Accession negotiations, fight against organized crime and uncertain economic prospects

Croatia
Institute for International Relations

Slovenia blocking Croatia’s Accession to the EU
 

Not much attention for the ENP, warning of a new Cold War

Croatia
Institute for International Relations

 
The issue of restructuring of the ENP after the Georgia-Russia conflict has not attracted much attention from Croatian political elites, while the official governmental reactions to the military conflict were rather cautious and largely echoing major reactions coming from the EU and NATO.[1] President Mesić in his statement has pleaded for the immediate ending of all military operations and supported the agreement between President Sarkozy and Medvedev on the ceasefire. He also mentioned that a renewal of the Cold War would be unacceptable and warned on certain tendencies which lead towards such divisions.[2] Some media reports have also particularly stressed the role of the former President of the European Council Sarkozy in the resolution of the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia. President Sarkozy was aware that this conflict has much deeper roots and is associated with the Russian frustration towards NATO eastern enlargement. That is why he has suggested, together with Russian President Medvedev, the creation of some new pan-European security scheme. Following this idea, this concept is supposed to be presented at the OSCE Summit in the second half of 2009.[3]
 

A mixed assessment of France and high expectations for the Czech Presidency

Croatia
Institute for International Relations
 
Continuation of the ratification process and the agreement on the new referendum in Ireland is regarded as a major success of the French Presidency in Croatia
 
Taking into account global challenges that occurred during the French Presidency, its pre-defined priorities and Croatian focus on accession negotiations, various segments of Croatian public evaluate differently the achievements of the French Presidency. Despite the fact that the enlargement process was not amongst the main priorities of the French Presidency, its results are viewed from the perspective of accession negotiations, which are amongst Croatia's top priorities.
 

Mixed responses on the EU’s reaction and growing fear of recession in Croatia

Croatia
Institute for International Relations
 
Croatia’s fears of recession and devastating effects of the global economic crisis
 
The intensive preoccupation of the Croatian public with the world financial crisis and its reflections on Croatia started in the summer of 2008. First reactions of government officials reflected the attempt to play down the proportions of crisis and its possible effects on the Croatian economy. It was hoped that the financial crisis would be limited to US financial institutions and its economy.
 
The autumn of 2008 brought the sobering up of and acknowledgement of the realistic scope of the threat and since then, governmental and public interest is primarily directed on the potential impact of the crisis to the Croatian economy as well as its accession process to the EU.
 

Croatian concerns about the enlargement prospects after the Irish ‘No’

Croatia
Institute for International Relations
 
After the negative outcome of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, Croatian media mostly focused on its impact on the further enlargement. In this context the media quoted optimistic statements from EU officials like the one made by Luc Van den Brande, President of the EU Committee of the Regions – during his visit to Croatia – that the country had made excellent progress toward the EU membership and should not be discouraged with the results of the Irish ‘No’.[1]This was also a central message of the international conference “Croatia Summit 2008” held in Dubrovnik on the 5 July 2008, as journalist Luka Brailo summarised. Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader stated at the Summit that the Irish ‘No’ should not stop the enlargement and leave this part of the continent in undefined, disordered and uncompleted shape.[2] Journalist Bruno Lopadić wrote that Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty came at the most unfortunate moment when the Union was expected to show all of its capabilities for cooperation and mutual work in facing the needed changes and the upcoming financial crisis.[3]
 
The conclusions of the European Council of December 2008 on the fate of the Lisbon Treaty welcomed with a relief in Croatia