To EU, or not to EU

A united Europe is as a pure goal to strive for as any other I can think of. This Sunday, Croatian citizens decide if they want to join the EU. The first thing to make absolutely clear is that the referendum is not some kind of a general question of attitude (like the one expressed in the introductory statement), but acceptance or rejection of very specific and complex package of political and economic changes. Make no mistake, it is complex: if it was not, the Government and all its ministries would not have needed several years to complete the preparations. It defines the split of legislative power between Croatian and EU institutions and sets a large number of very specific constraints on the Croatian economy. Not surprisingly, after (what has generally been seen as) quite a secretive preparation process, people overwhelmingly (87%) say they don’t know enough to make an informed decision.

At the same time, the referendum is not just or not even mainly about Croatia joining the EU. The former Government signed an accord with a group of 5 labour unions which requires the Government to add a second referendum question:

Do you want to make a referendum mandatory if 200 000 [instead of 450 000] registered voters asks for it and their signatures are collected within 30 days [instead of 15]?

This is the most important democracy and governance issue taken up since the country’s independence. It is the main reason why Continue reading “To EU, or not to EU”