President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Saturday that Croatia had achieved a lot over the past 25 years, but that there were many challenges ahead and that "we can succeed together" by turning to the future and letting go of discussions about the past.

She was speaking at a reception at her office on the occasion of Statehood Day, which was attended by about 2,000 guests, including heads of government and parliament, representatives of the diplomatic corps, politicians, public and cultural figures. The reception was given by the president, Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner and caretaker Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic.

We should let go of discussions about the past, turn to the future, change Croatia's demographic picture, make Croatia attractive to all young people who are leaving today so that they will stay or return to Croatia, kickstart economic growth and development, and put Croatia on the map of the most developed countries, the president said, speaking to all members of Croatian society.

We have the potential for that, we only need courage, a vision and a strategy to achieve it together, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

She especially thanked the defenders who gave their lives for the country and the members of their families as well as all who contributed to Croatia's well-being. She also thanked the diplomatic corps who built diplomatic ties with dedication over the past 25 years, promoting Croatia in the world.

PM Oreskovic said "we have achieved a lot" over the past 25 years, liberating, defending and rebuilding the country in the hardest conditions. Croatia is a small democracy with huge potential which we have just begun to realise, and we wish to build a modern and dynamic economy and a modern state which will create new values and enable citizens to lead dignified lives, he said.

Parliament Speaker Reiner paraphrased Martin Luther King, saying Croats had managed to make the dream King had dreamt come true. He said his generation had a dream of a free, democratic Croatia and that it came true. He thanked all those deserving credit for that.

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