At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that OECD membership would ensure deeper integration of Croatia, while Secretary General Zdenko Lucic said that Croatia was leading in the accession process.
The government heard a report on the process of Croatia’s accession to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The report was an introduction to the meeting in the afternoon between Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann, after which the first OECD Survey of Croatia will be released.
Plenkovic said that two such surveys were necessary before a final decision on Croatia’s OECD accession was made. “With the OECD we want to complete deeper integration of Croatia and put it in a place we have aspired to for years. That is the true interest of state policy,” he said.
Zdenko Lucic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, said: “Croatia is leading in this process. We have an excellent team working on it with dedication.”
Speaking of the activities during the accession process, Lucic said that the prime minister submitted an application for OECD membership on 25 January 2017.
In January 2022, the OECD Council invited Croatia and five other countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Argentina, Brazil and Peru) to open the accession process. The roadmap for Croatia was adopted on 10 June 2022 and the accession process formally began in July 2022.
On 27 October 2022, Croatia submitted the initial memorandum, a self-assessment of the alignment of Croatian legislation with the OECD’s legal instruments.
The OECD currently has 38 member states.
Speaking of the benefits of OECD membership, Lucić mentioned benefits for citizens and their living standards, saying that membership would encourage further reforms and improvement of the business environment, promote Croatia’s image in the world, make the country more attractive to foreign investment, and strengthen ties with the most developed countries in the world.
263 legal instruments
Currently, 263 legal instruments are applicable to Croatia’s accession process. These include 24 decisions, 10 international agreements, 192 recommendations and 37 declarations.
“Nominally, these instruments are not legally binding, but compliance with these legal instruments is expected,” Lucic said.
Last November, Croatia began technical reviews with 25 committees and working groups analysing and evaluating the country’s legislation, policies and practices. They cover different issues and areas, such as combating bribery in international business transactions, corporate governance, public governance, competition, education policy, health care, agriculture, fisheries and shipbuilding.
To date, the OECD has conducted 20 fact-finding missions in Croatia, and Croatia has been the subject of eight accession discussions before six committees and two working groups.
Before the end of the year, Croatia will be on the agenda of another 12 committees and 11 working groups, Lucic said, adding that Croatia has answered all 50 questionnaires from the committees.
In conclusion, Lucic said that a positive evaluation by each committee is needed, after which the OECD Council is to decide unanimously on the membership invitation.