At an international conference organized by the MMF and the Croatian National Bank in Dubrovnik the main topics of discussion were demographics and migration. A dramatic warning was sent out stating that Croatia and other countries in central and south east Europe will be faced with a great departure of workers in the coming years which could cause a decrease in economic growth.
It is estimated that in the next 30 years, Croatia could lose 12% of its population or up to 25% of its workers. This and other topics were addressed by Deputy MMF Director Tao Zhang in an interview for Croatian Radio Television.
When asked to comment on the fact that more and more foreign workers will enter Croatia, Tao Zhang was very clear.
“It is evident that foreign workers are a supplement for the work force if they have the right skills that respond to the needs of the economy. That is not only valid here, but elsewhere. Naturally when foreign workers come here it is a question of how to make sure they easily adapt to society,” said Zhang.
He also commented negative demographic trends that the entire region is facing, as well as measures that need to be taken in order to maintain a functioning pension system.
“We extend the work lifetime of the work force. However, we want to offer proper stimulation for people to remain or to return to the work force. Naturally in order to achieve this they must have the needed skills. For this they need to have the support and stimulation of the pension system so that people can work longer,” he added.
When asked what the MMF expects of Croatia this year in terms of GDP growth, the Deputy MMF Director was clear in his expectations.
“For 2019 we expect a growth of between 2.5 to 2.9%,” concluded Zhang.