Croatia. In the European Parliament elections on May 26, the ruling right-wing party of the Democratic Democratic Union (HDZ) became the largest party with 22.7% of the vote, giving four seats – a decline compared to the 2014 election. The Socialist opposition party SDP received 18.7% and three seats (could be four mandates if and when the UK leaves the EU). The four remaining mandates joined a mandate was for the Amsterdam Coalition, which is a group of liberal parties, populist party Živi zid, Croatian sovereigns and finally an independent candidate, Mislav Kolakušić.
Croatia still has major corruption problems. In early February, the former Chief of the Police Department for Organized Crime, Željko Dolački, was sentenced to six years in prison for theft of gold and cash from the Zagreb police headquarters. He was also sentenced to a fine of SEK 4.5 million. When the crime was discovered in 2016, among other things, the national police chief was forced to resign. Neither the money nor the gold has been found. In April, the penalty for Ivo Sanader, the country’s prime minister 2003–09, was sharpened. He was now given six years in prison for having received bribes of SEK 20 million as prime minister.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: Click to see the meanings of 3-letter acronym and abbreviation of HRV in general and in geography as Croatia in particular.
In July, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was forced to retire in the government precisely because of corruption problems. Several ministers have been forced to resign on suspicion of fraudulent real estate deals. Plenković chose to re-furnish the government for next year’s elections and the fact that Croatia will become EU President in the first half of 2020.
The government’s plans to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 from 2033 encountered great resistance during the year. In June, trade unions filed 740,000 signatures with a request for a referendum on the matter. There was more than twice the number required for a referendum. Croatia has the same problems as so many other countries with an aging population.
In October, the European Commission announced that Croatia now meets the requirements for accession to the Schengen Agreement, which means free movement within the 22 states of Europe that are part of the Schengen area. However, other member states must approve it. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker praised Croatia for having adapted to the EU in areas such as judicial cooperation, visa management and data protection.
In mid-November, the government announced the announcement of presidential elections until December 22, with a possible second round on January 5, 2020. Sitting President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and former Social Democratic Prime Minister Zoran Milanović were the heaviest names. Both went on to the second round – Grabar-Kitarović got 26.7% of the vote while Milanović got 29.56%. On January 1, 2020, Croatia will take over the EU’s rotating presidency.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Croatia in 2019 was 4,130,193, ranking number 130 in the world. The population growth rate was -0.630% yearly, and the population density was 73.8081 people per km2.