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nedjelja, 15. siječnja 2012.

Croatian E.U. Referendum Takes Place January 22, 2012

January 22 Croatian voters will decide Yes or No to European Union membership. (Image: Guliver/ThinkStock/Pixsell)

I touched upon the campaign for the upcoming EU referendum in Croatia previously. You can read that one HERE.  I'm not going to get into all my views, and reasons why I think the vote will go in favour of joining and why I think that's a good thing.  (There are a few issues I'm not crazy about, but overall I still think it's the way to go)   Recent polls still give the 'Yes" camp about 58-60% of the vote. (It's been as high as 80% in the past, before the recent world economic crisis)  There are still a lot of voters who will decide on voting day though. Some recent online polls at Croatian news sites even has the No vote slightly in the lead.  Joining the E.U. isn't instant Valhala, with unlimited Euros being thrown at the country, and instant economic change, that's for sure.

However, I think joining is the right choice because, well, put it this way.  Aside from more indepth economic and cultural reasons...Croatia is afterall a European country. Also, this will be historic because it will be the first union that Croatia will "willingly" join based on the votes of the Croatian people. First time ever. (Aside from the Croatian referendum for independence)  Unlike the 2 previous Yugoslavias, and unlike being part of the Habsburg and Austro-Hungarian Empires.  This time there will be no backroom closed door decisions and arm twisting,  or secret deals involvement in internal affairs by major world or regional powers.  This makes it a very historic moment. Voters with the power to choose our way and voice their concerns instead of doing it other peoples way without any choice .

Croatian historians have fresh memories of the repercussions and what happened when trying to become part of a regional union with certain nations as well.  Croatia will be a member with rights and privelages that will make it an equal player when it comes to decision making processes that concern the whole of the E.U.  There is a bit more more to it than that, and may seem an oversimplification, but I think you get my point. Maybe one of the best ways of putting it also is this way.  To paraphrase Croatian government personel, "Yes" side supporters, even opposition party leaders....This is the time to leave the history of regional politics, the status quo and the relics of archaic failed political wisdom in the dust where it belongs. Croatia will still be our country, language, culture and language,  but also Europe now will officially be our continental home. Better to have the backing of all Europe behind us than going it alone.  Just like right up till now, the the EU flag is not going to replace the Croatian flag, but rather it will always be flying alongside with it.  This vote is also very important for that part of Europe, and Europe knows that. If Croatians were to reject EU membership, that would have tremendous repercussions in the area.  Croatia's credit rating would fall, some neighbouring countries could basically kiss their chance good bye at joining, and also the EU would be on damage control, with the future goals of expansion and functioning of the EU in doubt and probably having even more negative impact on the Euro.  Croatia is already a part of NATO, of the Council of Europe, is part of numerous European organizations and abides by European protocol and standards in numerous ways. EU membership is only the next logical step.

 As for concerns about danger to Croatian culture, well, last I heard German, Italian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, etc and so on, ...culture was still around.  Being a part of the former-Yugoslavia was a far greater danger to Croatian culture.  Also, unless EU bulldozers start coming in over the border leveling Croatian government buildings, statues, castles, and other types of structures, as well as forbidding the use of the Croatian language, then I think Croatia has nothing to worry about in that department.

Now there are some people who think Croatia should go the way of Switzerland and Norway and vote No.  I can understand that reasoning, but then again, those 2 countries haven't had the recent bloody history we have had, and didn't have to spend masive amounts of capital to rebuild it's infrastructure, support hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and refugees (Not only Croatians either) to make the transition to a full market economy.  Their economy wasn't affected at all in the last 2 decades.  So they may not be as interested in the Euro funds carrot being dangled in front of them.  Switzerland has a very long history of neutrality and didn't even join the United Nations until 2002.

 The Croatian flag in front the the Council of Europe building in Strasbourg.

