FREE GEOPOLITICAL NEWSLETTER

 

For current reports go to EASY FINDER

CROATIA





In-depth Business Intelligence 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 28,322 22,421 20,300 61
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 5,350 4,640 4,550 70
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Croatia



Update No: 116 - (25/01/07)

Opening up the EU to the Western Balkans
Croatia is very keen indeed to join the European Union (EU). It fervently hopes that it will not be left behind, now that Bulgaria and Romania are members. The Croatians want to re-assert their European identity, compromised by the turbulent twentieth century, in which it was recurrently engulfed in ghastly wars, which never did it, or its neighbours, any good.
Any reforming government knows that it is an immense advantage to hold out the vista of joining the great European home, if one wants to get a controversial measure across. 'Either we do this; or we are not proper Europeans.' That is the motto of reformers across the countries in transition. 

The Greek Olympic flame of freedom
To achieve their goal, the Croatian reformers need a sponsor and mentor. They have found one in Greece, more particularly the present Greek PM, who is riding a high of popularity at home, being on 49% to his rival Georges Papandreou's 23%.
Costas Karamanlis is aiming to use his domestic popularity to enhance his stature abroad and become a true world statesman. Greece has acquired a new international profile since the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, which everyone knows is the original home of the games. They went off very well, with the Greeks dispelling any myth that they are sunk in Balkan inefficiency. 
Karamanlis has the noble idea of championing the Balkan region as a whole for (EU) membership. Who better to lead the way than the country that was cradle to Western civilisation? In fact Greece has for some time, as a veteran member of NATO and long established within the EU, has sought to become the regional leader, wielding as the prize perhaps, rather more votes than its own in EU affairs. 
He began with a tour of the Western Balkans in mid-January, making Croatia his first port of call. 

Karamanlis heaps praise on Croatia's Euro-Atlantic progress, meets with PM Sanader 
Karamanlis on January 14th reiterated Greece's support for Croatia's Euro-Atlantic course, after a meeting in Zagreb with Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. Karamanlis expressed support for the expansion of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) into the Western Balkans, saying, "Greece supports strongly the Croatian road to the EU and NATO, as well as the expansion of EU to all countries in this region, because it will serve as the best guarantee for its stability."
Karamanlis, who arrived in Zagreb on the first leg of a visit to Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, said bilateral political relations between Greece and Croatia were excellent, while calling for additional efforts so that bilateral trade ties reach the excellent level of political relations.
Croatia, Karamanlis said, was ahead of Western Balkan countries in the course towards incorporation into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Greece, he added, stood at the side of Croatia on its road to European Union accession, and considered "significant" the progress and reforms that Croatia has made in order to complete its accession negotiations. With respect to the membership criteria for joining NATO, Karamanlis said Croatia has made substantial progress, adding that Greece looks forward to the prospect of an invitation being extended to Croatia during the next NATO summit in 2008. 
He also said that he and Sanader discussed developments in the Balkans, with a particular emphasis on Kosovo, noting that Croatia's role was acquiring particular importance at this time, as it currently chaired the SE Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP). "Looking back on Croatia's 15-year course, from its establishment during the turbulent period of the break-up of Yugoslavia to the present, which finds Croatia on the threshold of the European Union, I cannot but express my admiration and congratulations for the progress accomplished," Karamanlis said. Sanader, in turn, said Greece was a firm supporter of Croatia's Euro-Atlantic prospects, and that premier Karamanlis had committed himself to backing Croatia for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Sanader also said he accepted an invitation by Karamanlis to visit Greece in the first half of 2008, stressing that he would be accompanied by entrepreneurs on that visit.
Finally, the Croatian prime minister further stressed to Karamanlis that his country will complete preparations for joining the EU and NATO by the end of 2008.
Karamanlis later met with Croatian president Stjepe Mesic, while afterwards he addressed a panegyric meeting of the Croatian cabinet marking the 15th anniversary of the country's independence.

« Top

FOOD & DRINK

New challenges for the Croatian food industry loom

It is noted that in EU countries only those food items are imported which are hard to produce at home. Most of the food bought by consumers generally comes from domestic markets. On the other hand, Croatia imports most of its food from neighbouring countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Slovenia. Croatia has ample resources that would enable it to supply the market with domestic products, the comparatively high cost of food production combined with steep tax rates make it cheaper to bring in food products from abroad, Croatia Post reported.
Agricultural purchase prices in Croatia are low and guaranteed, but state subsidies are meagre or non-existent. As a result, it is expensive and often unprofitable for farmers to grow the crops needed for food products. This is especially true regarding raw materials used to produce oil and sugar. Croatia is capable of meeting domestic market requirements and also of exporting to foreign markets. Local farmers, however, have been refusing to grow sugar beets and sunflowers as the purchase prices set by factories do not cover farming expenses.

« Top

FOREIGN LOANS

EBRD lends 40m for Rijeka bypass construction

The EBRD is lending the Croatian state-owned road company Hrvatske Ceste 40 million Euro to build the last section of the eastern bypass in Rijeka, between the towns of Sveti Kuzam and Krizisce in north-west Croatia, website reporter.gr said on December 13th.
It will also finance two roads that connect to the bypass. The loan will help complete the bypass offering motorists an alternative route around Rijeka, therefore avoiding the city centre, it was reported. It will also help promote road-sector reform through the introduction of performance-based maintenance contracts to increase effectiveness and to lower costs of road maintenance in Croatia. Once the bypass is complete, many of these concerns will be dampened as traffic flow will mostly be directed around the city, EBRD Director for Transport Riccardo Puliti was cited as saying by the website. As well as benefiting residents and tourists, the new bypass will help support those businesses heavily dependent on the road network for trade purposes, he added.
The project builds on an EBRD strategy to develop road networks in Croatia. With this loan, the EBRD has provided more than 270 million Euro to finance six road sector projects in the country, it was reported. These include administrative reforms aimed at improving the management and development of the road network, and preparation and implementation of national road plans.

  

« Top

 

« Back

 


 
Published by 
Newnations (a not-for-profit company)
PO Box 12 Monmouth 
United Kingdom NP25 3UW 
Fax: UK +44 (0)1600 890774
enquiries@newnations.com