Statehood Day, this year again celebrated on May 30, was marked on Saturday with a changing of the Honour Guard and a music programme in St Mark's Square in Zagreb, in the presence of state officials, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic.
A programme was also performed by the Cravat Regiment, who promote Croatia as the country of the cravat and Zagreb as a city of the cravat.
The ceremony started at noon as two MiG aircrafts flew over Zagreb and a salvo of 30 projectiles was fired from the Medvedgrad fortress, which was broadcast on a video wall in the square.
Members of the Croatian Army extended their best wishes to the spectators and citizens all over Croatia in a video message.
A minute of silence was observed for all those who gave their lives for an independent Croatia.
The commemoration of Statehood Day began this morning, when the Croatian state leadership laid wreaths at Zagreb's crematorium and Mirogoj Cemetery, and it will end tonight with a gala concert in front of the Croatian National Theatre.
Instead of on June 25, Croatia this year again celebrates Statehood Day on May 30, when 30 years ago the first multi-party parliament was inaugurated and the foundations of the modern Croatian parliament were laid and its historic role in preserving Croatian statehood was confirmed after decades of the Communist rule.
That act marked the beginning of the process of gaining independence, which is why it is considered a watershed in the country's recent history.
PM says Croatia again celebrates Statehood Day on May 30
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Saturday issued a message for Statehood Day in which he stresses that "this year we celebrate Statehood Day again on May 30, the anniversary of the inauguration of the first democratically elected Croatian parliament."
"We are marking the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the adoption of numerous crucial constitutional, legal, political and historical decisions which, in line with the will of the people expressed in the first multiparty election, led to Croatia's independence, sovereignty and international recognition," Plenkovic said, recalling first Croatian president Franjo Tudjman's statement that the establishment of democratic freedoms and state sovereignty marked the beginning of the Croatian nation's journey back to the European civilisational, political, cultural and economic traditions.
"One of the first and biggest obstacles on that path was the Great Serbian aggression which we successfully overcame owing to brave Croatian defenders and their sacrifice," Plenkovic said.
Today, as a member of the European Union and western European civilisational circle, Croatia contributes to global security and stability and after only six and a half years of full membership, it was given the duty and honour to preside over the EU, the PM says.
"In the first three years of our term in office we have consolidated economic growth, continued with tax reliefs and structural reforms and restored Croatia's credit rating to the investment level. We have increased employment and achieved respectable results in public finance, which has made it possible for us to more strongly and better deal with the global crisis caused by coronavirus," Plenkovic said, noting that the government was controlling the epidemic owing to citizens' responsible behaviour and its efficient measures, which was why the situation in Croatia was better than in many other countries.
"We are confident that with joint efforts and mutual respect in the new circumstances we will be able to successfully weather this crisis and to continue with reforms that will result in a life in dignity and better living standards for all our citizens," PM Plenkovic said in his Statehood Day message.
PM: It is bad that Milanovic speaks so about parliament's regulations
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Saturday that he was sorry the President was calling Statehood Day an election rally of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), underscoring that it was bad he spoke in such a way about positive legislation passed by the parliament.
"I think it is bad that the President of the Republic speaks in such a way about positive legal regulations passed by the parliament," Plenkovic told reporters commenting on a statement by President Zoran Milanovic that May 30 was not Statehood Day and that it was a result of one political party's (HDZ) private affairs.
"We know very well that (former SDP leader Ivica) Racan's government in 2001 decided that Statehood Day should be marked on June 25, which is also an important day. This (May 30) was the beginning and that's why I regret that he speaks in such a way about a key date for modern Croatia," he added.
He expressed confidence that Milanovic would change his opinion during his term of office.
The prime minister said that he did not hear Milanovic's accusations that the Statehood Day commemoration was was an HDZ election rally or HDZ official Vladimir Seks's statement that conditions had been created to remove the president from office.
"Today is a key date for Croatia and I am proud... that we again mark Statehood Day on this date," he underscored.
Plenkovic also did not want to comment on the fact that Milanovic had not come to lay a wreath at the grave of Croatia's first president Franjo Tudjman, saying that he personally should be asked about this.
"I am the head of the government, of the HDZ, the person on whose initiative the date of Statehood Day has changed. He is a different institution, ask him about his behaviour. I have said enough about the matter and that is not the subject of my interest," Plenkovic underscored.
He also said that yesterday's arrests in a case involving the Croatian Forests company, especially that of HDZ official Josipa Rimac, were not difficult for the HDZ and added that the rule of law must apply at all moments.
"The DORH (State Attorney's Office), the police are independent. If someone has committed a crime or there is reasonable suspicion that they have committed it, the police, the DORH and everyone else must do their job regardless of the time, the person concerned or their party affiliation," he underscored.
Plenkovic also said that this example of independence of state institutions was further proof that they were fighting against corruption.
He called the prompt dismissal of Public Administration Ministry state secretary Josipa Rimac and Assistant Economy Minister Ana Mandac a clear message, adding that relevant party bodies would decide whether to launch intraparty proceedings against them.
Asked if it had been a bad decision to appoint Rimac state secretary at the Public Administration Ministry after an earlier affair involving her house, Plenkovic said that what was happening now had nothing to do with the Public Administration Ministry.
He reiterated that May 30 was the day when the first democratically elected multi-party Croatian parliament was constituted. "This is a key date in the 1990-1992 period when important decisions were made for our independence and freedom. I am especially glad that the current parliament has changed Statehood Day's date back to May 30 at the government's proposal," the PM underscored.