Croatia Becomes 28th EU Member State

 

Croatia has become the European Union’s 28th member state. The Balkan country joined the union on July 1, 2013, over two decades after former Yugoslavia broke apart. Croatia was deeply involved in the wars that spread throughout the Balkans in the 1990s. It is the second ex-Yugoslavian republic to join the EU after Slovenia in 2004. In the 1990s the Communist country broke apart and the Balkans erupted in bloody conflicts that killed over 100,000 people.

During the Balkan war Croatia was isolated by many EU countries who did not want them as a member state. For a long time Slovenia successfully blocked its neighbor’s membership due to a border dispute. Membership negotiations started in 2005 and lasted until 2011. A year later over 60% of all Croatians voted in favor of joining the EU.


However, not all is well among the 4.5 million inhabitants of the Adriatic country. Unemployment rate is currently running at 20% , the country is heavily in debt , its rating at junk status. People are worried about keeping their bank savings in the wake of the economic disasters in Greece and Cyprus.  In the last 5 years the country’s per capital GDP has fallen consistently and foreign investment has gone down too. Organized crime and corruption are other issues the country is worrying about.

The European Union, however, is satisfied with Croatia’s development. The country has been a stable democracy since the end of the war in 1995. European politicians want the country to capture war criminals who are still at large.

The European Union and Croatia

The European Union and Croatia

 

Most Croats hope that EU membership will finally make them a full member of the free western world after decades of Communism. Many value the opportunities of studying abroad or finding a new job. Croatia will also profit from the subsidies it will get from the EU for development projects.

There are also those who oppose membership. They fear that masses will come in an attempt to take over their beautiful coastline. Others are afraid that the cost of living will increase and inflationwill spiral out of control. They fear that there is a high price tag for membership.

Croatia’s successful bid for joining will also spur other Balkan countries. Serbia’s official talks with the EU are expected to begin soon. Montenegro and Bosnia are potential candidate countries. Observers in Brussels, however, state that Croatian membership will be the last for a long time to come. It is the first country to join since the last enlargement in 2007, when Romania and Bulgaria became members.

Even though many are split on the EU’s advantages and disadvantages most Croatians maintain that it is better to be in than out.

 

Related Topics

 

Words

  • advantage = good side of something
  • at large = free
  • Balkan = large part of southeast Europe, which includes Greece, Albania , Romania, Bulgaria and the states of ex-Yugoslavia
  • bank savings = the money you have in the bank
  • bid = attempt to get something
  • block = stop from happening
  • border = line between two countries
  • capture = arrest; put into prison
  • consistently =  slowly, but steadily
  • corruption = to take money in order to do something illegal
  • currently = at the moment
  • debt = money that you must pay back to someone else
  • decade = a period of ten years
  • development = progress, growth
  • development project = project that helps a region grow
  • disadvantage = bad side of something
  • disaster = catastrophe, very bad event
  • dispute = argument, quarrel
  • due = because of
  • enlargement = expansion; situation in which something gets bigger
  • erupt = break out
  • even though = while
  • former = ex
  • heavily = very much
  • however = but
  • in favor of = to be for something
  • in the wake of = happen, as a result of
  • increase = to go up
  • inflation = the rate at which prices increase
  • inhabitant = a person who lives in a country
  • involved = to be a part of
  • isolate = to be alone, cut off from others
  • issue = topic
  • join = to become a member
  • junk = here: very low status; the country has to pay a lot of interest if it wants to borrow money from other countries
  • maintain = say
  • masses = many people
  • negotiations = talks
  • observer = here: person who knows an expert on something
  • official =formal
  • opportunity = chance
  • oppose = to be against
  • per capita GDP = the total value of all goods and services that one person in a  country produces every year
  • potential = possible
  • price tag = cost of something
  • rating = ranking
  • satisfied = pleased
  • spiral = here: to get worse ; to get out of control
  • split = divided
  • spread = move, reach
  • spur = to make something go faster or move on
  • state = to say officially
  • subsidies = money that you get from  the government or another organization to lower prices
  • successfully = to have the result you want
  • throughout = in all of
  • unemployment rate = the number of people who do not have a job compared with the whole population
  • value = to think that something is important