11 07 2012
Presidents Josipović and Gašparovič address Croatian-Slovak Economic Forum (HINA)
The forum was organised by the two countries' chamber of commerce and was held in Zagreb during a visit by Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic and a business delegation of the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At the end of the meeting, the participants were addressed by the presidents of Croatia and Slovakia.
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said that Croatia and Slovakia had good and successful political relations, but that their economic cooperation was too small and that the two countries should work on improving it. He said that politicians should remove any administrative barriers to business and should tell the business people and citizens that the situation was not hopeless and that there were possibilities, the optimism and the strength to overcome the present economic crisis.
President Gasparovic said that the political relations between the two countries were excellent, but that efforts should be made to further strengthen the economic cooperation.
Croatia and Slovakia are similar countries, which is a good basis for strengthening their economic ties, President Gasparovic said, citing energy, medical tourism and the banking sector as possible areas of cooperation. He also stressed a possibility of joint ventures on third markets.
The two presidents expressed their confidence that the forthcoming accession of Croatia to the European Union would provide additional impetus to their economic cooperation.
Representatives of the two chambers of commerce said there were many possibilities for strengthening the economic ties, emphasising a good transport network in Croatia, the potential of its northern Adriatic port of Rijeka, and possibilities for cooperation in the energy sector.
As part of the forum, business talks were held between 14 Slovak and 47 Croatian companies.
According to figures from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, trade between Croatia and Slovakia in 2011 was 239.5 million euros, or 20% more than in 2010. Croatia's exports to Slovakia totalled 88.8 million euros and imports reached 150.7 million euros.
Last year 335,000 Slovak tourists visited Croatia, or 8.1% more than in 2010; they generated 2.3 million bed/nights, which was an increase of 9.5%.