How ready is Croatia for membership? War, religion and beaches – a short history
That’s European vibes to you!
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THE LETTER & THE DRAWING
Croatia in the EU: welcome, and good luck! Schengen according to Sarkozy, the candidate IN BRIEF 21.12.2011 21.03.2012
The Figures, The Fact, The Word, The Date, The Picture LOOKING EAST
Laboratory of change THE ARTS
Selah Sue: That’s European vibes to you! THE DIARY 21.03.2012 21.06.2012
Our special ‘Europe and the world’ in Brussels selection WORLDWIDE
Documentary film: Dublin’s Trap SHIFTING WITH AMELIA ANDERSDOTTER MEP
Beware, there are Pirates in Parliament! THE CONTROVERSY
Emissions trading stand-off: What role for aviation in climate mitigation? THE SNAPSHOTS 39-42 2012 World Press Photo The European winning images from the 55th World Press Photo Contest
THE STORY How ready is Croatia for membership? War, religion and beaches – a short history Flashback Croatia’s 20-year journey from independence to EU accession Comments Croatia, what have you got yourself into? Tourism Croatia – a travel destination en vogue Housing market Homeless youth along the Croatian coast Big issue Opening the Balkan route to organised crime? Book A Tiger’s eye on Yugoslavian war Giving a home to broken hearts The ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ in Zagreb, Croatia, pays tribute to broken hearts In the Land of Blood and Honey Rade Šerbedžija: “Let everybody talk about their shame, I would talk about my shame!” Sports It’s a family thing And now? EU Conquest of the East It’s a family thing
20-25 26 27 28 29 30-31 32 33 34 35 37
Visit us: u www.shiftmag.eu Like us: u www.facebook.com/SHIFTmag.eu Follow us: u http://twitter.com/SHIFTtweet Cover: Former Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor (2009-2011) shows a copy of the draft of the accession agreement between the European Union and Croatia standing with her Polish counterpart Donald Tusk (L) during his one-day visiting to the Croatian capital Zagreb in September 2011 in the framework of the Polish EU Presidency. Donald Tusk gave a copy of the draft of the accession agreement between the European Union and Croatia. Croatia is on track to become the 28th member of the EU in 2013. ©EPA/ANTONIO BAT
Croatia in the eu: welcome, and good luck!
Schengen according to Sarkozy, the candidate
It’s been official since 22 January: Croatia will join the EU on 1 July 2013 and become its 28th state. In a national referendum, around 67% of Croatians voted for their country to become a member of the EU. But this quite positive result does little to hide the gloomy climate surrounding this accession. The turnout of voters was only around 42% – a record low for a referendum of this nature. Moreover, while experts and observers could talk about a “win-win enlargement” in 2004 and 2007, this time Croatia and the 27 EU countries are closer to a lose-lose deal. On both sides, the current situation is just as problematic. Euro crisis, public debt, unemployment, austerity, low growth and inequalities for the EU. Public debt, unemployment, recession, corruption and political scandals for Croatia. This similarity has in fact favoured Croatia’s membership. Indeed, Brussels and other EU capital cities faced with bigger issues – and in need of positive stuff – turned a blind eye to Croatia’s indicators which are close to those that led to the current crisis.
On the positive side, with this new enlargement the EU is showing that even if it is no longer a “land of plenty” it remains attractive. Furthermore, just 20 years after Europe died in Sarajevo with the beginning of the siege of the Bosnian capital by the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), the entry of Croatia opens the door a little more to a reunited Balkan region, reflecting the European ideal. Moreover, within the EU, Croatian is recognised as an official language and Croatia is entitled to ask for protection of its heritage, traditions, values and character. Any new entry into the EU is always symbolic and positive in terms of European cohesion. Therefore, leading up to 1 July 2013, we want to send a warm welcome to Croatia. Beyond that, we wish them good luck!
LAurent vAn BruSSeL, editor in CHief
© Jonathan Pauwels
However, Croatia’s debt is not comparable to Greece’s debt, Croatia’s unemployment is not comparable to Spain’s unemployment and Croatia’s rates of interest on sovereign bonds are not comparable to Italy’s rates. The truth is, Croatia has less debt than most Eurozone Member States, but growth is nowhere to be seen and reforms and investments (notably in new technologies) are frozen. By July 2013, if nothing changes, the economic situation in Croatia will get worse (since 2000, Croatian living standards have declined by at least 20%). And once it joins the EU, Croatia will have to play the same (budgetary) rules. Jeanne d'Arc: Joan of Arc
As a president, Sarkozy has been the champion of European integration – everybody can remember France's EU presidency in 2008. As a candidate Sarkozy appears as a great fighter of free trade, unfettered competition and open borders. He recently vowed to pull his country out of the EU's border-free Schengen area unless its rules are changed so that “decisions are made by nations and not technocrats and courts." The return of border guards in France, realistic or vote-catching ? In reality, negotiations to reform the system are already well advanced. So Sarkozy can reap the electoral benefits of sounding tough and nationalist without much risk of having to carry out his threats.
By JonAtHAn PAuWeLS
InBrief By Aoife O’Grady
the fraction of Scottish voters that would want Scotland to become a separate EU member if it becomes an independent state. With Scotland set to hold an independence referendum in autumn 2014, less than a third of Scottish voters would want Scotland to become a separate EU member and just 5% would back a switch to the euro, according to a recent YouGov poll. There has been talk that upon independence Scotland would have to apply for accession as a new Member State however this has been branded as scaremongering by pre-independence commentators. Source: The Scotsman
the amount that Swiss trade unions propose setting as the national minimum wage per hour. Swiss trade unions have gained the necessary 100 000+ signatures to call for a referendum on a national minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs (approximately 18.20 euro) per hour. According to the Federation of European Employers, if the referendum passes, gross monthly earnings would be raised to 4 000 Swiss Francs (3 313 euro) for those in the lowest paid jobs, affecting approximately 400 000 workers. While this may seem a jaw-droppingly high figure to many European workers, it should be remembered that the cost of living in Switzerland is among the highest in the world, with Zurich recently named as the world’s most expensive city to live in. Source: The Economist
“Short of going around in sandals, we have done all we can.” President of Extremadura Jose Antonio Monago insists that regions in Spain have reached the limit of imposed cutbacks. Protests took place around Spain, most notably in Valencia, earlier this year in response to the continued cuts which have left hospitals closed and some schools without heating or toilet paper.
“Populist extremist parties remained strong across the EU, corroding mainstream politics especially on issues related to Roma, Muslims and migrants. Governments frequently responded by echoing these parties’ criticism of minorities and pursuing policies that infringed human rights.” Human Rights Watch 2012 report on the events of 2011 in the European Union.
5 March 2012
Iceland’s former Prime Minister Geir Haarde became the world’s first leader to be put on trial on charges of negligence over the 2008 financial crisis. Source: EUobserver
ThePicture © Christian Baltrusch
21.12.2011 to 21.03.2012
TheFact At a recent press conference, Olli Rehn, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, was questioned over holding sauna briefings with male journalists beneath his office in Brussels. Rehn was taken to task over the ‘dress code’ for these get-togethers and whether he would start to inform female journalists about his policies. One wonders if he grew a little hot under the collar from the interrogation... Source: The Sunday Times
Walking on water In February, tens of thousands of people in Hamburg had the opportunity to walk on the frozen Aussenalster river during the annual city festival “Alstervergnuegen” that usually takes place around the river. It rarely freezes over enough to allow so many people to go skating on it. The ice has to be at least 18 cm thick before officials declare it safe to walk on. The last time that happened was 15 years ago in 1997.
Laboratory of change From the romantic enthusiasm of the 1992 European Culture Month in Krakow to the fierce rivalry between Poland’s cities competing for the title of European Capital of Culture 2016. Interview By Joanna Sanetra-Szeliga Prof. Dr. Jacek Purchla, one of the jurors on the international panel assessing Polish cities’ bids for the ECOC 2016 title, talks to Joanna Sanetra-Szeliga. Professor Purchla, you have been involved with the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) project for over 20 years now. How has this initiative of the European Communities, originally known as European City of Culture and since 2005 as European Capital of Culture, changed in that time? The ECOC today is without a doubt the European Union’s greatest political and public relations success in the area of culture. Indeed, Melina Mercouri’s wonderful initiative from the mid-1980s has undergone a telling evolution over the intervening quarter-century. It started with a romantic vision and the intention to foster better mutual understanding. But even in
the early 1990s, the ECOC project (then still known as European City of Culture) was gradually becoming an important tool for integration and development through its large-scale cultural projects. And so a political initiative without formula, foundation or philosophy, based chiefly on a sort of improvisation, gradually developed into an increasingly well-defined and formatted project. The ECOC today is an institution in itself ! Poland first embarked on its adventure with the ECOC immediately after 1989. Poland is an unusual laboratory for the ECOC east of the Elbe, and of all the post-communist countries, has the longest and most complex experience with the project – thanks to Krakow. It was Krakow, as early as December 1990, just a year after the Berlin Wall came down, that was nominated by the Council of Europe to act as organiser and host of the first
European Culture Month (ECM).1 This took place in June 1992 when the title of European City of Culture was held by Madrid. As such, the Polish perspective offers a particularly clear angle on comprehension and perception of the ECOC project – perhaps even more so than in Western Europe. We need only compare the romantic creation of 1992 with the rivalry over the title of ECOC 2016 that we witnessed a few months ago. This is not only the best illustration of the mental change we are seeing in our society, but also a sign of the transformation that is occurring in many Polish cities. Today, their
1 The EMC was a Community initiative similar in aims and formula to the European Cities/Capitals of Culture. The idea was born out of the enthusiasm and increased desire for integration following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The EMC was something of a gesture extended by Europe’s West to its East: it was cities in countries outside the European Communities that were invited to organise it.
