Croatian Referendum on EU Membership and its Consequences or the Reduced Western Balkans Cover Image

Hrvatski referendum o članstvu u Europskoj uniji i njegove posljedice za smanjeni Zapadni Balkan
Croatian Referendum on EU Membership and its Consequences or the Reduced Western Balkans

Author(s): Dejan Jović
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Hrvatsko politološko društvo
Keywords: EU-indifferentism; Euroscepticism; EU referendum in Croatia; Western Balkans; nationalism;

Summary/Abstract: The Croatian referendum on EU membership demonstrated that the Croatian electorate is highly indifferent towards the EU. The political elite too preferred EU-indifferentism to Euroscepticism. Unlike the largest segment of the electorate, the Croatian political elite is almost unanimously supportive of the EU membership for the country. The article analyses the main sources of Croatian EU-indifferentism and Euroscepticism. In addition, it discusses consequences of the outcome of the Croatian referendum to now reduced region of Western Balkans. Consequences of Croatian membership in the EU might be ambivalent, and will depend on factors such as: 1) EU’s commitment to the policy of further enlargement (or the lack of this commitment), 2) development of political, economic and social crises in the EU, and 3) internal dynamics in candidate countries. The EU enlargement will also depend on the ability of political elites to ignore Euroscepticism in their own countries. Unification of Europe remains an ideocratic project led by political elites. It is not about representing reality as it is, but rather about changing it through thorough transformation of European societies. However, further ignoring of the electorate will result in an enhanced sense of democratic deficit and might further question the legitimacy of the EU. The Croatian EU referendum offered some instruments and lessons on how to marginalise Euroscepticism and nationalism in the general public. If it is to be a constructive member of the EU, Croatia will have to continue ignoring and marginalising nationalists and Eurosceptics. This is also the case with other EU member-states.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 09
  • Page Range: 163-182
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Croatian