Zagreb - On this day, 28 years ago, the then member-states of the European Union recognised Croatia and on this day 22 years ago, the country completed the peaceful reintegration of its Danube region.
On 15 January 1992, Croatia's independence was recognised by the members of the EU and Germany as well as the Vatican were perceived as protagonists in those developments, while 15 January 1998 saw the completion of the peaceful reintegration of the until then occupied Danube River Region into Croatia's constitutional and legal order.
On 15 January 1992, Croatia was in the midst of the Homeland War and nearly one third of the country was occupied by the former Yugoslav army and Serb insurgents. Croatia's president Franjo Tudjman told his associates in the evening of 15 January 1992: "We have created the internationally recognised Croatia. Let's celebrate tonight and then roll up our sleeves and build a new democratic state."
Croatia's international recognition followed after it declared independence from Yugoslavia on 25 June 1991. On the same day, Slovenia too declared its independence from Yugoslavia and the next day the two newly- created states recognised each other.
At that time, the Soviet Union was disintegrating too, and although they were not internationally recognised yet, several of its former republics recognised Croatia during 1991 - Lithuania on July 30, Ukraine on December 11, Latvia on December 14 and Estonia on December 31.
Iceland - the first internationally recognised state that recognised Croatia
Iceland was the first internationally recognised state that recognised Croatia, on 15 December 1991, followed by Germany on the same day, although it decided that its recognition would go into force on 15 January 1992, together with the other EU member states.
On January 13, Croatia was recognised by the Holy See, which had announced that it would recognise Croatia and Slovenia the previous December 20. On January 14, Croatia was recognised by San Marino.
After being recognised by the EU on 15 January 1992, Croatia was recognised on the same day by Great Britain, Denmark, Malta, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Norway, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg and Greece. On January 16, Croatia was recognised by Argentina, Australia, the Czech Republic, Chile, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Slovakia Sweden and Uruguay.
By the end of that January, Croatia was recognised by Finland, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.
Russia recognised Croatia on 17 February 1992, Japan did so on March 17, the US on April 7, Israel on April 16, however, the two countries established their diplomatic relations five and a half years later, and China on April 27.
Iran first Asian and Egypt first African country to recognise Croatia
The first Asian country that recognised Croatia was Iran on 15 March 1992, while Egypt was the first African country on 16 April 1992.
On 22 May 1992, Croatia joined the UN.
22nd anniversary of peaceful reintegration
Croatia is observing on Wednesday the 22th anniversary of the peaceful reintegration of its Danube region. The process was completed during the term of the United Nations Transitional Administration of Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) on 15 January 1998.
It was the Erdut Agreement, which was signed on 12 November 1995, that enabled the peaceful restoration of Croatian sovereignty over the Croatian Danube region which was under the control of Serb paramilitaries and rebels since the launch of the Great Serbian aggression against that part of Croatia in 1991.
The Erdut Agreement on Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srijem was signed on 12 November 1995 in Erdut and Zagreb by the then-presidential chief-of-staff, Hrvoje Sarinic, the head of the Serb negotiating team, Milan Milanovic, and by the then US Ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, and UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg as witnesses. The treaty marked the beginning of the UN's two-year transitional administration in the area during which Croatia restored its sovereignty over the temporarily occupied parts of Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties, which enabled reconstruction in the area ravaged in the Great Serbian aggression on Croatia and the return of refugees.
The Erdut agreement was reached by Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic at a peace conference in Dayton, Ohio. The 14-point document provided for a two-year transitional period under UN supervision, a transitional administration, formation of a multi-national police force, local elections, and demilitarisation 30 days after the deployment of international peacekeepers. Seven provisions of the agreement dealt with human rights, refugee return, and property restitution or compensation.
The UNTAES mission was created under UN Security Council Resolution 1037 of 15 January 1996 and ended on 15 January 1998.
Two Croatian military operations in 1995 -- Operation Flash which was conducted in May that year in western Slavonia and Operation Storm that liberated the largest portion of the occupied territories -- paved the way for the Erdut agreement and subsequently for the UNTAES mission.
Croatia - current country-in-chair of EU
On 1 January this year, Croatia, which was admitted to the European bloc on 1 July 2013, assumed the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The presidency over the EU is seen as an opportunity to promote the country-in-chair and making the local society more sensitive to EU-related topics.
"A strong Europe in a world of challenges" is the slogan Croatia has chosen for its presidency. The programme of its EU presidency is based on four themes or pillars - A Europe that develops; A Europe that connects; A Europe that protects; and An influential Europe.
In Croatia, a total of 161 events in relation to the presidency will be held. One of the major events will be a summit meeting between the EU and the Western Balkans, set for 7 May in Zagreb.
Apart from that, eight informal gatherings will take place in Zagreb, three in the biggest Adriatic city of Split and one in the coastal resort of Opatija.
Nine ministerial conferences will be organised in Croatia: five in Zagreb and four outside the capital city. A few expert-level meetings will be held in the eastern city of Osijek.
The accession of Croatia to NATO took place in 2009.