The sequel to last year’s panel on the same subject has brought an even more dynamic discussion in which the opposing sides were quite clear from the very start. Predrag Grubić, Corporate Communications Director at Adris Grupa, together with Korado Korlević, a Professor of Polytechnics, has been firm on his stand that the government is to blame for young people leaving Croatia, and that this problem cannot be solved without a change of conscience and the political elite.
As opposed to them, Antonio Šeparović, CEO of Oradian IT company and Goran Vlašić from the Innovation Institute have defended their opinion that a competent person can find it place in Croatia and that Croatia can be a good choice for competent people from other countries.
“The Croatian political elite is not interested in solving important questions, because in order to obtain their own position they do not need intelligence nor ethical responsibility. There is not constitutional civil society or a critical public that can make the politicians change anything”, stated Grubić
“Young people are leaving because of the perception that Croatia is not a place for those who want to do science, so if you’re a young dandy, you might have a political career. The problem lies within the motor of the machine. We have to make a state with equal chances for everyone and change the public, primarily through the media”, agreed Korlević.
On the other side, Šeparović, a member of the Croatian diaspora who returned to Croatia from South America, thinks that the change needs to start from an individual. “My world is my company. Three of us started it, and now there are 25 of us, and I want to expand that number to 100 in the next two years. When we start changing our surroundings, a critical mass will be formed which can changed everything.” Šeparović is convinced. He also added that he came to Croatia because the infrastructure is good and costs are low. “To us it is beneficial that some people are leaving Croatia which is why the cost of business space is decreasing. China and Nigeria are the new world, and we can work with them from Croatia”, explained Šeparović.
Vlašić agreed with him, to him Croatia is the best place on Earth. “The border are artificial, it is important that we get people that can fulfil their potential to the maximum, wherever that may be. There are phenomenal opportunities for development in Croatia, and nothing is limiting us. Politics can help, but not too much”, stated Vlašić. Politics, according to his opinion, should not be about keeping young people in Croatia, it should attract the most qualified people of the world, and then our people will want to stay. As for Korlević’s thesis that a society should be constructed where everyone gets a fair shot, Šeparović thinks that such a society does not exist, while Vlašić added that Croatia is better than America in that criteria.
Grubić and Korlević, however, were not convinced. For Grubić this is praiseworthy optimism, but still a fragmented approach which is lost out of sight of a need for societal decision paradigm change. “How is it possible that 40 thousand young people left Croatia last year? How is it possible that they don’t see this bounty of opportunities? There has to be some kind of a bug. Why not create conditions so that most of them stay?” asked Grubić. Šeparović replied that out of those 40 thousand some will come back, and some will help Croatia from abroad. “We are all part of a world and that is the bigger picture”, concluded Šeparović, while Vlašić struck back to Grubić saying that those who seek a paradigm change should try a political engagement.