© Herito Magazine
“Poland is an unusual laboratory for the ECOC east of the Elbe, and of all the post-communist countries has the longest and most complex experience with the project” mayors are “speaking fluent Florida”2, and the average citizen is beginning to understand that culture is an important facet of development. As you said, Krakow was the organiser of the first European Culture Month in history. As the coordinator of that project, you faced an immense challenge. Yes, it really was a major challenge, and the context in which we were working was 2 A reference to Richard Florida, author of the muchhyped The rise of the creative class, Basic Books, 2002.
tough and complex. It might sound rather exotic today, but the objectives of that Krakow ECM were to break out of our isolation and respond to the need to open up, to market a place that back then was insufficiently recognisable and lacked positive connotations, to build our brand, but also to discover our neighbours, forge a European-wide system of networking, and satisfy the “hunger” for artistic creativity on a large scale. It was also our intention to prove what was then no more than a hypothesis but is today an obvious truth: that Krakow is a natural setting for a festival industry. We wanted to prove that building leisure, culture and festival industries was the future for a city that in the early 1990s was only just embarking on the transformation
process, a city in which 50% of the GDP was generated by the Lenin Steelworks. The experience of the ECM and the ECOC certainly must have appealed to the imagination of the stewards of Poland’s cities given that as many as 113 have entered the fray. Why so much interest do you think? It’s a fortuitous coincidence. On the one hand, I must stress again the question of a long period of positive experience – including the successes of cities of the new Europe such as Sibiu in Romania, holder of the title in 2007 – which Polish candidate cities have certainly been able to draw on. And then there is the fact that Polish municipal councils have finally recognised what many in the West have known for a long time: culture can 3 Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Katowice, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, Szczecin, Toruń, Warsaw and Wrocław.
offer a development opportunity, and can be exploited as a catalyst for change. I might also point out that in fact cities in countries that underwent transformation after 1989 are actually ahead of their national governments in their thinking on this issue. It is the cities themselves that have learned to treat culture as one of the driving forces behind their development. And that is wonderful! A real breakthrough. You have been a juror in several competitions for the ECOC title. Has the Polish competition been a surprise to you in any way? This competition has surprised us all in several respects. We had no idea that the ECOC initiative was so popular in Poland. We did not expect that so many such different cities – many of them by no means recognised centres of culture – would enter the competition. In the end, as many as 11 cities entered, and the majority of them prepared for it well. That is the first aspect. Secondly, if I had to make any comment on this competition, it would be that it has seen one very significant development, namely it was held in accordance with the new criteria and standards that I mentioned before, and so will certainly be in line with the European Commission’s new thinking. We should note that back in 2004, following the biggest wave of accession, i.e. ten countries including Poland, the Commission’s president, José Manuel Barroso, said that the EU had reached the stage in its history when its cultural dimension could no longer be ignored.4
How did the Polish cities fare in the competition? I must stress that even at the first stage of the competition, all the candidate cities showed that they understood the need for culture in their strategic development. In this respect, I should single out Toruń in particular, the smallest of the 11 candidate cities, and the city that started its competition preparations the earliest. It drew up an ambitious, well thought-out project, and must have been extremely disappointed not to be included among the five finalists. I personally believe it missed out partly because it was the city with the smallest potential and the weakest infrastructure,
Poznań’s application was probably the weakest of those sent in for the competition. Those of Bydgoszcz, Szczecin, Białystok and Łódź also failed to convince the jury. Why? Were they badly filled in, or were their notions of the ECOC ill thought through? The fact that the competition is a twostage process by definition meant that the majority of the candidates would have to be rejected at the first stage. So it is fair to say that basically, the others were better. I should add though, that in the jury’s direct interviews with the delegations from the various cities, it was not only the form and content of the presentation that counted, but also the credibility of the project itself – its feasibility. And the guarantors of that are the cities’ mayors. I am also pleased that we made the decision to take five favourites (and not just the top two) through to the second round.
“ The programmes of most of the cities, in particular the finalists (and above all the ultimate victor, Wrocław, whose application was entitled Spaces for beauty), were to be construed more as an attempt to manage their space than as a bid to sell a product.”
4 José Manuel Barroso’s speech Europe and Culture, delivered in Berlin on 26 November 2004 during the conference A Soul for Europe.
and is relatively little known, particularly among the foreign jurors. Though the city that was most surprised by the verdict in the first round was Poznań, at least that is how I construed the angry words of its mayor in response to the announcement of the verdict. The capital of Greater Poland was one of the favourites to win the competition overall, in view of its immense cultural potential. But it was only when the applications were opened that we discovered its proposal had completely failed to meet the ECOC criteria. This shows that the local authorities in some cities had not appreciated that the competition is run according to very clear-cut rules and it is not enough to treat the rivalry merely as a kind of beauty contest.
The cities selected to go through to the final were Gdańsk, Katowice, Lublin, Warsaw and Wrocław. How did the last stage of this great rivalry for the 2016 ECOC title proceed?
We were greatly satisfied to see that in the six months following the announcement of the first verdict, all five of the shortlisted cities put in an immense amount of work and produced significantly higher quality – the latter connected with not only their desire to win the competition, but also their strategic thinking on culture and the fact of including it organically in their development plans. This was something that reassured us that our decision to hold a final involving several cities was the right one. This represented value added in a competition in which there was no podium and only one of the five candidates could win. I should also add that the programmes of most of the cities, in particular the finalists (and above all the ultimate victor, Wrocław, whose application was entitled
Spaces for beauty), were to be construed more as an attempt to manage their space than as a bid to sell a product. Citizens themselves were also invited to contribute to the applications. This is another of the ECOC project’s great successes in Poland: not only effecting mental change in the political class, the local governments of our biggest cities, but also releasing the vast potential of energy, creativity and enthusiasm in the non-governmental sector, and generating many wonderful grassroots initiatives. And what was it about Wrocław that ultimately convinced the jury? If we look at the final more closely, it would be true to say that Wrocław was the unquestioned leader. In fact, it was already organically prepared for the competition by the two decades of transformation. This is a city where culture and heritage have already played a major role in fundamentally altering its position in both Poland and wider Europe since the fall of communism. So was there a clear rival to Wrocław? The counter-candidate for first place, and equal rival, with a flawless dossier, was Gdańsk. But when we actually went
there, we noticed a kind of void, a gap, in that the city did not seem abreast of the wonderful Solidarity ideal that was in its programme. The very fate of the Lenin Shipyards and the historic canteen where the August Agreements were signed is immensely telling. The proportions between that ideal and the content were extremely uneven. So what will the European Capital of Culture in Poland in 2016 be like? Wrocław’s victory is above all a victory for Poland. In the first place we have the opportunity to show Europe that in and through Wrocław we have been able in recent years to overcome our complexes,
Jacek Purchla – Full Professor of Human Science; Head of the Department of Economic and Social History and UNESCO Chair for Heritage and Urban Studies at Krakow University of Economics, and Head of Jagiellonian University’s European Heritage Department. Areas of research include urban development, social history of art in the 19th and 20th centuries, and heritage preservation theory and practice. Author of more than 300 academic
and above all to overcome the issue of German Breslau, which is now no longer a burden for the citizens and authorities of the city, but instead is a resource and a reservoir of potential that is exploited creatively in its development. Secondly, Wrocław has shown that with vision and charisma the local authorities and their leader, the mayor, are often a decisive element or factor in a city’s success. And thirdly, I suspect that Wrocław is not simply the intriguing space it is known for, i.e. the largest European city to have seen a complete population exchange in the wake of the tragedy that was World War II (the 650 000-strong German population of prewar Breslau has been replaced by a comparable number of Polish residents today). Its citizens are identifying with the space on an increasingly profound level. There is no doubt that Wrocław will be a fine representative not only of Poland but also of our region in 2016. For Central Europe today is not only a symbol of multiculturalism and dialogue, but also the embodiment of the need to interpret culture accurately for future development.
works, including many books. From 1900–1991, Deputy Mayor of Krakow. Since 1991, organiser and director of the International Cultural Centre in Krakow, and Herito editor-in-chief.
© Herito Magazine
© Herito Magazine
The interview was originally published in the Polish quarterly HERITO. You can read it in its entirety in HERITO no 5, available in the ICC bookshop on-line: www.mck.krakow.pl
Flanders meets Jamaica
That’s European vibes to you! Her music breaks through all sorts of borders: it transcends musical genres, language communities and national boundaries. In January 2012, the 22-year-old artist from Flanders with her characteristic husky voice received the ‘Public Choice Award’ at the European Border Breakers Award ceremony. Her album ‘Selah Sue’ charted in France, the Netherlands and Switzerland and reached number one in her home country. Interview by Friederike Endress Your music is a unique blend of soul, funk and ragga influences. How did you evolve towards this particular mix? I think I just absorbed all the things I listened to when I started to get interested in music. In the beginning that was a lot Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu – those were my big soul influences. Then came Damian Marley, Sizzla and Capleton for the ragga influence. Add to that a lot of hip hop and a bit of jazz, with major influences including Nneka and Meshell Ndegeocello. Does your international success involve new impulses in terms of musical style? Not so much. During recent months I have discovered a lot of really good music that will certainly influence me on my next album. But I mostly discover it at home, through the internet.
In just a few years, you have become one of the big names of the Belgian music scene, and you have started to conquer other countries as well. Why do you think it can be difficult for European artists to achieve what you have – success outside of their home country? What do you think made the difference in your case? I believe I made the right decisions at the right moments – choosing the right people to work with, with the right knowledge and, most important, with good intentions.
“ I am not so patriotic. But I am always pretty proud to say that I am from Belgium because it is the last country people would expect: small, cold and unknown.”
And of course, I make not so bad music. Musically I believe you just have to be either really good, or very unique. And spend your time doing a lot of promos of course.
Do you identify as a Flemish, Belgian or European artist? Which aspect is most important to you? I am not so patriotic. But I am always pretty proud to say that I am from Belgium because it is the last country people would expect: small, cold and unknown. I think it is cool to show and tell people that it has a lot more to offer than that. You will be on tour across Europe this year. Do you see a big difference between audiences in different countries?
© Gergely Csatari
Oh yes, wow, you have big differences. We just came back from Poland: people went nuts there. What do you enjoy most about your ‘European breakthrough’? The fact that I can travel, see the world. Play music everyday. Life on the road is something I really enjoy!
