(E) When Croatia wins, no-one thinks of the 'Balkans'
Distributed by CroatianWorld
When Croatia wins,no-one thinks of the 'Balkans'
By: Brian Gallagher
Croatia's image remains mixed.
It may come as a surprise to know that the US Military considers Croatia a "Qualified hazardous-duty area". US Military personnel are entitled to tax breaks if they serve in Croatia. One shouldn't be alarmed by this; Croatia has been listed as such an area by the United States since 1995. However, it does not help Croatia's image. In confirms that in the eyes of many, Croatia is seen as being somewhere unstable, prone to war, crime, corruption etc.
Europe is certainly no better. On 2 February, the European satellite news service Euronews screened an item on the 'Balkans' which emphasized crime and corruption, stating that it could take decades to root out. Croatia figured in this item, including shots of Dubrovnik. Anyone watching this with little knowledge of the subject would automatically assume Croatia to be as rotten and corrupt as any other 'Balkan' state. This is where 'regional co-operation' gets Croatia.
Croatia's leaders have yet to get to grips with the image problem in the US and EU.
Croatia's winning of the Handball World Championship is much better news, and this sporting success is symbolic; it shows that Croatia can succeed as an independent nation. One wonders whether Croatia's sportsmen would have had such success if they had limited themselves to 'regional' sporting events rather than taking on the world. When Croatia wins, no-one thinks of the 'Balkans'.