|Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (Independent, since February 2015)
Andrej Plenković (Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), since October 2016)
|Size||56,594 km2 (21,851 sq mi)|
|MEPs||11 (Joined the EU in 2013)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
|Presidency of the Council||January-June 2020|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||11 October, 2016|
|Brexit priorities||Croatia has a long standing relationship with the UK, which pushed the EU’s enlargement agenda for countries in the region to join.
Croatia’s main priority will be in the area of security and defence. As the UK has a strong military power and a big voice in NATO, it is important for Croatia to keep the UK engaged with the EU’s foreign security and defense policy, particularly in the face of Russian and Turkish aggression.
Following Croatia’s accession in 2013, approximately 150.000 people left the country, though many went to Ireland and not the UK, indicating that, as opposed to most other Eastern European countries, citizens’ rights do not top Croatia’s Brexit agenda. However, as of 1 July 2018, Croatian workers will be able to work freely in the UK. Transitional restrictions on access of workers from Croatia to the UK’s labour market are currently in place. The Croatian Government will therefore keep an eye on what the negotiations will mean for the free movement of workers.
In terms of trade, the President has said she hopes more UK companies and investors will do business in Croatia in future.
|What President Grabar-Kitarović said on Brexit
|11 October 2016
“It will be a process like no other with far reaching consequences – its final scope no one can predict with absolute certainty,”
“It is not only about trading arrangements and access to the EU’s single market … it is also about preserving our joint and unique culture, our decades of strategic partnership and our commitment to the same shared values. This relationship needs to be tailor-made.”
Prime Minister Plenković on 29 March 2017
“That Croatia will suffer the least consequences of United Kingdom’s departure from the EU has been shown by both our analyses and analyses done by the European Commission. That is mostly so because we are the youngest EU member.”
“In any case, I maintain that the referendum was a huge mistake. Britons allowed manipulators, those who speak untruths, like Nigel Farage and the likes, to contaminate public space and convince most Britons that it is better to leave than to stay, and they had a very good status and many benefits. It was a big mistake and it will negatively affect Britain the most.”
Prime Minister Plenković on 22 June 2017
“It’s a referendum that should have never taken place.”
|Croatia’s priorities||HDZ and the centre-right Most (“Bridge”) party formed a coalition following last year’s election, however this alliance collapsed after Most supported the opposition in a no-confidence vote against Finance Minister Zdravko Marić on 4 May. Marić narrowly survived the motion, prompting Most leader Bozo Petrov to resign as parliament speaker. In a bid to avoid snap elections, the Parliament elected HDZ’s Gordan Jandroković as speaker on 5 May. The HDZ party has now struck a deal with the liberal Croatian People’s Party (HNS), who will run the ministries construction and education. Four out of nine of its parliamentarians reject the new coalition.
Tax reform, social dialogue and the budget are the Government’s main priorities.
The country has to manage high public debt at about 85 percent of GDP and unemployment of 13 percent.
In term of foreign policy, Croatia would like to see Bosnia and Herzegovina move closer to Europe.
The migration crisis has put huge pressure on the country as well.
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