Croatia. According to
Countryaah, fireworks and festivities marked the historic
occasion when Croatia became the EU's 28th member state on
July 1. Many celebrated, although others were skeptical
about joining a union where many countries were affected by
Soon a conflict arose with the EU as a result of a
European arrest warrant for a former Yugoslav intelligence
chief. Croatia, in its adaptation to EU rules, had adopted a
law that allowed extradition of Croatian citizens, but only
for crimes committed after 2002. The refusal to extradite
Josip Perković, who was suspected of murdering a Croatian
dissident in 1983, also disrupted relations with Germany as
wanted to bring him to trial. In August, death threats
against Prime Minister Zoran Milanović were reported due to
A law on bilingualism in areas where minorities make up
at least a third of the residents caused a fierce conflict
in the border town of Vukovar. Croatian nationalists
protested vigorously against official signs with text even
in Serbian, written with the Cyrillic alphabet. Signs were
repeatedly torn down and in connection with an annual
memorial service in November, for falling during the civil
war in the 1990s, nationalists drove the country's president
and prime minister. Subsequently, the city council adopted a
letter stating that, because of siege and destruction during
the war, Vukovar would not be subject to the laws of
minority rights, and official use of the Cyrillic alphabet
On the initiative of a Catholic group, Parliament decided
to hold a referendum in December to ban same-sex marriage.
Two-thirds voted in December for a ban to be included in the
According to official figures, 99% of the voters in
Krajina were at that time supporters of an association with
the Bosnian Serbs, but until the end of 1993 no real
initiative had been taken to put the idea into practice.
This led to increased tension in Croatia. Tudjman, keen
to avoid further divisions, offered the Serbian Croats in
Krajina amnesty and limited self-government; these, in turn,
allowed the reconstruction of the Maslenica bridge
connecting the south to the north.
Subsequent discrepancies aroused the Serbs for renewed
acts of war, where even the UN mediation attempt failed to
guarantee the safety of the bridge.
Amnesty International stated that thousands of people,
mainly Serbs, had been accused of armed rebellion or
undermining the Croatian state; among these were persons
whom Amnesty International considered to be prisoners of
conscience who had been arrested solely because their ethnic
origin. The organization also received information on
arbitrary executions by members of the Croatian army.
The conflict in Croatia, which was less bloody than the
war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, cost hundreds of thousands of
victims among the civilian population.
In late 1993, Franjo Tudjman and the President of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Izetbegovic, signed a ceasefire
agreement and shut down the prison camps.
In January 1994, Croatia and Serbia in Geneva agreed to
re-establish road links and telecommunications between the
two republics. Zagreb and Belgrade offices were also opened
to serve as diplomatic missions, albeit at a lower level.
However, the Krajina enclave, still controlled by the
Serbs, failed to solve the problem. The Croats were trying
to get the Serbs recognition of the right to independence,
which Slobodan Milosovic opposed.
In any case, UN and US negotiators, Thorvald Stoltenberg
and Lord Owen, welcomed the new agreement that helped to
reduce tensions between the two former Yugoslav republics.