The accession of Croatia to the EU marked the end of a long and arduous period of transition. Croatia had to meet significantly higher criteria than previous states with suspicion and concerns among existing members about further enlargement increasing. Meanwhile initially strong public support in Croatia declined as inconsistencies in EU policy, entry criteria and problems caused by the economic crisis all combined with fears about the loss of national identity and the ability to realize national interests. The successful Croatian accession to the EU in 2013 shows that, despite concerns on both sides, the EU continues to have meaning and significance and that membership remains highly desirable. Through nine mutually interrelated chapters the contributors speak not only about the political and social situation in Croatia, but also prospects for the European Union itself.
Contents: Introduction, Pero Maldini and Davor Pauković; Croatian accession to the European Union: EU democratization potential and issues of democratic consolidation, Pero Maldini; Democratic deficits, delayed democratization and prolonged EU accession, Davor Pauković and Višeslav Raos; The discourse on Europe: from the return to Europe and the escape from the Balkans to the European Union as a solution of all national problems, Davor Pauković; Croatia between the ‘return’ to Europe and the ‘remaining’ in the Balkans, Nebojša Blanuša; Public support for European integration in Croatia: utilitarian, identity-based, institutionally driven or all of the above?, Ivan Landripet; Remembering war the European way: Croatia’s commemorative culture on the eve of EU membership, Vjeran Pavlaković; Contextual and institutional characteristics of Croatian accession to the European Union, Nataša Beširević; Transformation of the Croatian party system in the process of EU accession, Višeslav Raos; Transformation of the Croatian security and defense system in the Euro-Atlantic context, Marijana Musladin; Index.
’This volume offers an exceptionally wide range of uses. It frames and articulates the issues of special interest to regional scholars, especially those interested in the last waves of admissions to the Union. It provides much needed perspective and insight for policy-makers and European politicians and a platform for further research and study for serious students of European, Balkan, and Croatian politics. Comparative and IR scholars need to read it.’ Richard P. Farkas, DePaul University, USA ’Processes, actors and issues of Croatia’s journey to European Union membership are explained by this timely and analytical work. A must read for scholars, students and practitioners of politics of European enlargement. Political science at its best.’ Ivan GrdeÅ¡i, Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland