Ceremony held in Zagreb to mark 20th anniversary of Croatia's int'l recognition

15.01.2012 u 21:50


Croatia's top state officials on Sunday evening attended a ceremony in downtown Zagreb commemorating the 20th anniversary of Croatia's recognition by the international community, calling on citizens to take part in the January 22 EU entry referendum and support Croatia's accession to the EU.

Addressing those attending the event in the city's Cvjetni Trg square, President Ivo Josipovic said that 20 years ago, when it was subjected to a brutal act of military aggression, Croatia was recognised by many countries, including partners in the then European Community.

Croatia today is a better country, it is a country of democracy where different views are freely expressed, including opinions in favour and against the country's EU entry, Josipovic said, calling on Croatians to vote for the country's EU accession in the forthcoming referendum.

He said that in the vote next Sunday Croatians would not be deciding only about whether they were doing well, but also whether they wanted a better future for Croatia and a safer future for their children.

Just as we were proud of our international recognition 20 years ago, I believe that in 20 years' time we will also be proud of the decision to be made, he said.

Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, too, called on citizens to vote 'Yes' in the referendum. By joining the EU we can show that we are good and that we deserve more and better, but we will have to make it happen on our own, Milanovic said, thanking all who have helped bring Croatia to the EU's door.

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic said that 20 years ago others started recognising what Croatians had already known - that they were citizens of their country, of their continent and the entire world, and that they would never make a more important achievement than being citizens.

"We are citizens of a country whose birth was difficult, which has overcome many challenges, and which 20 years ago... was recognised as a country that would make it," Pusic said.

"It took a lot of effort to build state institutions and independence, and we now have to make one more step - stabilise the country, civic values and our future in the long run," Pusic said, calling on Croatians not to miss that chance.

Parliament Speaker Boris Sprem, too, spoke at the ceremony, calling on citizens to vote 'Yes' in the EU entry referendum.

Danish Ambassador Bo Eric Weber, whose country currently chairs the EU, said his country believed in the positive outcome of the Croatian referendum, adding that the 27 EU member countries expected Croatia to join the bloc.

He recalled that Croatia was a member of NATO, making an important contribution by participating in international peace operations.

Speaking of the debt crisis and the need to ensure economic growth and employment, Weber expressed confidence that Croatia would benefit from joining the EU.

Attending the event in the Cvjetni Trg square, organised by the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, were also representatives of the diplomatic corps in Croatia.