Norway, who has a population very similar to Croata, is almost always at the top in GDP per capita, is a net external creditor of debt, and is first in the world according to the UNDP Human Developement Index.  Norway is also ranked as the 2nd wealthiest country in the world and has the highest capital reserve of any nation in the world. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. (However they are part of NATO like Croatia, being a founding member.) However, even when Norway did have it's referendum for EU membership, the No side won by a very slim margin.

To me it's not so much about joining a political union, but rather staying on a course that will ensure Croatia's future. Our culture, language and security will not be affected, but rather promoted and prtotected, all within the framework of multi-nation member organization. We would already be in the E.U. like neighbouring Slovenia if not for the aggression on Croatia in the 90's.  Economically I think Croatia will also benefit. (Again, too much detailed info to cover here)  Perhaps one very good reason to join though, may simply be to distance ourselves as much as possible from people like THIS and THIS. (Picture says a thousand words)  It's time for Croatia to take it's rightful place as a player in the greater European picture and it's  framework. Croatian  history has been a part of European culture and history dating back to over a thousand years. Besides, I'm pretty sure Croatia's tourism industry and economy would much rather see European Euro's flowing into the country instead of Serbian Dinars. Just ask Montenegro.

A scene from dowtown Zagreb.

Which brings me to the topic of Serbia a couple countries over, and the potential problem of non-EU Serbs trying to sneak over the border into Croatian/EU territory, especially after one of their drunken pistol shooting Chetnik parties.  Trying to make some quick Euros, waving their 3 fingers around, getting into arguements with each other over "Who stole my rakija?!", (Just like the ghetto fuckos in the cowtown barngrills,,...reach for the stars)....some more pistol shooting, then sneaking back to Serbia again.  A scenario that may be attempted over and over again. (See video at bottom for example)  There will most likely be many cases of trying to marry as many women as they can find also, to get social benefits, better tasting and quality food,  access to more fashionable clothes, better quality footwear as well as buying up all the copies of KL!K magazine that they can fill up their pockets with and stuff into their backpacks, as well as stuffing livestock into oversized suitcases.  It's been done before and this isn't the answer to Croatia's future.

Now there are some heavy duty naysayers out there, people like David Icke and the army of American televangelists led by the illustrious Rod Parsley and his shabby suit wearing lackeys. (But their bizarre wacked out views don't really count though.  They believe in wacky things like Reptilian Shapeshifters, that the E.U. is the work of a war-mongering anti-christ who goes by the name of 666 or Harry.  That Wal-Mart and Dunkin Donuts will be the saviour of mankind, that the latest Inter Milan jersey has an image of a devil-serpent on it which will cause women to grow penises, and that only people who wear stupid looking suits, Jews and pork eating Muslims will be saved in the rapture to the planet Saturn.  Crazy stuff like that.  (Some of these religious "experts" have even gone so far as to  proselytize that the Starbucks logo is a symbol for that "Ol' sneaky and tempting Anti-Christ 666 EuroJew-whore and her blood drinking Pope pimp, as well as claim biblical proof that the 666 Euro Antichrist Union will be led by his 2 false prophets, The Pope and Bill Gates, who will recieve evil instructions from the long dead spirit of  Buddy Ebsen who will be resurrected into the form of a 7'-7" Herve Villechaize.  These 2 prophets will speak vociferous blasphemies and unholy unmentionables, boasting even that swimwear should be sold in department stores, that people should sing in the shower while washing their nook and crannies and that they will smite their foes by causing them to have a libido, cravings for soccer stadium sex and start listening to Rick Astley)

A scene in front of the Croatian Parliament building. (Sabor)

Anyway, the Yes and No camps are trying to reach the voters in a series of television commercials and in newspapers and magazines before the dead line of January 22nd.  If the votes go as expected, (But then again, nothing is to be taken for granted)  Croatia would then become the 28th member of the European Union on July 1st, 2013.  Here's just a few of the commercials I threw in from the governments recent awareness campaign....




These are from the commercial campaign by the Croatian Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs.  Each one touching upon a different topic revolving around E.U. membership.

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