Croatia: Latecomers to Europe’s big party

Croatia has been in the European Union for more than three months now—with nothing to show for it.

Marko Spoljar

Vecernji List

Croatia has been in the European Union for more than three months now—with nothing to show for it, said Marko Spoljar. The euroskeptics who didn’t want us to join in the first place say we “arrived in the EU like someone showing up at a party at 3 a.m., after the bottles are empty and most of the guests have gone home.” Are they right? It’s true that we finally attained our decade-long goal of membership at the worst possible time, with a debt crisis crippling the Continent. “We haven’t seen a significant rise in foreign investment, taking out new loans hasn’t gotten any cheaper, and we’re not seeing a new sense of optimism either in the economy or society.” But that’s all more our own fault than the EU’s. Instead of trying to make a good impression, one of Croatia’s first acts as a member was to make a fuss over EU arrest warrants, saying we wouldn’t extradite our citizens to any other EU country. Only after the EU threatened to freeze our funding did we back down. We’re also at risk of losing up to a billion euros in EU grants simply because we have not properly applied for them. These displays of incompetence have made European investors wary of us. It’s tempting to look elsewhere for responsibility, but “we have only ourselves to blame.”

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