Here’s a brief round-up of Croatia today – the current political state of affairs in the country, who its leaders are, and its standing on the global stage.
Croatia Today – The Government
Croatia is a parliamentary democracy, with the parliament (sabor) in Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb. The last general election was held in July 2020, the tenth such election since Croatia’s independence, and was held slightly earlier in the four-year term due to the coronavirus pandemic. (To avoid holding an election during autumn when the pandemic may have worsened.) The pandemic clearly caused a low voter turnout, with only 46% of the electorate voting. The previous ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), obtained the most seats (66), five seats up from the previous election held in September 2016. The leader of the HDZ, Andrej Plenkovic, was able to obtain the support of additional MPs to obtain the required 76 seats for a majority, and he continues as Prime Minister having first been installed in that post on 19th October 2016.
Croatia Today – The President
Presidential elections were last held in December 2019 and January 2020. As in the previous two sets of presidential elections in 2009/10 and 2014/2015, no one candidate managed to obtain more than 50% of the vote in the first round. The top two candidates – incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (Independent/HDZ) and Zoran Milanovic (SDP) – went through to a second round that took place on 5th January 2020. Mr Milanovic came away as the winner, receiving 55% of the vote, becoming the fifth President of Croatia. He had previously been Prime Minister of Croatia from 2011 to 2016.
Ms Grabar-Kitarovic, the first female President of Croatia, received numerous fans around the world during her tenure. Not least, perhaps, when supporting Croatia at the 2018 World Cup Final. You may like to read more about her here: Grabar-Kitarovic elected Croatia’s first woman president (12th January 2015).
Croatia in NATO
The country received an invitation to join NATO in 2008, and officially became a member on 1st April 2009.
Croatia in the EU
We are pleased to say that Croatia is finally part of the European Union! Croatian joined the EU on 1st July 2013 after a rather lengthy entry negotiation process. (The country officially applied to be part of the EU in 2003.)
If you’d like to read more about the official initial stages of Croatia joining the EU (President Ivo Josipovic and outgoing Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor signed Croatia’s accession treaty to the EU on 9th December 2011), you can read about it in this BBC News article: Croatia signs treaty to join EU in middle of 2013 or from Bloomberg: Croatia Signs Up to Become EU’s 28th Member. You may also be interested in an article from earlier in 2011, when the European Commission officially recommended to the EU that they should accept Croatia: Croatia cleared for EU membership in 2013.
For some articles on Croatia’s actual entry into the EU, please see:
- Croatia celebrates on joining EU (BBC News)
- Joyous Croatia Joins Europe Amid a Crisis (The New York Times)
- Croatia joins EU amid celebrations and uncertainty about future and Croatia celebrates joining the EU – video (both from The Guardian)
- Croatia Completes Its Silent Accession (MoneyBeat, Wall Street Journal)