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(E) Croatia - Impartial State. Why not !
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  04/7/2003 | Ideas | Unrated
(E) Croatia - Impartial State. Why not !




PoliticalScience Research Center, Zagreb 


Since internationalacknowledgement in 1992 until today, the Croatian foreign policy the object areEuropean integrations. That object has been emphasized and is emphasized byformer Government and by new coalition government. Despite that, until recentlythe Government didn’t manage to achieve inter -party agreement on Europeanintegration Strategy, and it was accomplished at the end of 2002 by acclamationof Declaration in Croatian Parliament. Impartially from what may be the bestresults in Stabilization and association process, comparing with othercountries, Croatia didn’t find itself among ten new candidate countries in EUEastern enlargement process. At Copenhagen Summit Croatia was not traded as acountry which could be in enlargement process with Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.

That promptedCroatian political elite on diplomatic action and acclamation of Declaration andundergoing of application for full membership by March 2003.

The application hasdomestic and foreign political reasons.

Domestic politicalreasons are related to forthcoming elections. In a case of acceptance,Government of the Prime-minister Račan would achieve a great success inforeign policy which could probably have impact on forthcoming elections. But,in a case

Of subtraction thisGovernment will have to bear consequences and the question of alternativestrategy for the future will be opened.

The good side of theapplication is that it will show a real position of Brussels who will have togive its final answer, either positive or negative.

Positive answer basedon intern consensus, would ask for development of integration strategy withprecise dynamic, distribution of tasks, distribution actor roles, budget andcost of integration, benefits of integration for Croatia, losses and obligationby referendum.

In a case of negativeanswer the government will have to develop the scenario to avoidcontra-productive effects of ten to fifteen years by the time Croatia becomefull EU member.

That time should beused on developing an Alternative or our own concept of impartiality. Thatconcept will be discussed among leading Croatian intellectuals on Seminar“Croatia-neutral State?” which will be held on 23rd January 2003in Bezanec Castle in Hrvatsko Zagorje.


Positive and negativeScenario of Croatian future and her position in the globalized world has to bedeterminate by her geopolitical situation, which is constant in domestic andforeign politics. It is a permanent fact which has to be taken as dependent inprogramming and implementation of future scenario.

According to that, itis possible to identify Croatia as a country between Central Europe,Mediterranean and Balkan. Three components identify her geopolitical andcultural identity: Central European, Mediterranean and Balkan component, ofwhich geographically

 Balkanhas a smallest impact.

Until January 3rd2000 the emphasis was on first two components but after arrival of coalitionGovernment the priority was given to a Balkan component. Objections to an oldGovernment were that it favored European integration; Central European andMediterranean identity but it acted totally Balkanian. New Government, on theother side to has emphasized cooperation with Balkans as an integrated part ofStabilization and accession process and the Mediterranean and Central Europeangeopolitical and cultural component where put in a second plan and a prioritywas given to cooperation with Western Balkan countries (In economy, culture,sport and etc).

In the politicallanguage by officials in Brussels Croatia is treated as a part of Western Balkanregion. Since 1997 until 2000 in “European herald” magazine Croatia ismentioned as an integrated part Western Balkan region, Yugoslavia minus Sloveniaplus Albania. In this region exist interweave between Western (EU and U. S. A.),Russian and Islamic interest. EU foreign politics treats this region as one. Theobject of Stabilization and association Agreement is implementation ofstabilization in the region and association, if it ever became possible. The EUpolitics does not take into account the results of each individual country. Itis occupied with the collective approach. Individual accession model, as itseems, will not be easily accepted. The reasons why Croatia didn’t enter infirst enlargement group in Copenhagen are strictly political. The WesternBalkans is treated as Europe’s “black hole”, the region withoutestablished rule of law and with great problems with corruption, organizedcrime, illegal migrations and trafficking of human beings. It is treated in thisway and actually isolated so that it doesn’t undermine EU construction, and inattempt to prevent eventual effects of the “black hole” on her system EU isbuilding a stronger politics towards Balkan countries and barbarians who couldundermine the EU principals.

