Doing business in Croatia is often a labour of love as opposed to a money making enterprise. With sky-high taxes on salaries and crippling taxes and tariffs placed by the government on every step of a business’s life it is no wonder that around 300,000 people have already decided to leave the country and head for the more business friendly EU member states. And it isn’t only home-grown entrepreneurs that are leaving, but also foreign investors and businesspeople are being warned against opening a company in Croatia.
Inefficient public administration, legal insecurity, excessive taxes, lack of skilled labour force and the government's performance are the key obstacles to doing business in Croatia, commented six bilateral chambers of commerce, containing recommendations on how to improve the business environment. A fairly damning report of the government’s progress so far.
The initiative to improve the business climate in Croatia was launched by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), the Association of Italian Entrepreneurs in Croatia Business Party, the Austrian Foreign Trade Office, the Canadian-Croatian Business Network (CCBN), the German-Croatian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Croatia. Six international chambers of commerce frustrated with the lack of movement and deciding to take matters into their own hands and push for change.
The six chambers currently constitute more than 1,200 companies in Croatia, employing more than 150,000 people, and accounting for more than 50 percent of foreign investments in Croatia, CCBN chair Joe Basic told the media.
The survey covered 473 companies, and its combined results show that, despite some significant improvements, companies and potential investors are still faced with numerous obstacles, and that the changes occurring in Croatia are too slow and insufficient in comparison to the rest of Europe.
Representatives of the foreign chambers called for digitisation of public institutions and services, which, they said, would result in faster and more transparent public services.