PM: Combination of innovation and competitiveness spurs economic growth

Photo /Vijesti/2018/12 prosinac/4 prosinac/H20181204024189.jpg

A combination of innovation and competitiveness helps economies to achieve better results, and it is up to the government to ensure a good legislative framework for businesses that will help them perform better than their competition on international markets, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a business forum held as part of the Central European Initiative (CEI) summit in Zagreb on Tuesday.

This combination of innovation and competitiveness gives a very simple result - those economies and states that better adjust to accelerated changes on the market and that follow the technological revolution and digital economy, achieve better results in trade, exports and economic growth, Plenkovic said at the forum which focused on innovation and competitiveness.

It is up to the states to follow and recognise those trends and ensure a good legislative framework that will help businesses to do better than their competition on the open market, he added.

It is also crucial to ensure that inventors and innovators are not left to their own devices, Plenkovic said.

The government and state institutions are expected to recognise innovation as an act that boosts economic competitiveness and to encourage innovation, Plenkovic said.

In this context, Plenkovic spoke about the importance of institutional support to innovation and to efforts to make them commercially purposeful.

Croatia has a smart specialisation strategy for the 2016-2020 period and a strategy aimed at encouraging innovation, and is trying to invest adequate funding for that purpose. The total amount to be invested in this regard is about a billion euros.

The innovation system is mapped for the first time and is precisely defined and networked with the economy, and the authorities want to set aside public money for the fields of national interest: health, bioeconomy, energy, transport, logistics, security, educational system, notably STEM, he added, and commented on the importance of digitisation.

The president of the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK), Luka Burilovic, said that competitiveness and innovation were two interrelated economic categories.

Burilovic said that new technologies and innovations were becoming the main source of economic growth. He said that Croatia should be concerned by the fact that its investments into Research and Development were below the EU level.

Addressing the forum, Economy Minister Darko Horvat announced a radical turnabout in Croatia's efforts to attract investment and added that the country wanted to attract investors that would bring the know-how and create high-quality jobs.

The Director for Croatia of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Victoria Zinchuk, said that to date the bank had invested nearly EUR 4  billion in Croatia, or about EUR 200 million annually.

This year, investment will increase to EUR 240 million, she said, announcing further increases in the period to come.

Text: Hina