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Croatia offers EUR 26,500 for expats to return, only one person chooses to come back

Only one person applied to the call of the Croatian government under its new "I Choose Croatia" scheme offering 200,000 kunas [around EUR 26,500] to Croatians who would return from other EU countries and start a business in Croatia, according to Croatia’s RTL channel.

Skopje, 10 February 2022 (MIA) — Only one person applied to the call of the Croatian government under its new “I Choose Croatia” scheme offering 200,000 kunas [around EUR 26,500] to Croatians who would return from other EU countries and start a business in Croatia, according to Croatia’s RTL channel.

To encourage self-employment and address the country’s demographic problem, the Croatian government had set aside 1.02 billion kunas for the “I Choose Croatia” scheme in 2022, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in December.

He said Croatia needed demographic revitalization because of its aging population and negative demographic trends of the past 70 years.

But demographers told RTL the government measure was a fiasco, saying people should be offered more than money for their return.

“One should ask young people — because most of them are young — why they left,” demographer Marin Strmota said, adding that they needed to be able to make a living within “an orderly state.”

“Much more needs to be offered than some measure. People no longer believe in promises,” Strmota said.

According to a Hina report, the Croatian government also conceived a scheme to stimulate people to move from urban to rural areas such as Dalmatian Zagora, Lika, Gorski Kotar, Banovina and Slavonia, “given the current trend of people moving from rural to urban areas, where they often live in smaller housing units, as a result of which they cannot plan more children.”

The scheme offered grants of up to 50,000 kunas and an additional 25,000 kunas for business founders. mr/

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