Croatia – A Lapdog To EU

Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission

If being “a success story of the European Union and a role model for other countries attempting to get EU membership,” as the newly elected president of the European Commission said this week about Croatia, is an assessment reached through weighing an EU member country’s efforts to suck up to EU needs rather than needs of the same country’s people, then, yeah, with alternating Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) led governments since 2013 Croatia has been an EU lapdog above all else. Had von der Leven taken the effort to look at the widespread despair and political quagmire within Croatia itself that is seeing multitudes leaving their homes for other countries in search for work and a decent living then her appraisal of Croatia for Croatians would not include the words “role model”. But then again, she is about EU “political corporation” interests and not about the interests of individual nations making up the EU.

Given the past SDP/HDZ governments’ track record since Croatia joined the EU, unless the players making up the next government (2020 general elections) change, Croatia could become even more of a public acolyte (a lapdog, a disciple…)  for all things EU. In reality, most countries that supported Croatia’s inclusion in EU would have known that, in all likelihood and if not actively resisted, Croatia would remain lock step with the liberal political route largely paved with Soros funds, and so its membership was a way of extending EU influence into Eastern Europe where Russia’s political and practical backers maintain a constant air of communist nostalgia, resistance to true and full democratic change.  Had, during the expected  democratisation period after 1991, mainstream journalism evolved throughout Croatia toward an independent and aggressive style, more attuned with the role of the free press as a fundamental tool with the checks and balance necessary for a working democracy, then Croatia would have been a different environment to what it is today. It would have rid itself of most individuals in positions of power who held such position in communist Yugoslavia and that in itself would have been the main part of the formula through which corruption and nepotism, especially, are eradicated to, at least, a degree that does not negatively affect the livelihood of workers, of ordinary citizens.

With significantly eroded living standards, alarming emigration increase and pronounced economic development slouch coupled with large-scale corruption scandals, it is now more than clear that a small power such as Croatia should have never thought it could depend on building up brownie points for the benefit of its own people with superpowers (EU), as EU movers and shakers, by their nature and purpose, pursue their own interests without let or heed to so-called loyalties to lesser states.  Similarly, the dangers of continuing to be seen as an EU puppet and how this is inimical to Croatian interests within its own borders emerge as issues that must seriously be visited, particularly given the widespread fear among Croatian people that unless the backbone of political tides is changed, and Croatian politics turned inward more than outward, Croatia as a nation will disappear even in our own lifetime.

The lapdog to EU mentality becomes even more distressing when one looks at top-level, palpably autocratic decisions in Croatia to introduce the Euro, rid Croatia of its own currency Kuna despite the fact that opposition to this move is rather widespread among the Croatian people.

Given this, we can only hope the future government of Croatia will have something far more intelligent and more in Croatia’s long-term interests in mind. So far, membership in EU has, for Croatia, seen a perpetual politically-pitched promise of EU money that will change for the better everyone’s life and yet a widespread capacity to draw on those funds from Croatia has been kept at the lowest possible level. The road to EU funds grant applications remains a mystery and a closed alley for most individuals in Croatia; little if any public education has occurred. If we exclude the concept of being a lapdog from positive people-oriented politics, little, if any, assertiveness of Croatian interests has been witnessed in the EU corridors of power except individual politicians’ evident ambition to gain a position within the EU “corporation” power machine.

The lapdog mentality in aligning Croatia’s legislation with that of the EU has further eroded Croatia’s independence from communist Yugoslavia and Croatia’s absolute need to fully address the impact on itself of 1990’s Serb aggression. This alignment has meant that minority rights have developed not as rights within a majority setting, but as rights that are equal to majority rights. And so, one gets the soul-destructive outcome where Serb minority in Croatia (largely made up of individuals who were actively or politically associated with the 1990’s aggression against Croatia) are joined in holding the rudder of Croatian life. But then, this suits the EU as its eye of future expansion is cast on Serbia!

Politics is the art of the possible and this was clearly demonstrated through activism of left-oriented individual politicians in Croatia who pushed for EU membership to that degree where relative minority of voter turnout at referendum could carry the referendum forward! And so, Croatia’s membership in the EU may at this stage be its only short-term option.

But what about the future?

