On 25 January 2022, the OECD Council decided to open accession discussions with Croatia. This follows careful deliberation by OECD Members on the basis of its evidence-based Framework for Consideration of Prospective Members and the progress made by Croatia since its first request for OECD membership.
An individual roadmap for the detailed assessment process has been prepared in line with the values, vision and priorities reflected will now be prepared, provided that Croatia confirms its adherence to the values, vision and priorities reflected in the OECD’s 60th Anniversary Vision Statement and the Ministerial Council Statement adopted in 2021.
The 1990s conflict over its independence severely affected Croatia’s economy. As of 2000, the country’s economic situation began to improve with moderate but steady GDP growth, led by a surge of tourism and credit-driven consumer spending. However, the 2008 global economic downturn revealed underlying structural weaknesses and led to six years of contraction. After growth picked up in 2015, Croatia was hit in 2020 by the economic consequences of the pandemic crisis and, in 2022, the effect of the war in Ukraine.
In order to reinvigorate growth, Croatia needs to continue implementing structural reforms to increase productivity and to attract more investment. It will be key to address high public and private debt levels, and boost productivity. Croatia would also greatly benefit from upgrading public services and reforming key institutions in the judiciary system. Croatia should also consider further improving the governance of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
Co-operation with the OECD
Croatia has been an active participant in the OECD SEE regional programme. Before acceding to the EU, Croatia took part in SIGMA’s Western Balkans Programme, supporting public institutions and systems. Croatia’s co-operation with the OECD has been continuously deepening and broadening to include greater participation in statistical reporting and information systems, benchmarking exercises such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), publications and policy reviews.
In 1994, Prime Minister Valentic conveyed to the Secretary-General Croatia’s intention to become a Member of the OECD. In 2017, Croatia’s Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, presented a formal application for accession, and Deputy Prime Minister Martina Dalic briefed Council on her government’s reform agenda. Broad civil society support for Croatia’s commitment to OECD accession was expressed in letters of national employers and trade union organisations, as well as by the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament.
Croatia’s commitment to joining the OECD was reiterated during the OECD Secretary General Cormann’s visit to Zagreb in April 2023. During the visit, Croatia reaffirmed that OECD accession remains a cross-party priority.
(Pictured L-R): OECD Secretary-General, Mathias Cormann; Mr. Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister, Croatia,
20 April 2023, Zagreb, Croatia
Participation in OECD Bodies and adherence to OECD standards
Croatia’s deepening co-operation with the OECD also included participation in OECD bodies and legal instruments. Croatia has been part of an important dialogue with senior officials from member and partner countries on cutting-edge thematic issues.
Croatia has expressed interest in adhering to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. Croatia also participates in the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and in the G20/OECD Project on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting of the Committee on Fiscal Affairs as an Associate. Croatia has joined the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, the Multilateral Agreement on Exchange of Information for Tax purposes and has signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). The BEPS Convention entered into force on 1 January 2023.
In view of its OECD accession process, Croatia can now participate in all OECD bodies and instruments.