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Photograph: HINA/ Dario GRZELJ/ ik

Information and communications technology is a top subject in Croatia, but political parties have no clear vision as to what to do with it after Sunday's parliamentary election, the Croatian Employers Association (HUP) said on Monday after the parties presented their ICT platforms.

The presentation was organised by HUP's ICT Association, the Croatian Independent Software Exporters (CISEx) and the Croatian branch of the European Commission's "eSkills for Jobs" initiative.

HUP director general Davor Majetic said Europe estimated that it lost EUR 300 million in revenue annually because of the non-use of digital economy, HUP said in a press release

Nikola Dujmovic of CISEx said they expected the next government to change the practice of passing laws without taking into consideration the particularities of digital economy. "In adopting and amending laws which refer to work and the simplicity of doing business, one should bear in mind the particularities of the ICT sector and the way of doing business in this sector, and reduce red tape and unnecessary administration."

Croatia cannot be competitive if the government does not make a transformation, said Adrijan Jezina, president of HUP's ICT Association. "The ICT industry can produce anywhere, which is why it's necessary to build an infrastructure so that our ICT sector stays here and keeps up with the rest of the world. It's necessary to create an ecosystem that will easily and efficiently support the ICT industry."

Croatia lacks a qualified workforce for the IT sector, as 850 ICT experts come to the labour market every year, while 2,000 jobs are created, it was said.

"The number of those employed is growing and stands at around 32,000 at the moment. However, while export in the IT sector is growing,  it's falling in the telecommunications sector because of regulations. Over the past two years, software production and IT services saw an export growth of over 50 percent, despite the crisis. The development of this sector depends proportionately on the number of those employed," said Hrvoje Balen, national coordinator for "eSkills for Jobs".

ICT platforms were presented by the SDP-led Croatia Is Growing coalition, the coalition led by the HDZ, the strongest Opposition party, the Successful Croatia coalition and the MOST (Bridge) , Sustainable Development of Croatia (ORaH) and Pametno (Smart) parties. HUP said they were most interested in the lack of ICT personnel and the education policy, and that all were agreed that it was necessary to reform education and link the academic and real sectors.

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