On this day 26 years ago, on 15 January 1992, 12 countries making up the European Community – France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal – finally recognised Croatia as an independent state.
Croatia was also recognised on this day by Austria, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Malta, Norway, and Switzerland. By the end of January 1992, Croatia was recognized by 44 countries. Therefore, 15 January is celebrated in Croatia as the Day of International Recognition.
“Today, 15 January 1992, will be engraved in golden letters in the 14-century history of the Croatian people in this area, for us the holy ground between the Mura, Drava, the Danube and the Adriatic Sea. Having declared its independence and sovereignty, and breaking state-legal ties with the former Yugoslav Federation, the Republic of Croatia has achieved international recognition of its independence,” Croatian President at the time Franjo Tuđman said to the nation during a television address.
Croatia had earlier, on 25 June 1991, declared independence after resounding vote at a referendum on the nation’s independence on May 19, 1991, where 93.24% voted in favour.
Iceland will always be remembered as the first internationally recognised nation to recognise Croatia (19 December 1991), whilst Slovenia was the first country to recognise Croatia (one day after Croatia declared independence).