ZAGREB, Sept 28 (Hina) - The National Competitiveness Council (NVK) on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the fact that Croatia rose from 77th to 74th place on the World Economy Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Ranking, but warned that this was a modest improvement insufficient for better attraction of investments that would lead to higher living standards.

The NVK chairman, Ivica Mudrinic, said at a news conference that positive effects could be palpable only if Croatia ranked between 50th and 40th place.

Croatia made improvements in six out of 12 components of the index, taken into consideration by WEF experts: Macroeconomic environment, Higher education and training, Goods market efficiency, Labour market efficiency, Market size and Business sophistication. The country's performance in the pillars "Institutions" and "Infrastructure" remained unchanged. However, it fared worse in Health and primary education, Financial market development, Technological readiness and Innovation.

Mudrinic said that Croatia had finally stopped a years-long sliding streak in this ranking.

"I hope that this trend of moving up the ranking will continue," Mudrinic said, adding that for this goal to be achieved, politicians and the next government must implement structural reforms without delay.

Trade unionist Kresimir Sever, a member of the NVK, said that apart from structural reforms, Croatia "needs a vision of future and social consensus on values" including respect for skilled workers and professionals.

In this context, Sever warned that as many as 15% of jobless Croatians held a university degree in July this year as against 7.5% in 2008.

Earlier on Wednesday, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that the government could not be fully satisfied with the pace of improvement in the WEF ranking, stressing the need to encourage the science and innovations system.

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