Berliner Verlag/Archiv/picture alliance via Getty Images A Nazi propaganda image depicting soldiers of the German Wehrmacht withdrawing in Yugoslavia during Allied air-raids, January 1945

The tale of Scheherazade is one of the cruelest stories about beauty and the vitality of artistic expression. It tells of the relationship between the artist and authority, suggesting that the creative act itself is an act of resistance; it conveys the message that there can be no authentic artistic act without personal risk. Although one of the oldest stories of artistic resistance, the legend of Scheherazade is an unlikely example of the genre. Might that be because at the heart of the metaphor stands a woman who, by telling stories, saves not only her own life, but the lives of the future victims of Shahryar the misogynist?…  Seguir leyendo »

A Croatian football fan sitting in front of an art installation showing a former Yugoslav National Army tank in collision with a small red car, commemorating an actual event regarded by many as marking the beginning of the 1991–1995 war, Osijek, eastern Croatia, 2012

The summer of 1990, for those who lived in what was then Yugoslavia, was something like the summer of 1939 in Europe: warm and easy-going, spent mostly on the beach with a cold beer in hand, or—if you were far from any sea or lake—in the shade of a tree or a tall building, comfortably cooling your feet in a washbowl. No one expected the sudden break-up of that Balkan country, or at least not me, then an eleven-year-old boy.

I was busy playing soccer on my street in my hometown, Zagreb, where there was little traffic in the warmer months.…  Seguir leyendo »

El martes, la Corte Internacional de Justicia (CIJ), el órgano judicial de la ONU, emitió la sentencia en la que se pronuncia sobre concretos hechos criminales, salvajes, cometidos durante el conflicto de los Balcanes. Su pronunciamiento ha sorprendido y ha sido objeto de resúmenes y análisis confusos.

Aunque el proceso comenzara en 1999 con una demanda de Croacia contra la República Federal de Yugoslavia, hubo un conjunto de problemas muy técnicos y procesales, nada despreciables, sobre la admisibilidad y traslado de la demanda y sobre la adhesión a la Convención de 1948 sobre Genocidio debido, entre otros aspectos, a que hubo tres cambios en la estatalidad de la actual Serbia (R.…  Seguir leyendo »

As he does in many countries, Bob Dylan enjoys a great reputation in Croatia. In 2008 and 2010, he gave concerts here that received excellent reviews and publicity. But some of his Croatian fans are saddened, even outraged, that their musical idol expressed himself carelessly in describing their country’s historically fraught relationship with neighboring Serbia.

In an interview last year, Rolling Stone quoted Mr. Dylan as saying: “Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery — that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that.…  Seguir leyendo »

Imagínense el siguiente escenario distópico: después de un partido de fútbol, en uno de los estadios más grandes de Alemania, uno de los jugadores se hace con un micrófono y grita: “¡Heil Hitler!” Más de 30.000 personas contestan con una sola voz: “¡Heil!”. Solamente unos días más tarde, el 65% de los alemanes decide votar contra los homosexuales en un referéndum nacional. Al mismo tiempo, se están ya recogiendo firmas para organizar otro referéndum, esta vez para prohibir la lengua yiddish. ¿Cómo llamarían ustedes a estos acontecimientos? ¿Democracia, o tal vez… nazismo?

Hasta ahora, Croacia había celebrado tres referéndums, el primero tuvo lugar en 1991, para declarar su independencia de Yugoslavia, el segundo se celebró en 2012, sobre el acceso a la Unión Europea, y el tercero se ha celebrado el 1 de diciembre de 2013, para cambiar la definición de matrimonio en la Constitución.…  Seguir leyendo »

EL 1 de julio de 2013 Croacia ingresa como socio número 28 de la Unión Europea. Es el segundo de la antigua federación yugoslava que accede a la UE tras Eslovenia, que lo hizo en 2004, y el séptimo que lo hace de los nuevos países nacidos tras los cambios que se producen al finalizar la Guerra Fría con la división de la URSS, de Checoslovaquia y de Yugoslavia. De la URSS reaparecieron quince países que se habían unido al bloque soviético tras la segunda guerra mundial. Estonia, Letonia y Lituania, apoyados especialmente por los restantes estados bálticos, entraron en la Unión junto con la República Checa, Eslovaquia y Eslovenia en 2004.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday, Croatia becomes the 28th country to join the European Union, its accession seen in Brussels as a triumph of the European project. An authoritarian country riven by conflict, where war criminals once operated with impunity, has been transformed. Despite the euro crisis, the Union’s “magnet effect” is still widely regarded as having the capacity to change wayward nations into states that follow liberal European norms.

