Croatia is a beautiful country with a magnificent sea and coastline. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all the readers of this article to visit Croatia with its pleasant climate and natural resources.
However, we have many problems as far as the political situation is concerned. There has been a huge brain drain over the past five years with many young migrating, mainly to countries like Ireland, Germany and other countries whose economies are much stronger than Croatia. Young people are generally dissatisfied because salaries are insufficient to lead a decent life in our country, which is the main reason for people leaving Croatia en masse. The second, rather important political problem, is the dysfunctional legal system and slow state bureaucracy. There is no incentive for investors under such conditions and the government is responsible for not creating a favourable investment climate and favourable conditions for manufacturing and production. The Croatian National Bank has adopted a monetary policy that does not stimulate economic growth but rather maintains a strong local currency, the kuna, which benefits imports at the expense of domestic production. This is also one of the reasons for the high level of consumer debt as people survive by taking loans and the banks take advantage of the situation in order to get their hands on prime seafront property. A law which I presented in parliament, and which was adopted by a unanimous vote deals with the problem of unauthorised creditors who provided loans without having the necessary licences or permits. Such operations created a parallel financial system. The government could not control nor even know how many loans were given on the territory of the Republic of Croatia. Such toxic loans destroyed many families and a large number of people have been unable to recover financially. My law protected thousands of families from enforcement and eviction. The battle with these credit institutions continues mainly because they are now trying to obstruct the law in any way they can.
People are generally disappointed in politics, resulting in small turnouts for elections. The two big parties have developed a system in a large number of local municipalities whereby they employ people along party lines and in this way, they continue to hold power. New political movements have emerged recently with independent individuals who are endeavouring to change those things which impede the development of Croatia. I believe this to be a positive trend since people no longer trust the established political parties.
Yet despite the above mentioned negativity, Croatia also has many advantages. We do not have a problem with migrants and safety and security are at a very high level compared to other countries. Beautiful beaches and islands make our country very attractive for many tourists from all over the world. My goals for the future are to work for the common good, as I have hitherto been doing and to encourage young, professional people and new faces to enter politics who can contribute to society and the country.
This article is part of a series offering a channel for young politicians from across emerging Europe to share their vision of the kind of Europe they want to create. All of the young people whose voices we feature are aged under 30 – some even younger – and all are unblemished by their countries’ communist-era pasts. Where the current generation of older politicians has often failed, it is our hope that this young, free and enlightened generation will succeed. Emerging Europe is delighted to be able to offer them a platform from which they can communicate with a wider audience outside of their home countries.
The views expressed in this opinion editorial are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.