SEPTEMBER 6 2012 13:47h

A. Treichl: A climate of stability is crucial for attracting innvestors

Economic Outlook: Policy focus on Europe

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Croatia
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Croatia is in the group of countries with good prospects in the five decades ahead, so Erste Group is increasingly present in Croatia and the region Croatia belongs to, Erste Group management board chair Andreas Treichl told reporters on Thursday.

A climate of stability is crucial for attracting investors, followed by a good financial situation, and creating growth opportunities is also important, he said.

Accession to the European Union, scheduled for July 2013, is a big opportunity for Croatia, despite the currently tough situation in Europe, he said.

There are various takes on the eurozone and the necessity of its survival, so people are confused and the question is being asked in Croatia too if it should join the crisis-struck Union, Treichl said, adding that one should take the risk in such situations.

In ten to 15 years, the other Western Balkan countries will also be part of the EU and without Croatia's accession, their chances of accession are small, said the Austrian.

Asked how he saw the eurozone in the months ahead, Treichl said he did not expect significant changes and that next year's elections in Germany were the most important event in that respect.

He said the state of the banking industry was very serious but that national banking systems were stable, even in troubled countries like Italy and Spain.

Asked to comment on Fitch Ratings' revision of Croatia's outlook from negative to stable yesterday, Treichl said: "Accept it, be happy and don't talk too much."

(Hina)