Country Report: Croatia

Igor Stiks, Francesco Ragazzi, Viktor Koska

Research output: Working paper

Abstract / Description of output

The politics of citizenship in post-Yugoslav Croatia are deeply marked by the political climate in which they emerged. Almost all of Yu­goslavia's successor states-with some variation according to their spe­cific context and at a different pace-used their founding documents, constitutions and citizenship laws as effective tools to accelerate nation-building and to 'ethnically engineer' their populations to the ad­vantage of the majority ethnic group. Croatia in the 1990s was no exception to this rule. With the death of Franjo Tuman in 1999 and the subsequent elec­toral defeat of his party (HDZ), the beginning of 2000 marked a sharp con­trast with the practices of the previous decade. Owing in part to the demo­cratic changes within Croatian politics and to Croatia's bid for EU mem­bership, the implementation of the citizenship laws began to demonstrate more inclusiveness towards ethnic non-Croats, although the law on citizenship itself remained unchanged. The case of Croatia demonstrates how sticks and carrots employed by the EU could alter relations between a nationalising state and its internal minorities as well as between a kin-state and its ethnic diaspora in the 'near abroad'. At the same time, it shows how the latter relations can be preserved within the institutional framework of the EU. We thus witness parallel attempts to integrate a country into the supranational institutions of the EU, to democratise its political life, and to clearly show political and so­cial inclusiveness towards ethnic minorities; but also to maintain a transnational ethnic community by using ethno-centric citizenship laws.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEUDO Citizenship Observatory
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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