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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)

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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: 105- (30/01/06)

Gotovina got
A great breakthrough has occurred for the Croatians. The Croatian general, Ante Gotovina, responsible for the worst war crimes in the terrible times of 1991-95, with the break-up of Yugoslavia, has been apprehended in the Canary Islands and sent to The Hague, where he will be in the same plight as Milosevic.
This was the prime requirement of the West for admitting Croatia to its inner counsels. It will now probably be made an EU member forthwith, probably next year. But there are still problems to clear.

Balkan war crimes raid roils Croatia again
The issue of war crimes committed as Yugoslavia fell apart during the Balkan wars of the 1990s continues to roil Croatian society. 
The latest episode involves an apparent attempt by the authorities to prevent the circulation of a video of Croatian President Stjepan Mesic's confidential testimony to the special international court. On January 9th, the Zagreb branch of the Croatian Disabled War Veterans Association slammed a raid on its offices by police looking for the video, urging that those involved should be identified and punished. 
According to the association, police raided their offices with a warrant to prevent journalist Domagoj Margetic from showing the video. The association's Zagreb branch head, Ivan Pandza, told HINA news agency that he did not know who summoned the police and that neither Interior Minister Dragan Jocic nor the chief of police answered his inquiries. Margetic and Pandza were arrested and subsequently released. 
An estimated 300,000 died in the 1991-2001 Balkan conflict as millions were forced from their homes in the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II. 
The killings and forcible displacement -- dubbed "ethnic cleansing" -- were the first conflicts since 1945 to have been formally judged genocide, leading to the creation in 1993 in The Hague of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, or ICTY. 
Croatia's most important trading partner is now the European Union, which it hopes to join. As the government pursues its membership application it has attempted to quash potentially embarrassing political fallout in the media, such as the public showing of the videotape of the Mesic testimony. 
But at this time of year everybody is aware of the cold. Energy supplies are all-important.
In Astana, capital of Kazakstan, where President Nazarbayev was being re-inaugurated, Victor Yushchenko, president of Ukraine, met with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic on January 10th. They agreed to construct a transportation route via the Balkan countries, the President's press service said. 
The President also said Ukraine was going to hold talks with Croatia to jointly adapt to EU standards. Since Ukraine transits Russian gas for Croatia, Yushchenko said he was satisfied with successful Ukrainian-Russian gas talks on January 5th.
 

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AVIATION

Low-cost airline sets up London - Croatia link 


Thanks to a deal made with Wizz Air, starting March 27th, flights from Zagreb to London will be available for as little as 15 Euro. In addition, travellers HAD until January 31st to purchase tickets at an exclusive promotional price of five Euro while supplies last, New Europe reported.
Initially, flights will be offered four times weekly. Wizz Air's Director of Corporative Communications, Natasa Kazmer, said that this move will have a tremendous effect on this summer's tourism in Croatia and will "particularly show a growth in the number of guests and tourists from Great Britain, and will develop business relations." The 15 Euro tickets can already be reserved via the airlines' website, while the number of promotional tickets was limited. Wizz Air is the second and smaller international airline to make such a deal with Croatia, with German Wings already offering low-cost travel to and from various European destinations. As for Serbia, last February, there were no Serbian institutions willing to accept or even answer to the offer given by the popular and low-cost Ryan Airlines for flights from Belgrade and Nis airports to international destinations.

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BANKING

Unicredito to sell Croatian bank
 

UniCredito, the Italian bank, is to sell Splitska Banka, which is owned by HVB, one of two banks it owns in Croatia following the merger with Germany's HVB according to market sources. Splitska Banka, which has assets worth 3.1 billion Euro, could fetch as much as 750 million Euro, people familiar with the operation said. The Croatian central bank on January 3rd asked UniCredito to spin off one of the two subsidiaries, as their combined market share would reach 35 per cent, New Europe reported.
UniCredito would keep Zagrebacka Banka, the bigger of the two with a market share of 25 per cent. The 15 billion Euro take-over of HVB has also presented UniCredito with antitrust problems in Poland, although the merger has been cleared in other eastern European countries. The Polish authorities want UniCredito to sell HVB's subsidiary Bank BPH, since the Italian group already owns Bank Pekao in Poland. The Croatian authorities have insisted UniCredito sell one of its two subsidiaries as a whole, dismissing an offer to spin off parts of its combined banking business in the country. The Croatian central bank is also insisting that Splitska Banka cannot be sold to any of the other six leading banks in the country, which makes a takeover by a foreign bank more likely. The authorities in Zagreb also require UniCredito to sell its minority stake in one of two local building societies. UniCredito declined to comment.

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FOREIGN AID

Croatia, Azerbaijan join mission in Afghanistan
 

Croatia and Azerbaijan will join the Lithuanian-led NATO provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in western Afghanistan in the year 2006, the Lithuanian Defence Minister, Gediminas Kirkilas, said on January 4th, New Europe reported.
"We have an agreement with Croatia that it will send some 10-12 mine clearance specialists, while Azerbaijan will contribute six to eight military doctors to the team," Gediminas Kirkilas said. "It is expected that they will join the mission in the first half of 2006," he added. Other countries could also join the Lithuanian-led PRT this year, Kirkilas said. "We made an offer to Ukraine to join the team and are in negotiations with some Western European countries." The NATO and US military have established a number of PRTs across Afghanistan. They are composed of military and civilian personnel whose main focus is security and reconstruction work.

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