Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that the government was "very systematically making strategic headway" to improve the lives of citizens and the economy, referring to Croatia's admission to the euro area and the Schengen Area, as well as to the upgrade of the country's credit ratings.
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its last summit, the European Council confirmed Croatia's entry into the euro area on 1 January 2023, and the government expects that Croatia will also join the Schengen area then too.
"We are very systematically making these strategic steps forward for the prosperity of our citizens and economy. They (that headway) are here, they will last, they will remain, and they will be a kind of legacy of the two terms of our government," Plenković said at a cabinet meeting.
"These are really great strategic achievements. They do not just come with some routine schedule. They come on the basis of the implementation of reforms, the fulfillment of benchmarks, the adoption of laws, and our political and diplomatic engagement," he added.
The Moody's agency has recently announced that it could raise Croatia's credit rating to the investment category following the EU's recommendation for Zagreb's entry into the euro area.
Croatia's current rating of 'Ba1' signals investors that the agency considers the purchase of Croatian government bonds a speculative investment.
Last Friday Moody's announced that it will raise Croatia's rating by two levels, to 'Baa2', investment category.
Plenković said that Croatia will have the best credit rating so far in the investment level, according to the assessments of all the three largest global credit rating agencies.
"We are sending a message of confidence to financial markets, investors, partners (...) There will be many more such positive messages. Only now will we appear on the radar of some serious stakeholders on the market since we have been given a sort of tick from all three agencies," he underscored.
European Commission Vice President Dubravka Šuica on Tuesday presented Prime Minister Andrej Plenković with a decision on the payment of the first instalment of €700 million as part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the largest grant Croatia has received from the Commission.
These are funds for reforms from the national recovery plan undertaken by 31 December 2021, including active employment measures, a programme to decarbonise the energy sector, activities in the field of physical planning, labour market and social welfare reforms, Plenković explained after meeting with Šuica.
"We have been given clear criteria defined for undertaking reforms, all those benchmarks that were important for the Commission to evaluate our achievements every six months. We can say that we are fast and efficient in this regard," said Plenković, adding that this is the largest grant that Croatia has received from the European Commission ever. ■