Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said on Saturday that results were more important than political experience, commenting on a report in which Fitch Ratings affirmed a negative outlook on Croatia's credit rating and assessed that because of Oreskovic's lack of political experience, it was doubtful whether the government could change the outlook.
Fitch Ratings on Friday affirmed Croatia's long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'BB' and 'BB+' respectively, retaining a negative outlook on the IDRs. Two weeks ago, Standard &Poor's issued the same rating.
"The previous government had four years and political experience, yet the rating was downgraded twice, so that I don't know how important political experience is. In the end, results are important," Oreskovic told reporters ahead of a celebration of Chinese New Year at Zagreb's main square.
"They sent us a message, as did other investors, agencies and the European Commission - if they see results, they will change the rating," Oreskovic said, adding that the message was very clear.
"I have been clearly communicating a message for six weeks now. The debt is nearing 90 percent, they expect changes, the deficit and the debt to decrease... If they see that the debt is beginning to decrease, that the budget reflects reforms, that the deficit will decrease, then the rating will turn in a positive direction. We are willing to focus on the public debt and we will see in due course that the rating will change," Oreskovic said.
Reporters asked him if he saw a strong economic partner in China. "Absolutely, China is a huge economic power. Its market offers potential," he said, adding that he had discussed with the Chinese ambassador how to strengthen Croatian-Chinese cooperation. He said they would focus on the economy and investments, and that he was already invited to visit China.
Asked who would be the new war veterans minister, Oreskovic said this would be "communicated" as soon as possible.