France is very interested in economic cooperation with Croatia and for increasing investments on both sides, and is interested in procuring Croatian equipment for its army and police, Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic said in Paris on Monday after talk with French PM Manuel Valls.
"Last year we increased Croatian exports to France by nearly 18 percent. A French company is building an airport in Zagreb, a passenger terminal in Gruz port in Dubrovnik. French companies are interested in building our railways and in the Peljesac bridge," Oreskovic said, while Valls did not speak to the press.
Oreskovic said there was mutual interest in investments and that Croatia's HS Produkt company mights sell France 90,000 rifles for the army and the police. "That's a EUR 300 million investment which shows that Croatia can compete globally."
He said the French company Bouygues, which is upgrading the Zagreb airport, was also interested in building the Peljesac bridge in south Croatia, which was expected to begin in the third quarter of the year. A public tender will be advertised for the job and the company with the best offer will be chosen, he added.
On Tuesday, the second day of his working visit to Paris, Oreskovic will attend a France-Croatia Council of Entrepreneurs meeting at the French employers association's international office and hold talks with the association's secretary-general Pierre Gattaz. He will also meet with representatives of French companies interested in investing in Croatia.
After the talks with Valls, Oreskovic met with the secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria.
Asked if Croatia would apply for membership of the OECD, Oreskovic said "that would be great for Croatia," citing positive economic indicators, such as a GDP growth of over 2% in Q1, a bigger-than-planned deficit reduction, and continuing investments. "All that puts Croatia in a positive position for joining the OECD."