By joining the European Union on 1 July 2013, the Republic of Croatia became the newest member of the European Union.
In addition to being the year of the first Croatian presidency, 2020 also marks the 30th anniversary of the country’s first democratic multiparty elections. That coming together of the Croatian Parliament resulted, one year later, in a historic constitutional decision on the declaration of Croatian Independence, on 25 June 1990.
In addition to its Presidency of the Council, Croatia can boast that its third-largest city and its largest seaport — Rijeka — is the 2020 European Capital of Culture. It is the first Croatian city to have the honour of this title.
The Republic of Croatia is a parliamentary democracy, with 4,284,889 inhabitants. With a land area of 56,578 km2 and 31,067 km2 of territorial seas, it belongs among the medium-sized countries of Europe.
Croatia is located in the southern part of Central Europe and in the northern part of the Mediterranean, so we can say that it represents the Mediterranean port of Central Europe. With its 1,244 islands Croatia has the most indented coast in the Mediterranean and justifies the name ‘The land of a thousand islands’. The country is made up of four geographical regions — the lowlands, the central area, the mountains area and the coast. These regions contain a wealth of natural and cultural beauty, which makes our country one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world.
Croatia is a country full of life, and so are Croats. We love family, socializing with friends, community and life in general. We have always shown a sense of community, even in the most difficult days while defending our freedom, and in moments of celebrating our achievements. This particularly relates to our world-famous sports achievements, faithfully followed by Croatian fans dressed in red and white squares, which have become our recognizable visual identity throughout the world.
Although the tie has already become a symbol of each EU presidency, not everyone knows that Croatia is considered to be the birthplace of the tie. According to the Croatian legend, the tie comes from the scarf which girls used to give to their spouses as a sign of mutual fidelity, especially before they went to war. Historical sources confirm that Croatian horsemen, due to their heroism and martial prowess, entered the service of the French king Louis XIII in 1635. After the battle of Rocroi in 1643, they were formed into a new cavalry regiment, the ‘Royal-Croate’, which became the ‘Royal-Cravate’ in the time of Louis XIV. Today, in most official languages of the European Union, the world tie has the same origin, coming from the French word for ‘Croat’.
For more interesting facts about Croatian history, and about Croatia’s political system, culture, cities and natural beauty, click on the following link or visit the official website of the Croatian Tourist Board. But certainly the best thing to do would be to visit our country.
The Republic of Croatia presides for the first time over the Council of the EU, from 1 January 2020 until 30 June 2020. Therefore, preparations for the presidency were, for Croatia, as the newest member of the Union, a major organisational challenge. For this purpose, the Secretariat of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2020 was formed, under the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, as the main coordinator and organiser of the presidency.
The presidency represents an opportunity for the Croatian public administration to further professionalise. Training for the presidency has been provided to about 800 civil servants who will lead or be members of working teams during the presidency.
The Croatian Presidency is organised according to what is known as the Brussels based principle; so, even though the most meetings will be held in Brussels, Croatia will host about 160 meetings, going from meetings at a lower level, through to ministerial conferences, informal ministerial meetings and up to summits of Heads of State and Government.
We are looking forward to some 22,150 delegates visiting our country during the six months of the Croatian Presidency. But most of all, we are looking forward to hold the presidency for the first time and to demonstrate all the capabilities of our administration.