News / Europe

Croatia Holds Referendum on EU Membership

Croatian voters cast their ballots at the polling station in Zagreb, Croatia, January 22, 2012.
Croatian voters cast their ballots at the polling station in Zagreb, Croatia, January 22, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Lisa Bryant

Croats are voting Sunday on whether to join the European Union. If they approve the measure, as many expect, Croatia will become the 28th EU member - a symbolic victory for both the Balkan nation and for Brussels.

Croatia's referendum on joining the European Union comes as the block faces one of its biggest crises ever - the sovereign debt and banking problems that have migrated from one eurozone country to another.

There is a sizable chunk of Croats opposed to joining the EU. On Saturday police clashed with protesters in Zagreb at an anti-EU rally that gathered hundreds of people.

Europe's financial problems don't appear to be the main worry, as Croatia would not be joining the eurozone anytime soon.

This man says he will vote against joining the EU because politicians didn't bother to explain what the block really stands for. Other critics fear losing sovereignty to Brussels.

But polls indicate that a majority of the population will vote in favor of joining the EU. The Croatian government has been pushing the benefits of joining - an argument echoed by Balkans expert Dimitar Bechev, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. 

"One is the political dividend. In the sense that Croatia is not only recognized as part of a democratically stable and advanced part of Europe, but also that it gets a voice in all institutions in Brussels," said Bechev.

Bechev says Croatia will also have the perks of being part of the EU's internal market. But perhaps the biggest argument for the Balkan nation, after its war of secession from the former Yugoslavia, is symbolic.

"At a very emotional level, this is a vindication of what they truly believe for a long period of time - that they belong to Europe," said Bechev. "One strand of all the ideology of independence was rejoining Europe. Of course, Croatian independence had a darker side as well."

Analysts say Croatia's membership is important for the EU as well, in part because it could help cement stability in the Balkans.

"Because there would be few developments that would be more challenging to the EU and potentially more negative than the descent of the Balkans into deep political instability," said Thomas Klau, the head of the European Council's Paris office.

If Croatia becomes the next EU member it will signal to other candidate countries, notably neighboring Serbia, that they, too, might someday be part of the bloc.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid