croatiaCroatia is now one step closer to becoming the 28th member of the European Union. Roughly 66% of Croatians who voted in the referendum on EU membership earlier this week backed the country’s membership of the Union. After the accession treaty is ratified by existing member-states, the EU will officially open its doors to Croatia in July of next year.

Where do you think European enlargement should stop? Croatia will be the second former-Yugoslavian country, after Slovenia, to become a member of the EU. What about the other Balkan countries? Should Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania also be part of the Union?

Supporters of Croatian EU accession enthusiastically welcomed the outcome of yesterday’s vote. But the turnout was quite low: just 44%. Does this mean Croatians don’t care about EU membership? And has the Eurozone crisis made EU membership less attractive? Let us know your thoughts on Croatian membership and EU enlargement, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts to get their reactions.

29 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Baris Ekici

    maybe not the crisis, but europe leader’s reluctant behaviours against saving euro? Being late and paying more?

  2. avatar
    Kurt Koenig

    There is no crisis in the EU… The only crisis there is is monetary – perhaps. Between people, EU is nice. Once people recognise who is guilty for the monetary crisis, I do not want to be in the shoes of them… Stop betting against the euro… and against the EU.

    • avatar
      Leonardo Baggiani

      with a Euro still around 1,30 against dollar I see poor a monetary crisis.

      we have a sovereign debt crisis (and a rising bank crisis, if you stop with the sovereign bond babbling and pay attention to “hidden” bad loans): those who hope for a Transfer Union to exploit have now surely less incentives to enter (Germany & Co want individual discipline and no eurobonds); those who want no help but just to make use of an open market have a disincentive too as the EU is plenty of members who press for a Transfer Union (France & Co).
      All in all a certain EU attractiveness still remains, maybe just a little weakened.

  3. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    Firstly I think it is a reasonable expectation that all Balkan nations will eventually join the EU if they want to. Sarkozy stated he expected the EU to increase in number up to 32 or 33 nations at the end of last year.

    The question is not only whether they eventually meet the Copenhagen and Maastricht criteria but whether they will want to join the EU when they do so.

    As Croatian voter turnout for the EU referendum was about 46% and only about 67% of those voted in favour, that means about 28% of Croatians voted to join the EU.

    Hardly a very positive democratic mandate for the attraction of EU.

    It would be quite wrong to equate the Euro crisis with the attraction for EU by external potential members, or indeed the vacuum of leadership of the past few years, so I answer you headline with a very firm “No”.

    What is far less attractive to former Communist states whether they are FSU or Warsaw Pact, is the centering of power far away from newly found democratic voters. Having gained newly found sovereignty, the EU is now proposing not only monetary and fiscal consolidation but political consolidation as well.

    Only today Ms Merkel has stated that EU members will ultimately have to surrender more sovereignty if the EU is going to work as it needs to, during a press conference with 5 leading newspapers.

    Will recently independent sovereign states want to rush into another supra-structure that requires surrendering some sovereignty they have only just regained?

    I would think that potential members will sit back and see what the EU is going to morph into before kicking down the door and formally requesting accession talks.

    What was attractive about the EU may no longer be attractive once the structural changes that are deemed necessary have occurred.

    Fortunately, both the EU and potential candidates for entry have plenty of time to think with further expansion prospects being rather dim for the next decade and more.

  4. avatar
    David Platt

    the euro is part and parcel of the EU how can you say there is no problem? We have dinial in Europe denial that the EU is finished in its current form

  5. avatar
    Nicola Antonopoulos

    Aprs le chute du mur de Berlin les populations des pays ex comunistes de l’Europe de l’Est pensaient que que la “richesse” materielle de “l’Occident”leurs serait tombe du ciel par grace de dieu (per grazia ricevuta).Ils se sont rendu compte que ce n’tait pas comme a que a marche.Les Croates n’on plus ces illutions car ils se sont rendus compte de ce qui se passait ailleurs, notament parmis les 10 pays ex comunistes qui font partie de l’Union Europenne depuis 2004. For the rest I agree with Kurt Koening; enough is enough tp manipulate the European Union for internal Member State disputes where politians have plenty of responsibility. European Union is the only way for survival of the single Member States. More integration is the way to count in a glogalised world. European citisens shall be informed about the European Union and the all advantages arising from integration.

