Croatia: EU accession – “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings”

Nothing is irreversible until the final act is played out – says the proverb in the title of this post.

When it comes to Croatia becoming a member of the EU then that final act, in everyone’s mind, is the ratification of Croatia’s accession Treaty by the existing member states’ parliaments. So far the playing out of that final act has been going steady as about 15 out of the 27 states have sealed their part in it. 1 July 2013 is the deadline for this final act and its successful grand finale also depends on Croatia passing in the eyes of member states the big test of monitoring EU had imposed. Bar very few exceptions, words of praise to Croatia keep reeling in.

And then this world is suddenly shattered: “the fat lady to sing” may not be the ratification of the Treaty and Croatia’s performance in monitoring but something else entirely! She could well, all along,  have been the EU’s push to equate the victims with the aggressor in Croatia’s War of Independence, which would not allow Croatia to become member of EU before Serbia!?

Certainly, a great deal of what has happened in “rushing” Serbia’s EU member candidate status (including eating the words that Serbia will need to recognise the independence of Kosovo before it can be considered as EU member candidate) points to political manipulation in which rules are made “as-you-go”.

Now, Croatia’s prime minister Zoran Milanovic, who says Croatia will definitely pass the EU monitoring test by 1 July 2013, comes out with statements that there’s rumours in diplomatic circles that Croatia’s accession to EU membership would be delayed to the end of 2013. These rumours were made public via media in Croatia as they surfaced on October 19th – 3 days after Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic and Serbia’s former president Boris Tadic received the EU Medal of Tolerance!

The unpalatable political puzzle of the EU gains more vivid pieces.

To put more fire into these rumours Milanovic comes out with a bizarre statement that Croatia would need to have a new referendum regarding membership in the EU. Reasons he’s feeding the public are that there’s a “new” EU on the drawing board – an EU which was not the subject of Croatia’s January 2012 EU referendum! Therefore, Milanovic says that people had not really voted in the referendum for the “new EU”!

Milanovic’s bizarre statement about some new referendum shocked the Croatian public, even if it is widely felt that he is battling for survival of his government.

President Ivo Josipovic is confused by it (?).

He rushed in and stated that “he did not understand Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic’s statement about a possible referendum on Croatia’s European Union membership, that Croatia had voted in favour of it”.

He added that “if an issue comes up, either domestic or foreign, it’s always possible for citizens to decide on it at a referendum in line with the constitution and law.”

The “new EU” Milanovic refers to relates to current plans for creating new banking and financial unions within the EU which have implications of member states’ sovereignty being compromised.  Centralised control of, or interference with sovereignty from Brussels is certainly a fate most likely.

When Croatians voted in EU referendum in January many did not vote at all because of this fear, but Milanovic wouldn’t even acknowledge this fear. He was adamant that there’s nothing to be feared as far as Croatian sovereignty was concerned. His newly elected government (dubbed by the public as “the chicken coop” on basis of its given name KUKURIKU/Cock-a-doodle-doo and lots of noise with little results) went so far as to change the Constitution regarding majority votes at Referendums in order to secure a “Yes to EU” outcome. Indeed Milanovic’s government is under heavy criticsm by German parliamentarians for this very issue.

In the end, I do not want to be proven right with regards to the fear that EU will not let Croatia in before Serbia. Croatian people, Croatian War of Independence have not and do not deserve such undeserved harsh treatment and indignity. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Nothing would surprise me any more from EU, and from former commies.

  2. Merv Jarvis says:

    Zoran Milanovic’s government is a government that should be booted out A.S.A.P. – they’re all talk and no action and it’s no accident that some member states of EU are criticizing it for “dragging its feet” as Der Spiegel says. What else can you expect from those who didn’t want an independent Croatia in the first place. Just terrible.

  3. Merv Jarvis says:

    The English politicians must love Milanovic at this moment. His outlandish suggestion for a new referendum nicely gives the EU-skeptics a new platform. But Milanovic isn’t EU-skeptic, he just looks and sound stupid but has great political malice which is designed to offend Croatian interests.

  4. Steven Kosh says:

    It’s a democracy – get the Kukuriku out! And while you’re at it, the rooster is up at the Pantovcak/office of the president – collect him too. New government for Croatia!

  5. “Croatian people, Croatian War of Independence have not and do not deserve such undeserved harsh treatment and indignity.”

    Unfortunately the whole EU accession process has been one big slap in the face, time after time, for Croatia. They have bullied Croatia on various issues and have been particularly harsh when it comes to the ICTY.

    The EU almost outright called Croats liars when they said Gotovina wasn’t in the country (he hadn’t been since he left after his indictment!). They back Carla del Ponte when she claimed that Croatia and the Vatican were part of some secret scheme to hide Croatian war criminals (which in itself is a re-hash of Serbian propaganda of the Croatian/Vatican plot to ‘wipe-out’ the Serbs).

    When it came to countries sovereignty they stepped all over it by telling Croatia it was not able to introduce fishing controls on its own maritime areas by introducing ZERP. Then came the hypocrisy of the EU saying that EU countries should be allowed to fish in parts of Croatian waters but Croatian fisherman were not allowed in EU waters!!

    My belief all along has been that the EU has ideally wanted Serbia and Croatia to enter the EU together as they fear that Croatia would block Serbia entering as Slovenia has done to Croatia. And I’ve always thought that the EU has used Slovenia as a tool to implement this. Because when you look at it, Slovenia has introduced issues with Croatia when it seems to be that Croatia was on the march towards membership and not 10-20 years ago when the problems arose. Plus when solutions have presented themselves to the Slovenes they have been slow or unwilling to take up those solutions even when they far more suit them than Croatia.

