Croatia needs strong and brave reforms on all fronts, starting with tax, pension and health systems, but current projections of the economic growth ranging between 1.5% and 2% are not sufficient and should these trends continue an increasing number of people will continue to emigrate, a round table called "New economic and fiscal policy for Croatia" said in Zagreb on Wednesday.

A member of the Economy and Energy Committee in the Budestag, Klaus-Peter Willsch, said that one of the main problems was the fact that there was a belief in Croatia that once the country entered the European Union all problems would be solved.

This is an illusion. Croatia cannot resolve problems without investing its own efforts. I would like to use this opportunity to encourage Croatian politicians to recognise the problems and enable reforms. Germany, as your good friend, is ready to help you, but you have to do the lion's share of the job on your own, Willsch said at the debate organised by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Zagreb Initiative.

Willsch also said he did not understand why the tourist season in Croatia lasted this short or why Croatia could not produce enough food to cover at least its own needs.

Professor Nikola Mijatovic of Zagreb Law School said Croatia had extensive tax regulations. "Each new government adopts its own regulations but fails to get rid of old ones," MIjatovic said.

Economist Josip Budimir of the HSLS, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said Croatia had two major problems. "The problem is how much Croatia is spending and what it is spending the money on. The fact is that we spend more than we have and even with high fiscal burdens, which are among the highest in Europe, we cannot feed the state's needs," Budimir said.

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