How has Croatia changed since its independence from Yugoslavia?

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Short answer:
  • Average income of citizens has increased.
  • Democratic elections are now free and fair. NGOs and unions have complete freedom.
  • Corrupt officials are penalized and receive harsher sentences.

On 25 June 1991, both Slovenia and Croatia officially became independent. Croatia is a parliamentary republic that regularly holds free elections.

Croatia in the map of Europe
Croatia on the map of Europe. TUBS, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Croatia has seen a lot of transformation since its independence in many ways.

The average income of Croatia has increased, and purchasing power of Croatians has seen a significant rise[edit]

Croatia has 70% of the EU's average income of the other 27 countries. The National Development Strategy says that the goal is to reach 75% of the average income by 2030.

In the last few years, Croatia has been able to close the gap between itself and the average of Europe. Based on data from 2021 and the purchasing power parity, the country has surpassed Slovakia, one of the countries mentioned.[1]

Croatia now conducts free and fair elections with the help of an election management body[edit]

The president is the country's leader, and people elect them for up to two five-year terms.

The prime minister is in charge of the government. The president chooses them with the approval of parliament.

Even though there are still some worries about using public money for political campaigns, the State Election Commission (SEC) ensures lawful and fair elections.

Citizens can join and organize various political parties and participate in their activities. During the 2019 elections for the European Parliament, several new populist parties and candidates from the right and the left came forward.[2]

The World Bank provides aid to Croatia to realize its goal of becoming a Blue economy champion[edit]

The World Bank is committed to helping the Croatian government protect the country's natural capital, deal with climate risks, and make the economy less dependent on energy.

Croatia has the highest relative contribution of the blue economy to the gross national value, so it has the best chance of becoming a Blue Economy champion in the EU.

The World Bank helps Croatia reach this goal through knowledge sharing.[3]

An overhaul of laws ensures harsher punishment for corrupt officials[edit]

A 2013 criminal law has enforced harsher corruption sanctions. Official corruption remains an issue, including nepotism, bribery, fraud, and patronage.

The European Commission identified corruption as a severe concern for the nation.

Croatian court sentenced ex-prime minister Ivo Sanader to eight years in jail in 2020 for using public money to pay the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Union party. HDZ was fined and had to repay fraudulently acquired money.[4]

Croatia allows freedom of NGOs, trade unions, and associated organizations[edit]

In Croatia, NGOs are strong, active, and not limited in any way. The right to assemble is protected and respected.

Workers are allowed to form and join trade unions by the constitution, and this right is respected in practice.[5]


  1. "Croatia Average Net Monthly Wages YoY - October 2022 Data - 1993-2021 Historical". Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  2. "Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in an Independent Croatia". CSCE. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  3. "Croatia". World Bank. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  4. "Top Croatian government official sentenced for corruption involving art". The Art Newspaper - International art news and events. 2022-02-14. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  5. "Croatia: Freedom in the World 2021 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 2022-11-11.