Hope for renewal of the transatlantic relations for the benefit of both EU and Croatia

Institute for International Relations

The problem of transatlantic relations has been scrutinized in Croatian public and politicians, mainly from two aspects: the aspect of the global financial crisis and the aspect of the new American administration under the new elected President Obama. The daily “Vjesnik” has pointed out the differences in the starting positions between the EU and the USA during the G20 summit in November 2008 in Washington, where the EU leaders have advocated stronger market regulation while USA supported as much as possible safeguarding of liberal capitalism.[1] Connecting this aspect with the aspect of expectations from the new administration, EU leaders have discretely expressed the hope that the new American administration will have more potential for improving the performance of the American economy than the Bush administration. Comments published in daily “Jutranji list” found this disagreement as evidence of the conflict on leadership between the EU and the USA and not only on that issue, but on many others.[2] Discussing this issue, professor Luka Brkić from the Faculty for Political Science in Zagreb, had stressed that EU countries have understood that no single country has potential to cope neither with the US economy nor with giant corporations in the world. There is still a profound difference between the two concepts: mainstream neoliberal, which is preferred by the USA and market-regulated, which is implemented in the EU. Although these two market concepts have been discussed for a long time, they are different especially with the view of the current crisis and possible outcomes.[3]
Regarding the impact to Croatia, comments in pro-government daily “Vjesnik” have expressed the opinion that the upgrading of the partnership between the EU and the USA, which is one of the important priorities of the foreign policy of the new American administration, will also promote Croatian prospects to become a full-fledged member of both Euro-Atlantic structures as soon as possible.[4]
In some comments and statements by top Croatian leaders, fine differences could be noticed. For instance, President Mesić keeps stating in each possible occasion that Croatian foreign policy must not neglect other parts of the world, and must not focus only on the USA[5] while Prime Minister Sanader evidently prefers the US-Croatian partnership, which will probably help Croatia to become a full-fledged member of NATO very soon.[6]

[1] Vjesnik, November 20, 2008.

[2] Jutarnji list, November 22, 2008.

[3] Luka Brkić: “EU must become a leader”, Novi list, December 2008.

[4] Bruno Lopandic: “Partners”, Vjesnik, November 2008.

[5] Statement of Stjepan Mesić on 19 December 2008 on Croatian TV

[6] Press conference, 22 December 2008.