Amidst all the bad news on the EU it is good to able to report that Croatia has just received the formal approval of the European Parliament to join the European Union.
I have not blogged on the process for a long time, but the upheaval that has been involved for Croatia has been considerable. The country has taken the issues of corruption and good governance extremely seriously, and there has been a determined effort to ensure that all evidence of wrong doing is fully investigated- indeed even the former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader has been forced to face prosecution after being extradited from Austria.
The discipline that this process has involved is remarkable to those who knew the country through the course of the the war of the mid nineties. Then there were so many problems that Zagreb had to tackle, it was hard to believe that the political system could cope. Having won the war, politicians seemed to become torpid and greedy. The progress of the late 1990s evaporated, and many began to think that Croatia was in a spiral of Balkan decline.
As today's news shows, the country has taken a much better path. Croatia has much to contribute to the EU and I look forward to the dry Croatian sense of humour coupled with a passionate sense of right and wrong adding to the quality of European political discourse. Croatia now gives hope to the rest of the Western Balkans, especially Bosnia and Serbia, that they too can overcome their problems and follow Zagreb into the EU.
Dobrodošli u Europsku uniju, Hrvatska!