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Local Self-Governance in the Republic of Croatia

Basic info about Croatia

Capital city: Zagreb (780.000 inhabitants - city and county seat)
Population: 4.3 million
Budget (2012): 13,9 bil. EUR
Deficit: 5% GDP   Debt: 55,5% GDP
GDP per capita: $ 12.971
Average net salary (2012): 720 EUR

Local self-government system
Established in 1993
69.2% population lives in towns
25% population lives in the City of Zagreb
Half of towns have < 10,000 inhabitants
Smallest town – Komiža (Island of Vis) pop. 1.509
More than half of municipalities have less than 3.000 inhabitants
Smallest municipality – Civljane pop. 240

Statistical and administrative division
2 NUTS regions
20 counties + City of Zagreb
127 towns (25 large towns + City of Zagreb)
428 municipalities

Local authorities’ competences
Municipalities and towns:

  • management and organization of the settlement
  • housing
  • spatial and urban planning
  • communal affairs and communal order
  • child care
  • social care
  • primary health care
  • preschool and primary education
  • culture and sports
  • consumer protection
  • environment protection
  • fire-fighting
  • civil defense
  • traffic management
  • Large towns (> 35 000 pop.):
  • -road management
  • -issuing building permits
  • -secondary education

Local authorities structure:
- Mayor
- Council
- Administrative departments
- 2009 - Mayors directly elected (professionals or volunteers)
- Size of councils: from 7 to 31 (City of Zagreb 51)
- For cities < 3000 pop. only one administrative department is established


Local finances
Local taxes:

  • Surtax on Income tax (up to 30%)
  • Beverage tax (up to 3%)
  • Tax on summer house (per sq. m)
  • Tax on company
  • Tax on use of public space

Shared taxes:

  • Personal income tax (56,5% + 4,4%)
  • Tax on sale of real-estate (5%)
  • Limited borrowing (mandatory approval of State Government) up to 20% of last year income for each town. (Max. 2,3% of total income of all local units)

Participation in the EU process
Joint consultative committee Croatia – CoR (2010)
Observing CoR delegation (2012)
Full membership in CoR (2013)

EU Lobbying
No representation office in Brussels

MUNICIPALITIES: The average number of inhabitants in the Croatian municipalities is slightly less than 3,000. 30% of the Croatian population live in the municipalities. The smallest municipality is Civljane with 239, the biggest Viškovo with 14,445 inhabitants (ratio 1:60). There is only six municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants, 47 of them have between 5,001 and 10,000 inhabitants, 339 between 1001 and 5000, and 36 of them under 1,000 residents. Municipalities have a share of 1% of GDP (all counties, municipalities and cities together have 6.4%). All 428 municipalities participate with 15.6% of total revenue of territorial governments (municipalities, cities and counties). Between 20% and 25% of municipalities receive state aid. Municipalities are in depopulation, during the last ten years they lost 80,285 inhabitants. Every municipality has a mayor and deputy mayor. Besides them, citizens also elect the members of municipal council - between seven (if the population is 500) and 17 councilors (if the number of inhabitants is over 10,000). Municipalities may establish local councils as a smaller form of citizen participation. 
CITIES: Number of cities in Croatia increased from 1993 from 69 to 128. Average population today is 17,260 inhabitansts, which is decrease of 10,863 compared to the 1993. 70% of the population lives in cities. The largest city is Zagreb, the smallest Komiža (island of Vis) with 1,500 inhabitants.

Addresses of local government

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