LPJ INTERVIEW: Philippe Benoit, Belgian Ambassador to Croatia
1. Recently, you were appointed Belgian Ambassador to Croatia. What are your main priorities during your term?
My main priorities will be to inform my capital about the position of Croatia on important EU and multilateral issues as well as on developments in the Balkan region; reporting about Croatia’s relations with the its neighbours (i.e. Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary) and regional cooperation; reporting about issues such as minority rights and human rights in general; reporting on business opportunities and the business climate, in perfect coordination with the Zagreb based representative of Brussels Invest & Export; providing adequate consular assistance to the growing number of Belgians visiting Croatia (approximately 140,000 in 2014); to develop instruments of public diplomacy (we launched a Facebook page two weeks ago) directed at the Croatian public and aimed at promoting a deeper knowledge, understanding and sympathy of/towards Belgium; exploring the possibility of opening honorary consulates (Split, Istria or Rijeka) in order to provide consular assistance and detect business opportunities.
2. What do you think about the investment climate in Croatia?
Two years after the EU integration of Croatia, the investment climate has improved. However, in comparison to the efforts and means devoted and made by some other member states to attract foreign investment, there is certainly still room for improvement…