Croatia Report


Main Actors

Croatia’s WGA is executed by a well-defined and robust leadership body, which includes the deputy prime minister (who simultaneously serves as the minister of defence) and a number of state secretaries from the more important ministries. At the intra-ministerial level, WGA-related coordination takes place in both formal and informal ways. Formal cooperation is firmly established and formalised within separate committees that are significant for supporting WGA, which hold weekly or monthly meetings. Informal cooperation, on the other hand, takes place on an almost daily basis.
On the legislative level, there is formal WGA coordination within Croatia’s parliament. Formal cooperation is firmly established and formalised within various parliamentary committees that are important for the WGA (e.g. the Defence Committee, the Legislation Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee), all of which hold regular meetings. When it comes to coordination between the executive and legislative branches, Croatia’s government informs its parliament once a year about the actions that have been taken in pursuing a WGA towards external crises.
There are also a number of other efforts aimed at coordination and cooperation within and among various bodies. For example, the Ministry of Interior cooperates with the Jesuit Refugee Service. Furthermore, Croatia formally cooperates with PESCO, the Schengen Information System (SIS), the European Defence Agency (EDA), the UN, NATO, the OECD-DAC and the OSCE, although the precise constellation of governmental bodies involved in these efforts changes depending on the particulars of the collaborative effort. For example, the parliament’s European Affairs Committee formally cooperates with the UN, the EU, the OSCE and NATO. A recent example of such cooperation involved horizontal cooperation within the Ministry of Defence followed the next day by vertical cooperation in a meeting chaired by the prime minister.
Another example of cooperation relates to Croatia’s efforts to boost its integrated border-management capacities, as discussed above, although this cooperation comes more in the form of financial assistance to Croatia from the European level. For example, in response to increased migration pressure, Croatia has had to reinforce the parts of its border making up part of the EU’s external border with additional police officers. In addition, Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior requested and subsequently received almost EUR 6.8 million in additional financial support from the European Commission. These funds have been used for a number of enhancements, such as a stationary surveillance system for the borders with BiH and Montenegro, stationary day-night long-range cameras, and seven surveillance drones (Croatian Government 2019).
There are also a number of smaller cooperations. For example, as part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Croatia is supporting missions along the Somalian coast (piracy), in the Mediterranean Sea (migrants), and in Ukraine as part of the EU’s advisory mission there (EUAM). As part of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior is also providing migration-related support to EU member states, including Cyprus, Greece and Italy. Croatia’s government has an agreement with the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina on European partnership. What’s more, at Croatia’s urging, the EU has paid more attention to fostering political reforms in BiH, especially when it comes to electoral law.
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