Raiffeisen Bank Analysts Estimate Croatia to Join EU by 2011

5. März 2007, 00:00

Raiffeisen Banks Research RZB Group from Vienna has estimated in its latest report that Croatia will join the European...

Raiffeisen Banks Research RZB Group from Vienna has estimated in its latest report that Croatia will join the European Union by 2011 at the latest and possibly in the 2009-11 period, the Banks Zagreb office said on Monday. "Croatia moved from being an applicant to an EU membership candidate within an extremely short period of time," says the report "Croatia Special: When to enter EU?"

The analysts do not expect the election year 2007 to have a significant impact on the accession talks, but say the current target dates may not be achieved due to several other reasons which could have economic impacts.

The report considers the main issues which might impact the date of accession and how all this can reflect on Croatias economic development by 2012. It presents the basic scenario as well as optimistic and pessimistic versions of it.

Even though Croatia is the most advanced country in Southeastern Europe, if one looks at economic basics, it seems that the country is not mature for full EU membership yet, the report says, adding that Croatia needs a lot of reforms due to the lost decade of the 1990s.

Therefore, Croatias economic development largely depends on the pace of reforms connected with EU accession, the report says, but adds that it seems clear-cut from an economic perspective, that Croatia cannot wait for another enlargement round.

"We expect an EU entry by 2011 and a moderate pace of reforms. Thus, growth rates should fluctuate close or even slightly above the potential growth of 4-4.5 per cent within our forecast horizon from 2008 to 2012. If reforms gain speed, we see some potential on the upside. In such an optimistic scenario, economic growth might inch to a level above 5 per cent," the report said. (Croatiabiz.com)
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