Creative Industries Croatia
Population: 4,292,095 (July 2017 est.)
Internet country code: .hr
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue – the Pan-Slav colors – superimposed by the Croatian coat of arms; the coat of arms consists of one main shield (a checkerboard of 13 red and 12 silver (white) fields) surmounted by five smaller shields that form a crown over the main shield; the five small shields represent five historic regions, they are (from left to right): Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia the Pan-Slav colors were inspired by the 19th-century flag of Russia
note: the Pan-Slav colors were inspired by the 19th-century flag of Russia
Republic of Croatia / Republika Hrvatska
The lands that today comprise Croatia were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands, along with a majority of Croatia’s ethnic Serb population. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. The country joined NATO in April 2009 and the EU in July 2013.
Since joining the EU in 2013, Croatia, one of the wealthiest of the former Yugoslav republics, has committed to improving the business climate in an effort to stimulate growth from domestic consumption and foreign investment.
Though still one of the wealthiest of the former Yugoslav republics, Croatia’s economy suffered badly during the 1991-95 war. The country’s output during that time collapsed, and Croatia missed the early waves of investment in Central and Eastern Europe that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. Between 2000 and 2007, however, Croatia’s economic fortunes began to improve with moderate but steady GDP growth between 4% and 6%, led by a rebound in tourism and credit-driven consumer spending. Inflation over the same period remained tame and the currency, the kuna, stable.
Croatia experienced an abrupt slowdown in the economy in 2008; economic growth was stagnant or negative in each year between 2009 and 2014, but has picked up since the third quarter of 2014, ending 2017 with an average of 2.8% growth. Challenges remain including uneven regional development, a difficult investment climate, an inefficient judiciary, and loss of educated young professionals seeking higher salaries elsewhere in the EU. In 2016, Croatia revised its tax code to stimulate growth from domestic consumption and foreign investment. Income tax reduction began in 2017, and in 2018 various business costs were removed from income tax calculations. At the start of 2018, the government announced its economic reform plan, slated for implementation in 2019.
Tourism is one of the main pillars of the Croatian economy, comprising 19.6% of Croatia’s GDP. Croatia is working to become a regional energy hub, and is undertaking plans to open a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal by the end of 2019 or early in 2020 to import LNG for re-distribution in southeast Europe.
Croatia joined the EU on July 1, 2013, following a decade-long accession process. Croatia has developed a plan for Eurozone accession, and the government projects Croatia will adopt the Euro by 2024. In 2017, the Croatian government decreased public debt to 78% of GDP, from an all-time high of 84% in 2014, and realized a 0.8% budget surplus – the first surplus since independence in 1991. The government has also sought to accelerate privatization of non-strategic assets with mixed success. Croatia’s economic recovery is still somewhat fragile; Croatia’s largest private company narrowly avoided collapse in 2017, thanks to a capital infusion from an American investor. Restructuring is ongoing, and projected to finish by mid-July 2018.