I lived through the war. I was bombed many times. I remember being woken up by my parents in the middle of the night to find shelter and I remember the sound of the sirens*. I remember the fear of being attacked, the anxiety, the tension. Many Croatians still remember this and it is perhaps because of this remembrance that we want to be in this family so strongly. When the war ended, there was this patriotic song that chanted something like ‘Europe, Europe, please accept us !’

This is where I get my motivation from : from the fact that my country is now able to simply exist as a rightful and fully fledged member of the European Union, without having to justify itself. Finally !

Especially with everything I remember from our past, I am grateful for how things have turned out.

(Matija is a European official working at DG GROW – dealing with the Single Market – of the European Commission)

*He is referring to the war of independence in Croatia between 1991 and 1995, which occurred after Croatia split from the former Yugoslavia. Later on in 2013, Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union.