The European Border Breaker Awards every year recognise 10 emerging European artists selling albums and touring outside their home country. The EU-funded prize aims to help emerging artists to reach audiences abroad and to stimulate the cross-border circulation of European music creation. Besides Selah Sue, this year’s winners include:
© Gergely Csatari
© Gergely Csatari
Elektro Guzzi (Austria), Agnes Obel (Denmark), Ben l'Oncle Soul (France), Boy (Germany), James Vincent McMorrow (Ireland), Afrojack (the Netherlands), Alexandra Stan (Romania), Swedish House Mafia (Sweden), Anna Calvi (UK)
information: Official website: www.selahsue.com European Border Breakers Awards: www.europeanborderbreakersawards.eu
Thediary 21.03.2012 – 21.06.2012 Brussels selection our SPeCiAL ‘euroPe And tHe WorLd’ in BruSSeLS SeLeCtion
European e-skills week
26 – 30 March 2012
Europa Nostra awards for cultural heritage achievements
April 2012: new call for entries
The European e-Skills Week 2012 is a European campaign focused on showing people how to get jobs through e-skills in the digital age. Building on the success of e-Skills Week 2010, the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry has again teamed up with DIGITAL EUROPE and European Schoolnet, to drive awareness of the need for e-skills and their benefits.
The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage is presented as part of the Europa Nostra Awards which highlight some of Europe’s best achievements in heritage care, and showcase remarkable efforts made in raising awareness about our cultural heritage.
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE, BRUSSELS Your Europe, your say conference
26 – 27 April 2012 goo.gl/dCSrM
For the second year running, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) offered a unique opportunity for secondary schools from across Europe to come to Brussels to debate, negotiate, stand up for their beliefs and try to reach a consensus in a simulated plenary session.
Juvenes Translatores Awards ceremony
27 March 2012
Petit Mal – Production by Finnish contemporary circus Race Horse Company
23 March – 24 April 2012 racehorsecompany.fi
TOUR & TAXIS, BRUSSELS Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival
5 – 17 April 2012 bifff.net
BRUSSELS EXPO Art Brussels
19 – 22 April 2012 artbrussels.be
BRUSSELS BOZAR Balkan Trafik
12 – 15 April 2012
European Solar Days
1 – 13 May 2012
4 – 26 May 2012 kfda.be
European Maritime Day
21 – 22 May 2012 goo.gl/J4QSJ
The European Maritime Day is celebrated annually across Europe on 20 May. It shows the importance of the sea for everyday life, and for and for economies and job creation, both in coastal communities and in landlocked areas across Europe.
EU Sustainable Energy Week
18– 22 June 2012
© Laurent Louis
eusew.eu Every year hundreds of organisations and individuals in over 30 countries take part in EU Sustainable Energy Week by hosting Energy Day events and activities that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.
BRUSSELS Green Week
22 – 25 May 2012 ec.europa.eu/environment/greenweek
Iris Day (Fête de l’Iris / Irisfeest)
7 – 8 May 2012 fetedeliris.be
Green Week offers a unique opportunity for debate and exchanges of experience and best practice. Over some 40 sessions, the conference will focus on water.
COMMITTE OF THE REGIONS / WHO/UN HOUSE, BRUSSELS
BRUSSELS EUROPEAN DISTRICT
Festival of Europe – European Institutions Open Day
12 May 2012
FLAGEY / BOZAR, BRUSSELS Brussels Film Festival
20 – 27 June 2012 brff.be
European Week against Cancer
25 – 26 May 2012
ACROSS BRUSSELS Brussels Gay Pride
12 May 2012 thepride.be
PARC DU CINQUANTENAIRE / JUBELPARK Fête de l’environnement / Milieufeest bruxellesenvironnement.be http://goo.gl/fA4Xm
dublin’s trap Through the story of an Afghan asylum seeker who won a historic victory at the European Court of Human Rights, “Dublin’s Trap” shines a new light on the consequences of migration policies in the crisis-affected country of Greece. By BryAn CArter, direCtor The idea of producing a documentary on the rise of right-wing extremism in Greece in the context of the economic crisis came after frequent visits to Athens and other parts of the country. Rising unemployment, harsh austerity measures and insecurity were common themes discussed by Greeks. Yet, one issue that kept coming back on the table concerned illegal immigration. Geographically located between Africa, Asia and the former Yugoslavia, Greece has long been a land of immigration. However, with the crackdown on illegal entries into Spain and Italy, the flows into Europe shifted. Greece suddenly became the ideal point of passage, especially after Turkey relaxed its visa rules for people traveling from the Maghreb. Continuing conflicts in the Middle East and the ongoing misery in Africa gave migrants further reasons to try their luck in Europe. Thus, in 2010, the numbers skyrocketed to over 130 000, representing 90% of all arrests for illegal entry into the European Union. At the same time, the Greek population was increasingly feeling the impact of the austerity measures imposed by a government dedicated to the reduction of the public deficit. Many believed the international creditors of Greece (the so-called Troïka) to be responsible for this, while others chose instead to blame the migrant communities. Scapegoating minorities in times of hardship is common and has been observed in various countries and at several times in history. Those benefiting from it are generally located at the extreme right of the political spectrum. Greece is no different.
Our documentary focused on a specific political party called Hrisi Avgi (meaning Golden Dawn) that is gaining popularity in some neighborhoods of Athens with large immigrant communities. Its members have often been accused of conducting violent raids against foreigners. The leader of the party, who exceptionally agreed to an interview with our crew, downplayed the gravity of these incidents, saying it was all media propaganda. Furthermore, he seemed unwilling to admit what his real plans would be if he ever gained more power on the Greek political scene. The documentary also illustrates what migrants in Greece have to go through: from their arrival at the land border with Turkey in northern Greece, their difficulties living in the capital, tolerating horrendous conditions in detention centers, and finally to their desperate attempts to escape the country by sea. Our aim was not just to portray the situation in Greece but also to widen the debate to the general problem of migration in Europe. For the sake of storytelling, a common thread was also needed. Surprisingly, it was a very small article in a Belgian newspaper that gave us the missing link. The article recalled the January 2011 condemnation of Greece and Belgium at the European Court of Human Rights for the “inhumane and degrading” treatment of an Afghan asylum seeker: Mohamed Samir Samimi. Mr. Samimi fled Afghanistan after his life was threatened due to his involvement with the NATO-led forces. He entered Europe from Greece and managed to reach Belgium where he demanded
“ Continuing conflicts in the Middle East and the ongoing misery in Africa gave migrants further reasons to try their luck in Europe.”
Furthermore, it is important to distinguish asylum seekers from purely economic migrants, which these policies fail to do. The former must be protected, or at least given proper treatment. The response enshrined in the Dublin II regulation instead puts a heavier burden on countries at the external borders of Europe. This regulation was signed in 2003 by all parties, including Greece, but with the immense problems now taking place in this country, ignoring the issue and simply obeying EU rules (as the former Belgian secretary of state for migrations argues in the documentary) is contrary to the principle of solidarity. The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights underlined this principle. It serves as a reminder of not only our common responsibilities as Europeans, but also our necessity to pay attention to the alarming rise of nationalism spreading across the continent.
After graduating in political science, journalism and international conflict resolution, Bryan Carter started working as a freelance TV journalist for Associated Press Television News, Al Jazeera English, RTL-TVI and Canal Z. In 2011, he won a grant from the Belgian Federation of Professional Journalists, which led him to direct his first mid-length documentary on the rise of extremism in Greece in the wake of the economic crisis and the unprecedented flow of illegal immigrants.
u More information: The film is available in English and French versions on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/bryancarter
© Sean Carter
Tackling immigration is difficult, and there are no easy solutions. From my research, I believe that the European Union seems keener on simply protecting borders with the help of Frontex, rather than protecting potential refugees and dealing with the root of the problem. At the same time, we are witnessing the construction of walls and drastic border security promoted by an increasing number of politicians looking to satisfy their electorate. These measures are not only expensive but also ineffective. As long as you have wars and misery, people will keep coming to Europe. To quote the IOM bureau chief in Athens, “someone desperate, you will not stop him.”
About the film director
© Bryan Carter
political asylum. What he received instead was a ticket back to Greece. Indeed, EU Member States abide by the Dublin II regulation for asylum issues (hence the name of the documentary). One of the cornerstones of this regulation states that the country responsible for examining a refugee claim must be the country where the asylum seeker first entered. Therefore, Greece found itself under a sort of double-sanction while migrants winded up falling into a vicious circle.
Beware, there are Pirates in Parliament!
Amelia Andersdotter MEP An avid defender of a united Europe, twenty-four year old Amelia Andersdotter of the Swedish Piratpartiet (Pirate Party) became the youngest Member of the European Parliament in June 2009. She is aligned with the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. Her energies are aimed mainly at abolishing the patent system, reforming copyright laws and protecting digital civil rights. She is also a member of the standing committee on Industry, Research and Energy, and the Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula. Interview by Mark Humphreys Regarding policy and politics in Brussels, what do you think needs to be changed? Is there anything that strikes you as slowing up the policy process? There are a few pushes right now for getting more transparency in the public institutions. I know that in the recent second review of the Directive on re-use of public sector information from the Commission, they emphasised the need for publicly accessible data to be machine-readable, which would vastly improve the abilities for third-parties to make applications or ways of gaining oversight over the information flows from these buildings. I would also like to see more transparency in the Council of Ministers. If you look at the other institutions, their work is transparent, at least well documented. Whereas with the Council of Ministers there appears to be a lack of public accessibility to documents, which creates a lack of transparency, and this is something which the Council of Ministers could certainly change.
How do you propose changing or adapting existing Competition Law related to information and media?
© Anders Jensen-Urstad –
I would guess that all market actors would benefit from having a competitive environment which stimulates innovation, research and the launch of new services for customer satisfaction levels and whathave-you. What I would most like to see in the telecoms communication sector is a new way of thinking about vertical integration. There is I think a need to separate the activities of the providers of infrastructure and internet services. You could separate them, not necessarily in that you split companies or remove ownership structures, but owning infrastructures should not influence the business of service providers, or vice-versa.
