The 28-member bloc of the European Union could be compared to the USA in certain ways. Even more so since the election of US President Donald Trump whom many agree was mostly elected by rural USA whilst the major cities on the East and the West coast voted for his opponent.
Some say it was a vote of conservatism versus liberalism. In Europe, that difference is mostly felt in the way issues are seen by the more conservative Eastern Europe versus the interpretation of the more liberal Western Europe.
The latest issue that is drawing a dividing line between the two European parts is the so-called ‘Istanbul convention’ which foresees in harsher punishment for domestic violence (aka violence against women), the acceptance of gay marriage and a further definition of gender beyond just ‘man and woman’.
Already last month the treaty was rejected in two other eastern European Union countries, Bulgaria and Slovakia after huge rallies over there.
Today it as Croatia’s turn where many thousands marched against the Prime Minister who plans to sign the treaty to remain on good footing with the EC in Brussels.
According to the protesters, the definition of gender as “social roles, behaviours, activities, and characteristics that a particular society considers appropriate for women and men,” would hollow out the traditional understanding of families and eventually allow gay marriage, which most Eastern European countries are not yet ready for.
Ms Kristina Pavlovic, a protest organiser: “I think this is a turning point for Croatia when we must decide whether Croatia will choose a preservation of family and traditional values or we will go another way imposed from outside, from Brussels or like what we see in Canada where there will be a parent 1 and parent 2 instead of mother and father.”
An elderly man walking alongside the protesters said: “I protest for my grandchild, grand-grandchild and all those who gave their lives for Croatia.”
“I am a grandfather, I am not going to be a parent 1 nor a parent 2.”