The Statehood Day of the Republic of Croatia was celebrated on 27 May at the Pretoria Country Club. The Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, H.E. Mr Ante Cievarié, warmly welcomed guests to the event.

Statehood Day, also known as National Day, is celebrated each year on 30 May, marking the establishment of the first democratically elected parliament in 1990. Croats belong to one of the oldest known ethnic groups, with their history dating back to the 7th century. The Republic of Croatia is a small country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, with its coast lying entirely on the Adriatic Sea. It is often referred to as the “Paradise of the Sailors” because of its azure waters and charming islands.

The Republic of Croatia has been a member of the European Union since 2013, and since the beginning of 2023, it has been part of the Schengen Area and the Eurozone. Contemporary Croatia, which gained independence in 1991, has a history spanning more than a thousand years.

“Croatia, like South Africa, is well known as a tourist destination. More and more tourists are coming to enjoy Croatia each year,” said H.E. Mr Cievarié.

Security in Croatia is considered among the best in Europe, making it ideal for tourism as people can move freely during both day and night.

In 2022, South Africa and Croatia marked 30 years of diplomatic relations. Bilateral relations between the two countries are excellent, without any outstanding issues. Regular political consultations occur between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia and DIRCO (Department of International Relations and Cooperation). However, trade relations do not yet match this excellent relationship. There is high potential for cooperation, particularly in tourism, energy – especially electric energy – and robotic mining, which could benefit South Africa, a country rich in minerals.

Croatia looks forward to more effective interaction in political, economic, scientific, technical, and cultural spheres.

The South African government was represented by Acting Director Mr Godfrey Mashamba of the Department of Evaluation, Evidence, and Knowledge Systems, who congratulated the Republic of Croatia on their Statehood Day on behalf of the Government of South Africa.

“Our countries continue to foster a close relationship, friendship, and partnership,” said Mr Mashamba.

Agreements have been signed in the areas of education, arts and culture, science and technology, sports, and trade. Both countries held very constructive discussions on 14 March 2023 during the Senior Officials’ Dialogue, where several areas of cooperation were agreed upon, including parliamentary cooperation, maritime exchange, health, and energy.

South Africa welcomes the institution-to-institution collaboration between universities, which will assist in developing cultural exchanges. South Africa and Croatia also cooperate well in multilateral forums. The strength of bilateral relations between the two countries is underpinned by common values and principles, both placing the highest importance on maintaining international peace and security, as well as recognising the vital role of the United Nations in the global governance system.

Guests enjoyed watching a recorded performance by Baby Lasagna, a Croatian singer-songwriter and music producer. He represented Croatia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with the song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim,” finishing in second place overall with 547 points.

Happy Statehood Day, Croatia!

by Marion Kate