Yet, while accepting that Croatia has made great strides in overcoming war and authoritarianism, there are compelling reasons why the country’s admission could be premature. Widespread political and economic corruption persist, and its courts often show an overly lax attitude toward due process.…  Seguir leyendo »

If Croatia could have chosen the moment for its accession to the European Union, it would not be 1 July 2013. The Pew Research Centre has just published the results of polling conducted in eight EU member states. The most disturbing finding is that the percentage of citizens in favour of the European project has plummeted from 60% a year ago to 45% now. A failing economy, Europe's north-south divide and distrust of the political elite have led to such results.

Then there are the consequences of Romania and Bulgaria joining the EU in 2007 without adequate preparation. Disappointment with the two new members was followed by a more sceptical approach to further accessions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Croatia’s national independence finally has been secured. This is the real meaning of the recent ruling by the U.N.war crimes court in The Hague to overturn the conviction of Croatian Gen. Ante Gotovina. Last year, the U.N. court convicted Gen. Gotovina, along with junior Croatian Gen. Mladen Markac, of responsibility for war crimes in the 1995 military operation that led to the recapture of territory seized by rebel ethnic Serbs. The tribunal’s appeal judges, however, in a 3-2 decision last week ruled that both men are innocent. The court’s chief justice called it the “final verdict.” Croatia has rightly cheered the decision.…  Seguir leyendo »

EL pasado 16 de noviembre, el Tribunal Penal Internacional para la ex Yugoslavia (TPIY) absolvió a los generales croatas Ante Gotovina y Mladen Markac, después de que estos recurrieran la sentencia que los condenó a 24 y 18 años, respectivamente (2009), por varios crímenes de guerra y contra la humanidad cometidos durante la operación Oluja («Tormenta»), en agosto de 1995. Gotovina era el comandante en jefe del Ejército croata y Markac, el jefe de las Fuerzas paramilitares y su mano derecha. La absolución por deportación, asesinato, violación, destrucción de bienes de los 200.000 serbios que vivían en la Krajina Croata (un pseudoestado serbio dentro del territorio croata entre 1991 y 1995, apoyado por Belgrado) se justifica, según los magistrados del jurado, «por una nueva interpretación de los hechos ocurridos».…  Seguir leyendo »

"Comment peut-on être Croate ?", aurait sans doute écrit Montesquieu en son temps. Comment accéder au statut, nécessairement enviable, de membre de la Communauté européenne ? Comment l'être et le faire en un temps aussi peu propice à un tel ralliement, à pareille "adhésion" ? De fait, il leur faut un singulier courage, à nos amis croates, pour faire abstraction de tout ce qui devrait les dissuader d'un geste supplémentaire vers les 27 : de ce saut qualitatif supposé les amener à devenir la 28ème roue du carrosse européen !

En effet, comment les avons-nous accueillis et que leur propose-t-on comme horizon radieux ?…  Seguir leyendo »

Croatia is on the verge of national surrender. This small Balkan nation is poised to follow the disastrous path of Greece - dramatically affecting European and U.S. taxpayers. On Dec. 4, Croatians will hold parliamentary elections. The ruling Croatian Democratic Union, known by its acronym HDZ, is expected to lose - and rightly so.

The HDZ has been mired in corruption scandals. Its former leader, Ivo Sanader, is in prison awaiting trial on charges of embezzling millions. Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor has sought to improve her party’s badly tarnished image. She has failed.

For years, Zagreb’s governing class has pillaged the Croatian economy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Croatia is headed toward another war. The Balkans - again - will explode with violence. It is only a matter of time. And the so-called "international community" has been pivotal in stoking the flames of ethnic conflict.

Recently, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) based in The Hague, Netherlands, sentenced Croatian Gen. Ante Gotovina to 24 years in prison. The ICTY's ruling rightly has sparked angry protests across Croatia.

