Sunday, August 10, 2003

Bright Present, Dark Future

Sometimes I wonder whether I write too many negative stories about Croatia and whether I should try to tell about some positive developments, simply for balance's sake.

Well, one of such positive developments is relatively good tourist season and the fact that despite the endemic disorganisation of Croatian fire fighting forces, forest fires at Adriatic didn't make as much damage as in other Mediterranean countries. Despite 75% of vegetation on island of Biševo (Bisevo) being destroyed in last fire, Račan (Racan) was right to point that Croatian fire fighters have something to be proud of – no person had died in fires (actually one firefighter did, only Račan obviously attributes his death to previous health problems rather than smoke-related suffocation or burns) and none of the houses was consumed by flames.

So, this summer in Croatia is better than previous summers and only the eternal losers like Budiša (Budisa) can claim that Croatia is galloping towards disaster. With good results of tourist season, Hague troubles forgotten by state media and EU membership in 2007 being considered a done deal, Račan can comfortably enter this November's election race.

But the climate can spoil this plan. The very same drought that had helped forest fires is currently drying up rivers necessary for Croatian hydro plants to function properly. Drought also threatens with water reductions.

In normal circumstances some sort of reductions would have been established right now, but that would hurt tourism. So those problems are swept under the carpet and the real, and significantly less pleasant water and power reductions are expected in September. It is too early to tell whether such dark and dry September would have any impact on voters in November.


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