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Croatia: EU Membership and Democratization

The 8th Circle examines Croatia's efforts to combat crime and corruption on the way to EU membership.

4 comments

  • oliver

    Just look at the Alien act of jan 2008,
    this tells you of Croatia thinking, of being part of EU
    they our stopping all EU ciztern from getting work permits
    all invester that have put money into the county,
    and still they want let us start working on project that should
    have started 4 years ago,
    Really i am here a few years now, and all you get from Croatia
    is a bill from local grovment, corruption is in you face
    and no one cares

  • CYGNUS

    How did refugee return no longer become a pre-condition? The plight of those wanting to come back after becoming refugees from Croatian offensives has been horrible and now that is just being overlooked?

  • Peter

    The refugee issue is a very complicated one. It is not just a matter of returning a property to someone who lived there 16 years ago. Most properties are now inhabited by other people, not necessarily the ones who occupied them when the Serb former inhabitants left. If it were just a case of throwing out someone who had seized somewhere and still occupied the place it would be relatively simple. A lot of time has passed.

    Typical problems are where a tenant would have had a right to purchase a municipally owned property had they remained, but a subsequent one acquired the same right and having bought the property, later sold it to someone else who now has a perfectly sound title to the property and may, indeed, have subsequently sold it again to yet another party who also has clear legal title. You cannot evict a legal owner who has paid for and has legitimately acquired legal title to somewhere. They have rights too.
    If a similar property was available in the same municipally owned building then perhaps the disposessed Serb former resident could be offered the chance to buy it on the same basis as if they had lived there and aquired the right to buy, but it would depend on whether they had the money to excercise that right, too, and whether there was somewhere there, or nearby, available and acceptable to the applicant.

    The problem is also mostly in particular areas, rather than in the country as a whole. It doesn’t really exist in Istria, for example, where many Serbs continue to live and are integrated with their neighbours.
    Serb returnees are likely to be far more numerous in other particular geographic areas, resulting in a much higher demand for suitable property than may be available in those locations.
    Should the government perhaps construct new apartment buildings for the purpose in those areas? On the other hand, if they did so, is it desirable that they effectively create Serb only occupied buildings, almost like a sort of ghetto? It would not be good for integration and integration is important for the future.
    If money were no object, perhaps they could be offered money to compensate for the lost property or acquired right to buy, but on what basis? The value of the property at the time they left it is likely to be very different from the value of it today. Property prices in the early 90s were very low, compared to today, with far fewer buyers, whereas property prices now can easily be fifty times more. If the returnee were simply offered money on the value of their right at the time they left it would be totally inadequate to buy a remotely comparable property now. Whilst it would compensate them financially on a certain arguable basis, it would not enable them to return and thus would defeat the object. If they were offered the current value this would inevitably cause resentment amongst their neighbours which would not help integration.
    It is also necessary to consider returning in the light of potential employment.Someone with a job in Serbia is not necessarily going to want to abandon it just to return to the area they formerly lived in if there is little prospect of a job there. Many of the areas in which they lived have higher levels of unemployment and inability to secure employment may owe far more to that than to any residual prejudice.
    Many younger Serbs have little interest in returning. They will have been young when they left and have spent most of their active life elsewhere in places where they now feel more of an affinity. The very old may feel that they no longer have the energy to rebuild their lives back in Croatia after settling in elsewhere and developing relationships there.
    The point here being that if you take the number who left and use that as a figure for dispossessed, then compare it with those who do return, there will always be a disparity, as not all will actually want to return.

    None of it is simple, even given a willingness to solve the problem. Each individual case would need arguing before a judge and the volume would result in court cases lasting years, particularly when there already huge backlogs of all types of cases in the court system. The court system could not suddenly expand to cover the huge number of cases. Training and new court construction would take time, even if funds were made available, or people found who were interested in taking up such employment and many litigants would die of old age before their cases could be heard, or be too old by then to be interested in returning.

    There is no quick fix for all of this. Perceived prejudice is only a small part of the problem.

  • America’s Crusade For Democracy

    All people of every nation and every state should be allowed to decide for themselves what kind of government they will have, be it a democracy, monarchy, authoritarian regime or a theocracy. For the United States and the other western powers to impose democracy upon other states, or to make critical humanitarian aid contingent upon a state conforming to a democratic form of government, is no different from the crusades of old forcing Christianity upon people of other faiths.

    The new faith is now democracy. And “democrats” are just as intolerant of other forms of government as the crusaders were of other religions. America’s crusade for democracy is especially problematic given its selective tolerance to certain non-democratic states, such as Saudi Arabia.

    While many will argue that democracy protects the civil liberties and the rights of the people, there are many cases where democracies have slaughtered and enslaved there own people. The United States is a classic example.

    The human existence is evolving slowly over time. We have finally begun to reach a point where we recognize that all people (not just white people, or rich people, or citizens of certain countries) have certain inalienable rights that should actually be protected (and not just written and talked about but largely ignored in day to day reality).

    This recognition is not the sole domain of democracy alone; all forms of government can evolve to recognize the rights of their people. The United States has evolved- from a democracy where only white landowning males could vote, where slavery was legal and genocide was practiced against Native Americans- to where it is today. Surely other forms of government can evolve as well.

    Why are we in the west who are supposedly so democratic, the very ones who are so quick to deprive others of the right to chose their own form of government?

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