What happens when EU interests directly conflict with those of the Croatian people? The fact that they already do is palpable and the fact that they interfere or stifle the needed progress towards decommunisation (democratisation) of Croatia’s public services and administration, including legislation, has spread into a nationwide concern over the lack in meeting the needs and interests of Croatian people and their personal living standard. Do Croats, by staying lapdogs to EU, really want to be drawn into a regional conflict brewing as illegal migrants and asylum seekers clutter the borders and compromise national security upon which citizens depend for their personal safety as well as for the safety of national existence? And what of Croatia’s future economic prosperity? Will Croatia continue to allow EU-defined free trade agreements to be rammed down its throats at the cost of local jobs, local business enterprises growth and their viability in the face of EU quotas and standards? These are all serious questions which must be addressed with long term thinking. Unfortunately, Croatia’s elitist political class seem to have their fingers in the till (as they did during the times of communist Yugoslavia) or their heads in the sand, or both. Croatia talks of a saving potential ingrained in its diaspora or Croats living outside Croatia, yet the governments in Croatia have done their utmost to stifle adjustment of Croatia’s legislation to that potential.  Croatian politicians talk of being nimble yet do the utmost to stifle innovation in building a fully functional democracy well rid of former communist mentality and its destructive approach to creating opportunities for individual growth and expression in all walks of life. Instead of putting the welfare of its citizens first, Croatian corridors of power pander to EU interests and its rapacious greed for control and compliance to its own standards that have no regard for individual national identity and needs. Risk averse and too short sighted to see the car crash ahead of Croats, Croatian governments remain as ever the obedient servants of the EU. And yet, modern Croatia is founded on taking risks: risking human life for the glory of independence and democracy! What has gone wrong? Ina Vukic

Comments

  1. Stevie10703 says:

    I was in Croatia when they officially became a member of the EU and they had these big festivities in Zagreb at midnight July1 and I told everyone who would listen that we exchanged one form of slavery for another form of slavery. The EU tells member states that they will not lose their sovereignty but the reality is, you go against what the EU orders and there are fines and threats of sanctions. Our problem is, our government is weak and instead of following the path of Hungary and Poland as examples, we follow the path of Brussels and do what the Germans and the French tell us to do.

    500 thousand Croatians have left the country over the past few years and the government is not doing anything to stop it, yet the bring in “migrants” into the country, a vast majority of which are males ages 20-30 many of which are causing problems wherever they stay in Croatia, whether that’s in Lika or in the Dugave section of Zagreb problems are starting yet, our government accepts them yet allows Croatians to leave and they make it difficult for the diaspora to come back and invest in the country and allow the Croatian people to work. Its almost as if they want Croatians to leave and are waving goodbye to them as they pack their bags and leave. The issue is, its the Yugoslav elites who still run the country and they hate the fact that Croatia is an independent state and are doing everything possible to bring the country down to its knees. Its quite sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric Ragot says:

    Ina,
    Joining the EU does mean having to follow it’s policies. But along with them come benefits. Equality of movement and harmonization of rights are some of them.

    These are fundamental to a democracy. Croatia is a young one. Croatia is.corrupt and inefficient in it’s bureaucracy. Being part of something bigger when you are a weaker country does mean following along more.

    You lump Croatia’s internal problems with EU membership. They aren’t the same. You also make many claim based on perception over facts.

    The reality is that people will look for jobs where they find them. Thus they move. Investment will go where opportunities to succeed exist. The jobs Croatia has now are jobs Croatians don’t want. The statistics say Croatians don’t want to work. That’s not the fault of the EU.

    Croatia will eventually change as part of a modern Europe. While I love Croatia for what it is, I know it will change.

    The USA is similar to the EU. People move to where the jobs are. States and localities compete. Immigrants fill the jobs Americans don’t want. Promises of aid from the national govt do t always happen. State politics can be corrupt and inefficient. Parts of the country are not what they used to be as manufacturing declined and people left.

    To blame the demographic and economic changes on the national government (like the EU) is not accurate. States like Croatia or New York (mine) need to be creative to change with the times.

    Economic success comes from specializing in what a place does best, not in being a generalist. Croatia will find its way.

    Like

    • I do lump a lot of Croatia’s internal problems with membership in EU, Eric Ragot. That is because EU membership has shifted the attention of politicians in power toward EU compliance rather than focusing on solving problems inside. Hence, a great deal of issues that should be solved fester in Croatia, generating widespread disappointment. As to your comment that jobs exist in Croatia, which Croatians don’t want to do is rather off the mark. No country can boast of having open jobs and criticise its people for not taking them but looking out to go and find jobs with better conditions, and often those that suit a person’s profession or professional aspirations. Were there more jobs in all fields, and not just in tourism (waitressing and serving at cafes, or cleaning hotels…) then one could discuss the issue of having jobs no one wants to take up.Since when has EU become a national government? That may indeed be its ambition, hence problems in many member states and the movement for a Federation of sovereign states. I do not reject the EU as an umbrella of multi-state collaboration but I do reject the EU that disregards the main issues that pain individual member nations and cannot be addressed properly because of EU interference or imposition of EU views. We have sadly seen how much damage international intervention, interference, did in the breakup of Yugoslavia, which by the way was voted upon by 94% of Croatian voters. And yes, I love Croatia too, and keep vigilant and active with only one thing in mind: full and functional democracy. Even with ten EU’s in the circle it will not achieve that without a significant shift in the internal mindset of those that hold power.

