Croatia profile

Map of Croatia

Croatia's declaration of independence in 1991 was followed by four years of war and the best part of a decade of authoritarian nationalism under President Franjo Tudjman.

By early 2003 it had made enough progress in shaking off the legacy of those years to apply for EU membership, becoming the second former Yugoslav republic after Slovenia to do so.

A country of striking natural beauty with a stunning Adriatic coastline, Croatia is again very popular as a tourist destination.

St Marko church in central Zagreb St Marko - the parish church of old Zagreb - sports the coat of arms of the city and the former united kingdom of Croatia

At a glance

  • Politics: The centre-left government of PM Zoran Milanovic took over in December 2011, riding a tide of anger over corruption and economic stagnation
  • Economy: Service industries predominate. Shipbuilding is a mainstay of manufacturing
  • International: Croatia became the 28th member of the EU on 1 July 2013

Country profiles compiled by BBC Monitoring

At the time of President Tudjman's death in December 1999, the country was still in a parlous state.

Its citizens suffered from government-backed attacks on their civil and political rights. The governing party, the HDZ, was mired in corruption and the economy was in severe difficulties.

Presidential and parliamentary elections at the beginning of 2000 ushered in politicians who pledged commitment to Croatia's integration into the European mainstream.

The constitution was changed to shift power away from the president to parliament. Croatia joined the World Trade Organisation and pledged to open up its economy.

However, organised crime and associated violence continued to be a major concern, and the government had to demonstrate that it was serious about tackling the problem so as not to jeopardise its EU membership bid.

EU accession talks were long held up by the fact the country's most prominent war crimes suspect, Gen Ante Gotovina, remained at large until his arrest in Spain in 2005. Convicted at The Hague in 2011, he was acquitted on appeal in 2012.

A dispute with Slovenia over sea and land borders dating back to the break-up of Yugoslavia was resolved in June 2010, when a Slovene referendum cleared another obstacle to Croatia's EU accession.

The country's EU accession treaty was finally signed in December 2011, and endorsed at a referendum the following month. Croatia took its place as the 28th member state of the EU on 1 July 2013.

Croatia was badly affected by the global financial crisis of 2008-9, which hit its tourism-oriented economy hard, and the country has mostly been in recession since 2009.

Domestic economic woes have dampened enthusiasm for the crisis-plagued EU, and elections in April 2013 to choose Croatia's first European Parliament deputies attracted a turnout of under 21%.

The medieval port city of Dubrovnik, in Croatia, seen in June 2013 Croatia's Adriatic coast and the medieval port of Dubrovnik draw large numbers of tourists

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.