Croatian EU Membership Earns it 12 Billion Euros

Lauren Simmonds

croatian eu membership

October the 25th, 2023 – Croatian EU membership has earned the country a very handsome 12 billion euros since joining back in July 2013. The aim is now to reach the wider bloc’s average standard within the decade to come.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this week, PM Andrej Plenković presented the annual report on the work of the Croatian Government in the Parliament, accompanied by the noise of HDZ’s opposition MPs, who were dissatisfied because they believed that the Parliament’s rules of procedure had been violated by not respecting the speaker’s schedule.

Croatian EU membership sees GDP per inhabitant rise significantly

“The total net profit of Croatia in relation to payments and disbursements to the budget of the European Union amounts to 12 billion euros,” said the Prime Minister in his long speech, in which he touched on a number of topics on both the internal and external level. He said that Croatian GDP per inhabitant seven years ago was 62 percent of the EU average, and now it stands at a significantly higher 73 percent.

Plenković noted that the Croatian Government has “concretely achieved” a lot, including securing Croatian EU membership, but that “there’s still a lot of work to be done in order to reach the EU average in the next ten years”. About 25 billion euros of European funds available to the Republic of Croatia in the coming decade will also help with this aim.

Croatia is now a respected member of the international community

The average rate of Croatian economic growth over the past three years should have now reached 76 percent, which puts Croatia in third place in the EU, behind Ireland and Malta, the prime minister continued.

He emphasised that today, the Republic of Croatia is a “respected member of the international community”, repeating that it is part of the “narrow circle” of sixteen countries that are simultaneously members of NATO, the EU, Schengen and the Eurozone.

Still to come is hopeful membership of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which will follow in the coming years. Because of this, Plenković will travel to the French capital of Paris, where the organisation is headquartered, this coming Monday.

Croatia needs to be positioned as a regional energy hub

The government also wants to position Croatia as a “regional energy hub” by expanding the capacity of the LNG terminal in Omišlalj to 6.1 billion cubic metres of gas, which will “strategically position the country where it belongs”, Plenković added, pointing out that the government built that terminal “after forty long years of discussions” and that today, Croatia would be largely dependent on Russian gas and would be in a severe economic and social crisis, as well as outside of the the Eurozone, if this hadn’t been done.

The government, together with Austria, Slovenia and Bavaria, plans to build a gas pipeline from the terminal in Omišalj to that German federal state.

The green transition

In parallel to the aforementioned, Croatia is working on its own green transition. Plenković said in Parliament that Croatia is now in 12th place out of 193 member states in meeting the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. The Prime Minister said that a “prosperous, democratic and stable neighbourhood that shares the same European values” is strategically important to Croatia.

Calls to Bosnia and Herzegovina to clamp down on illegal migration

At the same time, he singled out neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he called on to implement reforms as soon as possible in order to open accession negotiations on EU membership. He also called for that country, through which the vast majority of illegal migrants come into Croatia, to sign an agreement with Frontex, the EU’s border agency. He emphasised that Croatia opposes the construction of wires and fences on the borders “which are not effective”.

“It’s necessary to strengthen cooperation between member states, show solidarity and solve the problem at the source,” he concluded.


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