The conference "Norway and Croatia: Partners in Economic and Social Development", organised by the Norwegian embassy in Zagreb on Monday, brought together Croatian government officials, unionists, employers and nongovernmental organisations' activists.
Speaking at the conference, Labour and Pension System Minister Mirando Mrsic boasted that "social dialogue in Croatia has become of age", while union leader Mladen Novosel countered that "social dialogue is still in the first grade of primary school".
Novosel accused the current government as well as previous ones of showing no interest in social dialogue.
Davor Majetic of the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP) said that tripartite dialogue between representatives of the government, employers and trade unions in the Economic and Social Council was marked by lack of trust and lack of respect.
Norwegian Ambassador Henrik Ofstad spoke about the importance of investing in human resources and in dialogue in order to develop cooperation and joint responsibility.
Dialogue must be based on tolerating differences, the diplomat said.
Unionist Novosel said that Germany and Norway's experience in social dialogue was a model that should be followed in Croatia.