Croatian accession to the European Union
In: Croatian Accession to the European Union: Economic and Legal Challenges
This chapter aims to summarise and analyse the project that involves the work of a group of experts whose ambition it is to help those who make the political decisions, the media and interested readers to understand the requirements of the EU and the situation in Croatia, to draw concrete conclusions and make recommendations for essential measures. Part one raises the question of whether the EU is fiction or reality, part two puts Croatia in the context of the EU, while the third part concentrates on macroeconomics, banking and finances, taxes, government aid, trade policy, power, agriculture, employment and unemployment, the legal system, the non-governmental sector and equality between men and women. Part four analyses key questions of Croatia’s accession to the EU – regulation within the EU itself, the normative and real harmonisation of Croatia and the EU, Croatian advantages and its points of vulnerability, and a comparison of Croatia with member countries and candidate countries. The chapter also offers a number of recommendations for individual areas, while particular stress is placed upon recommendations that relate to the importance of the public administration and the independent agencies, the question of whether it is better to make adjustments at once or only when they are essential, and the attitude to regional initiatives. The message of the paper is that most of the criteria of Maastricht, Copenhagen and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement are posed in such a way that they can only be of benefit to the country. Our goal ought to be to live in a society that meets as many of these criteria as possible, and whether Croatia will, in so doing, be a member of the EU or of some other association, or an association with some other name that will be relevant at the time Croatia has achieved all this is less important. The EU may help Croatia in its economic and social development, but only the citizens of Croatia can achieve economic development, institutions that are more efficient, and a society that is going to respect the laws and the rights of individuals.
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