Books on Croatia
% of GDP
Update No: 092- (01/01/05)
The EU beckons
The Balkan state of Croatia, with a population of 4.4 million, hopes to join the
25-member European Union (EU) in 2007 with Bulgaria and Romania, although
diplomats say 2009 is more realistic.
Croatia's Prime Minister Ivo Sanader has vowed to cooperate fully with the U.N.
war crimes tribunal to ensure that his former Yugoslav republic can start
membership talks with the EU this year. EU leaders are set to decide to launch
accession talks with Croatia, possibly around April, provided that the country
works together with the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) on former
Gotovina still a problem
The start of Croatian entry talks was thrown into doubt when the tribunal's
chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, told the U.N. Security Council in November
that Croatia had failed to cooperate sufficiently over catching fugitive former
General Ante Gotovina. "I am going to say very clearly that Croatia is
fully cooperating with the ICTY. We are fully committed to this
cooperation," Sanader told reporters in Brussels hours before the summit
was due to start. "I do expect the European Council to open negotiations
with Croatia in early 2005," he added.
EU leaders are expected to decide that Zagreb's cooperation with the U.N.
tribunal will need to be scrutinized before membership talks finally begin,
although they may leave it open who will do the review. Zagreb will also have to
enable all Croatian Serb war refugees to return to their homes and further
improve relations with its neighbours.
An EU official said that under one option the review could be carried out by the
European Commission, the bloc's executive body, and later debated by Union
EU foreign ministers decided on December 13th to keep pressure on Croatia after
del Ponte said Gotovina could be protected by a support network that included
backing "within state structures." Gotovina was in charge of the
government's final offensive to recapture rebel Serb-held territory in 1995 and
is seen by many Croats as a hero of Zagreb's 1991-95 war of independence.
The 49-year-old former foreign legion veteran, who is also a French citizen, was
indicted for looting, harassment and murder of Serb civilians after the
Croatia Airlines joins Star Alliance
The national air carrier Croatia Airlines signed an agreement on joining the
Star Alliance in Frankfurt recently, HINA News Agency reported.
Croatia Airlines general director, Ivan Misetic, Star Alliance president, Jaan
Albrecht, and Lufthansa CEO, Wolfgang Mayrkuber, signed the agreement.
Slovenia's air carrier Adria Airways have also signed an agreement on joining
the Star Alliance.
The Star Alliance is a global air transport association whose members offer more
than 14,000 daily flights to 755 destinations in 132 countries.
Croatia Airlines representatives said admission to the Star Alliance represented
the realization of one of the company's strategic goals.
Croatian, Hungarian oil companies interested in buying Bosnian oil company
Croatian oil company INA and its strategic partner, Hungarian oil company MOL,
submitted a non-binding letter of intent to the Bosnian government on 26th
November for investing in the oil company Energopetrol, HINA News Agency
INA and MOL said in a statement that at the first stage the two companies would
gather all relevant information on possible investment in the Sarajevo-based
The chairman of the INA board of directors, Tomislav Dragicevic, said that INA's
decision to compete in the tender together with MOL, which owns a 25 per cent
stake in the Croatian company, was "solely the result of a business
Energopetrol is in 67 per cent ownership of the state.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Croatia, Oman interested in improving economic cooperation
Croatian Assistant Foreign Minister, Drazen Margeta, visited the Sultanate
of Oman recnelty, during which he signed a memorandum on regular consultations
between the two foreign ministries and discussed the strengthening of economic
cooperation with his hosts, HINA News Agency reported.
The Croatia Foreign Ministry said in a statement that both sides expressed great
interest in economic cooperation.
Some 200 Croatians are already working on oil and gas research in a joint
company and the maintenance of oil plants in Oman. Margeta and his hosts also
discussed the expansion of economic cooperation in the area of infrastructure,
road construction, shipping and airports, and tourism.
French businessmen interested in investing in Croatia
Efforts to boost foreign trade cooperation and increase French direct
investments in Croatia as well as in other countries in the region including
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia-Montenegro and Macedonia were the main
topic of a recent meeting, held in the French Senate in Paris, HINA News Agency
The Senate's president, Christian Poncelet, opened the gathering, which about
100 French businessmen and other interested parties attended.
Croatian businessman, Robert Lovric, commented on the event at which it was said
that the entire region was interesting to French investors.
The trade between France and Croatia in the first ten months of 2004 came to
some US$757m, with Croatian exports to France rising by 3 per cent to US$151.7m
and imports falling by 3.6 per cent to US$606m.
Croatia's best tourist season so far
Croatia this year registered the best tourist season since it became independent
from Yugoslavia in 1991, the tourism ministry said recently, Deutsche
Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
In the first nine months of the year, 8.3m tourists visited Croatia, a five per
cent increase compared to the same period in 2003, itself better than all
previous years. There were also 45.7m overnight stays. According to the
ministry, revenues from tourism are expected to reach US$8.5bn. Tourism is
Croatia's most important source of foreign revenues and also the engine of
growth for the entire national economy.