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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: 158 - (25/07/10)

Historic visit to Belgrade
Serbian President Boris Tadic has hailed what he called a historic visit by his Croatian counterpart, Ivo Josipovic, to Belgrade. After their talks, Mr Tadic said Serbia wished for the best possible relations with its neighbour and former enemy. Mr Josipovic said both countries shared the goal of peace and stability and were finding ways to address the past.
Relations between the ex-Yugoslav states have been tense since the wars of the 1990s.

Both leaders stressed the co-operation and dialogue that they believe now defines their countries' relationship, pledging to find solutions to outstanding issues such as the return of refugees.

They voiced support for an out-of-court settlement of the genocide charges relating to the war that both governments had previously filed against each other at the International Court of Justice.

And they stressed their common goal: to join the European Union which, says Brussels, will only be achieved through better regional cooperation.

The Croatian-Serbian relationship is a crucial one for the stability of the Western Balkans. They are the biggest and most powerful former Yugoslav republics and it is widely believed that they can set an example to neighbouring Bosnia, where segregation between the different ethnic groups still runs deep since its own war of independence in the 1990s.

This is a region where reconciliation is notoriously slow, but Zagreb and Belgrade are determined to show that former foes can lay the past to rest in the hope of building a new EU future.

Into the EU next year?
Croatia is billed to be first of eight countries lining up to join the EU. It applied for membership in February 2003. It was confirmed as a candidate country in June 2004.

Negotiations then started in October 2005. A border dispute with neighbouring Slovenia - an EU member - held up Croatia's accession talks until early September 2009, when Slovenia agreed to lift its veto over the talks.

Slovenia had demanded that the 17-year-old dispute be resolved before Croatia could join. But now Slovenia says Croatia's entry bid can proceed while the border issue is discussed separately.

Croatia had hoped to conclude accession talks in 2009. Despite the delay, it could complete the negotiations in 2010 and join the EU in 2011.

The end of Lisbon Treaty ratification - after numerous hurdles and delays - paved the way for Croatia's accession, because the EU's institutional changes are now going ahead.
Back in 2005 accession talks were delayed by seven months as Croatia struggled to convince the EU it was doing its best to find war crimes suspect Gen Ante Gotovina. He was arrested in the Canary Islands in December 2005.

The EU is urging Croatia to reform its judiciary, root out corruption, make more progress on minority rights and keep co-operating with the war crimes tribunal.

Organised crime remains a major concern. A prominent newspaper editor and his marketing chief were killed by a car bomb in Zagreb in October 2008. Earlier, the daughter of a prominent lawyer had been gunned down in the Croatian capital.

The EU has set an "indicative and conditional" timetable for completing accession negotiations. Various "chapters" in the negotiations have opened, including economic policy, financial control, freedom to provide services, consumer and health protection, and external relations. 

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