The European Union and Democratization

By Paul J. Kubicek | Go to book overview

6

The European Union and Croatia

Negotiating "Europeanization" amid national, regional, and international interests

Stephen M. Tull1

The 1990s in Europe were marked by the parallel processes of the consolidation and growth of the European Union/Community on the one hand, and the violent breakup and messy succession of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) on the other. The European Union and other regional and international organizations strongly influenced developments in the former SFRJ, but the cost was high and the lessons learned were two-way. Amid all the problems associated with the breakup of Yugoslavia, the democratization agenda of the EU was often lost, and leaders of Yugoslav successor states justified their failure to adhere to democratic norms referring to the exigencies of war and the need to protect the state.

This chapter will focus on Croatia's seeming reluctance to democratize, or more precisely, to embrace European regional and international standards, principles, and timetables of reform. Croatia may stand as the former Yugoslav republic most influenced by the EU, Council of Europe, and OSCE, but it also is clearly torn between the allure of European prosperity and the guardianship of newly gained nation-state sovereignty. During the ten-year rule of President Franjo Tudjman, the assertion of sovereignty clearly manifested itself in a reluctance to democratize. The liberal-coalition government that gained power in 2000 through elections after Tudjman's death in December 1999 has dismantled some of the roadblocks to reform but still is constrained by domestic agendas that do not always correspond with EU objectives. Thus, as in other cases of "reluctant democratizers," the EU has struggled to find a way to insert itself in a positive manner into sensitive domestic matters, hoping that its influence - both moral and, in Croatia's case, with an implicit use of conditionality - would further democratic practices.


Limited IR research on the breakup of Yugoslavia

Most of the scholarly (and non-scholarly) work on the breakup of the SFRJ has been primarily concerned with domestic forces and dynamics rather than the international factors and consequences. The main theme has been to

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