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

Invictus – Croatian Survival In Face of Communist Crimes Denials

Austrian police arrests pilgrims
at Beliburg 12 May 2018

On Friday 18 May 2018 Croatia took over the rotating chair of the Council of Europe (for Croatia also a prelude to its presidency of European Union mandate due in 2020) and judging from the politically treacherous pressure created via allegations of right-wing extremism, neo-fascism and hate speech on the rise (The Council of Europe Anti-Racism Commission Report on Croatia), adopted on 21 March but “conveniently(!)” released on 15 May 2018, three days after the Bleiburg commemoration for victims of horrendous communist crimes against unarmed Croatian soldiers and civilians in 1945, by the evidently targeted and planned arrests by the Austrian police of 5 among 11,000 Croatians (and 1 Slovenian citizen) who came to Bleiburg on 12 May and the mean-spirited hardships imposed upon the Croatian pilgrims at the state border with the obvious intention of ensuring many don’t arrive in time for the commemorative Holy Mass, all give the picture of an internationally orchestrated environment that would set back even further from the current appalling state of communist crimes being left uncondemned. While the handful of those arrested may have been lawfully arrested for the reason of breaking the Austrian law – i.e. displaying the banned WWII symbols (which is illegal in Austria) but wearing a T-shirt with “Better dead than red” written across it and allegations of raising the right hand were reportedly also a reason for one of the arrests! Catch the drift here?

Compare that, if you please, to a music concert somewhere in a Western country where, say, 5 people get arrested for illegal drugs possession but thousands of other have no drugs – do we label the whole nation as an illegal drug-taking nation? Of course we don’t!

Do we express with concerns that illegal drug consumption is on the rise in the country? Of course we don’t!

For the Council of Europe and the liberal politics subscribers everywhere the attempts in Croatia to unveil and condemn communist crimes and the commemoration to the victims are seen as glorification of ideologies from World War II — especially of Croatia’s Ustasha regime, according to the report by the CoE’s Anti-Racism Commission. The same Anti-Racism Commission writes not a single word about the lack of condemnation of communist crimes/genocide committed under class-hatred ideology (the victims whom communists labelled as enemies of the people)! Not a single word about the fact that the lack of communist crimes condemnation signifies a concerning level of neo-communism, or something like it, being present in Croatia! A yet another sad but condemnation-worthy indictment on humanity when we come across the political plots where victims of racial hatred (e.g. the Holocaust) are more deserving of human compassion than victims of class hatred (e.g. communist crimes). Yet both fascism and communism stand as condemned totalitarian regimes by the European Union!

Class hatred is racial hatred’s twin sibling. But to call it by its name is unacceptable in progressive circles, which are by all and sundry slotted into the so-called liberal political platforms.

Many liberals don’t get that. They find it abhorrent to hate Jews for being Jews, but acceptable to hate the political class to the point of eradication that opposes another, the ruling one.

An older pair to Marx and Engels – Cain and Abel – appears to have been the first to ignite class hatred. Communism took on Marx and Engels ideological concoctions and gave itself a licence to kill. Throughout the ages, this virulent form of hatred has caused humanity endless suffering. We’re not only looking here at the “class enemies” who were hacked, guillotined, beaten and murdered during bloody revolutions. We are talking about the hundred and more millions of victims in cities and in villages, in gulags and in prisons, in Russia and in Romania, in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, in China, in Vietnam, in Croatia and in numerous other countries who suffered from mass murder, political class genocide, starvation, incarceration, torture and execution. When it comes to communist crimes under the communist Yugoslavia regime (including Croatia) hundreds of thousands of communism opponents were murdered, dumped in political prisons or fled abroad in fear for their lives and all that while communist Yugoslavia’s leader Josip Broz Tito had the “protection” of many Western democratic countries. One must contemplate and deduce how much of this protectionism (shared guilt for crimes of communism) is still behind the appalling lack of due process for communist crimes.

Horrific figures of communist crimes were and still are being justified in “progressive” circles on the grounds that they were necessary to remove traitors and to build a utopian society. But communist societies failed miserably in their efforts to create a society that consumed freedom which all deserve.

The 1980s and the early 1990’s saw a crescendo of critiques and rejections of the ideals of communism, which, instead of socialist ideology, underpinned the Former Yugoslavia and the pervasive nostalgia for Croatian national identity. Croatia is no different to any other member state of the European Union when it comes to pursuits for national identity and never before in Europe’s history has this been so clearly demonstrated as it has been during the past decade that saw, and still sees, masses of refugees, illegal immigrants and the like charge across country borders, ending up with ghettos that reek of irreconcilable cultural, religious and moral profiles with the receiving country. It would seem that a significant dose of “unrestrained tolerance” found in these “progressive and permissive” societies has awakened a conservative temperament, a plight for national identity, traditional national values and pride.

Dealing head on with communist crimes means a plight for moral restoration. Croatia, and every other country with unresolved and unreconciled history of brutal communist crimes cannot breathe. It is not acceptable to condemn the crimes of one regime and tolerate the crimes of another. Such double standards in morality were the fabric of the communist regime and now – of the liberal wagon. Council of Europe, or any other body of international influence cannot expect to survive if it deals with one class of historical mass crimes, genocide, and ignores the other.