How would you like to see the EU reforming intellectual property rules? Intellectual property is a quite diverse and constantly expanding field of law. We need to change our intellectual property laws and we need to make it easier to copy information; and to be able to copy information we need to own up to the fact that copies should have no intrinsic value on local markets. This would be a move away from copies as legal economic instruments. Would you say that certain intellectual property laws in the EU, across the different member states, are conducive to promoting business or are a hindrance? Intellectual property laws in the online environment, including trade mark provisions and copyright laws, basically act as an instrument of protectionism. We have huge geographical splintering of the market in Europe, and in external markets where small actors have difficulty acquiring licences for several geographical areas. This is creating barriers to access to new distribution models for consumers who live outside the right geographical region, causing a delay in the adaption of new distribution models or new types of business models. In the worst case scenario, it stops people from interacting and from building new commerce solutions.
How will creators and artists be compensated in a media-saturated world? How do you propose to quell the fears of small independent producers? Copies are not valuable, you need to find other ways of making business. What I would like to ensure is that these types of new distribution and revenue-making models have a strong and competitive ground to enter into. Having low market access barriers is very important for ensuring that as many innovative models, for distribution and getting revenue strings, becomes as easy as possible. With regard to digital civil rights, how should governments police and protect our information? When it comes to private data, it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual. What governments should and could do is make it as easy as possible for every individual to control their own data files; we should have the autonomy to decide where we get data from, who we give data to and how long our data is kept. We are often not aware what information companies or social networks pool from us; there is a lack of awareness. Governments need to look to education and social awareness campaigns; users need to be informed of what happens with their data once they have passed it over.
“...we should have the autonomy to decide where we get data from, who we give data to and how long our data is kept.” u More
How big data-aggregation companies deal with private data is hidden from the user and even public authorities and researchers, because we don’t have access to algorithms. We need to see the specific ways in which our data is dealt with and to see transparency in data management processes.
information: Official website: http://ameliaandersdotter.eu
Emissions trading stand-off
What role for aviation in climate mitigation? The inclusion of international aviation in the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) has sparked a wave of boycott and retaliation threats. Could the polluter be dodging the bill? By Friederike Endress The piece of EU legislation which became effective at the beginning of 2012 aims to put a cap on carbon dioxide emissions from flights arriving at or departing from EU airports by imposing a system of tradable allowances. The scheme had been in place since 2005, covering solely energy-intensive industrial installations, until now. Given the significant share of CO2 emissions produced by aircraft and the ‘polluter pays’ principle underlying the ETS, its extension to aviation might seem a logical move. Yet it is a very controversial one: “It risks a trade war”, says International Air Transport Association (IATA) spokesman Chris Goater, explaining that 24 non-EU countries indicated they were prepared to use retaliatory measures rather than allow the EU to extract taxation from journeys beyond their airspace. Countries opposing the application of the ETS to international aviation include China, the United States and India. Their rejection of the system follows different lines of argument. The cost of the measure is at the heart of debates: “[It] will add costs to air travel at a time when the connectivity provided by air transport can make a major difference to economic development”, Mr Goater says. Opponents of the legislation have also raised the question of legality, claiming that the scheme infringes the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation from 1944, the Kyoto Protocol and the Open Skies Agreement as it imposes a form of tax on fuel consumption and takes into account emissions from the entire journey, including the part outside European airspace.
‘A modest sum for keeping our climate safe’ The European Court of Justice however ruled in December 2011 that the ETS remained in line with all relevant EU and international treaties. Regarding the cost issue, calculations seem to indicate that no major increases in ticket prices are to be expected: “What is projected right now by the Commission, and regarding the price of tickets that for example Delta Airlines in the US announces, [is that] tickets between the US and the EU will get $3 more expensive. That is a very modest sum for an insurance to keep our climate safe”, says Joris den Blanken, Greenpeace EU climate policy director. To him, the obligations for airlines under the ETS are not ambitious enough: “Aviation is one of the fastest increasing sources of global emissions”, he stresses. “The EU’s climate legislation is an important first step to make sure that airlines also contribute to mitigating climate change.”
© Paulo Ordoveza
Towards a global framework There is a clear consensus on at least one point: global measures agreed on by all concerned countries would be preferable to unilateral European legislation. The EU’s decision to move ahead with its unilateral scheme follows several failed attempts to conclude an agreement within the framework of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Such an agreement could now be within reach, as the ETS has highlighted the need for an international consensus. The next meeting is scheduled for June. “We are happy to see countries return to the negotiating table […], which can be seen as a direct result of the legislation adopted in Europe”, Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard pointed out in an interview with Le Monde in March. “If a compromise is reached, the EU would be ready to adapt its legislation […] – but only if this text makes a tangible contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.”
“ We need to see a global scheme implemented, which recognises the unique global nature of air transport.” Mr Goater comments: “We need to see a global scheme implemented, which recognises the unique global nature of air transport.” Under the current rules, payments by airlines will not be due before April 2013, when emissions will have been calculated.
While emissions trading is only one of the tools at hand to counteract climate change and reach emissions targets, it will provide key incentives for finding efficient ways to curb aircraft emissions as energy needs are set to rise.
EU-28 – How ready is Croatia for membership? By Aoife o’GrAdy, ferdinAnd koeniG, MArk HuMPHreyS, GABrieLe eCkHArdt, eMMAnueL freSon, PAtriCiA fLoriC, CAndiCe eLizABetH ASHBy, JuLiAne GAu
Former Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor (2009-2011) shows a copy of the draft of the accession agreement between the European Union and Croatia standing with her Polish counterpart Donald Tusk (L) during his one-day visiting to the Croatian capital Zagreb in September 2011 in the framework of the Polish EU Presidency. Donald Tusk gave a copy of the draft of the accession agreement between the European Union and Croatia. Croatia is on track to become the 28th member of the EU in 2013.
How ready is Croatia for membership?
War, religion and beaches – a short history Republika Hrvatska, the Republic of Croatia, is situated at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. During its long history it has endured Roman, Venetian, Italian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rule as well as being subsumed into the communist politique as part of Yugoslavia, until that too disappeared under the pain and horrors of the recent Balkan wars. Today, Croatia is set to become the 28th member state of the European Union, possibly as early as July 2013. By Aoife o’GrAdy, ferdinAnd koeniG And MArk HuMPHreyS
Croatia, like many states in this region, has a long and colourful history. At one time part of the Roman province of Pannonia, it was eventually settled in the 7th century by the Croats, who converted to Christianity between the 7th and 9th centuries. Today, according to
EU-28 – How ready is Croatia for membership?
the Croatian Bureau of Statistics 2001 census, Roman Catholics make up approximately 87.8% of the population, with other Christian denominations, including Orthodox, accounting for about 4.8%, Muslims make up about 1.3%, and other unspecified or non-religions come in at about 6.1%.
After Germany was defeated in 1945, Croatia was made into a republic, part of the Communist Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito. However, Croatian nationalism persisted and after Tito’s death in 1980, demands for independence increased in intensity.
From the same 2001 census, 89.6% of the country’s 4.42 million population were considered ethnic Croats, followed by Serbs at 4.5%, and 5.9% split between Albanians, Bosnians, Hungarians, Slovenes, Czechs and Roma. Croatian is spoken by an estimated 96.1%, Serbian by 1%, with the remaining 2.9% spread between Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Albanian and German.
Following the break-up of Communism across Europe, free elections were held in 1990 and the Communists defeated by the nationalist, Franjo Tudjman. Croatia declared independence on 25 June 1991 and was recognised by the EU and then the UN in 1992, but this was not enough to prevent the hugely destructive wars that engulfed the region. During the course of this conflict Croatia saw nearly a quarter of its territory occupied, but since 1995 Croatia has regained all of its territory and peace has once again returned.
A short history While today we can see that Croatia has quite a strong and proud nationalist base, its history has weaved a course through conflict and compromise. It all began in 925, when the Croats defeated Byzantine and Frankish invaders and established their own independent kingdom under Tomislav, which reached its peak during the 11th century. After a civil war in 1089, the country was eventually conquered by the Hungarians. The Pacta Conventa united the two nations politically under a Hungarian monarch in 1102 CE, with Croatia retaining its autonomy. However, concerns soon grew over Ottoman expansion from the mid-15th century, with Ottoman victories at the battles of Krbava Field in 1493 and then Mohács in 1526. The Parliament of Cetin in 1527 accepted Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg as the new ruler of Croatia, if the Habsburgs agreed to provide protection to Croatia against the Ottoman Empire. Habsburg rule proved successful, and by the 18th century much of Croatia was free of Turkish control. The Austrian monarchy also acquired control over Dalmatia at the close of the Napoleonic wars following centuries of rule by the Venetian Republic.
A tourist mecca It’s unlikely that the throngs of tourists who flock to Croatia each year are all that concerned with the ins and outs of the country’s chequered past. During the summer months, Croatia is a mecca for tourists seeking sun, sea and sand, or just something new, perhaps the quaint beauty of Dubrovnik’s old town or the Palace of Diocletian at Split.
It is clear however that the continuing eurozone crisis as well as doubts about Romania and Bulgaria’s ability to assume the obligations of EU membership have hardened policymakers’ attitudes to EU Enlargement.
A new chapter in its history opened when it gained domestic autonomy under Hungarian authority following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, which unified the Austrian Empire with the Kingdom of Hungary. After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I in 1918, Croatia proclaimed its independence and joined in union with Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, becoming Yugoslavia in 1929.
Today, Croatia covers approximately 56 594 km², with a Mediterranean climate on the coast marked by mild, wet winters, and dry summers, while the climate inland is more continental – cold winters and hot summers. Its regions are diverse, with over 1 180 islands off its Dalmatian coastline, flat plains along the border with Hungary, and mountains and highlands near the Adriatic coastline in the north. Croatians retain a strong attachment to the land and their traditions, with a real commitment to preserving the extraordinary beauty of the coast. And having battled so long and hard over the past centuries to retain their independence, it seems now that the next stop will be EU membership in 2013.
The obligations of EU membership? Too much to assume? Sunshine for most of the year, miles of coastline and beaches, thousands of islands. And that is no doubt where Croatians hope the mental associations linking their country to beleaguered Greece end. It is clear however that the continuing eurozone crisis
as well as doubts about Romania and Bulgaria’s ability to assume the obligations of EU membership have hardened policymakers’ attitudes to EU Enlargement. Certainly Croatia has been asked to implement additional measures which were not features of previous enlargements. Accession Chapter 23, on the judiciary and fundamental rights, was introduced before Croatia even opened negotiations. Moreover, the country is required to submit to additional monitoring even though the Accession Treaty has been signed – a first in the history of EU Enlargement.
