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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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Update No: 154 - (25/03/10)

Into the EU?
Almost 20 years after the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia, Slovenia is the only successor state to join the EU.
Croatia hopes to follow in 2012, while others have a long way to go. All of them have to implement political and economic reforms, while Serbia also has to cooperate with the U.N. war crimes tribunal and show a more constructive stance on Kosovo.

Although the nationalism that fuelled ethnic wars at the break-up of Yugoslavia has eased, many disputes in the region remain as most states continue to have bilateral border and economic problems.

Perhaps summitry?
A Balkan summit in Slovenia meant to revive regional cooperation revealed deep divisions between Balkan states despite their common goal of joining the European Union, with Serbia refusing to attend.

The conference on March 20-21, organized by Slovenia and Croatia, hoped to boost cooperation and rekindle enthusiasm for the EU.

Serbia, the biggest country in the region, refused to attend unless its former province of Kosovo came as a UN-run protectorate, which Pristina refused. Serbia has vowed never to recognize Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008.

Picturesque, but pointless (without the Serbs)?
The conference brought seven prime ministers from the region to a picturesque presidential palace at the foot of the Alps in Slovenia. Participants said the meeting was a step in the right direction, even without Serbia. EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele told reporters upon arrival: "This conference will be a step in the right direction that the countries understand is for the benefit of them to work together."

The most controversial participant, Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, said the Balkan's youngest country's aim was "cooperation, not boycott." "This is a very good opportunity for every leader of our countries to present their vision for peace, stability, regional cooperation, and EU integration," he said.

Almost 20 years after the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia, Slovenia is the only former Yugoslav state to join the EU in 2004.

Croatia hopes to follow in 2012, while others have a long way to go. All of them have to implement political and economic reforms, while Serbia also has to cooperate with the UN war crimes tribunal and show a more constructive stance on Kosovo.

Seven Balkan states urged the European Union at the summit to remain committed to enlargement and proceed with visa liberalisation for the whole of the Western Balkans.

But the summit, meant to revive regional cooperation among Balkan states who share the goal of joining the European Union, revealed deep divisions between them as Serbia refused to attend alongside its former province of Kosovo.

Slovenia's Prime Minister Borut Pahor said the historic rivalries and complexities of the Balkans were not the only obstacle as the EU itself was divided over how to treat the region and particularly Kosovo.

"We are dealing with an EU that underestimates the opportunity this region is giving to the continent as a whole and to the EU," Pahor told a news conference after the summit.

"It is regrettable that [Serbian President] Mr Tadic is not here...This is a very important meeting on regional cooperation. It's substantial for all of us who aspire to an EU future and integration," Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said.

Although the nationalism that fuelled ethnic wars at the breakup of Yugoslavia has eased, many conflicts in the region remain as most states continue to have bilateral border and economic problems.

A creative wave of destruction
One of the world's great economists, the Austrian, Joseph Schumpeter, enunciated as his greatest insight that there is a creative wave of destruction that underlies capitalist development and accounts for the success of capitalism as a system.

To bear this out let us heed Croatian analysts and augurs.
A new business an hour opened last year, while every ninth one closed, the Croatian Economy Chamber has reported.

There were 7,889 new businesses registered at the Croatian Commercial Court last year, a 30 percent decrease from 2008. But the number of those going out of business also fell by 45 percent from the previous year to 947.

Some of the new entrepreneurs come from the ranks of the brave, daring to try their luck despite the crisis. Others, however, may have been forced to take the risk, having already lost their jobs, making Schumpeter's point.

Most new businesses sprouted up in tourism and services, traditionally the most-popular sectors for new entrepreneurs. There were few of the more "off-the-beaten-path" choices.

One of them was Vedrana Memisís wedding-planning service. "Although there is a recession and most people do not have exorbitant amounts of money to spend, I think there are people who just donít have time to organize everything," said Memis, adding that she had packages to suit every budget.   

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