Croatia: accession negotiations with the EU overshadowed by parliamentary elections Cover Image

Croatia: accession negotiations with the EU overshadowed by parliamentary elections
Croatia: accession negotiations with the EU overshadowed by parliamentary elections

Author(s): Marta Szpala
Subject(s): Government/Political systems, EU-Accession / EU-DEvelopment
Published by: Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia
Keywords: Croatia; EU; elections
Summary/Abstract: In 2011 Croatia entered the final stage of its accession negotiations with the EU. The completion of these negotiations will probably coincide with the parliamentary elections which should be held in November or December this year. The elections are likely to bring about a change of government, as public support for Jadranka Kosor's cabinet and her party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has been declining; the left-wing opposition is likely to take power. Therefore, the government’s main goal is to complete the accession negotiations in the first half of the year, in order to sign the accession treaty and hold the EU membership referendum before the parliamentary elections. The HDZ believes that only the successful completion of the accession negotiations could increase its chances of a good result in the upcoming elections. At the same time, fearing a further fall in support, the government will avoid any decisions and reforms that would be controversial for the public, especially in the sphere of the economy; such decisions could also increase Euroscepticism among the Croatian public, and result in the rejection of EU accession in the referendum. The government in Zagreb hopes that the currently implemented anti-corruption strategy and reform of the judiciary, as well as the advanced process of adaptation to EU conditions, will be enough to complete the negotiations. This strategy has a serious chance of success, considering that there is considerable support for Croatia's membership among the EU countries and institutions. Another reason is that further prolongation of the negotiations could aggravate hostility towards the EU among the Croatian public, and would be a bad sign for other Balkan states with membership aspirations. However, subordinating Croatian policies to the completion of negotiations in the first half of the year could prove to be adverse for Croatia itself in the longer term, as it would put off the necessary structural reforms.

  • Page Count: 7
  • Publication Year: 2011
  • Language: English