People attend a memorial service for the victims of the Croatian “Storm” offensive in the village of Busije, west of Belgrade. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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Croatia, which joined the European Union in 2013, and Serbia, which is negotiating accession to the bloc, both claim to be attached to European values, cooperation and good neighborly relations.While Slovenia faced only a 10-day battle for sovereignty, Croats fought Belgrade-backed Serbs for more than three years in a conflict that claimed 20,000 lives and left hundreds of thousands homeless.Before the war Serbs in Croatia accounted for about 12 percent of the population compared with 4 percent today of the country's 4.3 million people.In overwhelmingly Catholic Croatia, many see Stepinac as a hero, saying that he saved thousands of lives – a number that includes many Serbs – as well as showing attachment to an independent Croatia and unwavering faith in the face of communist persecution.With Serbia yet to form a government following an April election and Croatia holding snap polls in September after a fragile right-wing government fell over a conflict of interest affair, analysts say the ongoing external rows could be useful for political elites.
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