Croatia is joining the European Union at midnight on July 1, 2013. Surely this would be a moment of celebration, and rightly so after the many steps it had overcome. And if it had not been for the recession – both national and regional, I believe this moment would be mainly about celebration.I have never been to Croatia, though I trust that I’ll do a backpacker pit stop the years to come especially to admire the seaside. I congratulate them for managing to pull it through. Irrespective of the economic and political climate, they deserve to be in the EU.
When Romania joined the EU in 2007 along with Bulgaria, I was neither in Romania, nor in the EU per se. I was in Geneva, Switzerland some 5 km from the French border reading the newspapers and watching from afar how Romanians celebrated the fact that they were actually being considered Europeans.
I always felt European. Geographically, I could not understand why there should be a difference between an EU citizen and a non-EU. Some time ago, as a student in France back in 2003, I felt strange when asked whether I am European or not. I always said “Yes, I am European, geographically I am a European citizen”. And they would answer back: “Well, no, you are not then”. It was very queer because I felt European and I was treated as an outsider.
And when Romania finally became an EU member in 2007, I did not feel more European because of that. I felt just as normal as before. So, well done Croatia, you deserve this!