Government of the Republic of Croatia adopts its National reform programme and Convergence programme

On April 26th 2018, the Croatian government adopted its National reform programme for 2018 and its Convergence programme for the period 2018.-2021. Both programmes will be sent to the European Commission by the end of the month. The National reform programme is based on the goals of the Government programme for the executive term 2016.-2020. It welcomes the specific recommendations of the Council of the European Union, as well as findings of the European Commission presented in its “Country Report Croatia 2018”. The National reform programme contains three main goals: strengthening the competitiveness of the economy, linking the educational sector to the labour market and sustainability of public finances. The programme for 2018 was prepared withthe purpose of dealing with the structural challenges of the Croatian economy. It envisions enacting 59 measures in 11 reforms areas during the following year.

The growth rate presented in the programmes for the year2018 is 2.8%, 2.7% for the year 2019, and 2.5% for both 2020 and 2021. Regarding the state budget, the government is sticking to the projected deficit of 0.5% for the current year, after achieving its first surplus of 0.8% for the year 2017 (2.7 billion HRK). A deficit of 0.4% is projected for next year, followed by a balanced budget (0%) for the year 2020 and a 0.5% surplus in 2021.

More on the presentation of the National reform programme and Convergence programme available at:

EU Council adopts conclusions on the future of the cohesion policy beyond 2020

The Council of the European Union adopted on April 12th 2018 conclusions on the delivery and implementation of cohesion policy beyond 2020. With a BREXIT that will result in a loss of revenues for the overall European budget looming, the EU will need to come to an agreement on its next multiannual financial framework. Coupled with defence and migration issues, the way funds are distributed will re-open the debate on sharing sovereignty demanded by Brussels. Cohesion policy is one of the areas where the EU governments must promote implementation of policy based on the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, as well as those of democratic oversight, transparency and accountability. Through the new cohesion policy, the EU aims to encourage structural reforms that can improve the effectiveness of public administration. It also aims to support investments in the economic transformation of regions, enabling them to fully enjoy the benefits that globalisation offers.

In its conclusions, the Council stressed the importance of synergies and a simplification of cohesion policy beyond 2020 and welcomed the Strategic Report of the European Commission on the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds. It emphasized the positive assessment of the new elements introduced in the 2014-2020 programming period to improve delivery, such as ex-ante conditionalities, the alignment with relevant country-specific recommendations, the reinforced performance orientation and better synergies with other instruments.

More on the conclusions of the Council of the European Union on cohesion policy beyond 2020 available at:

European Commission estimation within European Semester Winter Package: Croatia must speed up its’ reforms

In the annual analyses of the economic and social situation in Member States including progress in implementing country-specific recommendations and an assessment of possible imbalances, the Commission concluded that Croatia is still experiencing excessive imbalances. The country is positioned in the weakest group, together with Cyprus and Italy.
The annual country reports including the in-depth reviews were published on March 7, 2018. The European Commission has warned Croatia that the implementation of structural reforms should be speeded up. In implementing country-specific recommendations, Croatia made some progress in one area only (public debt management) while in all other areas there was no progress, or limited progress.
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Competitiveness, Smart Specialisation and Investment in New EU Member States and Croatia

The policy paper “Competitiveness, Smart Specialisation and Investment in New EU Member States and Croatia“  written by Krešimir Jurlin, Višnja Samardžija and Martina Basarac Sertić has been published in English. The paper compares the most significant determinants in national strategies for smart specialisation and investment subsidies as well as barriers to investments. Furthermore, the study analyses the most important competitiveness factors in Croatia and in selected member states (with emphasis on higher education, business sophistication and innovation) as well as on structural changes to their economies. Based on its findings the study presents specific recommendations for Croatian policymakers.

Meeting of the POLO-Cro28 research team held: preparations for the book and international conference

Zagreb: Institute for development and international relations – IRMO

A meeting of the research team within the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ was held on February the 6th, 2018 at the IRMO library. The IRMO research team has reviewed and discussed implemented project activities and the ones still ahead. The conclusion of the meeting is that the project is being successfully implemented. The round tables encouraged a lot of interest and they were very well attended. The main activities still ahead are publication of the book and organisation of international conference about implementation of selected public policies.

