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Croatia’s tough road to EU membership

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ES. Vienna, February 5, 2024

The AEJ’s indefatigable former President, Otmar Lahodynsky, has won excellent reviews for his new book, Croatia’s Homecoming to Europe. It has been out of the headlines for a while, for the best of reasons: it’s at peace and prospering. But the journey was a tough one, Lahodynsky told a crammed audience at the European Union hq in Vienna.

How Croatia got there is the subject of Otmar’s carefully-rsearched account of the arduous political journey after the bloody Jugoslav war. France and the UK, notably, sought to hold Jugoslavia together. Finally, the ghastly siege of Vukovar, massacres of civilians by the Jugoslav army (JNA), and the near-total destruction of the city,  brought overwhelming German pressure by then Chancellor Helmut Kohl to secure EU recognition of Croatian and Slovene independence on January 15, 1992.

Dr Granić left with author (EU Repr, Vienna/ APA)

Zagreb submitted its EU application  in February 2003, but negotiations only began in 2005, after chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte confirmed full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal on war crimes in Jugoslavia.

“Croatia has had a much more difficult path than other EU Member States,” former Croatian Foreign Minister Dr Mate Granić recalls in the book.

  • Report in Vienna press
  • Report in Lower Austria press 
  • News also broke last week that Martin Selmayr, the popular ambassador of the European Commission to Austria, is from this week taking up a visiting professorship at the Institute for Innovation and Digitalization in Law at the University of Vienna. He  will then return to Brussels, or in what capacity, Politico reports. 
Selmayr, left, ex-Commissioner Franz Fischler on right, at  book presentation (C. EU Representation, Vienna/ APA)

The former S-G of the European Commission and a key figure in Brussels as chef de cabinet to Jean-Claude Juncker, has been in Vienna since November 2019. He already teaches European law at the University of Saarbrücken and at the Danube University in Krems, Austria. “From the General Data Protection Regulation to the AI ​​Act, from the new emissions trading system to the CO2 border adjustment mechanism: many of the laws passed at EU level in recent years now need a sound scientific analysis and explanation,” he said. 

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