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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
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: 132 - (01/06/08)

The pregnant past
The Croats are saturated in history - the history of the former Yugoslavia, not just Croatia. Tito was a Croat (actually half croat, half Slovene) and the only communist leader to be genuinely popular throughout his reign. But then he let people leave, whereas all the others were prisoners of their peoples. Tito of course led a victorious war against the Nazis, a really good foe. 

In fact Tito had another foe nearer home, the Ustase and the royalist Cetniks, fellow travellers of the fascists no less and ardently supported by the Catholics and the Vatican (De Gaulle, a pious Catholic himself, had no illusions about Pius X11, 'the Nazi Pope'). Croatia's history encapsulated the destiny of fascism and communism in the former Yugoslavia. It did that, indeed, of the defeat of fascism and the collapse of communism. In other words it is Croatia, as well as Serbia, that was and still is key to the fate of the FYU.

It was a proxy war between these two republics in Bosnia and in the marches between them that dominated the first half of the 1990s, with two battleaxes of presidents in Tudjman and Milosevic. After Tudjmanís death it was discover that in his office he had a telephone hotline to Milosevicís desk. It would be intriguing to know how that was used! 
Their departure in 1999-2000 has set the scene for their countries' rejuvenation. Both need to be brought into the EU as soon as possible. 

The Serb elections
The elections in Serbia in mid-May are decisive here. The genuine democrats and pro-Westerners under President Boris Tadic, himself recently re-elected, did unexpectedly well. It now looks as if their EU candidacy should be a shoe-in. Certainly, both are now less plagued by corruption than Bulgaria and Romania, which are already members.

The key for Croatia is their long-established amity with Germany. This may have taken a dire form in the days of the Axis, but is now a boon. Many Germans have holiday homes in Croatia, with its magnificent coastline, lovely countryside and the richest architectural heritage in the Balkans. Neither Tito nor Tudjman were any Ceaucescu, who obliterated the core of Bucharest. Indeed Dubrovnik has more museums than any city on Earth.

Croatia can look forward to joining shortly the most select geopolitical club on Earth, the EU. Both sides will be beneficiaries.

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