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CROATIA





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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)

Books on Croatia



Update No: 157 - (25/06/10)

Can 2010 better 2009 for Croatia?
In the summer of 2009 the Croats lost a prime minister in Ivo Sanader and a president in Stipe Mesic at the end of the year.

The former resigned in favour of his protégé, Jakandra Kosor in June 2009. Many thought this was to prepare himself for a presidential bid in elections later in the year. But he did not stand; nor did Mesic, who was forbidden by the constitution to do so.

The Demiurge of Dalmatia
Croatia was once the heartland of a major province of the Roman Empire, Dalmatia. Several great Roman emperors hailed from there - notably Diocletian and Constantine - who converted the empire to Christianity.

Suitably enough Croatia became a staunch redoubt of Roman Catholicism. It cleaves to Rome in the shape of the Vatican.

It would now dearly love to join up to the product of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, then called the Common Market, now the European Union (EU). As the Demiurge of Dalmatia, it has as much right as anybody to do so.

With its border dispute with Slovenia out of the way, Croatia's eventual entry into the EU is now all but certain because of its accession's symbolic importance to the rest of the turbulent Balkans. Diplomats and analysts said even if some reforms lag, Croatia should make swift progress to joining the group, which will go a long way to boosting investor confidence and reviving stalled EU ambitions across the region.

Slovenia vote clears obstacle to Croatia EU bid
Slovenia narrowly approved a border arbitration deal with Croatia in a referendum on June 12, 2010, clearing a major obstacle to Zagreb's European Union membership bid. With 99.9 percent of votes counted, preliminary results showed 51.5 percent of Slovenes supported the deal, the state electoral commission said. A small number of postal votes remain to be counted in Slovenia's referendum and final results are due on June 29.

The vote should boost Croatia's chances of joining the 27 nation EU in 2012 if it succeeds in completing entry talks in the next year.

Under the border arbitration deal, an international team will settle a dispute over the land and sea border that dates from the 1991 break-up of Yugoslavia. The dispute involves a sliver of land on the Istrian peninsula in the northern Adriatic. Slovenia -- squeezed between Italy and Croatia -- has demanded to have direct access to international waters, which could force Croatia to cede some of the sea it views as its own. The key question is delimitation of the Bay of Piran, which has to be divided for the first time in history (it was until 1991 always in one state). Croatia has pushed for a solution based on international law. Slovenia has championed the principle of fairness (ex aequo et bono) in seeking access to international waters, a mantra of Slovenian politics.

Analysts say the approval will end the 19-year old border dispute and ease relations between the two countries. The ruling would be binding for both countries. "This is a historic decision... This is a big success for Slovenia," Prime Minister Borut Pahor told national TV Slovenia.

Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004, the only former Yugoslav state so far to have done so. Like any other EU member, it can veto Croatia's progress towards membership.

Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, who spoke to Pahor by telephone after the polls closed, told Croatia's state television she foresaw no further Slovenian action to bar Zagreb's path towards joining the EU. "There will be no more roadblocks. Dialogue certainly continues. With this agreement ... we separated Croatia's (EU) talks from solving the border issue."

The approval of Brussels too
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed the referendum result.

"This is an important step forward ... We now look forward to a final settlement of the dispute. Resolving this bilateral issue is an important signal for the region and the relations between Slovenia and Croatia," he said in a statement.

Pahor, not Jansa, prevails
Pahor's centre-left government has made ending the dispute with Croatia its main foreign policy goal. Slovenia blocked Croatia's EU application process for most of 2009 until the two governments reached a deal last September.

Janez Jansa, opposition leader and former prime minister who had denounced the deal as bad for Slovenia, said approval of the deal would result in Slovenia losing access to international sea waters. "This result shows that Slovenia is divided over a question where we should not be divided at all," Jansa said.

None of the other former Yugoslav republics has opened EU accession talks yet and most of them remain locked in historic rivalries and legacy issues from the wars of the 1990s. 

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