“Croatia said YES to Europe” was the title of almost every article written on the subject of referendum held on January 22nd. With a 43% turnout, this was indeed a historic referendum. Before Croatia stepped in and took over the throne, Hungary was the country with the lowest turnout in accession referendums with 46%.
Croatia did not say yes, the majority of the population remained silent while the minority voted us into European Union. What we heard that day was not the voice of Croatia, it was the voice of few who decided to take the chance that was given to them. I’m not surprised with the results of the referendum. I applaud everyone who believes that this is the right direction for our country, went to the polls, and cast their vote. Their voice was heard and in July 2013 Croatia will become the 28th member of EU.
Personally, I am disappointed because I believe that promises of prosperity made by EU officials are just promises that will never come to life. I have read the Accession Treaty and if someone does not like to read between the lines, the only thing he or she will see are impressive numbers. For some people commitments, agreements, administrative arrangements and obligations seem to fade in comparison with the money we will supposedly get. I say supposedly because the current financial situation in the Union does not guarantee that they will be able keep their promise when the time comes to do so.
A few days before the referendum, my mother engaged in a discussion with one elderly lady. When she told her that she will vote against Croatia’s entrance, the lady got really upset and yelled: “You are primitive and your opinion is primitive! Everything will be better when we get in, we will live on credit!”
I guess the heavy pro EU campaign worked. In a blatant coordinated attack on reason, our government and media did its best to scam us with the example of Poland to prove that good things can happen to new members. They decided to completely ignore examples that do not speak in favor of joining the Union.
I am disappointed and I am also mad. Not at the results, but at every single person who did not use the right to be a part of this important decision-making process. In 1991, we voted for our independence and cutting off all ties with Yugoslavia – that was our first and only truly historic referendum. The 83% turnout projected the importance of this event. On that day we stood together and voted, in the next 4 years we stood together and fought for the right to decide for ourselves.
20 years later, majority of the country threw away that right. Somewhere along the line, this nation fell asleep and forgot what we wanted for centuries. Free will to take actions on our own and lead this country in a direction we want. On January 22nd, 57% of the nation just didn’t care. Yes, we are demoralized and disillusioned, tired of failed chances and fake promises, but that is an excuse we used too many times.
Croatia, wake up and smell the coffee, it is time you take control of your future.
The article was originally written in English.
Illustration: Marie Fette
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