The Croatian government is raising parental allowances and making it easier to work while raising children, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a conference titled Demographics, Jobs and Growth on July 15.
Plenkovic acknowledged that Croatia — like countries across the Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe region — is facing negative demographic trends. “[T]he demographic challenge is the key issue for the survival of the Croatian nation,” he said in a stark warning to delegates.
On top of the natural decrease of the population, with deaths outweighing births most years, Croatia has seen mass emigration mainly to West European countries that has left industries such as tourism struggling to fill vacant workplaces.
Plenkovic said his government is trying to tackle the problem through a range of policies encouraging Croatians to have more children.
This includes raising parental allowances, subsidising mortgage loans to young couples and building more kindergartens.
“These measures, among others, achieved first results since some negative trends were changed – in 2018 there were 400 births more than in 2017. It is a small step forward, but the important thing is that it reverses the trends,” Plenkovic told delegates.
Going forward, the government plans to “prepare more ambitious demographic policy strategies and concrete measures”. Specifically, his government hopes to raise parental leave payments, introduce at least 10 days of paid leave for fathers, and enable home work for parents of young children.
“We are fully convinced that our efforts in reversing demographic trends will produce results and that positive demographic trends will emerge in the years ahead,” Plenkovic concluded.
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