President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović presented her measures for population policy at a news conference today, this after Prime Minister Andrej Plenković refused to call a joint session of the government on the topic.
“It is a vital issue, the survival of the Croatian state and the Croatian nation,” said the president at the beginning of the conference, adding that she pointed out the demographic issue in her election program, when she announced that she would conduct an active policy of demographic revitalization. “Remaining indifferent to the fact that of our demographic disappearance would mean giving up on the future,” she said.
President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said that the plan of measures were written by her in cooperation with her advisors, adding that a working a document is in question that can be changed in accordance with public debate and further consultations with participants in public, political and economic life. “The implementation of these measures naturally has its price, but their non-implementation has an even higher price and that is the disappearance of the Croatian nation and state in the not so far future. The implementation of these measures is not an expense but rather investing in the future,” noted the president.
The president said that Croatia needs grassroots social measures. “This proposal does not depend only on political will for its implementation but also social climate that will follow the measures in the coming years. It is necessary to renew our institutions and strengthen and optimize the effectiveness of institutions in their implementation. Only in this way is it possible to regain the trust of citizens in politics,” said President Grabar-Kitarović.
“According to the census in 2011, Croatia had a population of 4 284 000. Today Croatia has less than four million inhabitants with a strong imbalance in the age structure.
If we do not halt the catastrophic demographic trends, more than 1 100 000 inhabitants will be lost by 2051. The number of young people within the population is quickly dropping, while the number and portion of the older population is growing. If we continue this way until 2051, the number of inhabitants will drop to 3 150 000. The number of people in the working contingent will drop from 2.9 million to 1.8 million in 2051, and that shows that the number of inhabitants in the working and fertile ages will drastically drop,” said the president.
She also noted that Croatia is facing an exodus of inhabitants. “Entire families are leaving. A real exodus of the Croatian youth is in question. There are no actual figures, but research shows that the actual number is 2.6 times higher than official statistics,” she said.
The first group of measures are economic measures, the basic goal of which is to create a favorable environment for creating competitive jobs.
Tax reforms are the key to everything. The main goal is to lower expenses for workers and employers. The second key reform is reform of the public administration.
Another focus is on citizens with blocked bank accounts. The president noted that all intermediaries should be removed from the foreclosure procedure and that foreclosures should be returned to the jurisdiction of courts. The next measure would be to introduce an absolute statute of limitations.
The president said that in Croatia existential problems are an obstacle to the desired number of children. Family policy measures can be divided into three segments: 1 – financial benefits and bonuses; 2 – childcare services; 3 – time foreseen for family vacations, days off.