Croatia has attracted €13bn worth of foreign direct investment in last four years

Foreign direct investment in Croatia has hit a record high of €13 billion in the last four and a half years as the country is becoming an increasingly attractive investment destination, Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Davor Filipović said on Thursday.

Speaking at a traditional conference of the Croatian Association of Economists in the northern Adriatic town of Opatija, Filipović pointed out that foreign direct investment is an important tool for promoting sustainability, competitiveness and innovation, noting that the measures under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan are aimed at strengthening the strategic framework for attracting investment.

The Investment Promotion Act encourages investment in sustainable and technologically advanced projects and projects with high added value that contribute to growth and development,В the minister said, adding that the investment climate and competitiveness are recognised by global ratings agencies and the International Monetary Fund.

Filipović said that since 2018, the administrative burden on businesses has been reduced by €252 million and that by the end of 2020, 50 measures from the action plan for relief from parafiscal duties had been implemented, while the enterprise sector had been relieved of an additional €70 million.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan provides for a further reduction of parafiscal duties of €132 million, the minister said, noting that the total amount of relief has reached nearly €450 million over a period of several years.

Opportunities are opening up for businesses to obtain grants for investment in energy independence and renewable sources, Filipović said, adding that the Modernisation Fund is making it possible for them to invest €1 billion by 2030 in strengthening their own energy independence.

 Energy sector undergoing transformation

Filipović said that the Croatian energy sector is undergoing a transformation, citing the LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk.

“Croatia consumes 2.9 billion cubic metres of gas and with the LNG terminal we can meet all our needs for this energy source. However, we want to become a European energy hub, so the capacity of the terminal is being increased to supply others, Slovenia, Austria, Bavaria, and a southern interconnection will be made to supply BiH,” he pointed out.

The minister said that a huge package focusing on the use of renewable energy sources is being prepared, and that several tenders will be announced, which will triple the number of solar panels in Croatia and promote the energy renovation of institutions and houses.

He also recalled a recent tender for geothermal explorations, in which three companies were selected. Explorations will be carried out in five fields, and the total investment is estimated at €490 million.

“We are pursuing a policy that is changing the energy DNAВ of Croatia. We are exploiting opportunities, building a framework for a more competitive, sustainable and innovative economy and getting closer to OECD membership, which means increasing the quality and standards of governance. We are changing Croatia,” Filipović concluded.