Convincing doubters The question of whether a country is ever prepared enough to join the EU or not is of course unanswerable. Many countries in the EU would resoundingly fail the EU’s entry requirements if asked to resubmit their membership applications. To give but one example – corruption – which featured regularly as an issue for concern during Croatia’s accession negotiations, the country scores better in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 than existing EU members Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Romania and comes equal to newly welcomed eurozone member Slovakia.
Sanader’s impending trial is the most high profile in the country, but arrests have been happening across a swathe of Croatia’s elite. In a development that can hardly be coincidental, the runup to the signing of Croatia’s Accession Treaty saw a number of high profile arrests on corruption charges, for example General Mladen Kruljac, Commander of Croatia’s ground forces and Ivan Čehok, the Mayor of the northern city of Varaždin and Member of Parliament as well as countless others in the police, judiciary and world of sport.
Only sentences will deter sticky fingers “For the time being, there are plenty of arrests, but no-one has been sentenced”, says Zorislav Petrović, journalist and member of Transparency International Croatia’s board. “Crooked local officials will be more cautious when putting their sticky fingers into taxpayers’ money, but there will need to be sentences for any of these arrests to have an impact. Nonetheless, EU pressure was helpful in forcing the government to improve the legal framework.
In the first ten years of Croatian independence a lot of public money was misspent. It was virtually a one-party state until 2000, but the current coalition government was elected on an anti-corruption platform
This is hardly likely however to persuade the proverbial Swabian Hausfrau that her hard earned taxes will not end up being misdirected as soon as Croatia is eligible for not inconsiderable EU funds. And not even the most stubborn owner of rose-tinted spectacles would deny the challenges that the country has faced in preparing itself for EU membership. As reported in the Financial Times, EU Ambassador to Croatia Paul Vandoren admitted the EU’s statement that “benchmarks had been sufficiently met...” implies that not all were met fully.
“Laws on the financing of political parties, on free access to information and on conflicts of interest have been passed and we are pretty happy with them”, continues Petrović. “Twinning projects with other EU Member States such as Spain, France and Finland have also helped our public administration.”
Petrović concludes, “The government will do whatever it takes to make sure EU money is not misspent. In the first ten years of Croatian independence a lot of public money was misspent. It was virtually a one-party state until 2000, but the current coalition government was elected on an anti-corruption platform. They will not want to alienate their EU partners so quickly, particularly as the country needs EU money to fund its modernisation.”
Progress amid doubts Taking elites to task It is nonetheless notable that the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, once regarded as untouchable, is due to stand trial for allegedly taking bribes from the Hungarian petrol company MOL and from the Austrian Hypo Alpe Adria Bank. In January this year, it was also revealed that he will face a new set of charges relating to electricity contracts, which it is claimed benefited him personally to the detriment of Croatia’s state owned electric company HEP.
Amid the fears that EU money might be misused, there are genuine success stories resulting from EU funding. “We are very proud of the results that have been achieved via cross-border projects financed by the EU”, says Patrick Galeski, advisor at the Varaždin County Development Agency. “For example, a crossborder entrepreneurship scheme got Slovenian and Croatian companies cooperating and resulted in six concrete business ventures with companies in Varaždin County, while another cross-border scheme enabled us to reduce energy consumption in our public buildings by 15%.
EU-28 â€“ How ready is Croatia for membership?
The EU family, despite the breakdown and heavy load, is still picking up new passengers â€“ themselves carrying their own baggage. Is it really the right time to hit the road together?
“The EU has brought new opportunities for exchange and a more efficient and accountable public sector. Transparency has definitely improved.” Demonstrable progress, while doubts continue. An enlargement no different to the others it seems.
Ivo SANADER – The glory days and the fall Prime Minister between 2003 and 2009, Ivo Sanader was Croatia’s head of government when the country’s EU accession negotiations opened in October 2005. In the months following the opening of negotiations, he was Croatia’s most popular politician, enjoying praise from not only domestic audiences, but also internationally.
The moderniser triumphant Sanader was the last international leader to visit Pope John Paul II before the late pontiff’s death. During Croatia’s Parliamentary elections in 2007, European Prime Ministers Angela Merkel (Germany), Bertie Ahern (Ireland), Konstantinos Karamanlis (Greece) and Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourg) appeared in an election video to support him. He was credited as a moderniser, taking the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) founded by Croatia’s first President Franjo Tuđman into the 21st century. In international eyes he did much to rid his party’s associations with the Balkan Wars, while continuing to appeal to the party’s conservative base. He was a talented political operator, able it appeared to reconcile seemingly irreconcilable political forces.
© Olivier Broyart
“Making way for new faces” In mid-2009, his resignation came as a surprise, prompting a flurry of speculation as to why he felt the need to step down. The official reason given was that he was making way for new faces, but given that he had recently sought the candidacy of his party for the Presidential election, this claim was treated with scepticism. Some speculated over his health, others that it was the price extracted by the Slovenians to lift their opposition to Croatia’s EU membership over a border dispute. The HDZ party had never quite shaken off its reputation for corruption, particularly since a large scandal in 1999, and as time went on rumours began to circulate.
Nonetheless, when the arrest came it was as sudden as it was surprising. Unceremoniously stripped of his Parliamentary immunity by the Croatian Parliament in December 2010, only two months after returning to the Parliament as an MP, he escaped by car to Austria, where he was promptly arrested. He was extradited from Austria to Croatia half a year later.
Mounting charges He was initially charged with accepting bribes from Austria’s Hypo Alpe Adria bank in 1995, when he was deputy Foreign Minister, as well as accepting illegal payments from MOL, the Hungarian oil company, as Prime Minister in 2008. Recently, a new set of charges related to financial irregularities and reported losses of €100 million at Croatia’s state owned electric company HEP have been pressed. The damage caused to the once dominant HDZ party is considerable. Sanader’s handpicked successor, Jadranka Kosor, has been forced to carry out a root and branch investigation of the whole party and the HDZ took a mauling in last December’s Parliamentary elections, losing 18 seats in the 151-seat Parliament.
Unemployment in Croatia: an all too familiar story... The issue of corruption is not the only problem Croatia shares with its EU brethren. National statistics on unemployment reveal an all too familiar story to EU members. A recent report from the Croatian Times claims that the unemployment rate had crept past 20% in February 2012, an unhappy first for the country since April 2003. Meanwhile, the EU’s own figures set the unemployment rate for Croatia in January 2012 at 13.9% (representing unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force). While these figures won’t score Croatia a place at the very top of the gloomy EU leader board of joblessness (Spain, Ireland and Portugal all demonstrate higher rates while the Greek figures are not yet in), it draws worryingly close in fifth position. Time will tell whether accession to the EU has the effect of curbing Croatia’s rising unemployment rate. For now, our newest member is in good company.
EU-28 – How ready is Croatia for membership?
Flashback Croatia’s 20-year journey from independence to eu accession Croatia is well on course to realising its goal of becoming the EU’s 28th member state, even if it might have been a rocky road at times. It has today come a long way since it first broke away from Yugoslavia, and the subsequent wars which inflamed the Balkans in the 1990s. By MArk HuMPHreyS In June 1991, the Yugoslav People's Army attacked Croatia, dragging the region into war after Croatia and Slovenia announced they would seek independence from the Yugoslav federation. Both achieved international recognition as independent states on 15 January 1992, but one-third of Croatia’s territory remained occupied by rebel Serbs, backed by the Yugoslav army. Although hostilities ceased following Croatia's acceptance among the international community, Serb-occupied areas continued to remain outside the administrative power of the central government in Zagreb until 1995, when Croatia launched military operations against Serb fighters and regained the occupied territories.
StiCkinG PointS EU relations toward Croatia only really began to warm after the death in 1999 of Croatia's nationalist President, Franjo Tudjman, and the subsequent elections in 2000 which brought into power a centreleft coalition led by Ivica Racan. However, EU negotiations stalled between March and October 2005, with Brussels calling for Croatian generals to face war crimes charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). There was also a territorial waters dispute in the Adriatic with EU member state Slovenia. This had been holding up
negotiations, but in June 2010 Slovenia accepted the ruling of international arbitrators on the dispute. Battling widespread corruption, especially among the judiciary, courts, police and political elite in Zagreb, had also proved challenging for the incumbent Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor. She took office on 6 July 2009, and was Croatia's first female Prime Minister since independence. As a result, the EU set tougher standards for entry, with the British, French and Dutch demanding a new process for monitoring Croatia's compliance with its EU commitments over the last two years.
ACCeSSion On 30 June 2011, after six years of negotiations, the European Commission signalled the successful closing of the final "chapters" in Croatia's accession talks, and on 9 December 2011 Croatia signed the Treaty of Accession, although Croatian public opinion has been divided on EU accession. Public support during the referendum process © The Council of the European Union
had wavered from a high of 80% to a low of just 26%. However, the national referendum on EU accession on 22 January 2012 saw a 66.25% vote in favour and 33.13% against – only an estimated 47% of eligible voters took part in the referendum. To date, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy and Malta have already ratified Croatia’s accession treaty, which will eventually need to be ratified by all 27 EU member states. The successful accession of Croatia into the EU could be as early as 1 July 2013, possibly paving the way for the rest of the former Yugoslavia to join the EU less than two decades after the wars of the 1990s. But don’t hold your breath, growing euroscepticism, populism and nationalism across much of Europe could still pose problems.
