Croatia

The National Youth Programme for the Period from 2014 to 2017 is the most recent youth policy in Croatia. In 2017, a national working group was established to draft a new youth programme. However, after a public e-consultation held in January 2020, the draft programme was not adopted.

Published on October 25, 2023
Updated on February 20, 2024

Definition of youth

The National Youth Programme for the Period from 2014-2017 defines youth as those aged 15 to 30 years old, while also stating that "[�] a tendency to move the limit of youth up to the age of 35 is observed."

Definition 1
15 - 30 years
Definition 2

Voting Rights

Majority age
18 years
Voting age
18 years
Criminal responsibility
15 years

Candidacy age

Lower House
18 years
Upper House
--- (unicameral)
President
--- (tbc)

Marriage & Gender

Without parental consent
Female
18 years
Male
18 years
With parental consent
Female
16 years
Male
16 years

Source: UNSD, UNDESA, ILGA

Is same-sex marriage legalized?
Female
Partly *
Male
Partly *
Are other genders recognised?
Yes
compulsory medical diagnosis

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
In progress

The Central State Office for Demography and Youth was established by the Law on the Organisation and Scope of State Administration Bodies (2020) and took over the responsibility of youth from the former Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy. The Central State Office is responsible for improving the quality of life of young people and constructing a complete, comprehensive, and interdepartmental policy for youth. This also includes proposing and implementing strategic documents, laws, programmes, and projects in the field of youth policy and monitoring and evaluating them. Furthermore, the office works to develop measures and programmes aimed at preventing the social exclusion of young people in order to give them the basis for a complete, creative and dignified life.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority that is primarily responsible for youth?
Yes

The Central State Office for Demography and Youth was established by the Law on the Organisation and Scope of State Administration Bodies (2020) and took over the responsibility of youth from the former Ministry of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy. The Central State Office is responsible for improving the quality of life of young people and constructing a complete, comprehensive, and interdepartmental policy for youth. This also includes proposing and implementing strategic documents, laws, programmes, and projects in the field of youth policy and monitoring and evaluating them. Furthermore, the office works to develop measures and programmes aimed at preventing the social exclusion of young people in order to give them the basis for a complete, creative and dignified life.

Youth & Representation

Does the country have a national youth organization or association?
Yes

According to the Report on the Work of the Youth Council in 2021,

"The Youth Council is an interdepartmental advisory body of the Government of the Republic of Croatia with the task of participating in the development of public policies for youth, while professional and administrative tasks for the Council are performed by the Central State Office for Demography and Youth."

The Youth Council is responsible for:

  • Monitoring the work of governmental bodies in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of youth policies and giving opinions and recommendations;
  • Monitoring the development of youth associations and giving recommendations for improving their work and support system;
  • Making recommendations for the development of local, regional, national, and European youth policies;
  • Monitoring aspects of society that are important to youth.

Youth work

Is youth work a formally recognised profession?
No

According to the EU Youth Wiki, "There is no official definition of youth work in Croatia." Generally speaking, youth work in Croatian is referred to as "working with youth." Youth work appeared for the first time in an official national document in the National Youth Programme for the Period from 2014 to 2017:

"Work with young people is most often carried out through youth associations, and activities and services of work with young people can also be provided by public bodies and institutions, especially at the local level. People who are specially prepared to work with young people (e.g. youth workers) deal with work with young people on a voluntary or paid basis. In Croatia, work with young people has a long tradition through the work of numerous youth associations and through the engagement of social workers and experts in related professions. However, work with young people is not recognized nor is there a strategic approach to its support and development. Likewise, it has not been determined which competencies are needed by people who work with young people in order to successfully perform their work. The most common challenges they face are the lack of institutional and financial support, as well as the non-recognition of their profession in a formal and legal sense, but also by users and the general public."

Budget & Spending

Does the national youth policy have a dedicated budget?
Yes

According to the State Budget Proposal by Budget Beneficiaries for 2023, the Central State Office for Demography and Youth is allocated EUR 336.0 million (USD 364.7 million). The Financial Plan of the Central State Office for Demography and Youth for 2023 further specifies that of this budget, EUR 1.4 million (USD 1.5 million) is allocated to youth policy.

Contextual Figures

Liberal Democracy Index
738
Youth Progress Index
83.5

Economic Indicators

GDP per capita
$17747.79
Human Development Index
0.858
Gini coefficient
29.5

Additional background

According to the National Youth Programme for the Period from 2014-2017:

"The contemporary generation of young people in Croatia, as well as in most countries of the European environment, is maturing in general social conditions that are significantly different from those in which earlier generations of young people grew up. This difference is primarily due to the multi-year economic crisis that affected other areas of social life as well. The situation of young people in Croatia is further complicated by the fact that they are growing up in a transitional society with only two decades of experience in building a democratic social and political order and the painful experience of war on their own territory, the material, social and political consequences of which are still present."

In a 2022 article, the Croatian Youth Network expressed their frustration regarding the process surrounding the drafting of a National Youth Programme (NPM). The relevant Working Group drafted a five-year program, 2020 - 2024, yet after the e-Consultation process, the group was unofficially dissolved. According to the article, the responsible ministry stopped convening meetings and the draft proposal "simply disappeared" and was rejected. They describe in the following what happened next:

"In the meantime, with the arrival of the COVID 19 virus pandemic [the Croatian Youth Network] began to propose the creation of a somewhat different document - a two-year program that would quickly respond to the emerging needs of young people caused by the consequences of the pandemic, and later the earthquake. Our proposal was accepted in principle, and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, by its Decision on July 8, 2021, initiated the process of developing the National Youth Programme 2022 - 2024. Immediately afterwards, on July 30, 2021 , the Central State Office for Demography and Youth (SDUDM) founded a working group for the preparation of the same, which brought together representatives of state administration bodies, public institutions, the academic community, and organisations of young people and for young people, but not representatives of the Youth Network. Until then, we were positive about the role of the new departmental body dedicated to young people and expected that it would speed up the process of adopting the NPM, but also lead to a general improvement of conditions and opportunities for young people and everyone who works with them. However, the current situation has discredited the initial optimism."

"�the SDUDM does not show the slightest interest in further negotiations on this issue and rejects any possibility of our direct involvement in the process of drafting the Draft NPM 2022 - 2024. They leave us no other options than to accept it and let's continue to follow the process 'from the outside', following the development through publicly available channels. We have entered the second half of 2022, and there is no sign of the draft of the new NPM."

Sources

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Updates

  • Update 22.07.2024: