President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Monday called for more efforts to be invested into creating a more favourable climate for employing the jobless and for making sure that young Croats will stay in the country and build its future.

"Unemployment is still high, and employment low, and our public debt is a growing problem which is at the risk of escalating unless we reach a growth rate of at least 4 per cent per year," Grabar-Kitarovic said at a conference called "Let's Employ Croatia", organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) in cooperation with the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) in Zagreb.

The president reiterated that two years since its admission to the European Union, Croatia now had the highest survey unemployment rate among EU member-states, over 15%, as registered in August, and the lowest employment rate, of some 45% in the second quarter of 2015.

"We must finally create a climate in which job-seekers will find jobs and which will assure young Croats to stay in Croatia and build its future. In the same vein, we must create frameworks which will in the long term enable strong and sustainable economic growth in parallel with high quality jobs and lives," the head of state added.

She said that agendas targeting 1% or 2% of economic growth "reflect a lack of ambition". "We must always be realistic, but this does not rule out ambitions."

She said it's high time one ceased speaking about opportunities and potentials and that the country must get to work.

The  project "Let's Employ Croatia", which was launched this spring, consists of 39 guidelines elaborated by the Chamber in cooperation with scientists and experts, HGK President Luka Burilovic said at today's conference.

"We expect political decision-makers to embrace those guidelines void of ideologies, and whose only aim is to improve the economy," Burilovic said.

He warned that currently 1.3 million employed Croatians are supporting 4.2 million citizens in the country.

According to some estimates, only 750,000 workers are in the real sector, and it is not difficult to conclude that such a situation can't last any longer, the HGK chief said.

He said that the Chamber had proved through its own example that structural reforms could be conducted in a short period, and this must be done also by the public administration.

The HAZU President, Zvonko Kusic, said that there were no simple moves or swift solutions to resolve the issue of unemployment.

"We lack continuity and discipline in implementing rules, regardless of changes in the government or changes in the ministerial positions. We need a continuity of thousand small changes to change really anything," the academic said.

Related stories

"Buy Croatian" exhibition in Zagreb's main square

Croatian trade delegation visiting Slovakia

HDZ, SDP continue to give different employment statistics

Analysts consider EC forecast of GDP growth optimistic

Croatia not ready to introduce dual education

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.