Croatian accession to the European Union: institutional challenges
AbstractThe objective of this chapter is to sum up the results of the monitoring of Croatia's accession to the European Union (EU). This is a project in which a number of authors have taken part, each of them wanting in his or her own area to draw the attention of the politicians, experts, the media and the public to the requirements of the EU, and the weaknesses and strengths of Croatia, and to offer their recommendations for a better and faster accession to the EU, as well as a better and faster development of both the economy and society. After an introduction in which stress is placed on the importance of institutions for the development of the economy and society, the second part starts off optimistically with the opinions of others concerning us, goes on pessimistically with EU views about itself and its own development, and in part three the results are summed up in terms of topics – macroeconomics, the budget deficit, poverty, inequality and social exclusion, the rule of law and the judiciary, governance and the public administration, consumer and environmental protection, and legal aspects of the protection of ethnic minorities, science and higher education, and social values. In the fourth part, there is consideration of what has changed in Croatia during the year since the printing of the previous book; in the fifth, the degree of Croatian preparedness to join the EU is discussed; in the sixth, recommendations are offered for as good an adjustment as possible; and in the seventh, conclusions. Very briefly, it can be concluded that Croatia is working hard at implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and at adjusting to EU requirements, but that a better implementation of regulations will be required, together with a more rapid establishment of new, and a better functioning of existing, institutions. Crucial in this respect are problems in the public administration, in conjunction with the establishment and strengthening of the institutions essential for market liberalisation. This project too shows, once again, that irrespective of developments within the EU itself and its attitude with respect to Croatia, the country needs to work on its own institutions, launch the necessary reforms as rapidly and thoroughly as possible, and achieve better results in knowledge and education; in addition, the active participation of all those involved in the process is also a matter of vital importance.
European Union, Croatia, institutional adjustment