Balkans: May 15, 2000

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Croatia's economic woes continue, much to the chagrin of the new center-left democratic government of Prime Minister Ivica Racan. Racan had pledged to improve the economy and rapidly integrate with European political and financial institutions. The big blow was news that 50,000 people have joined the ranks of the unemployed in the last three months (since Racan's government came to power). Problems from Franjo Tudjman's old regime (endemic corruption) and general economic backwardness are proving tough to overcome. Still, Croatia looks to neighboring Slovenia as an example of positive economic change. Croatia also hopes to increase agricultural productivity and increase tourism, particularly along the Dalmatian coast. Politically, Racan has been quite successful in his program of building democratic institutions in Croatia. He's made a point of comparing his government's openness to that of Milosevic in Serbia and his predecessor, Tudjman Croatia has been admitted to NATO's Partnership for Peace.

 

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