In-depth Business Intelligence
of US $
is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)
Books on Croatia
No: 158 - (25/07/10)
Historic visit to
Serbian President Boris Tadic has hailed
what he called a historic visit by his
Croatian counterpart, Ivo Josipovic, to
Belgrade. After their talks, Mr Tadic said
Serbia wished for the best possible
relations with its neighbour and former
enemy. Mr Josipovic said both countries
shared the goal of peace and stability and
were finding ways to address the past.
Relations between the ex-Yugoslav states
have been tense since the wars of the
Both leaders stressed the co-operation and
dialogue that they believe now defines
their countries' relationship, pledging to
find solutions to outstanding issues such
as the return of refugees.
They voiced support for an out-of-court
settlement of the genocide charges
relating to the war that both governments
had previously filed against each other at
the International Court of Justice.
And they stressed their common goal: to
join the European Union which, says
Brussels, will only be achieved through
better regional cooperation.
The Croatian-Serbian relationship is a
crucial one for the stability of the
Western Balkans. They are the biggest and
most powerful former Yugoslav republics
and it is widely believed that they can
set an example to neighbouring Bosnia,
where segregation between the different
ethnic groups still runs deep since its
own war of independence in the 1990s.
This is a region where reconciliation is
notoriously slow, but Zagreb and Belgrade
are determined to show that former foes
can lay the past to rest in the hope of
building a new EU future.
Into the EU next year?
Croatia is billed to be first of eight
countries lining up to join the EU. It
applied for membership in February 2003.
It was confirmed as a candidate country in
Negotiations then started in October 2005.
A border dispute with neighbouring
Slovenia - an EU member - held up
Croatia's accession talks until early
September 2009, when Slovenia agreed to
lift its veto over the talks.
Slovenia had demanded that the 17-year-old
dispute be resolved before Croatia could
join. But now Slovenia says Croatia's
entry bid can proceed while the border
issue is discussed separately.
Croatia had hoped to conclude accession
talks in 2009. Despite the delay, it could
complete the negotiations in 2010 and join
the EU in 2011.
The end of Lisbon Treaty ratification -
after numerous hurdles and delays - paved
the way for Croatia's accession, because
the EU's institutional changes are now
Back in 2005 accession talks were delayed
by seven months as Croatia struggled to
convince the EU it was doing its best to
find war crimes suspect Gen Ante Gotovina.
He was arrested in the Canary Islands in
The EU is urging Croatia to reform its
judiciary, root out corruption, make more
progress on minority rights and keep
co-operating with the war crimes tribunal.
Organised crime remains a major concern. A
prominent newspaper editor and his
marketing chief were killed by a car bomb
in Zagreb in October 2008. Earlier, the
daughter of a prominent lawyer had been
gunned down in the Croatian capital.
The EU has set an "indicative and
conditional" timetable for completing
accession negotiations. Various "chapters"
in the negotiations have opened, including
economic policy, financial control,
freedom to provide services, consumer and
health protection, and external relations.