Croatia has traditionally had a strong industry, but it was hit hard by the wars in the 1990s when a third of its industrial capacity was destroyed. Among the most important branches are the manufacture of food, textiles, pharmaceuticals and wood and metal products.
The sector has now largely recovered. One problem has been the slow pace of privatization of unprofitable state industries that are subsidized by the state. This included the shipbuilding industry, but as part of the fulfillment of conditions prior to EU accession in 2013, four large shipyards were sold, while a fifth ended in bankruptcy proceedings. The shipbuilding industry has hundreds of subcontractors, but has lost significance both in terms of jobs and as a share of export value.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Croatia. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
Cooperation on lost war victims
Croatia is one of five countries to sign an agreement to work together to identify victims of the 1990 war in former Yugoslavia. Around 12,000 of the 40,000 reported missing after the war have still not been found, according to the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP), a non-profit organization that contributes in the identification work with DNA samples and information exchange. The ICMP chief calls the agreement an investment in peace and stability and notes that it is especially important in the current era of “populism and nationalism”. In addition to Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia are included in the agreement.
New prison sentence for former prime minister
A Zagreb court sentenced Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister 2003-2009, to two and a half years in prison for enriching the war. He is also released in a separate case for abuse of power. The day after the verdict, a new trial is initiated against Sanader in a case involving the receipt of bribes (see October 2015 and April 2017).
Slovenia takes the border into the EU
The Government of Slovenia appeals to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg due to the border dispute with Croatia (see December 2017). The decision by Ljubljana, since the European Commission has chosen, will not stand on either side of the conflict.
The Minister of Defense ported in Serbia
26th of April
The Serbian government announces that Defense Minister Damir Krstičević is not welcome in Serbia – in response to Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin being denied entry into Croatia last week. Zagreb’s behavior was a reaction to Vojislav Šešelj’s behavior on April 18.
Official visit to Serbia is canceled
A delegation led by Speaker Gordan Jandroković cancels a two-day visit to Serbia prematurely, after the Serbian ultranationalist Vojislav Šešelj erupted in tragedy and trampled on a Croatian flag. The purpose of the visit was to try to strengthen the fragile relations between the two countries. Šešelj, a member of the Serbian parliament, was sentenced only a week earlier by a UN tribunal to ten years in prison for war crimes during the 1990s war. However, he is already considered to have served the sentence because he has been in detention in The Hague for eleven years.
Women’s Convention is adopted despite protests
Parliament ratifies the Council of Europe’s Convention on Women’s Protection, despite widespread protests by the Catholic Church and conservative forces even within the HDZ ruling party; Opponents of the so-called Istanbul Convention, which is intended to prevent and combat violence against women, consider that the concept of “gender” threatens traditional and Christian family values. Two demonstrations with thousands of participants have been held against the convention since Prime Minister Andrej Plenković sent it to Parliament for ratification.
Russian diplomat expelled
Croatia expels a Russian diplomat as a result of a nerve poisoning attack on a Russian former spy and his daughter in the UK in early March. It is taking place in concerted action with some 20 countries, mainly in the EU, in solidarity with the British government accusing Russia of being behind the attack. In total, over 100 Russian diplomats are expelled, 60 of whom are from the United States. Moscow denies all involvement in the poison attack. A Croatian diplomat is later expelled from Russia.
Serbs are prosecuted for war crimes
Prosecutors announce that 22 Croat Serbs have been charged with war crimes, suspected of killing 20 civilians and two police detained in eastern Croatia in 1991. The defendants belonged to a semi-military group during the war.
Serbian State Visit
President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovič receives his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vučić for a two-day visit. The summit was supposed to have been held in the autumn but had to be postponed due to the country’s unease (see October 4, 2017). This is the first time since 2013 the heads of state in both countries meet. Dispute issues include disagreement over the border line along the Danube. The presidents now agree to resolve the dispute within two years or else request international arbitration.