Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Broken Taboo

"Sanader, we need Europe and not European Union" is the message that appeared on 20 jumbo posters on the streets of Zagreb. The man who ordered them is Nenad Ivanković (Nenad Ivankovic), one of the former leaders of HIP, small right-wing party. Although Ivanković hardly belongs to Croatian political mainstream, his move is the first instance of Euroscepticism becoming legitimate part of political discourse in Croatia.

And it isn't surprising that most virulent expressions of anti-EU feeling come from the right. Sanader, whom many right-leaning Croatians supported hoping for restoration of Tudjmanism, forced many Croatian nationalists to swallow bitter pills – he yielded to Italian and Slovenian territorial demands and made express deliveries of Croatian generals to Hague. Sanader justifies radical de-Tudjmanisation by portraying it as a price Croatia has to pay in order to become EU member. Needless to say, many believe that the price is too high and that Croatia must seek cheaper alternatives.

Ivanković also announced creation of new political party – SIN (Sigurnost i napredak – Security and Progress). It isn't likely that this party, regardless of its explicit Euroscepticism being in tune with Croatian public sentiment, would have better results than other minor league players from anti-Sanader right like HIP and HB. The party most likely to profit from rising Euroscepticism in Croatia is right but somewhat more mainstream and less overtly Eurosceptic HSP.


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