Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 07:36:54 PM EST
Thinking about the whole picture right now, I am trying to analyze total interests here; on the EU´s part and on Croatia's.
First, in the current crisis does the EU have the interest for Croatia to join the EU? As I see it, certainly not. The EU does not need another Greece, which is a very probable scenario if Croatia enters. And the Union probably does not feel like investing a lot in the development of Croatia in the situation we are in right now. On the other hand, if Croatia enters, does somebody have something to loose? For example Germany, always presenting itself as a big friend and supporter of Croatia. As recently as a couple of months ago Mrs Merkel visited Croatia and commented that Croatia is not so open to German investment as it once was and that the fact 'could reflect on German support for Croatia in the EU'. Germans invest a lot, or better said own a lot in Croatia. Recently I tried to take my money from Croatia and bring it to Spain to buy a flat. So I found out that there is NO WAY to transfer my money from Croatia to any country in the world without paying a nice comission to Deutsche Bank. What would happen with that fact if Croatia enters EU? In general, Germany always presented itself as Coatia's spokesperson and mediator. One might ask what interest do they have in that?
Croatia, apart from Turkey, endured I think the longest preparation process in history for entering the EU. Adjusting the laws, firing many people in the process of reforming the shipyards and other government-supported firms, looking for evidence that would help the court in The Hague to convict the generals who liberated previously occupied Croatian territory, enduring the Slovenian blackmail about the borders and some other blackmails also. And the last, but not the least, forcefully maintaining the exchange rate between kuna end euro for all these years which has almost exhausted all the national reserves and slowly messed up an already badly underdeveloped economy affected also by mass firings in one of the principal still functioning industries (shipbuilding) and by the crisis. Now, the damage is done and probably it would be in Croatia's interest to enter and try to benefit from the membership already paid.
After the parliamentary elections held recently and the change of the government from right-oriented Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) to left-oriented coalition, almost all political parties, except for never much voted extremist Croatian Party of Rights support Croatian accesion. Despite all their lobbying, in the last 10 days suddenly majority of people seem to lean towards voting against.
There could be various reasons for it. One of them is pride. People feel being used, forced to adapt to what 'the big guys' tell them, and not being sure in which way they could benefit in that Union now, after lowering their pants. Also there are some that surely would not benefit in any way because they just live in their villages, receiving their pensions that would never be enough to pay them any trip not even within the country and much less abroad, so the Union would not have any contact with their lives. They probably have had some neighbours once who, like me and many others, left the country and the poor perspectives and made their lives abroad. Those who stayed, somehow think that the good life was given to those who left like manna from Heaven and they are not too eager to help to those lucky bastards avoid immigrant procedures, visa renovations and tougher airport controls, by voting 'yes'. The scepticism among the older people would be more easily understood but among the people I know, mostly in their 30ies, all of them in Croatia will vote against while people abroad will not vote due to their technical difficulties. Now, younger people should be more open-minded informing themselves over the Internet and often from unknown sources.
While the most polls lately say that Croatia will vote 'no' and some American media commented on it, what did European politicians say? Nothing yet it seems? But I do not doubt they would be secretly happy when Croatia refuses membership. I understood that even some Croats working in the EU Parliament got some email sent to their official European Parliament account by British eurosceptic activists warning them that they should be 'better' informed about the negatives of EU membership. I started even wondering if some other external 'supporters' contributed to Croatian fear of being 'eaten up' by the big Union sharks if they enter despite all the positive lobbying from croatian political parties. And some of those supporters could be publicly 'genuinely surprised' tomorrow when the results come out.