Comments Croatia, what have you got yourself into? Would you jump onto a ship that appeared to be sinking? What if it was the choice between a sinking ship and desert island? In January, Croatian voters decided to take their chances at sea when 66% of them voted ‘da’ in the country’s referendum on joining the EU. By Aoife o’GrAdy If not quite a sinking ship, the EU certainly sprang a few leaks last year. Consecutive crisis talks in Brussels attended by an increasingly haggard and perplexed Mer-kozy et al dominated the media. Surely Croatians, well at least the 44% of them who actually turned out to vote, didn’t miss the headlines?
no ALternAtive Young Croatian and self-proclaimed right-wing intellectual blogger Fitch F. Rich claims that, in spite of the water-log, the EU still represents the place to be for countries like Croatia. Fitch writes, “That might be strange or funny to one living in the West, but Croatia has no real alternative to EU membership.” Unless, that is, remaining isolated or becoming a part of some form of Balkan association are considered as viable alternatives. The latter would, according to Fitch, be “a horrific scenario for Croatia” which “fought in a bloody war to get out of the Balkans’ political reach.”
in any case, “If the EU breaks up, all European countries will be affected, even those that are not members of the EU. Croatia has nothing to gain by staying outside the EU.” In the run-up to the referendum, the arguments against Croatia joining the EU echoed those stirred up in most candidate countries as accession looms (loss of national sovereignty, etc.), except this time they were fuelled by the black economic outlook in the eurozone. Tena believes financial woes however should not overshadow the EU’s other gains, “Focused as we are on the economic problems, we are not noticing how well we [in the EU] are actually living today, from many points of view – be it freedom of movement, absence of wars and conflicts, increased access to information or an overall striving towards more democratic models. If the EU structure collapsed, I am sure we would remember these times as a golden period and regret we didn't do more to avoid its decline.”
“ Croatia has nothing to gain by staying outside the EU.”
Tena Prelec, a London-based CroatianItalian consultant and writer, agrees that Croatians feel a far stronger draw towards Europe than towards the Balkans. “Personally I think this was one of the reasons the vote of the referendum was so positive, despite the high levels of euroscepticism that have developed in Croatia recently. If they need to pick one, there's no doubt it's going to be Europe.” Croatian-born Igor Krajacic, who now also lives and works in the UK, adds that Croatia can’t protect itself from EU decline
Not all Croatians share Tena’s enthusiasm. The strikingly low voter turnout for the referendum, summed up (almost comically) by Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović as “not great but legal”, is perhaps the best indicator of the public mood. It seems Croatians are resigned to EU accession as the best of a bad bunch of options. Maybe they figure if the sinking ship is big enough, there’s a chance someone will send in the life rafts...
Croatia Calling blog – Fitch F. Rich u Why are we boarding the Titanic? http://croatiacalling.info/2012/01/why-are-we-boarding-the-titanic/
EU-28 – How ready is Croatia for membership?
Tourism Croatia – a travel destination en vogue More than 1 000 islands, crystal-clear waters, lots of culture and many exciting places make Croatia a top travel destination in south-east Europe. By GABrieLe eCkHArdt Croatia was fortunate enough to rapidly overcome the ravages of the war in the former Yugoslavia and since then has successfully stripped itself of its image as a fusty ex-socialist country. Its authenticity and purity make Croatia an eclectic travel destination. More than 10 million tourists spend their holidays in Croatia every year, enjoying the beautiful beaches, cultural heritage, stable weather conditions and exciting, authentic places.
WHAt to do And WHAt to See – touriSt HiGHLiGHtS of CroAtiA The most popular holiday destination in Croatia is without doubt the Dalmatian Coast, with its estimated 1 200 islands, crystal-clear blue waters and beautiful beaches. The Adriatic Sea is an eldorado for swimming and water sports, fishing and yachting. The Croatian tourism sector is creative, dynamic and proactive. The country is home to many famous places, such as the city of Dubrovnik, known as the “Pearl of the Adria”, a blend of holistic artwork combining Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles. The historical centres of Dubrovnik and Split are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Croatia is entirely within its rights to advertise itself under the slogan “The Mediterranean as it once was”. The ancient cities of Dubrovnik and Split can be likened to the flair and charm of Italy or the Côte d'Azur in the 1950s. Besides sports, leisure and culture, Croatia offers a wide range of eco-tourism options as well as holidays for guests looking for a certain level of comfort and luxury. Croatia is also wonderful for the many unique festivals and events it holds. Tourism has a long tradition in Croatia and offers a lot of potential for growth.
HoW touriSM iMPACtS CroAtiA Foreign guests play a very important role in the Croatian economy. Tourism represents a large source of income for both the Government and locals and is a major net earner in terms of foreign exchange. Service industries, including tourism, are the most important sector in terms of contribution to GDP (over 60%) and employment (www.wto.org). Croatia has been accepted as the 28th member of the European Union and will join the community in mid-2013. One of the biggest assets of Croatian tourism is its untouched nature and the authenticity and integrity of the people. If you find yourself in a small Croatian fishing village, you get the feeling that time has stood still; commercialisation has not yet
taken hold. Tourist developments are tailored to the needs of both Croatian citizens and foreign guests. This contributes to improving the standard of living for the local population and helps preserve the local nature and national identity.
eCo-touriSM in CroAtiA The biggest attraction for Croatian tourism is the beauty of the almost untouched nature. Tourists looking for quiet, rest and relaxation can be sure to find a hidden bay somewhere out there. The country offers plenty of sanctuaries for nature lovers. In comparison with other countries, the quality of the tap water in Croatia is extremely good. It seems that many places in Croatia are still untroubled by mass tourism. There is high demand for accommodation with an authentic character as well as unique island paradises. Croatia is keen to offer all that and, through clever planning, maintain its purity. Many places deliberately avoid ultramodernisation and at the same time favour regionalism. The Government of Croatia is very ambitious in supporting soft tourism, which blends nature and culture. Ten percent of Croatia’s surface area is protected and classified as natural reserves. "Volim Hrvatsku! – I love Croatia." Travelling Croatia is discovering the Mediterranean at its best, and the people certainly know how to look after their guests. Retaining its charming, typical character is clearly the key to success for Croatian tourism. © eGuide Travel
Housing market Homeless youth along the Croatian coast Everyone has an acquaintance who has been offered a beautiful residence in Croatia with amazing sea views at an unbeatable price. For more than 15 years now, Croatia has been invaded by foreigners who have literally jumped at this opportunity, considering it as a secure and quickly profitable investment.
By eMMAnueL freSon Take, for example, a couple who have been together for 5 years and have for some time now been looking for a flat to rent in Dubrovnik. With a combined income of less than €2 000 and rents upwards of €1 200 a month, it is unthinkable for them to leave their family home, unless of course they move to the countryside where unfortunately there are fewer jobs on offer. In 2007, the National Croatian Bank noted a 90% increase in rents over the last 10 years, with a 61.6% increase from 2004 to 2007.
© Juliette Decroix
This gold rush has led to devastating consequences for the local population and especially for young people.
This growing trend of rising prices is forcing residents to move away and find a more affordable place to live. This exodus is progressively leading to empty seaside resorts like Dubrovnik where there are only 30 000 inhabitants today, compared to 47 000 in 1991. According to Jean-Arnault Dérens, chief editor at ‘Courrier des Balkans’: “The negative consequences are both social and environmental. Lots of people who are officially unemployed live off tourism, renting rooms or houses, or doing seasonal work, often undeclared. This economic model is particularly tricky for young people who are trying to leave their parents. The current situation is almost worse than in Paris or Rome, forcing them to take to the streets regularly to demonstrate. Besides this social damage, the environment is also overlooked to the benefit of massive buildings that rarely respect the often vague urban rules in place.”
tHe root of ALL eviL After the war in 1995, the disorganisation of the State provided an ideal environment for extremely good deals which many opportunists seized. In theory, foreigners were not allowed to take up such deals. This prohibition was a relic of the Mussolini era in Italy when numerous Italians settled down in Istria and Dalmatia. They started being expelled from Croatia in 1945. Nevertheless, this law on real estate acquisition was easily circumvented through company deals. Similar practices have been used for massive real estate deals with the privatisation of building complexes, something encouraged by corrupt local authorities.
you CAn’t See tHe Wood for tHe treeS Since then, Croatia has become fertile soil for real estate businesses. This phenomenon has been drawing in tourists and investors, and with its 1 777 km of coast and 1 000 islands, this juicy market is increasing revenues and has made tourism the largest sector in terms of GDP in Croatia. Nonetheless, Jean-Arnault Dérens insists: “Although tourism is crucial for the Croatian economy, this path taken by the economy is obviously not an appropriate response to the structural issues that the country faces. Apart from tourism, the situation along the coast is dramatic: shipyards are devastated, fisheries are in dire need of restructuring and tourism activities run by Croatians mask a high unemployment rate of 18%.” It is extremely difficult to predict what Croatia will look like over the coming 10 years. “If decision-makers have no clear, long-term development policy, even membership of the European Union and access to its structural funds will be futile”, predicts JeanArnault Dérens.
EU-28 – How ready is Croatia for membership?
Big issue opening the Balkan route to organised crime? In the UN 2010 World Drugs and Corruption report, the United Nations pointed out that “Most of the heroin dispatched from Afghanistan to West Europe proceeds overland along the so-called ‘Balkan route’.” With Croatia entering the EU, particular attention is being given to organised crime and the trafficking of human beings in the region of the Balkans. By PAtriCiA fLoriC “I notice that Croatia faces problems similar to numerous countries, even EU countries. This can be seen, for example, in the corruption or the presence of economic activities resulting from money laundering. It is also important to remember that Croatia is under the influence of the ‘Balkan route’ trafficking”, remarks Sonia Alfano, member of the European Parliament and author of the Report on organised crime in the European Union for the European Parliament. Croatia is also a key position for transit; not only located on the “Balkan route”, it also geographically benefits from direct access to the sea. In 2011, the Council of Europe released a report on Croatia produced by its Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA). “When we look at Croatia, it is mostly what we call, in terms of trafficking in human beings, a country of transit and destination, although lately it appears that there are also signs of it becoming a country of origin too”, explains Nell Rasmussen, one of the authors of the 2011 Report concerning the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by Croatia. Today, Croatia enjoys a good reputation for tourism, so Croatian national authorities remain cautious about the consequences that growing numbers of tourists and touristic activities may have on the problem of human trafficking. “Tourism may very well impact the human trafficking area. In order to identify victims, the police have been very much aware of conducting missions in touristic places. But apparently it hasn’t shown many results so far”, says Nell Rasmussen.
