Before the 1991-1995 Homeland War, the Borovo shoe manufacturing company was a driver of development in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar, economically, culturally, in sports and many other aspects and it is necessary to do everything to salvage the company and to boost production in an effort to once again propel the town's development, it was said at a conference on Thursday.

The conference was organised to mark the 85th anniversary of Borovo's existence and 25 years since the Ivo Pilar Social Sciences Institute was founded.

Former board member in Borovo, Ivan Hubalek recalled that Borovo once had 24,000 workers. The company covered 200,000 square metres of production and commercial premises and it also produced electricity and heating energy. That was an infrastructure worthy of a larger town, he said, adding that 62 companies did business within the Borovo group.

Head of the Ivo Pilar Institute's Vukovar branch Drazen Zivic underscored that it was necessary to re-industrialise Croatia.

Borovo is the driver of the entire Vukovar area and it suffered enormous devastation during the Homeland War and now it is trying to recover. We know that the crisis in Borovo started long before the war and that that was partially caused by surplus workers. Borovo's recovery can occur only when economic branches are revitalised and that require more workers which could mean the re-industrialisation of not just Borovo but other enterprises, Zivic said.

The conference has attracted around 30 experts and scholars to discuss the social and political circumstances in which Borovo emerged and personnel policies in the company as well as its contribution to science and higher education, its publication activities and other topics related to the company.

Prior to the Homeland War, Borovo employed 24,000 workers and produced 20 million pairs of shoes, 30,000  tonnes of pneumatic and other rubber products. Today it employs 705 people and annually produces about 400,000 pairs of shoes.

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