Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in D:\siti\eposweb.org\eposweb.org\libraries\joomla\filter\filterinput.php on line 512

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in D:\siti\eposweb.org\eposweb.org\libraries\joomla\filter\filterinput.php on line 514

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in D:\siti\eposweb.org\eposweb.org\libraries\joomla\filter\filterinput.php on line 512

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in D:\siti\eposweb.org\eposweb.org\libraries\joomla\filter\filterinput.php on line 514

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in D:\siti\eposweb.org\eposweb.org\libraries\joomla\filter\filterinput.php on line 512

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in D:\siti\eposweb.org\eposweb.org\libraries\joomla\filter\filterinput.php on line 514
Croatia's EU accession: what future for the Balkan region? epos_print_logo.png
Warning: Creating default object from empty value in D:\siti\eposweb.org\eposweb.org\components\com_k2\models\item.php on line 445

Croatia's EU accession: what future for the Balkan region?

 
Monday, 11 March 2013 12:04
 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

 

 

by Nicolamaria Coppola
EPOS Insights

 

On July 1, 2013 the 27- nation European Union will become 28: the Balkan State of Croatia is soon to become the EU's latest addition. As one of the countries of the Balkan region to emerge from the ruins of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Croatia will be only the second country to join the European Union after Slovenia in 2004.

In spite of its low credit rating of junk (last December, Standard & Poor's - one of the three big credit rating agencies - downgraded Croatia to the lowest investment status known as "junk, leding to the Prime Minister Zoran Milanovi? rebuffing suggestions that Croatia would need a bailout from the International Monetary Fund), and a political class stained by accusations of corruption (last year, for example, the country's former Prime Minister, Ivo Sanader, was jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of taking pay-offs from foreign companies), Croatia is joining the European Union after 10 years campain to enter the region's market.

Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003 but the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. The Balkan State finished accession negotiations on 30 June 2011, and on 9 December of the same year signed the Treaty Of Accession to become the EU 28th member.

Croatia's EU accession will have several consequences, not only on the Croatian society and the EU itself, but also on the rest of the Balkan region and, in particular, on the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a potential candidate for membership to the European Union, but the accession negotiations are still at the beginning. About half a million Bosnian citizens are Bosnian Croats and, due to Croatia's EU accession, they will become citizen of the European Union: those ethnically-Croatian citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be reserved the right to citizenship of the Union, with all the resulting benefits and convenience of the freedom of movement, including the capacity to work abroad and sustain their family in Bosnia with remittance monies. Neverthless, they will live in a country which is not European yet, and they will be not able to fully realize their European citizenship. Will this paradox have an impact on the peculiar Bosnian society and the sovereignty of its central state?

As Giorgio Fruscione writes in his analysis on Croatia's EU accession, the Bosnian Croats, who are predominantly Roman Catholics (they spent centuries under the Austro-Hungarian empire and their Catholicism and Central European outlook were equally important in shaping their identity), will add a further “border” within the Croatian-Muslim community in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Before the 1992 conflict, in Bosnia these three nationalities lived in inextricably mixed communities: the Muslims with 44% of the population, the Serbs (that are Orthodox Christians, and their religion was crucial in keeping alive their national identity during almost four centuries of Ottoman Turkish occupation)  with 32% and the Croats with 17%. The communities lived in relative harmony until the European Community demanded a referendum on independence in Bosnia. The vote split on ethnic lines: Muslims and Croats supported independence but the Serbs boycotted the vote and, again with the army's support, began a fight for territory. The Serbs declared an Independent Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Croats proclaimed an autonomous region of Herzeg-Bosnia with Mostar as its capital.

The real losers, then, were the Muslims, who have been left with almost no land and they are still treated like second-class citizens. With Croatia's EU joining, none will have one more excuse to create social distinctions between the two religious groups: the Bosnian Croats, as first-class citizens, will allowed to travel without a passport, send remittances, and vote for the European Parliament while the Muslim Croats, second-class citizens, will be linked to old problems such as inability to be employed and travel freely.

«We face the classic paradox of how the inclusion leads to the exclusion of the other, within the same community, and how identification is reduced to a mere “I know who I am because I know who I am not», Giorgio Fruscione states. Is the process of European integration leading to a de facto social disintegration of the Balkan region?

Last modified on Monday, 11 March 2013 12:15

Latest from

Related items (by tag)

back to top