I am happy to address your readers on this special day for Croatia. My working day usually begins each morning with coffee and reading your newspaper which is for us diplomats very useful and informative and for that reason I am especially grateful.
This year is for Croatia an important anniversary, in addition to the National Day we are celebrating also 25 years since the proclamation of the independence of the Republic of Croatia. On this day 25 years ago, the Croatian Parliament adopted a Declaration throught which Republic of Croatia is proclaimed an independent and sovereign state. With this decision it was returned the full independence of Croatia whose fate was until then for many years throught history related to a broader integration, to Yugoslavia, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the union with Hungary.
Unfortunately, the events that followed were not favorable for Croatia, aggression, victims, refugees, destroyed homes, suffering; that’s why Croatia has now totaly understanding for all suffering endured by refugees who are coming to Europe.
Today is a totaly different situation, Croatia is a free, democratic state, a state that respects the rights of all minorities, a state that is prospering and which is part of the west European geographical and civilizational circle. But Croatia is also a country which is on the Mediterranean and Southeastern Europe. We Croats are proud of our country and we often repeat it with the first words of our national anthem, “Our beautiful homeland”.
We are the youngest member of NATO and European Union, and we also, like our Romanian friends, want to be part of Schengen Euro zone – I hope that it will happen soon.
Croatia and Romania have a lot in common, many years of friendship and understanding. Both countries were part of the socialist/ communist experiment and maybe this experience leads us to a better mutual understanding.
We do not forget the fact that Romania recognized the independence and sovereignity of the Republic of Croatia immediately after the states of the European Union; next year we will celebrate 25 years of our diplomatic relations.
Cooperation between the Republic of Croatia and Romania is good on all plans. We visit each other more and more and the number of tourists from Croatia is increasing each year. Trade exchange is growing and more and more Romanian brands are recognizable in Croatia.
Our relationship is strengthened also by our minorities, the small Croatian community in the county Caransebeș, six villages around the town of Reșița in which Croats are living more than a few hundred years, and there is also a small language community of Istro-Romanians on the Croatian coast – both communities need to be preserved. We are especially grateful to the Romanian state and to Romanians for preserving the Croatian community. It enjoyes all rights of a minority but not only that, the Croats are very well accepted by the Romanians.
Croats recognize, like other countries in the world, the size, importance and potential of Romania. For Croatia, Romania is a large country with great potential, geographically diverse and touristically interesting. From the point of view of the security, she is the guarantor of stability in the region of South Eastern Europe and a reliable and important partner of Croatia.
Finally, I consider it my duty but also an obligation and a pleasure to work on further and better connection between our two countries, on better understanding not only in the economy, tourism, but also in a number of cultural projects and it will not be difficult because they are two friendly countries.