The final was nothing short of epic France and Croatia showed real passion and sportsmanship.
Would you be surprised to know that French Benedictine monks had a big part to play in the establishment of a royal culture in Croatia, as well as Napoleon’s strategic interest in the region?
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The relationship between France and Croatia shares a long and very cooperative relationship. Unlike some pairings which for the most part is one-sided, meaning one country influencing the politics, culture, rad end history of the other with very little going in the other direction. France and Croatia share a somewhat more mutually responsive and collaborative relationship with one another. The two nations share among other things language, cultural, historical, intellectual, religious and kinship ties.
The connection between France and Croatia began with the spread of monasteries in Croatia by French Benedictine monks during the 800s AD and early 900s AD. In 925 AD, Croatia was elevated to the status of Kingdom and the notion of nobility quickly followed. Over the coming centuries, Croatian nobility assumed French practices to great controversy. This contributed to widespread political and social elitism among the nobles and monarch. The nobility regarded the peasant class as some unseen and irrelevant substrata of people which lead to high causality revolts and beheadings as well as sporadic periods of intense domestic violence. This strained ties with French culture and lead the people of Croatia to denounce French elitism.
However, during the French Revolution, the principles of the enlightenment spread quickly throughout Croatia and the wider region quickly gaining intellectual capital, the ideas of enlightenment deeply influenced Croatian society, which subsequently led to the creation of Jacobin clubs in Zagreb and Dubrovnik.
During the expansion of Napoleon Bonaparte’s First French Empire, large parts of Croatia were controlled by the French leading to the creation of the Illyrian Provinces. French rule in the Illyrian Provinces was short-lived, yet it significantly contributed to greater national self-confidence and awareness of freedoms, especially in the Slavic nations as exampled in the post-Yugoslavian independence of Croatia, and Slovenia.
After the collapse of Yugoslavia, Croatian-French relations reached an all-time high. France recognized Croatia on 15 January 1992 and established diplomatic relations with Zagreb in April 1992. As well as support from Great Britain, and the Nordic nations. French intellectualism was also a major force which supported Croatian statehood. This movement helped mould the opinions of the French people and political classes of the legitimacy and necessity of the Croatian state by listing the country in its dictionaries and its atlases.
Since then, both nations have been strong political and military allies, both of whom share membership in several organisations including the European Union, United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Organisation of Francophone Nations. Furthermore, the French have full access to the Croatian labour market and vice-versa.
The views of France and Croatia converge on the main European and international issues, including development and the European integration of the Western Balkans, in the framework of the Brdo-Brijuni Process and the Berlin-Vienna-Paris process.
Bilateral Trade Relations
Trade between France and Croatia amounted to €535 million in 2015 (+16.3% compared to 2014). France, which accounted for 2.3% of Croatia’s total trade in 2014, is the country’s tenth-largest trading partner. France had a trade balance surplus of €192 million in 2015, compared to €159 million in 2014. Croatia is the South Eastern European country with which France has the largest trade surplus.
French exports to Croatia reached €364 million in 2015 (+17% compared to 2014) whereas they had been stagnating or falling for over a decade. France is Croatia’s 12th-largest supplier with 2.3% of the country’s imports (12th-largest supplier in 2013 with 2.1% of imports). Despite an increase in French imports from Croatia (+14.6% compared to 2014) which amount to €171.3 million, our balance still shows a large surplus (€192.7 million), making Croatia an exception in the region.
Despite a diversified sectoral presence (agro- and agri-business, infrastructure, banking, distribution), France has not yet reached the “critical mass” but is getting there. France is the seventh-largest investor in Croatia, with €651 million of FDI stock through four major businesses (Société Générale, Bouygues, Alstom, Lactalis).