Josipovic and Milanovic attend Croatia Business Open conference

UMAG, 26.7.2013.

The economic recovery of Croatia cannot be based on tourism alone, President Ivo Josipovic said in his opening remarks at the Croatian Business Open conference in the northern Adriatic town of Umag on Friday.

"The success of tourism is much more than counting cars and people crossing the border and overnight stays. The most important indicator of its success is how much money we have managed to earn," Josipovic told the conference, whose main theme was the future of Istria.

Josipovic said that many decisions were taken too slowly and sometimes central government authorities were unnecessarily involved in their adoption. He proposed setting up a guarantee fund for the settlement of property-related issues and urged the government to put state property to use and in that way create new jobs.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said that austerity "will take us nowhere, but we must always bear in mind that, unless we are careful, the public debt can quickly jump to more than 100 per cent of GDP."

"Our economic model is based on our circumstances, which are not the same as those in Greece, or in Latvia and Estonia. We have made small, rational changes because people do not want and do not accept radical changes," the Prime Minister said.

Speaking of the economic situation in Istria, Milanovic said that everything should be done to ensure that the rest of the country too was at least on a par with that county.

"We must show solidarity and be reasonable when making political decisions and must not enter into overly ambitious infrastructure projects which no one will be able to finance later. We must define our interests," Milanovic said. He noted that his government would certainly not embark on any project that would be harmful to Croatia.

Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin presented the national tourism strategy until 2020, focusing on aspects relevant to Istria.

As part of their visit to Umag, Josipovic and Milanovic held informal talks with Istria County head Valter Flego on the most important development projects in the county, including the continuation of construction of the regional motorway network and the beginning of construction of a General Hospital in Pula. (Hina)