CROATIA’S “LONG JOURNEY” TO THE EU
Irina Lyubomirova Ognyanova
Institute of Balkan Studies & Centre of Thracology, (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Abstract: What marked the Croatia’s history from the 1990s to the beginning of the 21st century was its accession to the EU after long and difficult six-year membership negotiations (2005-2011). It was the only state from the Western Balkans region that so far had succeeded alone and not in a group in joining the Union as its 28th member on July 1, 2013.
Unlike Slovenia, Croatia lagged dramatically in the 1990s, possessed by a strong nationalism, hostile to the very idea of a united Europe. Only when the nationalistic Croatian Democratic Union lost power in 2000, the foreign policy of the country became pro-European and pro-Nato. But Croatia faced many difficulties on its road to EU. It had to solve its border issues with Slovenia. The cooperation with the Hague tribunal for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia was also very painful for the Croats. The country officially entered the Union in 2013 but that happened in a moment when Europe was in a deep economic crisis and it had no chance to gain seezable economic benefits from its membership. So, the Euroscepticism became quite popular among Croats soon after their country became part of the huge European community.
Keywords: Nationalism, Accession to the EU, Foreign Policy, Western Balkans, Euroscepticism
TUDJMAN AND CROATIA’S DISTANCING FROM EUROPE
Issue: 2018 N 4
Institute of Balkan Studies & Centre of Thracologie (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Abstract: On 1 July 2013 Croatia became part of the European Union, but that happened nine years after Slovenia. The Croatian nationalism, flourishing in the 1990s was hostile to the very idea of united Europe. In 1991-1992 when a great part of the Croatian territory was under Serbian control, the Western countries supported and recognized the new state. But this positive image quickly changed after its participation in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially after the military operation „Storm” in 1995, when around 300,000 Serbs were forced to leave the country. As a result, European politicians did not invite Croatia in 1997 to start negotiations for accession to the EU. In late 1990s the country was in complete international isolation. Tudjman was against every initiative for regional or European cooperation. Building its own independent state Croats were very suspicious to all mega-national projects and initiatives.
Keywords: Nationalism, Tudjman, European Union, Croatia, 1990s