  6. avatar

    It looks like to me that, after, let’s say, last 17 years of the same politicians, who ran country also during the communism era, when they predominantly followed Belgrade and communist political and economic rules, helped EU and that same Croatian elite to get majority of Croats who were for EU in early 1991, NOT to resent today only EU but that they no longer care about future of Croatia as well.

    Looks like, they lost trust in EU when EU also stood behind sanctions during the aggression of Serbia in 1991… most recently when EU backed unlawful Slovenian grab of sea that Slovenia can not otherwise get by International law of sea, and when ICTY sentenced Croatian generals, who with minimal casualties on enemy side, without attacking aggressor country, brought freedom to Croatia 50 years after EU gained freedom. So, looks like, they do not see leaders in the government that recently also minority elected, so majority thinks they will not bring economic benefits to the table, as well as political with, forget, forgive and spread lies policy, looking at it more regionally.

    56% that did not vote, plus 15% who voted NO are majority, everything else is NOT democracy. If we add to that treats minister of Foreign Affairs, Pušić, publicly made few days before referendum, “vote yes or there will be no retirement check next month”, just confirms what’s said in the first sentence.

    But, as much we hear and read around the world about EU, there is not much democracy in EU Lisbon treaty :-) Is it?

  7. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    All European nations in my opinion should join the EU…They should all have a seat in the European Parliament and decide our continent’s future together in equal terms..from Iceland to Ukraine!!

    Great news from Croatia, that shows that despite the mess in Europe, Europeans still have some faith and hope in this project..For how much longer I do not know..

    I am not one bit surprised about the turn-out..It is steadily low in every European election, not just in Croatia but in every EU state..That should normally ring a bell, but our leaders prefer not to bother dealing with this…Less public opinion and interference is good for them..

    What we should be doing is to engage the public in our national and European politics..People do not turn up simply because they think “what is the point?” they simply do not trust them..especially when it comes to European politics that few understand how it works and the benefits are..

    so what should we be doing…?? more transparency and explain to the people how things work and why..let them see what is being discussed in the EP…how things work in there…what do the commissioners or the MEPs do and how it affects them..

    then they might have some interest in European politics..just a thought…

  8. avatar
    Mikko Karjalainen

    @David: “We have denial in Europe(?) that the EU is finished in its current form”

    What is the current form of Europe or EU really? EU has always been finished in its current form. EU is evolving, just like everything else does.

    There’s no problem we couldn’t overcome. Don’t underestimate the will of the Europeans. The world is changing fast at the moment. Some call it as a new world order. Rightfully so.

    Blocks are rising everywhere on the planet. Asia, Africa, Middle-East and South America. There’s no way Europe can afford to get “finished”. Everybody knows that.

    Some haters are willing to blow up entire planet just to get rid of EU. Those people can bark all they want, but that doesn’t change the facts: we need each others now, we need each others more in the future.

  9. avatar

    Yes, there is a lot of questions after 71% of Croats did NOT say yes to EU. I do not think, in case of Croatia, problems of EU/euro are the only reason for this. A lot had happened in the past 22 years that Croatians, perhaps, find hard to swallow.

  10. avatar
    Miguel Cabrita

    Somehow europe failed in beeing representative of all european people, being otherwise representative of the governments of the states that compose it. As a project of harmony and peace within europe it failed leaving european societies and its non political representatives out of the decision making procedure. As project Europe is beeing built on the back of all european peoples.