An astonishingly high percentage of today’s young and those in mid-life cycle do not know who murderous communist leaders were. Even worse, there are many who have favourable opinions about Stalin, Lenin, Zedong, Tito, Che Guevara… But the most disturbing fact is how many lack basic knowledge of the crimes of communist regimes. You can be sure that if a favourable leaning towards Hitler or ignorance about the Holocaust were evident it would generate outrage, hand wringing about historical amnesia and mainstream media would be awash with claims of danger to democratic values festering in the body politic.

Where are the equivalent warnings about the evils of communism?

Commemorative Mass for Croatian victims of communist crimes
Bleiburg, Austria, 12 May 2018

For more than 70 years, communists conducted a ruthless war on their own citizens, starving tens of millions in deliberate campaigns to bring the peasantry to heel, executing millions because of their class background or their ethnic identity, deporting whole populations for the sole crime of belonging to a group labelled an enemy of the people, imprisoning thousands of intellectuals for their writings or ideas, persecuting and exterminating religious believers, men and women of the cloth, and arbitrarily shipping dissidents and innocents alike to concentration camps where they laboured under horrendous conditions.

Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews. Stalin alone is responsible for some 30 million deaths. Josip Broz Tito is responsible for almost 600,000 deaths (state murders) in Croatia (a very small country by comparison) alone. During the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedung’s policies led to some 45 million Chinese dying. And the Khmer Rouge killed nearly 2 million in Cambodia. Every other communist regime accounted for tens of thousands of other murders.

And today’s Croatian and European and the World’s “progressives” have the gall to label a Holy Mass and commemoration for several hundreds of thousands of victims of communist crimes at Bleiburg – a neo-fascist event. Such bigotry must be eradicated! Ina Vukic

William Ernest Henley poem – Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

 

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

Croatia Picks Up On Brussels’ Recipe to Fight Refugee/Migrant Chaos

 

Vlaho Orepic Minister of Internal Affairs, Croatia Photo: Screenshot RTL TV 9 March 2016

Vlaho Orepic
Minister of Internal Affairs, Croatia
Photo: Screenshot RTL TV 9 March 2016

Last week from March 9, Croatia closed its borders to most refugees/migrants transiting to northern Europe through Croatia in a bid to close the so-called Balkan route, which starts in Turkey via boats to Greece then up to Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany … used by hundreds of thousands of people seeking a new life in Europe.  Many genuine refugees among them but reportedly more illegal migrants. This move by Croatia to close borders means that only those seeking asylum immediately after crossing the border into Croatia are permitted through (and there are very few of those as most want to go North to more affluent countries) as well as emergency (humanitarian) cases needing medical treatment they cannot obtain in a country they’re already in (e.g. Serbia). Slovenia closed its borders at the same time as Croatia and so has Macedonia on the Greece side. Serbia has announced it will follow the lead of other countries on the route and close its borders. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has last week announced Germany would send away, deport, all those found to fail the asylum test and are confirmed to be among those seeking a better life rather than necessary protection. Certainly the “sending back” moves have already caught on like “a house on fire” – tens of thousands are already being sent back to Greece not only from Germany but also from other countries on the route, having Greece rightfully worried that its tourism industry will suffer a terrible blow because of the bottlenecks being created with refugees/migrants stuck in one place.

Nea Kavala tent camp Greece, near Macedonia border Photo: Screenshot HRT TV Croatia News 12 March 2016

Nea Kavala tent camp
Greece, near Macedonia border
Photo: Screenshot HRT TV Croatia News 12 March 2016

The moves to shut down the main route used by the vast amount of refugees/illegal migrants hoping to find asylum or better economic prospects in Northern Europe came barely a day after the EU and Turkey agreed to a proposal aimed at easing the crisis.

Idomeni camp Greece near Macedonia border 12 March 2016

Idomeni camp Greece
near Macedonia border
12 March 2016

Slovenia’s and Croatia’s officials have stated during the week that foreigners meeting the requirements to enter the country, those who want to claim asylum and migrants selected on a case-by-case basis on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with the rules of the Schengen zone would be accepted through. While Croatia is not yet a member country of the passport-free Schengen Zone it’s evident that it’s application to become one involves proving worthiness at these times of this overwhelming refugee crisis and this is done via closing the borders to contribute to this domino effect occurring within the Schengen Zone and designed to stop or seriously disrupt the flow of refugees/migrants into the EU.

 

Minister Vlaho Orepic Croatia AFP Photo

Minister Vlaho Orepic
Croatia
AFP Photo

Apparently Europe has decided to start a new phase in resolving the refugee crisis. It was concluded that on the Schengen Zone borders the Schengen rules would be applied,” Croatian Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic told RTL commercial television 9 March 2016. “The border of Europe will be on the Macedonian-Greek border and we will respect the decisions that were made,” he said, while rejecting the notion that Croatian army should be sent to the border with Serbia as well. Minister Orepic was adamant that his police force can handle the crisis at the borders at this stage.
More than 1 million people have crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece since the start of 2015, many from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and most aiming to reach wealthy Germany and Scandinavia, causing deep divisions among EU members about how to deal with Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II. More than 650,000 have transited across Croatia since mid-September 2015 and as the weather warms up the fears rise that the influx of refugees and illegal migrants may become so overwhelmingly huge that it will seriously and fundamentally threaten the lifestyle and security of Europe’s citizens.

