European Western Balkans


EWB Archives


The Republic of Croatia is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. It has a population of 4.28 million. Its capital is Zagreb. A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system.

On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year.

Croatia is a member of the European Union, United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003 and was in negotiations from 2005 until 2011.

On 9 December 2011 leaders from the EU and Croatia signed the accession treaty. The country became the 28th EU member country on 1 July 2013.

Throughout the interim period until accession, Croatia as an acceding country already had active observer status in the European institutions, which allowed it to become familiar with the working methods of the EU institutions and to be involved in the decision-making process.

Important dates

29 October 2001 – Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) signed

21 February 2003 – Croatia applies for EU membership

1 April 2004 – Commission approves Croatia’s application for EU membership

1 June 2004 – Council confirms Croatia as candidate country

1 December 2004 – Council sets 17 March 2005 as start date for negotiations conditional upon full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

1 February 2005 – SAA enters into force

12 June 2006 – 1st chapter of accession negotiations – science and research – formally opened and provisionally closed at ministerial-level conference

30 June 2011 – Last of the 35 negotiating chapters is closed

9 December 2011 – EU and Croatia sign accession treaty

22 January 2012 – 66% of voters in referendum wish to join the EU

1 July 2013 – Croatia joins the EU

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