The Italian Union (“Unione Italiana”), headquartered in Rijeka, is an umbrella association of members of the Italian minority, that implements cultural programs with the aim of preserving and promoting the ethnic and cultural identity of local Italians. It is the union of more than 45 societies of local Italians and it has a branch office in Koper, Slovenia.
Addressing the ceremony, held in Rijeka on Friday evening to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its establishment, Prime Minister Plenković said that the participation of all ethnic minorities in the parliamentary majority made his cabinet happy.
He underscored the importance of the fact that representatives of ethnic minorities also participated in the executive branch of the government.
“I think that this is the best way to make headway and to make sure that all people living in Croatia feel well,” Plenković said.
He promised that the Croatian authorities would continue providing strong support to the efforts of ethnic Italians to preserve their identity, culture, language, tradition, and customs.
This is particularly important in the relations between our two peoples, and in the past, there were periods in those relations that we feel happy to recollect and also some periods which we could remember with less pleasure, Plenković said, admitting that some parts of the history of those relations were not fortunate.
It is important to put an emphasis on the things that connect us, on the future, on our cooperation rather than on the periods from the past that divided us, he added.
The prime minister again underscored an important role played by ethnic minorities in the political and social life of Croatia.
“We are a country with high representativeness of ethnic minorities in the parliament. As many as eight seats are designated for lawmakers representing ethnic minorities and we are proud of that,” he said.
He promised further support of his cabinet in the implementation of operational programs for ethnic minorities, and Croatia’s commitment to delivering on the goals of the 1996 bilateral agreement regulating the status of Italians in Croatia and Croats in Italy.
The Croatian parliament’s Deputy Speaker Furio Radin said that Italian Union had always been committed to protecting the Italian community in this region even in the times which had been more difficult for local Italians.
Radin, who represents the Croatian Italians in the Sabor, said the Italian Union represented Italians living in Croatia and Slovenia in line with the international agreements and made a significant contribution to the relations between Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia and thus contributed to the cause of the European Union as a union connecting nations and people.
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