The round table “Importance of the EU Cohesion Policy for Development in Croatia” held

Zagreb: EC Representation in Croatia, Augusta Cesarca 4
31st of January 2018., 11:00-14.00 hours
The POLO round table “Importance of the EU Cohesion Policy for Development in Croatia” was held on Wednesday 31st of January 2018 at the premises of the EC Representation in Croatia in Zagreb. The round table as the sixth such event within project “POLO-Cro28: Policy Observatory in Croatia” was organized in cooperation between IRMO and the European Commission Representation in Croatia. The event was opened with welcoming words of Jakša Puljiz, Head of the European Integration Department at IRMO; H. E. Branko Baričević, Head of the EC Representation in Croatia and Višnja Samardžija, Project Coordinator from IRMO. Introductory part was followed by presentations and the panel discussion which debated implementation of Cohesion policy in the 2014-2020 financial period, impact of this policy on the regional policy and regional development in Croatia as well as budgetary importance of the EU funds for Croatia. Speakers at the round table were: Aurelio Cecilio, Head of Department for Croatia, Bulgaria and Slovenia in DG Regio of the European Commission; Ana Odak, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds (Croatia); Ante Bajo, Scientific Adviser at the Institute for Public Finance in Zagreb; Zvonimir Savić, Director of the Sector for Financial Institutions, Business Information and Economic Analysis at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Sanja Maleković, Scientific Adviser at IRMO. The round table moderator was Jakša Puljiz from IRMO. The panel was followed by the Q&A session between speakers and the audience.


Announcement of the round table on the EU Cohesion policy

IRMO in cooperation with the European Commission Representation in Croatia will organize a round table ‘Importance of the EU Cohesion policy for development in Croatia’. The event will be held on the 31st of January 2018 (Wednesday) in the premises of the European Commission Representation in Croatia, Augusta Cesarca 4, Zagreb. The envisaged duration is between 11 a.m. and 14 p.m. The round table will be organised as an activity within the Jean Monnet support to institutions project ‘POLO-Cro28 – Policy Observatory in Croatia’ financed by the Erasmus+ program and implemented by IRMO, coordinated by Prof. Visnja Samardzija.

The speakers, representative of the DG Regio of the European Commission from Brussels as well as experts and researchers from Croatia, will highlight the existing and potential impact of Cohesion policy on development of the Republic of Croatia. Topics will particularly emphasize following aspects of the cohesion policy:  experiences of implementation during 2014-2020 period, visible and invisible impacts on Croatian economy, impacts on the regional development within Croatia, implications for the Croatian budget etc. The debate will be focused on comparative assessment between the situation in Croatia with those in other new EU member states. One of the round table goals will also be defining important recommendations for the policy makers in Croatia. Working languages will be Croatian and English.

Program in English PDF

Registration form

Commentary by IRMO researchers on economic, social and territorial cohesion published

Commentary by IRMO researchers “Seventh report on economic, social and territorial cohesion: Towards reducing differences in regional development? ” (Croatian) written by Jakša Puljiz and Hrvoje Butković has been published within POLO-Cro28 project. This commentary analyses main conclusions of the Seventh report on economic, social and territorial cohesion published by the European Commission on the 9th of October 2017. Such reports are regularly being issued every three years in order to evaluate to which extent are the EU regions coming together or drifting apart between each other towards the EU average. The commentary is particularly focus on the changes recorded in Croatia and other new EU member states.

Commentary by young researcher on vocational education and training systems published

European systems of vocational education and training on the crossroads: Experiences of Croatia and Slovenia (Croatian) is the sixteenth commentary within the project POLO-Cro28, written by Ivana Čavar. The commentary analyses the role of vocational education and training (VET) in development of the qualified workforce which is necessary for the future economic development of the EU. Focus of the analysis is targeted towards the VET systems of Croatia and Slovenia, their compatibility with VET systems of other EU member states as well as on the policies and strategies which improve their development.

Signing of the European Pillar of Social Rights

Together with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven hosted a Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017, focusing on promoting fair jobs and growth. At the Summit the text of the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights was signed designed as a compass for a renewed process of upward convergence towards better working and living conditions in the EU. It is primarily conceived for the euro area but it is also applicable to all EU Member States wishing to be part of it. The European Pillar of Social Rights expresses 20 principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in 21st century Europe. It is the first set of rights proclaimed by EU institutions since the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Following signing of the Social Pillar, the Commission has launched the second round of discussion with trade unions and employers’ organisations at the EU level, on how to support access to social protection for all people in employment and self-employment. In 2016, just below 40% of employed people in the EU were in non-standard employment or self-employed, half of whom are at risk of not having sufficient access to social protection and related employment services.

More on signing of the European Pillar of Social Rights: