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Croatia and the European Union: accession as transformation

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Ott, Katarina

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Corporate Editor Institute of Public Finance, Zagreb; Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Kroatien
Abstract This chapter summarizes the findings of the three year long project of monitoring Croatia's preparations for EU accession, if and when it comes, performed by a group of Croatian researchers. The first hypothesis is that a kind of real integration of Croatia in the European space already exists and that it should be further deepened through improvements of the relevant institutions and harmonisation with European standards and requirements. The second is that despite the professed dedication of Croatia’s government to joining the EU and encouraging signals from the EU, hesitations in structural and institutional reforms may hamper not only the success of future negotiations and delay Croatia's accession, but also the transformation to a modern and efficient state. The first part of the chapter analyses the changes in the last couple of years in Croatia regarding the administrative and judicial structure, economic sustainability and democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms; the second part emphasizes the effects of the latest EU enlargement, competitive pressures and market forces, the free movement of workers, knowledge and innovations, social issues, the real estate market and spatial planning, and regional policy. The chapter ends with conclusions and recommendations. We would lay stress on the necessity of structural reforms in legislation, the judiciary and the public administration, the restructuring of agriculture and shipbuilding, the privatization of public utilities and tourism; patient and shrewd negotiations with the EU, and the possibility of bearing in mind some kind of virtual membership that could help us deepen de facto integration even without de jure membership status. Croatia's future will depend on capabilities of the government to implement and enforce the reforms and on the readiness of citizens to endure necessary adjustments even when they are painful, making certain sacrifices in the present for the sake of benefit in the future.
Keywords Croatia; post-socialist country; EU; joining the European Union; transformation; public administration; judicial power; economic factors; democracy; human rights; political reform
Classification European Politics
Method descriptive study
Free Keywords European Union; Croatia; accession; transformation
Collection Title Croatian accession to the European Union. Vol. 3, Facing the challenges of negotiations
Editor Katarina Ott
Document language English
Publication Year 2005
City Zagreb
Page/Pages p. 1-26
ISBN 953-6047-58-6
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
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