Croatians vote in referendum on EU membership

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Croatians vote in referendum on EU membership

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Croations are voting on Sunday in a referendum on whether to join the European Union in July next year.

Opinion polls suggest a ‘yes’ vote will prevail; the last one yesterday put support at 61 per cent. All the major political parties are in favour, saying it’s the country’s best option.

The president has called it one of the most important decisions in the country’s history. Croatia only became independent two decades ago amid the turmoil of the Balkans war.

One voter said:

“I want to be in the European Union because I want to give my child a better life. I think this is good for our future.”

Pro-EU campaigners such as the Foreign Minister argue a ‘no’ vote would leave Croatia struggling with fellow ex-Yugoslav nations on Europe’s fringes.

But feelings are running high. Only a minority have resorted to violence, but many opponents of EU membership fear a loss of sovereignty. They also say that the EU is not what it was before the euro debt crisis.

The referendum follows years of tough entry talks with Brussels that were completed last year.