A conference titled: "The Croatia We Need" was held near Koprivnica on Tuesday. Organized by the Večernji List daily, the focus of discussion was on changes to labour laws and adjusting the tax system, as a basis for raising competitiveness during the coronavirus crisis.
With the introduction of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Croatian companies were forced to quickly adjust to the new circumstances. Work from home has become ubiquitous and as a result the need for changes to the labour law has arisen. The CEO of one of Croatia's largest companies, the Podravka food goods company, Marin Pucar, said that in spite of the challenges, Croatian companies, with the help of the government, have been successful in preserving jobs. He added however, that what is needed now, is reforms with regard to the labour market.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that higher competitiveness will be secured through the reform of the tax system: “It exists to ensure the redistributive function of the state budget, for achieving our economic and social priorities, especially during the corona-crisis.”
Branko Roglić, the CEO of the Orbico Group, which deals in distribution, noted: “It is not our goal to lowers taxes so much that we get rich but the state suffers, we have to bear in mind the need to maintain the balance between public spending and the real economy.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić added: “These taxes must be in function, but they cannot serve as the solution to all of our problems, economic, social and so on.”
It was also noted at the conference that the European Union has prepared a large program for member states in order to help them survive corona-crisis. Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that the green-digital transformation was the solution to the ongoing economic woes brought about by the corona-crisis: “The Economy and Sustainable Development Ministry will insist that the biggest part of that program, as much as is possible, be directed towards at precisely increasing the competitiveness of domestic producers. In concrete terms, through the acquisition of new machines, digitalization and new technologies. This is the only way for products made in Croatia can affect Croatia's foreign trade balance in the sub-section of goods, improves by a Kuna.”
“Therefore, in a bid to speed up the process we will increase investment into research and development and innovation, which we plan on raising to 2-5 percent by the end of our mandate,” concluded Prime Minister Plenković.
The conference participants concluded that new technologies and a new, green direction in the economy represent an opportunity for the Croatian economy to raise its competitiveness.
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