Croatia’s Crony Capitalism

During the week of May 14th I went with political adviser Emma McClarkin to Croatia.  The visit was organised with a free-market think-tank The Adriatic Institute, and I met a wide range of people including local entrepreneurs, inward investors, member-state ambassadors, chambers of commerce, the press, academics and lawyers — these last in the “European House” in Diocletian’s summer palace in
They all agreed that Croatia has serious problems of corruption, and that pressures for reform as part of EU accession negotiations are failing to deliver.  All, that is, except the government, which is in denial.  I briefly met Prime Minister Sanader, and had a longer meeting with the State Secretary for economic strategy.

These problems have implications for Croatian accession.  But why does it matter to the East Midlands?  Only insofar as prosperity and stability on the EU’s South Eastern borders are in all our interests.  But a profoundly corrupt Croatia in the EU, and exporting thousands of its nationals to the UK, could be a problem.  For more details, see my web-site on

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8 Responses to Croatia’s Crony Capitalism

  1. josh mohr says:

    dear roger:

    i’m writing from croatia, and i can tell you that your piece is but the tip of the iceberg in terms of croatian shortcomings, i.e. serious defects which SHOULD preclude it from ascension to the eu for decades! your piece didn’t even touch upon the issue of the catholic church and the government, which represents one of the most decrepit aspects of the democratic shortcomings in this country. (the word for decrepit is sramota) quite simply the church and the HDZ government in collusion stifle any serious public debate in this country. there are no limits placed on church intervention into private lives of citizens, into state matters and into public discourse. with the HDZ government’s aiding and abetting! you need to do some research to find out about the unique relationship that croatia has with the vatican going back to the tudman era in croatia’s inception. the arcane and quasi fascist era collusion should be exposed to all those responsible for the croatian ascension process in bruxelles. BEFORE even entering serious talks with the eu ascension bodies croatia should be forced to break with the vatican agreement it entered into some 15 years ago which keeps it in a medieval mentality nowhere near the requisite pluralistic, democratic ideal of europe. your fellow meps would and should be unnerved by this glaring shortcoming in croatia’s societal fabric. i’m sure that the premier and his minions have done their utmost to divert eu attention away from this glaring shortcoming.
    to be sure, the basic problem is in the minds of the people themselves. they are stuck in some never never land of croatian nationalism, illusions of ethnic superiority and a general sense that western rules and codes of conduct do not apply. the HDZ government feeds these unsavory tendencies with a steady dose of patriotic nonsense about how croatia is a superior country, first of and foremost to all those around it, and secondly it has a special place in the pantheon of nations because croatians fought and died to have an ethnically pure country all to themselves. others need not apply. in their skewed view of the world there are croatians, then there are serbs and some muslims. serbs and muslims are undesirables and everyone else does not exist. they simply do not know that there is a WHOLE world out there. if you are british and anglican, that does not register. they have no clue as to what that means and, furthermore, and most tellingly, no interest in finding out. (native croatians are notoriously lazy when it comes to learning other languages, though curiously enough those who for one reason or another manage to leave the country and get some exposure seem to adapt to new circumstances like other nationals would). so why, one can logically ask, would croatia (such a special place with a special calling)even want to be a member of the eu? they don’t even have a clue as to the values that ostensibly guide the eu project. NOT A CLUE!
    another major deficit is with men as an entire gender and their mentality. one can readily understand the vice grip hold the church doctrine has over women. and this shackling of the women by the church seems to serve the most primitive instincts of the men well. absent any concept that men must change and evolve from the level of neanderthals there are unsurprisingly precious few positive, public role models. the president of croatia is actually one such role model. his name is stepan mesic. and, as you can readily surmize, he is widely reviled by his own people.
    boorish, primitive, ignorant are a few adjectives that spring to mind when one thinks of croatian men. they just don’t know how to communicate with one another, let alone with anyone else from any other country, say britain. you, as an mep need to DIG a bit deeper to REALLY understand the scope of the problem when it comes to the prospect of absorbing such a boorish mentality into the eu. like i say, there are individuals who manage to break with the negative baggage of being a croatian male, and some of them may even make it to the shores of the british isles and become productive contributors to british society. however, as a nation there is precious little to recommend croatia thusfar for membership. so, you have a start. you laid it out yourself. i have tried to provide you with some guideposts. now please, DIG.

  2. Name (required) says:

    Who cares ?

  3. Shabbe says:

    You must also realise that Croatian politics is politics of typical balkan micro imperialism, fueled by extremist right politics. The main goal of Croatian imperialism is annexing the territory of Hercegovina and making the Adriatic a “Croatian lake” by blocking everyones access to it, ie. access of Monte Negro, Bosnia and Slovenia.

    Also we must put serious emphasis on the ultra nacionalistic HDZ party that hides its real motives by presenting itself as a party which is ready to negotiate and listen. Its not. Its just an offshot of facist Ustaša mentality strengthened on every day basis by Catholic church, where xenophobia, rasism, barbarism, primitivism etc… are common occurences and states of mind acceptable by everyone.

    The basic platform for strengthening the nacionalistic mentality is croatian football, where every radicalism and destructive behaviour is allowed and the outbursts of extreme nationalism completely normal.

    All in all, Croatia is a facist, totalitarian, ultra conservative and completely clerical country ruled by narrowminded nationalistic politicians and roman catholic church.

  4. Branko says:

    Pretty ignorant comments coming from all mighty English parasites. You have caused by far some of the worst wars all over the world and yet you think you have the right to call us fascists mmmm. I don’t know what country is more corrupt but I’m pretty sure your so called lovely Kingdom is pretty high on that list, just ask the Irish, Scotts and others. We will never forget you supported the Serbs throughout the conflict in 1991 to 1995 and we will not forget Bleiburg. Everyone in the world knows that the word English y synonym of Pirate, Mercenary.

  5. says:

    Dear Mr. Helmer,

    I fully support your view about Croatia’s accession to the EU. Please spread the truth about Croatia among your colleagues and postpone Croatia’s acceess to the EU until the time is right.

    Yours truly,


  6. evile says:

    All you haters, do not worry. We don’t want EU either. Only our corrupt, communist turncoat and power drunk politicians do. Trust me, when the day for the referendum comes most will reject EU.

    You call us corrupt, fascist and ultra conservative ? Ok. We know that and we accept it. The changes will come eventually.
    On the other hand you are two faced and rotten to the core and still pretend you are better than anyone else.
    That is extremely hypocritical.

    The change does not come to those that do not seek it.

  7. Pingback: Croatia votes for a noose | The Freedom Association

  8. Pingback: Croatia votes for a noose | Roger Helmer MEP

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