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A Special Look At Europe's Newest Eu Member
series: European Journal
air date: 7/02/13 5:00 AM
Croatia: The Smallest City in the World: The smallest city in the world, Hum in Istria in northwest Croatia, is about to become a part of the European Union. The medieval town overlooking the Mima Valley is a popular tourist destination. The people of Hum hope that EU membership will generate more income from tourism. Hum only has about 25 permanent residents. They pride themselves on their openness and hospitality. But they do have some concerns about joining the EU and giving up some of their recently gained sovereignty. Croatia: Traces of the Past: Since the founding of the EU, Croatia will become the first member to have experienced protracted war on its own soil in recent history. In the east of the country, in Vukovar, the damage is still visible. And reconciliation between the divided ethnic groups is still a long way off. The Croatian government has recently made small concessions to Serbs in the country. Road signs in communities with a high percentage of Serbs will be in Cyrillic along with Latin letters. Civilian groups in Croatia have consistently pushed for the extradition of war criminals. But Vukovar seems to remain an open wound. And for the most part, Serbs and Croats there avoid each other. Croatia: Welcome to the Club: Croatia will become the 28th member of the EU. And in these times of the Euro crisis, Croatia's delegates heading for the European Parliament in Brussels will be joining a quarrelsome group. Britain has been thinking out loud about leaving the EU. German-French relations are cooler than ever. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel has irked her southern European partners with her austerity measures. Croatiahas selected 12 delegates to the European Parliament, five of them from the governing Social Democrats. They will serve for only a year as all EU citizens elect a new parliament in 2014. Bosnia: Sitting on Packed Suitcases: The boundaries of the European Union move outward again with the accession of Croatia. 1,000 kilometers of EU boundary will now run between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina - and many Bosnian Croats who now hold Croatian passports will automatically be given EU citizenship. Croatia aids its ethnic countrymen in Bosnia to the tune of 10 million euros a year. Many Bosnian Croats have a Croatian passport and are already availing themselves of educational or employment opportunities in Croatia. Many hope they will now be able to move more freely to other EU countries. But that may lead to even more people, even whole villages, emigrating from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Italy: A New Melting Pot : The neighboring country of Italy is eagerly awaiting Croatian membership in the EU. Many people in northeastern Italy have Croatian roots. If the customs borders fall, the region will be better integrated with regions that in former times belonged to Venice. There are many Italians of Croatian descent In the area around Trieste whose families were driven out of Croatia after World War Two. The question of compensation for confiscated Italian property has never been resolved; and now many Italians hope to be able to settle in or open up shop in Croatia.
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