|Banner saying "Not in the EU"|
A large number of Croatian protesters gathered on the street to raise slogan against the European Union. Croatia has hence become another East European country, after Ukraine, Romania and Hungary, to protest against the EU. Unlike Romania and Hungary, Croatia is not a part of European Union yet, but is expected to join in 2013.
The protest's main focus is to warn government against joining the European Union which they feel is an organization to serve the West's need with East's resources.
The protests came just a day before the country's referendum on whether it will join the European Union or not.
Meanwhile the reports are coming of clashes between the police and protesters which began at the end of the protest rally when a group of angry demonstrators attempted to take down the EU flag. A recent survey results show that about 40% of the public in Croatia feels joining EU is not a good decision.
Protesters raised Anti EU slogans and demonstrated their anger with banners reading "No to the EU" and "I love Croatia".
The protests, which were initially peaceful, resulted into clashes with police that caused arrest of at least three protesters and several were injured.
Today (22 Jan 2012) citizens of Croatia will be asked to answer the question, "Do you support the membership of the Republic of Croatia in the European Union?"
Protesters are encouraged seeing the condition in Romania and Hungary, as more and more people are raising their voice against EU in the other two East European countries which are already member of EU. Croatians are warned and have a thought that EU in no way has helped Romania and Hungary and don't want the same to happen with their country.
Patrick Young, Executive Director of the investment advisory firm DV Advisors also believes that the people that would say "no" to this question will be due to what they are seeing in neighboring countries that have joined the EU. (Anti Government Protests in Romania against Healthcare Reforms Continues)
People are "protesting because they see the European Union not delivering its side of the deal – and the deal is free trade and jobs,” he explained as quoted by Russia Today.
He also points to the EU's vast economic problems as one a reason why so many Croatians are against joining.
“Ultimately, there is economic chaos within the European Union at the moment, driven from the Eurozone – and that is not to the advantage of Croatian citizens.”
“The problem is that the European Union really cannot solve its internal problems at the moment. Rather, it is in total denial about a problem – about the Euro,” he concluded.
The question now is whether Croatia should join the EU at a moment when the union is deep in crisis, international consultant and former Belgian MP Lode Vanoost told RT.
“If now they say, ‘No, we’d rather wait’, they might be waiting forever, and that’s the risk they – at least the political class in Croatia – does not mean to take. What strikes me is that all the political parties represented in parliament are for EU accession – all the manifestations that we see are done by organizations that are not present in it.”
Regarding the fact that protesters defend an opinion held by some 40 per cent of the population – that is, opposition to EU membership – that’s a bad sign for the Croatian political class, Vanoost told Russia Today.
Romania and Hungary are blaming EU and IMF (International Monetary Fund) that they are dictating terms on their government and stealing their resources. While Hungarians are shocked how can EU warn their democratic government and Prime Minister, who is the head of the state with a two-third majority, Romanians are protesting against their government and head of the state for accepting selling resources to EU for the benefit of himself and western countries at the cost of his own citizen. Protests in Hungary are pro government and anti EU, while protests in Romania are anti government, anti EU.
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