Financially, being part of the EU gives Croatia a little much needed support, not unlike many other countries in Europe. Croatia is struggling with debt, not only from the recent financial crisis but also from a war that ended less than 20 years ago.
With over 5000km of stunning coastline, tourism is considered as one of the country’s leading industries, but is not enough to sustain the economy. Within the EU hopefully Croatia’s manufacturing and trade with other EU states will receive a boost. Croatia’s prime positioning in central Europe with links between Western and Eastern Europe may lead investors to capitalise.
Korcula, along with Croatia as a whole, is recognised today as a popular holiday destination, but before the war tourism flourished in the country. Korcula has always drawn tourists to its beautiful coastline and in my opinion will always do so. Under the EU it should become easier for investors to get involved in business ventures that will help maintain and improve this holiday island with so much potential. Hotels, some of the stunning stone properties and regeneration along the sea front, are areas that should be of interest for investors and the island alike.
However despite the economical advantages the EU may bring, Croatia’s strong cultural identity is almost certain to come under threat from joining, which is of course a shame. Small changes are slowly taking place which I doubt are for the better. Families, who have sold their home-made goods at the market for generations, are being told they must now wear white gloves, aprons and hats as well as having a fridge to store their fresh produce. The majority of families have traditionally made wines and liquors, for home consumption as well as distributing them for free to friends. However these small-scale productions are now going to come under strict EU restrictions. Stone grills in the garden will probably have to have official EU safety guidelines! Ok maybe not, but you get my point. The way the people of Croatia live, especially in Dalmatia, is so far from the corridors of power in Brussels that I can’t help but think the influence from the EU will be detrimental to the people.
Korcula is almost as far away from Zagreb as possible in Croatia, which is where the EU’s influence will be most felt, so let’s hope the distance helps maintain the region’s charming way of life and culture. Perhaps now is the best time to experience this before too much change and whilst holidaying in Korcula and Croatia is extremely good value compared to its Mediterranean counterparts.