DIGITAL ECONOMY: Sharing Economy is an Underutilised Growth Generator in Croatia

FLAT concepts 714 November 2016, VG Intelligence Weekly Issue 30

In his first Parliamentary address, Croatia’s recently elected Prime Minister (PM) Andrej Plenkovic (HDZ) announced the formation of a Central Government Office for the Development of the Digital Society, reporting directly to the PM’s Office, thus giving the sector high prominence on his Government’s “to do” list. Several weeks into his administration, Plenkovic has yet to appoint a figure to head the office with the serious task ahead of it – supervising the digitalisation of Croatia’s public administration body and promoting the advancement of new technology business models throughout the Croatian economy. In December 2015, the Ministry of Public Administration proposed a strategy that recognised the potential of “digital advancements” for economic and administrative development in the context of public administration modernisation. The document claimed that e-citizen, e-government, e-health and overall e-business and its mobile derivatives should provide space for innovative industrial development in Croatia. However, with a change of Government, snap elections held in mid-September and coalition Government negotiations, the strategy was stalled. While there is a strong argument to be made that the Office should exclusively focus on modernising e-citizenship, it should also be tasked with forwarding the agenda of an industry that falls under the digital society umbrella – the collaborative (i.e. sharing) economy. In June 2016, the European Commission issued a document that outlined the EU’s agenda for the collaborative economy, seen as a growth generator with large scale potential. The EC recommends to its Member States that they remain open to new business models such as peer-to-peer (p-t-p) online platforms. Acknowledging that existing legislation was not conducive with encouraging the further development of the collaborative economy sector, the Croatian Government decided to determine best practice for freeing the industry of legislative burdens by forming a Collaborative Economy Working Group (CEWG), tasked with incorporating EU guidelines into the legislative framework of the country

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