The Balkan frog prince and princess Europe: Undoing Tudjman's decade for Croatian accession to the EU

Colic-Peisker, V 2009, 'The Balkan frog prince and princess Europe: Undoing Tudjman's decade for Croatian accession to the EU', CERC Working Papers Series, vol. 2, no. December, pp. 1-46.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title The Balkan frog prince and princess Europe: Undoing Tudjman's decade for Croatian accession to the EU
Author(s) Colic-Peisker, V
Year 2009
Journal name CERC Working Papers Series
Volume number 2
Issue number December
Start page 1
End page 46
Total pages 46
Publisher Contemporary Europe Research Centre
Abstract 'Leaving the Balkans' and 'joining Europe' has been a long-standing Croatian aspiration. Croatia is next in the queue for EU membership, but this goal has been delayed because of the tension between the political adjustments that joining the EU requires and a still strong ethno-nationalism. In 1990 Croatia was constituted as a liberal democracy, but a strong emphasis on the nation as the key collectivity, defined primarily by 'blood'/ancestry, went against the grain of a moderate civic regime. Tudjman's decade (1990-1999) was marked by authoritarianism and imbued with values that Europe explicitly rejects: aggressive ethno-nationalism, a semi-official status for a particular religion (Catholicism) and a general retreat to traditional values (e.g. antifeminism). These values have had vigorous support in rural areas, especially in Herzegovina, outside Croatia proper, the region that provided crucial political and military support for Tudjman's project. The vehement ethnic mobilisation that supplied initial political energy and legitimacy for the project of Croatian independence, also lead to the processes of 'ruralisation' (demographic shift in Croatian cities) and 'de-civilisation' (shrinking of the ingroup to the primordial idea of ethnos). This paper analyses the sociocultural and political roots of the process of achieving Croatian independence beyond the simplistic thesis of 'ancient ethnic hatred' in the Balkans. It also analyses the tension between Croatia's 'Balkan' vs. 'European' identity in the process of accession to the EU.
Keyword(s) Croatia
Europe
the Balkans
rural culture
authoritarianism
ethnic mobilisation
ISSN 1447-0071
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