Croatians celebrate their entry into the European Union, and only they know why

Well, we know why, really, although in fact, it sounds like not that many Croatians are actually all that psyched about the proceedings. There are festivities planned throughout Sunday, and when it officially becomes the 28th member of the EU on July 1st, Croatia will no doubt continue to tout the reasons to which they’re clinging for doing so: Better access to and less bureaucratic red tape keeping them from the larger EU markets; less expensive education opportunities for Croatian students at EU universities and easier travel for EU citizens (their beaches are big attractions for tourism); and the promise of billions of euros in EU investment that they hope will help boost them out of what looks like a fifth year of economic recession and their 21 percent unemployment rate.


But… many Croatians, apparently, are only going through the motions of celebrating their long fight to get into the EU after their war for independence in the 1990s, and there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of genuine enthusiasm about it. Via Reuters:

Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union at midnight on Sunday, passing a milestone in its recovery from war but anxious over the troubled state of its economy and the bloc it is joining. …

The EU is mired in its own economic woes, which have created internal divisions and undermined popular support for the union. …

“Just look what’s happening in Greece and Spain! Is this where we’re headed?” said pensioner Pavao Brkanovic in a marketplace. “You need illusions to be joyful, but the illusions have long gone.” …

Croatia has gone through seven years of tortuous and often unpopular EU-guided reform. …

Their prime minister, of course, was expressing bullishness about their ostensibly new-and-improved prospects after joining the EU and what he called Croatians’ “reasonable amount of skepticism” about it:

Zoran Milanovic sought to dispel doubts about becoming the bloc’s 28th addition as fireworks are prepared and foreign leaders arrive for celebrations at midnight on Sunday. …

Mr Milanovic told Sky’s Murnaghan show there was a “plethora” of good reasons for being part of the EU, despite the bloc’s economic woes of recent years which have undermined the public’s support. …

Support for membership is now at just about 50% down from the 66% recorded during a referendum last year.

Referring to the low turnout for recent elections of Croatian MEPs, which Mr Milanovic said was below 21% of the electorate, he told Sky News: “When you say people are not enthusiastic, I think people are sober because this succession has been long overdue.


Because the succession is long overdue, or because it’s just the best out of the few bad options they’re willing to consider?

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos