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Lobbying for sugar quotas

In the process of EU accession, Croatia had to negotiate export (which will represent basis for production quotas later) quotas for Croatian sugar for EU market. To ensure long term sustainable production of sugar in Croatia, it was necessary to get as high as possible amounts which would keep all three Croatian sugar factories in business and secure production of sugar from sugar beet. The goal of the project was to lobby for optimal Croatian export sugar quotas for EU market and strengthen the position of Croatian representatives in the process of negotiations with EU and reach an agreement of final Croatian sugar quota to be between 160,000 and 200,000 tons per year.

To achieve the goal, H&P Croatia teamed up with Brussels based lobbying company and engaged different stakeholders who could put additional pressure on the Croatian Government/negotiation team to secure the best possible position of Croatian sugar producers and engage European Commission institutions. It was important to form strategic partnership between all key stakeholders, including Croatian sugar factories and sugar beet producers led by Viro management.

Furthermore, attention was paid to inform and educate Members of the Croatian Parliament about sugar production issues, which raised the issue or negotiations in the Croatian Parliament. H&P established a lobbying pool in Brussels, and established direct contacts with national and local government. Of course, the media was used as the communication channel for distributing key messages and informing the public on the future of Croatian sugar production. Croatian national TV (HRT) organized special TV show in prime time just to discuss issue of Croatian export sugar quotes to EU with all key stakeholders and all key media reported about that issue with significant media coverage. Farmers also announced public protest and road blocking in case that adopted sugar quota will be too low.

Result

This issue became one of top economy topics in Croatian media. All key stakeholders were informed and became actively engaged in the process, providing support to Croatian sugar industry. Negotiated export quotas of 180,000 tons per year were satisfactory for Croatian sugar producers (first initial EU proposal was 92,000 tons while sugar producers requested 240,000 tons).

This case was quoted and used as role model in literature about lobbying in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Macedonia. Croatian business journalist pointed out “that was one of the best professional business lobbying campaigns” in Croatia.

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