Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic met in Paris on Tuesday with executives of more than 40 French companies interested in investing in Croatia, saying that his main goal was to send a message that Croatia is open to business cooperation.

"The meeting was very positive. There is a great interest in investing in infrastructure, energy, agriculture, banking and motorways," Oreskovic told the press after the meeting.

On the second day of his visit, Oreskovic attended a meeting of the France-Croatia Business Council at the French employers' federation MEDEF and met with MEDEF Secretary-General Pierre Gattaz and with executives of over 40 companies interested in investing in Croatia.

"My main goal today was to send a message that Croatia is open. I acquainted them with our results, the GDP growth, the reduction of debt and deficit, and the reforms we are implementing. All in all, it was a very successful meeting," the Croatian PM said.

The chairman of the France-Croatia Business Council and CEO of Bouygues Construction Concessions, Charles Paradis, was also pleased with the meeting.

"I am surprised by the great response from French companies. There were more than 40, which shows their great interest. I am impressed by the dynamism of the prime minister and the new government," Paradis said. He added that he would lead a large French business delegation to Croatia in the first week of October, which would be an opportunity for further talks on specific projects.

Bouygues has been present in Croatia since 1995 when it was awarded a concession for the motorway in Istria. The company also participates in the construction of Zagreb Airport and a passenger terminal in Dubrovnik's Gruz port.

Paradis said his company would bid for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge, and added that it was also interested in public-private partnership projects concerning the construction of schools and hospitals.

The meeting also involved Neven Tikvica of the Airbus Defence and Space company. "The meeting was very well organised, and Prime Minister Oreskovic listed very specific projects which Croatia considers important. That is very important to the French and European industry so that it can make the necessary preparations in a timely fashion and offer its own added value," he said.

Airbus Defence and Space, a member of Airbus Group, is already involved in certain projects in Croatia, mostly those related to national security and border protection, providing equipment for sea and land border control and cooperating with local industry.

Tikivca said that Airbus Group, which employs about 150,000 people in Europe, was interested in cooperating with Croatian companies and research centres such as Rudjer Boskovic or Koncar.

Also attending was Philipe Jausserand of the Suez company which engages in water, infrastructure and solid waste management. The company is already present in Croatia, namely in Osijek and Porec, and is interested in solid waste management in Zagreb.

Jausserand said he expected that the Zagreb city authorities would soon launch a procedure for a feasibility study, which could be followed by a tender.

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