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petak, 21. lipnja 2013.

Croatia Preparing For Milestone July 1st EU Entry Date

From a kingdom in the 10th century to an over 900 year history with Hungary and Austria, Croatia once again will the join Terra Europa from whence it always was a part of, but importantly, this time of it's own volition and based on the decision of it's citizens. On July 1st Croatians enter a new chapter in their Central European and national history.

The official entry date of Croatia as an official member of the European Union is only 10 days away, I'm just throwing this one in to give people a heads up about what will be happening on July 1st.  Naturally there will be fireworks, celebrations, lots of banners and flags, musical entertainment, lots of official swanky ceremonies and soirees taking place as well, based on what I've come across,  but it's not going to be as celebrated as it would have been....oh, say about 10-15 years ago when the EU economy was stronger and if Croatia didn't have plenty of former-Yugo baggage rebuilding costs for highways, bridges, buildings from the Croatian War of Independence (Homeland War), the infrastructure, still having numerous refugees for years etc.

Regardless, it will still be celebrated as a momentous and historical day for Croatia,  putting the official last nail in the coffin of our involvement with both of the failed former-Yugoslavia's experiments. Croatia has always been a part of the "Middle Europa" sphere stretching back well over a thousand years, and it was unfortunate that for 7 decades, because of events around us, we were obliged to become part of an entity and other political spheres, some of which are very alien to European standards, customs and progressive ideals which we were accustomed to.  Even right from the start cherished and many centuries old Croatian political and cultural institutions across our lands, which were not even touched by Austria-Hungary, were overnight eliminated and forbidden. (Talk about a new made up country starting up on the wrong foot)  Croatia actually has had the toughest route to becoming a member in case the reader is not aware, even after going through the carnage of the 90's, the European Union set much stricter guidelines and rules after the last batch of nations joined. (Croatia won't be asking for one penny of EU money for bridge building or new modern highway and expressway systems because we already built them) The economy won't change overnight of course and there will be no money trees to pick Euros from.  Life will still go on pretty well the same for a while for most citizens, but there will be a fair amount of investment and assistance from the EU for various important projects going on now and planned for the future, towards boosting the economy in various ways. Tighter and stricter policies against corruption, accountability, trade issues and stronger border security is nothing but a plus in the long run as well.

It will be a momentous and important day because since the times of the founding of our early states, duchies and kingdom extending back to the 7th century, this will be the first time in history that Croatia is willingly joining a political entity based on the votes of the people. Both times that Croatia became a part of the former-Yugoslavia the people didn't have a say about even one thing. the decisions were all done behind closed doors, involving secret deals, pressure from major powers and to events going on around us, and a whole list of not publicly viewed or supported agreements, promises and again political arm-twisting. A precursor to the way things were to going to be handled after joining.  July 1st 2013 will be right up there in recent  historic dates along with the Croatian independence referendum held on May 19th 1991, when 93% of voters opted for complete independence from former-Yugoslavia.  Along with June 25th 1991, when Croatia along with Slovenia officially declared independence from Yugoslavia and of course October 8th 1991, when the Croatian Parliament (Sabor) unanimously declared to cut all ties with the SFR Yugoslavia and was then internationally recognized.

The Independence of Croatia was a process with numerous historic dates, but now July 1st will go hand in hand with the above mentioned independence referendum as dates where it was the people, who after considering the options and information, ultimately had the last say and made the  final decision.

*If you're one of those types who are into early European history, or maybe think that Croatia only just popped out of nowhere in the 1990's for only the first time, you can check out (Boy will you be in for a surprise when you realize Croatia existed and was even a kingdom well before quite a number of today's European nations even existed)

Related posts: bulgaria-italy-hungary-ratify-croatian





More than 30 heads of state or gov't to attend Croatia's EU entry celebration

AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic



Croatia's central ceremony in Zagreb on 30 June on the occasion of the country's admission to the European Union will be attended by dozens of heads of state or government and other foreign officials, the head of the working group tasked with organising the ceremony said in Zagreb on Friday.

So far, the arrival of 16 presidents, three parliament speakers, 15 prime ministers, 10 deputy prime ministers and 11 foreign ministers has been confirmed. The number of foreign guests has risen to about 120, said Tomislav Saucha.

As for the European Union, it has been confirmed that European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will come to the ceremony in Zagreb's main square.

As for EU members, Zagreb can expect the arrival of the presidents of Romania, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia, the chancellors of Austria and Germany as well as the prime ministers of Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia and Malta.

What can Croatia expect down the road being part of the EU?

Hey but I'm an EU citizen now. What will it mean to Croatians? No magic quick fixes, but in the long run should mean more investment, opportunities and economic advantages. Some 11.7 billion euros ($15.2 billion) in EU investment funds promised over the next seven years, if Croats can devise acceptable programs for their use. Access to the much larger EU markets.

With regard to Croatia's southeastern neighbours, they will be represented at the levels of head of state or government or foreign minister.

Saucha said that Presidents Tomislav Nikolic of Serbia and Atifete Jahjaga of Kosovo have confirmed their attendance.

Asked by reporters whether the Serbian president's arrival could be deemed definite in light of the fact that he made his attendance conditional on the non-invitaiton of Kosovo's top officials, Saucha said "a registration form for him (Nikolic) has been filled out. We regard it as an official confirmation and we are looking forward to all who will come."

