Croatia has completed the lengthy accession process and is set to join the E.U. on July 1, 2013. It will become the second nation from the former Yugoslavia to join the EU, after Slovenia in 2004. But as E.U. skepticism increases, has Croatia made the right choice? This is the burning question for Croats as July approaches.
Croatia has made huge strides since it began the EU application process in 2001. It had to meet the series of E.U. criteria standards. Improvements were made in a wide range of areas from judiciary and efficiency of public administration to strict standards of food safety and, environmental protection. Croatia is a more efficient and effective country for these changes, however now the question is, what will actual membership bring?
First, Croatian citizens will have the same rights as other EU citizens, such as the freedom to live, work, and be educated in any other EU country. The country will also enjoy the benefits of having a stronger global position.
Croatia will become more stable and the level of corruption should decrease, which is one of the biggest problems the country faces. EU membership is also expected to have positive effects on both the economy as a whole and on the construction and real estate sectors in particular.
Many observers may question why Croatia would want to join the E.U. in its current difficult hour. However, as one lawyer from Zagreb put it, “I would rather be with Germany and France than with Serbia and Bosnia.”