Author: Deana Knežević AUTHOR Deana Knežević
Deana KnezevicThe Newest Articles

JANUARY 23 2012 22:57h

EU referendum: What if a majority says ‘’NO’’




This possibility exists, in principle at least. A council for Croatia - Against the EU received information that 57 percent of the citizens are against, and only 43 percent are for Croatia joining the EU. If there was no methodological frames (phone opinion poll and around 40 percent of subjects didn’t want to declare their opinion), it would a significant result before the referendum. If this ratio is going to be confirmed over at the poll stations, Croatia would find itself in situation of paradox.

This would mean that most of the citizens don’t approve pro-European policy of government elected by the same citizens over the election two months ago. Just before the parliamentary election on 4th of December last year, it was well known that Kukuriku coalition proclaims the policy of joining the EU, as the former HDZ government did. This very pro-European policy was maybe the only point where ideological differences between two most common political options were simply suppressed. There has always been unformed ‘’great coalition’’ between HDZ and SDP around the question of Croatia joining the EU.

If the majority of citizens who vote on referendum, vote for ‘’no’’ answer, it will turn out that we have the nation on the one side, and on completely different side we have reign that includes executive government and the parliamentary reign as well. On the elections, however, anti-European option didn’t reach parliamentary seats. Euro-skeptics could be found in the stands of Croatian laborites, therewith they are not explicitly against the European Union but against the low level of information provided for the citizens. It was unlikely that this great void between the citizens and newly elected government could disappear so easily only two months from the last election. So I still think that the most probable situation would be a majority voting ‘’for’’. Although, I must admit, I meet anti-European mood of younger generations (but others as well) on my daily basis.

A fear around the referendum result, a fear that the situation in Croatia could be reversed in the way it was 10 years ago - a fairly isolated state without competent and responsible political elite, where other could push through various embezzlements with national economy, legal system and human rights. And even after 6 years of negotiation and after this process had been finally finished successfully, people don’t see any sense joining the EU, and it is one more thing we can thank to our prime-ministers. Firstly, we can thank Sanader, and then to Mrs. Kosor. As they did so much for successful negotiations with the EU, they have done almost nothing to inform the local public. Sanader considered, as I presume, that the big transparency of negotiations could hurt his popularity which still came before other goals.

But other ‘’credits’’ for silent uncertainty we approach referendum with, go to domestic media as well. Tabloid character of the media simply didn’t care less to inform the citizens systematically and objectively. And not to mention it didn’t care to place critics on the EU preparation if there were no elements of sensation, scandals or shock. If we are being dreadful about the referendum result, we can thank this to ‘’yellowness’’ coming as from media, as from the politics.