Gen. Gotovina has been convicted for having "command responsibility" over an August 1995 military campaign, known as Operation Storm, that effectively ended the Croat-Serbian war. The ICTY alleges that the Croatian general oversaw the expulsion of 100,000 ethnic Serbs and the murder of hundreds of civilians.…  Seguir leyendo »

Twenty years after declared independence and its first multi-party elections, after ecstatic promises of prosperity and freedom under parliamentary capitalism, Croatia finds itself in the midst of a wave of mass protests with news that unemployment is forecast to rise to 20% at the end of March.

"I cannot afford food and clothes for my family", "20 years is enough, political oligarchy has to go" are typical messages heard from the protesters on the streets of Zagreb and other cities. There are no official organisers and no particular event has ignited it. Only 200 people turned up at the first protest announced on Facebook on 22 February.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Arab freedom wave has now hit the shores of Europe and in the most unlikely of places: the Balkans. Croatia, an Adriatic nation that straddles the civilizational fault line between Central Europe and the Balkans, has been seething with public unrest and protests.

For weeks, thousands of demonstrators have been assembling almost daily in the capital, Zagreb, and across other cities in this country of 4.4 million. They are demanding that the government step down and call snap elections. The situation is volatile - and could turn violent.

The protests should come as no surprise. Croatia is on the verge of entering the European Union.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tema: Los cambios recientes de las primeras figuras de la política croata y lo que esto implica para el país en un momento clave.

Resumen: La dimisión como primer ministro de Croacia, en julio de 2009, del hasta entonces líder de la Unión Democrática, Ivo Sanader, ha supuesto cambios positivos en la política croata, tanto a nivel internacional como nacional. El talante conciliador, pero no por ello menos firme, de su sustituta al frente del gobierno y del partido, la nueva primera ministra Jadranka Kosor, ha facilitado la solución de la disputa con Eslovenia y ha abierto la posibilidad a la colaboración con la oposición.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tema: Este ARI analiza las prospectivas actuales de Croacia para adherirse en un horizonte temporal corto a la UE. Se trata del Estado candidato que tiene más avanzadas las negociaciones de ampliación con Bruselas y hasta hace poco se preveía que pudiera concluirlas en este mismo año. Sin embargo, la actual incertidumbre institucional de la UE y una serie de obstáculos concretos –singularmente, el contencioso bilateral con Eslovenia– parecen apuntar a que queda aún un difícil camino por recorrer.

Resumen: Estaba previsto que Croacia completase sus negociaciones con la UE hacia finales de 2009. No obstante, el camino no será nada fácil, dado que todavía le queda mucho trabajo por hacer, aparte de la firme decisión de Eslovenia de vetar la continuación del proceso de negociaciones hasta que no se resuelvan las cuestiones bilaterales abiertas.…  Seguir leyendo »

Croatia is a "small country for a big vacation", as the ads tell you. But beyond the marketing and optimistic reports of millions of holidaymakers spending their "big vacation" there, there is less cheerful news, casting an unpleasant shadow over that small tourist paradise on the Adriatic.

This summer Dinko Sakic, the 86-year-old former commander of Jasenovac, the notorious second world war concentration camp, was buried in his Ustashe uniform, the Croatian equivalent of the Nazis. After the war, Sakic emigrated to Argentina but returned after Croatian independence in 1991. He was welcomed back like a celebrity. In his interviews, Sakic repeated that he regretted nothing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tema: Croacia lleva poco más de un año negociando para entrar en la UE. La situación de crisis tras los referendos francés y holandés, la experiencia negociadora de la Comisión con los países de la quinta ampliación y la coincidencia de sus negociaciones con las emprendidas por Turquía tienen un efecto negativo para su candidatura, que es observada con mayor rigor que las anteriores.

Resumen: El Gobierno croata es consciente de que si la Comisión Europea ha mirado a otros candidatos con lupa, a ellos les observa con microscopio. La experiencia adquirida por la UE en las negociaciones con los 10 nuevos Estados miembros, Rumania y Bulgaria conlleva una mayor dureza a la hora de negociar con la candidatura croata.…  Seguir leyendo »