Our Croatian correspondent Vortac sends this brief report about today’s referendum on accession the European Union. It seems that Croats took a look at their country’s dire circumstances and realized the EU had made them an offer they couldn’t refuse:
Here’s an interesting piece of news: my country decided to join the EU!
In today’s referendum, 67% voted in favor of Croatian membership in the European Union. Somewhat ironically, even I (a regular GoV reader) voted ‘yes’, although I am fully aware what the EU is and what it represents.
We simply have no alternative now — Croatia is heavily indebted. We owe $60+ billion (more than 100% of our GNP), mostly to Western European creditors. There were subtle hints that if Croatian voters decline the membership, our credit rating would suffer, which would be disastrous for our debt-ridden economy.
Also, Croatians are very disappointed in our domestic politicians. Croatia gained independence in 1992, so we have been outside EU for twenty years now, but the results have mostly been negative. Our external debt has increased twentyfold (from 3 billion dollars in 1992. to 60 billion dollars in 2011), and corruption has been rampant the whole time. We are now at 66th place in the world Corruption Perception Index, joining countries such as Georgia, South Africa, Italy, and Ghana.
As a result, many people voted for the EU as a sign of protest against such leadership, hoping that our future EU membership will help us in reducing those problems.
Below is an article from USA Today on the same topic:
Croatia says ‘yes’ to joining European Union
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia’s state referendum commission says a majority of Croats have voted in favor of joining the debt-stricken European Union.
Officials say that with about 30 percent of the ballot calculated, about 67 percent of those who took part in the referendum Sunday answered “yes” to the question: “Do you support the membership of the Republic of Croatia in the European Union?”
About 32 percent were against, while the rest of the ballots were invalid. About 42 percent of eligible voters took part in the referendum, illustrating voters’ apathy toward the 27-nation bloc.
Croatia signed an EU accession treaty last year and will become its 28th member in July 2013 after all the bloc’s states ratify the deal.