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  3. What has gone wrong? Us! More than 30% of population still dream of bravar, yuga and communist regime. The rest of us are not unified. Personal interests, ego, money, career…..Everything is more important than our homeland. Unfortunately, majority of people who think that way represent Croation patriots in Sabor and EU. In my humble opinion, there is no peaceful solution. I hope I’m wrong….

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    • Ego would be the biggest culprit I think, Urbani Desnicar, and whether that can be channelled into towards an effective leader in politics we are yet to see. Given the current restless political mood in Croatia we may yet see a solution emerge…disappointment and disillusionment cannot boil forever…

      Like

  4. Stevie10703 says:

    I live in New York as well, and there is a difference between the EU and the USA in that in the US, each State is not an individual country, they are part of a Constitutional Republic known as the United States. Each State has “state rights” they can set their own laws and taxes so long as they adhere to the US constitution. We are also a country of laws where LEGAL immigrants such as my parents came here the right way, or as Obama once said they “didn’t skip any lines,”

    You can look at the EU as another Soviet Union or Yugoslavia which is basically an artificial country made up of countries that have nothing to do with each other. The EU is jost as corrupt as those countries and the EU tells you one thing (you are all sovereign nations) but does the opposite (but you must follow our laws or else). Here’s an example, Slovakia a few years back was threatened with sanctions by the EU because they lowered their taxes so that they can attract businesses like Microsoft to open up offices in their country. The EU said that lowering their taxes was an unfair competitive advantage and forced them to change.

    The EU has done nothing to make Croatia better, it has forced Croatia to take in these illegal migrants but at the same time that is Croatia’s own fault for doing so to gain points with the EU and its a joke.

    Like

    • Exactly, Stevie. It’s all about fattening up EU coffers and power of few. Unless rules are changed to give each member state to express itself as an individual it will all end up a conglomerate of members gasping for air in order to survive

      Like

  5. What an enlightening article. But then, they all are.

    Like

  6. I agree with you Eric Ragot 100%….Croatia is moving ahead slow and steady, and as you said Croatia will find its way

    Like

  7. So true Ina with EU Commission electing Van Leyden and moving another from the IMF to ECB together with defence secretary and all friends supported by Merkel the absolute control of EU funding will be secured together with defence …..NO country should cow tow to the EU as they will end up with debt upon debt and then the vultures move in and take their assets and tell their government what to do ….witness Greece and Tsipras

    Like

  8. Stevie10703 says:

    One more thing, and I apologise for all the posts, but in the months leading up to the vote whether to enter the EU or not, Croatian television non-stopped had pro-EU people on their talk shows and news reports and this was on virtually all of the channels from HTV to RTL to Nova TV the anti-EU voices had no voice and when they were on TV it was on late at night when people were sleeping. But, to make it worse, Croatian law states that for a referendum to be valid 50% +1 of the people have to come out to vote for it to be considered valid. But here’s the problem, only about 25% came out to vote (more or less) and Milanovic validated the referendum which under the law he can’t since it was well under the threshold.

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  9. Like

  10. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    GOOD QUESTIONS. WHO WILL LISTEN?

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  11. Splithead says:

    Croatia’s GDP 10 year average growth -0.3%, Australia by comparison was 3.2%.

    Some of the comments hear don’t reflect reality. Croatia based on GDP alone is going backwards. Half a million people have left the country since 1995.

    With the current amount of national debt only increasing to pay more pensions, any external financial crisis will have impacts.

    Now, those impacts can result in anything.

    It is clear from the past 30 years communists, secret police and public servants cannot grow a economy or nation. They are only good at stealing and avoiding responsibility for their immoral actions.

    I’ll repeat, a Croatian Brick layer in Australia,(no disrespect to bricklayers) if given a company to run in Croatia back in 1991, that company would now be the biggest in Europe.

    Every asset they have touched has disappeared.

    Like

    • Corruption thrives and the fight against it has weak legs, sadly Splithead! The day may yet come when the advice and guidance offered by the “bricklayer” will be taken up. For that to occur the corrupt must be disarmed throughout the system, not just the token few in high positions…

      Like

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