Books on Croatia
% of GDP
Update No: 096- (26/04/05)
The aftermath of communism
After the death of Tito and with the fall of communism throughout eastern
Europe, the Yugoslav federation began to crumble. Croatia held its first
multi-party elections since World War II in 1990. Long-time Croatian nationalist
Franjo Tudjman was elected President, and one year later, Croatians declared
independence from Yugoslavia. Conflict between Serbs and Croats in Croatia
escalated, and one month after Croatia declared independence, civil war erupted.
The United Nations mediated a cease-fire in January 1992, but hostilities
resumed the next year when Croatia fought to regain one-third of the territory
lost the previous year. A second cease-fire was enacted in May 1993, followed by
a joint declaration the next January between Croatia and Yugoslavia. However, in
September 1993, the Croatian Army led an offensive against the Serb-held
Republic of Krajina. A third cease-fire was called in March 1994, but it, too,
was broken in May and August 1995 after Croatian forces regained large portions
of Krajina, prompting an exodus of Serbs from this area. In November 1995,
Croatia agreed to peacefully reintegrate Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western
Dirmium under terms of the Erdut Agreement. In December 1995, Croatia signed the
Dayton peace agreement, committing itself to a permanent cease-fire and the
return of all refugees.
Into a new post-Tudjman epoch
The death of President Tudjman in December 1999, followed by the election of a
coalition government and President in early 2000, brought significant changes to
Croatia. The government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Racan,
progressed in implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, regional cooperation,
refugee returns, national reconciliation, and democratisation. The change at the
top enabled Croatia to move on. Tudjman, regarded by many as the 'father of his
country' was ruthless, untrustworthy and worse. The western powers felt quite
unable to work with him. Croatia then had no chance of gaining admission to the
EU, whereas now they should one day make it - it is as simple and yet as
difficult, as is explained below.
On November 23, 2003, national elections were held for Parliament. The new
government, headed by Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, took office in December 2003.
The Sanader government has continued to build upon the changes first set forth
under the Racan government. Presidential elections were held in January 2005.
President Mesic was re-elected to a second term in office, defeating HDZ
candidate Jadranka Kosor in two rounds of balloting. The inauguration of
President Mesic was on February 18th, 2005.
The Croatian Parliament, also known as the Sabor, became a unicameral body after
its upper house (Chamber of Counties) was eliminated by constitutional amendment
in March 2001. The remaining body, the Chamber of Representatives, consists of
151 members who serve 4-year terms elected by direct vote. The Sabor meets twice
a year--from January 15 to July 15 and from September 15 to December 15.
The powers of the legislature include enactment and amendment of the
constitution, passage of laws, adoption of the state budget, declarations of war
and peace, alteration of the boundaries of the republic, and carrying out
elections and appointments to office. During the parliamentary elections of
January 2000, six parties united to form a coalition government--Social
Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP), Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS),
Croatian Peasant Party (HSS), Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS), Liberal Party
(LS), and Croatian People's Party (HNS). The IDS left the coalition in June
2001. In July 2002, the HSLS left the coalition, after which it split into two
parties, Libra and the HSLS. Libra remained in the coalition. As a result of the
parliamentary elections in November 2003, a minority coalition government led by
the HDZ was formed.
New foreign minister
On January 4, 2005, Foreign Minister Miomir Zuzul tendered his resignation
to Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. European Integration Minister Kolinda
Grabar-Kitarovic became Foreign Minister on February 17, 2005. The Ministries of
Foreign Affairs and European Integration were merged under her leadership,
emphasising the pro-EU orientation of Croatia's foreign policy. In addition,
Damir Polancec was named Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Neven
Ljubicic replaced Andrija Hebrang as Minister of Health.
The president is the head of state and is elected by direct popular vote for a
term of 5 years. The president is limited to serving no more than two terms. In
addition to being the commander in chief, the president appoints the prime
minister and cabinet members with the consent of Parliament. Following the death
of President Tudjman, the powers of the presidency were curtailed and greater
responsibility was vested in Parliament.
The prime minister, who is nominated by the president, assumes office following
a parliamentary vote of confidence in the new government. The prime minister and
government are responsible for proposing legislation and a budget, executing the
laws, and guiding the foreign and internal policies of the republic.
The EU beckons
Croatia hopes to begin membership talks by the end of June and join the
European Union (EU) by the end of the decade.
