News / Europe

EU Membership Fails to Spark Enthusiasm in Croatia

EU Membership Fails to Spark Enthusiasm in Croatiai
X
June 26, 2013 8:43 PM
Croatia joins the European Union on July 1 - marking the end of the journey to accession, and a remarkable turnaround for a country that was ravaged by war during the break up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, however, there has been a marked absence of enthusiasm about EU membership among much of the population.

EU Membership Fails to Spark Enthusiasm in Croatia

Henry Ridgwell
Croatia joins the European Union on July 1 - marking the end of its journey to accession, and a remarkable turnaround for a country that was ravaged by war during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. But there has been a marked absence of enthusiasm for E.U. membership among much of the population.

In Brussels, the fireworks are already being set off as the Croatian flag joins 27 other member countries in the political heart of the European Union.

So how will life change for the ordinary Croatian? James Ker-Lindsay from the London School of Economics and Political Science explains.

“A lot of the day-to-day elements of life, if you like, have already probably come into force with the laws that have been changed as part of E.U. harmonization," said Ker-Lindsay. "But, of course, it is that sense of actually being there, being part of the club, having that freedom of movement across the European Union.”
 
Full membership means that Croatia will be able to sell its products tariff-free across the E.U. President of the Croatian Chamber Of Commerce, Nadan Vidosevic, says the country is joining the E.U. with its eyes open.

“We will jump in the cold water and start swimming, you know," said Vidosevic. "But, we decide to jump in the water, because we believe it will be at the end, something that will make pleasure to us. What is the meaning of pleasure, it is the welfare for the citizens of my country."

But after five years of economic crisis in Europe, polls show a lack of enthusiasm by Croatians. Again, James Ker-Lindsay.

“Polls show in actual fact trust in European institutions is lower in Croatia than even in the United Kingdom, which is really saying something."

Croatia is enduring its own economic crisis. Government debt is growing, and two ratings agencies have downgraded government bonds to junk status. The E.U. has already set aside $855 million to subsidize Croatia this year.

While Croatia will gain access to the E.U. market, the reverse also applies - and many analysts, including European Policy Center's Corina Stratulat, say uncompetitive businesses will struggle with the competition.

"We have worked very hard during the ten-year-long engagement and now both parts, I think, are entering this marriage very much aware of the fact that hard work lies ahead," said Stratulat.

The E.U. funds will help renovate Croatia’s heritage in cities like Dubrovnik.

In 1991, the city came under siege from the Yugoslav army and navy. Over the following years Croatia and her neighbors were consumed by the Balkan conflict.

Ker-Lindsay says many believe the E.U. should have done more back then.

“There were a lot of voices in southeast Europe which were appalled when the E.U. was awarded the Nobel (Peace) Prize last year," he said. "They just felt that this was completely unacceptable, that the E.U. hadn’t done nearly as much as it could have done in the 1990s. But I think it’s fair to say that a lot of the peace and stability that we see in the region now is a direct consequence of the project, the process of E.U enlargement.”

Ker-Lindsay says that transformation is providing encouragement for other E.U. candidates like Serbia.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid