The truth is that the EU made sure that those East European countries had no real choice; huge amount of money was spent in propaganda and the EU was helped by the fact that almost all the opponents of EU membership were either unreconstructed Communists or unpleasant nationalists. Nevertheless, when referendums came around on the membership, turn-outs tended to be extremely low.
Croatia, the next one to join, is no exception. Last January it had a referendum at which those who advocated membership secured an easy victory, not least because only 43.5 per cent bothered to turn out to vote.
Yesterday, the Croatian electorate excelled itself. The first election for members of the Toy Parliament were held and only 21 per cent bothered to turn out. Mind you, that is not quite as low as Slovakia's in the 2009 election when it was under 20 per cent or in the 2004 election when less than 17 per cent chose to participate. But it is not exactly a ringing endorsement or a sign of spectacular excitement at the thought of participating in this
Croatia's opposition centre-right HDZ party won six seats, narrowly beating the ruling centre-left SDP faction with five deputies. The nationalist and left-wing Labour party got one MEP.I wonder what the turn-out will be then.
The winners will act as observers with no voting rights in the EU assembly until Croatia joins the Union on 1 July.
They will then serve for one year, before Croatia chooses a new set of euro-deputies in the general EU elections next May.