The European Commission, however, on April 25th reiterated that Croatia could
not hope to start EU entry talks until Zagreb gives full cooperation with war
crimes prosecutors. EU officials downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at the
talks, which come after the EU refused to start the talks in March due to
Zagreb's lack of cooperation in finding a key Croatian war crimes suspect.
"There has been some slight progress but nothing substantial" in the
hunt for fugitive general Ante Gotovina, one EU official told AFP, requesting
anonymity. Gotovina is charged by the UN war crimes court in the Dutch city for
alleged war crimes against ethnic Serbs at the end of 1991-95 Serbo-Croatian
war. Zagreb has insisted it has no knowledge of his whereabouts.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said it was "fundamental" that
Croatia help ensure the capture of Gotovina and his transfer to the
International Criminal Tribunal for ex-Yugloslavia (ICTY). "We are going to
talk to them very frankly, to see how things are moving," Solana said on
arrival at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, expected to meet
with a Croatia delegation.
The EU refused in March to start planned entry talks with Croatia after Carla
del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the Hague-based ICTY, said she was not receiving
full cooperation from Zagreb in the hunt for Gotovina. Del Ponte has been
invited to the Luxembourg meeting, but there have been few signs that she will
change her verdict that Zagreb is doing enough to help her. "We would like
very much to move the process forward. But we need ... full cooperation"
from Zagreb with the ICTY, said Solana. "Cooperation with the tribunal is
fundamental. The objective is clear, that Gotovina is in The Hague," he
There have been few signs of progress since last month on the Gotovina issue --
although Croatia's president has said that Zagreb had asked Israel to extradite
a tycoon, suspected of being a supporter of Gotovina. The Croatian government
has identified Hrvoje Petrac as a key assistant to Gotovina, President Stipe
Mesic said, as well as that Stanko Banic, a Mesic stalwart, accused Transport
and Tourism Minister Bozidar Kalmeta of being part of a support network helping
Banic, who was at the time director of a shipping company based in the coastal
town of Zadar, said that Kalmeta, then the town's mayor, asked him to finance
Gotovina and his family. The Croatian minister denied the allegations, calling
it politically motivated ahead of local elections next month. "This is
clearly a well-organized and timed action ahead of local polls aimed at
discrediting me," Kalmeta said.
Croatia targets Chinese deals
Croatia is number four with a 1.5% share in China's ship-building project,
Bloomberg News Agency reported recently.
The director of Shanghai-based Shanghai Waigapqiep Shipbuilding company said
that they are building ships now that they could only have dreamt of five years
ago. With leading yards worldwide at full capacity until 2008, China's rise in
market share has come at the expense of such publicity traded ship-builders as
south Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co and Japan's Mitsui Engineering and
Shipbuilding Co. China, the world's number three shipbuilder, raised its share
of new orders by 2% to 17% last year and won its first contract to build
liquefied gas tankers.
World Bank grants Croatia 46m-dollar loan
The World Bank recently granted Croatia a US$45.68m loan for the project aimed
at economic and social reconstruction, the Bank said in a statement, HINA News
The loan is earmarked for the reconstruction of the war-struck and
insufficiently developed areas of Croatia, which is part of Croatia's efforts
aimed at joining the EU, the Word Bank said. The loan is to be paid back in 15
years with a five-year grace period.
IskonInternet gains concession
The Croatian Telecommunications Agency granted a fixed telephony concession to
IskonInternet on March 25th, hrt.com reported.
The services provided by the IskonInternet cover more than 7,000 companies in
Croatia and 100,000 private users. This company is the leader in Croatia. The
company said the concession enabled it to offer services via the fixed telephony
network, excluding the use of the radio frequency spectrum. IskonInternet will
provide internet services to consumers all over Croatia. The concession was
granted on the national level for a period of 30 years. IskonInternet said it
would be ready to offer services within a couple of months.
Croatia hotel business grows
Tourism businesses are expanding in Croatia rapidly, Interfax News Agency
reported. Hotels in Croatia are now being revamped as a result. A well-known
tourist destination, a renewed international airport, a famous Summer Festival
clean water, a marina for sailing boats, a famous port of call for hundreds of
cruising ships, has a real potential to become a destination for golf tourist
and players. A total hotel capacity of 2,000 beds exists in the three and four
star hotels in Dubrovnik. The tourist hotel group, Babin Kuk of Dubrovnik, has
decided to invest into the modernisation and restructuring of its five star
hotel Plakir. Twenty five million Euro will be invested in this project. The
reopening of this hotel is expected to take place in April 2007.