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Monday, 1 July 2013

Croatian Official EU Membership Festivities In Osijek

Croatia's President Ivo Josipovic, right, receives a shirt from Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite as they celebrate Croatia's entry into the European Union, on the central square in Zagreb, Croatia, Sunday, June 30, 2013. / AP Photo/Darko Bandic.

I'm going to try and not add too much text to this post and basically let the pics do the talking, but I should give a little background info first. (Never fails, when I usually have to give a little background info, the post gets longer than expected, but I have piletina i krumpir roasting in the oven so I have the time). I should also add that the official festivities and entertainment were taking place in the capital city of Zagreb, where all of the EU and Croatian political leadership were in attendance, and the music, plays, ceremonies and swanky soiree's were going on. The welcoming in of official membership at the stroke of midnight also took place in Rijeka, Split, Pula, Dubrovnik and numerous other cities and towns. I decided though to instead just pick one and focus on the celebrations that took place in the Eastern town of Osijek.

Why pick Osijek you may ask? That's a good question. It's not particularly a very big city or well known outside of Croatia. However interestingly, it's because like the original source article byline mentions, when the official ceremonies were starting up earlier in the day at Ante Starčević square, the flags of Croatia and of the EU were being raised, but they were also raising the Hungarian and Austrian flags. (Later throughout the festivities all of the other 27 members of the EU had their flags shown and displayed). Why the Hungarian and Austrian flags earlier in the day as well you may ask?  You see, it was a very symbolic gesture, very cool I thought in retrospect, and something most people wouldn't really get. For those not in the know, the Croatian Kingdom and its lands were for centuries included as part of the Croatian crown lands within the Habsburg and Austro-Hungarian empire. (Which also included all or parts of modern day Austria  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine btw)

.....But more than that, it symbolizes our previous centuries of inclusion and being part of Central Europe. Being a part of its progressive ideals and movements. Being a part of the empire was not always a bed of roses for all the countries included, that's the way empires roll, however many historic moments happened while we were a part of it. Croatians especially played a critical role for centuries during the Ottoman-Habsburg wars, some of which were not only very historic moments in Croatian history, but to European history as well. The Battle of Sisak was a very important turning point towards a free Europe. (See Croatian-Ottoman_Wars. If this is all news to you because maybe you thought Croatia only popped into history within the last 100 years or so, check out for many more amazing facts that will amaze you with facts). It must be remembered, Croatia during those centuries within Austria-Hungary (and the Croatian lands that were previously under Venetian control as well)...was importantly also a part of the flowering progressive movements of those times, in the arts, philosophy, music, literary movements which expedited the Croatian language and literary continuum, architecture, the continuation since it's 9th century genesis of the Croatian Sabor (Parliament) to even today, humanism, scientific advancement, the renaissance, a whole long list of things. Being a part of the emerging new Europe from the start centuries ago left it's indelible mark. So you see, our becoming a member of the EU today is really nothing new at all when put into perspective....

Highlights from throughout the day and evening in Zagreb. (In case you're confused about who the dudes in the horned masks and ringing bells are, see Zvončari and

.....Not only were we obviously always geographically part of Europe though, we were also always a part of the "Greater European picture" and civilizational experience so to speak. The shared common past, the zeitgeist and connection to Terra Europa that extended to and included other nations within the empire, that then extended to even using the empire as an avenue in exchanges of ideas and similar progressive movements. The celebrations that went on last night actually should have taken place in 1918 actually. (Even though the EU is currently going through economic difficulties of it's own, it's still the best option for Croatia regarding the future and where Croatia historically and culturally belongs. For us to not be a part of our own backyard which we helped to build from the start for many centuries would be beyond reason and ludicrous. This membership is also very historic because we are joining with the full consent of the Croatian leadership and people, unlike the previous political union we had to hastily join and then consequently left within the span of 72 years)

The Hungarian and other minorities in Croatia it must be remembered, also had to experience the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaigns from the early 1990's. So from the medieval Pacta conventa between Croatia and Hungary, and the Parliament on Cetin when Croatia elected to join the Habsburg Monarchy, Croatia has a history with Hungary and Austria reaching back 811 years. Today Croatia becomes the 28th member, Croatian the 24th language and all 3 are equals within the same European Union. (So today is actually the fruition of what Croatia has been striving for from the beginning, becoming a sovereign state again and equal member within the "Terra Europa"). Today starts a new era for Croatia, still hard work ahead to be done, but it will be more easier to accomplish our goals this way than being on the outside looking in or in a proverbial vaccum.

Funny story, while I was attending classes last year on the other side of the country, a girl in my class (I'm not going to mention her specific background, I'll just say that it's in Asia)...she said that she had heard "Croatian" before but didn't really know much about it. When we were talking at first she asked..."Oh, Croatian, is that a religion?"  (True story, which proves again that starting up this blog was the right thing to do) 

Earlier in the day along the Kupa river which forms a part of the border between Slovenia and Croatia, local residents met in the middle. Source:  More images at an official Slovenian-Croatian border crossing Here.

Ceremonies (at 4:10 mark) in the coastal city of Rijeka coincided with the start of the annual "Rijeka Summer Nights" festivities. More images: Here and Here.

It's fitting that this post about the EU membership festivities took place in Osijek, because soon after the Slovenian and Croatian declarations of Independence in 1991, the Serbs armed and backed by the ex-Jugo army weaponry tried to blast the civilian population to the point so that all Non-Serbs would leave, known as the Battle of Osijek. So anyway, in a nutshell, that's your brief unplanned history lesson and why earlier in the day they firstly also raised the Hungarian and Austrian flags in downtown Osijek along with the Croatian and EU flags. Also lastly, at the stroke of midnight the borders were officially opened with Slovenia as well as Hungary. Earlier in the day people crossed and gathered to hold short festivities. Some images and footage from the celebrations that went on in the city of Osijek over the last 24 hours is below the article pics.

Related previous posts: 7th-editon-urban-fest-osijek




 Flags of Croatia, the EU as well as Hungary and Austria raised in downtown Osijek.

Article source:



3/19/2013 - Deathtoll rises as Violence against Hungarians continues in Serbia. AHF continues to be deeply concerned with anti-Hungarian attitudes and the lack of progress toward acceptance of diversity and the re-establishment of autonomy for the Vojvodina province. Recent attacks in the early part of 2013 include the severe beating of two teens in Temerin in January, one of whom required surgery to save his eyesight. In February in Szabadka (Subotica), 5 teens were severely attacked, for speaking Hungarian. These violent acts have repeated across the province. [see this HirTV documentary (in Hungarian)]

At the beginning of this news clip is some footage from celebrations in Osijek last night.

Sources and more images/video footage from throughout the day:

The following images are from the countdown evening festivities and in no particular order.

The border being officially opened up between Croatia and Hungary at the stroke of midnight. Similar scenes took place at the Slovenian and Croatian border.

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