Tusk says that Croatia has achieved “incredible” accomplishments in the last 25 years.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk said on Monday in Zagreb that Croatia, since its international recognition 25 years ago, has made “incredible accomplishments” and that today it plays a key role in Southeast Europe, reports tportal.hr on January 16, 2017.
On 15 January 1992, Croatia was recognized by all twelve members of the then European Community, in the middle of the war for independence after the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. In 2009 it became a member of NATO and in 2013 it became a member of the European Union.
“We in Europe appreciate what you have achieved in 25 years of independence, it is an incredible accomplishment”, said Tusk at a joint press conference with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. He added that the role of Croatia in Southeast Europe was “absolutely critical” in terms of security and political stability. “Croatia is a guarantee that the situation in Europe, especially in the region, is more optimistic than before”, said Tusk. “For me, Croatia is the best partner that I can imagine”, added Tusk.
Prime Minister Plenković said that the visit by the EU leader on the anniversary of international recognition was “political and symbolic gesture of respect for Croatia”.
The two officials discussed the entry of Croatia into the Schengen area and the eurozone, the situation in the European Union after Brexit, and the preparations for European summits in Malta and Rome.
After the meeting, Plenković and Tusk went to the Parliament which held a special session to mark the 25th anniversary of international recognition of Croatia. Tusk gave a speech in Croatian, in which he said that Croatia had the right to be proud of the last 25 years, adding that it did not disappoint Europe and the United Nations which recognized it a quarter century ago. You have the right to be proud of these 25 years, and Europe is proud of you and your accomplishments, said Tusk.
“Twenty-five years ago, Europe and the United Nations recognized your independence, believing that Croatia will become part of the political community in which freedom, peace, respect for others and adherence to international regulations are true priorities. You have not failed us”, said Tusk.
European Council President prised Croatia for its achievements. “Carrying the burden of difficult experiences after a cruel war, you have managed to protect your people from hatred and you have started a great task of building a modern, European state. Europe highly appreciates your political maturity, patience and consistency. Thanks to your efforts to improve the reputation of the entire region, the reconciliation among warring nations is becoming a reality. You are a sign of hope”, said Tusk.
He is aware that the process is difficult, but is also convinced that Croatia will succeed. “The taste of independence and democracy is not always sweet, and conflicts and differences are an integral part of the history and everyday life, so it is important to constantly look for what unites us, again and again, tirelessly”, said Tusk, calling on Croatia to continue with this important task for the sake of peace and stability in the region and throughout Europe.