Croatia is a state in the transition zone between Central and Southeastern Europe. Croatia is a member of the European Union, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the OSCE and the United Nations.

The territory of the state lies east of the Adriatic Sea and partly in the southwest of the Pannonian Plain. It is bordered by Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Serbia to the northeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east and Montenegro to the southeast. The territory of the former Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovačka Republika), which today constitutes the southernmost part of the state, has no direct land connection with the rest of the state territory, as the few kilometers wide sea access of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies in between; the area around Dubrovnik thus forms the only exclave of the country.

The country lies in the transition zone of Central or East-Central Europe and Southeast Europe. Geographically, the part of Croatia along the Adriatic coast is generally assigned to the Balkan Peninsula or Southeastern Europe. In 2005, the Standing Committee on Geographical Names recommended that Croatia be assigned to Central Europe on the basis of a Central European cultural spatial concept. For some Croats, assignment to Central Europe is a means of demarcation from the negatively connoted "crisis region" of the Balkans. The Croatian areas along the Adriatic coast are also partly assigned to Southern Europe.

The smallest distance between Italy and Croatia is 20 kilometers (separated by a small strip of Slovenian land), while the southernmost Croatian peninsula, Prevlaka, is 69 kilometers from Albania.

The Constitution of December 1990 (Ustav Republike Hrvatske) defines the Republic of Croatia (Republika Hrvatska) as a state of the Croatian people and national minorities. As structural principles, it specifies the principles of democracy and the rule of law, social welfare and a unitary state. The original presidential-democratic system of government was transformed into a parliamentary democracy in 2000. The fundamental standard for the exercise of sovereign power is the human rights provided for in the constitution. The national minorities are represented in sovereign institutions, and their languages and scripts are in official use in some areas. State and church are separate; there is no state religion.

On October 16, 2007, Croatia was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term. The state has been a member of NATO since April 2009 and signed its instrument of accession to the EU in Brussels on December 9, 2011. Following decisions at the EU level and by the Croatian Parliament, as well as the successful referendum in January 2012, Croatia became an EU member on July 1, 2013.

Source: Wikipedia


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