Finally, in allScenarios of EU Future, either official or of think tanks, Croatia is seen asWestern Balkan country. These are some of the examples, Western Balkan and a newEuropean responsibility. Strategic paper presented at special meeting “Club ofthree and Western Balkans” (Brussels 29 ­ 30, June 2000); CARDS assistanceProgram to the Western Balkans – regional strategy paper 2002 – 2006(European Commission. Forward studies unit. Horizontal issues). Western Balkanin 2004. Assistance, cohesion and new European borders. The paper by independentinstitute ESI – Berlin was presented to Javier Solana on November 5th2002 in Brussels. Taken into account, Scenario confirms thesis of politicalreasons of Croatian exclusion from Copenhagen enlargement process and acollective, instead of individual approach to accession, if ever becomesplausible.

ESI Scenario anticipate crisis inWestern Balkans 2004 caused by reduction of assistance. In a part of Scenario“ European Union and the crisis 2004” the Western Balkan countries arehardly taken into account in a view of future EU enlargement, and the evidenceof that approach was shown in Copenhagen treatment of the Balkans. It isstressed that:

»From 2004 to 2006, most countries inthe region will receive relatively little EU aid, whatever political orinstitutional reforms they undertake and irrespective of their progress up theStabilization and Association ladder. Unless something changes, there will alsobe little argument for taking the needs of the region seriously in the nextprogramming cycle (2007-13). The Balkans will continue to depend on thedevelopment and humanitarian aid budget, and will find itself competing with thecountries of the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East and with new crisisareas as they emerge around the globe.

Without a serious commitment from theEuropean Union, the Western Balkans will find itself increasingly isolated fromthe developments unfolding all around it, from Slovenia, through Hungary,Romania and Bulgaria, and south to Greece. Its capacity to join the Europeanproject will only decrease over time. While in the enlarged Europe, the newgoals will be economic cohesion; development and labour mobility, in the Balkansthe focus will narrow to issues of crime, corruption and border management. Ifthis is Europe's only response to the crisis of 2004, then the most probablefuture of the Balkans is to remain an island of instability in the heart ofEurope, exporting migrants and importing peacekeepers. (ESI, November 2002, p.20). »

EU foreign politics has commonstandards of “Europeanization” of new potential candidate countries anddeveloped regional politics. One of these regional politics is toward WesternBalkans. But, either Croatia hasn’t developed clear strategy whose objectivesare European integrations neither it comply prerequisite for full membership,partly because it’s own fault and partly because of existing scenarios of EUfuture.

The question here is: What can we do ina case they don’t accept our application for full membership and we subtractscenarios, which tend to relate Croatia and her own future with a future ofWestern Balkan? Therefore, alternative scenario must be developed includingacclamation of permanent impartiality on Constitutional basics.


If the application for full membershipis going to be subtracted, and if the Government is rejecting a concept, whichtends to relate Croatia with Western Balkan scenario, an alternative strategy ofextrication from the Balkans must be developed. This strategy should necessaryinclude acclamation of impartiality as a concept of self- reinforcing, buildinginstitutions based on rule of law, implementation of common European standardsand best practice, anti-participation in war conflicts, abstention from NATOmembership, and reinforcement of Constitutional statute which forbids anyassociation with former Yugoslavian countries, and promotion of peace byRepublic of Croatia.

In a political history termimpartiality had deferent meanings, but always resulting from constellation ofpower and relations. Since establishment of international relations between thestates in 1648 it was interpreted as abstention from conflicts and taking partsin violations, respect of sovereignty and independent foreign politics forexample, freedom of choice in leading its own foreign politics.

The system of impartiality is changingthrough the centuries, especially after a fall of Berlin wall. Withglobalization of politics the old concept of impartiality has changed, andgradually is defined in new context of power and relations.

The right on impartiality, in terms ofglobalized politics, has to be maintained, as a choice of a freedom. Forexample: Croatia has never been forced to join EU and NATO, but EU scenariorelates it to Western Balkan. Impartiality, hence, means a freedom of choice,which defines our own future. Any declared impartiality should be acknowledgedby international community, and in that case Croatia should “experience”second international acknowledgment if declare neutrality.

