The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016 ranks Croatia 58th among 61 leading world economies, the same as last year, the National Competitiveness Council (NVK) said on Monday.

"The report shows that processes are rapidly changing globally and our progress is not enough to elevate Croatia in the competitiveness rankings, because other countries too have continued to progress. Despite a generally better assessment, we are still firmly at the bottom of the rankings, the weakest of all the new European Union member states. It's therefore necessary to launch processes which will improve our position in the competitiveness rankings and create the prerequisites for launching investments and creating jobs," said NVK president Ivica Mudrinic.

The Lausanne-based IMD's competitiveness rankings shows 342 criteria, two thirds of which refer to statistical indicators and one third to a business people survey. The survey was conducted this past February and March, while the indicators are based on statistical data available for 2015.

According to NVK, the assessment of Croatia's competitiveness in the 2006-09 period markedly improved, declining in the 2011-14 period, and improving in 2015 the assessment.

However, the countries Croatia is compared with recorded similar progress, although this year Slovakia and Slovenia jumped six places in the rankings, NVK said in a press release. "This confirms the fact that Croatia is not doing enough in reform implementation and that it visibly lags behind other new European Union member states."

The IMD analyses competitiveness based on four factors - economic results, public sector efficiency, business sector efficiency, and infrastructure - and five indices for each area.

NVK says the most important changes in Croatia's assessment for this year were the price index (+9), because of a very low inflation, and the social environment index (+6), because of favourable gender equality indicators.

The biggest declines were recorded in the fiscal policy index (-7), because of a higher public debt and markedly worse survey assessments of public finance management and the pension policy, the foreign investment index (-5) because of extremely low foreign investments, and the technology infrastructure index (-4) because of a decline in investments in ICT and worse survey assessments of the technological development policy.

According to business people, the most favourable indicators are a qualified workforce, a higher level of education, a reliable infrastructure, and cost competitiveness, while the worst are the tax system, policy stability and predictability, government competence, and efficiency of the legal and business sector.

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