On this day 30 years ago, 12 members of the European Union, the European Community at the time, officially recognized Croatia. In the days that followed, Croatia and Slovenia were recognized by other countries in Europe and the world, and on May 22nd of the same year, Croatia became a member of the United Nations, which is considered the culmination of the international recognition process.
Thirty years ago, at the height of the Homeland War, when almost a third of the country was occupied by the Yugoslav People's Army and Serbian rebels, Croatia was fighting for recognition. After the declaration of independence, Croatia and Slovenia recognized each other, as did the Baltic countries and Ukraine. However, the first internationally recognized country in the world to recognize Croatia was Iceland on December 19th, 1991. The Vatican did so on January 13th, and Germany two days later together with other members of the European Community.
“It was a key turning point,” recalled the Deputy Prime Minister of the Democratic Unity government at the time, later Croatia's longest-serving foreign minister, Mate Granić.
“The United States of America were at the time completely occupied with Desert Storm, and they only followed develops in this area without any significant interest. Then Germany got involved, and this is where the Croatian diaspora played an important, key, positive role, as well as the German media in creating public opinion. Those were key moments,” said Granić.
“The path to recognition, and even after it, was not easy at all,” recalled diplomat Svjetlan Berković.
“As more time goes by, we wonder how we even succeeded in this, and we succeeded,” said Berković.
Croatia reached its then recognized borders only after the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia and the Danube region, six years after recognition. “This was because the diplomatic battle for recognition was fought while the war was raging in Croatia," recalled Granić.
“If Croatia was not defended, it would never have been internationally recognized, and we must never forget this,” noted Granić.
30 years later, Croatia is a member of NATO and the European Union, and many other international organizations, and it has made a significant contribution to building world peace by participating in 19 international peace support operations.
Vijesti HRT-a pratite na svojim pametnim telefonima i tabletima putem aplikacija za iOS i Android. Pratite nas i na društvenim mrežama Facebook, Twitter, Instagram i YouTube!