Finance Minister Zdravko Marić (Photo: Marko Lukunic/PIXSELL) Finance Minister Zdravko Marić (Photo: Marko Lukunic/PIXSELL)

Fitch emphasized Croatia's budgetary surplus and fiscal consolidation as the primary reason for the upgrade. Finance Minister Zdravko Marić was clearly pleased with the upgraded rating.

"I would say this is very good news, and that all Croatian citizens, taxpayers and businesses can be happy. Yet another piece of good news and confirmation has arrived from the international financial circles. After some six years, Fitch is the second rating agency to return Croatia's rating to where I would say it belongs, and that is an investment grade rating. First we had Standard & Poor’s and as of last night Fitch as well. Obviously as finance minister and a member of this government, I am extremely pleased and proud that the results of our fiscal policy have been recognized, and I would say that this was one of the primary reasons for raising our credit rating," Marić said.

Fitch also applauded government's efforts to prepare for Europe's Exchange Rate Mechanism 2 and subsequent adoption of the Euro. This prompted Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to issue the following statement:

"This confirms that Croatia is moving in the right direction, that the government is stable and that it is implementing reforms. I applaud the fact that the Fitch agency has recognized the results of our efforts in maintaining macroeconomic stability, implementing structural reforms and our responsible management of public finances."

The agency did warn however, that Croatia still needs to implement important structural reforms. And while the positive outlook for the future opens the door to a higher rating in the future, domestic analysts - who agree that Croatia is in a positive trend, feel that a higher rating will be difficult to achieve without serious reforms in the health care and public administration sectors.

Source: HRT