Author: Rubén Ruiz Calleja
Croatia has joined the European Union as a full-fledged member State, the second State of Western Balkans, after Slovenia, to join the Union. This accession represents the seventh enlargement of the EU.
In times of economic crisis, it is not easy for a government to receive the social support to join a supranational entity, the European Union, which does not show, in this moment, any convincing economic figures. A referendum in January 2012 in Croatia reflected that 66% of population was in favour of Croatian accession to the EU, a percentage which has been reduced some months later. With 22% of unemployment rate and with an economy which has not grown since 2008, this disenchantment of population with Croatian and European politics can be perceived in the low enthusiasm for voting the representatives of the country: only 20% voted in the April 2013 elections to choose the Croatian representatives in the European Parliament. Croatians prefer to keep their attention on the difficult economic situation of the country instead of seeking their future in supranational entities as the European Union is. As a solution to the worrying economic situation of Croatia, the government of Zagreb expects that the EU funds will help to reinforce Croatian economy.
The accession of Croatia leaves the doors of Europe open to further incorporations. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are today candidates for the EU accession. However, only with Montenegro, Turkey and Iceland, negotiations have started. Among all these States, negotiations between Iceland and the EU are the most advanced, even when Iceland obtained the status of candidate in 2010.