Croatia will not be able to develop without increasing investments in science, higher education and innovations, deputy leader of the Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS) Miljenko Simpraga told a press conference on Monday.

"A small Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth which is constantly circulating at around two percent is not founded on an industrial production growth but more on consumption and the HSLS considers that the economy will not grow without cooperation between education and science institutions and the economic sector," Simpraga said. He added that this can be seen in the results achieved by all the countries in Croatia's neighbourhood that had increased their investments in research and development during the economic crisis aware of the fact that only new know-how and technology can produce new products that can be released on the market and open new jobs.

He assessed that this approach was particularly important for Croatia where the economy is founded on small and medium enterprise and of all the business subjects that exist in the country, 99 percent are micro, small and medium-size enterprises and only one percent are large companies. Because small and medium enterprises do not have sufficient money for their own development, cooperation with universities is necessary which can be seen in the most developed economies in the world seeing that 80 percent of all patents that drive the economy, come from universities equipped for research.

He recalled that this was particularly important in reference to the Strategy of clever specialisation which, he underscored, "creates opportunities to obtain a further billion euro for innovative projects and technology transfer projects."

HSLS MP Gordana Rusak who is the chair of the parliamentary committee for education, science and culture and a member of the HSLS-BUZ-NZ bench in parliament said that it was important to develop a scholarship system for students through foundations, tax breaks for businesses that invest in scholarship funds or offer direct scholarships for future employees.

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