Challenges to Croatian National Identity within the EU: the Polish perspective


  • Ryszard Ławniczak Military University of Technology, Warsaw


National Identity, European Union, “The Reed Effect”, Croatia, Poland


The aim of this paper is to share the experience of a post-socialist country and a member of the EU since 1 May 2004 and the problem of preserving its own national identity, while also trying to promote it. The author first examines the definition of the concept and the relevance of the Nation’s Brand Identity Model with respect to Croatia. Next, he addresses the issue of how to preserve national identity facing “the winds” of unequal competition from more developed EU member countries as well as other global players – mainly United States. (perhaps even more dangerous). The issue of media ownership plays an extremely important role. Based on the evidence from the Polish experience, the author developed a new concept of “the reed effect.” In the final section of the article, he recommends public diplomacy as the potentially most efficient tool for building relations and promoting national identity. Finally, he concludes the study with a rather optimistic observation that external threats tend to strengthen national identity, yet the process is time-consuming. In the case of Poland, the appeals for “economic patriotism”, defending the purity of the Polish language, slogans like “buy Polish” and “proud to be Polish” did not emerge until 6-8 years after accession to the European Union and about 18-20 years after the beginning of the country’s economic and political transformation. This phenomenon can be observed after the first waves of enthusiasm for the “western/individualistic” value system, consumer goods, junk food, films, foreign direct investment and media “freedom”.