So, here’s the thing that is getting bizarre; why isn’t Croatia in the EU yet?
It is true that every Croat has a different opinion on the matter and it seems split right down the middle if it came to a yay or nay vote, but that has been the case in many countries are now in the EU. It also seems that all the neighboring countries would love for Croatia to be part of the EU because that would most likely bring about the Euro (good for the Slovenes, Austrians, Germans, and Italians who visit) and it would also probably force Croatia’s hand in their rather strict property ownership laws. Currently Slovenes (and possibly people from other countries) cannot own property in Croatia. Why is this the case? If you saw how amazingly beautiful the coast was, you would understand. Of course, if you’re from the USA or Great Britain you can buy property, but with some restrictions such as not getting to own agricultural land.
But beyond these items, there is also the fact that Croatia is heavily bordered by EU countries. To counter this, there is the fact that Switzerland is absolutely confined by the EU countries. But, that is their choosing not to join. Croatia, at least from a governmental standpoint wants to join the EU. The Hague’s top war criminal for the country, Ante Gotovina was arrested last year and that was seen as a major roadblock to joining. Yet, the carrot seems to still be way out in front of this horse.
Some things have happened recently that point to some integration though. For instance, I heard while there that England doesn’t require visitors from Croatia to get a visa to enter the country. That is a pretty big deal. It also seems that the imports are coming in more easily to the country, but this is just my perception. While it doesn’t have the complete freeborderedness of other EU nations, the strict crossings I saw on my first trip two years ago don’t exist.
So, why are there still the issues? I could see holding off on Euro conversion since the economy is still building in this former Yugo republic, but even that isn’t the issue you would think. Slovenia after all is going to be the first country in the last rush of joins to get the Euro. They are doing quite well and Croatia is getting there soon too, despite the debt load they’re carrying. Yet, no EU until what, 2009 at the earliest? I just don’t get it. The arrest of Gotovina was not an easy thing for the Croats who many saw as a hero and you can see graffiti announcing memory of him in many places. With getting through the war, rebuilding the infrastructure and everything else, this seems like a no-brainer for them to be in the EU. If Romania gets in before them, I’ll be completely stumped. Maybe someone can point me in the direction of some articles that explain why the problems are still there.