Pushing to get into Slavonski Brod Croatia camp - January 2016

Pushing to get into
Slavonski Brod Croatia
camp – January 2016

The bottleneck currently ballooning in Greece at the border with Macedonia, in particular, of some 40,000 stuck at the Greek-Macedonian border, is already showing serious signs of unrest and low-level violence that could easily escalate. A transit camp at the border in Greece, for instance, designed to hold 2,000 people, Indomeni tent camp, is now busting with some 14,000 lying in mud and battling for a piece of bread. Macedonia said it would only grant entry to the number of refugees that will be allowed to transit through neighboring Serbia and further into Europe, hence only a few dozens have been trickling across from Greece to Macedonia per day during the past few days.

At Macedonian border with Greece 10 March 2016 Scuffles and violence as refugees and migrants try to push across borders AFP Photo

At Macedonian border with Greece
10 March 2016
Scuffles and violence as
refugees and migrants
try to push across borders
AFP Photo

At talks in Brussels on Monday 7 March, the EU agreed in principle to a Turkish proposal to take back all illegal refugees landing on the Greek islands and the price negotiated, or payment to Turkey is running into billions of euros. Newly arrived refugees in Greece in their thousands continue to head to Macedonia despite being confronted by a closed border and rain-soaked camps where conditions are squalid, human misery and unrest get larger by the hour.

Refugees and migrants near Macedonia border in Greece 12 March 2016 Photo: Getty Images

Refugees and migrants
near Macedonia border in Greece
12 March 2016
Photo: Getty Images

The actions being taken by Brussels (EU) suggest that it’s only, or mainly, concerned with the interests of its military circles particularly the Schengen Zone, not people, in desperate bids to save itself within the demographic and freedom of movement parameters it set itself decades ago and Croatia is most desirous of being counted in. Because of this, and Brussels’ inability to reach consensus between EU member countries with regards to sharing the burden of refugees from the Middle East etc., many have in recent months/year predicted the collapse of European Union as inevitable. Some say that it’s only a matter of time when the collapse will happen

 

Cui bono? To whose advantage?

 

 

Nicholas Bonnal of the French Boulevard Voltaire publication says that “the Austrian newspaper Info-Direkt shows that, according to a source of Viennese intelligence, smugglers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to settle in Europe could be paid by the Americans…” Suggestions are afoot in this article that creating and organising chaos, such as the one occurring with the unsustainable influx of migrants and refugees into Europe, is a perfect example of political terrain for ruling by chaos. Only a handful of politicians would then rise above and rule and they are the ones with the knowhow in applying the principles of Neo-Machiavellianism.

 

Refugees and migrants wanting to pursue northern Europe destinations via the Balkan route stuck in Greece in squalor and misery AFP Photo

Refugees and migrants wanting
to pursue northern Europe destinations
via the Balkan route
stuck in Greece in squalor and misery
AFP Photo

Whatever the realistically based theories and/or political conspiracy theories regarding the European refugee/migrant crisis exist one thing remains blatantly obvious: people are suffering. And it’s not just one side that’s suffering. People are suffering on both sides: those fleeing into Europe (the refugees/migrants) and the European people who largely fret that their standard of living will violently be reduced to unwanted levels as hundreds of thousands of people needing sustenance and care from the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan…approach.

European Union is truly stuck between a rock and a hard place – the natural instinct is to assist and help the needy and the political responsibility of those in power is to protect the lifestyle of those who elected them into power! The two cannot be reconciled without a major shift in attempts to address and solve this seemingly chaos feeding impasse.

 

Closed Balkan Route March 2016 Photo: DW

Closed Balkan Route March 2016
Photo: DW

Brussels has the capacity to address the crisis to an end that would not mean the collapse of the EU and certainly the latest move to close borders (reportedly criticised by Germany’s Angela Merkel who has otherwise been unsuccessful in the past months to convince EU states to share the refugee load) and negotiate with Turkey to take back the illegal migrants and to keep refugees there as much as possible for a rather hefty payment of billions of euros seems to suggest that the EU is beginning to exert some strong directional force with view to “saving” the EU from crumbling under the pressure. The challenge posed by the refugees and migrants to the EU could, therefore, serve as a positive impetus for Europe to catch up on some long-neglected internal homework like bolstering controls on its external borders, deepening political integration between its member states/kicking off with a greater political unity of sorts, and taking serious moves toward common foreign and security policies. If voters (the people of EU) see these moves as successfully handled then those steps could breathe new life into the European Union idea, strengthen it to the point of prolonging its stable existence as a true union and even spur growth; and true, refugees capable of working could positively contribute particularly in a widened entrepreneurial sense. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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