Croatia on thin ice, could be the first ejected from EU
The European Union was rocked by the Greek debt crisis earlier in 2015, but the currency bloc may not be out of the woods yet. Many European countries are in rough economic shape but none more so than Croatia. The newest member of the European Union is the most likely to take Europe back to the economic precipice.
Croatia has struggled to improve its economy since the Great Recession. Since 2008, Croatia’s unemployment has almost doubled from 8.9 percent to 17 percent, according to a report by the European commission. In that same time period, government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product has grown from 36 percent to 81.4 percent. Croatia and Greece are the only countries in the European Union whose economies have shrunk since 2008. This increase of debt and the inability to create employment opportunities for citizens means that Croatia cannot rely on its tax base to pay off the debt.
Croatia has the third highest level of youth unemployment for Europe, after Greece and Spain http://t.co/7zyrjWwkQw
— Europe Meta Guide (@eu__meta_guide) August 27, 2015
There are also significant questions about corruption within Croatia’s government. According to a report from the United Nations, Croatian citizens cited corruption as the third most important problem facing their country (behind unemployment and government performance). A whopping 18 percent of Croatian citizens claimed to have had experience with bribery when dealing with a public official.
Like many of the former Yugoslavian countries, Croatia is still struggling to find its place in the modern world. The country was immersed in a war for independence from 1991 through 1995. Croatia did not truly emerge from the aftermath of its battle for independence until a new government was formed in 2002, and it was still not until July 2013 that Croatia officially joined the European Union.
2015 had proved to be a very difficult year of the European Union. The Greek debt crisis has almost immediately been followed by a flood of immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa. Eurozone officials have been able to handle the struggling economic situations in Spain and Italy, but resources are being stretched thin. If Croatia cannot turn its economy around, the EU may be forced to take action.
Can the European Central Bank survive another bailout? Could Croatia become the first country to be ejected from the Union? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4