ProteCtinG viCtiMS firSt Regarding the number of victims of human trafficking identified in Croatia, results remain low. “Statistically there haven’t been
many victims identified. In fact in the latest years for which we have statistics, there were eight victims in 2009 (including four Croatian nationals) and seven in 2010 (four Croatian nationals).” However, Nell Rasmussen insists on the need to carry out more research and collect more data on the trafficking of human beings in Croatia. “GRETA had a number of recommendations to the Croatian government and one of the most important was the fact that it needs to take further steps to introduce a more proactive identification of victims and improve the assistance and protection of victims. Also, research and data collection are necessary both for policy-making and also for identifying the trends in human trafficking in the country.” Moreover, to reinforce the current support to victims, GRETA recommends a more active campaign to raise awareness on the legal rights of a victim of human trafficking. “It is important for victims to have knowledge about the possibilities regarding legal procedures and compensation for the injuries they have suffered”, claims Nell Rasmussen. Nevertheless, Ms Rasmussen remarks that the Croatian government is putting a considerable effort into tackling these issues: “The work against trafficking in Croatia is very well organised, in terms of Croatia having both a good legal and institutional framework and furthermore a national action plan on human trafficking which was adopted several years ago and has, more important, been implemented.” Croatia also benefits from a regional platform for collaborating with other countries of the Balkans. “The countries in the Balkans are cooperating and are aware of the necessity to work together – for example when victims are repatriated they are looked after to make sure they will be repatriated safely.”
BorderS not A BArrier to trAffiCkerS AnyMore When Croatia becomes an EU member in 2013, Croatian borders will be opened toward the EU and control will be stopped. But,
tHe nortHern And BALkAn routeS RUSSIAN FEDERATION 70 TONS PER YEAR
RUSSIAN FEDERATION BELARUS UNITED KINGDOM
WESTERN EUROPE 80 TONS PER YEAR
BOSNIA AND H.
SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN PAKISTAN INDIA
according to Nell Rasmussen, the adhesion of Croatia in terms of open-borders for traffickers is not a real issue. She realises that even if border control remains an opportunity to detect victims, it has become less and less a real effective solution. She says “It is legitimate to think that the absence of border controls may facilitate the trafficking and the movement of victims from one country to another. However, as more and more traffickers are supplying victims with legal travel documents and are no longer using falsified passports, it has become really difficult at a border control to identify or detect them.” MEP Sonia Alfano agrees and insists on the importance of continuing the project of EU Enlargement. “Until today, according to data that we received, border controls are not efficient enough to tackle the so-called ‘Balkan route’ which counterfeit trademark goods, weapons, drugs and human beings are still going through. Personally, I consider that we cannot even think of excluding the Balkan region from the Union’s sphere because the Balkans are, geographically speaking, European, and should therefore be integrated into the EU. And this would allow a common approach in the fight against organised crime.”
neW PAtternS And neW StrAteGy MEP Sonia Alfano explains, “Organised criminals and more particularly mafias are enterprise-like. We should forget the
stereotypical image of the Godfather. However, contrary to enterprises, they do not respect the market rules, and are the only ones today who have cash ready to be invested.” She also observes that the current financial crisis is pushing people to behave differently, and, in regards to organised crime, “During a crisis, the tolerance of illegal activities is more accepted: people prefer buying counterfeit goods than not buying at all.” For her part, Nell Rasmussen pays particular attention to the constant evolution in the way traffickers organise their businesses. She says, “I think that patterns are changing all the time and the strategy to combat trafficking should be adapted to be more effective in line with those changes. Generally speaking, we consider that women and children are the more vulnerable in regards to human trafficking, but today there is a new tendency to increase the number of men being trafficked for labour exploitation. So things change.”
CHASinG MoBSterS out of tHe eu Despite the current situation in the Balkans, Sonia Alfano feels reassured about the future of the EU. In March of this year the European Parliament followed her recommendations and has launched a new committee to fight against organised crime in the EU. “This symbolises a strong signal for European politics: the EU wishing to fight effectively against those criminal threats.”
EU-28 – How ready is Croatia for membership?
Book A Tiger’s eye on Yugoslavian war Today’s youths are often accused of many things that separate them from the older and the wiser: lack of ambition, lack of appreciation, and a self-inflicted disconnectedness from their roots. By Candice Elizabeth Ashby And perhaps this insurmountable gap between the old and the young cannot be bridged by conventional means. In order to see, for instance, the horrors of war, the young must look through the surreal looking glass of myth, folklore and fairy tale. The Tiger’s Wife is arguably that looking glass, or more accurately, it is the magical forest where Mowgli’s anthropomorphic friends in Kipling’s The Jungle Book lived. It is no accident that the author of this lush tale is 25-year-old Téa Obreht, born in the former Yugoslavia. Last year, Obreht won the Orange Prize and was on the NY Times list of the twenty best American fiction writers under the age of 40. This is, in part, due to her incredibly descriptive view of Balkan history. The Tiger’s Wife is narrated by Natalia Stefanovic, a young doctor who, on her way to administer inoculations to orphans, finds out that her grandfather has died. As Natalia passes through towns and cities with fictional names, she alludes to the borders that separate one territory from another. Obreht writes about borders without naming them. She speaks of war “and the years of destitution that followed it.” Her prose is heavy with the realities of war, the young people who use the war as an excuse to shirk responsibilities and the older people who feel guilty for bringing up their children in a violent world. And all the time, the reader, who has surely made the connection with the former Yugoslavia’s bloody history, is acutely aware of the illusory elements that flow throughout the novel. As the narrator describes her grandfather’s childhood, his fables, and the background history of those who lived in his hometown, one character remains obstinately present, predatory, misunderstood, admired, protected
and feared – that of the tiger. In fact, the tiger may be symbolic of Obreht herself as he returns to his roots, rediscovering his nature, all the while with a human sense of curiosity, compassion and loyalty to the deaf mute girl, who is nicknamed the tiger’s wife by superstitious villagers.
When your fight has purpose – to free you from
something, to interfere on the behalf of an innocent – it has a hope of finality. When the fight is about unraveling – when it is about your name, the places to which your blood is anchored, the attachment of your name to some landmark or event – there is nothing but hate, and the long, slow progression of people who feed on it and are fed it, meticulously, by the ones who come before them. Then the fight is endless, and comes in waves and waves, but always retains the capacity to surprise those who hope against it.
The tiger’s wife has no voice and could easily allude to the voices of the people in that region who have not been heard. The inevitability of war is that years after it is over, those who remember it well are left forgotten with the grief of their loss. But Obreht consistently reminds readers that although the former Yugoslavia has a violent history, it also has traditions, rituals and stories that form a more complete picture of this region of Europe. By being vague about places and names so that the reader is never sure which side of the border Natalia is on, Obreht manages to re-unite Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, etc. Using myths and traditions from all of these places, she gives its people a new voice, while also reminding them that borders are intangible and illusory, and there are consequences to making them real.
The Tiger’s Wife, p. 281
© Beowulf Sheehan
Giving a home to broken hearts The ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ in Zagreb, Croatia, pays tribute to broken hearts “When a relationship ends, you are never the same person as before – every relationship leaves a mark on your life”, says Olinka Vištica. “You feel like some part of you disappears”. Together with Dražen Grubišié, she founded the ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ in Zagreb, Croatia.
Orange underpants, an axe, a little tissue bag – the exhibits tell stories of faded loves: “One size too small…but I didn't mind at all” (for the underpants, memory of a 2-year relationship in Croatia); “Every day I axed one piece of her furniture” (a relationship ended in Berlin, Germany); or “He bought MegAArts demined soil for me at the Markale market in Sarajevo...” (souvenir of a brief relationship in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, taken from a place with its own history: on 5 February 1994, a bomb exploded at Markale market, killing 68 people). “When splitting up, it is easy to separate household goods (this is your DVD player, this is my rice cooker, etc.)”, says Olinka, “but for some items, there are emotions attached.” The idea of the museum is to preserve a memory, the ‘emotional heritage’ of what is most priceless in life: love. The idea behind the museum was born when both founders split up in 2004 after a four-year relationship: “We talked about it in the break-up process, and the idea was stored in the form of a file on my computer”, remembers Vištica. Only two years later, her ex called her up to talk about using the idea to take part in a Zagreb conceptual art fair. “We had no idea as to whether or not it would work – but within one week, we had already received 40 objects, after sending emails to friends who forwarded messages to their friends”, said Vištica. Olinkas and Dražen’s personal exhibit was a toy rabbit, bought instead of a real cat due to allergies. The rabbit travelled along with the partners on their business trips. The ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ organises exhibitions worldwide
and relies on local involvement, such as collecting local donations. What would an exhibition in Brussels, a melting pot for people of different languages and cultures, look like? “The pain after breaking up is universal; everyone goes through pain, rage and acceptance, but the approach to the break-up can be different according to the culture”, says Vištica, referring to the various exhibitions organised in Europe, Asia, South Africa and the USA. Every exhibit tells a little
© Museum of Broken Relationships
By Juliane Gau
story and reflects parts of a culture: “Sometimes we can see similarities within the same country: in Slovenia, the love stories told were very long and romantic, while the Bosnian people showed a great sense of black humour, even in difficult times”, she says, underlining that she does not want to generalise at all. “The success of the ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ is based on the fact that breaking up is a familiar experience to each of us, everyone can feel compassion for each other”, says Vištica. Love crosses cultures and countries. Even a faded one. u More
information: Museum of Broken Relationships: http://brokenships.com/en
EU-28 – How ready is Croatia for membership?
In the Land of Blood and Honey Rade Šerbedžija: “Let everybody talk about their shame, I would talk about my shame!” Hearing the name Rade Šerbedžija you may well wonder who he is… but as soon as you see his face, you recognise him. He is one of the most famous actors in the Balkans, and despite acting in many American movies, he always comes back to his homeland, Croatia, where his job is to discover new talent in the theatre he co-founded. It is with real pleasure that SHIFTmag is able to talk with this multi-talented artist – actor, comedian, singer and poet – to discuss his role in Angelina Jolie’s movie In the Land of Blood and Honey and take the opportunity to learn more about his international career and also the dark era of former Yugoslavia.
