For the third time in a row, in the period from June 29 to July 1, the Croatian Emigrant Congress “Departure-Stay-Return” is being held in Osijek.The Congress was prompted by the long-standing economic and political crisis of the Republic of Croatia, which is reflected in the terrible depopulation of the population. Depopulation, on the other hand, is a rather broad term which, in addition to the often mentioned mass emigration, also includes the disproportion between the number of births and deaths.The issue of emigration, which is fueled by long-term distrust of government institutions, has imposed the need for continuous consideration of the causes and consequences of the situation in Croatia and its emigrants. These are reasons that are a handful of aware individuals like Dr. sc. Marina Sopte, a group of professors consisting of Ivan Čizmić, Ivan Rogić, Mijo Korada and Josip Jurčević and Fr. Josip Bebić and Ana Polklepović encouraged the launch of the Congress of Croatian Emigrants. In contemplating this topic, they launched a series of professional and scientific conferences dedicated to Croatian emigrants with the aim of improving the policy of the Republic of Croatia towards emigration, but also finding a common solution to the opportunities that Croatia is currently facing.The Third Emigrant Congress is dedicated to the systematic study of issues of emigrant experience and relations with Croatia, with special emphasis on the reasons for emigration and the unattractiveness of return. In order to reach the most concrete answers, the congress brings together renowned scientists and experts who study Croatian emigrants from the diaspora and the homeland, business people, returnees and entrepreneurial activities. During the third edition of the Congress, the focus is on members of the second and third generation of descendants of Croatian emigrants and the possibility of their return.The panels cover the following topics: emigration as a potential driver of economic and demographic renewal in Croatia; the relationship between emigrants, returnees and the local population in the economic, cultural, scientific and social processes of the development of Croatian society. They will also discuss financial contributions and direct investments of Croatian emigrants in their home country, as well as the establishment of the Croatian Emigrant Fund for emigrant investments, state benefits to emigrants as an incentive for domestic economy development and the state strategy of the Republic of Croatia towards emigrants. Integration challenges and the adoption of an electronic voting system and greater representation of emigrants in the Croatian Parliament are some of the everyday dilemmas faced by emigrants, and then issues of culture as a connective tissue of domestic and emigrated populations, mapping the necessary preconditions for return and opportunities for national and global integration through the digital environment and the development of the IT industry.Topics study emigration as a capital resource of the Republic of Croatia, community strategy, connections in the digital age, cultural identity, business and more.Emigrants bring more than 20 billion kuna to Croatia annually, which is 3,5 to 5% of the state budget. No dr. Sc. Marin Sopot, one of the initiators of the congress, believes that the potential of Croatian emigrants is much more far-reaching – they are a source of scientific, cultural and sports potential, and not exclusively investors and economic units. That is why emigration must be a bridge between foreign investors and Croatia, and it is crucial to include emigrants in the weaving of the development strategy of the Republic of Croatia. Some of the proposals emphasize the benefits of returning Croatian scientists to their homeland, their exchanges and the creation of a platform that would include foreign scientists. Also, according to Sopot, it is necessary to design cultural and social programs that emigrants would seek to realize with diplomatic societies. This type of cooperation would simultaneously raise Croatia’s rating in the world, but also raise the cooperation between emigrants and the home country to a new level.BUT…All of the above sounds nice on paper, but for real change, the home country needs to show more initiative and activity. First of all, it is necessary to create a positive investment climate. The state needs to regain the lost trust of its citizens and those who declare themselves so. Emigrants are often in a position of wound cancer, instead of highlighting examples of successful emigrants and returnees in the fields of economy, sports, culture, science and abroad. Even if we ignore the complicated administration and bureaucracy that always stand in the way of impermeable membranes, the logical conclusion is that the emigrants do not want to invest in the development of an entity that is left with a bitter taste of statelessness. A lukewarm, more humane and assertive approach to communication and fostering the unity and unity of indigenous and displaced citizens is proposed. In this relationship, Croatia would benefit greatly, without having in mind the financial benefit. Emigrants have a lot to offer: knowledge, work discipline, skills, experience of the rule of law and acceptance of risk, they have an open and responsible attitude towards work, which we lack, notes Sopta.In the end, it all comes down to mutual respect and cooperation that works on the principle of “hand in hand”. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the most common reasons for delaying the return of emigrants to Croatia are precisely the administration, bureaucracy and corruption.The question arises, at the end of such clear demands and arguments, who or what really represents the brake in this typical Croatian story?The congress is held in the premises of the Faculty of Economics in Osijek, and you can register as an exhibitor or visitor at the official websites Congress.