Saturday, February 12, 2011

Balkan trip day 7: Croatian initiatives, NGOs and EU

This morning we had a great meeting with a political initiative group. I was impressed that we were working with the same contact persons in Brussels. Also I liked their motivations and recognize also the same basis as the ECPM. We agreed to work together on some concrete activities like courses and trainings. It was sad that also in Croatia there seemed to appear only two opinions about the European Union: either to be very Eurofile or to be very Europhobic. No-one seems to give an honest, well-balanced and objective information about the Croatian accession to the European Union. With the expected referendum in Croatia about it's accession, this can turn out to have a negative impact in their society. Also there is a lot of fear because of the continuously ungoing lobby coming from the West for liberalistic laws that are against basic Christian values like the protection of life, promoting family values based on traditional marriage while 80% of the population see themselves catholic. Also there is fear about the consequences that the accession will bring to their traditional industries like the shipbuilding industry and for the SMEs. The Croatian government seems not to answer sufficiently to this fear and not to promote conservative policies, but to just want to go with the flow and to enter the EU as soon as possible.
The same kind of worries were also explained by a representative of the Croatian ministry of social affairs in the afternoon. She mentioned that both government as the civil society are not ready yet to enter the EU. Although the NGOs seemed to be better prepared than the government, a lot have to be done to teach the NGOs to think more project-wise. The governmental institutions should understand more about the necessity to involve the NGOs more in their activities and not to see them as threatening for their positions. It is interested that she mentioned that the Dutch Matra program helped very much even more than the strongly financed EU IPA programs.

Between the meetings I showed Auke and Annechien the city of Zagreb and ate a traditional goulash with home-made noodles in a small restaurant. Also we joined the beautiful panoramic views.
In the evening I took a small walk alone through the city to think about the meetings I had and to pray for the future of Zagreb and Croatia. Further we had all a free evening which was also good on order to prepare for the trip tomorrow to....... Montenegro.

No comments:

Post a Comment