JANUARY 18 2012 20:38h

People shouldn’t decide about entering the EU in single-minded atmosphere

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Croatia
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In a less than a month Croatian citizens will be called up to the polling stations in order to decide if they want to become the citizens of the European Union or not. The first big political project of a new reign is actually uncertain final of the negotiation activity brought to the close end by HDZ’s Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. The fact she succeeded in completing the negotiations with the EU and signing the Access agreement didn’t help Kosor at the election. The fact that was more important for Croats was that her government failed on the economy plan and it didn’t succeed in switching the negative trends that were measured by loss of working places and growing lack of prospects.

The referendum considering Croatia entering the EU, as the first project for the new prime minister Zoran Milanovic, will most probably mark a positive result, simply because it is hard to imagine the majority of over-aged citizens (who have a right to vote) realizing that they will feel better while standing on the crossroads of something and nothing. However, time that was supposed to be seized for giving relevant information that should have helped the citizens to make rational (not emotional) decision, has been irretrievably wasted. The new boss of diplomacy Vesna Pusic announced a public insight to every settled detail so the citizens could get the picture of what to expect from entering the EU. But there is simply no time for serious analysis and consideration of received information. However, it is hard to believe that the referendum could fail due to the situation. Furthermore, there are no chances for anti-European campaign. Within the new convocation of the Parliament only one MP - a representative of HSP dr. Ante Starcevic, Ruza Tomasic - is against entering the EU. However, public polls show that there is 30 up to 40 percent of people who will get creeps just thinking about Croatia being integrated to the European alliance. Some of them consider the EU as sophisticated substitute for the former Yugoslavia where Croatia didn’t receive the position it should have received. The state had always been giving more than it received and eventually it was destroyed in a cruel aggression initiated by a great-Serbian policy. Some people are afraid of entering the EU because they think they couldn’t parry to demands of such market, they are afraid of getting drowned and they think that things could get much worse. They think that Croatia will have to accept much crueler labor and social rights in order to fit in. People who don’t think as the majority of politicians in this moment don’t have a strong representative. This is, among other things, a price of the fragmented right wing which led towards right wing parties’ debacle over the parliamentary election.

Before the election, HSP boss Daniel Srb stated that his representatives would be the loudest opponents to the integration policy in the new convocation of the Parliament. He also stated that the Parliamentary arena would be a place where their anti-European idea would grow stronger. Croatia used to bow to Belgrade, today it bows to Brussels, as Serb said. It is not up to some European officials to decide about Croatia, as he warned. The EU won’t care about Croatia, they won’t care about Croatian shipyards when they have to take care of shipyards in France, Srb was listing his arguments. Eventually all those words were blown out by the wind since he didn’t have enough wisdom to gather all right wing parties and set a foundation for their strength. That’s how (as it looks like) one-third of Croatian voters, at least, remained unrepresented. Since they don’t have their animators who are supposed to invite them from the parliamentary hall to attend the referendum in order to say ‘’No to the EU!’’, it’s more likely they’ll remain an unorganized mass without direction and orientation.

In democratic states everybody has a chance to present his/her stands, but when we talk about the policy of entering the EU, we could say that this situation doesn’t exist in Croatia for a long time. Not in a real sense of word. The integration process became intense during the last two years, but just recently some people appeared who speak up with dissonant voices relating to the dominant direction. And Euro-adoration is still dominant direction in Croatia as the EU membership being presented like dogma people should believe in without questioning. Forget objections!

But we shouldn’t get confused; the EU membership is a Croatian interest indeed. However, a way the integration process has been unrolled, non-transparent wrap around that process and a lack of clear information people should have discussed about in public, casted an unfavorable spotlight on the Croatian democracy quality. The president Ivo Josipovic just waves away on the initiatives for money being ensured from the state budget in order to pay the anti-EU campaign. He compares it to the hypothetical situation of Dinamo giving money to Hajduk’s fans to cheer against the blue players. At first, this amusing association has sense. But on the other hand, even those taxpayers who don’t support Croatia entering the EU fill the state budget with their money. And their money will be used for pro-European campaign they oppose to. The new Croatian reign shouldn’t be afraid of their citizens when speaking of entering the EU.

It’s simple, ability to participate in last minutes of the second half-time of the European match should be provided to every person equally. Because, whenever it was a time to decide, Croatian citizens proved that they are capable to make right decision, having in mind the benefit of their land and people. We left single-mindedness 20 years ago. That’s the reason why the decision about entering the EU shouldn’t be brought in the atmosphere that reminds of those times. The power of reign should be tested in an equal encounter with those who think differently.