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Croatia's fragmented anti-EU leaders form a bloc


dpa German Press Agency
Published: Monday January 29, 2007


Zagreb- More than a dozen Croatian parties have united into
the country's first anti-European political organization, the
Jutarnji List daily said Monday.
The "Croatia Only" engulfed 14 small groups which oppose Zagreb's
progress toward European Union membership, their leaders agreed at a
meeting over the weekend.

"We don't want Europe to tell us how many olives and vineyards we
may plant," Croatia Only President Milovan Sibl said. "We don't want
foreign, NATO commanders to command our army."

"We want to preserve Croatia's sovereignty," said the leader of
the far-right Bloc for Croatia, which plans to join Croatia Only in
April.

Army General Zeljko Glasnovic warned that "barbarians" were "at
Croatia's doors."

"They want us to scrap the ... sacred Croatian Army; we must fight
that," Glasnovic added.

The anti-European leaders labelled Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and
President Stipe Mesic as "traitors."

The combined strength of the parties aiming to form Croatia Only
is currently below the parliamentary threshold.

However, their leaders are hoping to tap the large reservoir of
Croatia's sceptics: in surveys, half of those questioned regularly
express discontent at measures which Zagreb must take en route to EU
membership.

Croatia fought for independence from Belgrade between 1991 and
1995. The country remains plagued by post-conflict issues, but has
accelerated reforms and its progress toward EU membership since
Sanader took over three years ago.

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency