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The Land of unique beauty, ancient history and rich cultural heritage

Total area: 56,594 sq km
Population: 3.8 million
Government type: Parliamentary democracy
Administrative division: 20 counties called “zupanija”
Capital + other major cities: Zagreb (665,00) + Split (150,000), Rijeka (108,000), Osijek (75,000)
Currency: Euro (since January 2023)
Languages: Croatian (official) 95.6%, Serbian 1.2%, other 3%
Ethnicity: Croat 90.4%, Serb 4.4%, other 4.4%
Religion: Roman Catholic 86.3%, Orthodox 4.4%, Muslim 1.5%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2.5%, not religious or atheist 3.8%
President: (Mr.) Zoran MILANOVIĆ (since 19 February 2020)
Prime Minister:  (Mr.) Andrej PLENKOVIĆ (since 19 October 2016)
Date of EU accession: 1 July 2013


  • Tourism dominates the Croatian service sector and accounts for up to 20% of Croatian GDP
  • Newest EU member
  • Service-based economy – 70% of GDP
  • Shipbuilding is a mainstay of manufacturing
  • NATO member since 2009
  • High emigration of (especially) young people
  • Member of the Eurozone and Schengen area (since 2023)



The Balkan country, whose economic transformation in the 1990s was negatively affected by the war, joined the EU in 2013, following a decade-long accession process. Croatia has confirmed its stable macroeconomic position by meeting economic and legal requirements such as stable inflation, low government deficit, or political stability, and successfully joined the Eurozone in 2023. In the same year, the country became a member of the Schengen area, both of which are expected to have a positive impact on the country’s economy. With a 73% level of GDP per capita in the EU, Croatia is still at the tail end of the EU countries (although ahead of Slovakia, Greece, and Bulgaria) but is slowly catching up with the advanced countries. The state retains a strong role in the economy. The country needs to continue with the restructuring of the public sector and privatization of state industries.

Croatia has experienced moderate economic growth and government budget surpluses in recent years. In 2019, the Croatian government decreased the relatively high public debt to 74.9% of GDP, but it reached a new high in the following year, mainly due to fiscal measures implemented to support areas affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy declined sharply in 2020, but shortly thereafter the country recorded the second-highest growth in the EU, reaching double-digit GDP growth. The country is successfully tackling the high unemployment rate. The country’s inflation in 2022 was among the lowest in the CEE area.

Since joining the EU, the country has been struggling with an outflow of (mainly young) people. Between 2014 and 2022, approximately 370,000 people left Croatia, which is more than during the entire communist era (1945-1991). Croatia lacks a workforce primarily in tourism, construction or trade.

Selected economic indicators, Croatia, 2016 - 2022

    2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Real GDP growth
3.5 3.4 2.9 3.5 -8.1p 10.2p 6.2p
GDP at current prices
€ bn
Foreign trade
€ bn
€ bn
€ bn
CPI – average inflation rate
-0.6 1.3 1.6 0.8 0.0 2.7 10.7
PPI – industry – average
-3.9 2.0 2.4 0.8 -2.0 9.6 26.4
Registered unemployment
Average monthly gross wage
Exchange rates
HRK/USD average
6.8 6.62 6.28 6.63 6.61 6.36 7.16
Currency board fixed rate: HRK/EUR
7.52 7.44 7.41 7.41 7.54 7.53 7.53

Source: Croatian Bureau of Statistics, Eurostat, IMF, ECB, OECD, World Bank, 2015-2021



The agricultural sector represents only 4% of the country’s GDP and employs 7% of the workforce. Croatia has 1.3 million hectares of agricultural land and almost 2.2 million hectares of forests. The country is self-sufficient in the production of wheat, corn, sugar beet, fruits, wine and olive oil; however, imports of agricultural products have been on the rise in recent years. The size of the farms is generally small (in most cases less than 3 hectares).

The secondary sector contributes 26% of the GDP and employs 26% of the active population. Croatian industry is concentrated in competitive activities: textiles, wood, steel industry, aluminium, pharmaceuticals and the food industry. With more than one-third of the territory covered with forests, the wood industry is one of the fundamental sectors of the economy. Conversely, the engineering industry is underdeveloped and the consumers are dependent on imports. The country has limited mineral resources.

The service sector represents 70% of the country’s GDP, employing 67% of the workforce. The tourism sector, in particular, is in full bloom. Its share of GDP is estimated at 20% and the country receives around 21 million tourists each year. The tourism expansion is expected to be supported in the coming years by the ongoing development of modern infrastructure as well as by the recent entry into the Eurozone and the Schengen area. The ICT sector is also on the rise, with a focus on software development, IT services, and innovation. Cities like Zagreb are emerging as tech hubs, attracting startups and tech companies.

Croatia is working to become a regional energy hub: in January 2021, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal started operating on the island Krk delivering gas through the transmission network to Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro.


Exports of goods and services in GDP was 60.6% in 2022. Half of the total exports are related to services, especially tourism which compensates for the negative balance of exported goods. In the manufacturing sector, Croatia primarily exports low and medium-low technology.


2022 export and import data:

Main import partners:
Italy – 13.8%
Germany – 12.5%
Slovenia – 10.8%
USA – 7.6%
Hungary – 7.3%

Main export partners:
Italy – 12.2%
Slovenia – 11.6%
Germany – 11.4%
Hungary – 11.2%
Bosnia Herzegovina – 10.4%
Serbia – 6.2%


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