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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)

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Update No: 117 - (22/02/07)

The return of the repressed
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on February 13th expressed contempt for comments made by Croatia's president over what Italy views as a World War Two massacre of Italians. The emollient way that the history of the Second World War is written, between goodies and baddies, is being put into question.
Henry Ford once said: "History is bunk." He later retracted it, but his saying has become notorious.
Recent events in South-East Europe rather bear out his detractors, at least as regards the Balkans.
One thing is indisputable - it was Mussolini and Italy who invaded the Balkan countries of Albania and Greece in 1939-40, not the other way round. Italian troops in league with the Nazis then encroached on Yugoslavia, being evicted by the Partisans with extensive British support (those interested can read all about it in Fitzroy Maclean's Eastern Approaches, a not unimportant participant in the events of the time. When he explained to Churchill that the Partisans were communist and would establish a communist regime if victorious, the following exchange took place:- 
Churchill: Do you intend to live in Yugoslavia after the war?
Maclean: No, sir
Churchill: Neither do I.

Italy and Croatia Reopen Old War Wounds 
A furious row was raging across the Adriatic in mid-February over the Second World War after the presidents of Croatia and Italy traded accusations of racism and barbarism. Italian diplomats called off visits to Zagreb and summoned the Croatian ambassador in Rome for a stiff talking-to; and the Italian prime minister, Romano Prodi, attacked Croatia after its president, Stipe Mesic, accused his Italian counterpart of racism and trying to rewrite history. 
Croatia and Slovenia were stunned by a speech on Remembrance Day, February 10th, by Italy's president, Giorgio Napoletano, devoted to the suffering of Italians in former Yugoslavia towards the end of the Second World War. Describing the pogroms of Italians by Yugoslav communist partisans as "the barbarism of the century," "ethnic cleansing" and a campaign of annexation of Italian territory fuelled by "Slav bloodthirsty hatred and rage," Mr Napoletano stirred a storm of controversy and appeared to raise questions about Croatia's bid to join the European Union. 
Mr Prodi and his foreign minister, Massimo D'Alema waded into the row on February 13th, with Italian officials implying that while Italy had faced up to its fascist past, Croatia had yet to do so. 
"We don't need any lessons in fascism from Italy," quipped a Croatian politician after Mr Mesic said the Italian statesman's speech smacked of "open racism, historical revisionism, and political revanchism." 
The dispute has to do with the pogroms and population shifts enforced at the end of the Second World War all across central Europe, but it also touches on sensitive current property claims and compensation demands. 
Just as millions of Germans were kicked out of central and eastern Europe and many of them killed when the Third Reich collapsed, so, after the fall of Mussolini and the capitulation of Italy, were Italian fascist occupiers and indigenous Italian communities expelled from the eastern Adriatic - the areas of Dalmatia and Istria that belonged to Yugoslavia and now form parts of Croatia and Slovenia. 
It is estimated that 150,000 Italians were kicked out by vengeful communist partisans under Josip Broz Tito, and that 15,000 were killed. Many of the corpses were dumped in the thousands of caves that perforate the limestone karsts of Dalmatia and Istria. 
Mussolini's fascist movement had annexed the eastern Adriatic before the war and occupied it during the war. Mr Napoletano further outraged the Croats by conferring a medal on an Italian fascist governor of a stretch of Dalmatia who was executed in 1947 after being tried for war crimes by the Yugoslavs. 
Observers were surprised by the strength of the language used by both sides, since both presidents are former communists with roots in the wartime partisan movements who fought guerrilla wars was against the fascists. 
Similar rows are currently simmering between Germany and Poland since a German lobby has gone to the European court to reclaim property lost at the end of the war. But the German government opposes the German claims and distances itself from the German lobby. Observers noted that had a German president accused Poland of barbarism and bloodlust, as Mr Napoletano had accused the "Slavs", the international impact would have been immense. 
The issue of Italian suffering at the end of the war in former Yugoslavia was brushed under the carpet for decades. But two years ago, the rightwing Berlusconi government in Rome established a day of remembrance for the victims, and last year a publicly-funded Italian feature film on the events was screened to huge impact in Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia. 
In former Yugoslavia, the film was seen as a sentimental outrage that falsified history, demonised "Slavs", and failed to provide any context for the revenge meted out against the Italians. 
Italian officials have made it clear that Croatia could run into problems with its EU bid unless it is more accommodating towards Italy. Zagreb fears it may face demands either to return or sell property in what are now much coveted holiday hotspots in Dalmatia and Istria.

