Amidst all the bad news, the EU can feel at least a bit reassured following the strong endorsement given by Croatians this weekend to their country joining the European Union. Though you'd be forgiven for getting the impression from the English-speaking media that the EU is now a toxic project that few want to be associated with, 67% of Croatians voted on Sunday to join the union.
An accession agreement was already signed by the country's government in December, and they are set to become the 28th member state at the end of this year. But the accession required a public referendum to go through. There were some rumblings of concern last year that the eurozone crisis could deliver a surprise no from the Croatian people. Brussels received a pleasant surprise last night when news came that the referendum had not only passed, it had passed by a large majority.
The vote comes a year after Estonia's decision to join the euro currency. Both decisions show that even in the midst of the eurozone crisis, the European project continues to move forward - not backward. Of course, both of these things were planned and in motion before the eurozone crisis hit. The real test may come next year when the people of Iceland vote on whether to move from their status as a pseudo-member-state in the EEA to a full member state of the EU. Opinion polls are already showing that referendum could have a hard time passing, particularly as the Icelandic economy recovers from their crisis as the eurozone slips further into its much larger crisis.