- Published: 28.12.2017.
Gov't adopts guidelines for implementation of employment policy in 2018-2020
The government on Thursday adopted guidelines for the development and implementation of the active employment policy in Croatia in 2018-2020, which represent a strategic document and a framework for the use of active employment policy measures.
This set of measures was worth 1.5 billion kuna for 2017 and its value for 2018 is 1.6 billion kuna. In addition, there are also special measures geared towards employment of disadvantaged people, such as young women and persons with disabilities, Labour and Pension System Minister Marko Pavic said at a cabinet meeting.
The aim of the guidelines is to increase the unemployment rate through five intervention measures, balance supply and demand on the labour market, and keep participants in the labour market better informed, the minister said.
"The government wants to reach an employment rate of 68 percent by 2020. We will primarily focus on increasing the employment rate among young and elderly people and reducing the number of long-term unemployed persons," Pavic said.
Pavic said that he was working with Education Minister Blazenka Divjak to balance the needs of the labour market and the education system with the aid of the European Social Fund where Croatia is entitled to 500 million euros.
Pavic said he was particularly glad that the youth unemployment rate had fallen from nearly 50 percent in 2013 to 26 percent in 2017. "In the last quarter of 2017 it is even lower, around 20 percent, but I expect it to be around 26 percent for the whole year," the minister said.
The Ministry of Finance expects the public debt to GDP ratio to fall to 79.6 percent or 290.84 billion kuna this year. It also expects the general government deficit this year to be well below the projected 0.6 percent of GDP and the budget to be close to balance.
Responding to questions from the press before a cabinet meeting, Maric said he was pleased with what the government had done this year and that he expected the plan envisaged in the last budget review to be fulfilled.
"This will be a good year, better than last. As finance minister, I am responsible for the budget and my focus is on public finance, fiscal policy and all other policies that need to be geared towards growth and employment," he said.
Maric said he was particularly proud of the great savings made in interest expenditure and the savings made after bond refinancing and debt rescheduling, adding that over a billion kuna had been saved this year.
"After the successful budget revision, in the final days of the calendar year the Ministry of Finance has found additional funds to be reallocated for debt coverage in the healthcare sector, namely 100 million kuna will go towards state hospitals and 97 million towards county hospitals. When we put this together with the 1.162 billion envisaged under the budget revision, it turns out that we are probably the only government that has managed to allocate over 1.3 billion kuna for healthcare in a year," Plenkovic said at a cabinet meeting, adding that his government was conducting a responsible fiscal policy and was determined to reduce the debt of the healthcare sector.
Speaking of the first item on the agenda of today's meeting, which concerned guidelines for the implementation of active employment policy measures in 2018-2020, Plenkovic said: "Using national funds and funds from the European Social Fund, we will allocate 1.6 billion kuna for employment which, I am convinced, will help further reduce the number of unemployed youth, long-term unemployed people, women, persons with disabilities and others who have difficulty getting a new job."
Plenkovic thanked all the ministers and their associates for their contribution to the government's work this year, adding that the results achieved were very good considering the circumstances.
Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Zalac said that a new methodology was used in calculating the development index as in the existing methodology shortcomings were identified that resulted in inequitable evaluations and categorisation.
Indicators used now to define the index of development are the unemployment rate, per capita income, per capita local government budget revenues, general population trends, the education rate and the ageing index.
The value of the development index is calculated as an adjusted average of standardised values of those indicators in a given period of time, and the indicators are calculated based on information collected over a period of three years preceding the evaluation procedure.
Local government units whose development index value is above 100 belong in the category of above-average development while those whose index is below 100 belong in the category of below-average development.
The decision on the categorisation of local government units takes effect at the start of next year, and instead of the current five groups, eight groups will be introduced - four each for below-average and above-average ranked local government units. As for counties (regional government), the four existing groups will remain.
"The proposed new model for the calculation of the development index increases the number of units that have the status of assisted areas. Under the current model, 264 units have such status, and under the new model, 304 units will have such status," said Zalac.
The first group of counties, which according to the index value are in the second half of counties with below-average development, consists of Bjelovar-Bilogora, Brod-Posavina, Lika-Senj, Sisak-Moslavina, Virovitica-Podravina, and Vukovar-Srijem counties.
The second group, which according to the development index values covers counties that are in the first half of counties with below-average development, consists of Karlovac, Koprivnica-Krizevci, Krapina-Zagorje, Osijek-Baranja, Pozega-Slavonia and Sibenik-Knin counties.
The third group refers to counties that are in the second half of counties with above-average development and it covers Medjimurje, Split-Dalmatia, Varazdin and Zadar counties.
The fourth group are counties that are in the first half of counties with above-average development - Dubrovnik-Neretva, Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Zagreb counties, and the City of Zagreb.