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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
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

Update No: 122 - (26/07/07)

Greece, Croatia sign Friendship, Cooperation Declaration
Greece is a vital partner for Croatia. Indeed, it can be seen as a model for its own development, based on tourism, trade and inward FDI. Much of the latter, in fact, is coming from Greece. Greek Prime Minister, Costas Karamanlis, and his visiting Croatian counterpart, Ivo Sanader, signed a Declaration of Friendship, Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation on July 16th.

The two prime ministers highlighted the bilateral relations between their countries, and agreed to work toward closer relations in the commercial, economic and tourism sectors, according to a joint statement.

The two countries will cooperate in many crucial areas including economic and social policy, energy, transportation, environment, education, agriculture and tourism. Karamanlis reiterated Greece's support for Croatia's full European Union membership in 2009. And Sanader expressed appreciation for the support.

Looming elections to parliament
Croatian domestic politics are in flux. Elections to parliament are due this year in November and a pre-electoral frenzy has already begun. 

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) representatives, Milanka Opacic and Slavko Linic, have accused the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the incumbent party, of wanting to control the electoral process with the selection of Constitutional judges. 

"The HDZ has knocked down democratic standards, it is trying to trick and intimidate the public, accusing the opposition that we are prepared to cause a Constitutional crisis. This proves that they will stop at nothing to obtain power, even without the support of the voters," Linic declared at a press conference. Thus, Linic responded to earlier accusations by HDZ members, stating that the opposition is trying to cause a Constitutional crisis by non-participation in the discussion on Constitutional judges.

SDP members believe the procedure of electing judges of the Constitutional court is too short and they stress that they were not left enough time to familiarise themselves and the public with biographies and points of view of the future Constitutional judges.

"The procedure for a beauty pageant is longer and more public in Croatia than for electing Constitution judges," said Milanka Opacic who complained that materials with biographies of the candidates were given to the MP's recently, before the discussion on candidacies.

"The HDZ has proven the they are the only ones who need to decide on the Constitutional judges and they have excluded everyone else," Opacic said, criticising Parliamentary President Vladimir Seks that, contrary to prior statements, he has only consulted his own party and coalition partners. "We cannot accept the method according to which Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and government spokesperson Ratko Macek write eight names and we at the Parliament raise our hands for them," she added.

Opacic said that certain SDP candidates should not be in the Constitutional court, and as an example, she stated that the female candidate who is supposed to represent minorities before the Parliamentary Committee said that she would cancel minorities.

To the question why did not they oppose this fashion of judge selection before, seeing how Vladimir Seks announced on several occasions that the selection will be finalised by the summer break. Opacic replied that she went to see Seks recently with Dragutin Lesar of the Croatian People`s Party (HNS) and asked him will the clubs consult with the candidates.

Seks responded that the talks will be held until the list of candidates is determined at the Board for Constitution, which did not happen.

Democratic Centre Ready for Political Showdown 
DC president Vesna Skare-Ozbolt says that the Democratic Centre (DC), another leading opposition party, does not trade or agree to compromise, unlike presumably the other opposition parties. The employment programme is a condition for coalition. 

At the session of the main committee in Zadar, the Democratic Centre party (DC) presented their preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections and the pre-election programme for fast employment and there was also mention of the current political situation in Croatia. 

Party president Vesna Skare-Ozbolt said that Democratic Centre would be ready for the next parliamentary elections and for a political showdown. "DC is ready for a different Croatia, not leaning either to HDZ (Croatian Democratic Party) or to SDP (Social Democratic Party) because DC does not do political trade or agree to compromise," said Skare-Ozbolt. 

"Zapazi" (Take notice) is a condition for coalition after the election 
The party's vice-president Josko Moric presented DC's programme for fast employment, called "Zapazi" (Take notice), which could employ 157,000 people. According to Moric's words, the acceptance of the project will be the condition for DC's consent to a coalition after the next elections. 

If each of the 78,000 active companies in Croatia employed two people and each of the strong 105 companies employed 10 unemployed people, unemployment would be reduced by 60 percent, calculated Moric. "While doing so, the employer ought to take on the payment of the retirement insurance, the state [the payment of] the health [insurance], and the newly employed would pay the employment taxes and some other minor taxes," said Moric. 

HDZ's government is hypocritical 
Vesna Skare-Ozbolt thinks that the main characteristic of the current HDZ's government is hypocrisy which, she says, is also evident in the case of Croatian General Ante Gotovina. She reminded everyone that, in 2003, Prime Minister Sanader said that he would not extradite Croatian generals and he got votes and, as soon as he came into power, he extradited them and is now requesting the temporary release of General Gotovina. 

"Today, he needs the same votes from the Split Riva (sea promenade)," said Ozbolt. 

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Slovenia's RR&Co inks agreement with Croatian partner

RR&Co recently inked a franchise agreement with a Croatian partner as part of its drive to expand to the Balkans, Slovene Press Agency reported on July 11th.
The franchise agreement was signed with Apriori komunikacije, whose director Danijel Koletic said that countries in the Balkans were not yet prepared to draw European Union funds. The EU Partners franchise provides assistance to potential recipients of EU funds. "People can design a project, but they are unable to manage costs," consultant Mojca Dusica Zajc was quoted by the agency as saying. The Croatian partner will pay 30,000 Euro for the franchise for the first year, 12,000 Euro for each five years afterward and 20,000 Euro in the subsequent years, it was reported. The commission for the services depends on the amount of funds. It is about 10 percent for projects worth 100,000 Euro. The Ljubljana-based company intends to expand its franchise to Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
Koletic said that 11.4 billion Euro in EU grants will be available for the Western Balkans in the next five years. RR&Co is a Slovenian company specialising in consultancy on EU grants.

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Good economic relations shared with Croatia

Macedonian foreign minister, Antonio Miloshoski, met Croatian president, Stjepan Mesic, in Zagreb on June 18th, MRTOnline reported. 
During the talks, both sides agreed that Macedonia and Croatia have good economic relations and share similar views on the current regional issues. "The two countries have almost identical positions on the current regional challenges, including the Kosovo status and stabilization of Bosnia-Herzegovina," says the announcement released after Mesic-Miloshoski meeting. 

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Croatia to sell stake in Telecom Company 

The government of Croatia on June 15th announced a decision to sell 20-23 per cent of shares in the Croatian telecommunications company controlled by Deutsche Teleco, on the Zagreb and London stock markets, with the starting price of 100 kuna (18 Euro), Croatia Post reported.
Croats will have the right to buy T-Com shares first, in amounts of up to 38,000 kuna (6,928 Euro) per person. They also would get one share for each 10 of them they buy. The deputy Prime Minister, Damir Polancec, said the sale is scheduled for September. 
It would be the second time that the shares of one of Croatia's most profitable companies was being sold by public tender. Late last year, the government sold 17 per cent of shares in INA, the local monopoly.
Earlier, the government sold shares in top firms to big foreign investors. It would be the second wave of privatisation of T-Com. In 2001, Deutsche Telecom purchased a controlling 51-percent stake with the government controlling the rest. Polancec said there has been "huge interest" for T-Com shares, so the government anticipates a very successful sale.

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