The Evolution of the Croatian Citizenship Regime: from Independence to EU Integration

Viktor Koska

Research output: Working paper


Following the break up of the Former Yugoslavia, the main challenges the newly established republics faced were to consolidate their statehood and to define the membership criteria of their political communities. These processes were complex since the reality of the newly independent republics did not fit the imaginations of ethno-political entrepreneurs who sought the congruence of ethnic communities and state borders. The Croatian case displays almost all of the typical controversies and challenges associated to the former Yugoslavia successor states’ regimes: ethnic engineering through citizenship policies, state exclusion and self exclusion of ethnic minorities from the core citizenry and liberalisation of the citizenship regime in the light of EU integration. While over the last twenty years Croatia established a stable legal framework for its citizenship, the scope of rights recognised for particular categories of citizens was the object of the gradual change. By closely scrutinising the citizenship policies relating to two main target groups, the Croatian diaspora and the Serb minority, this paper will argue that the Croatian citizenship regime has evolved through two stages of development over the last two decades. The citizenship debate during the first stage was concerned primarily with the ‘status dimension’ while the debate during the second stage moved towards the ‘rights dimensions’ of citizenship. Finally, the last section of this paper will highlight a possible third stage of the further evolution of the Croatian citizenship regime that may develop as the outcome of Croatian accession to the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameCITSEE Working Paper Series


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