Interview by Patricia Floric Over the last few years, you have apparently refused to play in movies about the Yugoslavian war. Why did you accept to play in In the Land of Blood and Honey? What in Angelina Jolie’s script made you change your mind? Because it was a very good script, was well written and raised questions in my mind. Also, because I knew parts would be shot in both Serbia and Croatia. And even though I knew that some people would be upset about this film, I think that a global artist should have the right to talk about things happening in the world and I
took the opportunity to help people to understand what happened in former Yugoslavia. You know, many Serbian nationalists are saying bad things about me, as are Croatian nationalists actually – but it’s my destiny; if you don’t take sides, you’re an enemy of those nations. What I always say is what Berthold Brecht said: “Let everybody talk about their shame, I would talk about my shame !” It’s important for everybody to talk about the bad things that happened, firstly in their own nations; then after that they can talk about others. Angelina Jolie, in some interviews, reminded people of how important her movie is in terms of telling the story of the violence inflicted on women during wartime. Was it also important in your view, and how, as a man, did you approach those terrible scenes? Of course it’s a terrible thing that so many women were raped during this war. And of course it wasn’t only Muslim women, but all women. Many terrible things happened; a rape is so terrible that words can’t describe it. I’m myself a father of four daughters, so it’s especially difficult for me to watch this you know, and to know that’s what happened. Rade Šerbedžija, you are not only a great actor but also a singer – you even used to sing songs around Yugoslavia against the war spreading to Bosnia…
© Vladan Elakovic
Yes, at the time I was living in Belgrade with my wife, it was my second marriage. War started there and of course I was one of the people who wanted to stop the war and help people to understand; trying to organise meetings for peace and all of that. In fact I wrote a song, an antiwar song which became, at the time, the most popular song in Bosnia. But unfortunately, war went ahead and after that I never sang the song again. I tried to sing it again at some of my concerts, but it felt bitter and I couldn’t.
Just before war started, more than a hundred thousand people came to the main square in Sarajevo to demonstrate against the war which had already started in Croatia. I remember I was there. I came for the promotion of my new album. But people asked me to come and talk to them – they were singing my song – I remember, I went and I said: ‘If everybody in the world is watching this and can see what is happening, please send troops immediately to stop the war !’ Of course, nobody listened to me at the time and effectively war started. Since then, your international career has taken you to different parts of the world (UK, USA, etc.) but it seems that you always come back to Croatia. You even co-founded the Ulysses Theatre with Borislav Vujčić. How important was it for you to found this theatre there? Yes, in 2000 we founded a theatre on the beautiful island of Brijuni where we were performing at the summer festival in July and August. It was important for me because I wanted the national festival to once again bring people together from all parts of the former Yugoslavia. And we did it ! We got actors from Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia and also overseas. So I’m really happy about it. No real borders anymore, especially for actors. Yes that’s true, my vision was realised. I love international theatre with international crews. I also started an art academy in Rijeka where we teach in both English and Croatian. I hope that after the academic year my student actors will speak excellent English so that they can continue their careers anywhere in the world. A career spanning more than 40 years – you act and have been directed by talented artists. What has been your favourite moment/ experience? (Laugh) It is always difficult to say, but maybe the film Before the rain was the top moment in my acting career. But it’s not always important you know that you are good in films. What is important is that the film is good (laughing). What was your reaction when you learned that Croatia would be the 28th country to enter the EU in 2013? Well you know what, I don’t think it’s the best idea nowadays – not only for Croatia but also for many small countries. I feel like that because I think the biggest nations are getting the biggest slice of the cake and smaller nations will struggle to get a slice – and I know it sounds strange if I say that, especially me, who thinks and dreams about a national world telling something like that, but I think there are still many problems today with the European Union constitution – I believe that it’s better to be out of the EU – but now we have to be part of it. What are you working on at the moment? At the moment I am pretty busy. I’ve just finished playing a role in Taken 2 and I’m about to head off to Vancouver to shoot a pilot of an old series that is very popular in America.
Sports it’s a family thing Some of Croatia’s most popular sportsmen and women of recent years include tennis supremo and Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanišević, fellow tennis star Marin Čilić, currently ranked 24 in the ATP world rankings, and athlete Blanka Vlašić, who won an Olympic silver at the 2008 games and in 2010 was voted European athlete of the year When it comes to skiing and Taekwondo though, Croatia seems to have more than its fair share of ‘sibling’ talent. In skiing there are the brother and sister duo of Ivica and Janica Kostelic, and from the world of Taekwondo come twin sisters Lucija and Ana Zaninovic. Ana Zaninovic hit the top of her game last year in South Korea, when she became the first Croatian woman to become World Champion. Her sister Lucija has also been performing at her peak, taking Gold at the 2010 European Championships in the under 49kg class. They are both running on high-octane at the moment, in anticipation of Olympic glory at this year’s 2012 London Olympics – a team definitely worth watching out for at this year’s coming London games. The other great Croatian sporting family of recent years are the alpine skiers Ivica and Janica Kostelic. In 2003 Ivica and Janica became the first siblings in history to win gold medals in the same event at a World Championships, Ivica became the Men’s and Janica the Women’s World Slalom Champions. Janica, considered by many to be one of the great woman skiers of all time, is also the only woman to win four gold medals in alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics (in 2002 and 2006), and the only woman to win three alpine skiing gold medals in one Olympics (2002) – she retired in 2007. Her brother Ivica is still competing. Ivica won two Olympic silver medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, and he won the overall World Cup title in 2011. So it seems that while sibling rivalry can sometimes prove a volatile mix, in Croatia it seems family ties have proved more successful than problematic. M.H.
© Alba Rincón
Apparently you were in Sarajevo on 6 April 1992, the day the war started in Bosnia. Can you tell us about it?
EU-28 â€“ How ready is Croatia for membership?
And now? EU Conquest of the East The policy of EU enlargement is bringing many hopes to Eastern countries aiming to enter the EU. And if, Croatia will become next year the 28th country to enter the European Union, there are still many in the Balkans waiting for their turn. So, whoâ€™s next? Stefan FĂźle, EU Commissioner responsible for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy offers to SHIFT Mag his point of view about a Union in constant expansion.
Interview By Patricia Floric While we are witnessing important crisis in Greece and Italy, some are worrying is the EU financially ready to support the adhesion of new members? What would you answer them? Enlargement works and brings benefits to both sides, even and especially in a time of financial and economic crisis. Enlargement helps to improve the quality of our lives through integration and cooperation with aspirant countries. Take the environment: pollution does not stop at borders. Enlargement makes Europe a safer and better place, for example by promoting democracy or fighting corruption and organised crime together. And we have seen a positive effect with the results of the latest waves of EU enlargement. The most obvious is the increased trade and business opportunities of the single market. We tend to forget all this now as we see everything through the lens of the bleak economic indicators of the current financial crisis. But this crisis has nothing to do with EU enlargement. On the contrary in times when the economy is exposed to the challenges of globalisation the Enlargement policy comes as a solution to tackle these challenges. Enlargement-driven reforms will contribute to economic stability in our immediate neighbourhood, and struc-
tural economic benefits achieved this way will help bring Europe back on track again. Serbia has just been accepted as candidate for the EU. As you have been many times in contact with the Serbian government do you think it will soon recognize Kosovo? And, do you think that Serbian people would accept to turn a page of their history with Kosovo so quickly? Dialogue and reconciliation are proven recipes for solving problems in Europe. Serbia is gradually coming to terms with the fact that it can work out practical solutions for improving relations with Kosovo through the so called dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, as long as this is done without prejudice to its position on Kosovo's status. This issue is very sensitive in Serbia, but let us keep in mind that the Serbian people have many other pressing priorities: jobs, standards of living and the rule of law. I am convinced that the majority of Serbs want to see their leadership focus their efforts on such issues and work on a better future for Serbia. An improvement between Belgrade and Pristina needs to be based on practical solutions for the benefit the people in Kosovo and Serbia.
© European Commission
What about the tensions between Paris and Ankara, do you think such diplomatic issue may slow down the process of the adhesion of Turkey?
individual assessment of each country in a progress report; the next package of progress reports will be published in October.
Your question refers to the French Law criminalising the denial of genocides, which was annulled on 28 of February 2012 by the French Constitutional Court. It is not up to the European Commission to speculate on issues involving a Member State and a candidate country. But as I have said several times already, let historians deal with the history and politicians deal with the concerns of their people in the present and for the future.
More and more countries from the Balkan are entering the EU or are candidates to the EU. What would be in the future the consequences of a Union spreading to the East? Would it imply less power for the Western countries and a more balanced EU?
After Croatia, which country is according to you the most ready to become a new EU member?
The EU enlargement does not imply taking power from old Member States and giving it to new Member States. Enlargement is about sharing the responsibilities and the benefits by empowering the EU institutions when the EU policy would bring added value to the individual states.
Countries wanting to join the EU are at different stages: we are already negotiating with some (Iceland, Turkey, and preparations are ongoing for opening negotiations with Montenegro), while others still have a long way to go until they fulfil the established conditions. But keep in mind that each country is judged and moves forward on its own merits. The Commission presents every year its
A bigger Europe can become an economically stronger Europe, and with a better quality of life for all. The members of Eurozone play an important role in deepening the EU integration efforts. But it also about a safer Europe. By bringing in new member states, we promote democracy and fundamental freedoms and consolidate the rule of law across aspirant countries. Look at the results:
“ The EU enlargement does not imply taking power from old Member States and giving it to new Member States. Enlargement is about sharing the responsibilities and the benefits by empowering the EU institutions when the EU policy would bring added value to the individual states.” Croatia will join soon and others are making progress in a region that not long ago was torn apart by war. An enlarged Union enhances the soft power to help us shape the world around us. According to your experiences, what makes a good candidate to the EU? Let's be frank: it's a long haul to get into the Union. Aspirant countries have their work cut out for them to fulfil the criteria for accession: first of all they need to ensure the respect of fundamental rights, have a transparent, proper judiciary, mechanisms to fight corruption, in short ensure the rule of law. Then they also need to have a well functioning public administration, able to deal with all other requirements of taking on the considerable amount of EU legislation, which ranges from rules on agriculture, fisheries, environment and energy to competition policy. And let us not forget the economy: they need to have a functioning market able to withstand competitive pressure. A good candidate will consistently and conscientiously work on all these issues. And the Commission stands by their side to assist.
EU-28 â€“ How ready is Croatia for membership?
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Published on Apr 20, 2012