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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: 156 - (25/05/10)

The Croat-Serb duo
Croatia and Serbia are perennial foils, sometimes enemies, sometimes allies, but forever in contention. Such is the way with neighbours.

Of course a bloody conflict between the two broke out as Yugoslavia broke up in the early1990s.

Croatia should drop its genocide lawsuit against Serbia in order to improve relations between the two, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic has said. The Serbian official said if Croatian officials agree to withdraw their lawsuit over alleged acts of genocide during World War II, then Serbia will respond in kind by ending a counter-suit against Croatia.

"Croatia and Serbia are important states in the Western Balkans, and the speed of the entire region's EU integration, which is the strategic goal of both countries, hinges in great part on our cooperation," Cvetkovic said, referring to the European Union.

Cvetkovic also called for improved trade relations between the two countries in order to assist both sides during the current economic downturn, the B92 broadcaster said. "These are difficult economic times for the whole world and for our region too. For precisely this reason, we have to work together in the economic sphere. However, that cooperation has to be between equals, on level and just market conditions," the prime minister said.

France – the new champion of Croatia and its EU ambitions
It is an anomaly that Bulgaria and Romania entered the European Union (EU) in 2007, ahead of Croatia, a far more together and appropriate country than either of them, far less infested with crime and corruption. The French, with their penchant for French-speaking Romania (it is more than just a second language there; it is their guarantee of being European), had a lot to do with that; Bulgaria had to be brought in on Romanian coat-tails, given certain salient geographical facts.

Now France under President Nicolas Sarkozy is backing Croatia's EU membership bid too. Sarkozy, as his name suggests, has a father who hails from Hungary, a fact not to be underestimated in Central European politics.

Hungary and Croatia are traditional friends in the region, both highly distrustful of the Serbs, and for that matter of the Bulgars and Romanians, indeed of the Balkans as a whole. At a recent meeting in Paris Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader received a clear message from Sarkozy that France would lend its support to unblocking the negotiations with Croatia as soon as it consents to EU mediation under the leadership of Martti Ahtisaari, and that France would support the principle of international law in resolving the dispute with Slovenia.

In effect, that means that an important member of the EU has stood behind Croatia, which is a clear sign to Sanader. Croatia should undertake a new diplomatic offensive, linking itself to a few more important EU member countries, Germany above all, with the aim of unblocking the negotiations.

Croatia has become France's favourite, for which there are several auxiliary reasons to those already adduced. Croatia grasped in time that military cooperation with France, as was the case with the US, could be the motor of overall relations between the two countries. France's military-industrial giant, Thales, will install communication equipment in 126 Croatian AMV armoured combat vehicles, which will be manufactured by a consortium including Duro Dakovic Special Vehicles in Slavonski Brod and Finland's Patria. And it is very likely that a Thales mortar launcher could be installed on these vehicles.

On behalf of the Croatian Government, Deputy Prime Minister Damir Polancec signed, on 7 August 2008, a memorandum of agreement with France's Thales on its entry into the ownership structure of the Split-based PCE Split Company. To date this is the largest entry by a foreign military-industrial consortium into Croatia's special purpose industry, i.e. a joint venture contract. With the entry of Thales into PCE Split, the state-owned company will be able to manufacture radio communication equipment for the Croatian Armed Forces and, above all, for countries of the Middle East and Mediterranean basin.

The contract will allow PCE to make a massive technological jump forward, to join the select company of manufacturers of top line electronic technology for military use, and to enter the global market. When speaking of the countries of the Mediterranean, where France has great influence, one should also mention the fact that the Croatian firm, Adria Mar, is completely overhauling Libyan coast guard and naval vessels, built and equipped in French shipyards.

The French are quite unsentimental when it comes to promoting their self-interest; this now intimately involves Croatia.  

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