    I am not against Croatia in the EU but I think the whole process has been a farce where Croatian politicians have been far too easily manipulated by EU officials. I just wish there was a Croatian leader that would stick up for Croatian rights and not let the country been bullied by the EU and EU member nations.

    • Totally agree Felix – it’s been bullying all the way. That needs to stop and if current government can’t assert Croatian interests then what are they doing there! What is the president doing there also!

    • Michael Silovic says:

      Felix you have hit the nail on the head with your comments. I have been watching how Croatia has been treated and it is one of the reasons I did not want to go into the EU and still oppose it because Croatia is not getting the respect it deserves from those in the EU. We are being treated as puppets on a string because of the lack of leadership in our country. We urgently need a goverment that will implement a Croatia First Policy and be very forceful with the EU.

      Your comment :My belief all along has been that the EU has ideally wanted Serbia and Croatia to enter the EU together as they fear that Croatia would block Serbia entering as Slovenia has done to Croatia.

      I do not agree 100% with that comment but it is a very valid point. I believe that the EU wanted Serbia in the EU more so then Croatia for geographical political reasons and used Croatia as a pawn to attempt to get Serbia inline so that they would not align themselves with the Russians.They knew that Croatia would eventually join with out any problems.Serbia understood that they were being manipulated as was Croatia and went back towards their old ways by not recognizing Kosovo as part of the EU condition and threw the issue for a loop. Now they are going to be at a dead lock with the EU and Croatia is no longer important to the EU as a pawn so it is obvious they will slow the progress in order to manipulate some more again.

      I really see no reason why we need to be a part of the EU. Croatia can still be a trading partner with every country in the world , travel freely since we are a democratic country and still secure economic investments. I could go on with the many reasons not to go into the EU at this time but non the less support us being at some point a part of the EU when we are no longer treated as puppets on a string.

      As for this comment: The “new EU” Milanovic refers to relates to current plans for creating new banking and financial unions within the EU which have implications of member states’ sovereignty being compromised. Centralized control of, or interference with sovereignty from Brussels is certainly a fate most likely.

      This is a very true statement. It is widely known that the EU states would have an eventual President of the EU that would dictate to those member states not only banking and financial unions but all regulations and constitutional amendments. This is why it is urgent that we have new leadership in our goverment who will put Croatia First before we are manipulated even more. I have no problem with slowing our entry until then.

      • New leadership is needed, Croatia hasn’t had proper leadership for many years and that is why Croatia First policy hasn’t developed into what it was meant to develop from those many years ago in 1990. But Croatians must work at this, harder now than ever. Thanks Michael

  6. It is highly suspect that Josipovic and Tadic got tolerance medals at this time when EU is trying its hardest to speed up Serbia’s candidacy. It wouldn’t surprise me if Milanovic and Josipovic are working for EU underground in equating victims with aggressors. I just hope that people in Croatia will not just keep on complaining and criticising – I hope they demand early elections for government and president.
    Love the chicken dance Steven Kosh!

  7. The games continue to be played with Croatia. And the Croatian government continues to play a losing hand. I hope I am wrong, but I think this is a prelude, a setting of the stage, for the Gotovina judgement to be upheld in December. Here’s why, Croatia can meet it’s obligations there is no serious doubt about this from honest and thinking people. However, there is serious misgiving about Croatia being independent and entering the EU. Therefore, the expressions of doubt now will help set the stage for the Gotovina JCE ruling being upheld. The implications of this ruling on Croatian sovereignty and state legitimacy are enormous. How can the EU let in a state founded on criminal grounds? This is unthinkable. Entry into EU is a diversion to the real show which is the Gotovina case. The implications are far greater than EU entry; which for the most part will happen sooner or later, depending on the outcome of the Gotovina case.

    • Croatia can meet its EU obligations but unfortunately, as you suggest too, there seems to be no end to tricks and underhanded politics to delay EU entry and not just us, but the whole world that follows Croatia’s path to EU has had enough! Croatian people at large should DEMAND their deserved respect since their government and EU don’t seem to be giving it.

    • Michael Silovic says:

      (quote) How can the EU let in a state founded on criminal grounds? This is unthinkable.

      Very good comments sunman but I do not believe that will be an issue because everyone in the EU and USA knows Croatia and it’s generals are not guilty of any crimes. In fact if the generals are not freed then we need to look at all of those who assisted and planed with the generals and see that they too be brought to justice as co -conspirators and indicted.Even though we all know the Hague will not indict the others from the EU and USA there are other courts that can if we push hard enough. I am hopeful that the convictions will be overturned but everyone knows that General Gotivina holds a lot of political good will in Croatia with the Croatian people and he is seen as a threat to those who are manipulating Croatia ( President Gotovina ) if he is freed and this is the biggest obstacle to his release. In fact as I have mentioned long ago that we should not have played the EU entry card until our generals were freed. Once we allowed this to happen we showed a weak hand at sovereignty of our nation and people and then the manipulation began. Why is it that others can make demands of the EU during its entry process but Croatia has not? It is time to put Croatia First and the hell with the EU. We are being disrespected and acting like beggars on the street and becoming the laughing stock of Europe if we do not change our leadership and direction soon.

      • We don’t have to join the EU. If Milanović decides he wants another referendum due to EU goal-post moving then we can get another opportunity to decide. Mind you, no way is Croatia ready to join the EU. Our justice system doesn’t work, our politicians hire and fire civil servants on a whim (as the growing hordes of HNS members in all departments testifies) and even when you get a court judgement, these are often ignored by the political elite with no consequences whatsoever. Frankly, I’m surprised the EU haven’t decided to scotch our attempt completely.
        Of course I am aware of the presence of Bulgaria, Romania and others who also shouldn’t be there, but they are so it’s a done deal. As for Serbia, I don’t think 90% of the EU give a hoot one way or the other.

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