Croatia. When the presidential elections were held in January, the only surprise was that Stjepan (Stipe) Mesić did not secure another five years as head of state already in the first round. Mesić, who was a candidate for a coalition of reform-friendly parties, is seen by many Croats as a country father. In the second round, he got two-thirds of the votes and thus won by a large margin over the challenger Jadranka Kosor. She was the Conservative government party HDZ’s candidate.
According to countryaah, Zagreb is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Croatia. Croatia is scheduled to begin its membership negotiations with the EU in March. But the EU delayed the start of negotiations indefinitely as the Zagreb government was not considered to cooperate sufficiently with the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. It was especially about General Ante Gotovina, generally regarded as number three on the Hague Tribunal’s search list after the 1990s war in the Balkans. The Croats failed to convince the EU that they made every effort to arrest Gotovina and surrender him to The Hague.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym HR stands for the country of Croatia and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
In April, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader dismissed the Chief of the Criminal Police on the grounds that he was neglected in the search for Gotovina. Sanader also warned that more risks would be dismissed unless the tensions were handled better. Not long afterwards, signals came from the EU that K. improved cooperation with the Hague Tribunal. On the other hand, the UN Attorney General’s Prosecutor Carla del Ponte continued to argue that Gotovina could be arrested if the government really wanted to.
But in October, in the context of the EU crisis over whether Turkey should start membership negotiations, she suddenly stated that Zagreb was now fully cooperating, even though Gotovina was still at large. In this way, the EU could immediately begin negotiations on Croatian membership in the Union.
In December, Gotovina was finally arrested, in the Canary Islands, where he resided with a false passport. He was brought to The Hague within a few days to be tried. Many Croats were upset because they saw the general as a war hero. Opinion polls showed a strong race in voter support for HDZ.
Six dead swans found in a national park in eastern K. in October were found to be infected by the dangerous variant of the bird flu virus H5N1. This resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of chickens in the area.
Croatian agriculture is traditionally organized on the basis of small peasant properties and, while occupying a very small portion of the active population (about 4% at the end of the millennium), produces moderate quantities of maize and other cereals, potatoes and sugar beets in the plains between the Sava, Drava and Danube, fruit (plums, cherries) on the adjacent hills. Pigs are raised and timber is obtained from extensive forests (more than a third of the national territory). Bauxite from Istria and oil are among the main resources of the subsoil. The industry is partly based on these agricultural and mining productions (sugar mills, aluminum metallurgy), partly based on the tradition of the port cities (shipyards in Pula, Rijeka, Split). Tourist activity is very important in the picturesque and extraordinarily articulated north-eastern coast of the Adriatic: drastically reduced in the early nineties due to the bloody conflicts between the former Yugoslav countries, tourism is recovering with the contribution of foreign investments (the latter, like the country’s commercial outlets, are mainly German and Italian).