European Commission projects Croatia's GDP to grow 5.3 pct in 2021

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ZAGREB, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Croatia's gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have dropped 8.9 percent in 2020 and is expected to bounce back 5.3 percent in 2021, according to the European Commission's forecast released on Thursday.

According to the report, Croatia's GDP is projected to grow 4.6 percent in 2022.

The report puts Croatia among the hardest-hit economies in the European Union (EU). Only Spain (minus 11 percent) and Greece (minus 10 percent) had a bigger contraction in 2020, while Malta and Italy had a similar GDP drop as Croatia did.

The new estimate of an 8.9-percent GDP drop is slightly better than the previous 9.6 percent drop projected in the Commission's "Autumn Economic Forecast." The growth figure projected for 2021 has also been revised from 5.7 percent to 5.3 percent, and for 2022 from 3.7 percent to 4.6 percent.

The European Commission states that the GDP projection for 2020 is revised thanks to a better-than-expected third quarter, although the economy later contracted after the government introduced new lockdown measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We believe that these estimates are in line with those of the government and the Ministry of Finance," Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday at a government session.

He noted that Croatia's GDP growth forecast this year is above the EU average. A revised GDP drop in 2020, he noted, is the result of a tourist season during which more tourists visited Croatia than other countries. "We will insist on the accelerated delivery of coronavirus vaccines in order to be more protected in spring and summer, so the tourists' arrival in Croatia will be safe," Plenkovic said.

Croatia is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. Its economy is heavily dependent on the tourism industry, which contributes almost 20 percent to the country's GDP. According to the European Commission, recovery in Croatia's travel and hospitality sectors is likely to take several years. Enditem

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