Croatia joins the EU: “Muslim nations need not apply”

Croatia joined the EU today as the 28th member state.

(But I can’t help concluding that both Croatia and the EU are consequently disadvantaged. At least Croatia is not joining the Euro which it can ill afford to do).

After Slovenia it is the second of the former Yugoslavia countries to enter. In the meantime the “negotiations” for Turkey’s membership are proceeding at a glacial pace. Any possible excuse is used to slow down progress whenever possible. The opposition to Turkey’s membership is not restricted to Germany, Austria and France where it is particularly obvious.

Considering the other states deriving from Yugoslavia, Bosnia applied for membership in 2003 but has not yet been officially accepted as a candidate nation. Macedonia applied in 2005 and is accepted as a candidate country. Serbia applied for EU membership in 2009 and is accepted as a candidate nation. Negotiations with Montenegro started in 2012. Kosovo has not yet been allowed to apply.

While EU membership is ostensibly judged on economic and civil rights criteria there is an unspoken undercurrent which is undoubtedly connected to religion and perceptions of religious groups.

  • Serbia is 85% Eastern Orthodox, 6% Catholic and 3% Muslim.
  • Macedonia is 65% Eastern Orthodox and 33% Muslim.
  • Bosnia is 40% Muslim, 31% Serbian Orthodox and15% Catholic.
  • Kosovo is 95% Muslim.

It took 10 years for Croatia to go from application to membership. Turkey applied 26 years ago and there is no end in sight. The fundamental difference is of course  that Turkey is nominally secular but 99% of the population is Muslim. Croatia however has only 1.5% of its population as Muslims and 86% are Roman Catholics. But it would be wrong to think that religion is a requirement for membership. Rather it is “not being Muslim” which is the unspoken condition for membership of the EU. Serbia should proceed steadily to membership but it will be some time before the EU can come to terms with the large Muslim minorities in Macedonia and Bosnia. The membership negotiations with Turkey will not be allowed to succeed. Little Kosovo need not bother to apply.

  1. Croatia has joined the EU as of today – 1st July 2013 – after having applied for membership in 2003. Turkey applied for membership in 1987 and is not likely to be allowed in until 2030 – if ever.
  2. Croatia is in its fifth consecutive year of recession and has 21% unemployment. Turkey has been growing for the last 10 years and has an unemployment rate of 9.2%.
  3. Croatia has a GDP of $80 billion with a population of 4.2 million and a budget deficit of 4.6% of GDP. Turkey has a population of 74 million. Between 2002 and 2011 it had a GDP which increased by 234 percent, reaching USD 772 billion with an annual average real GDP growth of 5.2 percent and where the budget deficit decreased from 10 percent of GDP to less than  3 percent of GDP.
  4. Croatia has 86% Roman Catholics, 7% Atheists,  4% Eastern Orthodox and 1.5% Muslim.  Turkey has 70% Sunni Muslims and 29% Shia Muslims.

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One Response to “Croatia joins the EU: “Muslim nations need not apply””

  1. Rothrekor Says:

    An alternative explanation for Tureky’s non-membership is its refusal to recognise the sovereignty of an EU member state i.e. Cyprus?

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