new edition announcement

Croatian Culture in the European Union

place: Zagreb, Croatia
An overview on recent  cultural policy tendencies in domestic and EU context titled 'Croatian Culture in the European Union' by  Biserka Cvjetičanin and Vjeran Katunarić is available for readers online.

'After the long negotiation process between Croatia and the EU, and the signing of the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union, a referendum was held in January 2012, in which Croatian citizens voted to join the European Union. So far, five countries have ratified the EU Accession Treaty: Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy and Malta. Publications and studies that have been published during the accession process, discussions, statements by prominent politicians and slogans showed once again that culture remained on the sidelines. If the question of what accession to the EU means for Croatian culture had even been raised, it mainly referred to cultural identity, which is often substituted by national identity in a rather narrow sense.

According to Eurobarometer data from December 2011 (Standard Eurobarometer 76), here is what Croatian citizens think about the "loss of cultural identity": while on an average 11-12% of Europeans are worried about this issue, and citizens of post-Communist countries are almost indifferent to the Union's "threat" to their cultural identity (for example only 5% of Polish people express that fear, and in most other countries the average is below 10%), a high 20 % of the population in Croatia expresses the fear of losing its national identity. It is obvious that in this case cultural identity is perceived as a static, primordial phenomenon, and not as a dynamic process that contributes to communication and development, which requires a relational rather than a categorical identity, an identity that corresponds to many and not just a few. Thus, openness to the EU and the world for these 20% of Croatian citizens becomes questionable, maybe even undesirable. Yet, fortunately, these twenty percent does not constitute an identitary majority.

According to Eurobarometer, the picture regarding cultural diversity is somewhat different. Among the answers to the question of what the EU symbolizes to the Croatian citizen personally, mobility, or rather the freedom of movement, work and study, leads the list with 48%, while cultural diversity is still well-placed with 16%, ahead of peace and social security - and almost at the same level as democracy. Today, cultural diversity is a major challenge due to the rapid increase in the multicultural composition of many societies and countries. Stronger migration leads to new cultural expressions, and shows that diversity is constantly renewed and developed. Since cultural diversity is a basic dimension of intercultural dialogue, its protection and promotion are important for the development of Croatia. Nevertheless, cultural diversity should neither be understood as a pretext for cultural heritage in a traditional, conservative sense - cultural heritage is also a wealth, as is identity, which grows steadily owing to works and deeds of past and contemporary generations of creative people alike.' Read more

(D.H., 06.04.2012)