zdravko marić.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Monday that the government was faced with a major challenge - defending the country's credit rating.

"We are facing a major challenge of defending the credit rating," Maric said at an international conference on foreign direct investments, adding that he believed the country's economic foundations were strong enough for that.

He said that there were also other elements, primarily political economy, which he said had been intensively talked about recently.

"Still, I hope and believe that the situation will stabilise and that we will continue on the same path we have set for ourselves," Maric said at the conference organised by the Association of Foreign Investors, the Jutarnji List daily, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Employers' Association, the Investment and Competitiveness Agency, and the embassies of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain.

Maric said that his ministry was operating normally and that it continued to focus on the tax reform, whose draft should be presented in late June or early July.

He underlined that he did not make any difference between foreign and domestic investments.

"Investments in the economy that add value and enable new employment are more than welcome," he said.

The president of the Association of Foreign Investors and Siemens Croatia management board chair Mladen Fogec said that the investment potential in Croatia was big.

"The current political situation, relatively unstable, is not good for us and I believe that in the future politics should be separated from foreign investments and the economy in general," said Fogec.

He cited in that context Macedonia, whose political situation was much more unstable than Croatia's, however, that country was making much faster progress regarding foreign investments and the economy.

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