Even with some colourful characters kicking up a fuss, Croatia is keeping firmly focused on its European Union membership bid. Nationals from new EU member Slovenia last September sought to keep alight a dispute about the borderline, and on the eve of a key assessment on whether Zagreb is well enough prepared to begin talks on EU entry, Croatia’s foreign affairs minister Miomir Zuzul gave his insight on the border question.
“We have here two perceptions: Slovenia wants to have access to the sea, but Croatia wants to have border with Italy, and that’s why we have problems, because if they have access to the sea, if they get sovereignty, then we don’t have border with Italy, and that is related with number of other things. But all that is not very important enough to create conflict or serious problems between two friendly countries.” More seriously, the Mesic government still has general Ante Gotovina running around free, instead of in a cell at the International War Crimes Tribunal; The EU wants Zagreb’s full cooperation to put him there. He was indicted in 2001. Opinion polling, meanwhile, shows Croatians’ support for EU entry now below half, when it was three quarters in January; Some analysts say the Croats simply are not taking kindly to the political pressure from Brussels.