Last week saw the first UK-Croatia Trade & Investment Forum in London. The day consisted of various panels with a wide variety of speakers. A number of Croatian companies were in attendance as well as high-level dignitaries from Croatia– including Deputy Prime Minister Branko Grcic and Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak.
British officials were also present, with the British Ambassador to Croatia David Slinn chairing a panel.
As might be expected, the conference took a positive tone, with Croatian portrayed as being an opportunity for investment as well as proceeding with reform, dealing with corruption and so on.
The forum was considered to be a success. How much investment it will result in will only become evident over time.
However, the Forum itself told us something about Croatia today, post-EU accession. There were around 300 people reportedly in attendance. Political researcher John Pindar pointed out to me this was a vast improvement on numbers than ten years ago– quite so.
A lot of this is due to the team at the London embassy under Ambassador Ivan Grdesic. The event is something many have wanted for a while; an opportunity to hear Croatian officials and network with them providing a chance to raise concerns and gain information.
However, the impact of joining the European Union has clearly generated interest in the country. What’s more there was a certain confidence at the event. Gone are the days when ‘When is Croatia joining the EU?’ and its variants would be major topics.
Now, it’s all about opportunities – and whether the Croats live up to the potential of them.
The Croatian government’s investment pages can be found here.