  11. avatar
    Thomas Moens

    The turnout in Croatia’s referendum was low, but statistics doesn’t say everything. Croatia has some issues concerning the voting system. Lists of voters aren’t up to date, resulting in lower official turnout. Croatia also has an important “diaspora-vote” and especially here turnout was very low. When we just look at the voting behaviour of Croats really living in Croatia around 61% (in stead of 43.5%) voted. Source:

  12. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    The EU is a private members club but the people of Europe are barred from being members.

  13. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    It means very few people care at best with the rest praying they don’t get sucked into the shambles that is the EU. Less attractive ? to whom? seeing how the people of Europe have not been asked about membership of the USSE this is an irrelevant question.

  14. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    No crisis ??? hope you guys have alot of scaffolding hold you little blue sky up lol

  15. avatar
    Megi Kranjčar

    I’m not surprised by the result, because our people are poor and hungry, and also our politicians said that they won’t get their pensions and pays if they vote against EU. That’s not a democracy (!), we were given only pro-EU informations, like there are no crisis in whole world, and we were threatened during that campaign. If that’s a democracy, i would rather live on deserted island. Greetings from Croatia! (sorry about my English)

  16. avatar
    Maroje Sardelich

    crysis or not,euro or dollar,denial or not,people are paying for the games that significant few are playing.realizing who is guilty has been done years ago.fighting against them just started…unfortunately without huge riots and some blood,it will be impossible for ordinary people to regain the control over their lives.which have been sold without being asked…

  17. avatar
    Unimatriks Ziro

    The problem in Croatia was not in pro-European campaign but in its design. Our politicians treated us as if we were illiterate ignorats, as if we didn’t have TV, as if we had never stepped out of Croatia, never seen a living European. It was offensive and lacked information. Luckily, we have enough information about EU but we don’t have sufficient information about Croata’s accession contracts our leaders have agrred upon while negotiating. Most Croatians are pro-european sui generis. Unlike Bulgaria and R. we have had centuries long history of (not only political) personal connections all over Europe. Millions of tourists visit us every year. I’ve grown up and old with Germans, Italians, French and English… people. Many Croatian families have relatives abroad, many of whom have marrried in European countries. On the other hand, there are a lot of EU citizens who have married here. Europe has always been our home. We have never looked east as some of your members did!!! So, the result of voting only shows scorn towards our politicians not towards the European unity or our membership!

  18. avatar
    Sunny Cvitkovic Anderson

    The other problem is that EU is forcing Croatians on regional cooperation, specially with serbia. Croatians after they were killed, raped, bombed and tortured during Homeland War, now have to slave to serbian interests, so they will be quiet and not start another war. Croatian TV is flooded with serbian movies, endless programming about and with serbs and their interests. Politicians are like slaves to serbian interests and that is getting worse and worse. I do feel that we are entering jugoslavia, not EU. I want to see EU countries movies, concerts, newspapers and everything cultural. Are we entering EU to help EU to deal with serbs and help serbs to enter to EU? Is this about Croatians or geopolitical EU and USA interests , because it doesn’t look like we are entering EU, just that EU needs us for specific reason! Where are you Europeans?

    • avatar

      There is one thing we need to discuss here, the level of preparedness Croatia has before diving into the European Union, can any one assist

  19. avatar
    Mario Martinovic

    Croatians were pushed into the EU by the lies of their own politicians.Croatians resent the EU because of the EU policies towards Croatia in the last 22 years.EU has treated Croatia unfairly during the negotiations and the people were tired with the EU ever before they entered it.Croatians were threatened by their own politicians.

  20. avatar

    Croatia is not to be compared to the Balkans since culturally and mentally Croatia has been more to the side of Europe and the west. Croatia defenetly is not like Serbia in any way except unfortunately Serbia took over Croatia in Yugoslavia. That is the past and Croatia ever since has won its independence deserves more respect then to be called an another “balkan state” when in fact Croatia has always been on the western side, cultuarly like the south Europe, and historically.

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