Economy, energy and environment
Croatia fell into recession in 2009, with a negative growth rate of around 6%, followed by the current period of stagnation; a resumption of growth only began in 2014, even if it still stands at negative values (-0.8%). According to data released by Eurostat in September 2014, unemployment fell from 18.2% to 16.5%, marking, together with that of Hungary, the most significant decrease on an annual basis in the number of unemployed. In January 2014 the ECofin Council of the European Union, approving a request from the European Commission, opened an infringement procedure against Zagreb for excessive deficit following which a corrective maneuver was paid by the government of Milanović based on an increase taxation on fuel and telecommunications.
The Croatian economy is centered on the service sector, which contributes 69% to the GDP. The Croatian economy can therefore be defined as a post-industrial economy: it is also a consequence of the war, which seriously damaged the structures and infrastructures of the secondary sector. Agriculture, equal to 4.8% of GDP, is of lesser importance than in the other Balkan countries. Given the variety of the conformation of the Croatian territory, the primary sector is however very diversified, although the country is now a net importer of agricultural products.
According to indexdotcom, Croatia is poor in raw materials and energy resources, which makes it dependent on imports for about two thirds of the energy consumed. Since 2000, the then government led by the Social Democrats has implemented a project to upgrade and build new infrastructures, which has led the country to have more than 400 km of new highways, especially between Zagreb and the tourist centers on the Dalmatian coast. Just the tourism it represents one of the major entrances, given the extension of the coast and the numerous islands on the Adriatic. Thanks to EU funds (156 million in 2012), Croatia was able to make investments to modernize the company and build new infrastructures. In particular, the six major ports and the railway system were upgraded. This made it possible to increase the number of rail passengers by 50% compared to the period immediately following the war. A strong element of the Croatian economy is the shipbuilding industry, a sector in which the country is among the first in Europe and in the world, even if it cannot compete with Asian producers such as China and South Korea. The European Union, and in particular Italy, Germany and Slovenia, are the first trading partners Croatia, together with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia and China.
Defense and security
In the postwar years, Croatia’s most important step from the point of view of defense and security policies was its entry into NATO, following the decision of the Bucharest summit in 2008. Together with Albania, in April 2009 the Croatia became a full member of the Atlantic Alliance. This was possible above all thanks to the support received from the United States, which since the war years have proposed themselves as guarantors of regional stability; a role that, over time, seems to have progressively passed to the European Union, on the one hand, and to NATO itself, on the other. Currently the Croatian soldiers are present abroad in Afghanistan, as part of the NATO ISAF mission (181 effective), and in Kosovo in another mission of the Atlantic Alliance, Kfor (22 effective).
First disagreements between Croatia and the European Union
Less than three months after its accession to the EU, Croatia found itself facing the threat of sanctions from Brussels. The subject of the dispute was a law, passed in Croatia a few days before its entry into Europe, which prevented the extradition of individuals accused or convicted of a crime committed before August 2002, i.e. before the EU adopted a relevant framework decision. to the European arrest warrant, according to which every national judicial authority must recognize, ipso facto, the request for surrender of a person made by the judicial authority of another member state. The so-called ‘Lex Perković’ at the end of June 2013 was interpreted as a blatant attempt to protect the former head of the Yugoslav secret services Josip Perković, wanted in Germany for the killing of a Croatian dissident, Stjepan Đurekovic, in German territory in 1983.. The European Commission has responded to the Croatian measures by activating the safeguard clause for justice and home affairs, which will result in sanctions such as enhanced monitoring of Zagreb and the suspension of EU funds to help the country strengthen border control., an essential condition for Croatia to be able to access the Schengen area. The Croatian government, who defended himself from the accusations by arguing that the law was necessary to protect citizens from judicial proceedings in other countries related to the war in Croatia between 1991 and 1995, proceeded to adapt the national legislation within a few months. Since 1 January 2014, the European arrest warrant is also valid in Croatia without limitation; Perković is under arrest and his trial in the Munich Regional Court began in October 2014.