Many Croats won't wait around for promised business reforms

Mon May 23, 2016 6:33am EDT
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* Many Croats looking for work elsewhere in Europe

* Implementation seen as problem for reform plan

* Croatia emerging from six years of recession

By Igor Ilic

ZAGREB, May 23 (Reuters) - Like many Croats, Marino Rescek is looking for work abroad after years of hoping that prospects will improve at home have brought nothing but frustration, and reforms that got the thumbs-up from Brussels last week have not convinced him things will change.

The 32-year-old has a small accountancy firm in Zagreb with clients in businesses from tourism to construction. Recently, he gave up on his plan to invest in a small hotel on the coast because the process was so lengthy, costly and uncertain.

"Now I'm planning to move to Germany, where my sister lives, and start something in the catering industry as I doubt things will change here any time soon," he said.

"We have two separate worlds in our economy. There are companies that deal with the state and mostly have no problems in keeping business afloat. Others struggle on the free market, burdened by unpaid bills, poor law enforcement, high taxation and a lack of capital to invest," Rescek said.

The months-old centre-right government has vowed - in line with EU recommendations - to cut red tape, scrap various fees, and reduce public debt by cost-cutting at state-owned firms as well as reforming the health and pension sectors.   Continued...