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article imageCroatian independence: 20 years since international recognition

By Paul Bradbury     Jan 16, 2012 in World
Croatia prepares for a referendum on EU entry as the former Yugoslav republic marks the 20th anniversary of international recognition.
With must of the cafe talk in Croatia discussing the imminent referendum on entry to the European Union on Sunday, January 22, 2012, the 20th anniversary of the former Yugoslav republic's international recognition of independence took place on January 15.
Following an overwhelming vote in favour of independence following a referendum on May 19, 1991 (93.24% in favour with a 83.56% turnout), Croatia declared independence on June 25, 1991, an act which did not initially bring much international recognition, as the European Community established the Badinter Arbitration Committee to investigate legal and compliance issues surrounding diplomatic recognition.
Slovenia was the first country to recognise Croatia as an independent nation, followed by a handful of other countries later in 1991 (including Ukraine, the Baltic states and Iceland), but the first major block of countries to recognise the newly independent state happened on January 15, 1992, when the 12 countries which then comprised the European Community ( (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal), as well as Austria, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Malta, Norway and Switzerland formally recognised an independent Croatia.
Nine more countries followed suit the following day, with the United States adding their endorsement three months later, and the United Nations in May, 1992.
Croatia took a major step towards European integration on December 9, 2011, when former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor signed the Accession Treaty with the European Union, with entry planned for July 2013, pending a positive outcome from this Sunday's referendum.
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