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Croatian accession to the European Union : the challenges of participation

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Ott, Katarina

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Corporate Editor Institute of Public Finance, Zagreb; Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Kroatien
Abstract This chapter summarizes the findings of the project of monitoring Croatian accession to the European Union. It draws particular attention to the challenges entailed in participation in the accession process and in relations with European countries, irrespective of Croatia's membership status. It tries to answer questions about: the place of Croatia in Europe; the problems of its economy; the nature of its political elite and the views of its citizens, and institutions' capacities to adapt to requirements of modern and open societies. Among the findings one could highlight: First, irrespective of the membership status, there are possibilities for Croatia to participate and even to try to act as leader in some fields (e.g. Adriatic Sea protection) and Croatian experts could participate in and contribute to the discussions of EU-relevant topics (e.g. European citizenship or communicating Europe). Second, high and stable distrust in the EU, rising unwillingness to join the EU and views concerning the EU that are more based on impressions than on utilitarian considerations might lead to a Croatian "no" to the EU in the final moment of decision. However, if the benefits of reforms are reaped even without joining the EU, this does not have to be a disaster for the country, although it could be a serious setback for the political elite. Third, adaptation of the capabilities of Croatian institutions is despite many improvements still the weakest spot. The progress of reforms has been limited and characterized by partiality, lack of strategies and still under strong political influences. The key words missing in almost all investigated fields are implementation, enforcement and action plans. As the end of negotiations will more depend on the implementation than on the mere adoption of EU requirements, Croatia should turn to an "as soon as ready" instead of an "as soon as possible" policy.
Keywords Croatia; EU; joining the European Union; European integration; political attitude; political change; economic change; administrative practice; public administration; reform
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; European Politics
Method descriptive study
Free Keywords European Union; Croatia; accession; reforms; administrative capacity; legal enforcement
Collection Title Croatian accession to the European Union. Vol. 4, The challenges of participation
Editor Ott, Katarina
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
City Zagreb
Page/Pages p. 1-27
ISBN 978-953-6047-77-2
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution