Croatia: Between Europe and the Balkans

Croatia: Between Europe and the Balkans

Croatia: Between Europe and the Balkans

Croatia: Between Europe and the Balkans

Synopsis

Croatia, Between Europe and the Balkans addresses the key developments in economics, politics, international relations and social policy in the state over the last decade. It places these developments in their historical context, and shows how current policy dilemmas are structured within the conflicting pressures which historically have pulled Croatia between a European, a Mediterranean and a Balkan orientation. In the new context of European integration however, Croatia may now find a new role in her pivotal position as a bridge between the unruly Balkans and an impatient Europe. This book will be of particular use for courses on Eastern Europe. Its thorough, up-to-date analysis will also be of interest to students and researchers in politics and international relations, but with a broader appeal to diplomats, policy makers, trade officials, the business community and consultants expanding their trading links with the region.

Excerpt

When I first visited Croatia as a student in 1970 it would have been possible but unlikely that any Westerner would have thought seriously about writing a book about Croatia. the country I was visiting was Yugoslavia and few people made much of the distinction between the various republics which constituted the Yugoslav (or 'South Slav') federation. Travelling down the Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik, taking in the glorious island of Vis, hitch-hiking across Bosnia-Herzegovina to Sarajevo and on to the Slavonian towns of Vinkovci and Osijek and eventually up to the Croatian capital Zagreb, I was unaware that I was confining my travels mainly to a few specific areas of the country with historical links to Central Europe and Mediterranean Europe, one which had its own specific history which distinguished it from the southern Balkan regions of Yugoslavia. in later years, travelling to Belgrade, and through Serbia to Kosovo and Macedonia, the contrasts became more apparent.

This book has been an intellectual exploration of that earlier physical journey and a revisiting of some of the issues that puzzled me then. I hope I understand them better now and have been able to impart some of that understanding in the text. Much has changed over the past thirty years, not least Croatia has become an independent country. Yet, having left one federation, she seems keen to join another: the European Union. Many of the contrasting traits of rural peasant society and Titoist socialism, which were apparent thirty years ago, have now disappeared. One no longer sees the rich mixture of Balkan and Western influences which so fascinated Western visitors at the time. in the years following independence in the early 1990s, these sights were replaced by those

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