EU: Croatia, the 28th

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Noman Alam
Croatians can already think themselves smart, EU haven’t repeated the mistakes it did with Romania and Bulgaria’s speedy integration which resulted a flood of nearly a million people into the western countries.  Accession of Croatia can be named a very “smooth drive” into the EU family of 28 countries already.

Originally Croatia had been aiming for a 2007 accession date, which would have broken Slovakia‘s record of 2.5 years of negotiations to complete the process. Negotiations however turned out to be tougher than expected. On 5 November 2008, the European Commission‘s annual progress report on Croatia’s candidacy was published. Olli Rehn stated that the country should aim to complete accession negotiations by the end of 2009, with membership following by 2011 at the latest.

Croatia is the second nation of ex Yugoslavia , after Slovenia to join EU, having a high-income market economy. International Monetary Fund data shows that Croatian nominal GDP stood at $63.842 billion, or $14,457 per capita, at the same time in 2011 while purchasing power parity GDP was $80.334 billion or $18,191 per capita. According to Eurostat data, Croatian PPS GDP per capita stood at 61% of the EU average in 2012, far better than of Romania’s figures so far even after joining the EU since 2007.

Real GDP growth in 2007 was 6.0 per cent. The average net salary of a Croatian worker in March 2013 was 5,516 kuna (US$ 988) per month. As of March 2013, registered unemployment rate in Croatia was 20.9%, good enough if compared with Bulgaria and Romania.

The figures above pass on a clear “Happy Message” to western European countries, Croatians are not going to flood European capitals with an increase of Unemployment, they will rather stay at home and enjoy the economy boom they have seen since 2007 when mostly EU nations were suffering from International Economic Disaster, it was just Croatia which was working deeply by developing infrastructure and tax law reforms.

Geographically , this small nation  will be an addition to EU borders which were already open for its citizens since 2009. Turkey and Iceland are the next two giants to join in the EU family, recent riots in Turkey can have some hurdles in the way of accession, Iceland is so strong , as strong as once Norway was .

Albania, Bosnia, Moldova, and Ukraine have still a long way to go, Ukraine is too big in its area, Moldova is too poor to be lift up to EU elementary standards, Bosnia is somehow stronger candidate among these four, having Albania in the list after itself.

The writer is a freelance writer, lives and works in Ukraine and can be reached atnomanalam@mail.ru