Croatia, The EU Et Ivo Et Al
We try and avoid politics, most of the time but it’s difficult to do so altogether. When Croatia set its cap at the EU some years ago, led by the now somewhat discredited PM Ivo Sanader, we had a number of mostly selfish concerns including the following:
Would the delicious, almost entirely organic, produce found throughout Croatia be standardised to bland oblivion?
Would the cost of living rise enormously and what would be the effect on our modest duty free purchases as we travelled to and fro?
Would the very distinct and occasionally extreme national pride and culture be watered down?
Of course there was a time, back in the days when Ireland roared, that the EU was a cash cow. Then we might have put our selfish concerns aside in recognition of the much needed financial benefits that Croatia might reap, tempered however with new concerns at how this cash might “dissipate”, like structural funds that have gone before, amongst the “bureaucracy” of the old system inherited from the days of Yugoslavian communism.
Now however, with Greece on the edge of bankruptcy and having just called a referendum on the cuts it had apparently unconditionally agreed to implement, with the Euro in crisis and EU coffers bare, one has to wonder just what Croatia and the EU are thinking about in following the path of Croatian accession.
One of the biggest original stumbling blocks to accession was the state of the judiciary and allegations of corruption. That may have been overcome for EU purposes but surely the fact that PM Sanader, who only left office (rather mysteriously at the time) in 2009, is now facing corruption charges is a sign of more to come. OK, maybe the prospect of EU accession and the continuing pressure that brings with it is “encouraging” Croatia to clean its cupboards of skeletons, but the charges against Sanader relate to events of the mid nineties. It’s difficult to see how a clean Croatia can come entirely out of the closet in time for the proposed EU entry date of July 2013. And it’s difficult to see what’s in the relationship for either party given current circumstances.
Below are links to some earlier related postings on this blog which, with the benefit of hindsight, make even more interesting reading now!