Spain and Serbia must save Croatia

The Croatian government has finally announced its budget revision to combat the consequences of the economic and financial crisis. From the first of April onwards, wages of public sector personnel will be cut by 6 percent. Considering the fact that Croatia's public sector is oversized and terribly inefficient you wonder why this measure wasn't taken a whole lot earlier. I know that cutting wages by 6 percent is unthinkable in Western Europe, but the number of Croats on sick leave and the overall lack of productivity of those that bother to show up at work is unthinkable in Western Europe too.
The budget revision is the first accomplishment (of ten promised) after the government put forward an anti-crisis plan, about a month ago. In a few days, all eyes will be on Damir Bajs, Croatia's minister for tourism. He is supposed to present a plan to draw more tourists to Croatia by the end of this month. Only tourism can save Croatia's ailing economy. (The idea is the Croatia is the nearest Mediterranean country - instead of flying to Greece, Germans will travel to Croatia by car.) But it won't, I am afraid. All indicators predict a mayor downturn in the tourism industry too.
So far we haven't heard much of Bajs plan, except for Croatia's strong presence at Belgrade's tourism fair. Last year 17.000 tourists from Serbia visited Istria, and some 10.000 spent their holidays in Split - negligible numbers compared those from other countries and, also, to the great number of Serbs that go to Montenegro. I would welcome more Serbs to Croatia, but I doubt their willingness to the spend their dinars on the rather expensive Croatian coast.
Another way to boost the Croatian economy is to penetrate foreign markets with Croatian products, something that has not succeeded so far. But there is a first sign of success. A Spanish department store chain, called El Corte Inglés, will put products on the shelves that are world famous in Croatia: Kraš, Gavrilović, Klara Marić, Franck, Zvečevo, Jamnica, and others. If you live in Spain, buy them! You not only help your Croatian brethren but you also show that you are a real gourmand. And please send me a picture of the Croatian product you bought, as many promised success stories of Croatian products abroad turn out to be false after all. As is the case with Croatian trams, that were supposed to be seen on the streets of Beijing and Helsinki, but, in the end, only cruise in Zagreb. More about that in the next post.

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