Cooperatives have existed since the very beginning of mankind. On our territories, this concept was first mentioned during the era of the Roman Empire. Coops are embraced by all people of goodwill and all people with noble intentions. The idea of such an association was accepted by almost all central European countries at the end of the 19th century. Cooperatives can have various forms. Herman Schulze of Delitzsch, Germany is deemed as the father of craft cooperatives. One surely knows that it was not so long ago when craftsmen belonging to all classes, particularly bakers, used to travel around the world to get educated and acquire new skills. When they returned home, loaded with experience and new knowledge, they were regarded as pioneers in the field of craft business and cooperatives. The fight against injustice and for the rights of small and medium-sized businesses can only be achieved within a cooperative. The greatest successes are always achieved together! Croatia has a rich tradition of cooperatives. The first cooperative was founded back in the 19th century. Precisely, Croatian Count Josip Jelačić was very prone to economy and raised Croatian feudal possessions to the European level. After his death, his brother Jure established a public credit cooperative, the first cooperative in Croatia and hence Novi dvori (New Palace) became the cradle of coops and gave an incentive to economic growth in this area. Although the emphasis was put on savings banks and credit cooperatives, there was a growing number of cooperatives intended for purchase and distribution of cooperative products at the end of the last century. After Croatia had gained independence, a new Cooperative Act was adopted. The Act was aimed at revitalization of cooperatives and restoration of their image, common in developed countries. Unfortunately, analysis of foreign experts indicates numerous problems that need to be resolved in order to ensure proper conditions for smooth business operations of cooperatives, similar to those provided in well-organized European countries.

Some of these problems are as follows:

  • poor status of cooperatives, particularly among farmers and craftsmen
  • a small number of newly established cooperatives since the adoption of the Cooperative Act
  • flaws and insufficiency of the Cooperative Act
  • poor information on the cooperative sector and its individual segments
  • lack of control of the cooperative principle implementation and of cooperative establishment
  • lack of an institution which would encourage and promote international cooperative partnerships
  • lack of harmonization with the rules for cooperative establishment effective in EU Member States
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