When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing. save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Croatia Makes It 28! But An Ever-Expanding EU Comes With Big Risks

Latest but not last: Zagreb is Europe's latest star
Latest but not last: Zagreb is Europe's latest star
Jacques Hubert-Rodier

PARIS - More than decade after the end of the Balkan wars, Croatia has become the 28 th member of the European Union as of Monday, July 1 , 2013. This is undoubtedly a positive sign for Europe as the old continent faces a new wave of euro-skepticism .

Europe remains attractive despite the rise of individual nationalisms. This new membership, following Slovenia, is also another way to offer closure after Europe's failure to end the terrible massacres in the former Yugoslavia without the decisive intervention of the United States.

So what happens next?

Everyone knows this won’t be the last member to join the EU. Serbia wants to open adhesion negotiations in January and Kosovo hopes it will soon be granted a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the first step towards adhesion. The other applicants are Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania .

[rebelmouse-image 27087084 alt="""" original_size="680x520" expand=1]

Ever-expanding Europe - Source: Kolja21

Meanwhile, Iceland has already started negotiating for membership -- and Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia are all dreaming of joining the Union. And we should not forget the particular case of Turkey.

Yet, the EU may face traps if it keeps expanding. The union is already mostly ungovernable in the face of its 27 members. Every single matter from Europe’s budget to the European Commission's mandate to – finally - start negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the U.S. inevitably leads to internal arguments among members. The EU has never been able to find an agreement on the war in Syria. So how will it be able to make decisions with a single voice in front of America, China , Russia or even India ?

Of course, as far as money’s concerned, the integration of the countries of former Yugoslavia would only cost 10 billion euros to the European budget. But there is still a great divide in lifestyles between those countries and the rest of the Union. For many of the new applicants, joining the EU is considered more like a renewal of their commitment towards the Atlantic Alliance -- not a sudden awareness of a true European identity .

The old continent is slipping towards a Europe with variable geometry, including countries that should have been integrated with the first 17 of the euro single currency zone (a process that is still very problematic), the 22 of the Schengen area (a flawed area as well) and the others.

The EU needs to finally settle its borders and redefine its raison d’être . Even if today, by welcoming Croatia, it can brag again a bit about fulfilling the objective of its founding fathers: “Make peace reign in Europe.”

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Migrant Lives

The Damning Proof Of Migrants Tortured In Libya — And Italy's Complicity

The Refugees in Libya movement has posted shocking images to awaken our consciences. But here, all is silent, and the hope for humanity is entrusted to a Europe that is reborn from the bottom up.

Staff members of the desert patrols of the Libyan Illegal Immigration Control Department and some stranded African migrants are seen at the Libya-Tunisia border

Xinhua/ ZUMA
Mattia Ferrari


TURIN — "Let me die."

These were the desperate words of yet another migrant tortured by the Libyan mafia. Like many others from sub-Saharan Africa, this teenager had to leave his homeland wrecked by global apathy and injustice. And like many others, he ended up in the hands of a local criminal organization , who imprisoned him in one of the notorious camps in the Libyan town of Bani Walid.

We know of his fate from videos of his torture , which were shot in order to extort ransom from his family back home. A social movement led by the migrants, "Refugees in Libya," has been sharing this footage in hopes of awakening Europe's conscience.

But on this side of the Mediterranean, all is silent .

Keep reading... Show less

The latest