Books on Croatia
% of GDP
Update No: 098 - (01/07/05)
The Croat leaders are apprehensive about current developments in the EU. Is
Croatia still on for membership by 2007?
They well know that the French and Dutch voting 'no' to the new European
constitution was, inter alia, directed against the Turks, not the Croats. But
could they be victims in the cross-fire - however friendly the fire from the EU?
Hungary backs Croatia to EU
Hungarian President Ferenc Madl, on a one-day official visit to Croatia
recently, said in Zagreb that Hungary would support Croatia's progress towards
the European Union. This is somewhat re-assuring. Croatia was for centuries a
territory of Hungary's when that nation was a partner nation in the
Madl, who met in Zagreb with his Croatian counterpart, Stjepan Mesic, said
Hungary would do its best to help Croatia become a full EU member as soon as
possible. President Mesic said such Hungarian support would be very important
for Croatia, which already has good cooperation with Hungary in the fields of
economics, culture and education. The two presidents also discussed
possibilities of further improvement of cooperation especially in the banking
sector and oil industry.
Most Croats oppose EU entry: poll
A snag, however, of a very fundamental nature to the whole project has turned
out. A majority of Croats, whom the leaders are leading, are now opposed to
their country becoming a member of the European Union, according to a poll
published by the daily Vecernji list recently!
The poll found that 44% of Croats would vote against EU entry in a referendum,
while 42% would endorse joining the bloc. Some 13% were not sure which way they
would vote. Vecernji polled 900 people. This is the first time that a poll has
shown a majority of Croatians opposed to joining the EU. Analysts attributed the
drop in support to the delay in accession talks imposed by the EU because of
Croatia's failure to arrest war crimes suspect, the General, Ante Gotovina, an
emotive issue in that country.
The San Sebastian nation
This brings one to the crunch. The Croats still see themselves as victims of
outsiders, the Serbs in their case, and as nothing else in the wars that
occurred in the 1990s in the Balkans. So do the Serbs curiously enough - a pair
of San Sebastian nations. But who were wielding the bows that shot the arrows
into their hides? In both countries the man in the street blames the
priests-Orthodox Serbia, Roman Catholic in Croatia for fermenting hatred of
Croatia is after all in the Balkans. Period. Perhaps it will stay there in an
undiluted state for a while - as is likely in Serbia (not an early candidate for
membership) as regards the EU?
Croatia to acquire 15 Mi-17 helicopters from Russia
Croatian President Stipe Mesic reached an agreement with Russian President
Vladimir Putin, which gives a green light to Croatia's acquisition of 15 Russian
helicopters Mi-17, Onasa News Agency web site reported.
The purchase of Russian helicopters aims to improve the bad situation that the
Croatian Air Force is undergoing.
Croatian president's adviser, Vlatko Cvrtila, said the price of a helicopter
ranges US$3-4 m, and the payment will be effected within the framework of the
so-called clearing debt of Russia to successor-countries of the old Yugoslav
The web site of the Croatian Defence Ministry says the Croatian air force has 19
Mi-17 helicopters; however, according to Vecernji's list, only three of them are
The new helicopters will be delivered within the next two or three years, after
the ratification on debt settlement agreement.
Croatia, Council of Europe Development Bank sign loan accord
Croatian Finance Minister, Ivan Suker, and the Governor of the Council of
Europe's Development Bank (CEB), Raphael Alomar, signed in Vukovar on 23rd May
an agreement on a loan to finance a project for the research, reconstruction and
revitalisation of the cultural heritage of Ilok, Vukovar and the archaeological
site of Vucedol near Vukovar, drawn up by the Croatian Culture Ministry, HINA
News Agency reported.
Minister Suker said the four-year project amounted to 266.2m kuna. The loan,
which covers 169.7m kuna of the project's value, is to be repaid in 15 years,
with a five year grace and an interest rate of 3.59 per cent. The remaining 57m
will be provided by the Croatian government.
Suker recalled that Croatia joined the CEB in 1997, since then it has signed
agreements on 11 long-term loans worth 1.8bn kuna.
The loans are intended for the return of displaced people and refugees, the
reconstruction and construction of schools, the modernisation of health
institutions, the improvement of living conditions on islands, and the
restoration of the cultural heritage, Suker said.
Croatian, Moldovan presidents discuss bilateral ties
Croatian President, Stjepan Mesic, and his Moldovan counterpart, Vladimir
Voronin, met in Chisinau recently to discuss bilateral relations, Croatia and
Moldova's integration with the EU, the situation in the region and the global
threat of terrorism, HINA News Agency reported.
The two countries support one another on the road to the EU, which is both
Croatia's and Moldova's strategic goal, and they will exchange useful
information on that matter, Presidents Mesic and Voronin, who confirmed their
views by signing a joint statement, said at a news conference.
With regard to economic cooperation, it was agreed that the two countries'
business people should exchange visits to establish closer ties and use
cooperation possibilities. There are great possibilities for cooperation in the
food-processing and telecommunication industries, as well as in all other
industrial branches, the Croatian president said.
President Voronin said he hoped steps would be taken to achieve concrete results
and expressed satisfaction with agreements on the avoidance of double taxation
and customs issues that were signed.
Speaking about international terrorism, Mesic and Voronin agreed that this
danger should be countered with joint efforts.
Asked about the breakaway region of Transnistria, Moldova's most difficult
political problem, Voronin said this problem had to be solved in a peaceful way.
Moldova is interested in foreign assistance, especially from European
organizations, he said, adding that the Russian Federation and Ukraine too had
offered support in solving the problem.
"We are optimistic and hope this problem will be solved as soon as
possible," Voronin said.
Croatian, Hungarian presidents note successful bilateral cooperation
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic on 27th May received for talks Hungarian
President Ferenc Madl, who was on a brief working visit to Zagreb at the
invitation of his host, HINA News Agency reported.
After the talks the two presidents told reporters that Croatia and Hungary had
no outstanding issues in their relations, and agreed that bilateral cooperation
was increasing in all fields.
Mesic said that apart from good cooperation in the economy, culture and
education, Hungary's support to Croatia's efforts to join the European Union was
also important to Zagreb.
Madl added that his country would continue all it could to help Croatia to
become an EU member as soon as possible.
"We believe that on this road Croatia and its officials do all what is
necessary so as to meet the Copenhagen criteria."
The two presidents also discussed possibilities of strengthening cooperation in
transport between the two neighbouring countries. In this context they
considered the development of the Croatian seaports of Rijeka and Ploce and
their links with Hungary and through Hungary with other European countries,
Madl expressed satisfaction with the cooperation of companies from the two
countries, particularly in the banking sector. Hungary's investments in Croatia
totalled US$750m in 2004. The talks also revolved around the ethnic minorities,
which Mesic described as "bridges of cooperation".
There are an estimated 90,000 ethnic Croats in Hungary, and are one of 13
recognized minorities in that country. Bilingual teaching is available in 35
kindergartens, three primary schools and two high schools with the Croatian
language being taught in about 40 schools. There is also a Croat department
within the national broadcasting corporation, and what remains to be solved is
the representation of Croats in the Hungarian parliament.
Mesic and Madl voiced hope that the joint candidacy of Croatia and Hungary to
host the European Soccer Championships in 2012 would be accepted.