The European Commission's latest forecast for the Croatian economy has confirmed what the HDZ has been warning about for a long time -- Croatia is at the bottom of the development ranking, the opposition Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party said on Thursday.
In the Commission's autumn economic forecast, released on Thursday, Croatia performed the worst in comparison with ten EU member states from Eastern Europe -- Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria, HDZ member of the European Parliament Ivana Maletic told a press conference in Zagreb.
"According to this, Croatia is definitely sinking, and it is shocking that the government is not wondering why that is so, why Croatia, which is full of resources and potential for growth and development in comparison with the countries of Eastern Europe, is sinking and showing the lowest results," Maletic said.
She said that all these countries had much better growth projections than Croatia. The growth rate for Croatia for this year is projected at 1.1%, while the next country, Lithuania, has a much better growth rate projection of 1.7%. "Not to mention the Czech Republic, which is expected to achieve growth of 4.3%, and Poland and Romania, both with a growth rate of 3.5%," she added.
The growth rate of just 1.4% is forecast for Croatia in 2016 and of 1.7% in 2017, which shows that Croatia is not developing enough and is facing a threat of poverty and emigration of its people, Maletic said.
Maletic also noted that Croatia's general government debt was much higher than that of other Eastern European countries, adding that Croatia had the highest public debt, while all the Eastern European countries had a deficit of less than 3%, in line with the Maastricht criteria.