 was 10.8% in the EU and 3.5% in Croatia.
Another target is to reduce the percentage of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion to below 15%. Last year it stood at 23.3%
The government also wishes to increase labour productivity in agriculture from €6,107 per annual unit labour cost to €10,000.
Another target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise the share of renewables in gross energy consumption, to raise the recycled municipal waste rate to 55% (25.3% in 2018), and to reach the EU average of 52.6% in the Digital Economy and Society Index (47.6% in Croatia).
National Development Strategy wasn’t drawn up by the World Bank
Responding to questions from the press, Plenkovic said the National Development Strategy was a framework strategic act, not an operational plan or sectoral strategy, which therefore did not envisage implementing documents.
He added that the government was the most responsible for its implementation, that its adoption was not late and that it was adjusted to this year’s circumstances.
Tramisak said a €4.3 million partnership agreement had been signed with the World Bank in 2017, not for drawing up the National Development Strategy but 16 analyses and the establishment of a strategic planning system.
Drawing up the strategy did not cost anything, she said, adding that it was drawn up by working groups comprising representatives of the ministries, the Chamber of Commerce and the Employers Association.
Asked if it was realistic to expect Croatia’s GDP per capita to reach 75% of the EU average by 2030, Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Coric said it had risen by four percentage points over the past four years and that the target for the next decade was to have a faster economic growth than the EU which, he added, was visible in the past four years.
As a small and open economy, by successfully absorbing European funds Croatia can make several more steps than the sluggish economies which need much more time to adjust to the Green Agenda and low-carbon development, he said.