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CROATIA





In-depth Business Intelligence 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
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

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
56,542

Population
4,496,869

Capital 
Zagreb

Currency 
Kuna

President 
Stipe Mesic

Private sector
% of GDP 
55%


Update No: 098 - (01/07/05)

EU jitters
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 Austro-Hungarian empire.
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 their neighbour.
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?

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AVIATION

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 federation.
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 operational.
The new helicopters will be delivered within the next two or three years, after the ratification on debt settlement agreement.

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FOREIGN LOANS

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.

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FOREIGN RELATIONS

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, Mesic said. 
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.

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