Nigel Farage barrage

At the moment Croatia is a star in the European Union circles – praise for Croatia’s achievements in its unreasonably hard route to reach the stage of signing the EU Treaty & become a member of EU echoes almost everywhere one looks.

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) government won praise from the EU for pursuing an anti-corruption, anti-mismanagement, campaign over the past two years that saw former party leader and prime minister Ivo Sanader and former vice-prime minister Damir Polancec (among other high ranking officials) in court.

The general elections to be held in Croatia on 4th December 2011 will tell us how much damage HDZ has suffered in the eyes of the people because of this. Whatever the electoral outcome let’s hope the pursuit against corruption and communist crimes won’t suffer.

Let’s not forget – one of the Visions of itself independent Croatia has had from it’s very start (1991) and under the leadership of the late dr Franjo Tudjman was to become a part of the European Union.

British politicians and government officials have been a major force on the trail of anti-Croatian campaigns since 1990. At one time it seemed that anything and everything was a go-zone to prevent or stifle Croatia’s progress in EU accession talks and negotiations.

Much of the British bashings revolved around accusations against Croatian government as being nationalist, stuck-in-the-past … when in fact amidst such turbulent adversity and finger-pointing Croatia stuck to her guns and proved differently.

One cannot but recount, with bitterness, some of the British input in 1991 that, in my opinion encouraged and fuelled a terrible war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina where Serbian minorities took it upon themselves to cleanse territories of Croatian and other Non-Serb population, declaring self-proclaimed Serbian republics within the borders of those countries.

In 1991 Lord Peter Carrington had a very influential role within the Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia/aka Badinter Arbitration Committee (European Economic Community) (Croatia had by that time proclaimed its independence via referendum).

On 20 November 1991 (the days of Vukovar massacres) he asked, among other things: “Does the Serbian population in Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, as one of the consituent peoples of Yugoslavia, have the right to self-determination?”

The commission concluded on 11 January 1992 that “the Serbian population in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia is entitled to all the rights concerned to minorities and ethnic[…]” and “that the Republics must afford the members of those minorities and ethnic groups all the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognised in international law, including, where appropriate, the right to choose their nationality”.

Badinter Arbitration Committee 1991

Certainly, everyone has the right to choose their nationality but that does not mean the right to create a separate state within an existing larger one. I guess Lord Carrington did well for a while in confusing the world into thinking that Yugoslavia was not really composed of six different states, but rather different nationalities, ethnic groupings scattered equally throughout (without nationality majorities anywhere).

No wonder the world called the Balkan crisis as civil war in the beginning.

So even when 94% of Croatian citizens voted to secede from communist Yugoslavia and pursue independence and self-determination, Lord Carrington fuelled the Serbian push to create a Serbian state within Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. One wonders what he would have done were certain minorities in United Kingdom pushing to create their own state within UK borders?

Of course, we mustn’t forget Lord David Owen. In August 1992, Owen succeeded Lord Carrington as the EU co-chairman of the Conference for the Former Yugoslavia, along with Cyrus Vance, the former U.S. Secretary of State as the UN co-chairman.

Owen like Carrington relentlessly pursued the notion that, regardless of the will of the majority of people to secede from Yugoslavia, ethnic minorities (i.e. Serbs) should have a piece of Croatian & Bosnia-Herzegovina lands.

After Vance-Owen plan (which by the way rewarded Serbian ethnic cleansing) , was effectively dead by May 1993 because the Clinton administration thought that it gave too much to the Serbs and the Serbs that it gave too little. Owen worked for many months on a plan for a Muslim mini-state on about a third of the territory of Bosnia.

He tried hard to secure an accord on self-government for the Krajina Serbs in Croatia.

It’s interesting to note that all this time The Serbian Royal Family Karadjordjevic (distant but still blood relations to the British Royal family) lived in London, in exile since days of WWII when Kingdom of Yugoslavia fell apart, more likely than not still keeping a sight on restoring the rule of the Serbian crown in Yugoslavia. Prince Alexander II Karadjordjevic moved back to live in Serbia in 2000’s

And now, about a week before Croatia is to sign the EU Treaty another British politician has come out, in EU parliament, with sweeping statements why Croatia should not join the EU.

This time it’s Nigel Farage, a British nationalist, eurosceptic, leader of the UK Independence party (Libertarian, non-racist party seeking Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union).

When the turn came to Farage on 30 November 2011 in the European Parliament to deliver a report on Croatia at this final stage when EU members were to vote Yes/No for Croatia to sign the EU Treaty this is what he said:

Last September I went to Croatia. I wanted to find out whether a proper national debate is going on; whether there was a fair campaign.

What did I find? I found that the EU is doing everything it can to bribe the political class in Croatia — doing it quite well, really, too. Already the EU has given 320 million euros to Croatia in what is called pre-accession aid. The EU has just spent a million euros on a blatant propaganda advertising campaign, telling Croatia that the EU is their only hope.

Cleverly, you’ve even given jobs to Croatians — highly paid jobs to Croatians in the European Parliament and in the European Commission just to show them how well off they’ll be — the ruling class will be — if they join, and you’ve got EU flags flying on official buildings all over the country to give the impression that it’s a done deal.

You’ve got some willing helpers, because the old Communists are still there in Croatia, they still hold all the positions of power and they will all become personally enormously wealthy if Croatia joins the European Union.

And there is an even more sinister side to this, because there is not a free press in Croatia. There is no national debate going on at all. Indeed a prize has been offered — 10,000 kunas have been offered if anybody can find an article in any Croatian newspaper suggesting that joining isn’t the right thing to do.

The whole campaign is bent, corrupt and distorted. We’ve seen this before from the European Union, but I think it’s happening on a scale in Croatia that is worse than I’ve seen before.

This country has for nearly a thousand years sought independence. And for 20 years they’ve had independence – they got out of the failed political experiment that was Yugoslavia – and if they vote to join the European Union, they’re voting to rejoin a new Yugoslavia — a failing political experiment that will implode.

I hope there is, in the last month or two a debate in Croatia. Sadly, I doubt it.

Had Croatia listened to what British politicians have to say, it would most likely still be stuck in communist (or Serbian royalist?) Yugoslavia, with Serbia running the show.

Does Farage truly care about Croatia’s independence, about Croatia or is his barrage against the EU yet another British politicians’ tantrum in a bid to try and exclude Croatia from the European Union? Or is he just plain sore because Britain doesn’t rule the show in EU parliament?

As to Farage’s assertion that there has been no public, media debate in Croatia that joining the EU isn’t the right thing I beg to differ. There are countless newspaper articles and internet sites from Croatia addressing the “pros & cons” of joining the EU.

Even if the media may be biased, the Croatian people are no fools and they will decide for themselves at the imminent Referendum about joining the EU or not. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb), B.A.,M.A.Ps. (Syd)


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