The New York Times reports As European Union Beckons, Allure Fades for Wary Croatia
"Nothing Good is Coming"
Zoran Sluga has a small family farm here on the border with Slovenia, his 300-year-old barn filled with thousands of squawking chickens.
But if Croatians vote to join the European Union next Sunday, Mr. Sluga?s simple business will become a lot more complicated. The cages he keeps his hens in will not meet the group?s rules, requiring expensive upgrades. Italian egg producers, given access to Croatian markets, are likely to undercut his prices. Mr. Sluga believes that his very way of life is a stake. And for what? he asks.
?See what happened to Greece,? he said. ?They got billions from the E.U. and it did not work out.?
Recent polls show that Croats are still likely to vote yes. Then, the 27 European Union countries are expected to ratify their membership and Croatia will become part of the group on July 1 ? in all likelihood, the last new member for many years.
Srdjan Dumicic, the director of Ipsos Puls, a company that has conducted several polls on the subject in recent years, said that support had been dwindling in the past few weeks and could narrow, according to the latest poll that has not yet been published. Some Croatians joke, he said, that joining now is like arriving at the party at 2 a.m. Half the revelers are drunk. Half have gone home.
?It?s not the party it was at midnight,? Mr. Dumicic said.
?In the European Parliament, we would be 12 members out of more than 740; in the Council of Ministers, 7 votes out of more than 350,? said Marjan Bosnjak, secretary of the Council for Croatia, an association opposing European Union membership. ?We will be a statistical error. Who will give a damn about what Croatians think??
The reach of the European Union is often underestimated, as it tries to create an even playing field among its members. Take the egg business. No detail seems overlooked. The union?s rules say that the chicken cages must allow at least 750 square centimeters per hen and contain a nest, litter, perch and ?clawing board.? These requirements are amusing to Mr. Sluga, the farmer. ?The chickens have more rights than humans in the E.U.,? he joked.
Mr. Sluga estimates that he will have to spend $100,000 on new cages or $13,000 for used equipment. The alternative is to allow his chickens to roam free either indoors or out, something he finds bizarre because, he said, the hens can ? and do ? eat their own excrement under such conditions. And such an operation would require a lot more labor, he said.
Any country that joins the EU now instead of waiting a couple years to see the results of a Eurozone breakup, has mush for brains.
To understand why Croatia is likely to plow ahead anyway, please consider the following snip from the above New York Times article.
The campaign against European Union membership is being run from a cramped three-room office with no heating. The only visitor before 10 a.m. one recent morning was the landlord asking about the rent. Mr. Bosnjak, the secretary of the Council for Croatia, said the council represented about 25 small groups that together had just $4,000 to $5,000 to spend. (The government said it planned to spend about $800,000 on television spots and a pro-integration information campaign.)Chickens Come Home to Roost Expression
Yet even opponents of European Union membership seem to think that the country has nowhere else to go. As he mulled what to do about his hen cages, Mr. Sluga said that he feared that his no vote would be in vain.
?I am aware that we will have to enter the E.U.,? he said, ?but I also know that nothing good is coming.?
The chickens are about to come home to roost. To help those unfamiliar with the expression please consider Chickens Coming Home to Roost
As a proverbial expression it?s half a millennium old. The older fuller form was curses are like chickens; they always come home to roost, meaning that your offensive words or actions are likely at some point to rebound on you. The idea goes back to Chaucer, though he expressed it rather differently in The Parson?s Tale, around 1390, writing that curses are like ?a bird that returns again to his own nest?.Bureaucrats can and will cram this down the throats of Croatians, because they, not Croatia will benefit. Bigger salaries and benefits await representatives of the European Parliament.
There is absolutely no reason for Croatia to join now, especially as the UK ponders an EU exit. Nonetheless, if recent polls are correct, it seems likely.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
Click Here To Scroll Thru My Recent Post List