* Croatia joins EU on July 1
* Merkel cancels trip to mark occasion on Sunday
* Media call it a snub, link it to extradition law
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled a trip to Croatia to mark its entry into the European Union, a decision local media and the opposition said was a snub to the bloc's newest member by its richest one.
The Zagreb government said in a statement on Wednesday that Merkel had cancelled the trip - been scheduled for Sunday - "because of other obligations".
But media linked the cancellation to the fact that Germany is still seeking the extradition of a former Croatian intelligence chief over the 1983 murder of a Yugoslav dissident in Bavaria. Merkel's spokesman denied that was the reason.
German police have issued an arrest warrant for Josip Perkovic, who worked for communist Yugoslavia's secret service, the UDBA, and later led Croatia's intelligence agency.
Germany had expected Zagreb would hand him over upon joining the bloc, which it does on Monday, in line with the European Arrest Warrant agreement which obliges all EU member states to extradite their nationals wanted in other EU countries.
But Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic's centre-left government is pushing ahead with amendments to the Croatian law that puts the EU arrest warrant into effect which would make it cover only those crimes committed in Croatia after 2002, although the European Commission has already voiced its disapproval.
The private television station Nova TV said Merkel's cancellation was "a serious and worrying political message to Croatia". Index.hr, a news website, called it "a hard slap in the face for our incompetent prime minister".
The opposition also mocked the government.
"You played with fire and got burnt. But the real problem is that you've disgraced Croatia at a time when it is joining the European Union," said Goran Jandrokovic, a deputy for the opposition HDZ party and a former foreign minister.
Merkel's spokesman denied the cancellation had anything to do with the Croatian law.
"Unfortunately it was not possible for the chancellor to travel to Zagreb," spokesman Steffen Seibert said. "What is wrong is the suggestion that this has something to do with this proposed law."