This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 320294


Report on Croatia: A Serbian Minority Inside and a Croatian Diaspora Outside? (D4.7)

June 2, 2017

The existing research on the Croatian citizenship defines several stages of the development of the Croatian citizenship regime (Ragazzi & Štiks 2009; Djuric 2010; Štiks 2010b; Koska 2011; 2012; Ragazzi, Štiks & Koska 2013; Baričević & Hoffman 2014). The first decade of Croatian independence was marked by the disputes over the status dimension of citizenship, where the criteria for the membership in the newly formed citizenry had to be defined. Within this stage, the generous provisions for the inclusion of ethnic Croats regardless their residency have been enacted, while the provisions for exclusion of certain categories of non-Croat ethnic residents were implemented. The second stage which literature perceives to have start in 2000 (Petričušić 2004; Jović & Lamont 2010; Djuric 2010; Štiks 2010b; Koska 2012) was marked by liberalization of the discussions over the rights dimension of Croatian citizenship. The final stage involves the changes and impact on the Croatian citizenship regime that emerged in the aftermath of the Croatian membership to EU. Since Croatia has been an EU member state for only three years, the exploration of the changes of the Croatian citizenship regime with the EU have not been addressed so far. The task of this study is to explore the key political debates that emerged in the context of the previous developments of the Croatian citizenship regime.

Throughout all three stages, idea of membership to EU played a very important role in Croatian project of nation and statehood building; during the 1990s it was perceived as a long term guarantee of Croatian sovereignty, statehood stability and economic prosperity. The 2000s until the accession were marked by democratic changes and the legislative reification of the discriminatory policies and shortcoming of the regime of the 1990s, which were largely influenced by the meeting the requirements of the EU accession, which was set as the primary national priority and goal. The last stage, which have started in the eve of the accession and continued till today, is marked by the return of the identity disputes regarding the Croatian state and the membership identity. As this report will highlight, the first three years of EU membership did not build on the previous decades’ accomplishments of more inclusionary policies towards minorities; instead, Croatia has witnessed the revival of the nationalist discourse which is today in the media often framed under the term ‘conservative revolution’.


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