On Monday 1 July Croatia will become the 28th member of the European Union. Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003 and the negotiations were held from 2005 until 2011. On 9 December 2011 Croatia and the EU signed the accession treaty. One of the most visible and positive effects of Croatia's accession will be the end of customs controls at internal EU borders. Croatia will also continue in preparations for entering the Schengen Area in following years, which means that border police controls will not be abolished.
Croatia is a small country with 4.4 million inhabitants and with fertility rate of 1.4 live births per woman, which is lower than 1.57 births in the EU27. Croatia's GDP per capita is at 61% of the EU27 average. Country suffers from high unemployment – 18.1% in April 2013 and youth unemployment is also very high – 51.8%. Approximately 10.9% of Croatia's labour force work in agriculture, 27.7% in industry and only 61.4% in services. Therefore, the Common Agricultural Policy will become an important source of support for Croatian farmers. Through the Common Agricultural Policy the farmers will be entitled to financial support through the system of direct payments, which will be phased-in over 10 years.
Croatia's accession will be celebrated in Zagreb on Sunday 30 June and Monday 1 – July.
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