War invalids receive pensions
In echo of another war, that fought to obtain independence, the Croatian government is paying attention to victims among its own population.
During the government's mandate, 33,000 claims for the war invalid status came in, while due to the extension of the legal dead-line where every defender who brings a medical documentation on their illness can request an invalid status, regardless of the fact more than 10 years have past from the war. 
This caused an increase of war invalid numbers of around 44,000, and still growing. Namely, even 75 per cent of requests were approved and another increase of 15,000 is expected, the Jutarnji list daily reports. In this year's budget even 411 million kuna was reserved for invalid pensions, but also additional 91 million for "new" war invalids. 
With the status of an invalid, a person obtains the right to an invalid defender's pension, which is 4,955 kuna in average, while retirement according to age is around 2,100 kuna. Seeing how the situation in the country is bad, surely each defender will try to use their right and insure their safe future.

Sanader: We Respect Everybody, but HDZ is Best!
This is an election year in Croatia. But it is not due until December. A lot can happen between now and then.
The fracas with Italy can only do the incumbent government good. Wrapping round the flag is the order of the day.
At the 10th convention of HDZ Youth, Premier Sanader said to political adversaries that the HDZ would win in this year's elections again.
The convention of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) Youth was attended by the ruling party's elite, including Prime Minister and HDZ president Ivo Sanader, Parliament President Vladimir Seks, Minister of Family, Homeland War Soldiers and Inter-Generation Solidarity Jadranka Kosor, Finance Minister Ivan Suker and many others. 
The convention was opened with Croatia's anthem and a minute of silence in honour of the first Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, as well as all those who had been killed for their country.
After a greeting by the HDZ Youth president Margareta Madjaric, the attendants were addressed by Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. 
" This is an important meeting for the whole party because the youth represents the HDZ's force," said Sanader.
He recalled the time of establishment of the party, saying that "then one had to take hold of fate for the lock of hair of Khairos and fulfil a dream."
"Our youth must be open towards others and those that are different, as well as the challenges of the global process," he said.
He added that the HDZ was proud of all its achievements and that he firmly believed in the party's victory in the coming election.

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FOREIGN INVESTMENTS

Foreign investments reach 1.75bn Euro in 2006 


The latest figures from the Croatian central bank revealed that Croatia has attracted 1.75 billion Euro of foreign direct investments in 2006, the Croatian news agency HINA reported, cited by Croatia Post. 
Since 1993, the foreign investments in Croatia have reached 13.15 billion Euro. The figures show that investments in banking services were dominant in the structure of ownership investments in 2006, amounting to 789.4 million Euro. The majority of foreign investments between 1993 and 2006 were made in the banking sector (over 3.3 billion Euro). The post and telecommunication sector follows with 1.59 billion Euro, the chemical industry with 961.3 million Euro and the production of petroleum products with 543.8 million Euro. According to the figures, Austria leads the investment with 2.95 billion Euro, Germany follows with 2.13 billion Euro, France with 1.16 billion Euro, the United States with 1.14 billion Euro and Italy with slightly over a billion Euro. 

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Demand for skilled IT professionals

According to a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Ambassador to Austria, Linglingay Lacanlale, said that Croatia urgently requires skilled, English-speaking IT professionals for a growing telecommunications industry, targeting both the government and private home users, Croatia Post reported. 
This indicates that skilled and English-speaking Filipino technology professionals can find a place in the Croatian IT industry. Croatia Trade and Investment Promotion Agency Director, Slodoban Mikac, was quoted as saying: "The Agency monitors the markets in English-speaking countries like the Philippines," as Croatia will "be increasingly oriented towards medium and small investments, both local and foreign." The total size of the Croatian IT market is expected to increase from US$672 million in 2005 to around US$985 million in 2010, with software and services growing on the back of a steady rise in private sector investments. The "e-Croatia," a Croatian government initiative, aims to complete computerisation of the county's education and government systems and to bring key services online. The Internet users in Croatia are too low with only an estimated 230 private Internet users in every 1,000 population.   

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