Even the Croatian Government official Youtube channel put together a short video, to encourage citizens to remind others using their various social sites about Croatia's new EU membership status.

The Pope's special envoy Giovanni Lajolo, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker and Canadian Labour Minister Lisa Raitt are also expected at the ceremony.

The cost of the celebration, estimated at HRK 5.2 million (approx. 693,500 euros) in May, will be 10-15 per cent higher. Saucha said the budget was "fully aligned with the moment we are living in" and that the costs would be released after the event.

It is believed the foreign guests will start arriving in Zagreb after 11am on June 30. At 10am, a Croatian government delegation will lay wreaths in honour of killed defenders at Mirogoj cemetery.

A very basic fact introduction of Croatia for school kids or people who are oblivious.

Will Serbs be sneaking over the border now to sing songs in Croatian and other EU bars and pubs?

The guests will start gathering at the government at 6.30pm. The delegation heads will be photographed together outside the government building at 8pm.

A program for the public will begin at Zagreb's main square at 8.30pm, while the central celebration will begin at 11pm.

The main celebration will be addressed by Croatian PM Zoran Milanovic, Barroso, Irish Parliament Deputy Speaker Eamon Gilmore on behalf of the country wrapping up its presidency over the EU, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitce on behalf of the country assuming the six-month rotating presidency, Van Rompuy, Schulz, and Croatian President Ivo Josipovic.

The director of the central celebration, Dora Ruzdjak Podolski, said 681 performers would take part in the programme, which would be based on Croatia's protected cultural heritage, including those on UNESCO's list. She said Croatia was fourth by the number of items on the World Heritage List.

Ruzdjak Podolski said the programme would highlight Croatia's music, literature and science, adding that Nikola Tesla's transformer would be brought to Ban Jelacic Square as an example of outstanding Croatian creation to mark "an important moment just before EU entry."

The "Ode to Joy" will be performed at midnight.

 Croatia's main problem as it prepared to become the 28th member of the European Union is that it lies on the notorious 'Balkan smuggling route' used by Serbs to ferry contraband drugs as well as illegal immigrants from Africa and the Middle East (and Brazil in some cases) into Western Europe. EU country statistics show these illegal immigrants besides initiating culture clashes also become a heavy burden on welfare and healthcare systems, spread sexually transmitted diseases and contribute to rising crime rates, illegal entries are also connected to terrorist activities in numerous cases which are a big concern also.

There will also be video links with the Bajakovo and Bregana border crossings. The customs sign will be symbolically taken down at the Bregana crossing with Slovenia, while the EU sign will be placed at the Bajakovo crossing with Serbia, said Ruzdjak Podolski.

More than 500 reporters have been accredited for the central celebration in Zagreb.

Saucha announced another press conference about the event in a few days.

EU countries will also celebrate Croatia's accession. Croatian embassies in virtually every capital will organise concerts or exhibitions on the occasion of Croatian Statehood Day, June 25, and EU accession, July 1.

The Croatian National Tourism Board has been focusing on keeping Croatia high on the list as a desired vacation destination. Even though there are plenty of sights to see all across the country, it's our coastal areas that are a big highlight in the yearly tourism spots. This is because many tourists from other parts of Europe are naturally drawn to the coastal areas for their vacations.

Eighteen ethnic minorities on Sunday presented their customs, lores and way of life at an event organised in Zrinjevac Park in the centre of Zagreb by local authorities.


Thus, the ethnic Albanians, Montenegrins, Czechs, Hungarians, Macedonians, Roma, Bosniyaks, Slovenians, Bulgarians, Germans, Poles, Ruthenians, Russians, Slovaks, Italians, Ukrainians, Jews and the Serborians showed their national cuisine and dances at the event.

Earlier this year, the minorities started presenting their languages within this programme of promotion of their culture and heritage.

Central Europe will have stronger voice in EU with Croatia, state secretary says


The European family will be more complete with Croatia’s upcoming accession on July 1 which will also expand the borders of Central Europe, the foreign ministry state secretary for EU affairs said on Friday.

Eniko Gyori told MTI that resulting from Croatia and Hungary being neighbours, the two countries share many historic and cultural ties and it is natural that they should also belong to the same political community. Hungarians will also benefit from Croatia’s accession because customs checks will be discontinued at the Hungarian-Croatian border which was crossed by as many as 279,000 Hungarian tourists only last year.

Hungary will open its borders to Croatian workers and Hungarians will also be able to work without restrictions in Croatia, Gyori said. Based on current figures, a large migration of workers cannot be expected but the accession will offer new opportunities to workers in both countries, she added.

Gyori said Croatia’s accession will also result in “the voice of Central Europe becoming stronger” in the EU. The Visegrad Four group of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia has gained recognition by the other EU member states and proven the usefulness of regional cooperation. The V4 is considered a stable grouping in Europe and it can now start cooperation with Croatia, as it has done several times with Bulgaria, Austria and Slovenia, she added.

When the friends of cohesion group “fought a serious battle” for cohesion funding in the EU’s next 2014-2020 budgetary period, “Croatia was already at the table” and even though it had no right to vote yet, statements it made demonstrated that “we were always pulling in the same direction,” Gyori said.

Gyori noted that it was during Hungary’s EU presidency in 2011 that the accession talks with Croatia were completed and added that once the other countries of the Western Balkans fulfill the criteria for accession, “they have a future in the EU, the gate is open.”

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