As I said, through the historyimpartiality was result of constellation of power and relations. Examples are:Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Finland and Ireland. Switzerland is an example ofpermanent, Constitutional based impartiality. Austria is an example ofimpartiality created as a result or consequence of 2nd World war.Since 1955 until 1994 Austria experienced total impartiality. That time was usedon institutional building and self-reinforcing, and at the end Austria joined EU.Austria is not a NATO member, but is candidate country and is pleading forredefining of impartiality under new conditions. Sweden, Finland and Ireland areall EU members but not NATO members. Therefore, in globalized world there arestill some neutral states, and some countries are neither members of EU or NATO.Perfect example is Switzerland.

According to that, if Croatia currentlycannot become full EU member, and there is no need to enter NATO, as senselessorganization, it should declare neutrality related to future conflicts andpermanent impartiality.

“Permanent neutrality is clearlydifferent from neutrality by the fact that permanent neutrality ischaracteristic of the state as a subject of international law, as defined byConstitution and international Agreement, and opposite, term neutrality isrelated to war.” (Source: Vladimir Ibler, International civil law dictionary,Zagreb, Informator, 1987, p. 319). Raymond Aaron has also written aboutdifferent types of impartiality in book “Peace and war among the nations”(Zagreb, Golden marketing, 2001, p. 548.)

The idea of freedom of choice and peaceare in foundation of impartiality. So if Croatia is going to declareimpartiality it won’t be in any relation with isolationism. Impartiality isbased on the assumption of freedom of choice to integrate, according to nationalinterests, in those global institutions in which, for example, Switzerland is amember, but is not a member of European Union and NATO. Finally, impartialityexclude isolationism. Croatian concept of impartiality in globalized world,should therefore, be the concept of institutional self reinforcing, comparativewith EU standards, based on rule of law so that Croatia in time became adesirable EU partner.

Since the end of bipolar structure ofthe world and fall of Berlin wall NATO has became an institution occupied withplanning its own purpose. In NATO strategy1999 it is stressed that a role ofNATO is a protection of North-Atlantic alliance countries. Whom from? Who is aglobal enemy today? It is also stressed that NATO’s second role is managingthe crisis caused by NATO to vindicate its purpose. Beside that, after aFatherland war, Croatia is not longer willing to participate in wars and wish todeclare itself as Republic of peace. Parallel with that Croatian membership inNATO would be senseless since NATO is interested only in the military bases inMediterranean, as a place for protection of capital interests, interests offoreign companies, and as a source of equipment and goods, and trained soldiersfor artillery meat. Croatia should offer military bases and in exchange shouldreceive a expensive equipment, bordellos, prostitutes, infectious diseases,drugs, military police and “State within the state“, from NATO. The fact is,there is no any country who could pose a threat to Croatia besides NATO, andNATO members for shure will not declare war to Croatia. Slovenia is not a NATOmember, Italy, as old member, excludes that idea, and Hungary, after joinEuropean Union is not a question. The only threat could pose Serbia. But ifCroatia has succeeded to organize army in the early 1990 and defend fromEurope’s third military forces at the time, it is not a question whether itcould do that in the future with built military organization and well equippedarmy? Hence, there are no reasons for Croatia to become a NATO member. As astate which proclaims peace, based on impartiality, Croatia should developpolitics towards Serbia to prevent threats.

Impartiality includes strong economyinstitutions and membership in, according to national interests, global economyinstitutions. Globalization of economy and politics has greatly changed theconcept of territorial sovereignty of European Union members.

In the invitation for Seminar which isgoing to be held at the end of January 2003 it is stressed: “Today the natureof impartiality has changed especially in accordance with new nature ofconflicts and threats in international relations. Strong integration processesand even stronger inter-dependence of the world and states progressively arechanging the main principles of neutrality, as for example, the principal ofsovereignty and national interests. Neutral states continually are changingtheir behavior in international relations in accordance with real neutrality,but they stay committed to basic idea which enable them a great freedom foractions”.

Globalization, as a main form inintegrated the world, does not exclude impartiality, but impartiality needs tobe adopted according to conditions in globalized world. Globalization is basedon neo-liberalism, the idea of freedom, just as neutrality is based on idea offreedom. Hence, terms globalization and neutrality are not in contradiction ifthe right of freedom of choice, freedom of individual and society to choose itsown future is respected. Our choice is a way towards European Union and iftemporary we can’t reach it and we don’t want to be related with WesternBalkan impartiality is a way for Croatian politics in globalized world. But weneed International community to acknowledge this way and they will if Croatiasuggests that option.

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