Croatia Entered the European Union Ten Years Ago

Exactly ten years ago, on July 1, 2013, Croatia became a full member of the European Union after a decade of negotiations. The European Commission at the time stated that Croatia’s accession to the EU was another milestone in the construction of a united Europe.

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Croatia’s EU membership, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics has prepared an overview of statistical trends that have marked the past decade. Along with the benefits of EU membership, as stated by the Bureau of Statistics, new challenges and responsibilities have emerged, particularly in terms of monitoring trends to maintain competitiveness in the large market of people, goods, and services.

Many citizens associate Croatia’s ten years in the European Union with significant emigration. Open borders and the free market have certainly influenced increased mobility. However, apart from population outflow, there has also been an increase in immigration, and in 2022, a positive migration balance was recorded for the first time in the observed period, emphasized by the Bureau of Statistics.

In the labor market, it was noted that in 2013, the total number of employed individuals was 1.4 million, and over the course of ten years, it increased by just over 250,000, or 18.7 percent. The average net salary increased by 284 euros when comparing the year of Croatia’s accession to the European Union with the latest data for 2022.

On the other hand, 2022 recorded the highest average annual inflation rate in the last 28 years.

The poverty risk threshold for a single-person household was 3,041 euros in 2013 and rose to 5,256 euros in 2022. For a four-member household consisting of two adults and two children, it was 6,387 euros in 2013 and increased to 11,037 euros ten years later.

At the time of Croatia’s accession to the European Union, industrial production was declining, followed by fluctuations, and in 2022, it reached a record growth of 11.2 percent, while a decline in merchandise trade was recorded only in the pandemic year of 2020.

In comparison to 2013, there was a decrease in the utilized agricultural land, from 1.6 million hectares to 1.4 million hectares in 2022. Additionally, the production of cow’s milk has decreased. However, the number of sheep has increased in 2022 compared to 2013, as well as poultry, and the production of hen eggs is on the rise.

As an EU member, Croatia has found its niche in tourism, according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics. The numbers have been consistently positive since 2013, with the exception of the pandemic year of 2020.

In 2013, there were 192,523 business entities, while the latest available data for 2021 shows 257,404 active business entities.

The Bureau of Statistics concludes that numerous positive developments have been achieved in the past decade, and the real GDP growth rate reached its peak in 2021 at 13.1 percent. The consolidated government debt in 2013 amounted to 80.1 percent of GDP, and according to the latest data for 2022, it has decreased to 68.4 percent of GDP.